Tag Archives: Lost

Why Your Favourite TV Villains Keep Popping Up on MAD MEN

by J.M. McNab

Warning: This article contains SPOILERS for Mad Men, Veronica Mars, Twin Peaks,  and Lost. But you’ve probably seen all of those shows already, right? RIGHT?

A strange thing happened in “The Flood,” the most recent episode of Mad Men. No, it didn’t involve Pete Campbell getting a gif-worthy punch in the face, nor was it some sort of embarrassingly anachronistic continuity error. The strange thing was… Harry Hamlin showed up. Harry fucking Hamlin. Mad Men has always been a show that avoids injecting recognizable faces from the real world into its fictional realm– that’s partly how it maintains its sense of authenticity. With the exception of a few well-known character actors, there haven’t been any “name” actors to speak of on one of TV’s most popular shows. Why then did the star of Clash of the Titans show up as the head of accounts for Cutler, Gleason and Chaough?

“That’s right ladies, I was on L.A. Law.”

When Hamlin appeared on last Sunday’s episode my wife immediately jokingly shouted: “Look out it’s Aaron Echolls! Get him out of there or he’ll kill someone!” referring, of course, to Hamlin’s murderous character from Veronica Mars. Only moments later Roger introduces Don to his friend Randall, played by William Mapother– “Look out, it’s Ethan! Get him out of there or he’ll kill someone!” My wife, of course, referring to Mapother’s Ethan, one of the kidnappy Others from Lost.

It seemed like an odd coincidence: two notable villains from two of our favourite television shows appearing in the same episode of Mad Men. I started to wonder: have any other celebrated TV antagonists appeared on Mad Men?

The first actor to spring to mind was Ray Wise who plays Ken’s father-in-law Ed Baxter on the show. Arguably, Wise’s most famous role was as Twin Peak’s Leland Palmer, who like Harry Hamlin’s Aaron Echolls, is revealed to be a murderer in the conclusion of a long over-arching whodunit. Of course, Leland wasn’t wholly responsible for his daughter’s death, he was possessed by the demon, Bob.*

* The actor who played Bob probably won’t appear on Mad Men, unless it’s as one of Abe’s beatnik friends or something.

Similarly, Jared Harris, who played Lane Pryce, was also Fringe‘s dastardly David Robert Jones (to say nothing of his turn as Prof. Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes- Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2). And remember that guy from the Cool Whip plant back in Season 5? It was Dennis Haskins, AKA Mr. Belding from Saved by the Bell! While Mr. Belding didn’t murder anyone (that we know of…) I think we can safely call him the antagonist of that show, with his scheme-foiling and such.

Whether made consciously or not, these casting choices have changed the way I view the show: I simply don’t trust these people. Peppering the supporting cast of older gentlemen with familiar pop-culture villains almost subliminally evokes the antipathy between the younger and the older generations in the 1960s. There was a fundamental sense of distrust for the establishment that Mad Men‘s casting choices seem to abstractly communicate to the younger generations who didn’t live through the ’60s. I don’t know how it feels to hate Nixon and fear the Vietnam draft, but I do know how it feels to hate Veronica Mars’ nemesis, and fear expulsion from Bayside High.

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Top 5 Pop-Culture Characters Who Are Secretly Jesus

With tomorrow’s podcast reflecting the more secular bunny-worshiping aspect of Easter, with a discussion of Who Framed Roger Rabbit, we decided our Top 5 list should be a bit more pious. Hence, we have complied a list of our Top 5 Pop-Culture Characters Who Are Secretly Jesus– 5 actors who portrayed the son of God, then went on to play a beloved pop-culture character… but secretly, they retained some Jesusy overtones.

Apologies in advance if anyone is offended by this. Happy Easter, though!

5. Bruce Wayne in The Dark Knight Trilogy

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If there’s anybody who knows how to bear a cross, it’s Bruce Wayne. He’s a billionaire by birth, he has way cooler toys than everybody else, and yet he’s still all mopey about what it means to be a hero. The guy has to save everyone’s life and he won’t be happy until he dies doing it! Sound familiar? Well he looks familiar too, at least if viewing 1999’s Mary Mother of Jesus. This made-for-TV movie features Christian FUCKING Bale as the redeemer of the human race and was originally supposed to feature Madonna (who takes her name from the Mother of God and would later sleep with a guy named Jesus) as the titular virgin, before she dropped out in an unprecedented display of taste.

There are a lot of elements in the Dark Knight Trilogy ripped straight from The Bible; the whole being betrayed by your people thing, the classic dying-and-then-coming-back routine, the weird dad issues– but perhaps the most damning evidence that Bruce Wayne is in fact Jesus? Mark 14:48-50…

Mark 14:48-49 And Jesus answered and said unto them, Are ye come out, as against a thief, with swords and with staves to take me?… but the scriptures must be fulfilled.

50 Spake the Lord unto his apostles; “Thy either dieth a hero or livest long enough to witness thineself become the villain.”

But just how did Bruce Wayne get back to 30 AD? You might think Lucius Fox has been cooking up a time machine at Wayne Enterprises? Of course, the truth is Morgan Freeman is, in fact, God… I’m assuming it’s the same ‘Bruce’ from Bruce Almighty.

4. Desmond Hume in Lost

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Before Henry Ian Cusick was cast as the time-travelling Scotsman Desmond Hume on Lost, he portrayed J.C. in The Gospel of John. Narrated by Christopher Plummer (who, although he never appears on screen, I assume is in full Klingon garb) the film tells the story of Christ from the perspective of the Apostle John. Flashforward (whooooosh) two years later, and Cusick lands the role of Desmond on Lost, a character who looks EXACTLY like Jesus. Seriously, the long hair and the beard I understand, but why do both characters consistently flaunt an inappropriate amount of chest? Maybe they didn’t have buttons back in Jesus’ time, but I’m sure Desmond could have covered up a bit, he wears his shirt like it’s a dress at the Grammys.

Lost was consciously unsubtle in its references to varying religions, including heavy doses of Christian iconography (Virgin Mary statuettes filled with heroin, a character named Christian Shepherd, the last scene of the entire show). It seems likely that Cusick’s past work as Jesus at least partially informed the decision to dress him up as a long-haired, bearded dude who has sacrificed his life (all be it this time to live in an underground bunker pushing a button every 108 minutes to save the world). Plus, Jesus could also travel through time… you know, if he had a DeLorean or something.

3. Norman Osborn in Spider-Man

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If your idea of a messiah is the crazy-eyed Willem Dafoe, then you should re-evaluate your crazy religion– but if you do insist on shoving your bloody and action-packed religion in our faces, please hire Martin Scorsese to direct. As expected Dafoe makes for an intense savior, and when he says he’ll return, who knows what insane re-entry he’ll make?

Consider this one; Jesus returns as Norman Osborne. I know what you’re saying, Norman is the Green Goblin, Spider-Man’s arch-nemesis; a bad guy. How could this be King of Kings? Well firstly, Norman dies in the first movie but keeps showing up in the subsequent films, which is suspiciously Christ-like. Also, when he appears in Spider-Man 2 & Spider-Man 3,  it’s as a hallucination to his son Harry. This is very similar to how people who claim to have seen Jesus are usually worshiping an abnormally baked tortilla. Also, Harry takes up the Green Goblin identity and tries to kill a bunch of people in his dad’s name, just like people are always killing others in Jesus’ name.

The only problem with this theory is that there is a quasi-sequel to The Last Temptation of Christ in which Dafoe also appears: 2009’s Antichrist. Yeah. If you thought the Romans were harsh, wait ‘til you meet Lars Von Trier…

2. Admiral Piett from The Empire Strikes Back and Return of the Jedi

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Sure Admiral Piett isn’t the most prominent, or even memorable, character in the Star Wars universe– but he did survive Empire and most of the way through Jedi, which is pretty impressive for an Imperial officer (seriously, like 90% of his co-workers were Force-choked to death by Darth Vader). Now the obvious Christ analogy could be seen in the fair-haired boy who lives in the desert and finds out he magical powers because of who the father he never knew was… BUT when taking into account that Kenneth Colley, who played Piett, appeared in Monty Python’s The Life of Brian (one of the greatest films of all time) as Jesus Christ, a new interpretation arises.

Suppose George Lucas cast Colley as Piett as a subliminal clue to Piett’s true identity: Space Jesus! Think about it, he died for the sins of man on board the Star Destroyer, when a crucifix-like A-Wing flies directly into it, and… aww, fuck it, this is the stupidest thing I’ve ever written… what’s Number One?

1. Jack Skellington from The Nightmare Before Christmas

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Jesus Christ has a lot of titles, ‘The Messiah’, ‘Lamb of God, ‘Best New Wine Champion 28-29 AD’, but I bet you didn’t know he’s also the Pumpkin King. Now Christmas is a hot-button issue these days; Christians feel disrespected by the way the holiday has been secularized. Liberals, on the other hand, hate the baby Jesus and wish he was an older, fatter man who lives in the arctic– so you can see why Disney can’t come right out and say that Jack Skellington is Jesus Christ in The Nightmare Before Christmas. Once you notice that’s he voiced by Chris Sarandon though, it all makes sense. See, Sarandon played Jesus in the TV movie The Day That Christ Died, but there’s more to it than that. For one thing, they’ve both risen from the dead. Hm? Yeah? See?

Okay, you might think the connection is still a bit tenuous, but what about the fact that Jack tries to usurp Santa and take Christmas over? Why should he care so much about that particular holiday when the deals are better on Boxing Day or Black Friday? Unless he’s attached to that particular day because it’s his birthday. And the great thing about this interpretation is conservative Christian parents now have something in common with their gothy pre-teen daughter who carries around a Jack Skellington lunch-pail.

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Episode 18- Top 5 Christmas Episodes

TaleWe count down our top 5 Christmas-themed TV episodes! If you’ve been nice and not naughty, reward yourself with this extra long, extra long-winded episode! Our full lists are below, with links whenever available. Don’t forget to check back on Christmas Day, for a very special Christmas episode.

Episode 18- Top 5 Christmas Episodes

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

J.M.

5- Batman: The Animated Series- “Christmas with the Joker”

4- Fraiser- “Perspectives on Christmas”

3- Tiny Toon Adventures- “It’s a Wonderful Tiny Toons Christmas Special”/Beverly Hills 90210- “It’s a Totally Happening Life”

2- Who’s the Boss- “Christmas Card”

1- The Twilight Zone- “Night of the Meek”

Blain

5. Night Court- “Santa Goes Downtown”

4- Space Above and Beyond- “The River of Stars”

3- The X-Files- “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”

2- Pushing Daisies- “Corpsicle”

1- Six Feet Under- “Pilot”

Rob

5- The Real Ghostbusters- “X-Mas Marks the Spot”

4- Xena: Warrior Princess- “A Solstice Carol”

3- The X-Files- “How the Ghosts Stole Christmas”

2- Beavis and Butthead- “Beavis and Butthead do Christmas”

1-Arrested Development- “In God We Trust”

Stein

5- The Office- “Classy Christmas”

4- Tales from the Crypt- “All Through the House”

3- The Simpsons- “Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire”

2- Six feet under- “Pilot”

1 West Wing- “In Excelsis Deo”

Honorable Mentions

South Park- “Mr. Hankey’s Christmas Classics”

Community- “Regional Holiday Music”

Lost- “The Constant”

Quantum Leap- “A Little Miracle”

Veronica Mars- “An Echolls Family Christmas”

Malcolm in the Middle- “Christmas Trees”

Seinfeld- “The Strike”

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Episode 4- Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

If you thought Winnie the Pooh was never in a movie about smoking crack– you’re wrong. If you thought The Muppet Babies never went on a psychedelic roller coaster ride through the human brain– you’re wrong. If you thought George C. Scott never voiced a pre-Lost smoke monster– you are so fucking wrong. All of these things, and more happen in Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue.

Let me make this clear, YOU HAVE TO WATCH THIS MOVIE! For those of you who don’t remember it, Cartoon All-Stars is anti-drug PSA from 1990. It was sponsored by McDonalds, introduced by George H.W. Bush, and aired on all three major networks. In it, cartoon characters such as Bugs Bunny, the Smurfs, Alf, Slimer, Garfield, Alvin and the Chipmunks, Daffy Duck, and The Muppet Babies ( just to name a few) spring to life in an effort to save the life of a teenage boy who’s in danger of making the inevitable transition from casual pot-user to full-blown crackhead.

Episode 4- Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue

We discussed the special for Episode 4 of Rewatchability, and we really want to champion it as the Refer Madness of our generation. Please download the link above to hear the podcast, and we’ll paste the youtube link for the special at the bottom of the post. You do not want to miss this. Enjoy!

WARNING: the podcast contains strong language and immature subject matter, please be advised.

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