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May 24 2010

Is the Whedonverse Just a Figment of Tommy Westphall's Imagination? A convincing argument that the shows of the Whedonverse may be connected to over 250 other shows thanks to Tommy Westphall of St. Elsewhere.

We need to get Tommy to start working for TV.
Me likey. More than a little obsessive, but a lot of fun.
Why do I think we've linked to this before?
That is the work of a mad man. I love it.

Never actually seen St. Elsewhere, but the thought that the vast majority of TV's fictional shows could all be placed into a single continuum is a fantastic thought. I'm sure they could go on forever with this, finding little nods to different shows in each programme and keeping the connection going.

Good work.
My gut response would be a resounding 'yes'.

So, who is this Tommy Westphall anyway?
Agreed, Simon - it looks awfully familiar to me too . . .
The only St. Elsewhere I ever bothered to watch was Tom Hulce's 3-episode stint as a John Doe amnesia patient (and frankly, that's all the desire I have to watch of that show), but I have heard of the figment of the imagination ending, which is right up there in television history with Bobby Ewing in the shower.

But hey, it could be that all the shows in T.V. history are really just the imagination of Buffy in an asylum. Works that way, too! St. Elsewhere and Dallas weren't the only series that had their 'it was all just a dream' mind-f*ck.
This is a classic case of porcelain genius: brilliant but cracked.
Simon That would be because we're stuck in a time warp!

Or...maybe because it has been posted before. I didn't follow the link, but I assume this is that flow chart thing, where they break down shows & say how they're linked to each other?

Like Det. John Munch left "Homicide" to join the "Special Victims Unit," etc.

brinderwalt Apparently at the end of "St. Elsewhere" they did some weird thing where the entire run of the show had all taken place in the mind of a little boy, who was looking at a snowglobe with the hospital in it.

NileQT87 Yeah but! Dallas, M*A*S*H* et al were before Buffy was old enough to watch TV.

Don't forget "Newhart"s final episode, where Dick Lauden woke up in bed...as Dr. Bob Hartley. (Did I get those surnames right? It's been years.)
St. Elsewhere is interesting if you want to get a look at how hospitals used to be. Serious contrast with modern models.

As for TV in general, it exists in that screen in the room (I wrote "box" at first!) and those little people you had to tell your kids weren't real -- well -- you were wrong! And the stories overlap and have their own genealogy. Fringe-like, cracks in the continuum provide a view into that place; we peer through for our amusement.
I don't know if this was posted on here, but I've surely seen this before. My favorite bit of television trivia. I Love Lucy and The X-Files are both part of the mind of Tommy? Gotta love it.
One chapter in the book What were They Thinking?> about tV mistakes (Star wars Thanksgiving Special was the winner; Connor and Dawn were toward the end of the lsit) was the St Elsewhere ending, altho I think they got carried away adding too many shows.
there've been quite few thigns, tho, not counting actual spin-offs. For example the early 80s sitcom version of ER shared the univers with the Norman Lear comedies. Mannix was in the same world as Here's Lucy and also of Diagnosis Murder and Matlock etc.
I still kick around the idea of doing a nvoel which would put most (not all, soem don't mix) the sci-fi films of 1946-1963 into a single universe, the heroes being agents of the US Monster Control Bureau.

And at least 2 people (not me, ywet) have ficced totally different versions of the Asylumverse.
Sure there was a link to an article on series' endings, either here or on whedon.info, where this was mentioned. So frustrated I can't trace it back! Have been able to find the article, though, so maybe someone else can find the link? It's titled "A retcon retrospective" and can be read here:
http://www.eyeweekly.com/film/tv/article/87179
Only thing I can find on here is a user named Cranston who posted a link to it in comments back in 2006 (the thread's about series endings so might be what you're thinking of Ava Vargas). It may have popped up on the front-page too though, the new Google based site search isn't always ideal for finding previous stories.

I'd not seen it before anyway, work of total genius (in the sense that there's sometimes a fine line between genius and madness ;), thank-you internets. [ETA] Or maybe i'd just forgotten seeing it. Actually read a bit of that 2006 thread BTW and it turns out it's Whedonesque regular crossoverman that's [partly] responsible for the Tommy Westphall chart. Mentalist ;)[/ETA]

(kind of reminds me of the Wold Newton universe although the St Elsewhere connections are, in a sense, "really" there whereas Wold Newton is an extra-fictional layer on top of well known fiction)

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-25 07:07 ]

[ edited by Saje on 2010-05-25 07:09 ]
Ah, cheers for that, Saje. I spent a bit of time searching for the reference today, but not a big enough bit, apparently. Seeing as I posted in that 2006 thread, (as did Simon), I'm guessing that was, indeed, where we'd seen it before. :-).
I think some people are really misinterpreting the ending of "Lost," based on what is explicitly stated in the exposition.
I think the Oceanic Airlines thing might be stretching it a bit, unless somebody can show a logo that came up in all those shows which had an Oceanic Airlines. That's just an obvious name to give a fictional airline and is not necessarily the kind of connective tissue that the author finds elsewhere.

Still, this is awesomely geeky.

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