Commenters Gonna Comment: Responses to a Ross Geller Fan Theory

After several waves of intermediate virality regarding a theory about Friends, this blog and its author have received some very entertaining feedback, through the legions of recappers, bloggers, and commenters that have thoughts and feelings regarding my suggestion that Ross Geller was an inept father who lost custody of his son. My initial response, when reading some of these, was to want to go out there and argue with people.

Instead, I remembered something important: haters are inevitably going to hate. As proven by the celebrities who read mean tweets about themselves, the best thing to do is laugh and shrug and keep doing what you’re doing.

You guys really that mad at me for making fun of this guy?
You guys really that mad at me for making fun of this guy?

So here are some of the rave reviews that I’ve received:

“…completely ridiculous.” – Michelle B, commenter on Huffington Post.

“What a waste.” – Sally K, commenter on Huff Post.

“….what a bunch of dribble….” – Patrise S, commenter on Huff Post.

“This is stupid.” – Jessica F S, commenter on Huff Post.

“Seriously? I think a hobby is needed…” – Melissa S-A, commenter on Huff Post.

“Anyone who spends this much time analyzing character on a comedy, yes – a fictionalized version of peoples lives, has way too much time on his or her hands. Do something productive!” – Lori M. H., commenter on Huff Post.

“He’s not a bad professor.” – Nait A. C., commenter on Huff Post.

“Waaaaay too much time on your hands” – Jay R., commenter on Huff Post.

“Way too much time on your hands. How many years ago was this show cancelled?” – Deborah B., commenter on Huff Post.

“Someone has way too much free time.” – Ephy K, commenter on Huff Post.

“Coming to all of these conclusions would be like arguing for statistics based on the frequency of extremely rare medical cases all occurring in Princeton-Plainsboro from House M.D. …” – Vadim B

“…maybe the child actor who played Ross’s son had to be somewhere else, like school.” – Ariel Karlin, someecards.com

“Or more likely, the boy or boys, playing Ben actually had some career success with Big Daddy and decided not to be on the show anymore.” – Joseph F.

“…smells of SJW…” and “This author has sympthoms of feminazi.” – Honza8D, on the Friends subreddit. (SJW, I learned, means “Social Justice Warrior.” Huh. Okay. Thank you!)

Now brace yourself for this one, because it’s long but it’s a good one:

“I just finished binge watching Friends from beginning to end on netflix, over the course of a few months. Friends had a lot of internal inconsistencies which indicate that actually it’s not a show where you should put a lot of effort into logically understanding. For example in one episode Chandler flies to Yemen and in the following episode (one week later) there is no mention of Yemen. It takes practically a week just to fly to Yemen and return. In another episode Joey’s eyebrows are destroyed and in the following episode, another week later, his eyebrows have returned to normal. This is a show that can be enjoyed for the wonderful acting and wonderful writing and jokes, but that is not a holy text to be understood through study and close analysis. It’s more like Gilligan’s Island, less like Lost. What is going on here is that Lovett has his own dead horses to beat, and is using old episodes of Friends to beat those horses.” – Peter J, commenter on Huffington Post.

Haters will hate

I’ll leave one response to all of this: over-thinking things is fun. Blogging is one of several fulfilling hobbies that I have, and a hobby I would recommend to all the angry internet commenters.

And to answer one more question I’ve gotten: No, I’m not much of a Friends fan. If you recall from the original post, I thought of this while watching True Detective, not because I watch Friends. I didn’t watch a single episode of Friends while writing this theory. I’ve never even seen most of the episodes. It took, from start to finish, about one hour to research this theory on Wikipedia and a few other sites, and another hour to crank out the original blog post, which has now been viewed by over 10,000 people. (My favorite recap of my theory is the one on Cinema Blend, because it’s the only one to consider my thoughts on True Detective and Ray Velcoro.)

Or, as Chad Velcoro would say: “K.”

K.
K.

Commenters gonna comment.

For those of you who enjoy this kind of thing, help yourself to some more fan theories here.

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Does Every Episode of The Simpsons Take Place in a Different Universe?

It’s Halloween season, which means all the usual trappings that come with this time of year: pumpkins, corn mazes, shockingly-early Christmas advertisements, and the annual “Treehouse of Horror” episode of The Simpsons.

“Treehouse of Horror” is a pillar of The Simpsons, referred to by The AV Club as “a reliably inventive exercise in non-canonical Simpsons fun.” Wikipedia tells us that these episodes “take place outside the show’s normal continuity and completely abandon any pretense of being realistic.”

One of many Treehouses of Horror.
One of many Treehouses of Horror.

But as I thought about the upcoming “Treehouse of Horror” episode, which I may or may not watch, I started to wonder: do the regular episodes of The Simpsons all take place in the same continuum? Are they actually one story about one family in one town in one universe? Is there such thing as a canonical Simpsons episode? Does The Simpsons make any sense at all?

And thus, a new fan theory: every single episode of The Simpsons takes place in a different universe.

My suggestion is that every time we see an episode of The Simpsons, we are getting a glimpse into a slightly different version of Springfield and this family. There is an infinite amount of universes in which The Simpsons exist. No two episodes show us precisely the same family or the same world. Sure, sometimes a character will remember something from a previous episode, but they are only remembering a similar instance to what we previously saw. Every Lisa, Bart, Homer, Marge, Maggie, and the rest of them are always slightly different, like the differing iterations of Spock and Kirk between the old Star Trek and the new one.

If every episode is a different universe, this theory explains all the continuity issues and changing details.

The Simpsons, like many cartoons, refuses to allow its characters to age while the world around them changes. This is not unique to this cartoon, but there are many issues that have arisen, both in addition to this and beyond this. A few of them:

  • Homer and Marge were once Baby Boomers; now they’re on the young end of Generation X.
  • Waylon Smithers used to be black.
  • Homer once was in a Grammy-winning band, which appears to have been mostly forgotten and irrelevant.
  • Seymour Skinner was revealed to be an impostor, with a stolen-identity Draper-esque plotline, before the entire town agreed to never speak of it again.
  • Apu’s children age while other characters (such as Maggie, who should be older than them) stay the same age.
Remember
Remember “The Principal and the Pauper,” in which Principal Skinner is revealed to be an impostor, and then no episode ever mentions it again? Was that the only universe in which this strange event happened?

It explains the evidence behind  “the Tesseract theory.”

In addition to the issues above, there are some really bonkers ones, that some have argued can only be explained through the idea that Springfield exists outside time and space. Examples like:

  • George Bush lives next door to The Simpsons in a mansion that doesn’t exist in other episodes
  • West Springfield is three times the size of Texas.
  • There’s a mountain called the Murderhorn that doesn’t otherwise exist.
  • Paul McCartney lived above the town’s convenient store.
Hard to believe that this moment is meant to be remembered by the characters in every subsequent episode.
Hard to believe that this moment is meant to be remembered by the characters in every subsequent episode.

This theory would not only eliminate the need for such a “tesseract fan theory,” but also eliminates the need and evidence for the “Homer is in a coma” theory.

It explains why no one ever learns any lessons.

Episodes of The Simpsons regularly end with a character learning a lesson. Or multiple characters. Or the entire town. But when the next episode begins, these lessons aren’t remembered. The events that triggered them rarely even are.

This might be the greatest example of a lack of continuity. How many times has Homer tried to be a better father, a better husband, a better man? How many times has he quit drinking? Unlike Randy Marsh or Sterling Archer, an action that Homer does in one episode will have no effect on himself in a future episode. And what happened to all the role models that Lisa has had: does she remember Bleeding Gums Murphy?

And perhaps that is why this theory is needed: it makes us feel better about the lessons that the characters gain from their triumphs and pitfalls. Imagine that there are countless versions of Homer who has learned his lessons, countless successful Lisas. Perhaps a version of Barney Gumble who is still sober. Maybe even a version of Homer who didn’t have the crayon re-inserted into his brain. 

And finally, this theory explains what happened to Troy McClure.

Is any character more missed?
Is any character more missed?

Perhaps, if this theory is true, there are universes where Phil Hartman’s Troy McClure still exists.

Enjoy this? Check out more Fan Theories here.

Can Spectre Disprove the “James Bond is a Brainwashed Codename” Theory?

If there is one fan theory I love above all others, it’s that James Bond is a codename. I’ve written about this extensively, including my own unique take on it, which is that James Bond is a codename given to every agent who has been brainwashed into believing that:

  • his name is James Bond,
  • it has always been James Bond,
  • there are no other James Bonds before him
  • he grew up at a place called Skyfall.

My interpretation, as described thoroughly in my post “Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename,” (which was then thoroughly discussed and dissected in a reddit post on the subject) takes most of its evidence from the film Skyfall, including the relationship between Judi Dench’s M and Javier Bardem’s Raoul Silva. I believe it’s implied that Silva is an agent previously brainwashed into thinking himself Bond.

This guy.
This guy.

But what does all of this mean when considering the new James Bond film, Spectre?

What do we already know about Spectre?

Many people already consider Skyfall to have disproved the codename theory, arguing that the graves of the dead Bond parents and the visit to Bond’s family estate prove he can’t possibly be a guy whose nickname/codename is Bond. Plus, as people always point out, we already know James Bond’s codename: 007.

Either the gravestones of Bond's parents... or another detail in the grand brainwashing codename conspiracy. I prefer the latter interpretation.
Either the gravestones of Bond’s parents… or another detail in the grand brainwashed James Bond codename conspiracy. I prefer the latter interpretation.

This dig into Bond’s backstory appears to go deeper in Spectre, with the catalyst for the film’s action apparently involving a box of possessions from Skyfall. And the villain is none other than Christoph Waltz, who is either:

  • classic Bond villain Blofeld
  • a new character named Franz Oberhauser
  • or both.

(It’s worth noting that Waltz emphatically denies that he is Blofeld.)

Regardless of how evil Waltz is in Spectre, it's hard to believe he can be more evil or charismatic than he was as Hans Landa.
Regardless of how evil Waltz is in Spectre, it’s hard to believe he can be more evil or charismatic than he was as Hans Landa.

But, most importantly about Waltz’s character, he is certainly someone who already knows James, as we see in the teaser trailer:

And who is the other guy? To whom Bond’s face is familiar? To whom James may be bringing death? (Edit: it’s been pointed out that this man is Mr White, from Casino Royale and Quantum of Solace.)

And then there is this trailer, in which we learn that James is “who links them all”

But what does this mean for the James Bond codename theory?

The real question is whether we can continue to believe that Bond is a brainwashed spy who wasn’t born as James Bond, but that he doesn’t know that.

I would say, yes. I would say, I hope so.

Consider what we hear Oberhauser telling him in the second trailer: “It was me, James. The author of all your pain.”

Did Franz Oberhauser author Bond’s pain? Or did he create Bond himself? Is he part of this brainwashing, codename-assigning conspiracy in which some of us so fervently believe?

Will it confirm the James Bond codename theory?

No. Certainly not. But it cannot disprove it either. We will continue to believe, and there will undoubtedly be a reading of the film that allows for the James Bond Codename Theory to continue to exist.

We will know soon. Spectre comes out on November 6th. As Oberhauser says in the trailer: “It’s been a long time. Now, finally, here we are.”

The Most Interesting Responses to the Brainwashed James Bond Codename Theory

After posting the James Bond is a Codename, and Skyfall Proved It theory on the Fan Theories subreddit, /r/fantheories, a discussion with over 100 comments broke out over it.  These are some of the more interesting responses I saw in this discussion.  All original comments are credited to the redditors who provided them.  The comments themselves are in italics, with my opinions appearing before and after.

1.  /u/KodiakAnorak commented with this terrifying/awesome fan fiction set-up and extension of the original idea: 

Imagine a “Project Bond”, if you will, that ties into your theory. The grown men aren’t brainwashed at all. The children are genuine orphans taken by the British Government, trained and raised from a young age (before they can remember) as “James Bond”, the ultimate assassination machine. The only truly original Bond was the one from the book series. The rest are copies, raised in the image of a brutal killer. To protect their people, the UK created monsters… Continue reading “The Most Interesting Responses to the Brainwashed James Bond Codename Theory”

Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename (And Skyfall Proved it)

Is James Bond a code name?

James Bond is a codename, but James Bond doesn’t know that it’s a codename. Because the man who knows himself as James Bond has been brainwashed. And all the answers live within the 2012 film Skyfall.

For decades, there has been an ongoing debate over the continuity of the James Bond films.  You can call it the James Bond Codename Theory.

Specifically, the debate is between two options:

  1. the James Bond films do not care at all about continuity, and yes, each character is named James Bond, and he’s the same James Bond, who cares that he looks and acts different all the time, or
  2.  the James Bond films tell one long story, in which a variety of men adopt the codename of James Bond when they join MI6.

Well, the debate has mostly subsided after Skyfall, as many people found it to be proof that James Bond’s name is James Bond, considering that Daniel Craig’s Bond goes to his childhood home, named Skyfall, where he looks at the gravestones of his parents, whose names are Mr. and Mrs. Bond.

Seems straightforward... or is it?
Seems straightforward… or is it?

This suggests, definitively to many viewers, that James Bond is absolutely not a codename. Continue reading “Yes, Indeed, James Bond is a Codename (And Skyfall Proved it)”

Recommended Reading, Installment #1: Gatsby and Fight Club, Karl Welzein and more…

If you find yourself reading this blog with any regularity, you probably realize that the updates are few and far between.  A large part of this is that this blog’s author likes to put enough effort into each post to warrant the post’s existence.  The other reason is that, well, hypothetical Christian Bale films can be a tiring subject if overdone.

Which is why we present to you a new experiment that could become a regular installment or could disappear after this post: Recommended Reading, for fans of What Should Bale Do.  A series of other blog posts, forums, and essays around the internet that relate to some of the same themes as previous posts on What Should Bale Do:

1. Tyler Durden and Jay Gatsby

Perhaps it’s obvious, but until recently I had never heard anyone point out the obvious similarities between the structure and premise of Fight Club and The Great Gatsby.  But you can see in this essay (published in The F. Scott Fitzgerald Reader, Vol. 6 2007-2008) that not only are there connections, but someone has taken the time to write about those connections for 27 scholarly pages.  It’s worth a perusal, if you have the time.

Continue reading “Recommended Reading, Installment #1: Gatsby and Fight Club, Karl Welzein and more…”

What Ever Happened to Bruce Wayne?

Warning: Spoilers for all the Batman films, as well as a few Batman comics, abound in the following:

The most troubling element of the Dark Knight Trilogy (as it is now known) is that the entirety of Gotham City does not realize that Batman is Bruce Wayne.  Interestingly enough, a variety of characters figure it out throughout the film not because he tells them, but through deduction alone.

Consider that, by the end of the series, the following characters (approximately chronologically) know that Bruce Wayne and Batman are indeed the same person:

  • Ra’s Al Ghul
  • Alfred Pennyworth
  • Lucius Fox
  • Rachel Dawes
  • Coleman Reese (the accountant guy who tries to blackmail them)
  • John Blake
  • Selina Kyle
  • Bane
  • The entire League of Shadows
  • Commissioner James Gordon

These people fall into three categories: those who naturally know that Bruce is Batman because they watched him become Batman (i.e. Alfred, R’as, and Lucius), those who know he is Batman because he disclosed his identity (Rachel, Selina, and Gordon), and those who deduced it (Blake and Reese.)  Bane and the League of Shadows fall into the first category, as they know Bruce is Batman because he used to be one of them.

Continue reading “What Ever Happened to Bruce Wayne?”

Why Bale Should Kill James Bond

Do you read The AV Club?  If not, it’s the sister publication to The Onion, self-described as “the web’s smartest take on TV, film, music, and lots more.”  Which nicely sums it up, as it lets you know how arrogant the writers of The AV Club are.  (Not that I hate the AV Club or anything.  I actually read it frequently, as it’s pretty much the only “entertainment news” I can handle.)

Anyway, a recent AV Club article informs us that Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem are both in the new James Bond movie.  Their response is  “At least we know they’re going with the whole gritty reboot wave everyone has been riding for the last five years.”  A typical dismissive, negative response.  Which is also completely inaccurate, considering that Casino Royale was itself a gritty reboot.  Bond had no gadgets, no Q, and no Moneypenny.  He bloodily killed a guy in a bathroom in the opening scene, and got severely tortured while naked (rather than placed in an over-elaborate, easily-escapable trap).  Also, the Bond girl died.  By drowning.  And Bond responded to this by saying “the bitch is dead.”  That’s a gritty reboot.   Shut up, AV Club.

However, let’s talk about this: Ralph Fiennes and Javier Bardem in the new Bond movie.

Ralph Fiennes:

Do you see?

And Javier Bardem:

Call it.

Okay, so maybe they are going darker and grittier with it.  But maybe not – remember that Bardem is also in Vicky Christina Barcelona and Fiennes is in Maid in Manhattan.

Continue reading “Why Bale Should Kill James Bond”