Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Have you seen the series of Netflix ads?

Up until now, they've featured generic characters from a wide variety of movie genres who invade your home with each delivery of a new Netflix title. But this time, the latest blipvert features an actual character from Toobworld - Paulie Walnuts Gaultieri, as played by Tony Sirico.

Since he's not identified by name, the character could be any mob enforcer that he's played over the years in the movies. But the clothing, the clipped manner of speech, the precise hand movements, all point to Sirico appearing in the ad as Paulie Walnuts.

As these commercials play out, the characters are appearing as fictional beings brought to life in your home, thanks to the use of Netflix. We in the audience are supposed to see them as not being as real as the person who rented the movie.

However, in this case, Sirico's character (and again, I think it's Paulie) is "advising" the homeowner that it would be in his best interests to get Netflix rather then go out to the local video store.

The person who rents movies in these commercials is a character in Toobworld by virtue of being in a broadcast TV commercial; living in the same universe borne of Mankind's artistic output as Paulie Walnuts should be. But even though there is no red envelope from Netflix in the house just yet, it's obvious that this version of Paulie is supposed to be from the TV show and not a fellow member of the TV Universe.

So how do we reconcile the two characters to be in the same dimension even though one is supposedly less real than the others?


'Hi Honey, I'm Home' was an offbeat sitcom made for both ABC and Nickelodeon in which sitcom characters from shows no longer on the air would be sent into the "real world" to live in the "Sitcom Relocation Program" until the time came when they would be called upon to grace the airwaves again.

One such TV family was the Nielsens, who moved in next door to Elaine Duff and her kids; one of whom figured out that his neighbors were escapees from a TV Universe.

Among the guest stars from actual past programs were Grandpa Munster, Gomer Pyle, Alice Kramden and Trixie Norton. So we're led to assume that they came out of TV Land, and the Duffs were from the Real World.

It sounds like it represented everything Toobworld stands for.

But the premise falls apart because of the basic Toobworld concept. Since whatever is broadcast is part of the TV Universe, (Earth Prime-Time AKA Toobworld), then Elaine Duff and her kids are just as fictional as the neighbors.

It's the same situation found with Paulie Walnuts and the potential Netflix customer (and that guy's wife as well, but she's already been rolled up in the carpet.)

Since the Duffs and the Netflix guy are also from the TV Universe, they are the ones who must be considered on the first level of Earth Prime Time, the main Toobworld. And so the relocated sitcom characters and Paulie Walnuts would be from Toobworld's own version of a TV Universe.

We know Toobworld has its own fully realized TV dimension into which "real" characters can escape. We've seen it in a light beer commercial in which two guys slap their beer bottles down on top of the TV set and find themselves transported into whatever was showing on the Toob at the time. (In this case, it's a martial arts movie and they end up kicking ass... until something goes horribly wrong by the end of the commercial and they find themselves channel-surfed into a new scenario.)

Obviously - unlike our Real World in relation to Toobworld - it's a two-way street for crossovers. Toobworld residents can enter their own TV dimension and those who already live in that TV Land within TV Land can travel out to the "real world".

So whether it's done via a secret government program, or through the auspices of the Netflix company, TV characters twice removed from the reality of our own world can come one step closer to "reality" by stepping out of their own fictional dimension into that of Toobworld.

And that means Paulie Walnuts of the Netflix ad (but not the Paulie Walnuts of 'The Sopranos', who is "real") and the Nielsens of 'Hi Honey I'm Home' are from the same dimension.

And there's your Crossover of the Week.

As to why so many TV characters would have TV shows about them being broadcast, especially characters with secrets to hide (like Paulie Walnuts and Clark Kent, for example).......

Well, that's a poser for some other prime time.


Warning: this blog post was especially designed to cause Ivy's head to explode.

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