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October 28th, 2002

This feels like a spinoff….

Last night, an episode of The Golden Girls was viewed in our home. It started normally enough, with Rose recounting “happy times” in St. Olaf and Sophia demonstrating her wit via a stream of retorts. But then, something odd happened: a character we had never seen before just “dropped by”, and the story began to center around her. Soon, we were out of the Golden Girls’ house altogether, and were talking about this other family. The female character spoke of “empty nest” syndrome… even though this wasn’t a spinoff push for Empty Nest. Or so I thought.

But the coincidences were odd. This couple lived in the Westons’ house… it was identical, save for a few pieces of living room furniture. The kitchen was the same. The carpet was the same. Everything was the same. Then, of course, David Leisure walked in playing not Charley as he did on Nest, but Oliver. Odd.

As it turns out, this show kind of was a spinoff push for Empty Nest. Empty Nest was originally going to be about a middle-aged couple and their college daughter dealing with empty nest syndrome. Yadda yadda. Somewhere, it got switched to the Nest we all know and love.

Another “this feels like a spinoff” was the “Mr. Quiet” episode of The Cosby Show. It involved a small child who wouldn’t talk to anyone – not even Cliff – but he eventually opened up to the director of the community center (played by Tony Orlando.) I haven’t been able to determine that this was a spinoff push, but it had all the earmarks of one: main characters as supporting characters, lots of time with characters we don’t know, etc.

One has to spin off spinoffs somehow, I imagine. It’s interesting that it can be so easy to detect.

Posted in Television, Movies, and Music

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