Monday, January 28, 2008


CBS has announced that the Showtime hit 'Dexter' will be presented on the Eye Network as a strike contingency. O'Bviously there will be some tweaking to make the show palatable for broadcast standards and to placate the stupid FCC.

Basically the same thing happened with 'The Sopranos' when it moved to A&E, 'The Wire' when it was picked up by BET, and with 'Dream On' when it aired on FOX. If it's just a question of editing (say, bleeping objectionable words or excising scenes of nudity), then there's no need for action to be taken by Toobworld Central. Shows have been whittled down for decades to fit in more blipverts, but that doesn't negate the original action. Whatever was broadcast first, that's locked into Toobworld's history, good and proper.

But sometimes optional scenes are filmed to be shown in broadcast syndication - if a key scene contains nudity but is too important to edit out, then it's reshot with the nudity covered up. (For 'The Sopranos', this often happened with those scenes set at the Bada Bing club.) When that happens, it becomes an alternate Toobworld. (Not every alternate dimension has to be radically different from Earth Prime-Time; a cover-up with a bra and panties will suffice.)

Ah tol' yuh that cuz Ah wanted to tell yuh this.....

Leading up to the holidays at the end of 2007, HBO aired a Christmas special finale for the short-run series 'Extras' which was created by and starred Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant. They showed it on December 16th, about a week or so before it was broadcast by the BBC. And because the cultural differences between the USA and the UK are about as pronounced as those found in our common language, Gervais and Merchant filmed several alternate scenes for each market.

Here are a few examples:

For the American market, mention of Ryan Seacrest was substituted for Ruby Wax, and Katie Couric was name-dropped in the Big Brother house instead of British newsreader Kate Adie (which made more sense and should have been left alone). Mentions of talk show hosts Richard & Judy, comic actress Catherine Tate and several characters from 'EastEnders' were just surgically sliced right out without any fiddling about.

The differences started right from the very beginning. Fans in the audience of 'When The Whistle Blows' (Andy's hit sitcom) were wearing T-shirts bearing slogans from the show. All except the last Tee, which was shown to be of Sigourney Weaver touting DirecTV.
In the British version, it's of Victoria Wood for ASDA (whatever that is. See? I'm proving the point!)

Then, in the department store while doing a bit of Christmas shopping, Andy and Maggie learn that the Kramer doll from 'Seinfeld' is selling better than his talking doll - even though it spouts racial epithets. However, for the UK market, they got to see the Jade Goody doll, who did the same thing - while appearing on camera in 'Big Brother'. (The Jade doll can still be seen in the display along with Kramer and Andy's doll.)
Next year, the manager of the department store was going to be stocking Sanjaya dolls - at least in the American version. The British version's manager was going to stock Same Difference dolls.

Now, the thing of it is, because the American version aired first, then that's the official version for Earth Prime-Time. And the British version has to be relegated to some alternate Toobworld, even though it's more in keeping with the original two seasons of 'Extras'. Sorry, Brits.

My thanks to Rob Buckley for first pointing out this dimensional discrepancy, and to Mark Wilkinson for pointing me towards a great little video on YouTube which lined up the differences for comparison.

However, that video by Venusice010 is no longer up, because of copyright violations. (A good lesson for me to get these posts written in a more timely manner!) Instead you can hear Ricky Gervais talk about the changes in
a video from his website.

And so it goes in Toobworld, no matter what side of the dimensional veil you're watching......

Toby OB

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