This got brought back to my attention thanks to someone linking to a post I made about the character of Tommy Westfall, who was a minor character in the St. Elsewhere series.
St. Elsewhere ran from 1982 to 1988, and it featured a lot of actors who would go onto success on the big screen (Denzel Washington, for example). So, what’s all of that got to do with Dwayne McDuffy.
McDuffy wrote a piece years ago, siting that comics are often far too stringent in their continuities. And to prove his point, he brought up Tommy Westfall. You see, the big shocker with Tommy Westfall in St. Elsewhere is that in the series finale, it was revealed that everything, doctors, nurses, patients, the actual building, only existed in Tommy Westfall’s head. This brought about a rather odd multiverse, as television in the 1980s had the habit of shows crossing over with other shows.
The end result; all your favourite shows don’t actually exist. That’s right, they only exist in the mind of an autistic child named Tommy Westfall. To date, the number of shows that are linked to this universe inside Tommy Westfall’s imagination are over 300 and counting. And they’re all connected. Here’s a few examples of some of the shows that are somehow connected to Tommy Westfall’s imagination.
- Every Star Trek series and movie (including the Alternate Universe)
- Red Dwarf
- Doctor Who
- The John Laroquette Show
- The Buffy-verse
That’s just a few of the shows linked together thanks to St. Elsewhere. How, you might ask. As I mentioned before, cast members of St. Elsewhere appeared on Cheers at one time; Cheers spun off into Fraser, and crossed over with the John Laroquette Show; the John Laroquette Show makes reference to a large corporation called Yoyodyne, which comes from the book The Crying of Lot 49, and Yoyodyne is mentioned as a client of the law firm Wolfram & Hart in Angel. Yoyodyne was also the company that made starship parts in the Star Trek universe (mentioned in ST:TNG). Another client of Wolfram & Hart’s is Weyland-Yutani. That company should sound familiar, as it’s tagged to both the Aliens and Predator franchises. It also includes Firefly (Weyland Yutani created the UA 571-D Ground Sentry which was used at the Battle of Serenity Valley). Also, a Weyland-Yutani destroyed space ship was seen in a garbage dump in the series Red Dwarf. Another craft seen in the dump; The TARDIS.
Other shows that ended up being included in this universe in Tommy Westfall’s imagination included all the CSI series, all the Law and Order series, Luther with Idris Elba, the X-Files, the Wire, The Lone Gunman (most of that thanks to the character of John Munch played by Richard Bellzer, who first appeared on the show Homicide: Life on the Street… where two St. Elsewhere characters ended up being), Millenium, and the Simpsons (because Scully and Mulder appeared on the Simpsons). You can add the Critic (crossover with the Simpsons), Family Guy (crossover with the Simpsons), and King of the Hill (appeared in a Simpsons episode). 24 and possibly Dragnet is also in there somewhere (both had Simpsons crossovers).
There’s way more connections to this, but the Tommy Westfall effect proved Dwayne McDuffy was right; comics are too stringent in their continuity. But the Internet being the Internet, is actually having a blast discovering all of the little connections that would end up being in Tommy Westfall’s imagination.
Don’t think this is a thing? MovieBob at the Escapist Magazine does a much better and more detailed presentation (he has pictures) of the Tommy Westfall-verse.