Monday, April 3, 2006


In a way, the TV Crossover crossed over into the 21st Century with this week's top crossover.

In the old days, crossovers were limited to shows which took place in the same location: 'Petticoat Junction' and 'Green Acres', both set in Hooterville; 'Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman' and 'Fernwood 2Night', both set in Fernwood, Ohio; Susan Harris' little corner of Miami with 'The Golden Girls', 'Empty Nest', and 'Nurses'; and the Big Apple mix-n-matches between NBC's 'Friends', 'Mad About You', 'Madman Of The People', 'Caroline In The City', and 'The Single Guy', or over on CBS, 'Cosby', 'Becker', 'Everybody Loves Raymond', and 'The King Of Queens'.

Radiating out from a centralized map, special circumstances needed to be invoked. ABC did just that with the tie-ins to promote the mini-series "The Storm Of The Century". Although that was set about ten years earlier, another snow storm plagued the characters of 'The Drew Carey Show' (Cleveland, Ohio), 'Two Guys, A Girl, And A Pizza Place' (Boston, Massachusetts), and even in the Southern California suburbs of 'The Hughleys'.

'Paper Chase' took place at Harvard up in Boston, while 'The Associates' worked out of Manhattan, but Professor Kingsfield traveled to New York to try a case against one of his former students (and that was also a crossover that leapt networks).

Danny Williams brought his family to Westport, Connecticut, for the chance to enjoy a vacation away from New York at the home he rented from the Ricardos. ('I Love Lucy'/'The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour' & 'Make Room For Daddy'/'The Danny Thomas Show')

It gets even harder when you're trying to lure the televersion of a celebrity to some sitcom location which is off the beaten path: Sammy Davis, Jr. to Queens ('All In The Family'); George Burns and Art Carney to Phoenix ('Alice'); Gore Vidal to Fernwood, Ohio ('Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman'); Bob Denver to 'Evening Shade', Arkansas, and Walter Cronkite to Minneapolis ('The Mary Tyler Moore Show').

Getting Jay Leno to Baltimore for 'Homicide: Life On The Street' probably wasn't too hard - I wouldn't be surprised if he toadies off to wherever his Peacock bosses tell him to show up for a promotional appearance.

'Crossing Jordan', which is set in Boston, has had two crossovers so far with 'Las Vegas', with a smaller one coming up with Woody returning to Sin City. However, the second one was pushing it - the Boston autopsy case had to involve the exact same Vegas casino?

But now there's a new common denominator that makes it easier to splain away getting characters from one side of the country into a crossover with characters from the other side; even with the dramatis personae to be found in other countries:

The Internet.

'George Lopez'

On Wednesday, March 22, these two shows - which previously had nothing more in common than that they followed each other on the ABC schedule just before 'Lost' - did a crossover that used the Internet to bring them into each other's world. 'George Lopez' and his family live in Los Angeles, while 'Freddie' resides in Chicago with his sisters and his grandmother.

But when George found out that his son had an online girlfriend named Zoey, he decided to impersonate Max in a chat room, in order to make sure this "Zoey" wasn't some kind of online predator. Meanwhile, (if I'm not mistaken - heavy events that day in my family prevented me from seeing more than just the tag to the 'Freddie' episode), I think Freddie did the same by pretending to be his younger sister.

George and Ernie accompanied Max to Chicago to finally meet Zoey, and somehow George found himself in the drunk tank with Freddie by the end of the episode. (And that experience added to my Zonk!ish nightmares by referring to a rather corpulent inebriate as "Otis". That might have been easy enough to splain away, but George had to make things worse by mentioning "Mayberry" as well.)

The use of the Internet modernizes the ability to cross over series through communication. 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' once crossed over with its spin-off 'Rhoda' by a simple phone call; and it even used a more primitive form of exchange, that of a letter, for a crossover with its other spin-off, 'Phyllis'.

This particular use of the Internet puts me in mind of a crossover that might have happened due to a wrong number. I'm fairly certain there was such a link made once, but bleeped if I know who was involved now.....

Since 'George Lopez' will have reached the Holy Grail goal of 100 episodes this season, it's no wonder that 'Freddie' decided to grab onto his coattails.

Now if only we can get them blended into the TV Universe at large....


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