10 Infamous TV Show Anachronisms

Jon Hamm and January Jones star in Mad Men.
Jon Hamm and January Jones star in Mad Men.
Justina Mintz, AMC

Look, no one’s perfect all the time. Whether it’s a stray coffee cup or a time-traveling Colonel Sanders, sometimes TV shows have things popping up where—and when—they shouldn’t. Mistakes were made.

1. Game of Thrones

The final season of Game of Thrones was always going to generate a lot of chatter. Going in, though, HBO probably didn’t think a good chunk of the social media conversation would revolve around a coffee cup that found its way onto a table in front of Daenerys during a feast scene in the season 8 episode “The Last of the Starks.” Following some heavy mocking, HBO digitally erased the cup. Guess they’re more juice people.

2. and 3. Hercules: The Legendary Journeys and Xena: Warrior Princess

No one watching Hercules: The Legendary Journeys or its spinoff Xena: Warrior Princess was expecting strict adherence to their Greek mythology-based settings. We’re looking at 1990s action goofiness, after all. But both shows played fast and loose with the basics of history, throwing characters together who would have existed hundreds, if not thousands, of years apart. Hercules’s jaunts through world history took him from meeting baby Jesus in season 3's “A Star to Guide Them” to, just a few years later, palling around with Vlad the Impaler, who lived in the 15th century.

An episode of Xena had the warrior princess being told the story of Spartacus by the the famed poet Homer. Now, scholars don’t know whether Homer was an amalgamation of several different writers. Regardless, his/their Iliad and Odyssey are some of the oldest existing works of Western literature, placing their author(s) way before Spartacus’s slave revolt against Rome on a historical timeline.

4. M*A*S*H

Alan Alda stars in M*A*S*H
Alan Alda stars in M*A*S*H.
Fox Home Video

Another show replete with historical inaccuracies is M*A*S*H, which followed an army medical unit serving during the Korean War. That war took place between 1950 and 1953, while the show lasted 11 years; as you might guess, some inaccuracies popped up. Among them: Various characters mention the movie Godzilla, which didn’t come out until 1954. During season 4, Radar reads an issue of The Avengers that didn’t come out until the 1970s. In the season 5 episode “Movie Tonight,” Radar’s John Wayne impersonation pulls from a movie (McLintock!) that wasn't released until 1963.

5. Hogan’s Heroes

In the World War II comedy Hogan’s Heroes, about the exploits of POWs in a German prison camp, Colonel Robert Hogan claimed to have been assigned to the Pentagon. However, the events of Hogan’s Heroes begin in February 1942, at a time when the Pentagon was still being built. It wouldn’t be open for business until January 1943. Not exactly a Hercules: The Legendary Journeys-style discrepancy, but nonetheless incorrect.

6. Downton Abbey

Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery in 'Downton Abbey'
Dan Stevens and Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey
Masterpiece

Eagle-eyed fans had great fun pointing out various historical mistakes in the Masterpiece drama Downton Abbey, which spanned the years of 1912 to 1925. In one episode, for example, a television antenna snuck into a shot. Fair enough: It was an outdoor scene, and people miss things. A more blatant example, however, was the plastic water bottle that was caught hiding in the background of a 2014 promotional photo. The gaffe reportedly caused Downton Abbey bosses to ban all things modern—including water bottles, modern watches and jewelry, and even the wearing of modern underwear—from the set.

7. Mad Men

The team behind Mad Men was always very careful about sticking to its 1960s setting, but that doesn’t mean the odd error didn't slip through the cracks here and there. The show was off by several decades in the season 3 episode "The Color Blue," when the set dressing featured the first three volumes of W.E.B. Griffin’s The Corps series; the books came out in 1986, 1987, and 1990.

8. Little House on the Prairie

Michael Landon’s fluffy ‘70s hairdo wasn't the only anachronism in Little House on the Prairie. In the season 7 episode “Dearest Albert, I'll Miss You,” Laura Ingalls’s adoptive brother Albert strikes up a pen pal relationship with a girl who mentions being captain of her school basketball team; basketball, at that time, had not yet been invented.

Season 8 went the more more tongue-in-cheek route when it featured a cameo from a character who was clearly meant to be Colonel Sanders. Sanders wouldn’t open his first restaurant for another several decades, in part because he wasn’t born yet.

9. Carnivàle

Cult favorite historical drama Carnivàle ran for two seasons on HBO, and racked up five Emmy Awards during that time. Set between 1934 to 1935, during the Dust Bowl and the Great Depression, the show followed a farm boy with strange powers who joins a traveling carnival. That farm boy, Ben Hawkins (Nick Stahl), carries around a Zippo lighter. While it's technically possible that Ben could have owned one, as the first models were sold in 1933, the lighter didn’t become truly popular until World War II later in the decade.

10. Better Call Saul

Breaking Bad prequel spinoff Better Call Saul starts out in 2002. So how did a green Kia Soul—which was first introduced at a 2008 car show—drive by in the background at the beginning of the season 2 episode “Inflatable”? Time travel seems to be the only logical explanation.

10 Bold Breaking Bad Fan Theories

Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad.
Bryan Cranston as Walter White and Aaron Paul as Jesse Pinkman in Breaking Bad.
Ben Leuner, AMC

It’s been nearly six years since Breaking Bad went out in a blaze of gunfire, but fans still haven’t stopped thinking about the award-winning crime drama. What really happened to Walter White in the series finale? What’s the backstory on Gus Fring? And what did Jesse Pinkman’s doodles mean?

While El Camino, Vince Gilligan's new Breaking Bad movie, offers definitive answers to at least one of these questions, these fan theories offer some alternative answers—even if they strain the limits of logic and sanity along the way. Read on to discover the surprising source of Walt’s cancer diagnosis, and why pink is always bad news.

1. Walter White picks up traits from the people he kills.

Walter White is an unpredictable guy, but he’s weirdly consistent on one thing: After he kills someone, he kind of copies them. Remember how Krazy-8 liked his sandwiches without the crust? After Walt murdered him, he started eating crustless PB&Js. Walt also lifted Mike Ehrmantraut’s drink order and Gus Fring’s car, leading many fans to wonder if Walt steals personal characteristics from the people he kills.

2. Gus Fring worked for the CIA.

Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and Juan Bolsa (Javier Grajeda) in Breaking Bad
Giancarlo Esposito and Javier Grajeda in Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote, AMC

Who was Gus Fring before he became the ruthless leader of a meth/fried chicken empire? Well, we know he’s from Chile. We also know that any records of his time there are gone. And we know that cartel kingpin Don Eladio refused to kill him when he had the chance. Since Don Eladio has no qualms about eliminating the competition, Gus must have some form of protection. Could it be from the U.S. government? A detailed Reddit theory suggests that Gus was once a Chilean aristocrat who helped the CIA install the dictator Augusto Pinochet in power. Once Pinochet became a liability, Gus went to Mexico at the CIA’s behest to infiltrate a drug cartel. His alliance with U.S. intelligence kept him alive even as his work got more violent, and helped him bypass the normal immigration issues you'd typically encounter when you’ve murdered a bunch of people.

3. Madrigal built defective air filters that gave Walter white cancer.

Madrigal Electromotive is a corporation with varied interests. The German parent company of Los Pollos Hermanos dabbles in shipping, fast food, and industrial equipment … including air filters. According to one fan theory, Gray Matter—the company Walter White co-founded with Elliott Schwartz—purchased defective air filters from Madrigal and installed them while Walt still worked at the company. The filters ultimately caused Walt’s lung cancer, pushing him into the illegal drug trade and, eventually, business with Madrigal.

4. Color is a crucial element in the series.

Marie Schrader (Betsy Brandt) and Hank Schrader (Dean Norris)
Betsy Brandt and Dean Norris as Marie and Hank Schrader in Breaking Bad.
Ben Leuner, AMC

Color is a code on Breaking Bad. When a character chooses drab tones, they’re usually going through something, like withdrawal (Jesse) or chemo (Walt). Their wardrobe might turn darker as their stories skew darker—like when Marie ditched her trademark purple for black while she was under protective custody. Also, pink signals death, whether it’s on a teddy bear or Saul Goodman’s button down shirt.

5. Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead exist in the same universe.

Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead both aired on AMC, but according to fans, that’s not all they have in common. There’s an exhaustive body of evidence connecting the two shows—and one of the biggest links is Blue Sky. The distinctively-colored crystal meth is Walt and Jesse’s calling card on Breaking Bad, but it’s also Merle Dixon’s drug of choice on The Walking Dead. Coincidentally, his drug dealer (“a janky little white guy” who says “bitch”) sounds a lot like Jesse.

6. Walter white froze to death and hallucinated Breaking Bad's ending.

Bryan Cranston in the 'Breaking Bad' series finale
Ursula Coyote, AMC

In her review of the Breaking Bad series finale “Felina,” The New Yorker critic Emily Nussbaum suggested an alternate ending in which Walt died an episode earlier, as the police surrounded his car in New Hampshire. He could’ve frozen to death “behind the wheel of a car he couldn’t start,” she theorized, and hallucinated the dramatic final shootout in “Felina” in his dying moments. This reading has gained traction with multiple fans, including SNL alum Norm Macdonald.

7. Jesse’s superheroes are a peek into his inner psyche.

In season 2 of Breaking Bad, we discover that Jesse Pinkman is a part-time artist. He sketches his own superheroes, including Backwardo/Rewindo (who can run backwards so fast he rewinds time), Hoverman (who floats above the ground), and Kanga-Man (who has a sidekick in his “pouch”). The characters are goofy, just like Jesse, but they may also reveal what’s going on in his head. Backwardo represents Jesse’s tendency to run from conflict. Hoverman reflects his lack of direction or purpose, while Kanga-Man hints at his codependency.

8. Madrigal was founded by Nazi war criminals.

Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and Uncle Jack (Michael Bowen) in 'Breaking Bad'
Bryan Cranston and Michael Bowen in Breaking Bad.
Ursula Coyote, AMC

This might be one of the wilder Breaking Bad theories, but before you write it off, consider Werner Heisenberg: The German physicist, who helped pioneer Hitler’s nuclear weapons program, is the obvious inspiration for Walt’s meth kingpin moniker. While Heisenberg only appears in name, there are plenty of literal Nazis on the show. Look no further than Uncle Jack and the Aryan Brotherhood, who served as the Big Bad of season 5. At least one Redditor thinks all these Nazi references are hinting at something bigger, a conspiracy that goes straight to the top. The theory starts in South America, where many Nazis fled after World War II. A group of them supposedly formed a new company, Madrigal, through their existing connections back in Germany. Eventually, a young Chilean named Gus Fring worked his way into the growing business, and the rest is (fake) history.

9. Walter white survived, but paid the price.

Lots of Breaking Bad theories concern Walt’s death, or lack thereof. But if Walt actually lived through his seemingly fatal gunshot wound in “Felina,” what would the rest of his life look like? According to one Reddit theory, it wouldn’t be pretty. The infamous Heisenberg would almost certainly stand trial and go to prison. Although he tries to leave Skyler White with information to cut a deal with the cops, she could also easily go to jail—or lose custody of her children. The kids wouldn’t necessarily get that money Walt left with Elliott and Gretchen Schwartz, either, as they could take his threats to the police and surrender the cash to them. Basically it amounts to a whole lot of misery, making Walt’s death an oddly optimistic ending. (This is one theory El Camino addresses directly.)

10. Breaking Bad is a prequel to Malcolm in the Middle.

Bryan Cranston in the series premiere of 'Breaking Bad'
Bryan Cranston in the series premiere of Breaking Bad.
Doug Hyun, AMC

Alright, let’s say Walt survived the series finale and didn’t stand trial. Maybe he started over as a new man with a new family. Three boys, perhaps? This fan-favorite theory claims that Walter White assumed a new identity as Malcolm in the Middle patriarch Hal after the events of Breaking Bad, making the show a prequel to Bryan Cranston’s beloved sitcom. The Breaking Bad crew actually liked this idea so much they included an “alternate ending” on the DVD boxed set, where Hal wakes up from a bad dream where "There was a guy who never spoke! He just rang a bell the whole time! And then there was another guy who was a policeman or a DEA agent, and I think it was my brother or something. He looked like the guy from The Shield."

Fan Notices Hilarious Connection Between Joaquin Phoenix's Joker and Superbad's McLovin

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
Sony Pictures Home Entertainment

There seems to be exactly one funny thing about Todd Phillips's latest film, Joker.

As reported by Geek.com, someone on Twitter by the name of @minalopezavina brilliantly pointed out that Arthur Fleck from Joker and McLovin from Superbad are pretty much in the same costume.

This meme is a nice moment of comic relief in an otherwise very serious movie. In fact, Joker is so dark that the United States Army had issued warnings about possible shootings at theaters playing the film. The warnings coincided with criticisms that the film might be too violent, with fears that the villain-led storyline would result in copycat events in real life.

Both Phillips and star Joaquin Phoenix have weighed in on the controversy, with the director explaining to The Wrap, "It wasn’t, ‘We want to glorify this behavior.’ It was literally like ‘Let’s make a real movie with a real budget and we’ll call it f**king Joker’. That’s what it was.”

All we can say is the amount of chatter behind Joker certainly led to both packed theaters, and endless memes online.

[h/t Geek.com]

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