With the new TV season comes a new crop of Zonks, those pesky references to other TV shows which should be sharing the same TV Universe.
Here are a couple courtesy of TV Gal over at Zap2It.com (link to the left):
"I know just how to kick off our first night as roomies. 'Saved By The Bell' marathon starts in 5."
Marco to Ellie on 'Degrassi: The Next Generation'.
"We're like the Cleavers; except we're religious, and we like to fool around."
Eric to Kevin on '7th Heaven'.
Let's start with that second one since it's the easiest to splain away.
Within the reference, there is no mention that the Cleavers are the nuclear family in 'Leave It To Beaver'.
Now, to the audience viewing at home, they know that this is what the reference is all about. But within the reality of '7th Heaven', there is no guarantee for that.
It could be that Eric was referring to a family that lives right there in their own town; a reference that Kevin would understand as he would probably know the family as well.
But it could also be that Eric was referring to the theatrical movie version of 'Leave It To Beaver'. In the TV Universe, the rationale for this movie would be that the actual lives of the Cleaver family was adapted for the cinema with some minor revisions - like updating their story to the present day.
Eric could be familiar with that movie and perhaps not even realize that it was based on a "real" family from the 1950s. And no mention of a TV show needs be brought up.
As for the reference to 'Saved By The Bell' marathon on 'DeGrassi: The Next Generation', that is harder to deal with. Thanks to actual crossovers as well as mentions of a fictional nation and special guest appearances by members of the League of Themselves, both series share the same TV Universe.
There's only way to play this: the 'Saved By The Bell' mentioned by Marco is not the same TV show as we know here in the Trueniverse. 'Saved By The Bell' is a classic phrase, even a cliche. Eventually it would have been chosen as the title of a TV series within the Toobworld universe; perhaps a fictional show by some Miller-Boyett clones.
It's not even a given within this context that 'Saved By The Bell' is about high school students, nor does it mention who the actors or characters might be. For all we know, it's a TV series about a boxer. Maybe "The Bell" is the name for a super-hero who comes to the rescue in each episode. (I picture his look to be similar to a super-villain long ago in the pages of "Howard The Duck", with a 'Ding Dong School' bell for his helmet to disguise his identity.)
So taking this view, hopefully we can avoid the Zonk.
I came across another Zonk in the 3rd season premiere of 'Veronica Mars', now on The CW. When the young investigator met the R.A. for Piz and Wallace's dorm, he introduced her to the pejorative of "frak". And he specifically mentioned that it came from the TV show 'Battlestar Galactica'.
The original version of 'Battlestar Galactica' is the one that takes place in the main Toobworld, Earth Prime-Time. The celebrated new version had to be relegated to an alternate dimension (so will the spin-off 'Caprica', as well as 'Firefly' because of an in-joke reference).
But the R.A. shouldn't be referring to that version, even though it's not in the same dimension. Only a "slide" through the dimensional vortex separates the two series, so for all intents and purposes they exist in the same overall universe, just different dimensions.
Here's my splainin, and this could change at any time if something better comes along. (That's what's great about the Toobworld concept - like TV itself, it's always subject to rewrites.)
After the Galactican fleet arrived in the solar system in the TV series 'Galactica 1980', the refugees on board the space ships that survived the journey were gradually integrated into Terran society without the Earthlings being any the wiser.
Of course, some of these Galacticans used their superior qualities in an attempt to wrest control of the planet for themselves. This triggered the Eugenics Wars nearly two decades later, as described in the various shows of the 'Star Trek' franchise. (Although most of the "historical records" consider the participants to be genetically engineered humans of Terran origins.)
Some of the others that now lived among the Earthlings infiltrated all strata of society in an attempt to help cover up the presence of the Galacticans among the native humans. Politics, journalism, scientific and medical research, education positions.... And they even became involved in the entertainment industry.
It could be that in Toobworld, a TV series was developed which was based on the actual truth about the "battlestar" named "Galactica". By practically trumpeting their presence through a fictional TV show, the Galacticans would provide themselves with plausible deniability should anybody try to blow the whistle on their actual existence. "The ravings of a lunatic too caught up in a TV show" they could claim.
This same line of thinking has happened in Toobworld before as we've seen in 'Stargate SG-1'. The TV series 'Wormhole Extreme' and its cinematic spin-off were given a green light by the government (albeit the government of yet another alternate dimension) in order to mask the actual existence of the Stargate project.
Actual details from the lives of the Galacticans would be incorporated into the TV show to help splain away anything that might crop up inadvertently in conversation between humans and Galacticans.
And that would include swear words like "frak".
It's obviously a ploy that works, as Veronica saw the whole thing as a geek-fest obsession on the part of the dorm's R.A. And she dismissed it from any further consideration.
Which is a good thing, since one thing the Galacticans wouldn't want would be a hot shot private eye like 'Veronica Mars' uncovering their existence!