CLOSE
Original image
© BBC AMERICA

15 Fascinating Terms from Orphan Black

Original image
© BBC AMERICA

The third season of Orphan Black is coming to an end this evening, and if you haven't been watching we suggest you clone yourself and catch up double time. The hit BBC America series about clone experimentation gone awry has it all: a talented actress (Tatiana Maslany) adroitly playing multiple, multi-accented characters; backstories and references steeped in literature and myth; and, best of all, the Clone Club.

What’s the Clone Club? Check out these 15 fascinating Orphan Black terms and find out.

1. ORPHAN BLACK

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

First things first: what the heck is an “orphan black”? Apparently it refers to a “child in the black,” or an orphan in hiding from the black market. Main clone (and the last one to know she is a clone) Sarah Manning and her (non-clone) foster brother Felix were both considered such children, so much so that their foster mother, Siobhan, had to smuggle them out of England.

2. LEDA

Project Leda is the initiative behind the development of a line of female clones. With the exception of Rachel Duncan, who was raised by the project’s lead scientists, the Leda clones grew up unaware of their clonage.

The name Leda comes from the Greek myth of Leda and the Swan, in which a king’s daughter is raped (or seduced, depending on the interpretation) by the god Zeus in the form of a swan. Later Leda, having also slept with her mortal husband the same night, gives birth to two eggs—one containing the mortal Castor and Clytemnestra, and the other, the divine Pollux and Helen.

3. AND 4. SARAH AND HELENA

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Clone Helena is named for the immortal Helen, and herself seems immortal, or at least very difficult to kill. Also, like Helen of Troy, Helena has a twin sister, Sarah, who, as one Redditor suggests, might be named for Sarah in the Old Testament. The Old Testament Sarah was thought to be barren but eventually bore a son. The Leda clones were developed to be infertile, but the twins aren't: Sarah has a daughter, Kira, and Helena is shown to have viable eggs.

5. COSIMA

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

In addition to being a clone with enviable dreadlocks, fan favorite Cosima is a Ph.D. candidate in Experimental Evolutionary Development Biology. She’s also based on real-life Ph.D. candidate and science writer, Cosima Herter.

The real Cosima is the science consultant for the show, and in addition to checking the scripts for accuracy, she seeks the sources of inspiration for the episode titles. For season one, it was Charles Darwin's On the Origin of Species; for season two it was Francis Bacon's Plan of the Work; and this season, it's Dwight D. Eisenhower’s farewell address.

6. CASTOR

© BBC AMERICA

Where there are female clones, there are male ones. While Project Leda was overseen by the scientific Dyad Institute, Project Castor is the doing of the “military faction” with the idea of creating an army of super-soldiers. The problem is, like mortal Castor, the Castor Boys are prone to death—dropping like mayflies, as Siobhan says—although it’s not (yet) clear why.

In a recent episode, the “original Castor” was found. But this original Castor turned out to be a woman with two cell lines, one male and one female, making her the original Leda as well as the original Castor and reminiscent of the original original Leda in Greek myth.

7. THE DYAD INSTITUTE

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

The Dyad Institute is a biotechnology company owned by the mysterious (and probably evil) Topside corporation. The word dyad refers to duplicated chromosomes produced during mitosis, an early stage of fetal development, as well as any two individuals that are regarded as a pair. Dyad comes from a Greek word meaning “two.”

8. NEOLUTIONIST

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Dyad is headed by scientist Dr. Aldous Leekie, a famed “neolutionist,” or neo-evolutionist. Neolutionists believe that humans shouldn’t have to wait for nature to take its course in terms of evolution but should utilize technology to direct evolution themselves.

9. FREAKY LEEKIES

Fans and followers of Dr. Leekie are known as Freaky Leekies, partly because they’re freaks for the scientist but also because they dress and physically alter themselves in a way that they would consider “neolutionary” but others might deem freakish.

Aldous Leekie is most likely named for both Aldous Huxley, author of Brave New World—a dystopian novel in which “natural” reproduction has been abolished and human embryos are raised in hatcheries—and Louis Leakey, a pioneer in the study of human evolutionary development in Africa.

10. MONITORS

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

Monitors are like Buffy the Vampire Slayer Watchers, only clueless. Dyad assigns each Leda clone a "monitor," usually under the guise of a significant other, who reports back to the institute on the clone's health, sleeping patterns, etc. However, the monitors don't know what their employers are up to nor do they know that their charges are clones.

11. PROLETHEAN

© Steve Wilkie for BBC AMERICA

The Proletheans are religious extremists divided on their views on clones. Traditional Proletheans—like those who raised Helena to be a clone-killing machine—believe clones are an abomination. A sect headed by the super-creepy Henrik Johanssen believes in the intersection of science and religion to the point of forcing women, including his own daughter, to become surrogates for “miracle” babies made with his sperm and Helena’s eggs.

The name Prolethean may have come from Lethe, the river of forgetfulness in Greek mythology. In one depiction of Leda and the Swan, Hypnos, the god of sleep, is shown drugging Leda with water from the River Lethe, the way Henrik drugged Helena before artificially impregnating her.

12. THE ISLAND OF DR. MOREAU

A copy of this novel by H.G. Wells contains all the clone secrets as written in code by Project Leda scientist—and Rachel’s adoptive dad—Ethan Duncan. In the novel, Dr. Moreau performs vivisection, or surgical experimentation, on live animals to create animal-human hybrids called “Beast Folk," only to be killed by one of his own creations in the end.

13. SESTRA

Sestra, or “sister” in various Slavic languages, is what Ukraine-bred Helena calls her fellow clones—after she decides to stop killing them, that is. “Brother-sestra” is what she calls Felix.

14. CLONE CLUB

© BBC AMERICA

“You just broke the first rule of Clone Club!” says Cosima.

“What?” Sarah asks. “Never tell anyone about Clone Club?”

Those in Clone Club, both clone and non-clone, are aware of Project Leda and are against further human experimentation (unlike "proclones" like Rachel). To keep in touch, Clone Club members use burner phones they’ve dubbed "clone phones."

Clone Club—or Clone Clubbers—are also other terms for Orphan Black fans.

15. CLONE DANCE PARTY

Another good thing about Clone Club (besides being able to share clothes and DNA) is the clone dance party, which is what fans dubbed the sestras' spontaneous celebration on what they thought might be Cosima’s final night as she battled a mysterious illness.

The clone dance party itself had clones, including an extended behind-the-scenes cut and a mini-clone version created by the actress who played a younger Leda clone.

Original image
Ramones Karaoke, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
arrow
Lists
Fake It Until You Make It: 10 Artificial Ruins
Original image
Ramones Karaoke, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0

The love of ruins, sometimes called ruinophilia, has for centuries inspired the creation of clever fakes—a host of sham facades and hollowed-out castle shells found on grand English, European, and even American estates. The popularity of constructing artificial ruins was at its peak during the 18th and 19th centuries, but architects occasionally still incorporate them today.

Why build a structure that is already crumbling? Between the 16th and 19th centuries, the popularity of counterfeit ruins was influenced by two factors—a classical education that enforced the ideals of ancient Greece and Rome, and the extended tour of Europe (known as The Grand Tour) that well-to-do young men and women took after completing their education. Travelers might start in London or France and roam as far as the Middle East, but the trip almost always included Italy and a chance to admire Roman ruins. More than a few wealthy travelers returned home longing to duplicate those ruins, either to complement a romantic landscape, to demonstrate wealth, or to provide a pretense of family history for the newly rich.

Here are a few romantic ruins constructed between the 18th and 21st centuries.

1. SHAM CASTLE // BATHAMPTON, ENGLAND

Sham Castle (shown above) is aptly named—it’s only a façade. The "castle," overlooking the English city of Bath, was created in 1762 to improve the view for Ralph Allen, a local entrepreneur and philanthropist as well as to provide jobs for local stonemasons. From a distance it looks like a castle ruin, but it's merely a wall that has two three-story circular turrets and a two-story square tower at either end. The castle is not the only folly (as such purely decorative architecture is often called) that Allen built. He also constructed a sham bridge on Serpentine Lake in what is now Prior Park Landscape Garden—the bridge can't be crossed, but provides a nice focal point for the lake. Today, Sham Castle is part of a private golf course.

2. WIMPOLE FOLLY // CAMBRIDGESHIRE, ENGLAND

Building a structure that looks as if it's crumbling does not preclude having to perform regular maintenance. The four-story Gothic tower known as Wimpole Folly in Wimpole, Cambridgeshire, England, was built 1768-72 for Philip Yorke, first Earl of Hardwicke and owner of the Wimpole Estate. Owned by Britain’s National Trust, the ruin threatened to truly crumble a few years ago, so restoration efforts were needed. The last restoration was so well done it won the 2016 European Union Prize for Cultural Heritage. The Wimpole Estate is now open to the public for walks and hikes.

3. CAPEL MANOR FOLLY // ENFIELD, ENGLAND

Capel Manor at Bulls Cross, Enfield, England has been the site of several grand homes since the estate’s first recorded mention in the 13th century, so visitors might be tempted to believe that the manor house's ruins date back at least a few centuries. But that sense of history is an illusion: The faux 15th-century house was built in 2010 to add visual appeal to the manor gardens, which have been open to the public since the 1920s.

4. ROMAN RUIN // SCHONBRUNN PALACE, VIENNA, AUSTRIA

The Roman Ruin was built as a garden ornament for the 1441-room Schonbrunn Palace in Vienna, one of the most important monuments in Austria. The ruin was once called The Ruins of Carthage, after the ancient North African city defeated by Roman military force. But despite the illusion of antiquity, the ruins were created almost 2000 years after Carthage fell in 146 B.C.E. The ruin’s rectangular pool, framed by an intricate semi-circle arch, was designed in 1778 by the architect Johann Ferdinand Hetzendorf von Hohenberg, who modeled it on the Ancient Roman temple of Vespasian and Titus, which he had seen an engraving of.

5. THE RUINEBERG // POTSDAM, GERMANY

One of the earliest examples of artificial ruins in Germany was the complex of structures known as The Ruinenberg. Frederick the Great, King of Prussia, had a summer palace in Potsdam, near Berlin, that was said to rival Versailles. In 1748 Frederick commissioned a large fountain for the palace complete with artificial ruins. The waterworks part of his plan proved too difficult and was soon abandoned, but not before designer Georg Wenzeslaus von Knobelsdorff constructed the ruins. The complex includes Roman pillars, a round temple, and the wall of a Roman theatre. Since 1927 the site has belonged to the Prussian Gardens and Palaces Foundation, Berlin-Brandenburg.

6. PARC MONCEAU // PARIS, FRANCE

Elegant Parc Monceau is located in the fashionable 8th arrondissement of Paris near the Champs-Elysees and Palais de l’Elysée. In 1778, the Duke of Chartres decided to build a mansion on land previously used for hunting. He loved English architecture and gardens, including the notion of nostalgic ruins, so he hired the architect Louis Carrogis Carmontelle to create an extravagant park complete with a Roman temple, antique statues, a Chinese bridge, a farmhouse, a Dutch windmill, a minaret, a small Egyptian pyramid, and some fake gravestones. The most notable feature of the park is a pond surrounded by Corinthian columns, now known as Colonnade de Carmontelle.

7. HAGLEY PARK CASTLE // WORCESTERSHIRE, ENGLAND

The ruins of the medieval castle at Hagley Park in Worcestershire are definitely fake, but they were built with debris from the real ruin of a neighboring abbey. The folly was commissioned by Sir George Lyttelton in 1747 and designed by Sanderson Miller, an English pioneer of Gothic revival architecture. The castle has a round tower at each corner, but by design only one is complete and decorated inside with a coat of arms. The grounds, which also feature a temple portico inspired by an ancient Greek temple, some urns, and obelisks, are now privately owned and not open to the public.

8. TATA CASTLE RUINS // TATA, HUNGARY

French architect Charles de Moreau (1758-1841) was a scholar of classical Roman architecture known for his ability to counterfeit impressive ruins. Nicholas I, Prince Esterhazy of Hungary, hired him to work on Tata Castle and to create the ruins of a Romanesque church for the palace’s English Garden. Even though the ruin Moreau created was fake, he built it with the stones of a real ruin, the remnants of the early-12th-century Benedictine and later Dominican abbey of Vértesszőlős. A third-century ancient Roman tombstone and relief were placed nearby.

9. BELVEDERE CASTLE // MANHATTAN, NEW YORK

Frederick Law Olmsted and Calvert Vaux designed Central Park in the mid-1800s, and their plan for creating romantic vistas included the construction of a folly known as Belvedere Castle. The Gothic-Romanesque style hybrid, overlooking Central Park’s Great Lawn, was completed in 1869. Although the folly was designed as a hollow shell and meant to be a ruin, it eventually served a practical purpose, housing a weather bureau and exhibit space. The castle also provides a beautiful backdrop for Shakespeare in the Park productions, evoking the royal homes that play prominent roles in the Bard’s works.

10. FOLLY WALL IN BARKING TOWN SQUARE // LONDON

In a borough known for its real historic buildings, the ancient wall found in London’s Barking Town Square might look centuries old. It’s not, and ironically, the wall is part of the square’s renovation efforts. The wall was built by bricklaying students at Barking College using old bricks and crumbling stone items found at salvage yards. Known as the "Secret Garden," named after the children’s book about a walled garden, the wall was designed to screen a nearby supermarket and was unveiled in 2007.

Original image
Paramount Pictures
arrow
entertainment
11 Delicious Facts About Good Burger
Original image
Paramount Pictures

It takes just 14 words—“Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?”—to make a ‘90s kid swoon with nostalgia. Good Burger, the beloved Nickelodeon comedy about a couple of daft teens who try to save their fast food joint from corporate greed, was born out of a Kenan Thompson/Kel Mitchell sketch on All That in the mid-'90s. A year later, due to its popularity, it found itself being turned into its own live-action movie, with Brian Robbins at the helm. Today—20 years after its original release—it’s a silly cult hit that’s indelibly a part of Generation Y. Revisit the classic with these facts about Good Burger.

1. KEL MITCHELL AUDITIONED FOR ALL THAT WITH HIS CHARACTER FROM GOOD BURGER.

In an interview with The A.V. Club, Kel Mitchell explained how he came up with Ed. “I did a ‘dude’ voice, and that’s where Ed [from Good Burger] was kind of born,” he said. “I did that there at the audition. They were just cracking up.”

2. ED’S FIRST APPEARANCE WAS IN THE JOSH SERVER SKETCH, “DREAM REMOTE.”

Essentially, Good Burger was born out of a random character decision made during one little sketch. “It was where [Josh] could have a remote control that could control his entire life,” Mitchell told The A.V. Club. “So, he could fast-forward through his sister nagging, he could make pizza come really quickly. I was the pizza guy. I came to the door, and the pizza guy didn’t really have a voice, so I was like, ‘Mleh, here’s your pizza! That was the first time we saw Ed, and so they created Good Burger.”

3. ED’S LOOK WAS INSPIRED BY MILLI VANILLI.

When prepping for Ed’s debut on All That, Kel Mitchell spotted what would become the character’s signature look. “I remember I went to the hair room, and I saw these braids. It was like these early Brandy ’90s Milli Vanilli braids. I put those on, and it came to life,” he told The A.V. Club.

4. THOUSANDS OF POUNDS OF MEAT STUNK UP THE SET.

Nickelodeon

For a movie all about burgers, you better believe the production had a ton of them sitting around on set. "At one point, there was over 1750 pounds of meat on the set," Kenan Thompson told The Morning Call. "Some of it was old meat. It was so nasty. Some of the burgers would stay out there for a long time. I felt sorry for the extras who had to eat them with cold, clammy fries. But on screen, those burgers look good."

5. ELMER’S GLUE WAS USED TO KEEP THE FOOD LOOKING FRESH.

In order to keep the food looking good on screen, the production resorted to old, albeit inedible, tricks. "It was so gross, because when I scoop out ice cream in the movie, it was really vegetable shortening with food coloring,” Mitchell told The Morning Call. “When I poured milk on cereal, we used Elmer's Glue so the flakes wouldn't get soggy."

6. KENAN AND KEL CONTRIBUTED TO THE GOOD BURGER SOUNDTRACK.

Good Burger was their baby, so of course Kenan and Kel took the reins on more than just the creation of the characters, according to a 1997 interview with The Morning Call. Specifically, Kel partnered up with Less Than Jake on the hit song, “We’re All Dudes.” Because of this, the soundtrack actually charted at 101 on the Billboard 200.

7. GOOD BURGER WAS LINDA CARDELLINI’S FEATURE FILM DEBUT.

YouTube

In an interview with The A.V. Club, the Freaks and Geeks star reminisced about her breakout role in the Nickelodeon movie. “That’s my sister’s favorite role that I’ve ever played! It was so much fun. It was my first film, and it was a fantastic part,” Cardellini said. “I got to play crazy! Nobody knew who I was, and I got the part from the table read.”

8. WRITER DAN SCHNEIDER INTENDED TO GIVE UP ACTING WHEN HE WROTE GOOD BURGER, BUT HE PLAYED MR. BAILY IN THE FILM.

On creating Good Burger, writer/producer/actor Dan Schneider explained to The A.V. Club: “I’ve always wanted to write, and after I was doing All That and Kenan & Kel, I got the opportunity to do another TV show—I was still going on auditions. I realized that if I took that show, I was going to have to give up All That and Kenan & Kel. I really didn’t want to do [that] ... I passed on the acting role, and that was really the turning point, I guess, in 1996, when I was like, ‘You know what? I’m going to put my acting career on the back burner, and I’m going to be a writer-producer.’ Then I wrote the movie Good Burger.” However, if you watch the movie, you’ll notice Schneider starring as Mr. Baily.

9. THE ORIGINAL TRAILER FEATURED A SCENE THAT DIDN’T MAKE THE MOVIE.

For reasons that remain a mystery, a scene where a Good Burger customer orders “a good shake” from Ed (Mitchell), only to receive an actual bodily shaking from the Good Burger employee, didn’t make the final cut. It did, however, feature for a few seconds in the theatrical trailer.

10. KENAN AND KEL REUNITED FOR A GOOD BURGER SKETCH ON THE TONIGHT SHOW.

In 2015, Kenan and Kel reunited for a Good Burger sketch with Jimmy Fallon. This time, however, Fallon played Ed’s co-worker, while Kenan came in as a construction worker as a surprise. "We've been wanting to get back together," Mitchell told E! News. "It was just about the right project ... it felt like home."

11. THE FIRST LINE IN THE FILM IS THE SAME AS THE LAST LINE.

Appropriately, the line is, “Welcome to Good Burger, home of the Good Burger, can I take your order?”—just watch the movie.

SECTIONS

arrow
LIVE SMARTER
More from mental floss studios