A minor pet peeve in TV shows. For various reasons, they often use fictitious entities like universities and sports teams. I know why they do it and I don’t mind at all (says the guy who fictionalized the entire United States of America). But if you’re going to do this, jot down the name of the entity you created and use it in the future.

I’m watching an episode of Cold Case, where they have a fictitious Penn University. Not to be confused with the University of Pennsylvania, which they used in a previous episode (I think in that case it was referring to the real Penn). Having these two coexist doesn’t sit entirely right, but I wouldn’t make waves about it. What does bug me, though, is that Penn U’s mascot is the Jaguars. That bothers me because another episode had a Pennsylvania University with a mascot of the Warriors.

People. It’s a single show. This is not like asking DC Comics, with its dozens and dozens of titles under scores of writers/artists, to keep things straight.

Las Vegas was also really bad about this. UNLV existed in that show, but then they would have “Nevada State University” (there is a Nevada State College – little more than a community college – but no NSU) in a plot involving a crooked card-counting professor. Then, a season later, they had Las Vegas State University. This isn’t quite as bad as the above since NSU, LVSU, and UNLV can all co-exist, but would it have been too much to ask them to dip into the same well when they needed a fictional U?

On the other hand, Law & Order, despite spanning several shows, was actually decent about using the same universities repeatedly. They were less good about sports teams, however. giving New York two additional basketball programs.


Category: Theater

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2 Responses to Know Your Own Fiction, Please

  1. Logtar says:

    The problem with using the same entity might have to do with even the logistic of shooting in the same location… specially with people like you that are attached to small details :p

  2. Will Truman says:

    I doubt even I would notice that, so long as they could avoid University of Nevada Las Vegas showing up in the background of a scene taking place at “Las Vegas State University.” And even then, I don’t mind little flubs like that as much as conceptual problems like Penn U having two different mascots. Though I guess there are schools with different mascots (North Texas, Georgia Tech, Auburn, Hawaii). Sort of.

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