Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Night Lights, Parenthood and the Clone Universe

Since all of its primetime shows are on hiatus because of the Olympics, NBC is releasing webisodes for some of them (including Grimm, Parks and Recreation, and Parenthood). In the Parenthood webisode, "Friday Night at the Luncheonette,"Amber (Mae Whitman) struggles to control a recording session that she has booked and is recording on her own.

The premise seems ordinary and believable enough on the surface, but things are about to get really weird, because the band Amber has booked is Crucifictorious, the Christian metal band fronted by Landry Clarke on Friday Night Lights.

The incarnation of the band Landry brings to the Luncheonette has morphed into a folk-rock outfit, but the name is the same. What this means is that Parenthood and Friday Night Lights take place in the same fictional universe.

Remember when I said things would get weird? (It was two paragraphs ago.) Here's why. One of the lead characters on Friday Night Lights was Lila Garrity (Minka Kelly). A few years after FNL ended, Minka Kelly played Gaby, Max's behavioral therapist, on Parenthood.

It's not just her, either. Michael B. Jordan played quarterback Vince Howard on the last two seasons of FNL, and then had a recurring role as Alex, Haddie's boyfriend, on Parenthood.

And don't forget about Matt Lauria, who played Vince's teammate Luke Cafferty on FNL and Ryan, Amber's fiance, on Parenthood.

[Edit] an acquaintance on Facebook pointed out an even more blatant example: Derek Phillips played Billy Riggins on FNL (and in the Parenthood webisode), and also appeared on Parenthood as Billy Gardner, the best man at Crosby's wedding. Yet when Amber and Max, who were both at Crosby's wedding, see Billy Riggins at the Luncheonette, neither one recognizes him.

Remember: "Friday Night at the Luncheonette" clearly established that FNL and Parenthood exist in the same universe. How, then, can we explain the repeated paradox of two characters having the same body?

The answer is obvious, of course.


The only reasonable explanation for Lila/Gaby, Vince/Alex, Luke/Ryan, and Billy/Billy is that FNL and Parenthood are set in a world similar to that of Orphan Black, the BBC America show in which Tatiana Maslany plays multiple incarnations of a cloned woman. A few decades ago, for purposes yet unexplained, these inhabitants of the FNL/Parenthood universe were cloned, then transported to Texas and California, respectively.

It's too early to know if any of the clones will ever meet and/or attempt to eradicate the other in order to absorb their essence, but I think it's safe to say we will find out in season six of Parenthood.