Blackout Thursday

Friends (1994-2004)
Mad About You (1992-1999)
Madman Of The People (1994-1995)
Type: Non-Crossover

   Okay, this one a lot of people will disagree with me on. And I totally understand why some folks would consider this a legit crossover event. But I don't. So deal with it. That's just the way it is.

   Now, for those of you saying, "Hey, what is Blackout Thursday?" allow me to say... what the hell are you doing at this site? How do you not KNOW Blackout Thursday?!?!? Begone! I will have no more of you in my presence! Then allow me to stop being crazy and explain...

   Blackout Thursday was a typical Network stunt tying multiple shows on the same night together. The issue I have is with what sort of stunt Blackout Thursday was. The gimmick was that most of the shows on NBC that Thursday all had plots dealing with a blackout in New York. It started on Mad About You where Paul Buchman accidentally caused a massive blackout of all New York city. Next Friends did a blackout episode in which Chandler Bing ended up stranded in the blackout with supermodel Jill Goodacre. Then on Seinfeld... uh, well on Seinfeld Jerry dated an acrobat and there was no blackout because apparently the Seinfeld people had the clout to tell NBC where to stick its stunt. But then after that on Madman Of The People... well nobody quite cares because it was a one season wonder nobody cares about. Suffice it to say Dabney Coleman and company also suffered through a New York blackout.

   People who see this as a big crossover event would say Paul Buchman causes a blackout and that that blackout then extends itself into the other shows. My problem with this is this: prove that the blackout on all three shows are the same blackout. There isn't anything in place to prove that. I mean Mad About You and Friends are already linked in other ways so maybe they are having the same blackout but, hello, the connection there is already established anyway and so the blackout is beside the point. And there is nothing to prove Madman Of The People's blackout is the same blackout. Taken out of context from that specific night and watched on their own there is nothing in any of those three episodes that say, "This is linked to another show."

   See, while crossover nights are a form of stunt programming, there is also another sort of stunt called a theme night. On theme nights the various shows don't connect directly to each other but instead just share some common theme. NBC loves these. One that jumps immediately to mind is Three Funerals and A Wedding. Playing off the movie Four Weddings And A Funeral, the sitcoms on that night featured... well you can guess. No crossovers, just that gimmick. Closer to the point at hand was ABC's "Storm Of The Century" stunt. To help promote the Stephen King miniseries Storm of The Century, ABC did a huge promotional stunt with tons of their shows having plots featuring terrible blizzards. Dharma And Greg, The Drew Carey Show, Home Improvement, The Hughleys, Spin City, and Two Guys, a Girl and a Pizza Place all got hit with storms but it was pretty clear they weren't all meant to be experiencing the same storm.

   I would put Blackout Thursday in the same category as Three Funerals And A Wedding and the Storm Of The Century stunts simply because there is nothing inherent to the episodes that indicates it is anything more than that. No characters meet up. They have the New York blackout plot in common but that's sort of generic. Lots of shows have done New York blackout plots. A New York blackout is not something ultra specific like Liz Taylor running from show to show looking for her lost jewels.

   Can in be inferred that the shows are meant to be connected? Yeah. But a "maybe" isn't enough for me. I want something solid and definitive, something absolute. Not all crazy upset at anyone who believes this one is a real crossover, I just can't go there. And I was getting a bit weary of explaining via email to person after person why Blackout Thursday was not on the list. So, now it is... sorta.

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