With the season finale of 'Monk', the series presented several Zonks to overcome before finally creating a situation where it would appear that the series should be tossed out of the main Toobworld and into some parallel dimension. Mr. Monk might agree, since he'd also like to keep things nice and tidy.
But before I get into those problems, however, I do want to give the episode its due for touching on its own history. With the world thinking that Adrian Monk was dead, Randy Disher mentioned that Sharona Fleming and her son Benjy would be coming back to San Francisco for the memorial service. Sharona had been Monk's personal assistant in the first two seasons, but she left to remarry her ex-husband and move back East. (Of course, in real life, it was a conflict over her contract.)
So let's get down to the Zonks of "Mr. Monk Is On The Run, Part II" and see if they can be de-Zonked......
"Car Wash Columbo"
This was the nickname given to Monk by the press, when he solved the hit-and-run murder of a highway worker in Nevada. At the time, they thought he was actually Leland Rodriguez since he was hiding out under an assumed name.
This isn't a problem. There was never any mention of 'Columbo' as a TV series whenever the nickname came up. So it could be that it was a reference to Monk being the car wash version of the actual detective on the Los Angeles police force.
Since it's getting more unlikely that we're ever going to see one last outing by Peter Falk as the rumpled detective, the Lieutenant is probably retired by now. And his fame has been well-publicized over the years - in fact, I wouldn't be surprised if a best-selling novel was written about him! (He may even have had a TV show based on his career, much like David 'Toma' did in the real world. If so, that would go some way towards splainin those Zonks which do mention 'Columbo' as a TV show.)
Dale "The Whale" Beiderbecke
This was the third appearance of Monk's arch-enemy, and this was the third actor to play the role. Dale the Whale is Professor Moriarty, Dr. Loveless, Wo Fat, and Batman's Rogue Gallery all rolled into one corpulent, disgusting mound of flesh to rival that of Mr. Creosote.
He was played by Adam Arkin when we first met the billionaire blob, and then by Tim Curry. This time out, Ray Porter fleshed out the role of Dale Beiderbecke (with more than a little help from the makeup department.)
I may have addressed the issue back when I was running the Tubeworld Dynamic website as a going concern. (The TwD ended in 2002, and the Inner Toob blog didn't begin until 2004.) And if so, I think the reasoning I had for the change in appearance for the character was due to a fluctuation in his massive weight. Either by gaining more poundage in prison or by dropping some excess avoirdupois due to those circumstances, somehow Dale's visage went through an alteration .
I think that excuse can work in this case as well, now that Ray Porter is playing the portly prisoner. (The hair coloring changes as well as the addition of a Van Dyke also helps.)
Governor Richard Wechsler
And now we come to the reason why 'Monk' should be banished from Earth Prime-Time and instead take up residency in an alternate dimension like that for '24', 'The West Wing', 'Commander-In-Chief' or any other dimension created for TV shows which posit elected officials who differ from the real world and its mirror image in Toobworld.
Monk disrupted the Centennial celebration parade for Riverton, Calfifornia, in order to save the life of the governor who was seen and identified as Richard Wechsler. (The Governor was marked for assassination so that the Lieutenant Governor would assume the office. As he was in the pocket of Dale the Whale, he would have made sure the billionaire had his sentence commuted.)
As most everyone should know, Arnold Schwarzenegger is the California "Governator", both in the real world and in mentions in Toobworld as well. (He's also the Governor in Skitlandia, but may already be the President in the Tooniverse, thanks to "The Simpsons Movie".) Too many TV series have made passing references to Schwarzenegger as the Governor, and more will likely occur while he's in office. Therefore, having the governor identified as Wechsler would mean that 'Monk' has to move.
The best bet would be to create a dimension for USA Network shows, since they all shared the same reality in various promos for the network. 'Monk' has met Shawn Spencer of 'Psych', John Smith of 'The Dead Zone', and Shawn Farrell of 'The 4400'. John Smith was already cast out of Toobworld once the POTUS of their show was assassinated, and it was always dodgy at best as to where 'The 4400' stood in the TV Universe firmament.
Up until this last episode, everything about 'Monk' could have stayed in Earth Prime-Time. So I'd rather just claim this one storyline is from an alternate dimension, which we got to view as the audience, in much the same way we got to see the Evil Mirror dimension of 'Star Trek' in an episode of 'Enterprise'. I'd have no problem with the show mentioning the events that transpired in this two-part season finale, just so long as the name of Wechsler was never brought up again. Just calling him "the Governor"... where's the harm in that? Then we can assume that Monk performed heroically in the same situation in the main Toobworld, but saving Governor Schwarzenegger instead.
Should they persist in referring to or revisiting the character of Governor Richard Wechsler on 'Monk', we may have no choice but to toss 'Monk' to the vortex wolves.
This may be a time when we have to call on the services of Dr. Sam Beckett of 'Quantum Leap' or those of Dan Vasser of 'Journeyman' to save the day with their trips back in Time to change History. (Something Tony and Doug never seemed able to do with 'The Time Tunnel'.)