People are always saying to me, "You know, you're quite a character." August 15, 2013 8:40 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for an old AskMetafilter question out of sheer curiosity. It was more than a year ago — someone was asking for examples of TV characters that have been on multiple TV series. The OP had some very specific criteria, which were apparently a bit hard to grasp, since almost all the answers were missing the point; the OP had to leave a comment to clarify what s/he was looking for. I don't remember exactly what the clarification was — just that it was so specific that it was surprising there were many possible correct answers (if indeed there were).

Of course, I've tried Googling and searching my own favorites to no avail. I don't remember any specific answers, so the only terms I can think to Google are "TV" and "characters," which are very broad. Does anyone remember this?
posted by John Cohen to MetaFilter-Related at 8:40 PM (20 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

For example, David Brent from the British version of The Office appeared on the American version of The Office. I don't know if that would have satisfied the OP's criteria (it might be that each show needed to have characters from the other show, which would not be true of those shows). But the question was about that kind of thing.
posted by John Cohen at 8:44 PM on August 15, 2013


This one?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 8:46 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Yes! Thank you. This is the comment where the OP gave the clarification. Although The Office was the inspiration for the AskMe question, I see that my David Brent example would not have been an answer to the question.
posted by John Cohen at 8:50 PM on August 15, 2013


TVTropes: Reciprocal Fiction Paradox.
posted by Chocolate Pickle at 9:14 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


It's almost shocking that thread missed the episode of CHiPs where Ponch and John pull over H.R. Pufnstuf.
posted by Slarty Bartfast at 9:52 PM on August 15, 2013 [2 favorites]


The weird thing about the OP's original example - Ally McBeal/The Practice is that before that crossover happened, a defendant on Ally McBeal used watching The Practice as their alibi in a case. And Ally's roommate is seen to be watching The Practice at one moment.

And then Tommy Westphall's head exploded.
posted by crossoverman at 10:25 PM on August 15, 2013 [3 favorites]


And then the super serious The Practice morphed into the crazy world of Boston Legal. Miss them both. sigh
posted by maggieb at 11:35 PM on August 15, 2013 [1 favorite]


Wouldn't this also occur when a show features characters watching a fake i.e. custom-shot talk show (think Leno making a joke about a character, or Larry King interview with a character), and then when an actor from the show actually goes on those talk shows for promotion?
posted by Gyan at 3:33 AM on August 16, 2013


No, because the actor on the talk show is real, not fictional.
posted by John Cohen at 4:54 AM on August 16, 2013


Many shows are just part of Tommy Westphall's dream.
posted by Area Man at 5:08 AM on August 16, 2013


I meant via the clip shown, not the actor's appearance.
posted by Gyan at 5:13 AM on August 16, 2013


This seems as good a place as any to link to my theoretical Doctor Who spin-off concept that posits that Doctor Who is fictional within it's own universe.
posted by Rock Steady at 6:12 AM on August 16, 2013


I meant via the clip shown, not the actor's appearance.

That still doesn't qualify, since the talk show isn't a fictional universe. When Larry King interviews someone on TV, you're not watching a fantasy, you're watching what's really happening: one person asks questions of another person — both using their real names.
posted by John Cohen at 8:38 AM on August 16, 2013


John Cohen: That still doesn't qualify, since the talk show isn't a fictional universe.

Could be.
posted by Rock Steady at 8:45 AM on August 16, 2013


The weirdest example that I know of:
This 12-minute scene from an episode of St. Elsewhere that takes place in the bar from Cheers
(featuring appearances by Carla, Cliff, and Norm)
posted by Atom Eyes at 9:22 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


It's almost shocking that thread missed the episode of CHiPs where Ponch and John pull over H.R. Pufnstuf.

It's Jon Baker. Not "John." Get it right. Sheesh.
posted by The World Famous at 10:38 AM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


Tommy Westphall is mentioned in every tv metafiction discussion, wether it's relevant to the particular discussion or (more frequently) not. Is there a name for this phenomenon?
posted by Horselover Fat at 12:47 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


You should claim it. Call it Horselover Fat's Law.
posted by Area Man at 12:53 PM on August 16, 2013


> I watched all of that happen. It was the epitome of Truth is Stranger Than Fiction. (Flashback to a previous Mefi comment I can't find right now which shows Jeri Ryan on a couch with Wil Wheaton which is the same set for a porno shot in the same studio. "Salacious dirt" had to do with Jeri not sharing her husband's interest in shared extramarital sexual scenes.) It was along about this time I became aware of Barack Obama. The more I read, the more I liked. My son and I even built in time for a visit to Obama's Chicago office during a layover in our cross-country train trip. I was the first person in my community to display an Obama campaign sign.

/possible derail | Living in a small red Appalachian community I got less grief then than now. My stock answer for the Obummer crowd is, "Yeah, he is not nearly as radical as I wanted him to be."
posted by maggieb at 8:03 PM on August 16, 2013


Tommy Westphall is mentioned in every tv metafiction discussion, wether it's relevant to the particular discussion or (more frequently) not. Is there a name for this phenomenon?

The Treatise of Westphalia.
posted by crossoverman at 11:18 PM on August 16, 2013 [1 favorite]


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