Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Crossovers

I love the narratives that make up our world. It's why I find history so interesting, meeting new people almost addictive, and fictional sagas and series (when they're done well) are engrossing because you get to really know the characters. Of course, books and television and movies only allow a limited view of a character's life (even Jasper Fforde's Thursday Next books which expand the fictional character's existence more than any other writer I know and could be, arguably, the greatest crossover series ever.) When we can see well-known characters in foreign surroundings, we get a whole new perspective on them and their personalities. Crossovers (established characters in a different but established environment) are a fun distraction when we, the audience, get too used to characters in a certain context and something exotic, whether it's a time or place setting, shaking things up gives us a fresh take on what we know.

 

Today's t-shirt is a belated birthday prezzie from my maid-of-honour-to-be Kerri and a product of the wonderful world of Threadless.com. Like Teefury, Threadless deals in original t-shirt design in small batch sales. Unlike Teefury's 24 hour window of opportunity, Threadless sells the shirts until they're gone so they may have a certain design for weeks or hours. Once the design is gone, potential buyers can request more and once they have enough requests, a new batch is produced.

Kerri picked this shirt for me knowing that the combo of 80s comedy flick (Bill and Ted) and the ongoing spacey/fantasy/sci-fi television franchise (Doctor Who) would be a winner. I have to admit that I've fallen REALLY far behind in my Doctor viewing but my intention to catch up one day is there. It may require a TARDIS but I'll get 'er done eventually. (Kerri also gave me my own heat-activated TARDIS in my birthday parcel)

Several of my favourite shows have done crossovers over the years. The most complicated was probably the C.S.I.:Trilogy in 2009, where one three-part story encompassed all three C.S.I. series whereas the most entertaining reciprocating crossover was the Eureka/Warehouse 13 exchange in 2010. However, the best crossover HANDS-DOWN was one that I only ever saw once as a child and when I told other people about it after the fact, I was met with disbelief. This happened so often, I started to doubt I had actually seen it at all. Thanks to the almighty Internet, I have been able to track down this episode - "Only Human" - of classic Transformers where a weapons dealer named "Snake" is actually Cobra Commander which is only revealed in the final scene where he falls to his knees and screams "COBRA!" to the sky. (Ok, yeah, that might be considered a spoiler if you have yet to see the episode from 1986 but by the standard of the Official Spoiler Rules, which everyone should watch at least once, I am safely beyond the statute of limitations). I challenge anyone to come up with a better crossover example. Or share your favourite. Sharing's fun. :)

In real life, crossing over contexts can be more complicated but just as novel. A job swap, a vacation exchange, a day of behind-the-scenes exploration... who wouldn't want to try something new with the security of knowing that they can always go back to the tried-and-true? Really, it's healthy to stretch our limits every so often. Our school has started a co-teaching endeavour this year and today was my first day in a hosted classroom. I just observed today's class but there is a certain amount of anticipation tinged with slight anxiety about taking on mainstream classes again even if it is for a temporary period. As a Learning Resource teacher, one gets used to being seen in a certain context and how one is perceived often dictates where a lesson or plan of action goes. That'll all change in a co-teaching context. Also, the position of Learning Resource Teacher affords a sort of anonymity in the school since we only teach a specific fraction of the student body. No more lurking once whole co-horts know my name. Wish me luck! (and maybe cross your fingers for a renewal too)