I’ve decided I hate name dropping films. No matter how much I love the subject of a film, or a television show, their shark jump is almost always a trip back in time, or for period films/shows, being set in the past, because this leaves the path clear for period name dropping.
If you’re not familiar with period name dropping, it’s when anything set in the past,- weither it be flashback, time travel, or just the show’s time period -, paves the way for someone from the cast to meet a historical or legendary figure and somehow be the single person to shape their destiny. There were a lot of good shows that employed this technique, like The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., which starred the incomparible Bruce Campbell and John Asten, as well as a slew of other great actors. Another show this horrible flaw spread to was Xena, then Star Trek ( especially TNG ) and The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles.
It drives me absolutely up the wall that some writer would have the balls to have Xena point Mary and Joseph on their way, Sam Beckett nearly blow up Hitler, or have Henry Jones Jr.’s governess take him and new friend Norman Rockwell out to a puppet show, an act that will eventually lead to Norman making a sketching that Picasso signs and Indie fraudulently sells. Do we see a pattern? Indeed, the only time I’ve ever seen this sort of integration happen where it didn’t royally eat my lunch was in The Last Crusade, when Hitler took Henry Sr.’s diary out of Indie’s hand in a horrible moment of tension and then signs it with his autograph – which was so spot on, it may as well have really happened.