To be fair these highly imaginative and generally well-executed fan love letters to shows present and past aren’t strictly speaking parodies as much as they are homages to much loved series.
But still they are parodies of a kind, since in their reverence for the show they are saluting, there is an element of playfulness and mischief, an amusing twisting of the form that taps into the the current postmodern digital-age love of merging all sorts of entertainment properties and seeing what results.
And in the case of these three videos, and quite likely many more besides, the results are good indeed.
By joining together two seemingly disparate shows, which on paper should be a very bad idea, you actually get some sense of what the prime show – in these cases, Battlestar Galactica, The Walking Dead, and Game of Thrones – is all about.
It’s nothing short of miraculous … and fantastically inspired.
While it doesn’t sound likely that pairing the Friends theme with Battlestar Galactica could give you any sort of insight into the latter show, it in fact does just that.
After all Battlestar Galactica, while at heart a perfectly realised depiction of what it means to be human, as well as a vivid dissection of humanity’s predilection for politics even when utter annihilation beckons, is also about relationships.
Admiral Adama (Edwards James Olmos) and his son Lee “Apollo” Adama (Jamie Lee Bamber). Lee Adama with Cara “Starbuck” Thrace (Katie Sackhoff). Admiral Adama with President Laura Roslin (Mary McDonell). And even Dr. Gaius Baltar (James Callis) with Cylon Number Six (Tricia Helfer).
And on and on …
Many of the relationships are dysfunctional but they underpin the political posturing that runs through the entire series and help us to understand why these people behave the way they do, even when it is not in their immediate best interest to do so.
Friends matter (although you have to wonder how Monica or Joey would have handled Cylons and impending oblivion)… especially after “fracking machines” have blown away all the people you love.
And hey even then with the machines themselves.
For all the poor benighted survivors of the zombie apocalypse in The Walking Dead, having someone, anyone who knows your name, and can use it without grunts and gurgling is a major plus.
And while the idea of merging a gritty drama, which doesn’t holds any punches, and trades in the real and visceral with a warm hearted sitcom about the regulars at a Boston bar who are like a greta big dysfunctional family to one another, may seem odd, it works perfectly.
There’s something strangely moving and yes comforting about watching scenes of dramatic confrontation with the reassuring strains of the Cheers theme song laid over the top.
They may face a daily struggle to survive, internal and external conflicts that often turn bloody, but for the members of Rick’s group, being together, even if it is in a prison, is a place where everybody knows your name.
And in a world with few creature comforts or shreds of humanity left, that becomes mighty important.
Games of Thrones is all about power, love, power, fighting, power, war, and the complicated interplay of personalities that anchors it all.
It’s rare that anyone in this critically-lauded high-rating show has a relationship that isn’t twisted in some way by the need to gain power in some form, all of which makes for rather dysfunctional bonds between people.
Much like Jerry (Jerry Seinfeld), Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus), George (Jason Alexander) and Kramer (Michael Richards) who let’s face it may have been friends but suffered from an ability to treat each other or their friends and acquaintances with anything beyond petty self interest (hilarious though that might have been to watch).
So in that respect it’s a perfect pairing.
Plus hearing the instantly-recognisable Seinfeld theme song laid over several dramatic confrontations heightens, rather than lessens, the emotional intensity since you understand how farcical some of the power plays actually are.
It’s a genius combination on so many levels.
Plus when all is said and done, they are great fun!
It’s a testament to all the creators of these homages that they’ve managed to get the tone and pitch just right, adding rather than subtracting from the prime shows in question.
And giving us a good affectionate laugh too.
I salute you all!