Thursday, April 01, 2010

Tommy Westphall has a dream

I happen to think Homicide is the greatest TV show of all time. But before that, showrunner Tom Fontana ran a show called St. Elsewhere, which was also brilliant.

Now in the final show of St. Elsewhere, it is revealed that the entire show took place in the mind of Tommy Westphall, the autistic son of one of the show's doctors. In essence, it was a dream.

Then someone noticed something amazing: characters from St. Elsewhere had appeared on Homicide. Detective John Munch of Homicide has appeared on the X-Files and most of the Law and Order series.

As St. Elsewhere became the Kevin Bacon of TV series, there's a good chance your favorite show is also a figment of Tommy Westphall's imagination, up to and including Dick Van Dyke and the Andy Griffith show, which took place before St. Elsewhere.

This happened because Cheers crossed over with Caroline in the City, which crossed over with Mad About You, which crossed over with both Dick Van Dyke and Andy Griffith.

And of course, if one wants to include the Simpsons, then Tommy Westphall encompasses virtually every TV that has ever existed.

See how fun this is?

I don't know why, but I love this idea more than words can express.

More on the Tommy Westphall Grand Unification Theory of tv can be found here, here and here for the truly neurotic.


Larry Clapp said...

Heinlein would be proud. (See Number of the Beast which combines most (all?) of his universes, and also includes Oz and others.)

I like Wikipedia's point, "The notion that appearances by the same character in two or more series tie those series together in the same fictional universe is also problematic. Weatherson, in his sixth objection, offers the example of Michael Bloomberg's playing the role of New York City Mayor both on Law & Order and in real life, which, if one accepts the logic of the hypothesis, indicates that real life is in the head of Tommy Westphall."

Vigilance said...

That is just a sign that we're in the Matrix, coppertop.

I'd also point out that many TV show creators have gone out of their way to put their shows in Tommy Westphall's dream.

Joss Whedon purposely links all his shows, as did Chris Carter with the X-Files.

Larry Clapp said...

Re: Whedon and Carter: Do you mean that they link their own shows together, or that they link them to Tommy, or both?

If Whedon links all his shows together (or to Tommy, which may or may not be equivalent), does that mean that Dr. Horrible's Sing Along Blog is in the same universe as Firefly? How about Castle? (Dunno if Whedon's involved with that one, actually, but it does have Nathan Fillion aka Mal from Firefly aka Rick Castle.)

Is there anything in the theory about links via different characters played by the same actor? Perhaps some baroque reincarnation thing?

Chuck said...

I mean that Whedon and Carter both went out of their way to link their shows to Tommy Westphall's dream.

Though of course, X-Files has one of the most direct links anyway, through John Munch (detective from Homicide, who appeared in an episode of X-Files).

Generally, it's through character, not actor, that shows become part of Tommy's dream, because there's hundreds anyway, so no need to drag actors into it.

On Whedon's shows- he has expressly linked Firely into the Buffy/Angel universe.

Weyland-Mutani is a company that makes guns in Firefly. On Angel, they are a client of demonic law firm Wolfram and Hart.

Larry Clapp said...

I think that Buffy Summers, Kathryn Merteuil (Gellar's character in Cruel Intentions), Angel, Agent Booth, Malcolm Reynolds, The Hammer, and Rick Castle should all have some kind of Identity-esque "reunion". Maybe where they get to meet Joss Whedon.

I think it was Phillip K. Dick that wrote a short story where the protagonist meets the author. Apparently it was fairly traumatic for the guy. I wouldn't like to learn that I was fictional, either.

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