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A Verne by Any Other Name

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THUMB ep 21
"A Verne by Any Other Name"
Series

Back to the Future: The Animated Series

Season

2

Episode

21

Writer(s)

Earl Kress

Director

John Hays

Airdate

October 24, 1992

Episode chronology
Previous episode

"The Money Tree"

Next episode

"Hill Valley Brown-Out"

"A Verne By Any Other Name" is the twenty-first episode of the second season of Back to the Future: The Animated Series. It first aired on October 24, 1992.

Brief synopsis

After being teased by kids at school with insults such as "Verne the Worm" and "La-Verne", Verne decides that he wants a new name. After learning that his parents flipped a coin to decide whether to name him after author Jules Verne, or after Clara's uncle, Verne and Marty head back to 1800s France to convince the science fiction author to change his name. Verne suggests that the author rename himself "Bart Simpson", "Luke Perry", "Hammer", "Raphael", "Charles Dickens", etc. When that plan fails, they head to October 29, 1888, the day of Verne's birth, to convince Doc and Clara to use another name for their second child, who is about to be born.

Verne uses his flying cap to descend to the Brown home. Marty McFly (after running into a flock of geese) accidentally crashes the DeLorean on top of snow-covered pine trees and, in a scene reminiscent of his last visit to the old West, is knocked unconscious while fleeing from a bear. Verne meets his father, his expectant mother, and his older brother Jules, who is a baby in 1888. After rescuing Jules from injury, Verne is welcomed into the Browns' home. While there, he asks his parents what they intend to name their next child. "If it's a girl", the baby will be named for Florence Nightingale. "And if it's a boy?" Verne learns that his mother wants to name him for her Uncle Jehosaphat, while his father wants to name him for Galileo. Verne's latest suggestions, including Max, Marky, Magic, Kareem, Ice Cube, or "Bond. James Bond", etc. are lost as Clara and Doc get into a quarrel. Clara orders Doc out of the house, and Doc angrily storms off into the snow and gets lost. Soon, Clara is ready to give birth and she sends Verne out to find her husband and a doctor. As it turns out, Marty had been rescued by the town's physician/veterinarian and had been looking for Verne. The parties come together, although paradox-minded Marty hides rather than risk an encounter with 1888 Doc. After the baby is born, Verne realizes that there are worse names that a kid could have after being introduced to Dr. Windjammer Diefendorfer. In the original timeline, Doc and Clara ultimately compromised on the name "Verne" after having named their first-born "Jules". After older Verne's interference with his parents' lives in 1888, their first idea for a compromise had been to flip a coin to choose between Galileo or Jehosaphat. This potential alteration of the timeline doesn't come to pass, however. This time around, they end up naming their new baby Verne anyway, but for a different reason. Rather than honoring Jules Verne, they agree that their child should be named after the "very brave young man" who came to visit them ... Verne Brown himself.

Behind the scenes

  • For a few seconds, one can glimpse Verne driving the Junkmobile, which looks like a bathtub on wheels and was one of four Happy Meal toys marketed by McDonald's in a promotion of the animated series.
  • Verne and Marty visit Jules Verne in 1888, the year of Verne Brown's birth. As they depart Paris, the Eiffel Tower, still under construction, can be seen.
  • In a scene harkening back to Back to the Future Part III, Marty is chased by a bear in 1888, knocked unconscious, and revived in someone else's home. This time, it's Dr. Diefendorfer who rescues him. The bear, who may or may not be the one whom Marty encountered in Part III, has been named "Elly May" by the doctor.
  • There are also similarities with Part I and Part II -- just as Lorraine had noted in 1955 that "Marty" was "such a nice name", implying that it would influence her naming of Marty in 1968, Doc and Clara's choice of name is reinforced by Verne Brown's presence in 1888. And, just as 1955 Biff didn't notice his resemblance to 2015 Biff, none of the Brown family see a resemblance between the two Vernes in their home.
  • As with Marty's encounter with his Uncle Joey in Part I, and with William McFly in Part II, Verne meets a baby version of an older relative; in this instance, his older brother is only two years old in 1888.
  • Clara's uncle, referred to only, was a circus performer who billed himself as "Jumpin' Jehosaphat".
  • Verne's tampering with history created a predestination paradox by which he would be named "Verne".
  • If Marty ran into Doc in 1888, Doc would recognize Marty as someone whom he hadn't seen for three years, and if he saw Marty and Verne together, Doc might deduce that Verne is his son.
  • Clara and Doc, however, do not make the connection that 9-year old Verne is the same person as their newborn infant (though if Jules had come along on the trip, they would easily have seen the resemblance between the 11-year old Jules and their 2-year old son).

Dramatis personae

New individuals

New years

Quotes

Verne Brown: Jules Verne, he's a worm, his name makes my stomach turn!
(Jules Verne slaps Marty with a glove)
Marty: Hey! I didn't say it!
Jules Verne: Oui. But a Frenchman does not strike a child.

(Verne Brown insults Jules Verne at a French Bistro, and Jules Verne slaps Marty with a glove)

Marty: "Hey! I didn't say it!"
Jules Verne: "Non, that was for my onion soup. It was tres cold."

(The local vet explains his work):

Dr. Diefendorfer: "I just fix 'em up and send 'em back into the wilderness!"
Marty: "Oh. That's wild."

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