The Admittedly Dubious and Extremely Flimsy “Galavant” / “Flintstones” Connection!
SO I WAS WATCHING this…this…this “Galavant” of yours. You know, ABC’s fairytale musical comedy, made up of equal parts “Spamalot,” “When Things Were Rotten,” “Shrek,” “The Princess Bride,” “Fractured Fairy Tales” and pretty much every other take on the fairytale comedy genre, musical or not.
Despite all those that have come before it, it’s often, eh, kinda funny though a bit uneven. Unfortunately, at least for the first few episodes, ABC insisted on using its theme song (with rewritten lyrics) to promote every one of their other shows during the commercial breaks. Sometimes overkill is funny. Not here, brother. Nahhhhht here.
But let’s get down to business: In the show’s second episode “Joust Friends,” John Stamos plays a pompous knight named Sir Jean Hamm.
See, it’s a play on “Jon Hamm” – the name of a successful actor that, eh, isn’t John Stamos.
If there’s another comedic angle to this, it’s lost on me. Like: Is the name based on some actual historic figure with a similar name? I don’t know, but I’m guessing not. But here’s how a knight named “Jean Hamm” would have been funny:
Have Jon Hamm play the role.
It makes me, and now you, wonder: Did the writers hope to get Jon Hamm for this part? Don’t get me wrong – Stamos was very funny and did a fine job. But I’m curious if Hamm was supposed to play the character, and then things fell through for whatever reason, and Stamos stepped in.
Regardless, with Stamos playing the part, the name “Jean Hamm” doesn’t work.
So then you know what you do if you can’t get Jon Hamm and you’ve got John Stamos instead? You change the character’s name…to Jean St. Amos.
Bam! Problem solved! I know not everyone is as brilliant as me, but this seems like a pretty obvious joke – how did they miss it?
Watching that episode – hearing this inexplicable name – I was transported back in time to a dark time in our collective history. No, not to the Middle Ages when the show is set, but much further back – to the Stone Age – that is, 1994 – when “The Flintstones” movie was released.
Back when that great big steaming pile of brontosaurus manure came out, I read that Sharon Stone was offered a role in the film, but turned it down because “she was doing other work.” (I’m guessing she read a page or two of the script.)
When the writers hoped that they could get Sharon Stone, they decided to call her character…“Sharon Stone” – presumably on account of it’s “The Flintstones,” and this was the kind of cheap “rock” joke the film’s army of writers thought the audience would expect.
And it would have been slightly amusing, sure, but also confusing: Was the real Sharon Stone to play her own prehistoric ancestor? Would she have been playing herself – who had somehow been sent back in time? Or, most likely, were audiences merely supposed to chuckle and think to themselves, “Heh, the character’s name is Sharon Stone, and look, it’s Sharon Stone playing her. This is the cheap kind of ‘rock’ joke we expect”…?
With Sharon Stone offering her polite “oh, dear God, no thanks,” they cast Halle Berry in the role instead…but kept the character’s name as Sharon Stone.
According to an article in Entertainment Weekly at the time, one of the many writers on the film – perhaps the only intelligent one – suggested the name “Rosetta Stone” which actually is a clever, ancient history-type “rock” gag (especially since this was before that name was widely known as a brand of language-learning software).
However, director Brian Levant nixed it because he figured it was a joke that “maybe six archaeologists might laugh at.”
But naming a character after a famous actress being played by a different famous actress who looks nothing like her – people would get that joke.
It’s 21 years later. I still don’t get it.
Maybe I missed my calling and should have been an archaeologist.
Next time: Our lecture series about current network television shows and 1990s live-action movie adaptations of 1960s cartoons continues as I draw thought-provoking parallels between “The Good Wife” and “George of the Jungle.” Be here!