7 Sitcom Crossovers That Weren’t Satisfying to Either Shows’ Audience
Long before the Marvel Cinematic Universe had the Hulk showing up in Thor movies or multiple Peter Parkers stopping by Tom Holland’s version of the Spiderverse, sitcoms pioneered the art of characters from one comedy narrative popping into another’s. Sometimes, the results are as hilarious as they are unexpected. But in the case of these seven crossovers, everyone would have been better off staying in their own three-walled apartments.
Seinfeld/Mad About You
This one sort of made sense, given that the Buchmans and Jerry all lived in a somewhat tonally consistent version of New York (unlike the fantasy land of, say, Friends). The fact that Kramer was subletting Paul’s old place on an episode of Mad About You — were Paul and Jerry ever neighbors? — made a certain kind of organic sense.
But what are we supposed to make of George and his girlfriend watching Mad About You in bed on an episode of Seinfeld (at the end of the clip below)? Does Paul exist in the Seinfeld universe, or is he a TV character there as well? My head hurts just thinking about it. (To add to the confusion, Paul runs into the real Jerry Seinfeld on a later episode of Mad About You.)
Seriously, what the hell? It’s not that weird to see David Boreanaz show up dressed as an aurora borealis in a Family Guy hallucination, but what to make of Stewie Griffin’s cameo on Bones? And if Fox had to do it (they didn’t have to do it), couldn’t they have dreamed up a better plot than the toddler asking Booth to give him a peek of sperm-bank porn?
Full House/Family Matters
From a comedy standpoint, this works — there’s no problem believing that the Tanners and the Winslows live in the same sitcom town (even though the shows are set in San Francisco and Chicago). But if Stephanie was really worried about looking like a total dork in glasses, wasn’t there someone better than four-eyed Urkel to convince her otherwise?
Both sitcoms had female leads and… that’s about all they had in common. There’s nothing about Eddy and Patsy stepping into the Conner-verse that makes sense, and even Jennifer Saunders agrees, telling Graham Norton that the guest spot was “very bizarre.” The Halloween episode became “a sort of Ab Fab meets Roseanne. It was a very weird experience. We were quite confused.”
Cosby/Becker/Everybody Loves Raymond/The King of Queens
The worst sitcom crossovers are the multi-show stunts designed to… convince advertisers to spend another 10 grand? The storytelling gymnastics necessary to pull them off are often unbelievable, as in this four-episode travesty that required each of the sitcoms’ stars to suffer some kind of injury before finally ending up in Becker’s waiting room. It’s a very long set-up to an extremely lame punchline.
Coach/The Drew Carey Show/Ellen/Grace Under Fire
Another convoluted four-fer, conceived by a marketing department desperate for ratings. (By all accounts, it didn’t even work to drive up viewers.) The idea was the casts of all four shows ended up in Vegas on the same night, with Carey stumbling through all four episodes. Because the night’s sitcoms had extremely different comic tones, the crossover was a mess.
Speaking of tone shifts, whose bright idea was it to transplant doctors from life-or-death emergency room scenarios into a double date with Monica and Rachel? Add in a case of mistaken identity fueled by insurance fraud, and could it be any more disjointed? I will give it this: The episode featured some of the decade’s most iconic haircuts.