Sunday, June 05, 2005

Teleporting Storylines

"The thing that hath been, it is that which shall be; and that which is done is that which shall be done: and there is no new thing under the sun." --Ecclesiastes 1:9

They say that every story has already been told hundreds of times over, that there really is nothing new under the sun. At times it can indeed seem that way when in search of things unprecedented, that certain feeling that it's all been done before.

Back at university, whenever the subject of storyline interplay or reference between separate texts arose, my theatre lecturer would invariably call on a popular television show to help explain the principals of intertextuality to us TV raised individuals, The Simpsons. Growing up with The Simpsons, it's amazing how often it is that a borrowed storyline or subtle reference to another work is only truly realised long after it has taken up residence in the mind as being attributed to a certain Simpsons episode.

The Treehouse of Horror episode Fly vs. Fly in which Homer buys a pair of teleportation pods leading to the fusion of Bart and a fly stands prominent in memory as one of the great Simpsons Halloween Specials, yet previously I had only a vague idea where that particular storyline came from. I've now just finished watching David Croneberg's 1986 version of The Fly, from which the idea was borrowed. This movie itself however is a remake of an earlier film. No doubt the storyline can be traced even further back in time.

How far do these stories stretch back? Could every modern day plot have its origins in times long past, primetime around a campfire in prehistory?

"Hey, they stole that from The Simpsons"


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