The second entry for the Crossover of the Week is based on one of the most durable props in Toobworld (even though I'm sure it always takes a beating from its owners.... ahem!): Playpen Magazine.
In the pilot episode of 'Kyle XY', the young son of the mysterious title character's new foster family sneaks into the house and heads straight to the bathroom where he locks himself in. Putting down the cover of the toiler, he drops his pants and then pulls out... a treasured copy of Playpen Magazine.
But before he could pull anything else out to make his introductions to Charlotte (aka Miss October), Kyle pokes his head out from behind the shower curtain. (He had been hiding out in the bathtub after a traumatic experience.)
The kid had no choice but to pay attention to the man behind the curtain. With a scream, he stumbled out of the bathroom. But because he was hobbled by his pants down around his ankles, he lost his balance and the magazine went flying over the railing... to land right in front of his Mom as she came up the stairs.
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Playpen is a member of the TV Crossover Hall Of Fame, inducted with other publications like the National Inquisitor, the NY Ledger, the LA Sun and the LA Tribune. But Playpen has the most appearances in other TV shows.
Homicide: Life On The Street
3rd Rock from the Sun
Married with Children
That 70s Show
Here's how Playpen figures in some of those shows:
'Medium' - Back in the 1980s, copies of the magazine could be found in the rooms of a sperm bank in the Southwest.
'Ally McBeal' - Like on 'Medium', it was a source of inspiration. Ally smuggled a copy into prison so that a client could smuggle out a deposit to impregnate his wife.
'Renegade' - Reno had to protect the grande dame who owned the company.
'That Girl' - Ann Marie found her head superimposed on a nude centerfold's body.
'The X-Files' - Fox Mulder had a big collection of the magazine.
'Millennium' - A murder victim had an even bigger collection; he had a copy of every issue published up to the point of his death.
'CSI' - An issue was found during the execution of a search warrant following the death of a baby.
'Homicide: Life On The Street' - Meldrick claimed that he only read it for the articles. Uh-huh....
'Grosse Pointe' - Topless photos of one actress are sold to the magazine
'3rd Rock From The Sun' - Sally is excited when learning photographers from the mag are coming to town
'Married with Children' - Al reads it, of course!
And it even surfaced in the Tooniverse, on an episode of 'Family Guy'.
As for 'That 70s Show', I wouldn't be surprised if issues of the mag made the rounds of the Inner Circle who met in the Foreman basement. But I don't know how it played into an episode of 'Pacific Blue'. I would have thought that reading Playpen would have made it difficult to be a bike cop....
When I saw Playpen "pop up" on 'Kyle XY', I was tempted to crown it the solo Crossover of the Week and let the USA Networks promo series slide until next week. After all, commercials are always being re-run and could have made had the solo spot all to themselves next Monday.
But that wouldn't have been fair to 'Psych', as the promos were geared to trumpet its debut this coming Friday night. So instead there's plenty of room for both in the winner's circle.