In a recent post, theferrett, via andrewducker, highlighted a very interesting article by Dwayne McDuffie at Slushfactory. This article talks about television continuity and universes, and points something many of use forget: most programs don’t really exist. In particular, it points out that most television programs are really the dream of an austistic boy, Tommy Westphall, the son of a blue collar worker named Donald Westphall. Do the names sound familiar? They should; think St. Elsewhere.
For those unfamiliar with the show, in the last five minutes, it was revealed that the entire six season run was completely in the imagination of Tommy Westphall, and as a result, didn’t exist. This dismayed many viewers, but also created a continuity implosion. McDuffie relates how St. Elsewhere related to an extremely large number of different programs: Homicide, X-Files, Law & Order, Law & Order: SVU, Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Lone Gunmen, Millennium, Chicago Hope, Picket Fences, The Simpsons, The Critic, Ally McBeal, The Practice, Boston Public, Cheers, Fraiser, Wings, Caroline In The City, The Tortellis, Friends, Mad About You, Seinfeld, The Dick Van Dyke show, The White Shadow, It’s Gary Shandling’s Show, The Andy Griffith show, Gomer Pyle, Mayberry RFD, Make Room for Daddy/The Danny Thomas Show, I Love Lucy, M*A*S*H, Aftermash, Trapper John MD, The Bob Newhart Show, Murphy Brown, , Julia, The Nanny, Everybody Loves Raymond, I Dream of Jeannie, Newhart, Coach, Grace Under Fire, Ellen, Drew Carey, Home Improvement, and NYPD Blue. All of these had a crossover character or character reference, so some degree, to St. Elsewhere or something that refered to (that refered to) St. Elsewhere. Therefore, these shows are all non-existant and didn’t really happen.
It could be worse. Andy could have visited Hooterville (“The Beverly Hillbillies” Universe), Minneapolis (Mary Tyler Moore), Wilwaukee (Happy Days).