After J.J. Abrams unleashed the pilot for Lost and the series was picked up by ABC, Abrams jumped ship and left the show in the hands of a young, inexperienced writer named Damon Lindelof. Lindelof, knowing he couldn’t run 22-episodes a year by himself, brought in a guy who was something akin to his mentor, Carlton Cuse. Cuse has actually been around forever. Hell, he’s been writing television since 1986, and some people probably don’t even realize that he created The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., which is because most people have never heard of The Adventures of Brisco County Jr., which is a damn shame because it’s Bruce Campbell’s best work outside of The Evil Dead series.
Anyway, I tell you this to establish the age of Carlton Cuse, so it won’t sound bizarre to you when you find out that he was college roommates with Andy Borowitz, which is only interesting to you if you know that Borowitz and his wife created The Fresh Prince of Bel Air (how that nugget of knowledge has escaped me all these years is a mystery. Andy Borowitz? The white guy from Harvard best known for his political comedy? Whaaaat?).
I had no idea. Anyway, earlier this year, someone asked Cuse in a Reddit AMA if he “ever get made fun of for the name Carlton in reference to the Fresh Prince of BelAir character?” I’m sure this was just a silly toss-off question from a Redditor based on the fact that Cuse had an unusual name that most people associate with Alfonso Ribeiro’s character on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. However, there’s a reason why those two people are the only people we know with the name of “Carlton.”
Alright, well. If you want to know the truth, Andy Borowitz and his wife Sue Stevenson who created the Fresh Prince of Bel-Air were friends of mine from college, so I served as some sort of inspiration for the name. Little did I know he would grow into his own phenomenon.
And by “served as some sort of inspiration,” Cuse clarified in a keynote conversation yesterday, what he meant was: The character was named after him. “I think people are actually shocked when they find out there’s a connection between those two things,” Cuse said.
Yes. I am. Because this:
Just don’t mix.