Monday, October 31, 2005

Quoth subtlety: Somebody saaaaaaaaaave me!

One of the things I like about the show Smallville is that the writers sometimes throw in subtle references for Superman fans.

Take their propensity for stunt casting. You might have seen Christopher Reeve guest star as crippled scientist Dr. Virgil Swann, with Margot Kidder as his emissary, Bridgette Crosby. But don't forget that series regular Annette "Ma Kent" O'Toole played Lana Lang in the movies, or that before Terence Stamp guest-starred as Jor-El, he commanded the last son of Krypton to kneel before Zod. And hey, they're even bringing in John "Pa Kent" Schneider's fellow Duke Boy Tom Wopat in a guest shot this season. And they throw in cute little bits of dialogue too, like when Clark finds a super-powered dog and briefly considers naming him Krypto before discarding it as a stupid name for a dog.

But sometimes, they're not so subtle.

Take the following bit of dialogue from an episode I saw last night featuring fast-swimming newcomer Arthur Curry, who, if the name didn't give it away for you, sported an orange tank top and green shorts that announced him as Superman's future comrade in the Justice League of America, Aquaman:
Arthur Curry: You're a pretty good swimmer yourself, Clark. We should form some kind of Junior Lifeguard's Association.

Clark Kent: Oh, I don't think I'm ready for the JLA just yet.

Smallville writers: [nudge! nudge! wink! wink!]

Me: [audible groan]
And who wrote the episode? Todd Slavkin and Darren Swimmer. Hey! Swimmer! Writing an episode about Aquaman? I'm surprised he didn't work a self-reference in there. In fact, I'm not totally sure he didn't.

* * *

Speaking of subtle references, you might have caught the news this weekend that Star Trek's Sulu, George Takei, is gay. (You might have also caught this news about a decade ago when he casually outed himself in his memoirs. It was after the part where he dissed Bill Shatner and before the other part where he dissed Bill Shatner.)

Anyway, remember Star Trek IV. Upon returning to the past, Sulu gazes upon the Golden Gate bridge and with true satisfaction, says, "San Francisco ... I was born there." Well, there's a reason they made the character from San Francisco. Yeah, it's got a lot of Asian people, but you know, so does Asia. There's another reason they made the character from San Francisco. Trust me, I know these screenwriters work. Take this previously unpublished transcript of a writers' meeting for Star Trek VI:
Todd Slavkin: Okay, then Kirk says, "Second star and straight on till morning."

Darren Swimmer: Okay, then Sulu says, "Aye, aye, captain. Setting course for Uranus, warp factor 69." Hee, hee!

Todd Slavkin: Ha! Ha! Okay, but he should say "warp factor number two." No, wait! "Warp factor cock!" Ha! Ha!
I rest my case.


Anonymous Ken said...

You know you're a Smallville plan when: you happen to stumble on this and are currently watching your Smallville DVDs. It's a sad life.

10/31/2005 08:07:00 PM  

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