August 3rd, 2009 / 7:50 pm
Craft Notes

Gary Coleman teaches me something about writing.


A buddy of mine wrote to say that he had read somewhere that David Hasselhoff credits many of the choices he’s made in life, and much of his own ability to overcome the difficulties he’s face to his very close relationship with God. Included in the choices and overcoming is his decision to be on Knight Rider.

Some of my best friends are theists, so I’m not trying to bag on that sort of thing here. I will, however, suggest that maybe that voice talking to him and telling him to stick the TV show out for another season could’ve been KITT. Not all disembodied voices are the Lord. (“Remember when there was only one set of tire tracks? That’s when I was carrying you, Michael.”)

Get this: there was an episode of Diff’rent Strokes where Arnold (played by Gary Coleman) and Dudley (played by some other kid who didn’t run for Governor of California as far as I know) sneak on to the set of the television program Knight Rider so that they can meet David Hasselhoff. The still photo above proves that said meeting happened.

A kid from a television program went on to the set of a television program. Fictional Arnold Jackson wanted to meet real David Hasselhoff. But, also, real David Hasselhoff appeared on a fictional show and read dialogue written for him by a scriptwriter making real David Hasselhoff actually fictional David Hasselhoff.

This is a little weird. It gets weirder.

Fictional Arnold Jackson and fictional Dudley hide out on the set in a car rigged with real explosives. Real explosives are going to explode and blow up fictional AJ and fictional D. (In fact, though, the “real” explosives that will blow up the car on the “real” set of Knight Rider are fictional, as is the set, and the episode of Knight Rider being filmed for this episode of Diff’rent Strokes.)

And here’s the kicker: KITT saves AJ and D at the last minute because he “scans” the car wired with explosives and sees that there are children in it. The explosives are not set off. David Hasselhoff (fictional David Hasselhoff) and the director (the fictional director) retrieve the boys from the car, and all is right with the world.

But this means that the fictional KITT in the episode of Diff’rent Strokes is the same as the fictional KITT in an episode of Knight Rider. Fictional KITT (DS) is, like fictional KITT (KR), is a super-intelligent, wise-cracking computerized car. But fictional David Hasselhoff (DS) is the actor who plays a character named Michael Knight in Knight Rider.

So, really, all bets are off, my friends.

Here’s what I think I’m getting from that. First, Charlie Kaufmann probably watched a lot of Diff’rent Strokes. Second, though a couple of levels of reality can make for an interesting story, throwing in a third can really add a bit of brain-busting to something.

Homework: figure out what’s going on in the photo. Is Gary Coleman posing with David Hasselhoff? Is Arnold Jackson posing with fictional David Hasselhoff? Is Arnold Jackson posing with Michael Knight? Is KITT real, i.e. just a car? Fictional (DS)? Or Fictional (KR)?

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