My favorites and in no particular order…

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10.  Blue Jello

The blue jello predates my involvement with the show.  By the time Paul and I joined SG-1 in its fourth season, the gelatin was already de rigueur in most every mess scene, eventually, finding its way to Atlantis as well.  So what’s the deal?  Search me.  I seem to remember someone saying it was simply something the prop department whipped up one day that stood out, both for its neon properties and sheer ridiculousness, quickly becoming a comically beloved visual staple.

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9. O’Neill’s obsession with The Simpsons

O’Neill was full of Simpsons references and an admitted fan.  Why? Well, because most of the show’s writers were fans as well, although nowhere near as huge a fan as Richard Dean Anderson.  How big a fan was he?  So big that he attended the table reading of a Simpsons episode and was totally blown away by the experience.  Occasionally, he would even bring his daughter by my office to check out the various Simpsons-related dioramas and action figures that bedecked my shelf. Eventually, actor Dan Castellanetta guested on the show (Citizen Joe) and he and Rick hit it off.  They had a great time working together and, months later, Dan showed his appreciation by writing a Stargate/RDA-themed Simpsons episode to which Rick lent his voice talents.

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8. Pineapples

If you’re watching Stargate and ever happen to catch sight of a pineapple, there’s a good chance the episode you’re viewing was directed by long-time Stargate director Will Waring.  The pineapples were his signature visual.  More often than not, however, the fruit were so carefully camouflaged, most viewers would be hard-pressed to notice them.  Still, there’s plenty of fun to be had in trying.  I once asked Will “Why pineapples?” and he told me that on one of his first productions, he was camera operator on a scene involving a high speed chase.  For some reason, he put a pineapple in the car’s back window as a gag – and then forgot to remove it for the actual shoot.  As a result, for the entire high-octane chase sequence, there’s a pineapple clearly rattling around in the back window of our protagonist’s car.  Nobody noticed – until the dailies.  The director was livid and was prepared to fire Will – but the producer LOVED the pineapple gag.  Will got to keep his job – and the signature pineapple was born.

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7. The Big Wrench

Where Will Waring had his pineapples, director Martin Wood had his big wrench.  You’ll often spot it in the background, in the hands of Martin’s buddy and Stargate SG-1 Fight Coordinator Dan Shea, as he makes adjustments to equipment or simply walks around with this huge, oversized calling card.  Every once in a while, Martin would get into the big wrench background action as well, donning the persona of his onscreen alter-ego, Major Wood.

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6. Peter DeLuise’s Hitchockian touch

Whereas Will had the pineapples and Martin had the big wrench, director Peter DeLuise had…Peter DeLuise.  Before he was a director, Peter was an actor, and so it was only natural that he’d take a page out of Hitchcock’s book and make himself his own visual signature.  He appeared as a host of background characters and even played the part of the young Urgo opposite his father Dom.  Even in the most challenging of episodes, Peter found a way to make his trademark appearance.  Once, we thought he’d missed his cameo – only to discover he’d found an ingenious way to make a subtle appearance.  In one scene, as Teal’c sits in his darkened room, deep in meditation, we pull back to reveal he is surrounded by candles – several of which are assembled to spell out the initial “PDL”.

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5. Jonas’s voracious appetite

Actors have their trademark “bits” as well and, for Jonas, it was food. Whether it was buttered toast in Night Walkers or the infamous banana scene in Descent (which, incidentally, ran about three minutes long in the director’s cut), he was always snacking.  But he crossed the line in one episode where he showed up in the gate room sipping tea from a mug and had to be reminded – the tea mug was another actor’s trademark “bit” (see below).

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4. Magnets

Every once in a while, whenever Carter tried to explain some scientific or technological wonder, Jack would try to tie it back to magnets.  What was the deal with O’Neill and magnets?  Well, this one was compliments of Creator/Exec Producer Brad Wright who once had someone pitch him some ridiculous scientific theory.  When a dubious Brad asked him to clarify the faulty science, the other individual shrugged and offered: “Magnets?”.  It eventually became the stock response to every befuddling question of logic.

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3. The Wizard of Oz

This was another running joke that predated my involvement in the production but SG-1 was peppered with references throughout its ten-year run, culminating in the Wizard of Oz sight gag from the show’s 200th episode (200).  Of course, by that point in the series run, the line-up had changed, offering a slightly altered version of the originals: Carter as Dorothy, Daniel as the cowardly lion, Teal’c as the tin man, and, of course, Jack as the scarecrow.

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2. Indeed

If there is one word that perhaps appears in more episodes of Stargate than any other (beside, maybe, “stargate”), it’s “Indeed”, Teal’c’s short and sweet one-word response to most anything he is asked – and sometimes not.  Actor Chris Judge even took to inserting the odd “Indeed” on occasions where it hadn’t even been scripted.  I knew we’d reached the point of no return when, while watching dailies one day, we watched as as someone asked Teal’c: “Have you seen him?” to which Teal’c replied: “Indeeed – I have not.”

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1. What the hell is in O’Neill’s cup?

Seriously.  This one is fairly subtle but after noticing it for the first time, I caught countless more.  Whenever Jack has a cup or mug in his hand there will come a point in the scene where he’ll glance down, frown, and then attempt to pluck some mysterious foreign object out of his drink.  Watch for it!

35 thoughts on “June 12, 2013: Top 10 Running Gags in SG-1!

  1. So should I be looking for a pineapple in each episode of Continuum? Can’t say I’ve noticed any to date, but I never noticed them in SG either — and I’ve seen most of those episodes a shitload of times. If you hadn’t circled the pineapple in the photo you posted, I still wouldn’t have seen it.

  2. Oh Thanks! Joe, Now you Got me wanting to watch SG1 again. I’ll have to get the DVD box set down on the weekend.

  3. Loved all of these (although not a Simpsons fan), but what episode is it with the candles and the PDL? Don’t make me go through the entire thing, Joe! Then, there’s this:

  4. Great post, thanks Joe!

    Amy (my wife) and I noticed O’Neill’s thing with the cup in one episode and couldn’t stop giggling about it. It made me laugh now reading this entry.

    And Teal’c’s “Indeed…I have not” is classic.

  5. Psych also has a pineapple gag in every single episode. It’s quite fun spotting the fruit – sometimes as a real pineapple, sometimes as an image or picture of one.

    das

  6. G’day

    Thanks for this post today Joe. Really miss the gang.
    Always try to spot the pineapple from Will.
    I try to put Indeed into my everyday language.
    Blue jello/jelly is my favourite (and it is shippy 😀 )
    Jack and his cup always make me giggle as does the big wrench.
    Jonas reminds me of well me, always eating.

    Boy I soooooooooooooooooooo much miss it.

  7. Thanks for the memories, Joe 🙂 Are there any more Pineapple Diaries videos with Louis Ferreira? 😉

  8. Such is the influence of Stargate: my daughter Jackie uses “Indeed” frequently and in much the same way as Christopher Judge did.

  9. My first thought was of Teal’c’s “indeed”. And even when I was looking for them, I never could spot Will’s pineapples, unless it was in a big bowl of fruit on the messhall table.

  10. Is this where Louis Ferreira jumped on board with those funny videos he did with you from SGU that involved the pineapple? Or was that something else entirely?

  11. I loved the running gags. I miss SG-1. The only other person who shares this amusement is my Dad, but he hides it in the closet.

  12. I don’t have a good enough eye to spot the pineapples, alas, but I’ve always loved the blue jello. And now that you mention it, I do recall O’Neill fussing with his cups. Love it.

  13. At Chevron 7.9 during a live commentary during a showing of the episode “Double Jeopardy”, Michael Shanks commented on how “challenging” it was directing when it came to dealing with RDA and “Props”…i.e. how he couldn’t resist picking them up, playing with them and yes, he did the cup thing in that episode too!!..

    Man, how I miss SG-1…

    But it was nice to see that Michael Shanks picked up yet another LEO Award for Best Actor last weekend..this time for playing Dr Charlie Harris in Saving Hope!..Congratulations to him!…

  14. Great post Joe! I hadn’t noticed most of those running gags first time round, but now you’ve mentioned them, many of those scenes are coming back to me.

    However…’indeed’ and the way Tealc delivered it is a running gag in my house! I used it unconsciously for years, but after I got married my hubby also adopted
    it!

  15. “Indeed” is such a useful word. 😉

    Great blog, Joe!

    Sorry, but I’ve been kind of busy and just caught up. Deni, I’m so sorry about Gumbo. [[[hugs]]]

  16. I thought about switching over to blue jello… but I’m a green jello girl from the Animal House days.

    I actually had a 0.0 one semester. Sigh.

  17. Loved the blue Jello. Loved Teal’c and his “Indeed”. I remember the Simpson episode (the only one I ever watched). I remember that the only people in the audience were men. I figured that was because all the women were down the street at the Creation convention seeing Michael Shanks, Christopher Judge, and Don S. Davis! Btw, I loathed all the Wizard of OZ and Simpson references that were always springing up.

  18. I loved ALL the running gags! Never knew about the pineapple one, but I always got excited when I saw in the opening credits that Martin Wood was directing so I could look for him talking to Dan Shea or at least look for the wrench.

    While I know the running bits are mainly done for the enjoyment of the cast and crew, we, the fans, get such a huge kick out of them, too. I’ve never been a huge Simpsons fan, but I’ve seen plenty of episodes and Treehouse of Horror episodes and the Movie to consider myself “experienced”. Personally, I was more happy to find out that there were so many South Park fans in the SG crew and loved how you guys used the same marionette people as from Team America. I just wish at some point, somebody on screen would’ve said, “Blame Canada!” Unless they already did and I totally missed it. 🙁

    It’s those same kind of running gags and things that exist “outside” the show that work(ed) so well for other shows, too, namely Community. With Dan Harmon at the helm, the show had multiple brushes with absolute brilliance. With him gone now, it’s a bit more ho-hum. Still fun and funny, just nowhere near as creative or inventive. Did you ever notice the Beetlejuice thing? One of a LOOOOOONG list of running gags in that show. The most noticeable one is the song that everyone either hums, whistles, or will sometimes play in the background, the song “Daybreak”. Here are a few more things about Community that people know about:

    http://www.uproxx.com/tv/2013/02/20-neat-facts-inside-jokes-and-recurring-motifs-in-nbcs-community/

    I can’t wait to see what was in that series that people never knew about! Nevermind this whole last season where there was some sort of story or sets of stories that were written on the blackboards and whiteboards in the backgrounds of a lot of shots. I’d love to see someone compile all those together to make sense of them. It’s obvious they were purposely put there.

    BTW, you never shared with us what’s in a “Joreo”! I mean, if they took so long to make, they’ve got to be good and they’ve got to have a lot of stuff in them, right? 😉

    -Mike A.

  19. I still can’t spot the pineapples, but I keep looking for ’em. Oh, we can never get enough of “indeed,” even as a double negative. That blue jello, it’s sooo spacy, and I bet it tastes way better than regular jello.

  20. I remember for the Directors’ commentaries a running gag was to have Dan Shea speak with “s”s.

  21. Can you explain why Daniel is the lion and Teal’c is the Tin Man? That’s never made sense to me. The lion was known for his courage and the Tin Man for his heart. Not to mention the lion was the one who’d jump in to fight the monster and the Tin Man often puzzled out solutions to obstacles. Really seems like that makes Daniel the Tin man and Teal’c the lion.

    It’s one of those things that annoys me every time I see it.

  22. I always assumed the blue jello was a nod to George Carlin’s classic “Where’s the blue food?” comedy routine from the 1970s. “There’s no blue food! Don’t say blueberries–they’re purple! Occasionally, you might run across some blue Jell-o in a cafeteria. DON”T EAT IT! It wasn’t supposed to be blue. Something went wrong.”

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