by Wyn Hilty
Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash. Johnny Cash.
Johnny Cash (1932-2003) was a country-western singer known for his black garb and his sympathy for men in prison, for whom he frequently performed.
[Sung.] Because you’re mine, I walk the intensive care unit …
A paraphrase of the Johnny Cash song “I Walk the Line.” Sample lyrics: “I keep a close watch on this heart of mine/I keep my eyes wide open all the time/I keep the ends out for the ties that bind/Because you're mine I walk the line.”
I don’t like the new candy striper uniforms.
“Candy striper” is a nickname for a hospital volunteer. In the past, such volunteers were often young women, and traditionally wore red-and-white-striped uniforms that suggested candy canes. The uniforms, and the nickname, are rarely used today.
I’m Ed Bradley. I’m Steve Kroft. I’m Lesley Stahl.
An imitation of the opening to the TV newsmagazine 60 Minutes, which shows a stopwatch ticking busily away. Ed Bradley (1941-2006) was a correspondent on the show for 26 years, from 1981 until his death. Steve Kroft has been on the show since 1986, winning multiple awards; Lesley Stahl, already an experienced and acclaimed political reporter, joined the show in 1991.
It’s the right thing to do?
In the late 1980s, actor Wilford Brimley did a series of TV commercials for Quaker Oats, with the slogan “It’s the right thing to do.”
The death of Helmut Kohl.
Helmut Kohl is a conservative German politician who served as chancellor of Germany from 1982-1998.
The Magic Fingers have gone berserk!
Magic Fingers is a contraption that makes a bed vibrate and was a staple of low-budget motels from the 1960s to the 1980s.
A reference to Show 904, Werewolf, which also featured our pudgy Soultaker here, Joe Estevez.
He uses Ghostbusters technology.
Ghostbusters is a 1984 film starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis as ghost-fighting entrepreneurs. They use special ghost-catching machines in the film that emit streaks of light.
This is your brain on death. Any questions?
A variation on the famous anti-drug TV ad of the late 1980s. Produced by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America, the ad showed an egg sizzling in a frying pan, with the slogan: “This is your brain on drugs. Any questions?”
See, if he put the Club on his soul, this would not have happened.
The Club is an anti-theft device consisting of a contraption you lock onto the steering wheel that prevents the wheel from turning and thus makes the car impossible to drive away. It is manufactured by Winner International.
Well, I’ll head down to T.J. Melonberry’s for a Coors Light.
Coors Light is a brand of lower-calorie beer manufactured by the Coors Brewing Company.
George Clooney’s taking his shirt off!
George Clooney is a Hollywood hunk who rose to stardom playing Dr. Doug Ross on the TV series E.R.; he appeared on the show for five years before successfully making the jump to movies.
The Soul Taker!
Soul Train was a pop music television program with an African-American slant, featuring dancers wiggling away to the latest hits. It aired from 1971-2006 and was hosted for most of that time by producer Don Cornelius.
Does anything really star Joe Estevez? Isn’t that kind of an oxymoron?
Joe Estevez has had a long career playing supporting roles and villains in B-movies.
Hey, it’s Jim McMahon.
Jim McMahon is a former pro football player who played quarterback for the Chicago Bears, the San Diego Chargers, and the Green Bay Packers before retiring in 1996. He was known for always wearing sunglasses, due to a medical condition.
I bet you could never get the smell of Hardee’s out of that car.
Hardee’s is a chain of fast food burger restaurants.
Belvedere, come here, boy.
Either a reference to the TV sitcom Mr. Belvedere, which starred Christopher Hewett as an English butler working for an American family, or to the old Looney Tunes cartoon "Dog Gone South" from 1950, which featured Colonel Shuffle and his bulldog Belvedere. (Thanks to reader MT for the Looney Tunes reference.)
Yeah, crank that Sansui.
Sansui was a consumer electronics firm producing mostly audio equipment. It was founded in 1947 and reached its zenith somewhere around the 1980s; the company closed its doors in 2001.
I want to look my best if I’m going to see the Motels tonight.
The Motels were a new wave band that peaked in the 1980s, known primarily for their hit song “Only the Lonely.”
Do I want to look like David Bowie or Mary Gross?
David Bowie (1947-2016) was a British rock musician who rose to fame during the era of glam rock in the early 1970s, with such albums as The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders from Mars. Since that time his music underwent a number of evolutions, from flirtations with soul and R&B to the dance craze of the early 1980s. He is considered one of the most influential rock musicians of all time. Mary Gross is a comedian and actress best known for her tenure on Saturday Night Live, from 1981-1985.
No, this would be more appropriate for a Thompson Twins concert.
The Thompson Twins were a British pop band popular in the mid-1980s, known for such hits as “Lay Your Hands On Me” and “King for a Day.”
I sure look forward to that Michael J. Fox movie tonight.
Michael J. Fox is an actor who got his start playing conservative teen Alex Keaton on the TV series Family Ties, which aired from 1982-1989. He also starred in the Back to the Future films, which were wildly popular in the 1980s and turned Fox into a major star. In the 1990s he starred in the sitcom Spin City.
That must be Lucille.
Gale Gordon (1906-1995) played balding banker Theodore J. Mooney on Lucille Ball’s sitcom The Lucy Show.
That’s not Natalie—that’s Tonya Harding.
Tonya Harding was a figure skater who won the national championship twice; she is the only American female skater to complete a triple axel jump in competition. She is infamous for allegedly conspiring to injure fellow skater Nancy Kerrigan; she almost lost her spot on the 1994 Olympic team but competed after she threatened legal action. She finished eighth; Kerrigan finished second.
I love you, Scott Baio.
Scott Baio is an actor who is probably best known for playing Chachi on Happy Days for eight years and continuing the part on the short-lived series Joanie Loves Chachi (1982). He also played the title character in the TV show Charles in Charge (1984-1990).
This must be the all-Whitesnake station.
Whitesnake was a British hard-rock band popular in the 1980s, known for such hits as “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again.”
Tough morning, choosing between acid washed or blasted denim.
In the 1980s and into the 1990s, casual fashion dictated that denim jeans be “distressed,” so that they had not just a worn-in look, but the look of jeans about to fall apart. Cutting jeans with razor blades and then washing them repeatedly was one DIY method, and jeans could be purchased pre-distressed after being washed in an acid solution or blasted by compressed air and sand.
Music to spin doughnuts by.
Music to [Whatever] By has been a staple of album titles for decades, such as 1967’s Music to Watch Girls By from The Bob Crewe Generation.
Let me wake up the rest of Menudo—hang on.
Menudo was originally a teen music group formed in Puerto Rico. However, it has now had more than 30 members, as each one is forced out of the group at the age of 16. By the late 1990s, there were no longer any Puerto Rican members. Former member Ricky Martin enjoyed a successful solo career.
Since I’m Bob Vila, I won’t return your greeting.
Bob Vila has been the bearded, genial host of various home-improvement TV shows, including This Old House from 1979-1989.
You’re dead, Nancy Kerrigan.
Nancy Kerrigan is an American figure skater. About a month before the 1994 Olympic Games were to start, Kerrigan’s knee was injured by a man wielding a length of pipe, and fellow figure skater Tonya Harding (see above note) was implicated in the assault. The rivalry between the two skaters was a tabloid’s dream, and for months the “showdown in Lillehammer” was touted as being the battle of the century. As it turned out, Kerrigan came in second and Harding placed eighth.
He used Ban Roll-on on his lips.
Ban Roll-on is a brand of liquid deodorant. In 1952 it was the first roll-on deodorant introduced into the marketplace.
By the way, do you wear your sunglasses at night, so you can, so you can, keep track of the visions in your dreams?
A reference to the song “Sunglasses at Night” by pop star Corey Hart, which was a huge hit in 1983. Sample lyrics: “I wear my sunglasses at night/So I can so I can/Keep track of the visions in my eyes …”
Picked up Jimmy Page.
Jimmy Page is the guitarist for the rock group Led Zeppelin. (Thanks to Aaron Drewniak for this reference.)
Come back and get me when the Teddy Bear Band takes the stage.
The Teddy Bear Band is a Minneapolis-based band that performs primarily for children.
Yum! Half a mushroom Swiss burger just waiting for me under the floor mat, man.
Lots of fast food chains have mushroom Swiss burgers, but the one from Hardee’s is the best known.
The lead singer for Mr. Mister is concerned.
Mr. Mister was a band that enjoyed a brief but intense bout of popularity in the 1980s with their two number one hits, “Broken Wings” and “Kyrie.” Their lead singer was Richard Page, who went on to a successful career as a songwriter and session musician.
George O’Dowd, a.k.a. Boy George, is a flamboyant British new wave singer. His band Culture Club scored two major successes in the early 1980s with the songs “Do You Really Want to Hurt Me” and “Karma Chameleon.” The band broke up in 1986 but reunited in 1998; George has also had a successful solo career in Britain.
Just hit her in the leg with a pipe.
See note on Nancy Kerrigan, above.
I’m Gino Vannelli.
Gino Vannelli was a popular singer/songwriter during the 1970s, known mainly for his hit song “I Just Wanna Stop.”
He’s John Stamos-ing.
John Stamos is an actor best known for playing Jesse Katsopolis on the TV series Full House, which aired from 1987-1995; he is also known for having been married to supermodel Rebecca Romijn from 1998-2005.
It’s an Amish band.
The Amish are a conservative Christian sect known for their old-fashioned clothes and their rejection of modern technology.
Just off from the Anything Goes rehearsal.
Anything Goes is a musical by Cole Porter set on board an ocean liner and involving gangsters on the run, stowaways, nightclub singers, and mistaken identities.
Wanna hear me do “Super Bowl Shuffle”?
“Super Bowl Shuffle” is a novelty rap song performed by members of the Chicago Bears football team. It was briefly popular in 1985.
I’ve just gotta hang around and be John Stamos, sorry.
See note on John Stamos, above.
[Sung.] Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry …
A line from the song “The Surrey with the Fringe on Top,” from the musical Oklahoma! Sample lyrics: “Chicks and ducks and geese better scurry/When I take you out in the surrey/When I take you out in the surrey with the fringe on top!”
“Who?” Reba McEntire.
Reba McEntire is a country singer and actress who first began recording in the 1970s but didn’t hit it big until the 1980s with hits like “How Blue” and “Somebody Should Leave.” In the 1990s she began appearing in movies and TV shows.
Now just the Mennonites!
Mennonites are also a conservative Christian sect that share many beliefs with the Amish, but they tend to be a bit more relaxed about electricity and cars and such.
We can go to the George Will concert.
George F. Will is a syndicated newspaper columnist of a conservative bent. He has twice won the Pulitzer Prize for his commentary. He also frequently opinionates on TV.
Sorry, love is lifting me up where I belong.
A line from the song “Up Where We Belong” by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes, used most famously in the film An Officer and a Gentleman. Sample lyrics: “Love lifts us up where we belong/Where the eagles cry/On a mountain high/Love lifts us up where we belong/Far from the world below/Up where the clear winds blow …”
The lace on my skate broke!
In the 1994 Olympic figure skating competition, skater Tonya Harding (see above note) broke one of her skate laces during her performance and tearfully begged the judges to let her try again later, a request that was granted. She still finished eighth.
You know, I could be saying “It is balloons” so many times right now.
“It is balloon” is a famous line from the TV series F Troop, which aired from 1965-1967.
Oh, no, it’s Kathy Griffin.
Kathy Griffin is a hyperkinetic comedian and actress whose breakthrough role was on the TV series Suddenly Susan, which aired from 1996-2000.
Jeff Gillooly did it!
Jeff Gillooly, ex-husband of skater Tonya Harding (see above note), ostensibly masterminded the plot to assault Nancy Kerrigan; he wound up serving six months in prison for racketeering.
Lynyrd Skynyrd’s on.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was a southern rock band that became popular during the 1970s with songs such as “Free Bird” and “Sweet Home Alabama.”
Oh, I think I just sat in someone’s Cheesarito.
Cheesaritos were a popular treat from Taco Bell in the 1980s: a tortilla rolled up around cheese and scallions.
Well, let’s go to Centerville’s Summerfest.
Frank Zappa’s film and album 200 Motels featured the rockers going crazy in the small town of Centerville.
Hey, I do—I really do walk the line.
See note on "I Walk the Line," above.
Hi, folks. You may be wondering if I’m Martin Sheen. Well, I’m not. Turns out I’m his vastly more talented but less appreciated brother. Thank you.
Martin Sheen is an actor who has appeared in such films as Apocalypse Now and Catch-22. Joe Estevez, who plays the soultaker in Soultaker, is his younger brother.
I’m Ed Bradley. Later.
See note on 60 Minutes, above.
They are in fact traveling down the road and they are flirting with disaster.
A paraphrase of the song “Flirtin’ with Disaster” by Molly Hatchet. Sample lyrics: “I'm travelin' down the road/I'm flirtin' with disaster/I've got the pedal to the floor/My life is running faster.”
Sorry, I can’t drive fifty-five.
A line from the song “I Can’t Drive 55” by Sammy Hagar. Sample lyrics: “Gonna write me up a 125/Post my face wanted dead or alive/Take my license, all that jive/I can't drive 55! Oh no!”
Where’s David Byrne’s head?
David Byrne was the lead singer for the band Talking Heads, which was popular during the 1980s with hits like “Road to Nowhere.” The music video for the Talking Heads song “Burning Down the House” featured singer David Byrne’s face projected onto a house and a road. (Thanks to Mad Molly for identifying the video.)
He’s Billy Idoling.
Billy Idol is a rock musician who hit it big in the 1980s with hits like “White Wedding” and “Rebel Yell.” He is famous for his sneer.
She is survived by her Danskins.
Danskin makes tights, leotards, and whatnot for yoga, dancing, and exercise.
[Sung.] Roland voice module …
Roland is a brand of synthesizers.
I hope they didn’t hurt their tight pants points hardly renowned.
A line from the song “Night Moves” by Bob Seger. Sample lyrics: “I was a little too tall, could've used a few pounds/Tight pants, points, hardly renowned/She was a black haired beauty with big dark eyes/And points all her own sitting way up high/Way up firm and high.”
That triple Salchow really takes it out of you.
A triple Salchow (pronounced “sow cow”) is a type of jump made in figure skating. It is named after Ulrich Salchow, a skater in the early 20th century.
I’m Marshall Brodien, a professional magician.
A line from a 1970s TV ad for the card trick set TV Magic Cards. Brodien played Wizzo the Wizard on The Bozo Show on WGN in Chicago from 1968 to 1994.
I’m going to take her soul and her Garfield keychain.
“Garfield” is a comic strip created by Jim Davis, about a lazy, greedy cat and his hapless owner Jon. It first appeared in 1978 and was hugely popular during the 1980s.
Eww—it smells like Marlboro Lights and Jōvan Musk.
Marlboro Lights (now called Marlboro Gold Pack) are a brand of cigarettes manufactured by Philip Morris. Jōvan Musk is an inexpensive brand of cologne for both men and women.
Does this bug you? I’m not touching you.
“Does this bug you? I’m not touching you” is an often-heard MST3K catchphrase, possibly originating in something U2 lead singer Bono said in the 1988 concert film Rattle and Hum: “Am I bugging you? I don’t mean to bug ya.”
Michael Learned is an actress best known for playing Olivia Walton on The Waltons, which aired from 1972-1981.
[Sung.] Thriller …
A line from the Michael Jackson song “Thriller,” and a reference to Jackson’s habit of wearing one rhinestone-studded golf glove. Sample lyrics: “’Cause this is thriller, thriller night/And no one’s gonna save you from the beast about strike/You know it’s thriller, thriller night/You’re fighting for your life inside a killer, thriller tonight.”
Cathy Rigby, paramedic.
Cathy Rigby is a former gymnast who won a silver medal at the World Championships in 1970. She went on to have a long career playing Peter Pan on Broadway.
Just as I suspected. Hungry Jack Complete. Just add water.
Hungry Jack Complete is a brand of pancake and waffle mix that comes in several varieties.
Hey, it’s Hamilton Jordan.
Hamilton Jordan (1944-2008) was the White House Chief of Staff under President Jimmy Carter in the 1970s. During his time in office, he was accused of using cocaine but was ultimately cleared of the charges.
Lik-M-Aid (now called Fun Dip) is a type of candy from Wonka consisting of a candy stick and a packet of flavored powder; the idea is to lick the stick and dip it in the powder.
“I should’ve known.” Since I’m Griffin Dunne.
Griffin Dunne is an actor who has appeared in such cult favorite films as An American Werewolf in London and After Hours.
Man, my monthly soul count is really tanking. I’m never going to win that set of steak knives.
In the 1984 Pulitzer Prize-winning play Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet (and its 1992 film adaptation), a group of real estate salesmen are “motivated” by a sales contest offering three prizes: first prize is a Cadillac El Dorado, second prize is a set of steak knives, and third prize is getting fired.
Frank Booth Cam.
Frank Booth is the name of Dennis Hopper’s perverse and violent character in the 1986 cult film Blue Velvet. Booth inhales a gas, possibly amyl nitrite, through a gas mask in the movie.
Please let my Billy Squier tape still be here.
Billy Squier was a popular rock musician in the early 1980s, with hits like “The Stroke” and “Everybody Wants You.” His popularity quickly waned, although he continued to release albums into the 1990s.
Do you have any Grey Poupon?
Grey Poupon mustard ran a series of commercials in the 1980s that featured upper-class folks leaning out of their luxury cars to ask, “Pardon me, do you have any Grey Poupon?”
My nephew made Mighty Ducks.
The Mighty Ducks is a 1992 film about a lawyer who finds himself coaching a kids’ hockey team. It starred Emilio Estevez, who is Martin Sheen’s son.
Hey, Marlboro brand gas.
See note on Marlboros, above.
3.2 beer run!
3.2 beer, also known as “near beer,” is a lower-alcohol form of beer, containing just 3.2 percent alcohol by volume. In Minnesota, as in several other (mostly Midwestern) states, it is the only kind of beer that can be sold in grocery stores.
Edward Hopper’s Kwik-E-Mart.
Edward Hopper (1882-1967) was an American painter in the early part of the 20th century. He painted deserted lobbies, stark restaurants, and other sad scenes of urban life. His most famous painting, Nighthawks, shows three people in a lonely diner late at night. Kwik-E-Mart is the name of the convenience store on the animated TV series The Simpsons, which first aired in 1989.
Why, it’s Harvey. Hi, Harvey!
Harvey is a 1950 movie starring Jimmy Stewart as a man with an invisible friend: Harvey the six-foot rabbit.
“Where?” In East Dubuque. Where do you think? Right here!
East Dubuque is a city in the extreme northwestern corner of Illinois, across the Mississippi River from the city of Dubuque, Iowa. Its population is about 1,700.
“It’s the car!” I love Ric Ocasek!
Ric Ocasek was the lead singer/guitarist for the rock band The Cars, which had a string of hits in the 1980s, including “You Might Think,” “Shake It Up,” and “Here She Comes.”
Happy St. Blaise Day.
February 3 is St. Blaise Day, a Christian observance in honor of a 4th-century saint. St. Blaise is the patron saint of throats and is said to cure throat illnesses, as well as to intercede in cases of choking, as when fish bones get caught in the throat. (Thanks to Anna Piaia for this reference.)
He went to the old-time picture booth at Six Flags.
Six Flags is a chain of amusement parks that includes Six Flags over Texas, Six Flags Magic Mountain, and Six Flags Great America, among many others.
Tonya Harding is Scarlett O’Hara.
See note on Tonya Harding, above. Scarlett O’Hara is the heroine of the Margaret Mitchell novel Gone with the Wind; in the 1939 movie adaptation, the part was played by Vivien Leigh.
Am I a Sheen or an Estevez?
Martin Sheen’s birth name was Ramón Estevez; his father had immigrated to the United States from Spain. He adopted the stage name Sheen after the Reverend Fulton J. Sheen, a Catholic theologian known for his radio and TV preaching. Of his four children, three took the name Estevez (including fellow actor Emilio Estevez); his son Carlos chose to act under the name Charlie Sheen.
An imitation of Warner Bros. cartoon character Daffy Duck: in the last second before some form of doom befell him, Daffy would often look at the audience and utter a weak “Mother …” Deep trivia: This is actually a well-documented phenomenon. In the final seconds before certain death, people—particularly men—will cry out for their mothers. Numerous cockpit recordings of the last moments before a fatal crash attest to this.
“Why won’t you listen to me?!” I’m watching Cops.
Cops is a long-running reality TV show about real police officers in real situations; it first aired in 1989.
If I die, I’m going to die eating string cheese and Fruitopia.
Fruitopia is a fruit-flavored drink made by the Coca-Cola Company; it was introduced in 1994, aimed mostly at teens and young adults.
Here, get me some Whoppers while you’re in there.
Whoppers are a chocolate-covered, malted-milk candy made by Hershey’s.
Do you have a phone so I can call Martin to take over my role?
See note on Martin Sheen, above. Joe Estevez actually stood in for his brother on the Apocalypse Now set after Martin Sheen had a heart attack and was briefly unable to work.
Or do you want the new living room set from Broyhill?
Broyhill is a furniture manufacturer founded in 1905 by Thomas Broyhill. It is sold at more than 4,000 retailers around the world.
Where are the Stewart sandwiches?
The Stewart Sandwich Co. premade sandwiches were sold in convenience stores and the like from the 1950s to the 1980s.
Does that mean that every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end?
A line from the song “Closing Time,” by the 1990s group Semisonic; it has also been covered by Matchbox 20 and Green Day, among others. Sample lyrics: “Closing time—time for you to go back to the places you will be from/Closing time—this room won't be open till your brothers or your sisters come/So gather up your jackets, and move it to the exits—I hope you have found a friend/Closing time—every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end.”
Yep, slow and steady wins the soul.
“Slow but steady wins the race” is the moral of Aesop’s fable “The Tortoise and the Hare.”
I’m anti-Bellamy Brothers; does that count?
The Bellamy Brothers were a country duo popular in the 1970s and 1980s, singing such hits as “Let Your Love Flow” and “Sugar Daddy.”
Oh, I understand, dear. I’ll get the Pamprin.
Pamprin is a pain reliever marketed specifically for menstrual discomfort.
No, she’s going to add Mr. Bubble and give herself a urinary infection!
Mr. Bubble is a brand of bubble bath marketed chiefly to children. Frequent bubble baths may irritate the opening of the urethra, so women and girls are advised not to take too many of them.
And I was going to go to Chess King tonight, so this just bites.
Chess King was a men’s clothing retailer that was very popular in the 1980s.
He's making violent love to me, mother.
A line from the classic 1946 film It's a Wonderful Life. (Thanks to Casey Scott for this reference.)
Rick Springfield after Monty Clift’s accident.
Rick Springfield is a pop singer who had a string of hits in the late 1970s and 1980s, including “Jessie’s Girl” and “I’ve Done Everything For You.” He has also had a successful acting career. In a widely publicized incident, actor Montgomery Clift (1920-1966), who appeared in such films as A Place in the Sun and From Here to Eternity, ran his car into a tree after leaving a party at Elizabeth Taylor’s house in 1956. He was badly injured and had to undergo reconstructive surgery on his face before he could resume his film career.
You want Batman Crazy Foam?
Batman Crazy Foam is a kind of bubble bath that comes in a spray can decorated with the caped superhero Batman’s head. It is marketed to children.
I usually like snuff films, but this one ain’t cutting it.
Snuff films, an urban legend, are purportedly movies in which one or more persons are actually killed on film. The legend dates back to a film called Snuff, released in 1976, which tacked an ending of an actress supposedly being killed onto a 1971 horror film called Slaughter; producer Allan Shackleton attempted to arouse interest in the cheaply made film by implying that the deaths in it were real. The legal system forced Shackleton to add a disclaimer to the film stating that no one had been harmed during the making of the movie, but by that point, the legend had taken on a life of its own. Even today, anti-pornography crusaders cite snuff films as the ultimate example of male oppression and exploitation of women, despite zero evidence for their existence.
From the song “Wipe Out” by the Surfaris.
Humphrey was the name of Kevin Murphy’s dog, a fluffy cocker spaniel who has since gone to live on that great farm in the sky. Humphrey appeared as a “werewolf” in the final host segment of Show 904, Werewolf, and was photographed cradled in the arms of each of the MST3K writers in their author photos in The Amazing Colossal Episode Guide.
I’m ready for our Japanese tea ceremony.
The tea ceremony, or sadō, has been practiced in Japan since the 15th century. The ceremony takes place in a special room or tea-house that is decorated very simply, usually only containing a fireplace or brazier for heating the tea and a scroll or a flower arrangement in an alcove. The ceremony begins with the host bringing in the implements that will be used to serve the tea, serving the guests sweets, and then making and presenting the tea. After a period of conversation, the host carries the utensils from the room, concluding the ceremony.
Wow—Mom looks like Señor Wences’s hand.
Señor Wences (real name Wenceslao Moreno; 1896-1999) was a Spanish ventriloquist who made frequent appearances on The Ed Sullivan Show. He was known for his comic banter with a hand puppet named Johnny and a puppet hidden in a box who went by the name of Pedro. He died in 1999 at the age of 103.
Now she takes off the wig and it’s Kevin Bacon.
Kevin Bacon is an actor who early in his career played charming young leads in such films as Diner and Footloose. As he got older he tended to play villains, such as a paroled pedophile in The Woodsman (2004) and former Nazi (and mutant) Sebastian Shaw in X-Men: First Class (2011).
I’m Ann Landers.
Ann Landers (b. 1918 as Esther Pauline Friedman) wrote a newspaper advice column starting in 1955 and lasting until her death in 2002. The column is still published, written now by Amy Dickinson. Landers's twin sister, Pauline Esther, also wrote an advice column as “Dear Abby.”
Lilith Fair was a traveling music festival featuring woman musicians; it was founded by musician Sarah McLachlan in 1997 and ran through 1999.
Hey, anybody seen the Visine? I can’t see a thing in here.
Visine is a brand of eye drops first sold over the counter in the early 1960s.
I sense she’s going to use an Epilady.
Epilady is a brand of electric hair removers first introduced in 1986.
I like that too! Where’s the Visine?
See previous note on Visine.
Okay, wait. I’ve got a big Sam’s Club thing of Visine in the attic. I’ll be right back.
See previous note on Visine. Sam’s Club is a members-only chain of warehouse stores that sell great whacking boxes of things at relatively modest prices.
All this, plus Andy Rooney …
See note on 60 Minutes, above. Andy Rooney (1919-2011) was a commentator and humorist who appeared on 60 Minutes from 1978 to 2011.
“Fore!” is shouted by golfers when their shot goes astray, to warn anyone who might be standing in its path.
Okay. I’m all Visined up. I’m coming. I’m coming!
See previous note on Visine.
[Imitating Frankenstein’s monster.] Rrrr. Rrrrr!
Frankenstein is an 1818 novel by Mary Wollstonecraft Shelley about a scientist who transgresses the laws of God by bringing a dead man back to life. It has been adapted to film countless times, with the most famous being the 1931 version starring Boris Karloff. Although in the novel the creature is sensitive and articulate, in the movies he usually communicates with grunts and roars.
Greg Louganis, in the role of a lifetime.
Greg Louganis is an American diver who won gold medals in the 1984 and 1988 Olympics. In 1988 he suffered an injury when his head hit the diving board, but he went on to capture the gold anyway.
And we’re missing Gimme a Break!
Gimme a Break! was a TV sitcom about a widowed police chief and his housekeeper, who acts as a mother to his daughters. It aired from 1981-1987.
Gee, your soul smells terrific.
A line of popular shampoos and conditioners in the 1970s went by the cumbersome if memorable name “Gee Your Hair Smells Terrific.”
Oh, wow, I’ve got to go with the Packers over the Lions—Favre’s really kicking butt lately.
The Green Bay Packers are a pro football team based in Green Bay, Wisconsin. The Detroit Lions are a professional football team based in Detroit, Michigan. Brett Favre was primarily the quarterback for the Packers (1992-2007), but also for the Atlanta Falcons (1991), the New York Jets (2008), and the Minnesota Vikings (2009-2010).
The Redskins are the right ones for sure …
The Washington Redskins are a professional football team based in Washington, D.C.
Urkel! Hey, Urkel!
Steve Urkel (played by Jaleel White) was the annoying, ultra-nerdy neighbor kid on the TV series Family Matters, which aired from 1989-1998.
The weird thing is he’s listening to Gregorian chants.
Gergorian chants were a form of medieval church music consisting of an a cappella group of singers singing in unison; the practice dates back to the 12th century and continued into the 16th.
You didn't know I could get jiggy with it, did you?
A reference to the Will Smith hit single "Gettin' Jiggy Wit' It." (Thanks to Melody Tayo for this reference.)
I guess Estevez could become a member of DeBarge at any moment.
DeBarge was an R&B group popular during the 1980s, with such hits as “All This Love” and “In a Special Way.”
He’s the Rich Little of shapeshifters—you’ve got to give him that.
Rich Little is a famous impressionist, or a performer who imitates other people’s voices. He even had his own variety show in the 1970s and has appeared as a guest on numerous TV shows, including The Tonight Show and The Ed Sullivan Show. He boasts that he can do more than 200 voices.
I’m Ed Bradley …
See note on 60 Minutes, above.
Um, aren’t you due on the set of Werewolf?
A reference to Show 904, Werewolf.
See note on the Green Bay Packers, above.
A soul will get jarred off the Wild Mouse sometimes.
The Wild Mouse is a type of roller coaster manufactured by Reverchon. It is easily assembled and disassembled, and therefore is popular among traveling carnivals and fairs.
“My world.” Where I’m more successful than Martin.
See note on Martin Sheen, above.
Ennio Morricone is an Italian film composer who has worked on hundreds and hundreds of movies, but who is probably best known for writing the famous theme to The Good, the Bad and the Ugly. (Thanks to YibbleGuy for this reference.)
Art Garfunkel is a musician, best known as half of the folk duo Simon & Garfunkel.
Zep is never wrong, man!
Led Zeppelin is a wildly influential rock band known for such hits as “Stairway to Heaven” and “Dazed and Confused.” They rose to prominence in the 1970s and broke up in 1980, but their music is still played on the radio today.
Is Sabbath wrong too, man?
Black Sabbath is a British heavy metal band originally fronted by singer Ozzy Osbourne. Many of their songs emphasized the occult and magic. Most of their hits were in the U.K., including “Paranoid” and “Never Say Die,” but the band also developed a loyal following in the United States. Black Sabbath went through numerous lineup changes (Osbourne left in 1979 to launch an extremely successful solo career) but continued to play throughout the 1970s, 1980s, and 1990s.
[Sung.] Like a bridge over …
A line from the Simon & Garfunkel song “Bridge Over Troubled Water.” Sample lyrics: “When times get rough/And friends just can't be found/Like a bridge over troubled water/I will lay me down …”
Ah, shoot, I got her last bowl of Jell-O too.
Jell-O is a sweetened gelatin dessert made by Kraft Foods. It is commonly served in hospitals and has become a bit of a cliché in that context.
[Sung.] Like a …
See previous note on "Bridge Over Troubled Water."
Hey, it’s new clear blood.
In the early 1990s there was a “clear” beverage fad in which makers of beverages such as beer and soda began marketing colorless versions of their drinks. Miller Clear, Crystal Pepsi, etc. The fad did not last long.
What the … oh, it’s a Habitrail.
Habitrail is a brand of hamster cages consisting of a series of interconnected tubes and chambers meant to mimic the underground tunnels of the hamster’s natural habitat.
[Sung.] I want to thank you ...
A line from the song "Do You Feel Like We Do" by Peter Frampton and his famous Talk Box. (Thanks to Chris McKay for this reference.)
Imelda Marcos is close by.
Imelda Marcos is the widow of Philippine dictator Ferdinand Marcos (1917-1989), who ruled the island country from 1965-1986. She was known for her extravagant spending, including three thousand pairs of shoes. Marcos was deposed in 1986, and the couple settled in Hawaii, where Ferdinand died three years later. Multiple criminal charges have been filed against her in the years since then, including embezzlement and graft, but so far she has avoided serving any time in prison.
[Sung.] Do you feel like I …
A line from the song “Do You Feel Like We Do” (see previous note).
We can run EEGs all night if it’s on your insurance.
EEG stands for electroencephalography, a medical diagnostic tool that measures electrical activity in the brain.
Aloyisius Snuffleupagus is one of the Muppets on the children’s television show Sesame Street, which began airing in 1969. He was a friend of Big Bird, who for many years was the only one who ever saw him; the others believed he was imaginary and teased Big Bird about him at great length. Starting in 1985 other characters were able to see him as well.
“Zack is dead.” [Sung.] That’s what I said …
A reference to the Curtis Mayfield song “Freddie’s Dead.” Sample lyrics: “Freddie’s dead/That's what I said/Let the rap a plan/Said he'd see him home/But his hope was a rope/And he should've known …”
Well, they gave us some stuff. I didn’t really read it, and then I spilled Horsey Sauce all over it. Dude.
Horsey Sauce is a signature condiment at the fast-food chain Arby’s.
Sure, but can your soul take Clorets?
Clorets is a brand of breath-freshening gum and mints made by Cadbury.
Don’t tongue the reaper!
A reference to the song “(Don’t Fear) The Reaper” by Blue Oyster Cult. Sample lyrics: “All our times have come/Here but now they're gone/Seasons don't fear the reaper/Nor do the wind, the sun or the rain … we can be like they are/Come on baby … don't fear the reaper …”
Sorry what I said about Zep.
See note on Led Zeppelin, above.
Hey, man, I gotta go. St. Peter’s gonna be torqued.
St. Peter was one of Jesus Christ’s apostles and the first pope of the Catholic Church. Traditionally he holds the keys to the kingdom of heaven.
The symbol of the Prudential financial company has long been the Rock of Gibraltar, a British dependent territory that has become a symbol of steadfast resilience.
An imitation of Curly Howard (born Jerome Lester Horwitz; 1903-1952) of the Three Stooges.
Wheeling Captain Pike down the hall.
Captain Christopher Pike was the captain of the starship Enterprise in the original pilot for Star Trek, “The Cage.” Parts of “The Cage” were shown later in a two-part episode entitled “The Menagerie,” in which Captain Pike was now paralyzed, disfigured, and confined to a special wheelchair.
Wow, this is terrific action here. These ants—they’re all over the jujube you dropped, Mike. Look at that.
Jujubes are a type of gelatin candy that were once a staple of movie theater snack bars.
It’s the THX 1138 stairs!
THX 1138 is a 1971 film directed by George Lucas, his first film. It stars Robert Duvall as a man attempting to escape a totalitarian society living under the surface of the earth.
You know, David Byrne was right: heaven is a place where nothing ever happens.
A reference to the Talking Heads song “Heaven.” Sample lyrics: “Heaven is a place where nothing ever happens/There is a party, everyone is there/Everyone will leave at exactly the same time/It’s hard to imagine that nothing at all/Could be so exciting, and so much fun.”
You know, you really can see Akira Kurosawa’s influence here. You know, what with the way there’s a movie going on and stuff, and it’s on film…
Akira Kurosawa (1910-1998) is considered possibly the greatest Japanese filmmaker of all time. In films like Ran (1985) and The Seven Samurai (1954), he made Japanese film accessible to the West.
It’s something Hitchcock would have been proud of … his pet chimpanzee directing.
Alfred Hitchcock (1899-1980) was a renowned film director known for such suspenseful movies such as Rear Window (1954) and Psycho (1960).
Hey, Zeppelin was right! There is a stairway to heaven!
A reference to the Led Zeppelin song “Stairway to Heaven.” Sample lyrics: “There’s a lady who’s sure/All that glitters is gold/And she’s buying a stairway to heaven.”
Does Retsyn work on souls? Help me!
Retsyn is a trademarked ingredient of Certs breath mints.
Paula Cole—that’s who he looks like.
Paula Cole is a singer-songwriter of the Tori Amos/Sarah McLachlan school. Her 1996 single “Where Have All the Cowboys Gone?” was all over the radio, and she won a Grammy for Best New Artist in 1998. Cole was one of the original artists in the traveling Lilith Fair.
Check out the headband. He must have joined Loverboy.
Loverboy was an extremely popular hard rock band during the early 1980s, with hits such as “Working for the Weekend” and “Hot Girls in Love.”
Dude’s gonna drive us to Taylors Falls tomorrow.
Taylors Falls is an attraction close to Minneapolis with boating and camping in the summer and skiing in the winter.
Now, why the Kitarō soundtrack?
Kitarō is a Japanese composer known for his New Age synthesizer pieces.
The other side of the mountain … of crap.
The Other Side of the Mountain is a 1975 film about a talented teenage skier who is paralyzed from the shoulders down in a skiing accident.
Unfortunately, it’s Christine.
Christine was a 1983 horror flick about a possessed car. It was based on a novel by Stephen King.
You know, I bet the car is Joe Estevez.
At the end of the original Nightmare on Elm Street film, the teens get into a car that is really Freddy Krueger in disguise. The car drives off with the heroine screaming helplessly inside. (Thanks to Andrew Henderson for this reference.)
After teen boy puts his ride in the ditch there, he needs extra money to pay the insurance cost. And to buy a new disc sander and a couple of gallons of Bondo, so he takes a second job at Carl’s Jr.
Bondo is a brand of automotive repair products, specifically filler for repairing body damage. Carl’s Jr. is a chain of fast-food burger restaurants with locations nationwide.
Only it drags out painfully for about another month because she doesn’t have the guts to tell the second-rate Matt Lattanzi to take the train.
Matt Lattanzi is an actor who has appeared in such films as Grease 2 and Roxanne. He was also married to pop singer Olivia Newton-John for eleven years, divorcing in 1995.
So you guys really think I’m a naive Pollyanna, don’t you?
Pollyanna is a 1913 novel by Eleanor Porter about an orphaned girl who infects everyone with her endless cheerfulness and optimism. It has since come to mean someone who is naively happy.
You know, maybe you’re right, Mike. Maybe they have a wondrous, frilly wedding in the frou-frou land of bunnies, where magical fairies blow kisses to the stars and polka-dotted toadstools sing “Good Ship Lollipop” to the tiny mice in their little feetie pajamas.
“On the Good Ship Lollipop” is a song made famous by child actress Shirley Temple in the 1934 film Bright Eyes. Sample lyrics: “On the good ship Lollipop/It’s a sweet trip to a candy shop/Where bon-bons play/On the sunny beach of Peppermint Bay …”