Saturday, April 25, 2009


PJ and the guys held the second annual Games Decathlon on 'My Boys' this week, and Stephanie served up a Zonk in the form of a trivia question. She asked the "Angola" team for the name of the robot in the 1980's sitcom 'Small Wonder'. (Andy knew it was Vickie.)

In a perfect Toobworld, 'My Boys' and 'Small Wonder' would be sharing the same plane of existence. And they still can, with enough splainin to keep things from getting Zonky. 'Small Wonder' may fall into the same category as 'Bewitched', 'Doctor Who', 'Battlestar Galactica', and 'Star Trek': the TV characters who reference them shouldn't have any knowledge of their existence. And yet they get mentioned, which is bad enough in itself, but then they get mentioned as TV shows. (Oftentimes quite specifically because the writers don't trust the audience to get their jokes.)

There are several categories for the splainin of these Zonks:

1) The person or persons invoked became so famous that a TV show was created about them.
This doesn't just apply to historical figures; in the real world, people like 'Toma' and 'Serpico' were contemporary to the shows about them. This would serve as the splainin for 'Murphy Brown', and that's why we saw Kramer get a job on the show based on her life in an episode of 'Seinfeld'.

2) This same splainin also works for Toobworld "news events". Best example: 'Gilligan's Island'. The return of those seven stranded castaways must have captured the world's attention. (And that's without the benefit of the Internet, Susan Boyle!) There would have been documentaries and TV specials and maybe even a theatrical film or two....... No wonder 'ALF' and 'Roseanne' dreamt about them!

3) The character and show mentioned are actually reality shows in Toobworld.
'The Office' - no matter which country you're in - is the best example of this. O'Bviously by this point in time, it must be a running documentary TV series, like 'Airline' was in the real world. Those film-makers have shot too much footage otherwise.

But other shows could have been reality programming in Toobworld instead of the sitcoms and dramas that we know them as. 'The Mary Tyler Moore Show' would be a great example for this. Mary Richards' line of work would have made for a much more fascinating documentary series than Dunder-Mifflin ever did. And seen as "herself" in this documentary, Mary Richards would have been the inspiration for John Doe #6 in 'St. Elsewhere'.

4) 'Star Trek' has its own set of circumstances.

I've already stated this in the past: somebody from the Future came back to the 1960's and gave Gene Roddenberry all the info he needed to create the sci-fi series. As such, those TV characters now know everything about the future of Toobworld, over three hundred years before it actually takes place.

5) The government - and/or some covert operation - has created these TV shows to hide the truth.

I think UNIT probably has a movie studio - I'd like to think it's Mammoth Studios! - as a front, from which they have created a TV show to hide the truth about the Doctor's activities on Earth. When people are talking about it on screen - unless details are mentioned (like the name of Eccleston or Tennant, as has been done recently) or actual scenes are shown (as on an episode of 'Supernova') - I think we should assume they're talking about the movies starring Peter Cushing. It could be that for Toobworld, they were episodes from the fictional TV show.

Of course, the need for such a studio was shot to hell when Davros moved the Earth in "The Stolen Earth".....
The US government would have such a production company in place; they probably funded the movie about 'The X-Files' which starred Tea Leoni and Garry Shandling. And they probably produced the 1980's sitcom called 'Small Wonder' about the little girl robot Vickie. Because word got out about her existence.

Such a TV show would have disarmed any closer scrutiny into the story and would have given the government time to download all of Vickie's memory banks into a new wessel - er, sorry, vessel. And this time they would have made her older to avoid anyone tracking her/him/it down. Resembling a fully-grown adult just like the AF709 android from 'My Living Doll', Vickie's probably living among society with a new name.

If she didn't already have such an extensive family history complete with actual relatives, I'd think Dr. Temperance 'Bones' Brennan could have fit the bill.....

Toby O'B

*Personally speaking, they basically mean the same thing......

No comments: