Hiatal Post

Well, it’s been lovely, Vancouver, but I have to scream now.

Back in something like a week; regular blogging — maybe even overcompensating-type blogging — to resume then.

In the meantime, here’s something like a meme: considering that even Happy Days managed to pull off (or anyway, put over) stories involving aliens, demons, and angels…and continuing in the time-travel vein…kindly supply an incongruous, yet at a stretch justifiable, episode of a pre-existing TV series that could involve time travel, but probably shouldn’t.

To get you started: may I suggest The Dukes Of Hazzard?

I have both a Love Boat episode and a B.J. And The Bear episode in mind already. The B.J. And The Bear one may include a crossover with Man From Atlantis. Maybe not. We’ll see how it goes. Anyway hands off B.J.

Also, anything having to do with Mad About You is disallowed.

Although ER is permitted.

That’s about all I have to say, for now. Use your best judgement, please. After all, this could so easily go so wrong.

Meanwhile, wish me luck hauling tug engines out of gullies!

Thank you.

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3 responses to “Hiatal Post

  1. I’m not quite clear on what you have in mind. I think you mean, invent a time-travel-related episode of an already-existing TV show, that’s arguably consistent with the normal run of that show even though the show doesn’t normally involve time travel. Anyway, since you’re not going to be back for a while and can’t clarify, I’m going to write mine up that way; other intrepid correspondents should of course use their own interpretations.

    The possibilities! I’ve got all kinds of ideas for this one. ‘The Dukes of Hazzard’, for instance: obviously they’d have to go back to the Civil War for some kind of adventure… I think this is one of those deals where the science-fiction types of TV shows won’t be fertile ground for us; time travel wouldn’t be incongruous enough. Also, I think mystery shows won’t be too good for this, because the time-travel aspect kind of ruins any mystery that there might be. Also, thinking about this, there are a lot of shows where you could easily imagine how a time machine could fit into a typical episode, but it’s much harder to find a way to make that actually interesting. For instance: a time machine on ‘Gilligan’s Island’. You could pretty much connect the dots in your head in ten seconds, so why bother?

    Anyway, here are my first two; I may be back with more.

    1. 60 Minutes. Mike Wallace does a segment that blows holes through a major tobacco company. The CEO of the company, in a last-ditch effort to save himself and his bonus, pays off Andy Rooney to take control of the stopwatch and rewind time back to the beginning of the segment, so that Mr. Butts (from ‘Doonesbury’) can intervene and mess up Wallace’s reporting. This culminates in a duel between Mr. Butts and Lesley Stahl at the top of Mount Rushmore.

    2. M*A*S*H. This one actually fits right into M*A*S*H continuity. Remember the one where the guy thought he was Jesus Christ? He comes back, only nobody can see him except Frank Burns. And he’s not calling himself Christ; he’s calling himself Captain Jonathan F. Tuttle. And he’s there to give Frank a choice: go back in time and prevent Margaret from getting engaged to Donald Penobscot, or let things happen as they should. Tuttle and Frank do go back in time, and have a little adventure, but in the end Frank can’t bring himself to ruin her chance at happiness. Instead, armed with some new self-knowledge, he admits what a lousy doctor he is, and Tuttle advises him what to do: go on a crazy bender and get himself kicked out of Korea, which will result in Winchester taking his place at the 4077th. This is good for two reasons: Winchester will gain perspective on the war and his place in it and become a better person, and Winchester will be able to save more lives than Frank could.

    (By the way. Are we not supposed to like ‘Mad About You’? Because I always liked it. Mostly for Paul Reiser. Is this one of those deals like ABBA where a lot of people liked them and then nobody liked them and then people started liking them again?)

  2. Interesting…

    I hate to disagree with Matthew E., but I think there’s a way to get time travel to work in “realistic” cop shows/mysteries. The solution, not a new one, is using magic, rather than science, and upon the return, making the non-time-travelers able to dismiss the experience as a dream or hallucination. I don’t watch many cop shows these days, so I’ll be vague: Detective X from CSI, or “Bones” or whichever, has absorbed all the backround material he can find on the long-ago (let’s make it the 1970s–bear with me) murder that is somehow tied to a present-day murder. Then he visits someone who may have a connection to the case–a friend/relative of the victim or something.

    This person claims to be a fortune teller or witch. Our detective plays along, just to see what he or she will say. Tea is served, incense is lit, and something like a seance is begun. The current location fades out and our detective finds himself in the same room, but he’s alone, and the decor says seventies. In this era, he tries to find the victim before the murder, but the police (I see the gang from Hill Street Blues, but feel free to plug in Starsky & Hutch or Baretta or your own faves. No reason not to set it in the fifties, with Dragnet, or the old west, for that matter.)

    To make a long story short, he can’t prevent the murder, but can see who did it, which will also solve the crime in his own era. When he gets back, he gets the goods on the murderer. He describes his experience to co-workers, but they find that the tea was spiked with a hallucenogen, and the incense was psychoactive, and conclude that his unconscious mind put the pieces of the mystery together based on info he’d already had.

    Yes, it’s been done before, but I’d still see it again, particularly if the modern character could be spliced into appropriate clips from Hill Street Blues.

    I like the notion of using M*A*S*H, but Frank Burns is such a cartoon that I can’t see him carrying the story. I’d rather see an older (well, the age of the actors now) Hawkeye or Trapper John, back in Korea in time to try and save Henry Blake. But that’s just me.

    …But I am on Matthew’s team re “Mad About You.” The TV marriage of Paul and Jamie started just when my own marriage did, so there was a lot to identify with. My wife and I lost interest by the end of the run, though. Reiser and Hunt became like those married couples who become much less interesting once they have a baby (I include my wife and I, some years later, in this category). So we started making polite excuses and hanging out with a more-fun crowd instead (“Ally McBeal”–another show that jumped the shark long before it ended). Both shows now seem very much “of their time” now. That’s okay: for me it was mostly a good time. A nostalgia craze for the 90s will, I’m sure, be here shortly.

  3. I’m _still_ flabbergasted by the fact that there wasn’t a “Waltons in Space” cartoon in the seventies.
    I remember loving the first episode of “Mad About You”, and liking most of the first season or so. I got a bit of a geek buzz from the “sitcom universe” jokes, but I think things start going seriously downhill when the sister leaves. The loss of Richard Kind was an irreversibly damaging one from my perspective, and cousin “let’s just use Neighbor Larry template 2a for this character” Ira didn’t even come close to being a satisfactory replacement.
    The killing blow to me wasn’t necessarily the baby, but something introduced at around the same time: that damn Hank Azaria character with the crypto-retarded voice like the character from the “now for the nauseatingly maudlin part of the show” segment at the end of a Robin Williams standup video. I like Hank Azaria just fine, he’s done plenty of stuff that I enjoy, and I have no problem with Hunt getting her boyfriend a guest spot or whatever, but Jesus, that fucking character… I only could have tolerated that character if he’d been on a show where he gets shot in the kneecaps each week.

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