Overall Rating: 9.7
This episode is so META!!!! The writers like to step back and make fun of themselves when they hit a milestone. This one, Citizen Joe, and 200 are all classics because this production team doesn't take itself too seriously and knows that, in the end, their entertainment venue is about creating joy.
Remember the guy from "Point of No Return"? Well he's back, and this time...he's making a super-awesome sci-fi adventure show called Stargate SG-1...err...I mean Wormhole X-treme! Need I say more? In case you wanted the full details, they can be found at the Stargate Wiki.
You know you've written something remarkable when the script is completely loaded with inside jokes and yet the entire audience seems to laugh at all the right moments. You know why this show works as well as it does? Not only does it prove that the writers have a good understanding of the fan base and a true fondness for their product...that they're having fun with their jobs!...it also demonstrates that they know where they stand in the grand scheme of things. They are entertainers, not snooty artists. Even when they rise to the challenge of producing something that is legitimately artistic...even though the quality of the product they produce is outstanding!...they still feel like simple entertainers muddling through the creative process with a real sense of proportion. They get paid to be nerdy sci-fi storytellers...and they are thankful every day that they had this chance.
This episode is so wonderfully funny because it shows the heart and soul of it's creators (a real sense of wonder and joy for their fortune at getting to do all of this for pay), the chaos of the production (and the reasons that making a show like Stargate is one big compromise), and the miracle that is a successful franchise. So many things have to go right for any show to be a winner...so many people with different visions and egos have to mesh together and get along. The great thing about Stargate...the entire staff gets along. This despite the knowledge that Michael Shanks is a bit of a prima donna, Robert Cooper is known to be a bit of a control freak, and Peter DeLouise can't keep a straight face even in the most important of moments.
Listen to the commentary track on the DVD for this episode if you get the chance...they talk all about how many of the jokes in this script were just for them...how often they were just cracking each other up...and yet how the fans loved every minute of it. It's nice to see that some television personalities are overwhelmed by ego. It really is.
It is blinkin' hard to be this funny...but you do it by knowing your audience and actually listening to their questions and quibbles...and by writing about what you know (your own craft). This script is a love letter to us, the fans, to their own good fortune, and to the entire Stargate franchise. We love you too!
Peter DeLouise can ACT a little! He's not just a producer/director/occasional writer/comic...no no...this guy can play the egocentric director like there's no tomorrow...and yes this is actually acting. He's NOTHING like his persona in this episode. All interviews suggest that he's a lighthearted sound-stage clown and has a lot of respect for outside viewpoints. Meanwhile, Willie Garson is back for another round of understated, brilliant comic acting as the frustrated creator with no control over his own idea. I love that all of the guys who are usually just behind the scenes got to do some acting this time around. It really was the perfect decision.
The message here is simple...we nerds get very wrapped up in defining what shows like Stargate mean...what messages they send...whether the details make sense...here at RightFans we even fall victim to sometimes taking things too seriously. Sometimes it helps to remember that they're just trying to make a little magic and tell some fun stories. TV is supposed to be life-affirming, fun and stimulating, not a contest of egos and wills. These guys know it...they really do think of themselves as average Joe staffers getting paid to shoot fake ray guns at foam rocks. That's a wonderful thing.
Look for the highlights under the cut!
MARLOWE as DANNING
Hurry up, Major! We need that force shield!
REESE as MONROE
(playing with a small handheld prop)
I'm trying, sir. But something's nullifying the electrolyte composite on the shield generator!
GUNNE as LEVANT
Try reversing the polarity!
["Monroe" nods and plays with the prop some more. She shakes her head.]
It's not working!
What do you mean, it's not working?!?
I MEAN, it's not working!
God help us!
PETER DELUISE playing THE DIRECTOR
[The actors collapse to the ground, shaking and spasming as if being electrocuted until completely limp. Marlowe takes the longest before growing still.]
And…cut! (you know...I'm guessing Peter DeLouise has done this exact thing many times while shooting SG-1...it's hilarious. :D )
Prepare for an X-Treme adventure. Four X-cellent heroes in an X-traordinary new sci-fi series! Starring Nick Marlowe as the wry Colonel Danning…
[Individual shots appear of each cast member firing their weapon and diving forward from the star portal's ramp which bears a huge orange and red "X". The image changes to Marlowe as Danning in poorly coordinated hand-to-hand combat with thugs played by Andy Mikita and John Lennock.]
(as the last "thug" falls)
As a matter of fact, it DOES say Colonel on my uniform.
[Marlowe as Danning and Nikki Smook (executive producer Michael Greenburg's wife) as a very tall alien woman exchange smoldering looks as the other main cast members watch in the background. Danning grabs the woman by the shoulders.]
Hey! It's what I do. (hilarious...seriously hilarious)
[He stands on tip-toes and kisses her.]
[O'Neill raises his eyebrows, leaning his chin in his hand, looking bored.]
Yolanda Reese as the brilliant Major Stacey Monroe…
[The other cast members hurry out of frame as the camera centers on Reese as Monroe studying a large prop alien control panel.]
The positronic field emitters are off-line, but I can compensate by generating a feedback loop. (LOL!!)
[Carter looks bemused.]
Raymond Gunne as Doctor Levant…
[Gunne as Levant and Marlowe as Danning are crouched by some rocks.]
Damn it, Colonel! Just because they're aliens and their skulls are transparent doesn't mean that they don't have rights! (ROTFLSHIAD!!!)
[Levant pants heavily and furrows his eyebrows.]
[Daniel bites his lip and furrows his eyebrows.] (no guys...seriously...this is f***ing hysteical...the duplicate facial expressions...oh it just kills me)
[The camera shots are now individual close ups on each of the three introduced characters, who each turn and place their hands on their hips dramatically.]
And introducing Douglas Anders as Grell the Robot.
[There is a zoom in on Anders as Grell, who is covered in silver makeup with a strange diamond shape on his forehead. He frowns heavily at the camera and starts to lift an eyebrow.]
[Teal'c cocks his head and raises an eyebrow.] (LOL!!)
[The four characters exit the gate ramp through a shimmering dark blue field, very similar in shape and texture to the Stargate event horizon. A gaudy graphic depicting the Wormhole X-Treme logo takes up the entire foreground of the screen.]
Wormhole X-Treme. Coming this fall, only on—
[Hammond clicks off the video. The projection screen automatically retracts and the lights come on. Hammond spins in his chair to face SG-1.]
Well, that looked…familiar.
I don't see it.
Martin's involved in this?
He sold the idea to the studio. He is currently working on the production as a creative consultant.
Then Martin Lloyd has seriously breached your security.
What? He obviously got the whole thing from his knowledge of the Stargate program.
Well, if the Air Force didn't want it to happen, they wouldn't have let it go this far.
Plausible deniability. In the event of a future breach of security, we'll be able to point to this television program…that is, if it stays on the air. (hee!)
(with fake smile)
Oh, they went with green? Okay. Well, it looks good. Great.
[The two walk off as Martin still maintains the fake smile. Props Guy walks by carrying a bowl full of apples and a pineapple.]
(to Props Guy)
Whoa-whoa-whoa. What is that?
It's fruit. Scene 23.
Okay, Scene 23 takes place on another planet, so you think aliens eat apples?
Why not? They speak English.
Get some kiwis and spray paint them red.
(pulling a script out of his pocket)
Okay, so now it'll go, uh: "Nick walks into the garden of kiwi trees, says 'how like Eden this world is' and bites into a painted kiwi."
Okay, um, you're the prop master, right? That means you're a "master" of props. You figure it out. (how many times have Stargate producers/directors encountered situations like this? I love that Martin has absolutely no freakin' control over his creation at this point...he's scrambling to be OK with every change to his creative vision...LOL)
(shaking his head)
Sorry. Listen, I've got a concept meeting in ten minutes, and if I'm not there I'm on time, well… well they start without me. (L)L!!) But come back tomorrow, and I'll…I'll show you around.
[Martin walks off. O'Neill waits until he's out of sight and enters Martin's trailer.]
[Nearby, another small explosion is set off. The Director slumps in disappointment.]
No. Look at my lips. Big-ger. (LOL!)
I cannot thank you enough, Colonel. It's been many bleems since my people were enslaved by the minions of Lord Varlock.
Hey, it's what I do-do.
[As he leans over to kiss the "princess", he trips over an alien, stumbling into the actress.]
Aw, this isn't working!
[A bell sounds and the clapper claps the board in front of Marlowe's face. The actress places her hands on her hips, annoyed, as Marlowe stumbles off the set. O'Neill watches as the Director meets up with Marlowe.]
Okay, we're cut.
Nick, what's up?
(cautiously walking over the extras)
This is SUPPOSED to be a love scene, and we're walking through all these dead aliens!
Uh, right. Well, it's continuity; you've just killed them all.
[He touches up Marlowe's breath with an atomizer as makeup works with the actress playing the princess.]
Yeah, yeah, well can't-can't-cant we walk somewhere else?
Well, Nick, there is no "somewhere else." This is the planet we have, between here and here.
(indicates the space with his hands)
That's all the set there is. And the reality of the scene dictates that there be dead aliens because you just killed them.
[While the Director is speaking, SG-1 writer/producer Robert C. Cooper and Martin pass O'Neill and approach the set.]
We could always go back to the way it was in the script…
No, we can't. We've already established that one shot stuns, and two shots kills. Nick just shot everybody twice.
So, three shots disintegrates them!
(approaches Martin and speaking low)
OK, you know what? I'm going to pretend you didn't say that, because that is quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard you say. (at this point...I'm barely able to see the screen from the tears of laughter)
Can we do this?
[A bell rings and Marlowe turns to retake his place on the set. O'Neill notices the show's large "X" emblem is a patch on Marlowe's back and furrows his eyebrows. Martin notices O'Neill's expression.]
The "X". I know what you're thinking. Um, it's a marketing thing. You see, I wanted to call the show "Going to Other Planets", but Research says that shows with "X" in the name get higher ratings. (both names are HORRID...heh!)
Ah, Miss Reese.
Uh, I'm having a little trouble with Scene 27. It says that I'm "out of phase" which means that I can pass my hand through solid matter, or I can walk through walls.
Yeah, yeah, that's right, because you're "out of phase."
[The Director nods, chewing gum as Martin smiles confidently.]
So, how come I don't fall through the floor? (INORITE???!!!)
[The Director stops chewing gum and Martin's face falls. Reese leans on the boxes a bit more and smiles sweetly. There are several seconds of silence. Martin and the Director exchange looks, then stare at Reese again with "deer in headlights" looks.]
(unsuccessfully trying to sound confident)
We're going to have to get back to you on that one.
Look, I know it says he's weightless, but look what happens when I scratch out the word "weightless".
(he does so with a flourish)
You see, he no longer becomes weightless, he just "becomes."
Okay. Fine. Good. But, eh, how else does Colonel Danning get past the giant alien guard?
Why doesn't he just…shoot him?
[Everyone looks at him.]
Who is this?
Colonel Jack O'Neill.
He's the new Air Force technical advisor. He doesn't know he's not supposed to say anything yet.
[O'Neill looks at Martin in surprise.]
And you're telling me an Air Force officer can shoot a giant alien without having to be weightless?
Sure. Why not?
You know, I'd like to hear "sure, why not" a little more around here. Now, the spaceship in Scene 53…
[He makes a cutting motion across his neck with his hand and shakes his head.]
We have to see the ship; it's crucial to the episode!
Well, we're going to see it in their reactions. It's like, "Oh, my god, look at that ship. It's…indescribable."
[He frames his head with his hands to indicate the camera angle would be on the actors.]
All right, if you can do it for $5,000.00 less, you can keep it in. Are we done? I have a tee time.
Eh, Marty has a problem with a scene in Act Three.
Oh, is that a fact, Marty?
You have two-way travel through a wormhole.
[He shrugs and looks at the Director, who also shrugs and mouths "I know".]
That's impossible! Matter can only move one way through an open wormhole. The scene is…scientifically unsound.
Okay, show of hands. Who here has won a Cable Ace award, hmm?
(he raises his own hand while the others roll their eyes and look away.)
(He begins to walk off, then stops as he passes O'Neill)
Oh, nice save with the shooting the giant alien being. Clever!
Fire in the hole!
[A large blast of flames six feet across rises several feet in the air as everyone turns and looks. O'Neill watches and hangs up his phone, placing it back in his pocket]
BIGGER! What is it about the word "bigger" that you don't understand?!?
Princess, I've seen a lot over the years, the crystal rivers of Erridel, the blue volcanoes of Kashtorr Rama, even the Starfires of Grablax Six…
(he grasps the "princess" by the shoulders.)
None of it compares to you.
[They kiss. A cell phone begins to ring. Crew members look around, grumbling.]
[A bell rings.]
What was that? Who was that?!?
[The actress looks disgusted.] - (This right here...is why this scene is hilarious)
I want a name!
[Crew members wrap a cloak around the actress, who is rubbing her teeth with her finger. A tail slate is clapped in front of Marlowe.]
(raising his hand)
It's me. Sorry, Nick.
I'm sure it's important.
[O'Neill reaches Martin as the executives get in the limousine.]
You got a second?
(pausing by the limo's door)
Oh, now's not really a good time. I'm supposed to have…
[While Martin speaks, Network Exec #2 closes the door to the limousine, and it drives off.]
Okay, now's good. (LOL...aww...poor series creator...)
This is really bad.
They're shooting the big finale this afternoon. I have to be there.
Yeah, I can see how that would be high on your list of priorities right now.
Couldn't you have dealt with these guys on your own? Did you have to drag me into it?
Marty! You are the reason we're here.
Oh, don't start with that outer space stuff again.
Martin, the vitamins you've been taking are laced with a chemical that's been suppressing your memory. I had 'em analyzed.
Okay, fine. I'm an alien. Whatever.
They are aliens too. They're from your planet.
Okay, that is the stupidest Act Four opening ever. You should stick with the Air Force, Colonel. A writer, you're not. (ROTFL!)
(calling for clarification from the director)
Where's this from?
Scanning with the quatra scanner.
[Reese looks down at her belt.]
I don't have the scanner.
Don't stop rolling!
Kenny, run, you underpaid, below-the-line freak! (LOL!)
You used a real alien device as a prop on the show?
Well, I'd forgotten what it was at the time. Besides, do you have any idea what it costs to make one of these things?
[He shakes a prop to emphasize his statement, which looks like Urgo's gun.]
Can I help you?
We're looking for the quatra scanner.
Uh-uh. It's at the location.
Somebody put it in the scene at the last minute.
I don't know. I just do my job, man.
Cool special effect.
I've seen better.
Ah, we'll fix it in post. (heh!)
Yeah. So, you think we can get eighteen in?
[Wright glances at his watch as he and Greenburg walk closer to where the crew is gathered.]
Yeah, if we cut back on the Mulligans…You think that's funny?
Yeah, that's good enough for a walk away.
When's a good time to fade out?
Eh, right about…now.
FADE OUT (AWESOME!!!!)
I'm Christian Bocher. I'm portraying the character of Raymond Gunne, who portrays the character of Dr. Levant, which is based on the character Daniel Jackson, portrayed by the actor Michael Shanks, originally portrayed by the actor James Spader…in the feature film. (hee!)
Wormhole X-Treme. It's space. You can do anything in space. You know, the space…you've got the space between your teeth, the space—personal space…
You know, it doesn't say "colonel."
Did anyone ever think of that?
(trying to spray more water on him)
Um, it's just a figure of speech.
[The Director moves off camera.]
Well, it's a figure of speech that I can't figure out, because I'm not seeing "colonel" on my uniform. (LOL!)
(just watch this episode...you will thank me later)