Sunday, September 25, 2011

Don't Go Br-Br-Br-Br-Breaking My Heart: Of Groundhogs, Three Strange Men, Particle Accelerators, and Time Bounces

Don't Go Br-Br-Br-Br-Breaking My Heart: Of Groundhogs, Three Strange Men, Particle Accelerators, and Time Bounces

1951 May 30 Three triplets are born to the Ryerson family: Ned, Sandy, and Mitch. (Deduced from later entries. Birthdate from actor who played all three characters, Stephen Tobolowsky.)

1962 February 5 Birth of Ellen Besch; she had a twin sister. (Based on the birthdate of actress Jennifer Jason Leigh, who played Ellen Besch in the film "SWF".)

1965-68 The Ryerson triplets attend Case Western High School at some point along with Phil Connors. (Derived from quote in Groundhog Day. The real-life Case Western Reserve University is in Cleveland, Ohio. Presumably, this school would be, too.)

1971 The twin sister of Ellen Besch drowns. Ellen will later suffer survivor's guilt. (Ellen's sister drowned at age 9; see previous entry.)

1972 New York City business executive Myron Castleman experiences a time loop, or time bounce, of one hour. He discovers from a newspaper he has that it was predicted by physicist Dr. Nathan Rosenbluth. Eventually, the time loop runs down, but it is uncertain how widespread the effect is, or how long the effect lasted against the time scale of the outside universe. It did affect the entire Solar System, as determined by the fact that American and Soviet space probes did not experience any sudden apparent spurts of movement that could be explained by observing them from where they were when the loop started, and their position when the loop ended---not just hourly, but at the conclusion of the whole cycle. It doesn't seem to have lasted more than a few days or weeks, or else stellar positions of nearer stars would have been appreciably shifted. After the loop ended, Castleman's whereabouts are unknown, so either he went insane, or discussed his experience with Dr. Rosenbluth, or both. ('12:01 PM', short story by Richard A Lupoff, published in the December 1973 edition of The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction; later adapted into a short film of the same name by Jonathan Heap that premiered in 1990. Area and length of effect similar to the time loop seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode 'Cause and Effect'---17 days before they break out, and in an area probably the size of a solar system. Dating to allow time for Lupoff to write the article and get it published.)

1985 Will Truman attends Columbia University. He meets Grace Adler, who is studying to be an interior designer. They dated before came out of the closet to her. Grace threw him out of her life at that time. He will later graduate and become a lawyer. (Based on age of actor Will Truman, who attended Ryerson University(!!!!!) in Toronto, Ontario, Canada, before moving on to the Stratford Shakespearean Festival to start his acting career in earnest. (Seen in Will and Grace.)

1986 Thanksgiving Will and Grace meet by accident at D'Agostino's supermarket, reconciled, and became best friends. (Seen in Will and Grace.)

1988 February 2 Pittsburgh weatherman Phil Connors of WPBH-TV9 makes his first trip to Punxsuwtaney, Pennsylvania, to determine if Phil the Groundhog would see his shadow. (Seen in Harold Ramis' 1993 film 'Groundhog Day', starring Bill Murray. See dating comments for 1991.)

1989 February 2 Phil Connors makes his second trip to Punxsuwtawney. (Seen in 'Groundhog Day'. See dating comments for 1991.)

1989 Dr. Rosenbluth passes away. His notes come into the possession of Dr. Thadius Moxley, a one-time colleague. Moxley realizes the potential of the information: one could construct a device to research the past, to get rich by using knowlege of the stock market or gambling on professional sporting events, as a weapon, or some other way to change the recent past. He becomes obsessed with constructing such a device. He begins working with Dr. Tiberius Scott to make it work. (Estimated based on production of short film of '12:01 PM'. Moxley and Scott had worked on this in the 1993 tv-movie '12:01'. The potentials of what one could do with the device are ideas that Dr. Emmett Brown discussed with Marty McFly in the 'Back to the Future' trilogy of films.)

1989 Alison Jones breaks up with her fiancee, kicking him out and getting a new roommate, Hedra Carlson. Mitch Ryerson, owner of a fashion design house, seeks to buy the computer fashion program of Alison Jones. Ryerson attempts to force Alison to have sex with him, implying his recommendations can make her or break her computer program. Jones' roommate turns out to be a psychopathic killer named Ellen Besch, who not only killed someone before coming to New York City, but Alison's ex-fiancee and a puppy that Hedra/Ellen gave to Alison. She also attempted to kill their gay upstairs neighbor, Graham. Ryerson did not make the full payment to Alison, and a software protocol erases the program from his computer. When he goes to see Alison to complain, Hedra/Ellen kills him. Alison is helped by Graham, and finallys kills Ellen. (Book SWF Seeks Same, by John Lutz. Later adapted into the 1992 film SWF. Ryerson name given as 'Myerson' but that was clearly an attempt to protect the remaining Ryerson family. Dating approximately eighteen months before publication of film.)

1990 February 2 Phil Connors makes his third trip to Punxsuwtawney. (Seen in 'Groundhog Day'. See dating comments for 1991.)

1991 Moxley and Scott are nearly ready with their device. It uses faster-than-light particles. Moxley's assistant, Lisa Fredericks, discovers that the experiment is prohibited. Moxley finds out that Fredericks is on to him. An employee of the firm, Barry Thomas, has fallen in love with Lisa. (Seen in '12:01'.)

1991 February 1 Phil Connors makes a broadcast, noting that he and a crew (consisting of cameraman Larry and produce Rita) would be heading out to Punxsuwtaney, Pennsylvania, to determine if Phil the Groundhog would see his shadow. Rita is new to the station but has discovered that Phil Connors is a greedy, selfish person who doesn't want to make yet another trip, which would be his fourth, to see the Groundhog.  (Seen in 'Groundhog Day'. See dating comments for next two entries.)

1991 Feburary 2 Phil Connors encounters former high-school classmate Ned 'Needle-Nose' Ryerson, now a nerdy insurance salesman in Punxsuwtawney. Ned likes to use the expression 'BING!' to indicate someone or something is right. Phil then tries to return to Pittsburgh after he makes his broadcast, but a bad storm forces him to return. After Phil wakes up, he discovers it is February 2 again. After repeating the day's events, he discovers he is repeating February 2nd and decides to have fun at the expense of everyone else, living a hedonistic lifestyle. He slowly falls in love with Rita. Eventually, he becomes depressed, and tries to kill himself numerous times, only to wake up again. After more time passes, he decides to woo Rita. Finally, after his personality has completely changed from being a selfish man to an altruistic guy, the time loop lets go of him. The effect appears to be of long duration; various theories indicate guesses from ranging from website Wolf Gnards' projection 8 years, 8 months, and 16 days to Harold Ramis' guess of 10 years in an e-mail to the site, up to 30 or 40 years, and up to 10,000 years, according to a guess by writer Danny Rubin related to co-star Stephen Tobolowsky and later told to the press. In the film, we actually see 42 days, although clearly some of the things Phil learns to do take months or even years. (Seen in 'Groundhog Day'. Year estimated from time to write and make film for a 1993 release.)

1991 February 2 A newspaper has the headline "TIME BOUNCE THEORY POSSIBLE THREAT", subheaded "Scientists Predict Experiment Could Cause Time To Repeat". Going home from work one day, Lisa is killed in a drive-by murder. A distraught Barry gets drunk. At midnight during a storm, he accidentally knocks over a table lamp, receiving an electrical shock, and possibly is struck by lightning (accounts vary). Barry wakes up and goes to work, late as usual. He is stunned to see Lisa alive and well. The day proceeds much as it had before and he sees her killed. The day after that begins exactly the same, and Barry realizes he has a chance to save Lisa. Over the next several repeated days, Barry begins to try to save Lisa, with the help of an undercover government agent, learning more about her in the attempts to save her life...and learning about Moxley's plans. Eventually, he was able to save her and stop Moxley, allowing time to continue normally for him and everyone else. Again, the effect seems to be widespread. Here, the perception of the individual seems to only experience several days instead of a few weeks. (Seen in '12:01'. Date estimated from time to write and make film for a 1993 release, and see previous entry.)

Again, based on space probes throughout the Solar System, the effect seemed to encompass the entire Solar System. Communications losses with various Mars probes took place sometime before this and sometime after this, but not during this event. Some of these communications losses could have resulted from earlier time bounces that only affected the area of the Earth and the Moon, resulting in the loss of control of various mission spacecraft, the so-called "Mars Curse". Barry's experiences of a handful of days, while Phil experience several weeks minimum, could be an effect of the closeness of Barry to the emanating point of the time bounce. Alternatively, his focus to save Lisa's life could have driven him to lose track of how many days his experiences actually took. One further possibility is that he experienced 42 occurrences as did Phil, but only a handful were able to be filmed due to the lower production budget. There also exists a possibility of a naturally occuring time or dimensional warp in the area and state, if one believes the account of Anthony 'Buck' Rogers or various people who have claimed to see thunderbirds, which altered events around Punxsuwtawney. Again, since there are no perceptible changes to the universe beyond our Solar System, the event probably did not last any longer than 42 days (six weeks) of duration.

1991 February 3 Phil Connors wakes up and time has resumed its normal course, waking up with Rita in his bed. He wants to move to Punxsuwtaney and have a family with Rita. One wonders if the whole thing was a mystical experience, complete with Rita kissing a 'frog prince' and breaking the spell. However, Moxley's experience was real---but until Rita was with Phil, he wasn't able to break out of the loop. (Seen in 'Groundhog Day'. Date estimated from above two entries.)

1992 Spring Broadway producer Maxwell Sheffield hires Fran Fine, a door-to-door cosmetic salesperson, to be his children's nanny. Later, they will develop a close personal relationship and eventually get married. (The Nanny pilot episode. Dated about eighteen months before the episode aired.)

1994 August Maxwell Sheffield is trying to get Elizabeth Taylor to star in one of his plays. Liz has Fran Fine take her black pearls to a photo shoot she is doing. They are lost in a cab Fran rides in. The pearls are found by a later rider, Annie O'Donnell. She keeps them and wears them to an event. Annie loses them and a thief takes them. Liz is supposed to go to an interview on FYI with Murphy Brown. She cancels when a lead comes on about the pearls. The thief shows up at the Emerson/Walker household. Eventually, the thief gets caught, and Liz gets her pearls back, and Liz will star in Mr. Sheffield's play. (CBS four-program crossover guest-starring Elizabeth Taylor. The Nanny, episode 'Where's the Pearls?'; Can't Hurry Love, episode 'The Elizabeth Taylor Episode''; Murphy Brown, episode 'Trick Or Retreat'; and High Society, episode "The Family Jewels". Dated about eighteen months before the episode aired. The episodes were a marketing stunt to help establish Liz' Black Pearls perfume, but in the TVCU, happens before that product comes to market. Murphy Brown crossed over to The Bob Newhart Show and thus is in the TVCU.)

1995 Spring Maxwell Sheffield is on a flight to Paris. Fran Fine is accidentally stuck on board with him. The plane is apparently going to crash. Maxwell tells Fran he loves her. Later, on the news program FYI, anchor Jim Dial reports on this near crash. (Two-parter, season finale cliffhanger and first episode of the next season of The Nanny. Jim Dial is a regular character on Murphy Brown.)

1996 Spring Maxwell Sheffield goes out with Fran Fine, to the premiere of a new screenplay by Elton John. Sometime prior to this, Fran had angered Elton in passing. (The Nanny episode 'First Date'. See 1992 entry for dating convention.)

1996 Fall Lawyer Will Truman, who is gay, finds out his best friend, Jewish interior designer Grace Adler (the founder of Grace Adler Designs) has had a major fight with her boyfriend Danny, who has proposed to her. Grace ends the relationship with Danny and moves in to Will's apartment. (Seen in the pilot episode of Will and Grace. Arbitrarily dated about two years earlier than episode aired to allow more time for network to accept a show whose lead character is gay.)

2000 Fall Will and Grace's friend Jack McFarland encounters Elton John. (Will and Grace episode The Honeymoon's Over. See 1996 entry for dating conventions.)

2002 Fall Ned Ryerson moves into the apartment above Will Truman. After a brief attempt to befriend him, his weird nature (playing tea party and listening to show tunes, and using the expression 'BANG!' to indicate yes, that's correct. (Will and Grace episode 'Company; arbitrarily dated two years as per 1996 entry. In the episode, he is referred to as 'Ned Weathers', but I suspect that was an attempt to hide the fact that his brother was murdered by a psychopath; Weathers might also be a slight in-joke, as the lead character of 'Groundhog Day' is a television weatherman, and the same actor played a guy named Ned who used 'BING!'.) Ned seems to have moved out fairly quickly after the events of the episode.

2003 Winter Will and Grace encounter Patti Lupone. (Will and Grace episode 'Bully Woolley'. Played by herself. See 1996 entry for dating conventions.)

2007 Fall At William McKinley High School in Lima, Ohio, the gay director of the Glee Club, Sandy Ryerson, is fired for inappropriately touching a student. Over the next several years, he will try to exact revenge on the school, joining others who wish to avenge themselves on the club in the "League of Doom". Among other things, he will become a drug dealer, selling medical marijuana. He lies to get into a band fronted by the teacher who took over the glee club and reorganized it under the name New Directions. He collects dolls and writes fan fiction about the television series 'Desperate Housewives'. (Seen in television series 'Glee'. Dating is about a year and a half before the pilot episode aired.)

2008 Fall Sandy Ryerson describes himself as a 'predatory gay'. (Seen in television series 'Glee'. Dating is about a year and a half before the episode "A Night of Neglect" aired.)

2009 Fall Members of the William McKinley High School Glee Club New Directions visit New York City. Among other people, they meet Patti Lupone. (Glee episode 'New York'. Played by herself. Dating is about a year and a half before the episode aired.)

2278 The USS Bozeman enters a temporal distortion in the region of space known as the Typhon Expanse, three weeks after it left a starbase. (Seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect". Date given in episode.)

2368 The USS Bozeman emerges from a time loop that involved it colliding with the USS Enterprise-D. The Bozeman and the Enterprise were stuck in the loop for 17.4 days, as determined by Federation time-base beacon. (Seen in Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Cause and Effect". Duration of event mentioned in episode. Dating based on ST:TNG first season episode, "The Neutral Zone", where the date 2364 is given.)

Internet Movie Database
Rob Durfee's "Will and Grace" Web Page
Thom Holbrook's

1 comment:

  1. He didn't give himself credit, so I will do so for him. This blog was not written by me, but by author and TVCU Crew member Gordon Long aka PDXWiz.