Wednesday, March 11, 2009


Long-time visitors to this site know how I feel when a TV show mentions another TV show AS a TV show. That's a "Zonk", a discrepancy in the concept that all TV shows should be sharing the same TV Universe. Sure, we have 'Sliders' to provide the template for alternate TV dimensions (although the basic idea existed long before 'Sliders' came along, thanks to shows like 'Star Trek'). But the dream is for them all to co-exist.

On Monday night, the four uber-nerds of 'The Big Bang Theory' took a train from Pasadena to San Francisco to attend a conference, and most of them became spazmodos once they realized that actress Summer Glau was riding in the same car with them (at least to Santa Barbara). For genre fans, Summer is currently starring in 'Terminator: The Sarah Conner Chronicles' and has also been in 'Firefly', its sequel movie "Serenity", and 'The 4400'.

Raj, Howard, and Leonard all took a shot at chatting her up, with only Raj even coming close to keeping her interested - at least until he found that he was "buzzed" on near-beer. And several times during their various conversations with Ms. Glau, her work in both 'Firefly' and 'The Sarah Conner Chronicles' came up. But even those Zonks paled before the biggie tossed off by Sheldon - who wasn't even i the running to talk to Summer!

"If Skynet actually did exist in the Future, a perfect way to infiltrate and destroy all of Mankind would be to send Terminators back, posing as actors who have played Terminators in popular films and television series; lulling us into a false sense of security - i.e.: 'That's Summer Glau from "The Sarah Conner Chronicles"! No, Summer! Don't kill me! I'm pro-robot!' Pow! Aaaaack!"

Sure, it was a major blow to the unified Toobworld concept, but man, was he funny with the delivery!

When the series first started, I dealt with the problem of Terminator Zonks, but those were all about the earlier movies, usually just the first one, mentioned in TV shows that were broadcast before 'The Sarah Conner Chronicles' debuted. Now we had a TV sitcom making jokes about the 'T:TSCC' series itself. Add to that Raj's reference to 'Firefly' and how Summer - as River Tam - once traveled the stars on that show, and the entire episode was one big Zonkfest.

Toobworld Central had already established that the basic series of 'Firefly' was off in the alternate TV dimension for the revamped 'Battlestar Galactica' because the Serenity - or some other Firefly-class spaceship was seen in that show's pilot episode. But it looks like I'll have to dump 'The Sarah Conner Chronicles' as well now after that Summer Squee.

Probably just as well. The 'Terminator' movies, with a new one coming soon, are such a pop culture touchstone now, there will always be Zonks about them. I'm sure 'The Big Bang Theory' will still deliver its onw fair share of Zonks in episodes to come, but hopefully we'll be able to find a way to disable them. (It'll be easy enough if they stick to just mentioning 'Star Trek' and 'Star Wars'.)
One added item of interest - if you check out the preview clip at either or at, you'll see Sheldon's Skynet speech reworked with added SFX to later scenes of Summer Glau dealing with the other guys. It's pretty funny if low-tech.

Toby O'B

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