Thursday Night Bar Fight #10: The “Three Hour Tour”

Tod Kelly

Tod is a writer from the Pacific Northwest. He is also serves as Executive Producer and host of both the 7 Deadly Sins Show at Portland's historic Mission Theatre and 7DS: Pants On Fire! at the White Eagle Hotel & Saloon. He is  a regular inactive for Marie Claire International and the Daily Beast, and is currently writing a book on the sudden rise of exorcisms in the United States. Follow him on Twitter.

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89 Responses

  1. Pinky says:

    Animated series included?Report

      • Pinky in reply to Tod Kelly says:

        OK, then my first thought is the anime Fairy Tail. Magic and very cute gals, but more importantly, they have spells that can open portals between worlds, so you might be able to save more people, or even save Earth if there’s time travel magic (and I’m sure some wizard somewhere could come up with it). And more important than that, even if it fails, you’re stuck in a world with magic and very cute gals.Report

        • DavidTC in reply to Pinky says:

          Actually, the best bet to save the world would be to find a TV show that has done a ‘Trapped in TV land’ episode. Because in that universe, the technology to exit the TV show they’re in already exists. (This might be slightly different tech than inter-dimensional portals.)

          Go there, grab the tech, exit the show, go into the Superman TV show or something, exit that world with Superman in tow, and save the world that way.Report

          • Pinky in reply to DavidTC says:

            I’m drawing a blank on any, except for Supernatural, and I wouldn’t want to be in that episode. There may have been one on Kim Possible. The only other thing I can think of is that movie Pleasantville.Report

            • Patrick in reply to Pinky says:

              Warehouse 13.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Patrick says:

                I can’t think of what specific Warehouse 13 you’re talking about. They just got trapped in a book the last episode, but that was a property of that specific book, and they just left it when the story ended, so that wouldn’t work in general. (And they got trapped in a comic in the webisodes, but I don’t remember that well.)

                However, if anyone _does_ have the ability to hope in and out of TV shows, it would be them.

                But a big problem is, if you’re just some random person in that universe, no way you’re getting into the Warehouse, much less running off with an artifact. You could physically locate the place (It’s the ‘IRS warehouse’ outside Univille, SD.) and pester the employees, but that’s about it.Report

              • Patrick in reply to DavidTC says:

                However, if anyone _does_ have the ability to hope in and out of TV shows, it would be them.

                Right, that’s what I was thinking. Not that there *was* a device, but if there was, it’d be there. Also, Warehouse 13 less risky than Star Trek to get to…

                But a big problem is, if you’re just some random person in that universe, no way you’re getting into the Warehouse, much less running off with an artifact. You could physically locate the place (It’s the ‘IRS warehouse’ outside Univille, SD.) and pester the employees, but that’s about it.

                I think if you showed up outside the Warehouse with the knowledge you gleaned from the show (assuming you watch it), Artie would get you to talk to the Regents post-haste.Report

              • DavidTC in reply to Patrick says:

                I think if you showed up outside the Warehouse with the knowledge you gleaned from the show (assuming you watch it), Artie would get you to talk to the Regents post-haste.

                That’s a good point, and it makes me realize there’s an exploit in the hypothetical. Namely, you can arrive _during a plot_. No one ever said you had to arrive in the ‘now’ of a TV show.

                Now, admittedly, if you’re just some random guy, you can’t cut it very close, and there’s not any way you’re going to track how to call the Warehouse, so you have to fly there…

                …but show up a few days before, for example, the disastrous season three finale and explain who you are and how events are about to go entirely pear-shaped?

                Yeah, they might indeed loan you an artifact. Actually, you’d have a pretty good chance of becoming an agent, considering their recruitment policy.Report

              • Pinky in reply to DavidTC says:

                You just gave me my final answer: Heroes. Think of all the possibilities with inside information! You could use your knowledge of upcoming events, or coax favors out of powerful people whose secrets you’d know, or best of all, if you’re at the right place/time, you could get super powers yourself. And it’s got all the other advantages you could be looking for: it’s recent, everyone’s good-looking, and there are time-travel and parallel universe possibilities.Report

            • Pinky in reply to Pinky says:

              Oh, Treehouse of Horror!Report

  2. NewDealer says:

    The West Wing.

    Because it is close enough to our timeline and a world with President Bartlett and CJ Craig is just good.

    If I was allowed to be part of the cast and interact with them: Slings and Arrows because I would love to involved with the theatre world and a festival like that. There is a lot to criticize about the theatre world I still love it and my genie wish is still to be a professional theatre director*

    *My other two wishes are to win a McArthur Grant and have Maggie Gyllenhaal be my girlfriend. They are genie wishes, why not dream big?Report

  3. zic says:

    Well, since sex is mostly banned on TV for ratings reasons, I see little hope that this will produce a single universe with some shred of a future.

    But just in case, I’d probably go for something like Doc Marten, with it’s single-payer health care system.Report

    • NewDealer in reply to zic says:

      There was nothing in the rules that said you can’t pick something on cable!

      And there is plenty of sex on TV, you just only see the foreplay and post-coital stuffReport

  4. Question — if you join the world of the show, even if you’re a mere mortal would you know the other people? Say I picked “Friends” [I would not pick “Friends”] — do I know Monica and Chandler and the rest?

    Also, I’d get my sappy “real” answer out of the way before I get into the spirit of the question — I would opt to get pulverized by a meteor rather than live in a world without my family and friends.Report

    • Whoops. Silly me. I missed that the answer to my question was already in the OP. SORRY!

      I would pick “Sex and the City,” because I wouldn’t have to worry about meeting any of the horribly obnoxious characters, and would simply go back to living in New York City when I lived there before. It would be like going back home, though with the caveat that New York City will never truly be “home” again without a certain best friend and co-blogger living a short walk away from my apartment.Report

  5. Patrick says:

    I’m going for Star Trek anyway. Techno-utopia, how can you pass that up? Plus, you have to figure that showing up in Trek universe with a backstory like this, I’m going to get the Federation’s big brains involved in trying to save Earth, even across realities, and if we can create technology here that enables us to go into a teevee, you can bet Spock can figure out a way to come back through with the Enterprise and blow up/deflect even a moon-sized meteor.

    Even if it was only a 0.0001% chance, well, everybody’s dyin’ anyway…Report

    • North in reply to Patrick says:

      Word… how could you pass up Techno-utopia? Star trek… hmm I am thinking that maybe Next Generation would be best? Or maybe Voyager.. TOS was a bit too cold war-y, DS9 has, you know, an impending galactic war. Voyager perhaps is the best bet.Report

      • Patrick in reply to North says:

        I’m going for TOS, because I pick Kirk and Spock and Scotty over Picard and Geordi and Data.Report

        • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

          Yeah, but there’s no guarantee you will ever meet the “stars” anyway.

          Otherwise, I would have already written “Firefly” down (Inara…) and been done with this.Report

          • Patrick in reply to Glyph says:

            I’m assuming that you get beamed into an episode, right? As you (clarified in the OP), but still, during the actual episode, you pop into place.

            So you just pick an episode where at the end, you’ve got Scotty and Spock and Kirk on the bridge and you say, “Put me there”.Report

            • Glyph in reply to Patrick says:

              When you arrive you will be you, and will take on the role as an average person in that universe. You cannot “become” an existing character, nor should you reasonably expect to ever even meet the characters of the TV show you have chosen.

              I don’t think the tech is precise enough to send you when/where you want to be. Just put you in the universe. You could end up mining Rura Penthe.Report

      • Russell M in reply to North says:

        almost utopia in some cases can be found in star wars, and they happened a long time ago so i think we can assure arrival. same for recent BSG. maybe go back to caprica and stop the events from happening?Report

  6. Kazzy says:

    Can I join a reality show? Would that just replicate our world, with all the people in it (even those not in screen… Technically I’m on “The Real World”… I just get zero screen time.)Report

    • Pinky in reply to Kazzy says:

      Yeah, like reality shows duplicate the real world.Report

    • DavidTC in reply to Kazzy says:

      While The Real World is just pretending to be the real world, how about any talk show, which actually_are_ set in the ‘real world’? (Just stay away from the political ones, or you could accidentally end up in a world where certain politicians are trying to destroy America.)

      Hey, who wants to make a quick TV show with me about a very nice superhero, able to stop meteors, set in 10,000 BC, who has the power to exit, along with anyone else who has joined him, any fictional work he’s put in? 😉

      It really seems like that’s a more ethical use of everyone’s time.Report

  7. Jaybird says:

    Quantum Leap.

    The future has awesome tech, there are LEDs everywhere, and there’s a God who wants things to work out.Report

  8. Barry says:

    This is a good one 🙂

    Thanks, Tod.Report

  9. dragonfrog says:

    I dispute the assertion that moving to Sesame Street will mean no sex. The characters Luis and Maria fell in love, married, and had a babt (coinciding with the actor playing Maria having a baby herself) – I don’t believe they explained the facts of life in the relevant episodes, but they didn’t misdirect either.

    Sesame Street is pretty awesome about acknowledging the fullness of reality. When Will Lee died, they had his character, Mr. Hooper, die as well, and used the episode to deal with death and grieving.

    What you probably wouldn’t get much of if you moved into the Sesame Street universe is violence, racism, xenophobia, judgement. Heck, this is sounding not half bad.

    That’s it, I’ve talked myself into it – I’m moving to mid-80’s (pre-Elmo) Sesame Street.Report

    • Pinky in reply to dragonfrog says:

      I don’t see an adult lasting two days on Sesame Street without begging for a transfer to The Sopranos or something. You’re going to need intellectual stimulation. Me, I’d much rather be on the Lost island instead. You won’t live as long, but you’ll never be bored.Report

  10. Glyph says:

    moving to Sesame Street will mean no sex …mid-80?s (pre-Elmo) Sesame Street.

    That would probably be for the best…Report

  11. DavidTC says:

    I think it should be pointed out that you can get into the Star Trek universe safely…you just need to join it in the _present_. As Star Trek canonically has cryogenic suspension from the present day (Khan, that business guy in TNG, etc…), you can just wait it out. But watch out for the nuclear war in the 2060s.

    Or you can just find one of the many time machines…I’d suggest meeting up with the Voyager crew in 1997 and lie about being a time traveler from their time (You should know enough stuff about the Federation _and_ the near future of 1997 to convince them) and need a lift, but then you’re stuck on Voyager, ugh.

    I was thinking you might want to be in a dramatic universe with super-crime-solvers in it, like CSI or Bones or Psych or something, for safety reasons, until I remembered that those universes also have a surprising amount of serial killers wandering around, and lots of people end up dead before our heroes show up.

    From the point of view of a non-main character, all most TV universes look basically the same. Would you actually know or care you’re in the universe of the Big Bang Theory or Arrested Development or Breaking Bad?

    Hey, what if you entered a TV show that was explicitly set in _this_ universe due to lack of fourth wall? Like Letterman or other talk shows? And won’t they be really confused inside that show when the meteor doesn’t kill everyone?Report

    • dragonfrog in reply to DavidTC says:

      Chief lesson learned from Murder She Wrote: if you are invited to any event, no matter how innocuous, that Jessica Fletcher will also be attending, find some excuse. Any excuse will do, no matter how flimsy – the host will soon have more pressing things to worry about than your transparent attempts to back out of their invitation.Report

      • DavidTC in reply to dragonfrog says:

        I’m not sure that declining the invitation would be a good idea…seems to me that could focus the plot on you. You’d end up dead, and the host of the party will be informed while Jessica Fletcher is standing right here, she will decide to investigate, and it would be a Clue that you did not attend the party.

        No, if you find yourself in the Murder She Wrote universe, you must _immediately_ murder Jessica Fletcher. And not remotely. (That will just end up killing someone else due to her Plot Armor and she’ll solve the murder.) Run up, and stab her repeatedly. Do not worry about getting caught…the _only_ way to actually catch criminals in the Murder She Wrote universe is for Jessica Fletcher to pretend to be trapped in an empty room with them and get them to confess and then they attempt to kill her while the police listen in.

        Now, depending on how the world works, other people step in to attempt this trick. So, as a rule of thumb, never attempt to murder anyone who is listing circumstantial evidence against you. Ever. It is a trick. Pretend to be baffled, and then go along willingly with the police. They will have to release you due to ‘lack of evidence’, because there is no such thing as ‘evidence’ in that universe.Report

  12. Chris says:

    I don’t know what this says about me, but for each of these that I’ve answered in the past, I’ve just answered immediately, without giving it much thought, but for this one, I’m wasting a fair amount of time trying to decide where I want to go.Report

  13. Dan Miller says:

    I’ll play it safe–How I Met Your Mother. Basically the same as the real world, except that renting a gigantic apartment in New York is inexplicably affordable.Report

  14. Annelid Gustator says:

    This game kind of sucks unless you contract the “set in” to be “the environs of the show itself.” Otherwise:

    -Any set on Earth in the last couple of thousand years or the next would mean you should expect to be poor and Chinese.

    -Within human history but prior to several thousand years ago, you die of disease or privation.

    Regardless of those problems, it remains that:

    -Before the emergence of humanity you die of injury or privation.

    -Set in the glorious future you die trying to get there.

    Given those constraints (minimize my potential misery while maximizing my chance at survival) I guess something like… right around 1989. I’d still like the potential for some amazing stuff to happen, so something with magic or alternative sciences…

    Top candidates include:
    Saved by the Bell
    Free Spirit
    My Secret Identity

    All terrible. Probably pick Saved by the Bell.Report

  15. Miss Mary says:

    This sounds like an episode of Eureka.

    Can you pick a movie?

    My first thought is Cheers, I don’t know why. It may have something to do with just having read Will’s post on drinking.Report

  16. Damon says:


    I’ll run the risk of death to get a chance to hook up with Chianna 🙂Report

  17. Plinko says:

    Well, besides Doc. obviously correct answer of choosing to be crushed rather than live without the Gravatar – I really can’t imagine why I would choose anything other than Gilmore Girls.Report

  18. Kolohe says:

    My first thought was West Wing as well, but really, anywhere in the Sorkin verse – where people are preternaturally good a trivia and all have good intentions and all talk more or less alike seems a good fit. (plus, cocaine is a helluva drug)Report

  19. dexter says:

    I would have to go with a roadrunner cartoon. No matter how stupidly optimistic you are, no matter how many times you fall five miles and get hit by giant trucks, nobody dies.Report

  20. Russell M says:

    I would pick David Tennet doctor who. yeah some death chance but very earth-like with all the added joy of weird things happening for no good reason.

    or tom baker doctor just to mock dress sense.Report

  21. Kolohe says:

    *smacks forehead* duh, the obvious (and only) choice is St Elsewhere.Report

  22. Jochen Mevius says:

    The Wire – nothing changes, really, but the dialogues are much betterReport

  23. Wardsmith says:

    What are the odds that when you do end up in the Star Trek universe you’re automatically This guy?Report

  24. zic says:

    I would like to play this game with books/movies so that I can live in The Culture. Please.Report

  25. Kyle Cupp says:

    The Venture Bros. I would fit in.Report

  26. Burt Likko says:

    I’d pick a show on the CW. Contemporary setting, so a high probability of survival. Everyone is rich and good-looking, so I would be, too. Given that ordinary life sort of takes over after the writers are killed by the meteor, whatever vampires or vigilantes are out there would probably leave me alone. My only real problem would be overwrought dialogue with other residents of the TV show setting, but really, would that be all that much different than what I encounter in court every day?Report

  27. J@m3z Aitch says:

    Tempted to say The Walking Dead, but I’ll go with Northern Exposure.Report

  28. LeeEsq says:

    If going to the past had a better survival rate, I’d pick a TV show that starts somewhere in the late 19th century. The late 19th and early 20th centuries always fascinated me so might as well use an opportunity to get to live there.Report

  29. bstr says:

    The Kardashians.Report

  30. Shazbot5 says:

    Is The Flinstones set in the past?

    Wikipedia says ths: “The Flintstones was about a working-class Stone Age man’s life with his family and his next-door neighbor and best friend.”

    I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the Stone Age.

    Anyways, I choose Flintstones because Wilma and Betty are so, so hot. Does that make me weird? Yes. Oh yes.Report

  31. Rod Engelsman says:

    Well, given the constraints of being just another dude wherever you end up, going to any garden-variety drama or sit-com would just be basic time-travel. So I think I’ll go for something in the ’70s where I understand the culture (the concerts!!) and the tech and medicine is reasonably good. That way I’ll have enough time to die of old age before the meteor hits. Also I’ll know what companies to invest in so I won’t have to die poor. Like I will here.

    Maybe Six-Million Dollar Man. That one’s sort of optimistic about tech so maybe we’ll have an actual space program in the ’80s.Report

    • Glyph in reply to Rod Engelsman says:

      Six-Million Dollar Man came up recently over at MD, and after watching a YouTube clip to refresh a memory about Bigfoot battling Steve Austin, I decided the show may have been the pinnacle of all human art.

      What I had NOT remembered about Bigfoot was that he was:

      1.) A robot
      2.) Sent by space aliens
      3.) Played by Andre the Giant (no sign of his Posse)

      Tell me – could there BE any greater plot element than this? How many kids broke collarbones, attempting slow-mo bionic leaps off of garages and things?Report

  32. Kimsie says:

    Okay. Drawing on my skills at Narrativium, I choose a show that isn’t in production yet. It’ll include my husband (and a ton of his friends)… basically playing themselves. Then I’ll choose to bounce into that.

    I’ll take a 70% chance of that over a 100% of something more boring.

    n.b.: anyone who says I’m cheating: Everything I’ve suggested here is plausible (counting getting the show greenlighted, though that might take a few selected parties sleeping it up a bit (which they’ve done for other shows…)).Report

  33. Chasm says:

    If I pick “The Twilight Zone” do I have to pick an episode or do I just wake up in a weird new universe every day? If I pick “Night Gallery” do I end up as just part of a painting?Report

  34. maxl says:

    Since the writers would all be fired (as the show was unwatchable even as a little kid after school), I think I would head for “I Dream of Genie” . There better be a pilot episode I could step into which showed the astronaut finding the genie lamp, or I am scrod. Can you join the show at the intro? This one needs precision timing, clearly.

    So, this is the plan:

    A: Get Genie lamp
    B: ?
    C: Profit

    Best case scenario: I could go to any crappy TV show I wanted to. With a Genie. I hope you enjoy the 2 hour series finale of CSI: Juggalo, suckas .Report

    • maxl in reply to maxl says:

      And I would have my genie visit your Star Trek show and make it so that using the transporter caused bouts of uncontrollable gas. Hilarity ensues. Like this but, you know, better.

      • Glyph in reply to maxl says:

        Impossible. There could be nothing better.Report

        • maxl in reply to Glyph says:

          I think mine would be better because of the explosive landing party scenes. Not to mention the hilarious new awkwardness of those Kirk/Beautiful green alien romance plots.

          And the best, best case scenario is almost too much to even dream of. I will have joined a show that is nothing less than the ultimate guy fantasy. It’s even over the top dood awesome for the 60’s:

          We are astronauts.

          During the Apollo years.

          With a Genie in harem pants.

          She calls me master.

          I know the future. But it doesn’t even matter because I have a genie.

          Aim for the gold ring, guys.Report