Joe Fleherty and Ancient Messages

Joe FlahertyYou probably remember Back to the Future Part II—certainly the weakest of the franchise. But the end was good: a Western Union messenger shows up to give Marty the 70 year old letter from Doc that tells him what has happened and sets up the last movie. Well, that courier was played by a personal favorite of mine, Joe Flaherty from SCTV. We don’t see him around that much in movies. I have my theories as to why that is, but the main thing is that he’s brilliant.

Anyway, last night, I noticed that the last thing watched on my Netflix account was Family Guy—probably because my niece was using the account. So I put it on, because I find the show amusing and I was being lazy/depressed. And on came the episode “The Big Bang Theory.” In it, Stewie uses his time machine to embarrass Brian. The two of them get into a fight that flings them outside the space-time continuum. They manage to get back by being the original Big Bang that started the universe. That’s a nice bit of existential paradox that I quite liked.

Further on in the show, Stewie’s rival Bertram goes back in time to kill Leonardo da Vinci, who Stewie is descended from. He manages to do so, and Stewie is forced to hang around in the 15th century to fix the problem. Meanwhile, he sends Brian back to, well (sorry), the future. Once there, a Vatican messenger shows up and gives him a letter from Leonardo da Vinci (Stewie) explaining what to do next. Very Back to the Future, right?

So the voice of the messenger was performed by… Joe Fleherty. And yes, I know: only freaks notice this kind of very inside joke. And only extreme freaks proudly write articles about it. But it is very cool. And as I said, Fleherty doesn’t get that much work, so that’s all the better.

Afterword

All of us are a lot more like alligators than we think: stimulus-response. I know that I am very much this way. My friend Will is too. I could call him up right now and mention that I had watched Family Guy, and he would immediately tell me how inappropriate it is for children. He mistakenly watched it with his kids once. Now he will tell me this, despite the fact that I have repeated told him that Family Guy is not for children. We are back to the days when many cartoons are meant for adults. In the case of Family Guy, the violence disturbs me. So I probably wouldn’t let my kids (if I had any) watch it, although I think Will doesn’t like the inappropriate behavior that his children mimic. This is the same reason most parents don’t like their children exposed to me! But I digress. I think it is fine to let children watch it, as long as you understand that it isn’t for them.

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About Frank Moraes

Frank Moraes is a freelance writer and editor online and in print. He is educated as a scientist with a PhD in Atmospheric Physics. He has worked in climate science, remote sensing, throughout the computer industry, and as a college physics instructor. Find out more at About Frank Moraes.

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