It's my belief that the easiest show to de-Zonk so that there were no discrepancies in relation to the rest of the TV Universe was 'Newhart'. After all, except for the last few minutes of the final episode, everything else was all part of a dream by Dr. Bob Hartley from 'The Bob Newhart Show'.
And we all know how illogical dreams can be!
"LIGHTS! CAMERA! CONTRACTIONS!"Michael wants to capture the birth of Stephanie's baby on video.
Michael got a lot of people to record messages about the baby he and Stephanie were about to have - only they had to recite the same phrase that he gave them. And it wasn't just the people in his life at the TV studio, but also a few famous people as well.
Seen in the episode but uncredited were:
- JEAN SMART
- PATRICK DUFFY
- GERALD MacRANEY
- ANGELA LANSBURY
Of course, I can shrug it off that their appearances were just Newhart's manifestations of these actors. But where did he know them from?
I don't want them to be members of the League of Themselves who were appearing in connections to the CBS TV shows in which they were starring at the time. (Luckily none of their TV shows were mentioned, but there were a few suggestions pointing to those shows.)
They can be those actors, but I would prefer that Dr. Hartley knew them from movies they made or fictional TV shows within TV shows. But I think I better lock it down to some specific examples to keep their appearance here Zonk-Free.
Unfortunately, Dr. Hartley's weird dream happened in 1982 and all six years of his adventures as innkeeper/author/talk show host Dick Louden were over by the next morning. Ms. Smart wouldn't have a big movie until 1984 with "Protocol", and Bob couldn't have seen that until after his dream journey. So she really couldn't have had such a big impact on Bob to the point that he would know who she was. (And I don't see her going all the way to Chicago to consult a psychologist.)
I think this may be a case in which we weren't seeing Jean Smart as herself, but as her actual character from 'Designing Women' - Charlene Frazier Stillfield. Now, that show didn't start until 1986 and 'Newhart' had been on the air since 1982, but that doesn't matter! Only to the nigglers who don't want to see these TV shows as anything but TV shows. But Charlene existed on the same timeline as Bob in the main Toobworld and so she was alive before he went to bed that night. And that means she may have crossed Bob's radar earlier, perhaps before either one of them had actually shown up on our Trueniverse screens.
Here's some information about Charlene.....
(Designing Women Online)
Charlene is the office manager of Sugarbaker's. Sweet-natured, but often naïve, she is a tall blonde from Poplar Bluff, Missouri. Charlene reportedly never meets a stranger and is known for searching for the good in everyone. She remains in steady friendships with all of her coworkers, though her naïveté often results in quarrels with Julia and Suzanne. Charlene is very practical, but a dreamer. She dreamt as a child of being a preacher and is a long-running fan of Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Dolly Parton. Though often guided by her psychic adviser, Charlene often finds herself in trouble while looking for a respectable man to date. She is often the target of con men. She has a short-lived romance with Shadow, a secret government agent, before romancing Mason Dudd, an overweight entrepreneur, who leaves her for Japan. Charlene meets her soul mate in widowed Air Force Colonel Bill Stillfield, whom she eventually marries. She gives birth to their daughter, Olivia, early in season four. In a dream, she was visited by entertainer Dolly Parton as Olivia's Guardian Movie Star, who confirmed to Charlene the gender and name of her child. When Bill is reassigned to England in early season six, Charlene turns over her job at Sugarbaker's to her sister, Carlene Dobber.
I suppose Charlene might have needed a therapist because of that track record with men, but just like with Jean Smart, I can't see her traveling all the way to Chicago to be a patient of Dr. Hartley's. That's one hell of a commute!
'Designing Women' is not free of the Zonk curse - too many shows referenced it. Among them:
- 'Married With Children'
- '30 Rock'
- 'Entourage' (Roger even won an Emmy for his work on it!)
But the best had to come from 'Roseanne':
Roseanne:Once upon a time there was these four princesses, and they lived in this great big house all together and they never left, okay? And uh, they just sat around all the time talking and talking, and yammering and yammering. And they killed every single man who ever came over there, except for one who they kept as a pet. And then one time these two princesses left, and then these other two came on and they really stunk, and...
Mom, that's "Designing Women".
So let's disable that Zonk and splain away how Charlene Frazier showed up in Bob's dream:
The 'Designing Women' TV series is about the Sugarbaker sisters and their co-workers, but it's not a sitcom for the TV characters who watch it. It's a reality program, at the dawn of that programming fad. So Bob really did know about Charlene Frazier. (She would not become Mrs. Stillfield until after Bob woke up.)
Patrick Duffy's career has been mostly in TV - prime time soaps like 'Dallas', a couple of sitcoms, even a soap opera plus plenty of TV movies. And then there was "Mark Harris" - 'The Man From Atlantis'. (The name was "Markaris" originally I think?) That show generated a little heat when it came to Zonks, surprisingly far less than I thought - it was only referenced in the Britcom 'Only Fools And Horses' and in the spin-off from 'The X-Files', 'The Lone Gunmen'.
It could be that Dr. Hartley knew of Mark Harris from a documentary about the amphibious man. By 1982, about four years after the mer-man had last been sighted in Toobworld, his secret may have been revealed to the world. And even worse, he might not even have been still alive.
But there's no ignoring the juggernaut that was 'Dallas'. So many TV shows made reference to it as a TV show even though they were sharing the same TV dimension. Even over in the UK on sitcoms like 'Are You Being Served?'
And it's no wonder - just about everybody in Toobworld will be deemed worthy of a TV show. It's the only way to combat the Zonks. And those would be cast with actors who looked like the people they were portraying. So here in Earth Prime, Patrick Duffy played Bobby Ewing whose televersion was portrayed by the televersion of Patrick Duffy in Earth Prime-Time. See? Easily explained.
If your head's hurting from that, take a seat and lean forward, breathing deeply and slowly.
Therefore, I didn't want to resort to it, but I'm afraid that really was Patrick Duffy whom Bob was dreaming about. I really don't think Bobby Ewing or the man from Atlantis would have seeped into his subconscious so strongly.
'Major Dad' was mentioned in episodes of 'Seinfeld' and 'Saved By The Bell' - apparently there was a TV producer out there in Toobworld who thought the love life of Major John "Mac" MacGillis and Polly Cooper was worthy of a TV show. (He was a ramrod-straight Marine and she was a liberal journalist with three daughters. And when they met, it was murder! Oops, wrong show.)
In this case, I think once again we have an actual person from Toobworld rather than an actor who played the character. And this time Dr. Bob Hartley actually did meet him. It's pozz'ble, just pozz'ble, that early in his military career, MacGillis was stationed at the Marine Corps Recruiting Station in Chicago... and hated it. He may have been ordered to consult Dr. Hartley to eliminate his inner rage at such an assignment. And that would be how Bob knew him, finally seeing him again in a reality TV show about the love life of Mac and Polly.
This one was the easiest of the bunch! And that's if you wanted to consider her as Angela Lansbury or as the mystery novelist Jessica Fletcher.
Ms. Lansbury had appeared in quite a few movies which Dr. Hartley would have been familiar with - "The Court Jester", "The Harvey Girls", "The Three Musketeers", "The Long, Hot Summer", and "State Of The Union", among others. But it would be in two dark psychological thrillers he would best know her - "Gaslight" and "The Manchurian Candidate". Just those two movies alone would have made a deep enough impression on Bob for him to summon her up again in his never-ending dream.
But could it have been Jessica Fletcher instead?
There is a fly in the ointment for that theoretical crossover, however. It is in 1984 that her first novel - "The Corpse Danced At Midnight" - was published. Bob's dream was in 1982. But have no fear, the Monitaur is here!
Jessica Fletcher must have had several short stories published in a mystery magazine before she wrote her novel!
Reading those stories probably impressed Dr. Hartley greatly. Perhaps it even triggered the hidden desire to be a mystery writer himself. During the course of the dream we saw that "Dick Louden" had written his own murder mystery, "Murder At The Stratleigh". It proved to be so hypnotic to the other denizens of his dream that you could hear a pig drop!
So there's my De-Zonking puzzle for the day, a little more complicated than probably necessary for a dreamscape show. But hey - it keeps me off the streets......