Friday, March 9, 2007
It's a given that TV characters in the main Toobworld have doppelgangers in the alternate TV dimensions, including The Tooniverse and the sketch comedy world.
Here are some examples as proof of that:
Lennie and Squiggy ('Laverne & Shirley') and Vinnie Barbarino ('Welcome Back, Kotter') - 'Saturday Night Live' 10/15/94
'Lou Grant' - 'Saturday Night Live' 11/17/84
The cast of 'Murphy Brown' - 'Family Guy' 4/18/00
And then there are times when Toobworld is bypassed completely as happened with the Coneheads. The aliens "from France" were from 'Saturday Night Live' and they also got their own cartoon pilot aired. (And then they have Cineverse counterparts as well.)
Usually, the TV characters originate in the main Toobworld and then go off to the sketch comedy world. But that's not the case with Andy and Lou of 'Little Britain', who are two of the creations of Matt Lucas and David Walliams, respectively.
Lou is a kind-hearted guy in Herby City looking after the needs of Andy who is disabled and in a wheelchair, and is probably mentally challenged as well.
At least, that's what Lou believes. In actuality, Andy has been taking advantage of Lou's kindness by faking all of his problems. When he wants to, Andy is perfectly capable of stealing police cars, riding horses, and carrying on deep philosophical conversations.
So now it looks as if Andy and Lou have their counterparts in the main Toobworld, because they'll be showing up in the Australian prime-time soap 'Neighbours' sometime in May. (Williams and Lucas have already filmed the scene.)
In their scene, Andy and Lou are in Erinsborough, the fictional contribution to the geography of Toobworld. At the Scarlet Bar, they'll be interacting with regular characters Steph and Toadie.
I've never seen the show, so I can't vouch for these characters as being a big deal in terms of with whom Andy and Lou could have appeared.
These versions of Andy and Lou should be considered different from those to be normally found in 'Little Britain'. (If anything can be considered normal in that show.) If taken as a whole, 'Little Britain' has a different Prime Minister than Tony Blair, who at present is the PM for Toobworld and the Trueniverse. Prime Minister Michael is in charge at Number 10 Downing Street for 'Little Britain'.
The crossover cameo on 'Neighbours' will be affixed to the Toobworld timeline as having occurred in May of 2007, since that is when it will be first broadcast. But viewers in the UK will have to wait until later in the year before they can see it. (Unless it shows up on bit torrent, I think 'Little Britain' fans in America are right out of luck.)
I guess because he works for the Free Press, Martin F. Kohn picked up on a possible future connection between 'Gilmore Girls' and 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show'/'Lou Grant':
On Tuesday night’s episode of “Gilmore Girls” Yale senior and aspiring journalist Rory (played by Alexis Bledel) mentioned the newspapers to which she’s applied for jobs, and one of them was the Free Press.
If Rory does end up at the Free Press, she’ll be following in the footsteps of another noted TV character, Lou Grant (Ed Asner), who toiled here before he ran the TV news operation on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and the Los Angeles Tribune on “Lou Grant.”
Personally, I'd rather she worked at the Trib. Or, if she wanted to stay closer to home (Stars Hollow, Ct.), then she should go to work for the NY Ledger.
Click here for the full article. (Thanks to TVTattle.com, link to the left for them!)
Thursday, March 8, 2007
Ali will be joining 'As The World Turns' onscreen March 21st, and there is a promised TV crossover between the soaps on March 27th.
There are five webisodes up already, but I haven't seen any of them. I'm still a dial-up dinosaur here at Toobworld Central. But it's not like I'm missing much - Diane Werts of Newsday says that these 'L.A. Diaries' webisodes "don’t even meet the slapdash standard of one-take daytime drama". But still she says that if you need a quick soap fix while at your computer, you can't really go wrong with the "show".
Her triumph at the Olympics back in the mid-70s made enough of an impact to insure that she must have a televersion as well. Nadia has gone on to appear on many sports-related programs as well as game shows '1 vs. 100' and 'Hollywood Squares'.
But she also appeared as the fictional version of herself in the third season finale of 'Touched By An Angel' back in 1997, "A Delicate Balance". Nadia and her husband, Bart Conner, were going to be covering a major gymnastic event for television and after they left the gym, the angels convened to discuss their assignment.
Nadia also exists in the sketch comedy alternate dimension, thanks to a very funny caricature by Gilda Radner on 'Saturday Night Live'. Twelve years later, Jan Hooks also played her in a "Church Chat" sketch, being chastised by the Church Lady because of her relationship with Conner.
"I am cute! Please. Come see me perform all over this country when I come to your city! I'm only fifteen-years-old now, but I have to make all the money I can because I won't be cute forever. Before you know it, I'll grow up to be a big fat Romanian woman with fat thighs and a moustache like my mother! We don't age so good. So, who's gonna want to see me then? It's so hard to do gymnastics while you're arguing with storekeepers. So, see me now, while I'm still darling!"
Nadia Comaneci (as played by Gilda Radner)
'Saturday Night Live'
Wednesday, March 7, 2007
CAPTAIN AMERICA KILLED!
BY ETHAN SACKS
DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER
Captain America is dead. The Marvel Entertainment superhero, created in 1941 as a patriotic adversary for the Nazis, is killed off in Captain America #25, which hits the stands today.
At the end of the article, there's a snapshot profile of the comic book character:
'LIFE' OF AN AMERICAN HERO
Created: March 1941
True Identity: Steve Rogers
Born: July 4, 1917
Birthplace: Lower East Side
Current Home: Red Hook, Brooklyn
Superpowers: None (Super Soldier serum makes him a "nearly perfect human being")
Weapon: His red,white and blue discus-like shield
Archenemy: Red Skull
Pop Culture Moment, Film: Easy Rider, Peter Fonda's character is nicknamed Captain America.
Pop Culture Moments, Music: The Kinks' song, Catch Me Now, I'm Falling, has this lyric: "This is Captain America calling." Guns N' Roses' Paradise City: "Captain America's been torn apart, now he's a court jester with a broken heart."
According to the Marvel Wikia, that misses out on several songs which feature the hero, but the profile also doesn't mention the Captain America of Toobworld.
Back in 1979, there were two TV movies which were probably serving as pilots for a possible series, starring Reb Brown as Captain America. The backstory of Steve Rogers becoming the "super-soldier" during WWII was dropped in favor of making the character more contemporary. No need to keep him frozen in an iceberg for forty years; Rogers didn't take the super-soldier serum (now called the FLAG formula) until 1979. This also meant that Cap's tele-version wasn't born in 1917 like in the comic books, but in the 1940s.
However, Steve Rogers learned in the pilot that his father previously operated as "Captain America" after having taken the serum in his prime, so the super-hero may have operated back in WWII after all. Confirmation of that can be found in the 'Angel' episode "Why We Fight" when a crewman named Hodge remarked, "He's some sort of super soldier like Steve Rogers, or Captain America."
O'Bviously, the Steve Rogers played by Reb Brown was Steve Rogers, Jr.
With the second pilot there was an attempt at improvements, with Connie Selleca replacing Heather Menzies as Dr. Wendy Day, and the addition of the legendary Christopher Lee as the villain. (The character of Miquel isn't going to rank up there with Saruman, Scaramanga, Count Dracula, or even Count Dooku, however.)
The pilots never took flight as a series, of course. One look at a picture of Reb Brown in his costume proves that the producers didn't have a handle on how to properly present the character.
Matt Salinger appeared in a direct-to-video movie about Captain America in 1990, but that was probably intended for theatrical release originally and not for Television. Let it slug it out with the 1940s serial as to who should represent the Cineverse.
There's also the animated version to be found in The Tooniverse who's appeared in several different cartoon series over the years (among them 'Spiderman', 'X-Men: Evolution' and 'Marvel Superheroes').
Although it's not Reb Brown playing the role, Captain America has also appeared in TV commercials which can be considered part of the main Toobworld. One is for the Visa Check Card, and the other is part of the "Got Milk?" campaign. Hidden behind the mask, and with limited dialogue, I think it's safe to give these blipvert Captain Americas a pass as to being one and the same with Reb Brown's portrayal.
Except for any possible future appearances in TV commercials, I see no reason why it can't be possible for the Captain America of the main Toobworld to share the same fate as the comic book original. It's not like Reb Brown is ever going to come back in the role; he didn't have the luxury of a block of ice to keep him preserved all these years since 1979. If the character does ever come back in a TV movie, series, or special, a new actor would be found to play the role and so the project would be catapulted into an alternate TV dimension.
It's not like superheroes of Toobworld haven't passed away before - in Earth Prime-Time, Superman (as played by George Reeves) is dead. (It's the Toobworld conceit that he absorbed radioactive Kryptonite in the Nevada desert back in the early sixties while saving Luca and Paulie from an A-bomb test between seasons of 'Crime Story'.) And once Clark Kent was no longer around to protect the secret he shared with Superman, the whole world became privy to who he was and in the case of Jerry 'Seinfeld', knowing who Kal-El's father was.
Of course, Superman still exists in other TV dimensions, as proven by 'Lois & Clark: The Adventures Of Superman', 'The Adventures Of Superboy', and 'Smallville'.
It's only for the sake of future blipverts that I'd keep Captain America alive in Toobworld. And it wouldn't be the first time a TV character didn't share the same fate as the original version. (Richard Widmark as 'Madigan' is a good example of that.)
Whether or not Captain America still lives in Earth Prime-Time, his exploits since 1979 brought him to the attention of the world at large. Whenever other residents of Toobworld make mention of "Captain America", they're referring to the actual superhero of their reality, not to the comic book character.
For instance, Shannon Rutherford called her step-brother Boone Carlysle "Captain America" back in September of 2004 when he voiced his concerns about fellow survivor Rose ('Lost').
For now, I think Toobworld should follow the lead of Marvel Comics and accept the idea that the Captain America of Earth Prime-Time has passed away. This could all change, however, if by some unlikely happenstance Reb Brown returned to the role nearly thirty years later; hey, stranger things have happened. (Look at Robert Stack returning as Eliot Ness in a TV movie so many decades after 'The Untouchables' went off the air.)
With Toobworld, all is in flux.
(It's a 'Lone Gunmen' reference.....)
For a collection of pics showing the various Marvel Superheroes in action in Toobworld, visit "Superheroes Lives".
Most of them appeared on 'The Simpsons', with my favorite Broadway composer, Stephen Sondheim hired by Krusty the Clown to write songs for his "Appalachian Dumpling Gang" of hill-kiddies. Andy Dick also appeared as part of the Redneck Comedy tour (a theme visited by 'Family Guy' this week as well.) And mystery novelist James Patterson's appearance was a technicality, as he appeared in Marge Simpson's romantic dreamscape. But the fact that Marge knows of him as a mystery writer, who uses nursery rhymes for his book titles, means that he does exist as a cartoon figure in the Tooniverse. So for now, he'd have to sport an asterisk after his name like Roger Maris.
Over on 'Family Guy', 80 year old Playboy founder Hugh Hefner just kept racking up the number of shows in which he's appeared as himself. He showed up - for no apparent reason - in the lounge of the Quahog Airport with a babe on each arm and proceeded to give Glenn Quagmire some inspiring advice to regain control over his life.
Hugh Hefner will be inducted into the TV Crossover Hall of Fame just on his body of work in the main Toobworld alone, but it's nice to see he has a counterpart in the Tooniverse (as well as over in "Skitlandia", the sketch comedy dimension, thanks to 'Saturday Night Live').
Meg Ryan also appeared in 'The Simpsons' this week, but she was playing a character - a psychiatrist hired by the school system to treat Bart Simpson.
She had her own psychiatrist and he was voiced by Peter Bogdonovich. His character wasn't named, but I'm sticking to the claim that he was Tooniversion of his character on 'The Sopranos' who has Dr. Melfi as his patient. And this would be yet another character from 'The Sopranos' who has been found in The Tooniverse, the first being Christopher Moltisanti in an episode of 'Family Guy'. (He helped Stewie dig a hole to bury... a sapling.)
Tuesday, March 6, 2007
Always nice to get home from work in the morning to get a laugh like that.
The writer of the article seems to allow the creators of both shows to act coy about whether or not the "crossovers" seen so far are coincidental. I don't think they have much choice but to take that attitude, however. Sure, Kring and Lindelof are friends now, but who knows if there might be acrimony in the future which leads to accusations of plagiarism? And there's a larger business aspect at play here totally out of their control; the suits have to protect their interests.
The same kind of question has happened before, dealing with the identity of 'The Prisoner': was Number Six actually John Drake?
They had to say no officially, otherwise the man who created 'Danger Man' would have to be paid royalties. But I don't think there's much doubt in the minds of fans for both shows that Six and Drake are one and the same.
It's the position taken by Toobworld Central, at any rate.
However, I can see the argument made for the two major crossover points. With the Gannon Car Rental brochure that "Jessinikki" had a few episodes ago, they claimed that the name of the company was already cleared by lawyers and since the props were already sitting there in the warehouse....
I suspected as much when the "Too Many Notes" episode of 'Columbo' took place at Monolith Studios. The signs indicating the name of the studio were also used in several episodes of 'Murder, She Wrote' ("Film Flam" & "Murder Among Friends"). And at the time, I figured - these signs are just hanging around the prop warehouse, why not use them?
Still, that's all well and good for a Trueniverse splainin, but it doesn't negate that within the reality of Toobworld those props connect the shows.
The other crossover possibility mentioned in the article was of Nathan's little speech on 'Heroes' about the super-powered beings under threat of being hidden away in a laboratory on an island in the middle of the ocean.
This could be a shout-out to 'Lost', but that's dicey since 'Lost' takes place back in the fall of 2004. We don't know how it's going to end; if anybody in the outside world will ever learn what really happened there.
Because Jeph Loeb wrote that speech, and started out as a comic book writer, one of 'Lost's producers thought it was a reference to Genosha, the island nation in "The X-Men" comic books.
Now that would be cool beans! We've seen those mutants exist in the Cineverse and in the Tooniverse; it would be neat if there was some indication they exist in Toobworld as well. ('Mutant X' can't make that connection, again for legal reasons.)
But there is one argument for crossover legitimacy in the article that we do reject outright - when the same actors appear on both shows. (The example they use is Greg Grunberg, one of the stars of 'Heroes' and the ill-fated Pilot in the first episode of 'Lost'.)
Actors don't factor into Toobworld unless they are playing themselves. Otherwise there is no connection to the characters they play unless you want to make a case for identical cousins. So there's no link between the Pilot and Matt Parkman.Joanna Weiss, who wrote the article, ended with a very Toobworldian "Wish-Craft" from Damon Lindelof, which is heartily approved by Tim Kring:
[If] the characters on "Lost" exist in the world of "Heroes," the chance for a TV rendezvous gets even more complex. Getting them together, after all, would require a trip to the past.
It could only be done by Hiro, the "Heroes" character who has the power to bend time and space.
And Lindelof has a thought.
"If there was ever a crossover," Lindelof said, "he would pop up, appear on the beach for, like, two seconds. He'd look at Hurley and he'd say, 'Hello,' and Hurley would say, 'Hello,' and then he would disappear again. And that would be it."
Cuse, Lindelof, and Kring all agree that's unlikely to happen. The shows are produced by different studios and networks -- all with different lawyers -- and the paperwork hurdle would likely be insurmountable. But Kring, for one, says he loves the idea.
"If we could talk them into doing it," he said, "we'd do it."
David Kelley was able to throw around his weight to get FOX and ABC to allow a cross-network crossover between 'Ally McBeal' and 'The Practice'. And different production companies didn't hamper the crossovers between 'Law & Order' and 'Homicide: Life On The Street', or 'Murder, She Wrote'/'Magnum P.I.' or 'The Associates'/'Paper Chase'.
So here's hoping this small crossover is allowed to happen. What's it going to take? A plane trip to Hawaii for Masi Oka? Come onnnnn!
At any rate, with the brochure they are now officially linked for Toobworld.Click here for the article......
Monday, March 5, 2007
The Tooniverse has a few alternate dimensions as well, for those rare times when a cartoon just can't logically fit in with the rest of the toonic output.
Sometimes, characters cross over from Toobworld into The Tooniverse, but for the most part, it would be the residents of the cartoon dimension who make the journey across the vortex which separates them.
Three examples would be the animated Superman visiting the live-action Metropolis in the American Express blipverts, Daffy Duck applying for a job at Winfield-Louder at the beginning of an episode for 'The Drew Carey Show', and Homer Simpson crashing down into the set for the 'Live With Regis and Kathy Lee' program. (That happened in one of the Halloween editions of 'The Simpsons' and would be a great example of cartoons that have to be relegated to an alternate Tooniverse.)
The possibility exists for cartoon characters to wander into any live-action series, as the rules of Toobworld should apply to all TV shows. However, as is the case with the living puppet people, it's kind of an unspoken rule that we don't want to see this happen to most of the TV shows out there. Otherwise it destroys that willing suspension of disbelief that what we're seeing in a live-action TV series is actually happening.
How could we as the audience continue to be drawn into the world of 'Heroes', which is already precariously teetering on the edge of believability with its many super-powered humans, if suddenly one of those characters was pen and ink, not flesh and blood?
The movie "The Last Action Hero" was similar to the Toobworld concept in that a young boy ended up in a movie universe that combined many different genres, cliches, and characters. It had plenty of faults anyway which were subject to ridicule, but I remember that many of the reviews singled out the appearance of a cartoon cat named Sgt. Whiskers who used to be the main character's partner. I guess if there was any semblance of believability at that point, it went out the window with the appearance of the Danny DeVito-voiced feline.
The same thing would hold true if Bugs Bunny suddenly popped up out of the remains of the Hatch, having taken a wrong turn at Albuquerque. Once he saw Jack and said, "What's up, Doc?", 'Lost' would probably lose even its most dedicated fan-base.
That's not to say it can't happen; just that we shouldn't be able to see it happen on-screen.
Off screen, perhaps it happens all the time, and we got an indication of that last week on '30 Rock'. At one point in the episode, Jack Donaghy was listing all the hip-hop and rap artists who were going to be appearing at the Source Awards, among them Ridikkulas (a play on the name Ludakris) and MC Scat Cat.
MC Scat Cat was Paula Abdul's dance partner in those otherwise forgettable music videos from probably twenty years ago. Now, looking at the shout-out from the expected audience reaction, it was meant to be a joke and Tracy Jordan even noticed that Jack had mentioned a cartoon character ("Whuuuh?").
But within the reality of Toobworld, who's to say MC Scat Cat hadn't crossed back over to the world of live-action TV once again to appear at the Source Awards? Just because we didn't see it happen doesn't mean it didn't. We never saw Khan Noonian Singh meet Pavel Chekov on 'Star Trek', but we know from "The Wrath Of Khan" that they did. (My favorite example of that!)
So the integrity of '30 Rock' - funniest new sitcom on the air this season! - is upheld, while at the same time the fantasy world of Toobworld gets a new game piece.
Let's crack open a bottle from the Donaghy Estates to celebrate!
Sunday, March 4, 2007
Last week I mentioned I watched a couple of old episodes of 'Charlie's Angels'. In the one with the reference to Harry S. Truman, "Consenting Adults", there was a near-Zonk that should be addressed.
A burglar named Mumford decided to take a ceramic frog from an antique store, not because it had any real value (little did he know!) but because it reminded him of Froggy the Gremlin from the old children's TV show, 'Andy's Gang'.
Certain shows in children's programming get a pass when it comes to Zonks. They exist as TV shows in the Trueniverse as well as in Toobworld. These would include 'Captain Kangaroo', 'Sesame Street', and 'Mr. Rogers'. Sometimes you just have to surrender to that or else the Zonks win.
And I would add 'Andy's Gang' to that list. However, as with the other shows mentioned, it comes with a caveat: in Toobworld, the puppets on those shows are real.
I don't often splain my view on puppets, but I go back to the second century AD (when TV was REALLY primitive!) for "True History" by Lucian of Samosata for their origins. The natives of the Island of the Blessed are invisible spirits without the webbing that gives them form. As Time passed, they developed puppet shells to serve as their bodies and they would take on the characteristics of that which they resembled. So for all intents and purposes, Kermit would be a frog, Globey would be a globe, and the McDonaldland Gobblins would be cartons of French Fries.....
Froggy the Gremlin not only took on the aspects of a frog (and thus might be considered kin to Kermit), but he O'Bviously applied himself to a trade as well. He was a frog who could do magic, and the sobriquet of "Gremlin" was probably more of a job description than a species classification.
The late Mr. Mumford probably was not aware of any of that. He just knew that 'Andy's Gang' was a treasured memory from his youth, and the frog statue reminded him of that.
And it ended up costing him his life. But at least there's no Zonk!
And I just wanted to see if I can figure out how to use Thumbsnap.com. (More of a technodork than a technogeek here. So far, I'm not doing too well.......)