19 December 2007

Trudy, Trudy, Trudy

While 30 Rock has become the funniest, most consistent show on the air - the Seinfeld or Arrested Development of the latter naughts - my heart still belongs to How I Met Your Mother. Despite some painful misfires early in this third season, HIMYM still brings the funny with heart each Monday.1 I think it's that heart - worn on the sleeve or as a fetching codpiece - the gives HIMYM a slight edge over Tina Fey's chaos-fest over on the PeaCORK.

The other thing creators Carter Bays and Craig Thomas bring to the table is an OCD-sufferer's attention to continuity. It doesn't matter if a throwaway joke is three years old; Bays and Thomas won't forget it. I was reminded of this in a round-about way this morning which I'll quickly share (to demonstrate how much of a continuity wank I can be as well.)

I was driving to work and saw a Trans-Am. That made me think about Knight Rider. That made me think about how they're using a Mustang instead of a Trans-Am in the new version NBC is airing in January. But, I thought, that's okay. In the original pilot, the Trans-Am was actually Michael Long's car that Knight Industries updated while The Hoff was recovering from his gunshot to the face. So it only makes sense that the Knight Industries Three Thousand (yes, they thought that was a clever name this go-round) would be whatever car it happened to be.

Aha! says I! When KARR appeared (that's the evil supercar Knight Industries built before KITT) it was also a Black Trans-Am! Horrible continuity error. If only everyone could be like Bays and Thomas. But wait...at the end of "The Pineapple Incident", didn't future-Ted say "I left Trudy a message but she never called me back." And didn't Trudy show up again this season on "Third Wheel"??? So maybe these aren't the exemplars of...

That was my train of thought this morning. It's not an original complaint. Back when episode 3.3 aired, lots of people noted that Bays and Thomas had slipped up. Although technically the Dad had said she never called, the implication was that Ted and Trudy had never seen again. This was an unusually big continuity glitch for the show. Then it occurred to me that maybe the kings of continuity wanking had pulled a fast one.

Trudy was played by the adorable, hilarious, awesome actress slash role model slash math whiz2 Danica McKellar. Danica's no virgin stranger to continuity dust-ups.

Kevin and Winnie...did they? Depends. Do you believe the narration in the pilot of The Wonder Years, or what happened in the series finale? That's an epic gaffe. It's one every writer and producer who cares about continuity remembers. It's one that cont-wanks like Bays and Thomas surely remembered as they cast Danica.

I now believe that HIMYM pulled a fast one, a meta-gag on the fans of the show. "We're so obsessive about continuity that we'll intentionally tweak it and cast Winnie goddam Cooper in the role!"

Or, you know, they screwed up.

1 This is obviously not true right now, as Les and Pals WON'T NEGOTIATE IN GOOD FAITH!!!)
2 If you've got a school-age girl, buy her Danica's book Math Doesn't Suck: How to Survive Middle-School Math Without Losing Your Mind or Breaking a Nail.