Oh, the CROSSOVER. Jack Doneghy, I’m sure, loves the concept of the TV crossover being such a fan of things like “synergy” and “product integration”, “pro-menz” (that’s “positive mention” to you, little buddy) and “making lots of money.” After all, what better way to get your TV loving public to excitedly clap their hands and buy even more bags of Baked Lays than an episode of their favorite TV show starring people from their OTHER favorite TV shows. FUN FOR ALL, I dare say.
5. Dana from Step By Step helps Corey on Boy Meets World via dolphin in “The Happiest Show on Earth” (1996)
TGIF loved and I mean loved the crossover episodes. There was Urkel on Full House, Salem the cat from Sabrina running through all of the TGIF programs wreaking havoc on the sitcom space-time-continuum, and my favorite- Dana from Step by Step on Boy Meets World. True, she’s on for one scene and doesn’t say much but what she does say is enough to convince Corey that he’s still in love with Topanga. And she does this all through dolphins. Next to a dolphin tank. By telling him a story about dolphins. While they pet and feed dolphins. Dana sure is convincing. I hope she went into sales and is now so rich, she can by and sell JT. (And yes, I also hope she’s married to Cody. Shut up.)
4. Frasier Crane ruins Helen’s life again on Wings in “Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes” (1992)
There were actually two Cheers and Wings overlaps, the other one being Cliff and Norm visiting Nantucket to go on a fishing trip but then they just go to the Sidecar and drink for two days. On “Planes, Trains and Visiting Cranes”, Cheers regulars Dr. Frasier Crane and his wife Lilith appear to do a seminar that Frasier’s devised about enriching your life (called amusingly The Crane Train to Mental Well-Being). The only problem is that Helen Chapel, recently back from a disastrous stint in New York City where she tried to become a cellist and ended up as a waitress as a strip club, took that same seminar in New York and blames it and Crane for all of her problems since then. The episode ends in a typical sitcommy way with all the Wings characters screaming at each other at the seminar and one of Frasier’s signature raspy “You people!” rants that we all so love. I enjoyed this episode so much when I caught the repeat last year, mostly because it reminded me of my sincere love for Lilith and her deadpan delivery.
3. George and Noah and Monica and Rachel on Friends in “The One With Two Parts” (1995)
It’s funny. I just realized a pattern here- the shows that used the crossover once more often than not used it several times. Friends is a solid example. We all remember (naturally- why would you be here if this were all new information?) that Mad About You‘s ditsy waitress Ursula is Phoebe Buffay’s twin sister, forcing a confused M.A.Y. Jamie and her friend Fran to mistakenly come to Central Perk and hassle Phoebe about getting them coffee.
Ok, so technically I’m cheating here. George and Noah weren’t playing their ER counterparts but really, come on. It’s a great episode, they’re CLEARLY playing off their ER characters and it includes one of my most favorite, rarely used sitcom gimmicks ever- Monica and Rachel have swapped identities because Rachel has sprained her ankle and lacks insurance so the cute doctors think each is the other. And then they get into a fight. (How did they pick who got George, btw? I mean, I love me some Librarian and all but being the one who gets George is cause enough for a fight to the death itself)
2. Lara Flynn Boyle tells Ally McBeal to eat a cookie in “Making Spirits Bright” (1998)
Usually, crossover happen because of a shared network but they tend to happen more frequently when they also share a creator. And no, I don’t mean the sweet baby Jesus. I mean David E. Kelley. Ok, to some of you, that IS the sweet baby Jesus, but around here he’s the guy who just really likes quirky urban lawyers and piano bars.
This nifty little cameo featuring Lara Flynn Boyle as her Practice attorney Helen Gamble sizing up bobble-headed Ally McBeal was inevitable, considering the media broohaha at the time regarding the fact that both actresses were in desperate need of a few trips to Arby’s and the aforementioned bags of Baked Lays. Oh yeah, and that whole thing about Ally’s skirts being too short. All wrapped up neatly in a thirty-second shot that really makes me want to get a cookie of my own.
1. Buffy drops in on Angel in “I Will Remember You” (1999)
It was a natural enough occurrence that the regulars on Joss Whedon’s Buffy would make an appearance on spin-off Angel. Angel would, after all, be nothing more than a glimmer in his big daddy’s eye if it weren’t for our favorite pint-sized slayer. In this episode, Buffy shows up for a reason I can’t remember off the top of my head and almost immediately helps Angel slay a big baddie, whose green slime accidentally turns Angel human.
The former couple agree that they won’t let this affect them, this sudden turn of events that they’ve both been wishing for since they met when Buffy was sixteen and Angel a spry 300 years old. That naturally lasts about ten minutes and they end up going at it on Angel’s kitchen table. The ensuing scenes are pretty much everything we, the loyal Buffy audience (at least, those of us with girlie parts) have ever wanted- Angel discovering the joys of peanut butter and chocolate TOGETHER, ice cream, sunlight and being able to be with Buffy without turning into, you know, a total, murderous monster who likes killing her friends. Sadly, it doesn’t last. He’s a weak human now and can’t protect himself or her (not that she needs it but I guess after 300+ years, a sudden identity crisis would be pretty hard to overcome) so he goes to the Powers That Be and asks to be made vampire again. They agree to turn back the clocks, with the worst after-effect being that Buffy won’t remember their time together at all. And sure enough, even though she tearfully promises to remember everything, she doesn’t and soon stalks off the show back to Sunnydale.