Episode 2.8 | Electric Sister Acid Test
Don't worry - he isn't reading any of this. I fed him an alternate version where I laud him as a visionary and credit him with inventing the Internet. That's a little joke I'm hoping will pay off when he makes his customary speech at this year's wrap party. Anyway...
We started out our second season under the assumption that it would be our last. After all, Sliders was being consistently whomped in the ratings by the TV Guide channel. Admittedly, they do have better background music, but that's beside the point.
What we needed was a hook. Something that would make the viewing audience forget about the movie rip-offs, the deaths of Wade and Arturo, and the dialogue cribbed from those little comic strips that come with bubblegum packs. That's when we came up with Colin.
See, our arc for the second season was going to be the search for a way to defeat the Ggamorks, evil sliding monkeys that eat people's noses. So we cast Jerry O'Connell's real-life brother, Charlie, as Quinn's long-lost brother Colin. Thing is, Colin turns out to be a Ggamork plant: an altered clone of Quinn with a dormant secondary personality. Neat stuff, right?
That's when our boss Peckerpah walks in and says the new character has to be a female scientist. Doesn't give us any more help than that, just "female scientist." Back to the drawing board.
So we changed "Colin" to "Colleen". At least we still had the Mork plant arc. Now, the problem was finding an actress willing to appear on David Peckerpus' Sliders.
After weeks of fruitless searching, I finally went to Peck and demanded we be allowed to use Charlie. He read over my notes, and declared: "You've been searching "fruitlessly" for someone to play a "plant." Obviously, you should cast a tree. I'm thinking an apple tree, to project that sort of all-American image. And if anyone tells you it's unbelievable to have Quinn's sister be a tree, you just tell them: 'Hey! It's a parallel world!'"
So here's the situation. The three Sliders land on an Amish world plagued by upside-down tornadoes. The strict Amish leader wants to execute them, because he blames them for bringing the tornadoes by being seen in modern hairstyles. The only person who comes to their defence is Colleen, an ostracized scientist who happens to look just like an apple tree.
How do I explain this... she doesn't talk, and she doesn't move. This isn't "Lost in Space," with anthropomorphic carrots. Colleen just sits there silently, and everyone else behaves as if she's a normal human being. It's sort of a "1984" exercise: if you can convince yourself that this tree is human, you can convince yourself of anything.
Little do they know, Colleen was actually "planted" on Amish world by the Ggamork Dynasty. So after she helps the trio (sorry!) put an end to the tornadoes, by getting the villagers to blow at them and reverse the prevailing winds, she tells them - offscreen, of course - that she's Quinn's sister. For some reason they all believe her, and she leaves (sorry!!) as the fourth Slider.
A couple weeks later, Peckerhead ordered us to dump the Ggamork clone thread so we could do a story with a Colleen double. That story was never produced, but we gutted the rest of the season for its sake anyway. Incidentally, the story in question, about a talk show for jerks, has a title that is quite unprintable. All I can tell you is that it rhymes with "Lipschitz Live."
Some days I wonder why I, and the rest of the staff, stick around on this dying series. I tell myself it's a living. And hey, David Gerrold did get a book out of it: The Man Who Folded Peckerpah Into Thousands Of Small Pieces, Then Stomped Them Into A Mush, Resembling In Colour and Consistency, Boysenberry Jam. He bills it as a fantasy novel.
Well, so long -- got to go shut down a few more enormously popular fan websites by mincing words and generally spreading erroneous info. Bye!