Will in The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air died on that basketball court in West Philadelphia. Alien and Blade Runner take place in the same universe. Batman Forever and Batman and Robin are actually movies made within the Batman universe after Bruce Wayne's secret identity was revealed.
These are theories that fans have developed about adult television programs and movies. But inventive and somewhat crazy fans have also spun out hidden connections and explanations for children's television programs. Here are eight good ones.
1. The Count, a vampire, rules Sesame Street. He feeds upon the children and enslaves the adults. Here are some of the arguments that Mighty God King makes to advance this theory:
FACT. The child cast of Sesame Street changes frequently and widely. You rarely see the same kids on the show for more than three or four episodes.
FACT. However, the adult cast of Sesame Street changes very, very rarely.
FACT. Everybody seems to take the fact that a vampire is wandering a New York City street with surprising calm.
Plato uses the sun and light to represent knowledge, truth, and reason many places in his works -- light allows us to see objects for what they really are rather than in the darkness, and the sun is the source of all light. Plato also emphasizes that true reason is something humans can never fully obtain, but it is something we can work for -- Kallipolis, the ideal city he envisions, is a fantasy that we can move towards, but we can never achieve. As imperfect rational beings, we don't know how to get there.
"Sunny days, sweepin' the clouds away. Can you tell me how to get to Sesame Street?"
Now, what about the philosopher ruler who must pass on his wisdom in order to educate and enlighten the world not overtly, but subtly. In the allegory, the enlightened individual who saw the light of the sun can only achieve this through creating shadowy illusions on the cave wall. However, there are many other "puppet masters" making shadows on the wall for the prisoners to watch, and they deceive and conjure things untruthfully and without reason. The enlightened one, however, because of the inevitability of his rejection were he to convey his reason directly, must use this shadowy mode of illusory puppeteering to get his message across by meager demonstration.
And that is what Sesame Street is -- the shadows on the wall, demonstrations of how we might live in a harmonious society. It's given to us at a young age through television by it's enlightened creators so that we might adapt to and absorb its positive message. Thank you, Sesame Street.
3. Do you remember Gargamel, the archnemesis of the Smurfs? He has a spell that will let him turn Smurfs into gold--provided that he has at least six Smurfs. This is among his motivations to hunt them. At other times, he wants to destroy them just to rid the world of their happiness or to eat them. Why would Gargamel want to eat the Smurfs? Because their flesh is an addictive hallucinagenic. CoCoa explains:
The Smurfs live in houses made og hollowed out mushrooms, they hollow out the mushrooms by eating the insides of it.
Psilocybin is the chemical compund in mushrooms that causes hallucinations. [...] Garagamel wants to eat the Smurfs because they are pure concentrated Psilocybin.
4. The visual style of Dora the Explorer reflects a computer game. Characters ask viewers to click on items as though they're holding computer mice. Why? Because Dora the Explorer is a computer game. Specifically, it's a training program inside the Portal universe. Redditor agoyalwm explains:
Dora as a program is obsessed with process completion, no matter what. Through her, the Labs teach subjects that giving up is never an option, but rather that there is always a way through a problem, even if it requires unconventional thinking. The program also teaches subjects that Aperture equipment will always be their way out--Dora's best friend and supporter, "Boots," is a personification of the shock absorbing boots that subjects use to get through tests, as are most other characters.
There's also the side initiatives and HR pushes visible in the program--"Swiper" is a character because at the time the program was created, Aperture was especially concerned about industrial espionage and patents getting out--so they included a strong anti-theft theme in the program to teach subjects to watch for such activity. Aperture's mid-2000s diversity push and effort to "teach employees to compete in the global economy," is in typical Aperture fashion a halfhearted attempt to encourage employees and test subjects to become bilingual and accepting of diversity.
Finally, there's the reward system--at the conclusion of each episode, Dora gets to dance and celebrate with her friends, and sometimes eat. Aperture similarly hosted test subject parties where subjects could congregate and congratulate each other on their continued survival. However, over time GLaDOS was less able to provide such an opportunity as the labs were abandoned and her memory faded. Thus, when we see GLaDOS in Portal, she is only able to provide the reward from Season 3, Episode 20: cake.
5. Dennis P. Quinn, however, focuses on the role of Swiper the Fox. The primary villain of Dora the Explorer, Quinn argues, represents demonic forces--especially in the Judeo-Christian cultural context:
The fox holds a peculiar place within our collective consciousness. In Aesop’s Fables, the fox is often the trickster, and a dangerous one at that. Take for example the story of the Hare and the Fox, when, after the fox invited him to experience his culinary arts, the unfortunate rabbit discovers that he is the main course. Indeed, the fox appears throughout world cultures as a trickster, often with sinister implications. The common English expression “like a fox” implies both sly and powerful; Jimi Hendrix’s “Foxy Lady” made him “wanna get up and scream!” [...]
The formula, “Swiper, no swiping!” even has precedence in Greco-Roman and Judeo-Christian demonology. In the pre-modern world, as well as in the modern magical tradition, the knowledge of a demon’s name meant the ability to have powers over it. For example, the Testament of Solomon (written before the 3rd century CE) is filled with interactions between Solomon and demons. One demon in particular, which Solomon learns is named Ornias, attempts to “swipe” money and food from the master artisan of the Temple. Once Solomon learns the demon’s name, he easily thwarts his plans.
Demons in antiquity could also take possession of humans and run away with them. Take, for example, Mark 5:9, when Jesus meets the man who was taken by demons to the tombs in the country of the Gerasenes. Before he can properly expel the evil presence in the man, Jesus asks, “What is your name,” to which the demons replied, “My name is Legion.” It is at this point that Jesus gains control of the demons, expelling them into nearby pigs, which subsequently drown themselves in a lake. This exorcist formula has strong cultural modern resonances as well. Recall in the film The Exorcist when Father Karras first meets Regan, the possessed girl tied to her bed, and asks the name of the person inside her: “I am the Devil, now kindly undo these straps!” Of course, Dora already knows the name of her “demon” and so they can easily repel Swiper with the command to stop before he can swipe anything—and no one needs to commit suicide by jumping from a bedroom window.
6. Pregnant female rabbits sometimes reabsorb their unborn kits. Max and Ruby from the show and children's book series of the same name are two such kits. A few redditors developed an interesting theory: Max and Ruby are dead. Their existence on the show takes place in the rabbit afterlife. Their parents are absent because they're still alive. Their grandmother, however, is with them because she, too, is dead.
7. You may have already encountered fan theories about SpongeBob SquarePants, such as that Bikini Bottom is the result of nuclear testing or that SpongeBob is the most intelligent character on the show. But here's one that's new to me: each of the major characters represents one of the Seven Deadly Sins. Desi Jedeikin explains:
Patrick: Sloth, Squidward: Wrath, Mr. Krabs: Greed, Sandy: Pride, Plankton: Envy Gary: Gluttony and SpongeBob: Lust.
8. The monkey Curious George is a god, or is at least seen that way by the people in his universe. Redditor moxie79 explains:
The people in Curious George have become aware that they are in a children's show/franchise OR that George has mysterious powers, and they are actively managing George to take advantage of the protective effect he creates/provides.
What protective effect, you ask? First of all, small businesses near him flourish. There is nothing big or corporate in Curious George, and every shop or business he interacts with is shown to have a single owner. Pollution/human environmental impact is reduced if not eliminated - he swims in a coral reef and it is vibrant and full of life; he learns about stars and thinks, I quote, "There are even more stars in the city than in the country!" IN MANHATTAN. Light and atmospheric pollution, gone!
Also, children wander his neighborhood freely and unsupervised. Stranger danger isn't even discussed. Therefore, kidnappings are much reduced if not entirely gone. No assaults, robberies, or murders are ever brought up. Even accidental death is never discussed! Long-term illness is also unseen, and any elderly people on the show are spry, alert, and healthy.
Even if this is just an area effect, how valuable would that be? The local and national government would bend over backwards to keep him happy and nearby.
How do we know they're aware of George's special circumstances? Well, first of all, the least obvious but most insidious evidence: George interacts with only a very limited group of people, BUT whenever he's off learning some new life lesson, TOTAL STRANGERS are aware of what is going on. They're completely nonplussed at encountering an unaccompanied chimpanzee, and can correctly guess - for example - without a costume and with no verbal cues, with only a paper towel cardboard tube, that he is pretending to be a secret agent. This says he's got planted observers/handlers all over the city.
What theories have you developed about television shows? Share them in the comments!
(Images: Sesame Workshop, Warner Bros., Nickelodeon, Nelvana Enterprises, Imagine Entertainment.)