Cigarettes are unhealthy, and really don’t offer any sort of benefit. That is of course except for the fact that one particular brand ties together pretty much every single television show you’ve grown to love over the years. The brand is Morley, and yes, it’s very much a fictional brand that you’re not going to be able to run out and buy because you want to be just like your favorite spy, or convict, or zombie killer, or vampire, or even meth cook. But thanks to Morley, we can imagine that all television worlds are connected. A Morley-verse, if you will.
Let’s start with The X-Files. On that show, there was a nefarious character known only as the Cigarette Smoking Man. He was a mysterious, shadowy figure who was often pulling the strings of various schemes. And, obviously, he liked to smoke cigarettes. Morley’s, in particular. You know who else smokes Morley? Everyone’s favorite condescending, zombie bait curmudgeon, Dale. So right there, we can connect The X-Files to The Walking Dead. Considering some of the things Mulder and Scully had to deal with over the years, that’s not such a giant leap, right?
Another easy leap is from both of those shows to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. That show featured a Billy Idol-esque vampire named Spike, who was a chain smoking Brit whose cigarette of choice was Morley. Boom, we’ve got X-Files, Walking Dead, and Buffy all rolled together pretty nicely. But at this rate, with all of those zombies and monsters, Mulder and Scully and Buffy are going to need some help fending for themselves, aren’t they?
In that case, they should call in Michael Westen, the protagonist in Burn Notice. Both Michael and his mother smoke Morley’s, so everyone’s favorite burned spy along with his pal Bruce Campbell are now connected to The X-Files, Buffy, and The Walking Dead. Something tells me that Campbell guy may be good in a fight against zombies. But it’s not just action and horror genres in which characters puff on Morley’s. The fake brand actually made its first televised appearance way back in 1961, in a first season episode of The Dick Van Dyke Show.
It’s also popped up in shows like ER, Lost, Prison Break, CSI, Criminal Minds, Beverly Hills 90210, Friends, and even 24. Yes, that’s right, thanks to this simple link of a fake brand of cigarettes, you can safely imagine that the TV universe is all connected and Jack Bauer is out there torturing zombies and vampires for information. The Outer Limits, Heroes, That 70’s Show, The Twilight Zone, Weeds, Warehouse 13, Pushing Daisies, The L Word, and Mission: Impossible are all a part of the Morley-verse, as well.
Of course it doesn’t end there, either. Morley cigarettes also appeared in the show Malcolm in the Middle, which must be where Bryan Cranston first ran across them and brought them to the fifth season of Breaking Bad.
And now we’ve just about come full circle, because there’s yet another connection between Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead that, to me anyway, means unequivocally that these worlds are all linked together. In an early episode of The Walking Dead, Daryl Dixon retrieves some medicine from his motorcycle. The pill bottles are in a plastic bag, sitting on…blue meth. Add the fact that the Dodge Challenger that Glenn drives in the first season of Walking Dead is the exact same car that Walter White buys for his son, and it’s case closed, your honor.
Fake brands pop up all the time in movies and television shows. A lot of times, people borrow from one another as nods and winks, but you’d be hard pressed to find a fake brand as prevalent as Morley. At the very least, it justifies all of those absurd TV crossovers you’ve come up with in your fan fiction, and that alone makes it worthwhile, right?