Thursday, February 15, 2007

It's All Fine And Good Until It Happens To You...

As writers we're constantly begging, borrowing, stealing...from our lives. And especially in series television where you have to quickly come up with interesting and unique characters (usually secondary or guest roles). And it's a challenge to make these characters feel and sound unique each and every time. So you borrow from the lives and traits and quirks of your family and your friends and colleagues...the people you know. It's your 'go to' bag of tricks.

Over the years, I know I've named a lot of characters after friends of mine. And I'm sure I've borrowed a trait or two from someone I know and plugged it into 'the ornery detective' so as to flesh out his character a bit. It's okay, it's what we do...

So yesterday I was sick as a dog, and was watching with one eye 'Stargate SG:1' on the Space channel. And there was an episode on called 'Heroes' from Season 7 I believe. It was an unusual episode that ran outside the box a bit (which is prone to occur with most long running series - 'X Files' and 'Buffy' and 'Angel' all started turning themselves upside down after a while). It was framed around a reporter doing a documentary behind the scenes of SG:1 and thus mixed video/interview footage with dramatic footage. And this storyline was intercut with a SG:13 expedition mission over on a planet somewhere.

Anyway, the leader of this expedition was played by Adam Baldwin and his first scene began with his team arriving via a stargate and heading out to do some exploring.

And something in what the Baldwin character said or how he said it rang a faint bell for me.

Then he was referred to as Colonel Dixon. I sat up a bit. And then the following scene played out (lifted from the Gateworld: Stargate Transcripts website)...

Still offworld, SG-13 walk through some trees.

DIXON: Yeah, all night screaming, projectile vomiting, nuclear diapers. You have no idea. The reason they make them so damn cute is so you won't smother them in their sleep.

WELLS: Sir, you have four kids.

DIXON: Yeah, why do you think I love my job so much? Don't get me wrong I love the little buggers to death but trust me, having four kids makes going through the Stargate and facing off alien bad guys look like nothing. This is relaxing.

WELLS: Then why'd you have four?

DIXON: Well, one's pretty bad but you figure you got to have two so the little guy can have a brother or sister right? Then you have two boys and the wife says she wants a girl, so you figure, hell, three can't be much worse than two right? But you don't relise your brain is fried because you haven't slept and after three, four is no big deal. So then you're so deep in that nothing seems to matter anymore. It's chaos. You just try to make it through each day alive. In the end you spend all the energy you have left trying to get them into bed, only to lay awake praying they don't get hooked on drugs, hurt, or worse, wind up dead in an alley somewhere.

WELLS: Can't wait, sir.

DIXON: Ah miracle of birth my ass. I'll tell you what a miracle is...birth control that works.

SG-13 walk into a clearing. Before them is an ancient city.

DIXON: Well, I'll be damned.


And it seems pretty clear that Colonel Dixon is me. Or more or less based on me. I looked it up online and the episode was written by Rob C. Cooper...and years ago, Rob and I'd had a version of that very conversation when we worked together on 'Psi Factor' - a 'life with kids and when to have kids' discussion. He was yet to be a parent, I had just had numbers 3 & 4 (twins).

"Hey, that's my life you're talking about here, pal?"

Oh right, Beg, borrow, and's what what we do.

Anyway, it was kinda cool...a compliment of sorts - but the episode was a two parter...a 'To Be Continued'. I presume Rob was paying his respects by naming the character after me, but until I watch Part 2, I don't know if Colonel Dixon gets to be 'a hero' and is reunited with his kids? Or is he the goat or bum or even worse, gets his ass shot off by the Goa'ulds.

We shall see.


Emily Blake said...

Well now you know who'd play you in the movie version of your life. Clearly it's a hot guy, so that's a compliment for sure.

Diane Kristine said...

And it took you a few years to notice? The poor guy's probably been waiting since it originally aired for you to get the joke/homage.

Heart Of Darkness said...

I'd take it as a compliment, but that's just me... maybe best to wait for the other part of the episode... :)

Kelly J. Compeau said...

Same thing happened with me and Dick Wolf. Years ago I told him about a tragic and violent event that I had endured when I was 12 years old. About a year later, I saw that event played out almost verbatim on an episode of L&O:SVU.

I also use friends, family and professional associates as source material for stories. All three of my sisters will be mentioned in the pilot episode of The Black Tower.


CAROLINE said...

Will, he obviously thinks you are a genius and that you rock. Nice little tribute, especially from a friend. Though he is probably wondering why you've never mentioned it. See, you are good enough and smart enough, and gosh darn it, people like you. :-)

PS Hope you are feeling better.