Hey there, glad to be back. Welcome to another smashing edition of Geek Forest, where pop culture is king. Let’s talk about crossovers.
TV Crossovers. When these happen, it surely is an event. Family Guy meets The Simpsons. CSI meets Without A Trace. Crossovers have been a staple of television for decades. Crossovers often leave the viewer thinking, “oh, all these characters live in the same universe. How neat.” But there is one curious case that throws a wrench into almost all crossovers in television history. This is the case of the Tommy Westphall Universe Theory.
For a bit of background, Tommy Westphall was an autistic child in the 80’s NBC drama St. Elsewhere. St Elsewhere had crossover with Cheers in its time and some of its main characters carried over to Homicide: Life on the Street. But the status of these and other shows are thrown into question in the series finale of Elsewhere. In the finale, a shot of the hospital pans out to show it having been in a snow globe the whole time. Tommy stares into the globe, implying that the entire show was all just an autistic fantasy he created.
Now what does this mean for the shows Elsewhere crossed over with? And what of the shows that crossed over with them. And those shows that… well it goes on and on. In the end so many shows have been hypothesized to be a part of the Tommy Westphall Universe that some say all of television could exist within it boundaries.
This diagram shows a more pragmatic idea of shows in the TWU.
This one by Redditor u/TheTrueBreadLord cranks it up, taking any cameo appearance or references into account.
Is this a bit extreme? How does this sit for American television viewers? How does this bode for your favorite characters? Is all our television a lie??! Well, this theory does have its detractors who plead the implausibility of the theory. These characters weren’t created with the intention of being in such a universe. And appearing as a fantasy in someone’s head doesn’t mean ones whole existence is confined to that fantasy.
So this theory may have holes in it but it’s quite a hypothesis to ponder on. To think TV crossovers could get this complex. Kudos to the people who put so much time into putting the greater theory together.
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