Powered by i.TV
August 22, 2014

And Still More Fanesia Moments: Conan, 'The West Wing,' and Barney Fife

by Bob Sassone, posted Apr 8th 2010 5:03PM
ConanSeveral years ago on this very blog I introduced the concept of fanesia. That's not a new soft drink or an 'American Idol' contestant, it actually stands for 'fan amnesia,' those TV moments that we refuse to acknowledge even happened on our favorite shows. Past examples I've used have included Fitzwallace dying on 'The West Wing,' the last episode of 'Seinfeld,' Mark dying on 'ER,' and 'Will & Grace' not speaking to each other for years in their final episode. In my mind, those things never happened on those shows.

Here are four more. Let us know your favorite Fanesia moments in the comments.

1. Conan gets 'The Tonight Show.' Conan O'Brien got screwed over by NBC (and Jay Leno's 10PM show), that's clear. But he should have never gotten 'The Tonight Show.' It wasn't the right show for the way Conan does comedy and variety. If Conan didn't get the show, then we wouldn't have had seven months of his slow death on the show and all of the news stories and Jay's interview with Oprah and everything else that happened. This isn't a pro-Leno stance, it's just that I don't think Conan was right for 'Tonight.' Heck, if I had my druthers Letterman would have gotten the show in the early 90s.

The funny twist? NBC actually is trying to make it seem like Conan's 'Tonight Show' never happened, but for entirely different reasons.

West Wing2. C.J. became White House Chief of Staff. 'The West Wing' made several bad decisions after Aaron Sorkin left (I like to refer to them as "seasons five and six"), but this one really stands out because it changed the entire tone of the show. Smart, funny, goofy but professional, endearing press secretary C.J. Cregg becomes the second most powerful person in The White House? Uh, sorry, not only did that not make sense it meant that C.J. couldn't be in the press room anymore, and that's where a lot of great 'West Wing moments happened. So in my mind she stayed on as press secretary and someone else became Chief of Staff (another fanesia wish would be that it was Leo, but we all know why that couldn't have happened).

Guiding Light3. Amanda Spaulding is Brandon Spaulding's daughter. OK, if you weren't a 'Guiding Light' fan (and one who watched the show years ago and not just recently) you might want to skip over this one. Back in the late 70s/early 80s, in one of the most riveting plots in soap opera history, we found out that Alan Spaulding had fathered Amanda Wexler with Jennifer Richards (the woman who raised Amanda, Lucille, was an obsessed, murderous nut). Then, in the mid-90s, through a plot way too convoluted to go into here, we found out that Brandon Spaulding, Alan's dad, was Amanda's real dad. This was an insane plot twist that made no sense, and further more wasn't even that important to the story, which made fans even more incensed. It was such a deranged decision by the writers that it's a plot twist that never happened.

Also in my mind, Amanda never ran a brothel either, but that's another rant.

Don Knotts4. Barney leaves Mayberry. I bought the 'Andy Griffith Show' DVD sets, but only the first five seasons. Why? Because after that Barney leaves town and the show not only went color it got 10,000 times worse. It wasn't as funny, it wasn't as warm, and all of the characters that were fine in supporting roles (Goober, Howard, etc.) suddenly became front and center and were just off-putting. Even Andy didn't seem as good and wise as he was in the black and white episodes. So in my mind, the show stops at season five and Barney is still deputy.

It's funny, but some developments in the color episodes were even ignored when they made the 'Return to Mayberry' movie in the 80s. The son that Andy and Helen had late in the series isn't even mentioned.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

16 Comments

Filter by:
Nancy

Lisa never married Johnny Johnson on "Newsradio."

Nope, never happened. After Jimmy & Co relocated to New Hampshire, Dave was lonely and followed. Shortly thereafter, he and Lisa rekindled their relationship.

And they all lived happily ever after.

Yep. That's what happened.

April 09 2010 at 6:34 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
kates2424

i have so many fanesias i can't possibly list them all but a few of my standouts:

christopher being killed by tony on the last season of the sopranos
warwick being killed of on CSI ( and I still pretend that Grissom is coming back, it's the only way I can watch the show lately)
and randy (or whatever his name was) on the last seasons of that 70s show. and jackie's talk show

April 09 2010 at 11:21 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
segsig

Love that you have CJ as COS on here, because before the jump when I read the Fitz part I thought - no, the one moment that didn't happen on WW was CJ/COS!

Also, I think that Amanda storyline is what drove me away from GL. Though that could have been Allison Janney's maid too!

April 09 2010 at 3:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mark

What are you talking about? In the context of the show, CJ was an excellent choice as CoS. According to the show's rules, CoS has to be filled by someone who can stand up to the person that they are working for. Thus Leo, thus Amy Gardner for the first lady, hhis Josh for Santos and thus CJ for Bartlett after Leo left. In the universe of the show, no one, not even Oliver Babbish, had the ability to stare down the president and say "you're wrong here!".

Now, in real life, that's not how it works, but then again, that's true of nearly every aspect of the show. Doesn't matter, the show laid down its own rules and followed them in the manner most appropriate.

April 08 2010 at 10:57 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Guess Who

I could write a book on this topic - I'm cheating a bit with the premise, but a few standouts for me:

On "Family Ties" Alex doesn't end up with Ellen (or Lauren).

On "Bewitched" Larry never makes Darrin a partner - no McManon, Tate and Stevens.

On "The Wonder Years" Kevin doesn't end up with Winnie and his father dies (realistic but come on).

The entire final season of BSG never happened for me.

"Pushing Daisies" was NOT canceled.

...and one from a feature film (based on a TV Show) Spock and Uhura are not a couple.

April 08 2010 at 10:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Tim McCleese

Bob, you are right on the money with "The Andy Griffith Show". Barney proved to be the keystone of that series. When he (Don Knotts) left the show, it was never the same. I wonder while he lived, if Don Knotts regretted the decision to leave. I suppose we will never know. The first five seasons....truly classic.

April 08 2010 at 9:58 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Sarah

LOST, Season 3, episode: Expose. Nikki & Paulo. nuff said.

Law & Order: Special Victims Unit; Olivia was almost raped. That was kinda too scary to watch.

April 08 2010 at 8:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Xolus

Fred dying and being possessed by Illyria in season 5 of Angel

April 08 2010 at 8:07 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Professor Zed

Andy and Helen never did have a son during "The Andy Griffith Show". In fact, they never even married during the show. It was in the spin-off series, "Mayberry RFD" with Ken Berry as the lead, that Andy and Helen got married (in the first episode) and a year later, the baby arrived. Andy Griffith was only a guest on those episodes. There are some really good episodes in the 6th, 7th and 8th seasons. Also some really pitiful episodes. I also stick with the first 5 seasons most of the time. The Andy/Barney combo made the show.

April 08 2010 at 8:04 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Amy

I never knew that Andy and Helen had a son. That's how little I have watched the color episodes. I was thinking of just buying the first five seasons but I think the DVD of "Return to Mayberry" is only available in the complete series set. I usually don't watch reunion movies but I adore that one.

April 08 2010 at 6:44 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners