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Old November 14 2012, 07:56 AM   #1
t_smitts
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Celebrity paradoxes

One of the most interesting articles I saw on the TV Tropes website is one about what they call "The Celebrity Paradox".

For those who don't know, let me explain: I think we automatically assume that when an actor plays a role in a TV show or movie, the actor themselves do not exist in that show's universe. (i.e. in the "Die Hard" movies, there's no actor named Bruce Willis). There are of course exceptions, like that awful gag in "Ocean's Twelve" where Julia Roberts' character passes herself off as Julia Roberts, but those are pretty rare, I think.

The question is how other productions and people referenced on the show (to which said actor is connected) are affected.

Some of them are far reaching. Again, TV Tropes gives a good example, from Star Trek itself: Jeri Ryan divorced her husband Jack in the 1990's. In 2004, Jack ran as the Republican nominee for US Senator from Illinois against a little-known Democratic state senator named Barack Obama. When some of the ugly details from his divorce were made public during the campaign, Jack withdrew from the race, prompting the GOP to choose a last-minute replacement (and a rather unfortunate one, at that) and Obama won handily.

Now, without that high-profile office, it's unlikely he would've had the recognition to run for president and win in 2008. Yet, if someone in the 24th Century on Voyager were to access historical records on America's 44th president, how much of this would be present?

Another example is Rain Robinson talking about the show "Mission: Impossible". If someone were to watch some of the later episodes of the show, would they notice one of the main characters resembles a certain Vulcan Ambassador?

I'm wondering how many of these exist in Star Trek, hmmm?
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Old November 14 2012, 08:36 AM   #2
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

Well, we have very little idea of the Presidents of the US in the Trek universe. Perhaps the first black president was actually somebody looking suspiciously like Brock Peters, elected by a landslide in the early 1970s after the Benny Russell riots?

Also, television often sort of preempts the celebrity paradox by forcing us to assume that actors looking subtly or grossly different are actually one and the same character... And that evil twins actually are exactly identical to the good ones (save for the goatee), rather than only approximately so. Conversely, two people who look the same on screen are probably "supposedly" subtly different in "reality".

That aside, we of course have the Gabriel Bell Incident, a take on how the Celebrity paradox would play out in-universe. Which is only one step in the long ladder of such incidents in the life of the Sisko family: old Joe Sisko must have faced some awkward situations, what with looking exactly like that traitorous admiral from the 2290s; Ben's own son will end up looking like a Klingon family acquaintance; etc.

But the number of real TV shows quoted in Star Trek is actually very limited, curtailing the effect. And actors from Star Trek generally play their possible public roles wearing the identity of an actor, rather than that of a politician, a notorious criminal, a famous victim of a disaster etc. As Star Trek the TV show assuredly doesn't exist in Star Trek, this probably means that if Janeway watched television in 1996, the "rules" would supposedly ban her from spotting Patrick Stewart or LeVar Burton in any of the shows she saw, preempting the paradox.

If it were "allowed" for the actors to exist as actors, though, there would be many unfortunate ways for them to connect. After all, they are famed for their scifi roles, meaning they might (actively or passively) play a PR role in various space programs, real or imaginary (say, the TOS posse being associated with the Enterprise rollout, or Spiner being aboard for the first DY-100 flight around the Moon in 1988), thereby allowing our Starfleet heroes to spot them when studying the past of their own organization.

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Old November 14 2012, 04:34 PM   #3
E-DUB
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

In a "hardware" variation of this idea; Kirk's Enterprise was supposedly named after Archer's NX-01. The NX-01 was named for the Space Shuttle Enterprise, it was even followed by an NX-02, Colombia. And, as we all know, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was named for the fictional ship "Enterprise" from Stare Trek.

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Old November 14 2012, 04:57 PM   #4
Santa Kang
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

Imagine Spock's surprise in finding out that his father looks exactly like a Romulan. Or Kirk's when Koloth shows up wearing Trelane's face.
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Old November 14 2012, 06:20 PM   #5
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

I don't see any paradox at all.

I mean, does anyone complain when actors like Vaughn Armstrong play over a dozen roles? Those characters look alike (he's even played multiple members of the same race, i.e. Klingons) and yet nobody would think it odd.
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Old November 14 2012, 06:37 PM   #6
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

The Last Action Hero had a funny play on this. When they go into the video store there's a big cardboard cutout of Stallone as the Terminator, but that was in the movie within the movie so Arnie also plays himself which is funny.
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Old November 14 2012, 09:44 PM   #7
F. King Daniel
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

Young Kirk listens to Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" in the last movie. What would have happened if he played "Intergalactic" instead??

"...and a pinch on the neck from Mr. Sp--!" *universe implodes*
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Old November 14 2012, 10:29 PM   #8
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

My favorite example of such a paradox is actually outside of Star Trek. Winston Groom, the author of the "Forrest Gump" novel, wrote a sequel after the Tom Hanks movie came out. One scene in the sequel novel has Forrest going to the Academy Awards -- where he meets Tom Hanks. (This scene might actually have been filmed if the sequel made it to the big screen -- except for the fact that Mr. Hanks doesn't like to make sequels as a general rule.)

Or the movie "Man on the Moon" where Jim Carrey played Andy Kaufman. In several scenes, he portrayed Kaufman as a cast member on "Taxi" alongside many of his real-life castmates, (Christopher Lloyd, Judd Hirsch, Marilu Henner, etc.) With the notable exception of Danny DeVito, who was also a Taxi castmember -- but was absent from that scene since DeVito played an entirely different character for the movie.

To keep it Trek-related, I recall reading a short story (author's name escapes me) where, due to a really bizarre transporter accident, Kirk, Spock and McCoy trade places with Shatner, Nimoy and Kelley. And the actors have to play their "real life" roles for a short time until the real Scotty figures out a way to send them back.
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Old November 14 2012, 10:36 PM   #9
F. King Daniel
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

^That's "Visit to a Weird Planet" in the Star Trek: The New Voyages fanfic anthology, if I recall correcty.
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Old November 14 2012, 11:45 PM   #10
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

This reminds me... In an episode of "Mork & Mindy" Mork (played by Robin Williams) actually met actor/comedian Robin Williams. IIRC it was simply brought up because Mindy (finally) noticed the resemblance.

Another non-Trek example is that I've often wondered what comicbooks exist in the various universes of the comicbook companies. We know from several issues that characters like Superman and Captain America (Steve Rogers even was the artist on his own comic for a time) have their own comics licensed in-universe, but we're pretty certain that its not openly known that Superman is secretly this one mild-mannered reporter at a great metropolitan newspaper. So, how much is known about the characters personal lives and secret identities?

In a Trek example I wonder if Odo would have taken an immediate dislike to Admiral Jarok given his "vague" resemblance to Dr. Mora Pol.

What about Worf not looking more closely at "K'mtar" given his similar looks to Jarok...
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Old November 14 2012, 11:47 PM   #11
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

KingDaniel wrote: View Post
Young Kirk listens to Beastie Boys' "Sabotage" in the last movie. What would have happened if he played "Intergalactic" instead??
Then this fabulous reference to TOS would have been lost:

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Old November 16 2012, 01:13 AM   #12
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

t_smitts wrote: View Post
Another example is Rain Robinson talking about the show "Mission: Impossible". If someone were to watch some of the later episodes of the show, would they notice one of the main characters resembles a certain Vulcan Ambassador?
One indication that Ms. Robinson doesn't live in our "real" universe would be the spacecraft model on display in her work area. It isn't a space shuttle, it's a DY spacecraft.

Yet, if someone in the 24th Century on Voyager were to access historical records on America's 44th president, how much of this would be present?
Other than Washington, Lincoln and FDR, we don't know who the American Presidents were in the Star Trek universe. After the events of the Eugenics War, would Obama for example have been elected to the Senate or the White House?

Were other Presidents mentioned on the show?

E-DUB wrote: View Post
In a "hardware" variation of this idea; Kirk's Enterprise was supposedly named after Archer's NX-01. The NX-01 was named for the Space Shuttle Enterprise, it was even followed by an NX-02, Colombia. And, as we all know, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was named for the fictional ship "Enterprise" from Stare Trek.
No, the NX-01 was named after the Enterprise E that Cochrane saw through his telescope, Deanna told him the name of the ship. Kirk's ship was named after a long line of American naval ships.

If the Enterprise (prime) were named specifically after the NX-01, then wouldn't the NX-01 have been present in the display of former Enterprises in TMP?

Debatably, prior to the events of FC, the NX-01 historically wasn't named Enterprise.

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Old November 16 2012, 05:48 AM   #13
t_smitts
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

Mr. Laser Beam wrote: View Post
I don't see any paradox at all.

I mean, does anyone complain when actors like Vaughn Armstrong play over a dozen roles? Those characters look alike (he's even played multiple members of the same race, i.e. Klingons) and yet nobody would think it odd.
T'Girl wrote: View Post
t_smitts wrote: View Post
Another example is Rain Robinson talking about the show "Mission: Impossible". If someone were to watch some of the later episodes of the show, would they notice one of the main characters resembles a certain Vulcan Ambassador?
One indication that Ms. Robinson doesn't live in our "real" universe would be the spacecraft model on display in her work area. It isn't a space shuttle, it's a DY spacecraft.

Yet, if someone in the 24th Century on Voyager were to access historical records on America's 44th president, how much of this would be present?
Other than Washington, Lincoln and FDR, we don't know who the American Presidents were in the Star Trek universe. After the events of the Eugenics War, would Obama for example have been elected to the Senate or the White House?

Were other Presidents mentioned on the show?

E-DUB wrote: View Post
In a "hardware" variation of this idea; Kirk's Enterprise was supposedly named after Archer's NX-01. The NX-01 was named for the Space Shuttle Enterprise, it was even followed by an NX-02, Colombia. And, as we all know, the Space Shuttle Enterprise was named for the fictional ship "Enterprise" from Stare Trek.
No, the NX-01 was named after the Enterprise E that Cochrane saw through his telescope, Deanna told him the name of the ship. Kirk's ship was named after a long line of American naval ships.

If the Enterprise (prime) were named specifically after the NX-01, then wouldn't the NX-01 have been present in the display of former Enterprises in TMP?

Debatably, prior to the events of FC, the NX-01 historically wasn't named Enterprise.

To those who ask why the NX-01 wasn't present among the pictures in TMP or the observation lounge on TNG, I'll point out that neither of those displays is complete: The TNG one doesn't include the shuttle, the sailing ship, or the eliptical ship.

Yes, other presidents have been mentioned, or referenced. Truman, for instance, was mentioned in "Little Green Men". Nixon, of course, in ST6. I think JFK was mentioned in "His Way". Several could be seen when the timeline restores itself in "Storm Front, Part 2", including Carter, Reagan, Clinton and both Bushes.

First of all, none of the Klingon characters Vaughn played have interacted with the same characters, nor did they live in the same centuries. Given the distinct difference in appearance of many aliens, I doubt the first thing most characters would notice would be a voice reminiscent of an individual from a completely different race.
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Old November 16 2012, 05:59 AM   #14
Greg Cox
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

Satyrquaze wrote: View Post
Another non-Trek example is that I've often wondered what comicbooks exist in the various universes of the comicbook companies. We know from several issues that characters like Superman and Captain America (Steve Rogers even was the artist on his own comic for a time) have their own comics licensed in-universe, but we're pretty certain that its not openly known that Superman is secretly this one mild-mannered reporter at a great metropolitan newspaper. So, how much is known about the characters personal lives and secret identities?...
There was a cute issue of CAPTAIN AMERICA many years ago that addressed the existence of the old b/w movie serial. According to the story, the real Cap agreed to the serial on the grounds that it would be good for wartime morale, but (as in real life) the serial changed his origin and secret identity because, of course, they couldn't give away Cap's real secret identity!

I also remember a bit, back when the Incredible Hulk TV show was on the air, where the real Bruce Banner was so upset to find out that his tragic story had been turned into a TV show that he Hulked out and attacked the set!
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Old November 16 2012, 06:47 AM   #15
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Re: Celebrity paradoxes

T'Girl wrote: View Post
No, the NX-01 was named after the Enterprise E that Cochrane saw through his telescope, Deanna told him the name of the ship. Kirk's ship was named after a long line of American naval ships.

If the Enterprise (prime) were named specifically after the NX-01, then wouldn't the NX-01 have been present in the display of former Enterprises in TMP?

Debatably, prior to the events of FC, the NX-01 historically wasn't named Enterprise.
Where is it stated that the NX-01 was named for the NCC 1701-E? The NX-01 has a "legacy" display just like other ships of the name Enterprise. So the implication is it was named or previous ships o that name.

No two legacy displays are the same. There are always "omissions" in every display.
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