Sunday, November 1, 2020


Thank you to everyone who has watched CRISIS ON INFINITE TEEN DRAMAS so far, especially those of you who were there RIGHT when it dropped Friday night. Reading your tweets all weekend has been fantastic for my mood. I couldn't be more delighted with how it was received.

It's online until November 8th, so check it out if you haven't already. Tickets here.

I thought it'd be fun to go through my original script and point out all the inside jokes, references and callbacks.

In most instances, the hyperlinked text will lead you to a video clip of the reference in question.

If you have yet to download the script, you can find it here.

After you click that link, press ONLY the button that says "Download" next to the script title, and ignore any pop-ups you get or any messages telling you that your Adobe Flash is out of date.


p. 1 - "Turn, Turn, Turn" is a song used more than once on THE WONDER YEARS.

p. 1 - This opening, and the entire sequence on "Earth-03" is an homage to the original CRISIS ON INFINITE EARTHS comic book, which opens with destruction of Earth-3. That Earth is populated by evil dopplegangers of the JLA, known as the Crime Syndicate. Dramatically, it was to kill off some notable characters, and show that Superman, Wonder Woman, et al, would have gone down just as quickly.

In this case, at the time of writing the script, I had only seen about 6-8 episodes of THE OC and wasn't sure I could capture the voices of the characters. I decided to destroy them early on to up the stakes, though very soon after, I binged the entire series.

p. 1 - THE OC scene we're dropped into specifically is from the season 2 finale, "The Dearly Beloved."

p. 2 - Pariah is a character in the original CRISIS whose role is basically be be drawn to each dying Earth. He cries a lot too. 

p. 2 - Dawson Leery, from DAWSON'S CREEK, is intended to be a Dawson from 2020. The finale of his series was set in 2008, five years in the future from its airdate of 2003. This means he's lived twelve years since the last time we saw him.

p. 2 - Marissa shooting Trey is one of those pop culture moments that you're probably aware of even if you haven't seen it. It was spoofed - with the "Hide and Seek" music - in an SNL sketch.

p. 3 - the Narrator is a riff on The Monitor from CRISIS. Harbinger is also a CRISIS character. In that story, she was rescued from death as a child by the Monitor and was raised as his assistant. In the first issue, her role was to gather the heroes.

p. 3 - We get our first clue to Harbinger's identity when we're told her universe had wild fluxuations in its history. That MIGHT mean she's from a show that tends to retcon its own history, or fails to remain consistent season to season.

p. 3 - our second clue to Harbinger's identity is when she says to the Monitor, "You're an actual nerd." That's something that the character playing Harbinger says in one of her first scenes in her first episode. I thought this was a subtle clue that no one would catch, but one reader actually nailed that hint pretty quickly.

p. 4 - The Monitor/Narrator is Kevin Arnold. He's described in his 40s, so you should be imagining a modern Fred Savage. In terms of Kevin's timeline, he's always 20 years behind our present, so that means he would have come from (as he later says) the year 2000.

p. 4 - On RIVERDALE, Veronica has described her pairing with Archie as "endgame." I don't have a specific point in RIVERDALE's history that they're being taken from, but it's probably the latter half of Season 2.

p. 4 - "Welcome to your crisis" is one of my less subtle clues about Harbinger's identity.

p. 5 - And now we're in GILMORE GIRLS, the intent is that we're in Season 3. 

p. 6 - As the script notes, Tristan is the character Chad Michael Murray played on GILMORE GIRLS, mostly in season 1. He often called Rory "Mary" (Lorelai explains "as in 'Virgin Mary.' It means they thought you were a goody-goody.") Rory notices right away he doesn't, which is a clue.

p. 7 - Lorelai's Ari Fleisher joke is intended to remind people we're in the early 2000s, when he was the press secretary for the George W. Bush administration. The fact Richard brings up she's been warned about insulting him this means this is set in season 3 AFTER "Let the Games Begin," where Richard chides her, "Ari Fleischer is our nation's mouthpiece, young lady."

p. 7 - Lorelai's joke about "Jeff Goldblum's transporter" is a reference to THE FLY remake. Rory saying "Help me" is a reference to the most infamous line of the original version.

p. 8 - Tristan is revealed to ACTUALLY be "Charlie," who was a character Chad Michael Murray played on season 5 of DAWSON'S CREEK.

p. 8 - Harbinger is finally revealed as Hannah Baker from 13 REASONS WHY. "It's Hannah. Hannah Baker" is a callback to her first line of dialogue heard in the series.

p. 9 - We're in EVERWOOD, obviously. The Ferris Wheel on the front lawn places us just seconds after the series finale. (which means they're from 2006.)

p. 10 - Ephram's interest in manga is a trait established in the EVERWOOD pilot. Amy pronouncing it that way is also a callback to how Ephram says it in the pilot.

p. 10 - Gino Chang's (misspelled in the script as Gino Chan's) is the combination Italian/Chinese restaurant established in EVERWOOD's second episode, "The Great Doctor Brown."

p. 10 - Aside from his interest in comics, there's a bit of an in-joke about Ephram getting the concept of a multiversal crisis, as the actor playing Ephram, Gregory Smith, is now a director whose credits include "Crisis on Infinite Earths, Part 5" and "Crisis on Earth-X" part 4. (Both of those are episodes of LEGENDS OF TOMORROW.)

p. 12 - Amy teasing Ephram about once having purple hair is another callback to the pilot, where that hair style made Ephram a target of teasing upon his arrival in Everwood.

p. 13 - Kevin references Taylor Townsend, a character from THE OC.

p. 15 - Archie and Veronica have landed in the middle of the "Donna Martin graduates" episode of BEVERLY HILLS, 90210, season 3's "Something in the Air."

p. 15 - Archie thinking that Dylan McKay looks like his dad is an in-joke about how Luke Perry played both parts.

p. 16 - another doppleganger referencing the same actor having appeared on multiple shows. In this case, Kerr Smith, who was Ryan Thomas on LIFE UNEXPECTED and Principal Honey on RIVERDALE, which is why Archie mistakes the former for the latter.

p. 18 - Dark Monitor offering literary quotes is a clue to his identity. (And at least two people tweeted a correct guess at me after I originally posted these pages.)

p. 19 - The prisoners in Dark Monitor's jail are all characters played by actors who've also appeared on genre shows. Chris Wolfe was played by Jason Behr, who appeared on ROSWELL as Max Evans. Cate Cassidy was played by Shiri Appleby, who also appeared on ROSWELL as Liz Parker, and Dean Forrester was played by Jared Padelcki, who was Sam Winchester on Supernatural.

p. 20 - Kevin again references Harbinger's world having wild inconsistencies in its history. That MIGHT be me taking a small poke at a lot of the irreconcilable retcons in Season 2 of 13 REASONS WHY.

p. 22 - The "friend" who Hannah says Ephram reminds her of is obviously Clay Jensen. (And I'm really sorry I couldn't figure out a way to do a Clay/Ephram meeting somewhere in here.)

p. 22 - as we arrive in ONE TREE HILL, the reference to it being summer is meant to place us soon after the season 4 finale, after all the kids have graduated school.

p. 22 - "Go Brooke Yourself" is OTH slang for "Go fuck yourself." It passed into use after Brooke was caught masturbating and the gang joked about how often they "Brooke themselves" in season 3's "When It Isn't Like It Should Be."

p. 23 - If you saw the live read, this scene got a rewrite. Haley James Scott was removed in an effort to cut down the characters and streamline the story. (That killed me because Haley was my favorite OTH character and Bethany Joy Lenz was one of my bigger WB crushes.)

p. 23 - Haley recognizing Dawson is consistent with her being established as a DAWSON'S CREEK fan in the pilot of ONE TREE HILL.

p. 23 - Dawson references "Clothes Over Bros," the fashion line Brooke started in high school.

p. 25 - Veronica Mars being 32 indicates the Gilmore Girls are meeting her at some point AFTER the conclusion of the Hulu season. (Which is unofficially Season 4.)

p. 26 - Veronica references Vinnie Van Lowe, the sleazy PI played by Ken Marino.

p. 28 - Two famous mother/daughter pairings are referenced: Demi Moore and Rumer Willis, and Debbie Reynolds and Carrie Fisher.

Sidebar: With p. 28, we start some sequences that I ended up altering for the live read. The motivation was mostly to reduce the number of characters overall, since it was such a giant cast. I went through to see where we could eliminate or combine some characters just to ease casting and to give some actors more to do.

For this PRETTY LITTLE LIARS sequence, I replaced Aria with Taylor Townsend from THE OC. We also added Brooke Davis from ONE TREE HILL to the team of Hannah Baker and Amy Abbott. This was all a consequence of removing the KATY KEENE sequence that begins on p. 37. It meant we could cut Josie and Aria entirely as long as Brooke got captured a different way. By dropping the idea of Aria/Katy as dopplegangers and Aria pretending to be Katy it let the PLL sequence advance the plot a little more on its own.

(I had some concerns about making Taylor evil, but I justified it by having her say this was just to get her world back and it's implied that she would have been taken from the point in THE OC's timeline that coincided with the opening sequence, meaning this predates her first appearance on the show in season three, before her redemption arc.)

p. 28 - The Masquerade Ball that Hannah and Amy have arrived in is the second season finale of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS, "Unmasked."

p. 28 - Amy's line here (and a later joke on p. 29) are meta jokes about how the actress playing her, Emily VanCamp, later starred in REVENGE, in which she often wore expensive gowns and was obsessed with revenge on the people who destroyed her family.

p. 28 - The significance of Maya being played by Bianca Lawson is that Lawson spent over two decades playing teenagers on a host of teen dramas, including BUFFY, DAWSON'S CREEK, THE VAMPIRE DIARIES and TEEN WOLF.

p. 29-30 - As Amy recounts the drama that spanned the first two years of EVERWOOD, she's unaware that Hannah endured severe bullying and depression (shown in Season 1 of 13 REASONS WHY) before that led her to take her own life.

p. 31 - Maya's death is revealed in the final scene of the aforementioned season two finale of PRETTY LITTLE LIARS.

p. 33 - Rory references Lane, her best friend on GILMORE GIRLS.

p. 34 - Veronica giving her age as 32 confirms that she's from the year 2020, 14 years after graduating high school in 2006 at the age of 18.

p. 35 - Veronica referring to this year as "pretty outlandish" probably indicates this is happening in Season 2 of VERONICA MARS. 

(In the live read, Wallace's role is replaced with Mac.)

p. 36 - Josie would of course recognize Veronica Lodge from Riverdale, but doesn't seem to notice this Veronica is at least five years younger than she should be.

p. 37 - Katy Keene is played by Lucy Hale, who also plays Aria Montgomery.

p. 40 - Two changes were made to this sequence for the live read: Haley James Scott was replaced with Veronica Lodge, since Veronica's trip to Katy Keene's world no longer happened. Also, instead of taking Santana, Ephram and Veronica grab Sue Sylvester as the world fades out.

p. 43 - Lucas Scott realizing he was "the puppeteer" and that Brooke was one of "my characters" might suggest he has a lot in common with a showrunner. Make of that what you will.

p. 43 - When talking about finding Brooke in the back of his car naked after a game, Lucas is referencing the third episode of ONE TREE HILL, "Are You True?"

p. 46 - Winnie Cooper is of course, Kevin Arnold's girlfriend from THE WONDER YEARS and her age also indicates she'd be from the same time frame as our adult Kevin.

p. 51 - Kevin says that Lucas Scott could be an Avatar of his show's creator, which is what gives him the power to bend the rules of the story. ONE TREE HILL was created by Mark Schwahn.

p. 51 - Kevin observing that "The forces controlling your world have frequently tried to debase and degrade you and the other women you know. They've made so many attempts to destroy your character. But it never lasts - you and the other girls always overcome it. No matter the degradation, your true nature remains intact. Your integrity always wins out" might be an unsublte way of saying that inconsistent plots and out-of-character writing still aren't enough to destroy the female characters of ONE TREE HILL, thanks in no small part to their performers.

p. 56 - Kevin lamenting he gave up piano playing is a callback to THE WONDER YEARS episode "Coda."

p. 56 - Ephram has been a piano prodigy most of his life, so he's not wrong to say this song is beneath his talent.

p. 56 - "I Don't Want to Wait" is, obviously, the theme song to DAWSON'S CREEK.

p. 58 - This is a pretty obvious connection to make, but if Ephram is an Avatar of his creator, that would mean he's connected to producer Greg Berlanti.

p. 59-60 - LEGENDS OF TOMORROW, SUPERGIRL, THE FLASH, BLACK LIGHTNING and BATWOMAN are all shows produced by Berlanti Productions and Greg Berlanti, hence, Ephram has access to them.

p. 60 - Veronica Mars thinking she recognizes Black Lightning is a reference to the fact that the hero's portrayer, Cress Williams, had a recurring role in the second season of VERONICA MARS as Wallace's father.

p. 60 - Lorelei's "Oy with the froggies already" is a reference to the phrase coined by Lorelei, "Oy with the poodles already" in the season two finale of GILMORE GIRLS, "I Can't Get Started."

p. 61 - "I Don't Want To Wait" was the theme song to DAWSON'S CREEK, at least in the States during the first airing. In streaming, it's been replaced by the international theme song "Run Like Mad."

p. 62 - On ONE TREE HILL, Peyton Sawyer drove a Comet.

p. 63 - Joey Potter's line, "People die... and they move away... and they grow up, Dawson. Everything changes eventually" is drawn from the season one episode of DAWSON'S CREEK, "Beauty Pageant." Jen Lindley's quote, "Impossible situations are only made better by doing something about them," originates from the season three finale "True Love."

p. 64 -  Lucas saying "It's you, Peyton Sawyer," and her responding "It's always been me" is a callback to Lucas saying (in a completely different context) "It's you, Peyton Sawyer. It's always been you" in ONE TREE HILL's season 4 episode, "Some You Give Away."

p. 64 - If you want to read some metatextual intent into an adult Peyton Sawyer being the one to vanquish her creator, I won't stop you.

p. 65-66 - Haley James Scott from ONE TREE HILL has indeed been married since her junior year, as revealed in the first season finale "The Games That Play Us." She also became a pop star the following season.

p. 66 - Supergirl being excited for a group sing and seeking out Barry/The Flash calls back to the musical SUPERGIRL/THE FLASH crossover in THE FLASH's third season episode "Duet."

p. 66 - you all know this but "Don't Stop Believin'" is the signature song from GLEE. It's first performed in the pilot and then performed four subsequent times in the series.

p. 69 - Jack Arnold's date of death being in 1975 is consistent with Kevin's final episode narration revealing Jack died two years after the end of the series.

p. 69 - The events in the Liberty High Gym on April 20, 2018 are shown in the climax of the season two finale of 13 REASONS WHY, "Bye." Specifically, Hannah arrives in the midst of this heartbreaking scene:

"The Night We Met" is a significant song for Clay and Hannah, as it's the song they danced together to a year earlier at the Spring Fling.

During season 2 of 13 REASONS WHY frequently talked with a Ghost Hannah that only he could see and hear. She wasn't a literal ghost, and was intended more as a dramatization of his own thoughts about Hannah and what he learned about her. He finally lets go of her in a eulogy at her funeral service in the season 2 finale, and that's visualized by her apparition getting up and walking out of the church.

By noting the resurrected Hannah is wearing the same dress, I wanted to give an open door for the reader to assume that the "Ghost Hannah" was actually Harbinger/Hannah, interacting with Clay while she still existed in some sense.

p. 70 - In the actual episode, Tyler nearly takes his weapons into school before being talked down by Clay. It sets off a chain of events that reverberates through the next two seasons and destroys a lot of lives. Here, Hannah alters that event, hopefully to Clay's benefit.

p. 72 - "Katie Couric time" is a callback to Dawson revealing (joking?) in the pilot of DAWSON' S CREEK that he gratifies himself in the morning, "usually to Katie Couric."

p. 72 - Joey's nephew Alexander was born in season one's "Baby," set in 1998, so this would be his COLLEGE graduation Joey references, just in case you weren't feeling old enough.

p. 72 - Joey promising Dawson she'll watch his show every week, "At least until you run out of ideas and do something crazy like make all the kids murderers" describes the missteps of multiple teen shows. Take your pick as to what she's alluding to.

p. 73 - Joey DID turn in her drug dealing father in season 2's finale "Parental Discretion Advised."

p. 73 - On DAWSON'S CREEK, Joey and Dawson often watched movies together in his bed, and given his Spielberg fandom, it makes sense they would have watched most of them together.

p. 73 - Dawson saying that INDIANA JONES AND THE KINGDOM OF THE CRYSTAL SKULL "disappoints" calls back to how Dawson described the less successful Spielberg films when showing Jen his room in the pilot. The producers were allowed to use Spielberg's movie posters after Spielberg himself gave permission, and so as to not offend him him, creator Kevin Williamson decided, "we don't say 'flops,' we say 'disappointments.'"


  1. I wanted to congratulate you on Crisis. Its a real achievement, reflecting both your ability and you love for these shows. I haven't watched them all, but with respect to the ones I have watched, you really captured them.

    I wanted to say a few things about the way you wrote Hannah. Describing her as a walking retcon was a great line. And the way you had her simply say "yes" when she was was asked if she could remember her death was perfect, as if she could bear to say more. And the look of pain and maybe regret that flashed over Angelica Fellini's face when she said yes was heartbreaking. I thought she did a great job playing Hannah. I even caught her brushing her hair behind her ear at least once.

    I liked the minimalistic way you wrote the scene between Kevin and Hannah. He's giving her bad news and just says it. He doesn't make excuses or even apologize, just says he can't change it. Hannah accepts it, realizing that what she did can't be undone. But you do just enough to show she wants to come back. The brief look of hope Angelica has on her face when she says "Can I?" is also heartbreaking. And she has a perfect look of wistfulness when she says that she can watch.

    Having her wear the same dress she wore at the church was a great touch to indicate that the Hannah at the dance was at least partially Hannah. I particularly liked that as I like to indulge myself by thinking that the Hannah we see in that episode, and only in that episode, is actually her ghost.

    It had to be hard for her to watch the scene at the dance. At that point she might be sorry she came. But despite being told she could only watch, she still finds a way to help. In the script you had her tell Tyler to "get the fuck out." I understand why that couldn't be used in the performance. But it was the perfect line for you to have her say because is calls back to when she said the same line to Clay and because its exactly how the kids talk in the show. Angelica's smile on her face when she sees Clay is great. And her simply saying good-bye seemed right. Although I liked what was in the script as well. And I liked that the narrator ended by saying "leaving Clay alone." I think the story is Hannah's story. But I think we are at least partially meant to view it through Clay's eyes. And realize the pain he feels from being left alone.

    I wonder if you considered bring Hannah back. I'm guessing no, or at least not for long. I thought the way you wrote it was in the spirit of what I think is one of the lessons of the show that isn't talked about that much: the permanency of what Hannah did.

    Thank you for working in a mention of St. Elsewhere, a great show that isn't remembered as much as it should be. And I loved Kevin throwing the snow globe against the wall. I know it was after Veronica's line, but I think he was really more exasperated at what Dawson said.

    I also wanted to congratulate you on all the good things that are happening for you professionally. Getting a script, getting your card, having Crisis produced and being able to unmask, all terribly well deserved. One thing I always notice on your twitter feed is how much attention and respect people have for you. People pay attention to what you say simply because you are the one saying it. The credibility you have built up over the years is amazing.

    1. Thanks for writing! I've been waiting to hear from a 13RW fan to get their reaction and I'm glad it was you.

      Something like 80% of the people who survive a suicide attempt say they regret it, so that was what drove a lot of my thinking for Hannah's mini-arc. Once I decided she was going to remember everything, I wanted to make sure that her journey was about realizing all she lost. It's why I gave her that moment with Amy Abbott, where it's almost too much for her to hear how someone came out on the other side of a similar depression. I thought Anjelica did a wonderful job playing all of that, and I'm glad some of her more subtle touches didn't go unnoticed.

      I enjoyed kind of retconning the retcon-Season 2, in saying that maybe that really was some aspect of Hannah that was visiting Clay. And of course I couldn't resist having her rewrite the end of S2 a little. Putting Tyler on a different path doesn't necessarily erase everything in the last two seasons, but it frees Clay somewhat.

      I cut the "fuck" from the live performance in an effort to be more family friendly, but a little rule I had was that Hannah was the ONLY character who could swear. All the others are from broadcast TV. She's the only streaming character. I thought it'd be funny if it was clear she could work bluer than the others, but it felt like that subtlety never came across, and so it was easier to cut that "Get the fuck out of here!"

      I never considered fully resurrecting Hannah, for exactly the reasons you cite. I think the permanency of what Hannah did is important to preserve. In fact, after season 1, I really felt we should never see her again because seeing her in flashbacks or as a ghost could only undercut it.

      This is also why aside from that very brief moment with Clay, Hannah's somewhat unique in that she doesn't interact with anyone else from her show. Kevin has that moment with Winnie and Dawson has that moment with Joey, but I didn't want to violate the idea that Hannah's left those people forever.

      There was a brief period in the writing where I realized I hadn't REALLY killed anyone and wondered who should go in the spirit of The Flash and Supergirl's deaths in the original CRISIS. Hannah seemed like a good candidate for that, but I never came up with a death scene to my satisfaction.

      Kevin throwing the snowglobe was a favorite line of mine and Mark Gagliardi played it exactly how I imagined it.

      Thank you for all the nice things you said about my recent achievements. It's been a good year professionally, and that's made everything else abotu this year better. I'm glad you took the time to comment.