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#476701 - 10/04/01 11:57 AM "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
columnist Offline
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Anyone catch last night's "special" episode of "The West Wing" which addressed a discussion about the events of Sept 11?

Doubtless the subject matter could generate a whole thread of discussion, but I wanted to mention something only tangential to the content of the show.

They had to go to great pains at the beginning to explain to the audience that this show was not occurring within "continuity"--that it was a stand alone special using the characters in a morality play but taking liberties with the backstory. They specifically cautioned the viewer against trying to figure out where this show took place in the timeline of the season.

And I thought, if only we all spoke the same language, all they would have had to say was:

"Tonight's episode is an Imaginary Tale" [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

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#476702 - 10/04/01 12:22 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
ATKokmen Offline
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Quote:
And I thought, if only we all spoke the same language, all they would have had to say was:

"Tonight's episode is an Imaginary Tale" [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]


But then, aren't they all [img]/resources/ubb/wink.gif[/img]

[This message has been edited by ATKokmen (edited 10-04-2001).]
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#476703 - 10/04/01 12:37 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
Brian Jacks Offline
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I'm a WW regular, but I had to switch this episode off and continue watching the non-stop Star Trek: TNG marathon on TNN. This episode of WW was waaaaaaay too preachy for me.

-Brian
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#476704 - 10/04/01 01:52 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
Swami Coug Offline
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You're watching Star Trek:TNG and complaining that the "West Wing" is too preachy.... I thought Aaron Sorkin did a great job of writing this episode in addressing many points of view and giving some background for the arguements on all sides. Since this was a Non-continuity episode... would this be an example of the first "Elseworld" or "Altinerverse" piece of episodic television?

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#476705 - 10/04/01 02:48 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
ATKokmen Offline
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Quote:
Originally posted by Swami Coug:
Since this was a Non-continuity episode... would this be an example of the first "Elseworld" or "Altinerverse" piece of episodic television?


Nah, I'm sure there are earlier examples.
For instance, the (highly-underappreciated) sitcom NewsRadio did stand-alone "What If?" type episodes set in space (as if the characters lived and worked on a space station) and aboard the Titanic (as if they were part of the ocean liner's passengers and crew.)

And if any TV fan tried to puzzle out the continuity of the "Odd Couple" TV series, they'd run into headaches as great as any caused by Crisis, Zero Hour, or Hypertime...
(Did Felix and Oscar meet as kids? On a jury? In Okinawa?)
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#476706 - 10/04/01 10:02 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
Mibbitmaker Offline
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Registered: 06/18/01
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Also, last season I think, Friends did a what-if-things-were-different episode. The question posed was would Chandler & Monica still end up together(they did!)

I switched back'n'forth between WW and Drew Carey(which I usually watch, otherwise I'd watch WW regularly, given my interest in political topics), then caught thw 2nd half in its entirety. They did a great job.

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#476707 - 10/05/01 10:03 AM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
columnist Offline
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Registered: 04/22/01
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Quote:
Originally posted by Swami Coug:
Since this was a Non-continuity episode... would this be an example of the first "Elseworld" or "Altinerverse" piece of episodic television?


I don't think it's the FIRST example, although it's certainly not as common on tv as it is in the comics world.

Although I didn't watch the show, I believe "St. Elseshwere" dabbled in the occasional Imaginary Tale.

Heck, Bobby Ewing's return rendered an entire season a dream (but only in some respects, which is really bizarre).

I think there was even an episode of "The Prisoner" which had him as a character in a fariy tale. Of course, there was a tacked on explanation that it was a drug induced dream, or something like that, so in that sense it "really happened" (that is, the dream really happened), but I'd say that the episode was in some sense an Imaginary Tale.

When Shelly Long left "Cheers", there were some flash-forwards to a marriage between Sam and Diane which would not end up taking place in the "real" future, so that counts as well.

Other examples, anyone...

- Larry H

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#476708 - 10/05/01 11:31 AM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
NatGertler Offline
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Registered: 07/10/99
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In addition to the already mentioned NewsRadio episodes, the TV episode that is most like an "Elseworld" (as opposed to a "What If?") that comes to my mind is the Atomic Shakespeare episode of Moonlighting, which basically took the Dave and Maddie personalities and shoved them into a rendition of Shakespeare's Taming Of The Shrew.

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#476709 - 10/05/01 11:54 AM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
Swami Coug Offline
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That was a great episode of "Moonlighting"...
I remember Bruce singing "Good Love"(Doctor,Doctor) to a church full of medieval characters. Anyway, all I was saying in referring the episode of "West Wing" to an "Elseworld" tale; was that in this age of devoted fans, episode guides and continuity/timeline buffs, for the actors to come on before the show and basically say " Listen, for all you viewers out there, don't try to fit this episode into the greater storyline, accept it for what it is and we will get back to our regular storyline next week... I don't think any T.V. show in history has done this before. Sure we've had "What-If" episodes and more dream sequences than we rightfully deserve, but I think they should be congratulated on wanting to do something different and not be bound by past, present or future scripts. Kudos, to all involved in a great self-contained story. The "Morality Play of Isaac and Ishmael" will be considered a T.V. classic!

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#476710 - 10/05/01 03:30 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
ChrisW Offline
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Another episode of Cheers featured a future where Frasier had died. Lillith and Frederick were hearing his will being read, and it told us that Sam Malone's sperm count was normal.

The Simpsons does imaginary episodes each Halloween, and during its peak years (which years those were I don't remember) barely paid attention to continuity at all.
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#476711 - 10/08/01 11:06 AM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
columnist Offline
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Registered: 04/22/01
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Quote:
Originally posted by ChrisW:
The Simpsons does imaginary episodes each Halloween, and during its peak years (which years those were I don't remember) barely paid attention to continuity at all.


The Simpsons peak years were 1990 to (approximately) 1994. IMHO, anyway.

And I think many tv shows have little or no continuity to begin with. The blatant use of an Imaginary Tale on a show that DOES (West Wing, Hill St Blues, St Elsewhere) was what caught my attention specifically as a comics afficianado.

Again, my only point was a wistful thought (in a fanboyish kind of way) that it was too bad we don't have a world in which the only necessarily introduction would have been "This is an Imaginary Tale", or a little "Elseworlds" logo at the bottom of the screen. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

- Larry H

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#476712 - 10/08/01 01:38 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
mynameis Offline
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There was an episode of M*A*S*H during the later, unfunny years that took place over an entire year, from Christmas to Christmas.

The episode never really explained whether it took place over the previous year (no references were made to any past event), or whether it took place over the "upcoming" year, or whether the next episode began from that point on.

It just sort of existed, floated in "continuity" whereever one wanted to put it I suppose...

md

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#476713 - 10/08/01 01:45 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
columnist Offline
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Registered: 04/22/01
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Quote:
Originally posted by michaeldoran:
There was an episode of M*A*S*H during the later, unfunny years that took place over an entire year, from Christmas to Christmas.

The episode never really explained whether it took place over the previous year (no references were made to any past event), or whether it took place over the "upcoming" year, or whether the next episode began from that point on.

It just sort of existed, floated in "continuity" whereever one wanted to put it I suppose...

md


I must be thinking of a different episode, but there was one which began and ended on NEW YEARS day. It began in Dec 1950/Jan 1951 and ended the next year.

The year was absolutely essential to the plot because they followed the 1951 baseball season ending with "The Giants win the pennant!" in the very last game.

Problem was, this was an episode with Colonel Potter and Charles Winchester, which relegated the entire Colonel Blake era to the first few months of the war.

In modern sensibilities, though, it works better as an "elseworlds" special graphic novel. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]

- Larry H

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#476714 - 10/08/01 03:12 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
ChrisW Offline
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Registered: 11/25/00
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Quote:
Originally posted by columnist:
The Simpsons peak years were 1990 to (approximately) 1994. IMHO, anyway.


'94? The last season I remember as 'great' began, I believe, with Who Shot Mr. Burns Pt. II and ended with two episodes on one night, one of which was Homer joining Lollapallooza and the other was Lisa becoming cool when the family went to the beach for the summer. '94 seems a little early, but anywho... In my opinion, 'Sideshow Bob and Cecil (Niles)' is the only episode they've had since that truly recaptured those peak years.

And if we're still on continuity, the critically-acclaimed-yet-seldom-watched Duckman series showed Duckman and Cornfed becoming partners at quite a few different times, none of which had any relation to the others.
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#476715 - 10/08/01 03:22 PM Re: "The West Wing": An Imaginary Tale
mynameis Offline
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Registered: 05/10/00
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>>I must be thinking of a different episode, but there was one which began and ended on NEW YEARS day. It began in Dec 1950/Jan 1951 and ended the next year.<<

Nope, that was the one...

>>The year was absolutely essential to the plot because they followed the 1951 baseball season ending with "The Giants win the pennant!" in the very last game.<<

Right, I meant what year in relative terms of the show..? The previous, just completed year, or did we witness an entire year go by from that point on.

I didn't consider the year in terms of historical accuracy...

>>In modern sensibilities, though, it works better as an "elseworlds" special graphic novel. [img]/resources/ubb/smile.gif[/img]<<

Indeed..:-)

md

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