Saturday, August 1, 2009

Crossover Kookiness

Originally Posted 4-4-08

It happens every time. You see a promo for an upcoming episode of a show, and you can tell that there is some sort of gimmick that seems to try harder than other recent gimmicks. You wonder what the deal is, until you realize that it’s actually November, February or May, and that it’s sweeps. You sigh, knowing that it’s going to be a month long period of this crap. I guess if you’re conscious enough about this sort of thing, you flip the calendar to a sweeps month, and you think, “Ugh, here we go.”

This is a luxury that you are not given when you watch a TV show on DVD. You don’t know what the original airdate was. Maybe you can apply some guesswork. Figure out that there have been x number of episodes between the Christmas episode and the one you’re about the watch. You could be happily moving along in the episode, unsuspecting of any would-be shenanigans. Then, Jon Lovitz shows up:

Then you know that after this episode, you’ve got a few more of gimmicky episodes.

This February, Friends packed a parade of gimmicks in one episode, in a two-parter that mixed the introduction of Phoebe’s estranged twin sister with a wacky sitcom crossover.

Lisa Kudrow—who had been playing Ursula, the incompetent waitress at Riff’s, frequented by Paul and Jamie Buchman of Mad About You—played both character in this episode.

Of course, to get the full flavor of a crossover, Jamie Buchman, herself, stops by Central Perk.

But the cavalcade of Thursday night NBC stars ends not there. When Rachel hurts her ankle, two doctors treat her. Apparently, the New York hospitals are so overstaffed that you are able to see two doctors at the same time, even when you come in with a simple injury.

This may not classify as a crossover, per se, since these doctors have different names from the ones that serve that hospital in Chicago. Which is good. They'd have to explain why Dr. Clooney and Dr. Wylie are both serving this hospital in New York.

Melora Hardin’s appearance as Ross’ girlfriend definitely wouldn’t classify as a Must-See TV crossover either, since this episode aired a full decade before she was introduced as Jan Levinson on The Office. It's still an amusing coincidence.

In other news, I have come to realize that Ross’ Snapple drinking is a little bogus. As someone who once drank Snapple, heavily, I know that one usually stuck to one or two flavors.

Lemonade and Raspberry Iced Tea make it the third and fourth flavor I've noticed. I find it hard to believe that he has no preference. Maybe he’s just forced to drink whatever Monica buys, and her Snapple selection runs the gamut. This wouldn’t surprise me, given the way she shops for beer:

She seems to buy two kinds. Expensive-looking foreign beer, and as-generic-as-possible “Beer.”

In an odd moment in Central Perk, Ross gets up, goes behind the counter, and serves himself. It’s not explained why he does, and no one says anything to the extent of, “Sir, you’re not supposed to be here.” I understand, he’s there all of the time, but you don’t do that.

While I was questioning this, I noticed that Ross was wearing a hooded sweatshirt. Noticed I said “hooded sweatshirt,” and not “hoodie.” That’s because in 1995, “hoodies” were called “hooded sweatshirts.” Just two years earlier, Adam Sandler appeared on Saturday Night Live singing Red Hooded Sweatshirt. If he came out with that song ten years later, people would have said, “Who calls it a hooded sweatshirt anymore?” Although if it were ten years earlier, it could have been about a Kangaroo Jacket, so there you go.

Ross is a unicorn! Unicorn Power!

Gunther has still yet to utter a word on camera—nor has he been named yet—but he still gets invited to Phoebe’s birthday party. I admire the show’s extras casting. The fact that they’d even bother casting the same person to work at Central Perk is somewhat impressive. There are other workers, besides him and Rachel, who come and go, but they kept Gunther. It’s kind of neat how that worked out for the actor. He gets an extras gig, that turns into a reoccurring extras gig, which turns into a reoccurring role with lines. Now IMDb says that he has appeared in more episodes than anyone else—besides the six friends, obviously. Some of those are probably uncredited appearances, still though.

I’d like to know why Chandler is a Toronto Blue Jays fan. Don’t get me wrong, he’s allowed to be a Blue Jays fan. There has to be a story why a guy in New York, whose apartment is strewn with items showing support for the Knicks, Rangers, and Giants—less so, the Giants—is enough of a Blue Jays fan to put their cap in his work cubicle. He’s clearly a supporter of New York sports teams and has two baseball teams to choose from. There has got to be a story of why he root, root, roots for the Great White North's team. Interestingly enough, there is a lone Mets hat in his apartment. Maybe we’ll never learn what’s going on there.

This scene takes place at a men's room in a restaurant. What exactly is going on here? Chandler is talking to Joey while he’s peeing. Only Joey appears to be standing on the edge of a stall. It could be argued that he’s standing at a separate urinal, walled off from the rest of the bathroom, but that’s kind of a weak argument. I wasn’t able to get a wide shot of the bathroom, but if I were, you’d be able to see that this is not the case. If it were, that would leave no room for actual stalls. However, if you were to still argue this case, then I would ask you why a urinal would have its own door. Okay, maybe this is a VIP urinal. It gets its own stall with a door, when normally, the most men can hope for is a simple wall of separation. Yeah, well, this isn’t a very practical door, since it appears that the door cannot be closed while it’s being used.

Here’s my guess of how this went down:

“They” were saying that the scene should take place in the men’s room. In the interest of dramaturgy, the scene opens, and both characters need to be kept busy somehow. There’s only so much one could do in the bathroom—Sen. Craig activities excluded. So, one has to be washing his hands, and the other needs to be peeing, since they can’t have them both doing the same activity—in the interest of dramaturgy. However, they can’t show someone standing at a urinal. This is a guess. I’m sure it is, or was, not allowed by the censors. Someone peeing on Prime Time Network TV? Even if he’s got his back to us. Great, our kids will see it and think it’s okay to urinate whenever they’re in the bathroom.

Ya know, I was being sarcastic, but now that I think of it, I probably wouldn’t necessarily want to see it either. Even if he’s got his back to us. Not that I would be offended by it. It's just not something I need to see.

True story. I paused the show to use the bathroom—probably influenced by those wicked, wicked urinating men on TV—and this is where I stopped it. Had to share.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

oh my god I can't believe someone put the time and effort into analyzing this show that nobody has watched seriously since the year 2002