Sunday, May 12, 2013

A Warning For The Present From The Past

Earlier today, I made an alarming discovery in the pocket of an old coat. It was an envelope marked, "DO NOT OPEN UNTIL 2010."

What's the meaning of this, I wondered. What could be inside this envelope? Should I open it and find out?

What if it contains important information about my recent past? Or my future? The consequences of that could be disastrous. Is that a risk I'd be willing to take? What if my life depended on it?

No! I refuse to accept the responsibility!

Minutes later, I changed my mind and tore open the envelope. I figured, What the hell?

Inside was a yellowed, well-worn, handwritten letter. Clearly, many years had passed since it was composed by its author. It was written in a Hollywood cafe, if the letterhead is any indication. Who would write me a letter from a Hollywood cafe? I had no guesses.

Rather than paraphrase the letter for you, I'll type out its contents in full:

Dear Shane,

For five years leading up to the events of my film "Back to the Future Part II," you may potentially be misled by countless doctored photos of the DeLorean's time circuit, displaying an inaccurate date when my character, Marty McFly, arrived in the future.

Please take whatever precautions are necessary to protect yourself from this terrible disaster.

Your friend,

Great Scott, he was right! And right again! And right once more! In fact, the hoax was revived just a few weeks ago. This is heavy.

So here I am to echo Michael's warning. Here's what you need to know to protect yourself from this terrible disaster. In Back to the Future Part II, Marty, who lives in the year 1985, time-travels 30 years into the future: October 21, 2015, to be precise. It's not an easy date to remember, I know. Just watch this clip every so often to remind yourself:

Even better, bookmark this real-time countdown to October 21, 2015.

Since I've addressed one falsehood about Back to the Future Part II, allow me to set the record straight on a few others:

-- Back to the Future Part II did not predict a real-life sweep by the Chicago Cubs of a team based in Miami in the World Series. That possibility does not exist because Chicago and Miami -- a city that did not have a franchise at the time of the movie's release -- both play in the National League. However, the film did accurately predict that Miami would trade its best players after the 1997, 2005, 2007, and 2012 seasons.

-- There is no such thing as a hoverboard. It has not been invented yet. Stop complaining about it. On the bright side, we have had the ice cream of the future for many years. I have tasted it at my local amusement park. It is delicious.

-- You may have noticed that in Back to the Future Part II, no one used the Internet in the year 2015. (Marty and Doc Brown got their news from something called a "newspaper.") The DeLorean, which could travel through time and, by this point in the trilogy, could also fly, wasn't even equipped with WiFi. That is because there will be no Internet in the year 2015. The movie got that part right. Sorry, folks, but this is what happens when you spread false memes about the Back to the Future films.

(For more on Back to the Future, click here.)

Saturday, May 4, 2013

How I Met Your Mother (Online)

How I Met Your Mother has been renewed for a ninth and final season. So, in the next year, we'll finally learn who the "mother" is.

I've only seen a handful of episodes of How I Met Your Mother, though I did find the show to be funny. I am, however, looking forward to the big reveal. In case you're unfamiliar with the premise of the show, the main character, Ted, recounts to his kids in the year 2030 how he met their mother. Each episode is a flashback narrated by Ted, whose voice is provided by Bob Saget.

If I were a writer for the show -- and again, I'm not an avid viewer -- I would steer this story line in one of two directions:

-- We learn in the finale that the mother -- it doesn't matter who it is -- is deceased. To help raise Ted's (Bob Saget's) kids, his brother-in-law and his best friend move into his home, setting up a reboot of Full House.  A new Uncle Jesse. A new Uncle Joey. A new Full House. Full circle for Bob Saget.

-- The mother is Suri Cruise.

What I like about either scenario is that it would reward the viewer with an unexpected but memorable payoff to the story line. If you're a fan who believes my ideas are too far-fetched, well, you've already invested eight years of your life in a show that wants us to believe it takes a father that long to tell his kids how he met their mother. Remember, it only took a 30-second theme song to explain how a man, a woman, and six kids all became the Brady Bunch.

I will say that after all these years on the air, How I Met Your Mother has made me realize I will, in all likelihood, never have a great "how I met your mother" story for my future children. I've never once had a relationship begin because I struck up a conversation with a stranger on the subway, or because I was introduced to an interesting woman at a party. Pretty much every romance I've experienced in my life evolved in a very organic, and boring, way. Certainly not in a way that could be retold in primetime.

Nearly every date I've had in the last three years was arranged through a website. If I marry in the not-so-distant future, it would likely be to a woman whom I've yet to discover on Not that that would be a problem for me, but it wouldn't exactly inspire a captivating tale for my children.

"Kids, I met your mom on the Internet. Her username was CutieGal1982. Hers was the 3,592nd profile I clicked on. I winked at her, she winked back, we got hitched. The end."

That story could only be stretched out on TV for two seasons, three seasons tops. And only with guest appearances from John Stamos or Suri Cruise.