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12 Timey-Wimey Terms from Doctor Who

What’s that noise? It’s the sound of glorious Doctor Who episodes approaching, of course. Season eight arrives on Netflix today (finally), while brand new episodes are slated to air starting September 19.

If you're new to the Whoniverse, though, you'll need a crash course in Who-speak before you go adventuring. Here are 12 terms to get you started:

1. TARDIS

The TARDIS, aka Time and Relative Dimension in Space, is the Doctor's one-of-a-kind combination spaceship and time machine. It can fly anywhere and anywhen, occasionally read the Doctor's mind, and even morph into a human brunette named Sexy (but just the once). 

Also, because its “chameleon circuit” is busted, it's no longer able to blend into its surroundings, but is instead stuck, for the most part, in the form of a blue 1960s-style London police box. However, the TARDIS is famously much bigger on the inside.

2. COMPANION

Where would be the Doctor be without his companions? In the bottom of a galactic volcano, probably.

Part audience surrogate, part moral compass, and part 'straight-woman' to the Doctor's kooky comedy (i.e. the Bert to his Ernie), companions are regular humans who accompany the Doctor on his adventures in space and time. While companions tend to be attractive young women (showrunner Steve Moffat has an iffy explanation as to why that is), there’s never any real hanky-panky.

The Doctor's had many fine companions, though once you've caught up on a couple seasons, you'll likely be partial to Donna Noble, we think (Amy Pond is a close second).

3. TIME LORD

The Doctor certainly looks human (but still not a ginger), but he’s actually a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey. Time Lords have a variety of extraordinary powers, including telepathy, the ability to understand various languages (including those of babies and animals), and physicial regeneration. The latter ability even lets these super-aliens generate new bodies (in the form of new actors) every few decades as needed--or, in human TV time, every couple of years--and live well into their 900s at least.

4. GALLIFREY

The planet Gallifrey was thought to have been destroyed in the Last Great Time War, a deadly conflict between the Time Lords and their archenemies, the Daleks. However, the planet was eventually found to be caught in a "pocket universe," and has since been revisited in the show.

Where the name Gallifrey comes from isn't clear, but fans of the show have come up with some possible connections. For example, the word is reminiscent of gallimaufry, meaning 'medley or hodgepodge,' which comes from the French galimafrée, a word for 'hash,' or 'ragout.' Galimafrée, too, could be a combination of the Old French galer (to make merry) and the Old North French mafrer (to eat a lot).

5. DALEKS

The Daleks, i.e. the Doctor's main nemeses, are machine on the outside but alien on the inside, and say “EXTERMINATE!” a lot. First introduced in 1963, Daleks were originally hilariously low-tech and got an upgrade in 2005 for the series reboot, but they still retain their fundamental qualities (like plunger-shaped appendages). 

As for their race's name: in a 1964 interview, show writer Terry Nation claimed that the inspiration for the word Dalek came from seeing an encyclopedia with DAL-LEK on its spine. Then, in 1973, he admitted that the word “simply rolled off the typewriter.” However, linguist Ben Zimmer points out that in Serb-Croation dalek can mean “distant,” and by extension, “alien.”

6. CYBERMEN

The Cybermen of Mondas started out as humanoid; however, once they started implanting artificial body parts, they just couldn’t stop. Now they’re almost all robot—cold, calculating, and hell-bent on making everyone else into Cybermen, too.

The word Cyberman is a Doctor Who-original, coined in a 1966 episode, but has since been widely adopted and now might refer to any cyborg or humanoid robot. The term had its own long history before its use on the show, however: the practice of attaching the prefix cyber- (relating to computers, technology, and anything futuristic) to other terms originated in the early 1960s with the shortening of cybernetics, first used in the 1940s to describe the new technology and theory of “self-regulatory control through feedback mechanisms.” And the word cybernetics was itself taken from the Greek kybernetes, or "steersman.”

7. SONTARAN

A bulky, mostly humanoid warrior race from the planet Sontar, the Sontarans first made their appearance in 1973. They reproduce by cloning (hence their general alikeness), are crazy for both battle and glory, and have heads that're a bit like potatoes. 

Whovian legend says the accepted pronunciation, son-TAR-an, is credited to Australian actor Kevin Lindsay, who played the classic character Sontaran Linx. The creature’s creator, show writer Robert Holmes, argued for a SON-tar-ran pronunciation, to which Lindsay (hopefully dressed as Linx) replied, "Well, I think it's ‘son-TAR-an’, and since I'm from the f**king place, I should know."

8. SONIC SCREWDRIVER

The sonic screwdriver is the Doctor’s tool of choice. First introduced in 1968, it was used only intermittently throughout the series 'til its 2005 reboot, when it came back full-force. As your classic all-purpose magic tool, the sonic screwdriver acts as a lockpicker, a cutting tool, a flashlight, a universal remote control, a diagnostic device, and much, much more.

9. TORCHWOOD

The Torchwood Institute is a secret organization established by Queen Victoria in Doctor Who and which is tasked with defending the world against extraterrestrial and supernatural baddies—a tall order for an organization that employs no more than 10 people at a time. Torchwood is also a popular Doctor Who spinoff that centers on the shady (but heroic) group, and which features Doctor Who veteran character Jack Harkness, a dashing, (almost) immortal American who made his first appearance in a 2005 episode.

Torchwood—an anagram of "Doctor Who"—was the code name used, according to the BBC, “to disguise preview tapes of the first episodes” of the Doctor Who reboot in 2005.

10. BEHIND THE SOFA

The term behind the sofa refers to a television show so scary that one must hide "behind the sofa" in self-defense. It supposedly arose in the 1970s in reference to particularly frightening Doctor Who scenes, and was likely further popularized by a 1991 Doctor Who exhibit at London’s Museum of Moving Image called Behind the Sofa.

11. TIMEY-WIMEY

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect,” says the 10th Doctor in a 2007 episode. “But actually, from a nonlinear, non-subjective viewpoint, it's more like a big ball of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey ... stuff.” And, to be honest, timey-wimey and wibbly-wobbly pretty much sum up how time travel is explained in the show. 

12. WHOVIAN

We have the Yanks to thank for this one. Whovian, referring to a Doctor Who fan, seems to have been coined in the early 1980s by the Doctor Who Fan Club of America, which published a newsletter called The Whovian Times. However, some fans dislike the name, deeming it too Seussian, and prefer Wholigan instead. So, if you think you're likely to become a Doctor Who fan in the near future, you might want to put some thought into which fandom name feels right for you.

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Ramones Karaoke, Flickr // CC BY-NC 2.0
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Fake It Until You Make It: 10 Artificial Ruins
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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.

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11 Delicious Facts About Good Burger
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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.

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