A favorite word among grad students is "intertextuality". One work never influences another work, there is just a strong presence of intertextuality. Well, it turns out that literature and academic scholarship do have have something in common with television (gasp!).
Intertextuality in TV has been all over my screen recently. Having finally started Mad Men (more to come on that later, I'm sure) who do I see in the first few episodes, but Pam's New York friend on The Office. And then last night, I noticed the guidance counselor from Glee as a possible love interest for Ted on How I Met Your Mother. This is not to mention more extended roles like Julie from Friday Night Lights' appearance on the new 90210.
And talk about TV casts taking on other roles: basically the entire gang (dead and alive) from LOST can be found in new dramas on ABC. And then there's the ubiquitous Freaks and Geeks/ Undeclared crowd that somehow find their way into nearly every episode of every sitcom ever produced, for good reason.
What's fantastic about this is that we all -- without a doubt -- enjoy watching a new character on a beloved TV show much more when we already know that actor from somewhere else. How many times have you said, "Hey, that's __________ from __________!" instead of being either completely indifferent or annoyed that they're introducing new characters?
Case in point: The other day, when I received this link, instead of thinking "why is my Vermonter friend sending me videos of horse racing?", I exclaimed "Hey, that's....what she said!"