So a casual reference to multiple universes in the James Bond post yesterday, and the link to an old post about the space time continuum jumping scene which links the British and American Offices when David Brent visits the American Office, meaning that two almost identical days happen to two different people who exist in the same universe, led me to one of the coolest pop culture memes I’d never heard of.
The theory of Tommy Westphall’s mind – which, in a nutshell, through crossover characters and references between programs, ties over 300 TV shows to the imagination of one autistic character in a show I’d never heard of called St. Elsewhere named Tommy Westphall.
The last scene in the St. Elsewhere show allegedly made it apparent (it’s disputed by at least one article) that the entire show had been in the imagined world of Tommy Westphall. Characters from St. Elsewhere, appeared in the series Homicide. Homicide’s character Detective Munch, has been in seven different shows, other than St. Elsewhere – including Homicide, SVU, Arrested Development, The X-Files, The Wire, 30 Rock, and even Sesame Street… Characters from those shows have been in other shows. Tying them to the same universe. Tying them to Tommy Westphall’s mind.
Here’s the map.
Here’s the key to the grid (PDF), explaining the crossovers.
According to this interview with one of the guys who came up with that map, some of the crossovers are more tenuous than others, but about 70% of them are meant to be fairly tight connections by character – rather than references to entities or corporations that are fictional presences in more than one series.
They even mention the theory that all of Tarantino’s movies occur either within the same universe, or as movies within the Tarantino universe that characters from the main universe watch.