1201: Mac and Me
by Sean Marten
I’ll be your cabana boy.
At a hotel or a very posh home, a cabana boy serves guests at the beach, operating out of a small beach hut known as a cabana. A long-standing trope has female (and sometimes male) guests flirting wildly with the (usually willing) cabana boy.
Not much coming up on Tinder. Maybe I should expand my radius.
The social search app Tinder was launched in 2012, originally developed by two USC students who had been friends since middle school. At first considered more of a hookup site, it has evolved into a mainstream dating app. Tinder allows users to select or reject photos of potential mates by swiping left or right on them, and the candidates presented are within a certain distance, or radius, of the user.
Eh, the Epcot Post-Apocalyptic pavilion’s really coming along.
Epcot (originally an acronym for Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow) is a Disney theme park in Orlando, Florida, dedicated to visions of a utopian future. It opened in 1982. In its World Showcase section, the parts devoted to different countries are referred to as “pavilions.”
Fee-fi-fo-fum, I smell the blood of whatever the hell that is.
The traditional English fairy tale “Jack and the Beanstalk” contains the poem “Fee-fi-fo-fum/I smell the blood of an Englishman/Be he alive or be he dead/I’ll grind his bones to make my bread.” The rhyme itself appeared in print as early as 1596, in a pamphlet by Thomas Nashe, who noted it was already old and of obscure origins at that time.
[Tapping ground.] Hello? McFly!
Riffing on a scene in the 1985 science-fiction comedy movie Back to the Future, starring Michael J. Fox as time-traveling teenager Marty McFly. Town bully Biff Tannen (played by Thomas F. Wilson) torments Marty’s father George (played by Crispin Glover) by knocking on his head as if on a door, saying, “Hello? McFly!”
Oh, so that’s where LaCroix comes from.
LaCroix (meaning “the cross” in French) is an American brand of sparkling water, named after the town in Wisconsin—La Crosse—where it was originally manufactured. Market research indicates LaCroix sells about twice as well in the United States as its main competitor, France’s Perrier. The brand is currently owned by the National Beverage Corporation.
Waste not, want not.
The proverb “Waste not, want not” has been traced back to 1772, in a letter by leading Methodist theologian John Wesley: “He will waste nothing; but he must want nothing.” It gradually evolved into the pithier version we use today.
Wow, you hardly ever get to see Jawas in the nude.
In the Star Wars universe, Jawas are a race of tiny inhabitants of the desert planet Tatooine, who make a living scavenging and repairing mechanical equipment and droids. They stand about three feet tall, and are completely covered in brown or red cloaks and hoods, with only their glowing yellow eyes visible.
Whoa, I think it’s cashed, man.
In this context, “cashed,” as in “cashed out,” is a slang term for “the keg has run out of beer.”
This is what I imagine an ELO concert looks like.
Electric Light Orchestra (ELO) is a British progressive rock group, which was active from 1970 to 1986; founder Jeff Lynne revived the group in 2014 as “Jeff Lynne’s ELO.” ELO’s album cover art and concert stage dressings include spaceships and other futuristic stuff. Hit singles included “Livin’ Thing” (1976), “Telephone Line” (1977), and “Don’t Bring Me Down” (1979).
Oh, it’s the Orkin Man. Run away!
Orkin is a pest-control service created by Latvian immigrant Otto Orkin. In 1901, Orkin began selling rodent poison door to door. In 1912, he opened his first office in Richmond, Virginia, as “Otto the Rat Man,” which evolved into “Otto the Orkin Man,” before becoming the more generic marketing icon “The Orkin Man.” The Orkin Man has been used in advertising for the company since the 1950s.
[Sung.] Do you hear that Spielberg music? There’ll be whimsy, then some action …
Two-time Best Director Academy Award-winner Steven Spielberg employed the talents of composer John Williams for many of his blockbuster films, including Jaws (1975), Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977), and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982). E.T. is going to be referenced a lot in this episode, so let’s just get this out of the way. The story of a young boy who befriends a small, squishy, big-eyed alien who’s been stranded on Earth, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial ranked as the highest-grossing film of all time for a decade, until it was surpassed by another Spielberg film, Jurassic Park, in 1993. When Mac and Me was released, it was immediately slammed as a blatant E.T. rip-off.
Somebody order an Uber?
The mobile app-based car transportation and food delivery service Uber takes its name from the colloquial term meaning “topmost” or “best,” which derives from the German word über, meaning “above.” Uber was founded in 2009 and is based in San Francisco.
In the British sci-fi TV show Doctor Who, which debuted in 1963, Daleks are a race of violent cyborg aliens dedicated to wiping out all inferior life, whose war cry is “Exterminate! Exterminate!”
[Imitating.] Mah feet hurt so bad, Mr. Frodo.
An imitation of Samwise Gamgee, the friend and trusted companion of Frodo Baggins, the protagonist in The Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien (originally published 1954-1955) and their many film and TV adaptations. In the series of LOTR films directed by Peter Jackson, which began with The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), Samwise is played by Sean Astin, who’s likely being imitated here.
Eh, those things are rigged anyway.
A claw machine (also called a claw crane or skill crane) is an arcade game also found in supermarkets, movie theaters, bowling alleys, etc. It’s a glass or acrylic box filled with prizes, usually small plush toys and/or jewelry; the player inserts coins and is given a set amount of time in which to control a claw suspended on a crane and attempt to grab a prize. The games originated as toy steam shovels grabbing candy in the early 20th century, at a time when the construction of the Panama Canal had brought steam shovels into the popular consciousness. And yes, they are totally rigged: the game owner can program in the strength of the claw’s grip and the likelihood that it will drop a prize before delivering it. You want the claw to have full strength only 1 in 20 tries? No problem! You want it to drop the prize 9 times out of 10? You got it! The options are limited only by the players’ tolerance—you don’t want them giving up entirely.
Snuffleupagus 2020: The Year We Make Contact.
Aloysius Snuffleupagus (played first by Jerry Nelson, followed by Michael Earl and Martin Robinson) is one of the Muppets on the children’s television show Sesame Street (1969-present). First appearing in 1971, “Mr. Snuffleupagus” (or “Snuffy”) is a woolly mammoth-like 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. Finally, in 1985, he stuck around long enough for other characters to see him, too. 2010: The Year We Make Contact is a 1984 film starring Roy Scheider and Helen Mirren. It was a sequel to Stanley Kubrick’s classic 2001: A Space Odyssey; this outing was written and directed by Peter Hyams, known for Capricorn One and Outland. It did well at the box office and was moderately well-received by critics, but sank without a trace compared to its predecessor, which is considered one of the greatest films ever made.
Oh, Left Shark on his way to a Katy Perry concert.
In Katy Perry’s 2015 performance at the halftime show of Super Bowl XLIX, she was accompanied onstage by two dancers in shark costumes, who were quickly dubbed Left Shark and Right Shark (Bryan Gaw and Scott Myrick). Left Shark’s awesomely out-of-sync dance moves quickly became a social media sensation, generating many online memes and prompting Perry’s legal team to attempt to trademark the name “Left Shark.” (They failed.)
“Looks like we’ve got a malfunction on the aft sampler feed.” Adam Sandler feed?
Adam Sandler is a comedian and actor who enjoyed amazing success with a series of lowbrow, feel-good movies, including The Wedding Singer (1998) and Mr. Deeds (2002). He got his start on Saturday Night Live, where he appeared from 1991-1995.
Whoa, that’s a lot of cumin.
The ground or whole seeds of the cumin plant are used as a spice in the cuisines of many cultures, dating back to ancient Egypt and Greece.
An imitation of Barry Hanson, a.k.a. Dr. Demento, a radio host and record collector who specializes in novelty and comedy songs. He originated Dr. Demento at his LA radio station in 1970, and his weekly show was broadcast in various forms of syndication from 1974 to 2010. He now produces and streams the show online.
I will swallow your soul! –Dead by dawn! Dead by dawn!
The 1987 comedy/horror movie Evil Dead 2: Dead by Dawn is a sequel to the 1981 horror film The Evil Dead, both written and directed by Sam Raimi and starring Bruce Campbell. In Evil Dead 2, the murderous, demon-possessed “deadite” Henrietta (played by the director’s brother Ted Raimi) emerges from a root cellar proclaiming, among other niceties, “I will swallow your soul!”
Don’t let that thing imprint on you.
The phenomenon of filial imprinting, in which a baby animal learns behavior immediately after birth from its parent, was first described in the 19th century by amateur biologist Douglas Spalding. He was working with chickens, but better known is the work done with geese by 20th-century biologist Konrad Lorenz. Lorenz showed that goslings would instinctively imprint on the first moving object they saw after hatching—including Lorenz’s boots and a box placed on a model train—and follow it as if it were their mother. Similar behavior has been seen in ducks and raptors.
Doug Jones in the house, ladies and gentlemen.
Doug Jones is a tall and lanky actor, mime, and contortionist best known for heavily made-up and costumed roles in such films as 2004’s Hellboy (in which he provided the physical acting for Abe Sapien; an uncredited David Hyde Pierce supplied the voice) and 2006’s Pan’s Labyrinth (in which he played the Faun and the Pale Man), both directed by Guillermo del Toro. The “Mars father” role in Mac and Me was actually played by Jack David Walker.
“Stay back.” Force push.
A reference to the Force, the all-encompassing metaphysical power in the Star Wars universe. Those who harness the Force can, among many other things, use it to repel enemies with a simple pushing gesture of their hands.
Ladies and gentlemen: the Rolling Stones! [Sung.] Goodbye, Ruby Gorblax … who could Gorblax and …
The Rolling Stones are a hugely influential rock band formed in 1962; among their countless hit songs are the classics “Jumpin’ Jack Flash,” “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” and “Sympathy for the Devil.” “Ladies and gentlemen: the Rolling Stones” is their standard concert introduction, and the title of their 1974 concert film. Their 1967 song “Ruby Tuesday” contains the lyrics “Goodbye Ruby Tuesday/Who could hang a name on you?”
They shaved ALF!
The TV sitcom ALF (NBC, 1986-1990) followed the exploits of a furry, wisecracking alien that moves in with a suburban family (the letters ALF stood for “Alien Life Form”).
If you’re gonna fly that low, just ride a bike.
In a famous scene from E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Elliott and his friends are helping the little alien escape from the authorities on their bikes when they run into a police roadblock. E.T. uses his powers to make the bikes fly, and they evade capture. A picture of Elliott flying on his bike silhouetted by the moon, with E.T. in the front basket, is now used as the symbol for Steven Spielberg’s production company, Amblin Entertainment.
I wanna see the movie this composer thought he was scoring.
The score for Mac and Me was composed by Alan Silvestri, who also did the music for a number of much better films, including the Back to the Future trilogy, Forrest Gump (1994), Contact (1997), and several of the Avengers movies.
Someone likes to watch?
“I like to watch” is a line from the 1979 satirical film Being There, starring Peter Sellers as a simple gardener who is mistaken for a man of profound wisdom.
Oh what fools these mortals be.
In the William Shakespeare comedy A Midsummer Night’s Dream, written c. 1595, the meddling and mischievous fairy Puck points out some lovesick humans in his forest and says to his king, Oberon, “Lord, what fools these mortals be!”
Oh, nice interior. Okay, Mr. Seinfeld, you’re free to go. Enjoy your coffee with your comedian friend.
Comedian and sitcom star Jerry Seinfeld launched his web series talk show Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee in 2012, with the first nine seasons originally available on the digital network Crackle, followed by a move to Netflix in 2018 for season ten. Each episode begins with Seinfeld picking up his guest, usually a fellow comic and/or actor, in a vintage auto from his massive car collection. Multiple cameras in the car’s interior capture their conversation as they drive around for a bit before settling down to continue talking over coffee. Past guests have included Joel Hodgson (in a 1963 Volkswagen Karmann Ghia), Sarah Silverman (in a 1969 Jaguar E-Type Series 2), Margaret Cho (in a 1967 Mazda Cosmo), and then-President Barack Obama (in a 1963 Corvette Sting Ray).
[Imitating.] My precious.
An imitation of Gollum, a character in J.R.R. Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy. Gollum was once a hobbit named Smeagol, but possession of the One Ring transformed him into a cave-dwelling, frog-like creature with an unnaturally long lifespan. “My precious” was Gollum’s term for the Ring, but he sometimes used it for other objects or creatures as well, and occasionally attached it randomly to the end of sentences.
As the last bubbles from the Coke lingered on my tongue, I realized that was the best summer of my life.
Coca-Cola is the best-selling carbonated beverage in the world. It was first marketed in 1886 by John Pemberton in Atlanta, Georgia, in response to the area’s recently passed prohibition laws. Yes, those early versions contained a small amount of cocaine (from the coca leaves used to make the syrup); the kola nut flavoring contains caffeine. The recipe is a carefully guarded secret, but supposedly the flavor is no longer derived from kola nuts, using artificial flavorings instead. The cocaine was reduced to a trace amount by 1902 and eliminated completely by 1929.
[Sung.] To everything, turn, turn, turn …
The song “Turn! Turn! Turn!” was written by folk music pioneer Pete Seeger sometime in the late 1950s and originally recorded by The Limeliters in 1962. Most of the lyrics are taken word for word from the book of Ecclesiastes in the Old Testament (Ecclesiastes 3:1-8 of the King James Bible, to be exact). In 1965, a version by The Byrds became a worldwide hit. Sample lyrics: “To everything (turn, turn, turn)/There is a season (turn, turn, turn)/And a time to every purpose, under heaven.”
The Blue Man Group, as you’ve never seen them before: brown.
The Blue Man Group is a theatrical collective whose shows consist of three mute performers in black clothes and blue face paint. They started out as street performers in New York City in the late 1980s and got their own theatrical show in 1991. There are multiple Blue Man Groups performing in various cities around the world. In 2017, Blue Man Productions was purchased by Cirque du Soleil.
This is like if humanity evolved from Pinky and the Brain.
Pinky and the Brain (Kids’ WB, 1995-1998) is an animated TV series created by Steven Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment. Originally appearing in regular segments on the Animaniacs series (Fox Kids/Kids’ WB, 1993-1998) before spinning off into their own show, they are genetically mutated lab mice. The Brain (voiced by Maurice LaMarche) is a hyperintelligent but incompetent mad scientist type bent on world domination, and Pinky (voiced by Rob Paulsen) is his good-natured doofus sidekick.
A Jägerbomb is a cocktail consisting of a shot of Jägermeister dropped into a pint glass of Red Bull or another energy drink. Jägermeister (“hunting master” in German) is a German brand of liqueur that is 70 proof, vaguely licorice-flavored, very sweet, and meant to be served very cold. Shots of Jägermeister are a popular pickup bar and party beverage, leading to its notorious reputation as a source of crippling hangovers. Combining alcohol and caffeine can actually be unwise: the stimulant effects of the caffeine can mask the effects of the alcohol, causing you to feel less intoxicated than you actually are, and making you more prone to take risks you might normally avoid.
Who dares disturb my slumber?
“Who disturbs my slumber?” is a line from the 1992 Disney animated feature Aladdin, spoken by The Cave of Wonders and voiced by prolific voice artist Frank Welker (who also supplied the voices for Abu the monkey and Rajah the tiger in the film).
“Hey, look at all the cars …” Man.
Possibly an imitation of Tommy Chong, the stonier half of stoner comedy duo Cheech & Chong (along with Richard “Cheech” Marin).
Yeah, just drive down the middle of the street like Pac-Man, lady.
Pac-Man is the most popular arcade game of all time, creating a veritable merchandising craze during the 1980s and causing millions of teenagers to blow their allowances on quarters. It was created by Japanese game designer Toru Iwatani in 1980. The gameplay involves the Pac-Man character advancing toward and consuming rows of Pac-Dots, which are lined up in the middle of maze-like pathways.
And there’s where they filmed Poltergeist. Marty McFly’s house is over there. And we call that one the Karate Kid house.
These are three films that take place mostly in suburban settings. Poltergeist is a 1982 supernatural/horror film directed by Tobe Hooper (although Hollywood legend has long held that executive producer Steven Spielberg had a hand in the directing as well). The house plagued by ghosts in the film is located in Simi Valley and is privately owned. Poltergeist and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (which Spielberg was directing at the same time) are both practically love letters to American suburban family life. Elliott’s house in E.T. is in Tujunga, a Los Angeles suburb north of Burbank. Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) is the protagonist of the Back to the Future films; his house is located in Arleta, a small community in the San Fernando Valley area of Los Angeles. The Karate Kid is a 1984 martial arts/coming-of-age film that, again, is set in the suburbs. The apartment building used in the film is in Reseda, also part of the San Fernando Valley.
But Mom, we already saw it on Zillow.
Zillow is a huge online real estate database, founded in 2006 by a couple of former Microsoft executives. Many people use it to look at houses for sale or rent or to check the value of their own homes.
Oh, yeah, he’s from Chicago. –Da Bears.
An imitation of the Chicago Bears-loving, coach Mike Ditka-worshipping sports fans in “Bob Swerski’s Superfans,” a recurring sketch on Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975-present), whose thick Chicago accents led them to pronounce the football team’s name as “da Bearsss.” Many SNL regulars performed in the sketches, as well as guests such as George Wendt and Joe Mantegna. Cast member Chris Farley played Superfan Todd, who would stop eating ribs and sausages only long enough to let “anudder heart attack” run its course, then resume eating. The Superfan sketches ended after Farley died of a drug overdose (with advanced atherosclerosis, or severe plaque buildup in the arteries, cited as a significant contributing factor) in 1997.
[Imitating.] Cha-cha. Boris my Yeltsin.
An imitation of comedian, actor, and right-wing blowhard Dennis Miller, whose frequent use of the phrase “cha-cha” is itself an imitation of singer/dancer/actor Sammy Davis Jr. Boris Yeltsin (1931-2007) was the first president of the Russian Federation, serving from 1991 to 1999.
Frank Oz really phoning it in that day.
Frank Oz is a puppeteer, voice actor, director, and producer best known for voicing and performing such Muppet characters as Miss Piggy, Fozzie Bear, Cookie Monster, and Grover, and as the voice and puppeteer of Yoda in the Star Wars franchise. His director credits include Little Shop of Horrors (1986), What About Bob? (1991), and The Indian in the Cupboard (1995).
Spider-Man me, Mom.
An iconic moment in the 2002 movie Spider-Man has Spider-Man (played by Tobey Maguire) snagging his first kiss with main squeeze Mary Jane Watson (Kirsten Dunst) while hanging upside down in the rain. Spider-Man is a Marvel Comics character who debuted in 1962, created by Stan Lee and Steve Ditko. Peter Parker is Spider-Man’s alter ego, who was bitten by a radioactive spider, giving him super strength, agility, and superior sensory perception. The character has appeared in several animated and live-action TV series, a number of wildly profitable feature films, and an unsuccessful Broadway production.
Hmm, that’s weird. I could’ve sworn there was a giant Sea-Monkey behind me.
“Sea-Monkeys” are in fact brine shrimp, a tiny crustacean that can undergo cryptobiosis—a kind of suspended animation in which an organism can live indefinitely in the absence of water or oxygen and then return to an animated state once favorable environmental conditions have been restored. Following the success of rival Milton Levine’s Ant Farms in the 1950s, Harold von Braunhut introduced a mail-order product called “Instant Life” in 1960. In 1964 he changed the name to “Sea-Monkeys” and heavily advertised them in comic books, marketing them as mail-order pets similar to tropical fish. Many children were disappointed when their new Sea-Monkeys, which were illustrated as little humanoid animals, turned out to be nearly microscopic shrimp.
Someday I’ll see my dad again, and we’ll ride down heaven’s ramps of gold.
A wheelchair-accessible version of Revelation 21:21, part of John of Patmos’ vision of heaven in the Bible: “And the twelve gates were twelve pearls: every several gate was of one pearl: and the street of the city was pure gold, as it were transparent glass.”
This is one of many catchphrases that came out of Wayne’s World in the 1990s, a fictional public-access TV program supposedly broadcast from the Aurora, Illinois, basement of sardonic, heavy-metal-loving teen Wayne Campbell (played by Mike Myers), who hosted the show with his best friend Garth Algar (Dana Carvey). The show originated in recurring sketches on Saturday Night Live (NBC, 1975-present) and went on to two feature films. “Schwing!”, accompanied by a pelvic thrust, was their reaction to seeing an attractive woman—it was supposedly the sound of a sword being drawn from its sheath.
Mom, do we have any Reese’s Pieces? I don’t know, it just seems like they’d fit into this somehow.
Reese’s Pieces are a peanut butter-flavored candy made by Hershey as a spinoff of the popular Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They were introduced in 1978 and languished in the shadow of the more popular M&M’s until 1982, when Mars Inc. refused to allow M&M’s to appear in the film E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. So Reese’s Pieces became Elliott’s treat of choice to lure the adorable alien out of hiding. Sales immediately shot through the roof—by some accounts, they tripled. Product placement in films has since become unfortunately ubiquitous.
Jim Henson’s The Shining Babies.
Jim Henson’s Muppet Babies is an American animated series that follows the exploits of kid versions of the popular Muppet characters. It originally aired on CBS from 1984 to 1991 and has enjoyed a robust afterlife in syndication. The Shining is a 1977 novel by Stephen King about a winter caretaker of an isolated mountain resort hotel who loses his grip on reality and tries to kill his family. A 1980 film adaptation directed by Stanley Kubrick features a memorable performance by Jack Nicholson as the caretaker. The story revolves around a young boy with psychic powers, as well as two little girls who appear as ghostly apparitions (in the film version, at least).
Somebody killed Janet Leigh!
Actress Janet Leigh (1927-2004) is best known for her role in the 1960 Alfred Hitchcock thriller Psycho, in which (spoiler alert) she is murdered while taking a shower by psychotic innkeeper and mama’s boy Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins). She was married to actor Tony Curtis and is the mother of scream-queen Jamie Lee Curtis.
Oh, I was hoping it’d be that lady duck from Howard the Duck.
Howard the Duck is a 1986 comedy film based on the Marvel Comics character and executive produced by George Lucas. A scene early in the film features a female duck with human-like breasts luxuriating in a steamy bathtub. The movie was a spectacular box office failure and critical punching bag, and is considered Lucas’s biggest career misstep.
Dobby is a “house-elf” for the Malfoy family in the Harry Potter series of books and films, a three-foot-high creature who does household chores. He is essentially enslaved by the Malfoys, until Harry tricks them into setting him free, which earns Harry the house-elf’s eternal loyalty. In the films Dobby is a CGI character voiced by Toby Jones.
Yoda tracks. Two, three days old.
Yoda is the diminutive Jedi master who lives in the swamps of Dagobah and trains Luke Skywalker in the ways of the Force in the 1980 film The Empire Strikes Back. In the prequel films, we see a younger Yoda who is still active on the Jedi Council, leads troops into battle, and fights duels with lightsabers. In the first trilogy, Yoda was a puppet designed and operated by Frank Oz (see above note), who also supplied the voice. For the final two films of the second trilogy, Yoda was a CGI character.
Aw … if this was a Snoop Dogg video, that would be full of forties.
Snoop Dogg is the stage name of rapper, producer, actor, and TV personality Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr. “Forties” refers to 40-ounce bottles of malt liquor, a celebrated beverage of choice in hip-hop culture. One 40-ounce malt liquor contains about the same amount of alcohol as 4.5 standard drinks (bottle of beer, glass of wine, regular-sized mixed cocktail, etc.).
Possibly an imitation of the demon-possessed little girl (played by Linda Blair) in the 1973 supernatural horror movie The Exorcist. (Spoiler alert.) Early in the film, a skeptical Father Karras (played by Jason Miller) splashes Blair with what he tells her is holy water, and she writhes and screams, “It burns! It burns!” He later reveals he used tap water; most likely the demon possessing the girl was faking its reaction in hopes of avoiding an exorcism.
Slowly I rolled. Step by step …
This is a paraphrase of an old vaudeville routine that has been used by many comedians: “Slowly I turned … step by step … inch by inch.” Abbott and Costello used it in a 1944 film called Lost in a Harem; the Three Stooges did a version the same year in their Gents Without Cents; and a version also appeared in an I Love Lucy episode.
Don’t you mean “how”?
While the greeting “how” or “howgh” was used in some Native American languages, it was popularized by non-Native American writers like James Fenimore Cooper (The Last of the Mohicans) and Francis Parkman (The Oregon Trail). By 1917 it was appearing in World War I propaganda films, and the 1953 Disney film Peter Pan used it in a song with the assumption that people would recognize it as Native American speech.
“I’m Debbie. This is my sister Courtney.” From the Whitesnake video?
Whitesnake is a British band that started off playing progressive rock in 1978 when it was founded by Deep Purple alum David Coverdale. In the 1980s, they went mainstream and became a “hair metal” band, with hits like “Is This Love” and “Here I Go Again.” They may be referring to actress Courteney Cox, who very early in her career appeared in Bruce Springsteen’s video for “Dancing in the Dark,” as a young woman pulled from the audience to dance onstage with the Boss. The woman known for appearing in Whitesnake videos, including a famous scene in the video for “Here I Go Again” in which she writhed sensually on the hood of a Jaguar XJ, was actress Tawny Kitaen, who dated and was briefly married to Coverdale.
Eric, put this away, I told you the Tooth Fairy’s not real.
In the 13th century, children in Northern Europe were given money for their first lost tooth, although not subsequent ones; there was no accompanying myth of a fairy who collected the teeth, however. A written account of the western tradition of leaving money or a small gift for a lost baby tooth while a child sleeps dates back to a 1908 “Household Hints” article in the Chicago Daily Tribune. The fantasy figure of the Tooth Fairy, akin to Santa Claus or the Easter Bunny, appeared around the same time.
[Imitating.] Rest well, Eric. Tomorrow we’ll go for a ride in our squeal-chair, heh heh heh heh!
An imitation of the Crypt Keeper, the pun-loving puppet host of the HBO series Tales from the Crypt (original run 1989-1996). He was a living corpse voiced by former Star Search champion John Kassir.
[Sung.] Turn around, big eyes … every now and then I’m Mac and Me …
The song “Total Eclipse of the Heart,” written by Jim Steinman and performed by Welsh singer Bonnie Tyler, contains the lyrics “Turn around, bright eyes/Every now and then I fall apart …” The song, Tyler’s biggest hit, was a number-one single in England and the U.S. in 1983.
No, see, the thing is we go around this way to Coachella and we don’t have to pay for tickets.
Coachella is short for the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival, an annual outdoor event that takes place at the Empire Polo Club, in the desert landscape of Indio, California. The festival is held over two consecutive three-day weekends in April, with dozens of bands (rock, pop, electronica, hip-hop, etc.) playing on multiple stages.
“Blue Steel” is the perfectly angled, squinty-eyed, pouty pose made famous by Ben Stiller in his role as male model Derek Zoolander in the Zoolander films. The “Blue Steel” look is generally delivered over the shoulder after a quick turn.
Hey, it really is a new morning in America!
A paraphrase of “Prouder, Stronger, Better,” an ad for the 1984 presidential reelection campaign of Ronald Reagan. Opening with a breezy, soothing narrator saying, “It’s morning again in America,” the commercial’s pitch was that America’s economic upturn of the early 1980s was due to Reagan’s leadership.
Come and play with us, Danny. Forever.
Part of the iconic lines spoken by the twin girl ghosts to young Danny Torrance in The Shining (see above note). The full lines: “Hello, Danny. Come and play with us. Come and play with us, Danny. For ever … and ever … and ever.”
Aw, he’s all tuckered out from watching USA Up All Night.
USA Up All Night (also known as just Up All Night) was a TV series that aired on the USA cable TV network from 1989-1998. It featured low-budget films such as 976-EVIL and Barbarian Queen, accompanied by comedy skits performed by the show’s hosts, Gilbert Gottfried and Rhonda Shear. (Comedian Caroline Schlitt hosted briefly, but left the show in 1990.) It ran on Friday and Saturday nights, usually from 11 p.m. to 5 a.m.
Come with me if you want to live.
A famous catchphrase from the Terminator franchise (movies, TV shows, comic books, etc.), which began with the 1984 movie The Terminator, written and directed by James Cameron. The line has appeared in pop culture as well, turning up in the TV show Chuck (where it’s spoken by Terminator star Linda Hamilton, playing Chuck’s mom), The Lego Movie, and Supernatural, among others.
I saw a murder through my rear window.
Rear Window is a 1954 thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It stars Jimmy Stewart as a photographer confined to his apartment with a broken leg. He becomes obsessed with spying on his neighbors through binoculars and the telephoto lens on his camera, and gradually becomes convinced that the salesman across the way has murdered his wife.
In Mad Max: Fury Road, the 2015 reboot of the Mad Max film franchise created and directed by George Miller, a post-apocalyptic tribe of vehicle-worshiping warriors ply the desert landscape in massively modified and powered-up trucks and dune buggies. When facing certain death in battle, they slather their mouths with chrome spray paint and call to their comrades, “Witness me!”
Why didn’t the airbag deploy? Well, back to the drawing board.
In 2018, the NHTSA began looking into reports that computer errors were preventing airbags from deploying in crashes. By April 2019 the investigation had expanded to more than 12 million vehicles made by five manufacturers, including Kia, Hyundai, and Toyota.
Oh, yeah, I heard about this. The original director quit early on, so they brought in Darren Aronofsky to finish it.
Darren Aronofsky is an American filmmaker known for striking visuals and controversial subject matter, leading to mixed reactions from audiences and critics. His films include The Wrestler (2008), Black Swan (2010), and Mother! (2017).
Get help, magical dune buggy. I gotta roll.
“Wonderbug” was a regular feature on The Krofft Supershow, from 1976-1978. It was the story of a battered dune buggy called the Schlepcar that could transform into a superpowered, flying car known as Wonderbug.
On the next episode of Duck Dynasty Interiors!
Duck Dynasty (A&E, 2012-2017) was a reality TV show that followed the lives of the heavily bearded Robertson family of West Monroe, Louisiana, as they ran a duck-hunting supply business and espoused conservative Christian viewpoints. The show garnered both controversy and record ratings, which began to decline after family patriarch Phil Robertson gave an interview to GQ magazine in which he made homophobic statements.
Oh boy, mom’s in another manic phase.
Bipolar disorder, often referred to as manic-depressive disorder, is a mental illness characterized by severe mood swings. During the elevated mood phase, or manic phase, the person is abnormally active, energetic, or upbeat, sleeps little, and is prone to convoluted thinking and irrational, impulsive actions. The depressive phase involves severe depression, inactivity, unsociability, and a high risk of suicide.
It can’t be! I thought I lost my dad in the hedge maze.
Another reference to The Shining (see above note). (Spoiler alert.) The film concludes with young Danny being chased through a snow-covered hedge maze by his murderous, ax-wielding father. He escapes, and his dad freezes to death in the snow. There was no hedge maze in Stephen King’s novel, but there were some pretty scary topiary animals.
Who is that rapping, rapping on my chamber door? –Huh, darkness there. And nothing more.
Edgar Allan Poe’s classic poem “The Raven,” first published in 1845, contains the lines:
Presently my soul grew stronger; hesitating then no longer,
“Sir,” said I, “or Madam, truly your forgiveness I implore;
But the fact is I was napping, and so gently you came rapping,
And so faintly you came tapping, tapping at my chamber door,
That I scarce was sure I heard you”—here I opened wide the door;—
Darkness there and nothing more.
Huh. Didn’t even have the courtesy to leave a flaming bag of poop.
A classic, borderline-vandalism suburban prank is to place a paper bag containing dog poop on someone’s front porch, set it on fire, ring the doorbell, and run. When the homeowner stomps out the fire, they get flaming dog poop on their shoes.
The Mafia found us! We have to move again.
Begun in Sicily in the mid-1800s, Cosa Nostra (Italian for “our thing”), a.k.a. the Mafia, is a criminal syndicate that uses intimidation and violence to obtain as much power and money as possible. The Mafia moved into America in the 1880s, but it didn’t gain a strong foothold until Prohibition in the 1920s, when demand for illegal alcohol led to an explosion in organized crime. Roughly translated, the word “mafia” means “swagger” or “bravado.”
“Michael? Eric?” Alvin!
Alvin is the title chipmunk in the animated TV series The Alvin Show (1961-1962), and its reboot Alvin and the Chipmunks (1983-1990). The shows featured three mischievous and high-voiced chipmunks (Simon, Theodore, and ringleader Alvin) and their long-suffering, adoptive human “father,” Dave Seville. Alvin and the Chipmunks was originally a very successful novelty recording act created by Ross Bagdasarian Sr., winning three Grammy Awards and scoring a number-one hit with “The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don’t Be Late)” in 1958.
Shane! Come back, Shane!
Shane is a 1953 Western starring Alan Ladd as a retired gunfighter who unwillingly gets drawn into a range war. The line “Shane! Come back, Shane!” is uttered by little Joey as Shane rides off at the end of the film.
Watch out for snakes! Whoo! –All right! –You got it!
An oft-repeated riff that was first heard, totally out of the blue and dubbed over the film for no apparent reason, in Show 506, Eegah! It became one of the most popular catchphrases on the original MST3K series, and the theme of the 2017 MST3K Live! Watch Out for Snakes! Tour.
You know, they got Terrence Malick to direct this shot. That’s why it goes nowhere.
Terrence Malick is an American director known for such slow-moving and meditative films as Badlands (1973) and The Tree of Life (2011).
Man, my mom’s mad at me, nobody believes me, I don’t have any friends. I guess I’ll just have to become a Juggalo.
Juggalos (“Juggalettes” for women) are hardcore fans of the hip-hop group Insane Clown Posse and similar groups on the Psychopathic Records label. In the mid-2000s, criminal gangs began using the Juggalo name and imagery, leading to “Juggalos” being classified as a criminal street gang by the FBI; Juggalo criminal gang members are notable for extremely brutal violence involving hatchets and machetes. How do violent criminal gang Juggalos differ in appearance from law-abiding rap-fan Juggalos? That’s the fun part: they don’t. However, some law enforcement officials have argued that all Juggalos are gang members, although this viewpoint appears to be in the minority; most make a distinction between the music fans and the criminals.
In film and television, rack focus means changing the focus during a shot, usually shifting from the subject in the foreground to objects in the background, or vice versa.
Now this is podracing!
In Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace (1999), young Anakin Skywalker enters and wins a podrace on his home planet of Tatooine. The pods are one-person vehicles that float a couple of feet off the ground as they traverse the desert landscape at blinding speeds.
Chickabee! Tay in the wind!
The 1994 film Nell features Jodie Foster as a young woman raised in total isolation by her mother, who as a result created and speaks her own language. “Chickabee” means baby chick, “tay in the wind” means tree in the wind.
I call dibs on your stuff.
Dibs is generally a childhood method of laying claim to a toy or a position by yelling out “Dibs!” In most English-speaking nations, this is referred to as “bags” and dates back to the mid-1800s. As for the origin of the word “dibs,” theories vary. Two leading thoughts: 1) an abbreviation of the Yiddish phrase “fin dibsy,” meaning “lay claim,” and 2) it derives from the word “divvy,” meaning to divide up.
Thank you, Zyrtec.
Zyrtec is a brand name for cetirizine, an over-the-counter antihistamine used to treat allergies and hay fever.
Make no mistake, Eric, I will have my revenge. But not today.
Possibly a reference to a famous speech by Russell Crowe in the 2000 film Gladiator: “My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius, commander of the armies of the north, general of the Felix Legions, loyal servant to the true Emperor Marcus Aurelius, father to a murdered son, husband to a murdered wife—and I will have my vengeance, in this life or the next.”
Earn this … glub glub …
In the 1998 Steven Spielberg film Saving Private Ryan (spoiler alert), Tom Hanks’ character and many others give their lives so that Private James Ryan (played by Matt Damon), the only surviving son of four, can be returned home safely from World War II. As he lies dying, Hanks tells Damon, “James … earn this. Earn it.”
[Humming.] Which part of the Doogie Howser theme are you guys doing? Is that Quantum Leap?
Doogie Howser, M.D. is a dramedy starring Neil Patrick Harris that aired on ABC from 1989 to 1993. It’s about a brilliant teen who got his medical license at 14 and implausibly works as a surgeon in an L.A. hospital. Quantum Leap is a science fiction dramedy starring Scott Bakula that aired on NBC from 1989 to 1993. It’s about a physicist who jumps around the space/time continuum “correcting” mistakes in history. It sounds like they’re humming the Doogie Howser theme, which was composed by prolific TV theme composer Mike Post. (Post also composed the Quantum Leap theme.)
No, Dr. Trebek.
Alex Trebek is the finely coiffed host of the TV game show Jeopardy!, which has been on the air in various incarnations since 1964.
[Lightsaber sound effects.]
An imitation of the unique sounds made by lightsabers, the energy swords used by Jedi knights in the Star Wars universe. The effects were created by Star Wars sound designer Ben Burtt by combining the sounds of an old movie projector motor with those of television interference picked up by an unshielded microphone.
Punky Brewster (NBC/syndication, 1984-1988) is a TV sitcom about a spunky young orphan (freckles, pigtails, the works) and her dog. The title role was played by Soleil Moon Frye.
Gotta catch ’em all!
“Gotta catch ’em all” is the English slogan for the Pokemon media franchise (called “Pocket Monsters” in Japan), the fictional creatures that human “trainers” catch and train to battle one another. The franchise (trading cards, video games, TV series, comic books, etc.), originally created by Satoshi Tajiri, is managed by a consortium of Japanese media companies under the name The Pokemon Company.
“Hello Nurse” is both a character and a catchphrase in the animated TV series Animaniacs (Fox, 1993-1995; The WB, 1995-1998). An attractive blond nurse named Hello Nurse inspires the characters Yakko and Wakko to swoon, cry “Helloooo Nurse!” and leap into her arms. They occasionally do the same thing to other characters, and Dot also cries “Hellooo Nurse!” when she spots an attractive man. The phrase actually originated decades earlier in vaudeville and was appropriated for the TV show.
More of a Burger King guy. I can have it my way. Oh, stupid …
The fast-food chain Burger King was founded as Insta-Burger King in 1953 in Jacksonville, Florida; it was renamed the following year. Today, there are more than 15,000 locations in 71 countries. Burger King’s slogan “Have It Your Way” ran for 40 years, until it was replaced in 2014 with “Be Your Way.”
I can’t tell if this is a really bad movie or just a really good miniature golf course.
Miniature golf is exactly what it sounds like: a miniature version of the game of golf. It started in the late 19th century as a lawn game and gradually evolved into the form we know today, with small windmills, water hazards, underground tubes, and all the other hoopla that has made the game a perennial favorite with children.
Remember, when you throw out your Tickle Me Elmo, you’ve got to remove the batteries.
Tickle Me Elmo is a plush toy made by Tyco of the Muppet character Elmo, who vibrates and giggles when squeezed. Introduced in 1996, Tickle Me Elmo became a wildly popular fad toy by the end of 1997, helped along by Rosie O’Donnell demonstrating the doll on her TV show. When demand soared past supply, there were incidents of retail violence (one Wal-Mart employee was trampled by customers, suffering a broken rib and a concussion, among other injuries) and black market price gouging. The toy runs on three AA batteries.
[Sung.] “Baby Elephant Walk.” Raccoon!
“Baby Elephant Walk” is an instrumental song written by Henry Mancini for the 1962 film Hatari! Known for its “goofy” upbeat sound, it became one of Mancini’s best-known compositions and won a Grammy Award for best instrumental arrangement.
Da Bears! Da straws. Da cups. –Da can. –Da stop.
See above note on “Da Bears.”
The goddess Athena accepts your cola offering.
Athena is an ancient Greek goddess, known as the goddess of war, wisdom, and handicraft.
[Sung to “The Pink Panther Theme.”] Da Bears, Da Bears, Da Bears Da Bears Da Beaaaaaas … Oh, stop it! Would you guys just stop?
“The Pink Panther Theme” is another instrumental song written by Henry Mancini for a film–1963’s The Pink Panther. (See previous note on “Baby Elephant Walk.”) The tune became a Top Ten hit in 1964 and won three Grammy Awards. See above note on “Da Bears.”
Whoa, kid, let the right one in.
Let the Right One In is a 2004 novel by John Ajvide Lindqvist about a bullied boy who befriends a child vampire. It was made into a 2008 Swedish film, then remade in English in 2010, this time titled Let Me In. The title was based on the Morrissey song “Let the Right One Slip In,” referring to that bit of lore claiming that a vampire must be invited into a home before it can enter; the Swedish film, in particular, shows the boy allowing the vampire to come in through his bedroom window.
He’s like a Teddy Ruxpin with the face torn off.
In the mid-1980s, there was a craze for an animated teddy bear named Teddy Ruxpin. When you slipped a special tape cartridge into Teddy, his mouth and eyes moved in time to the story on the tape. Eventually, more than forty stories were produced.
Attica! Attic … oh, it’s open.
There was a famously horrible prison riot at Attica prison in New York in 1971, but the chant is a reference to the 1975 movie Dog Day Afternoon, starring Al Pacino. In the film, Sonny (Pacino) tries to rile up a mob to help him escape from a police cordon around the bank he is robbing by reminding them of the riot.
[Sung to “Goldfinger.”] Graph paper … wider than a mile … ahhh!
The theme from the 1964 James Bond movie Goldfinger was composed by John Barry with lyrics by Leslie Bricusse and Anthony Newley. Sung by Shirley Bassey, it became a top 10 hit and was inducted into the Grammy Hall of Fame in 2008. Sample lyrics: “Goldfinger/He’s the man, the man with the Midas touch/A spider’s touch …”
Wow, Peter Lorre is thirsty.
Diminutive, bug-eyed character actor Peter Lorre (b. Lázló Lowenstein; 1904-1964) was cast as numerous slimy bad guys over his long career, in such classics as M (1931) and The Maltese Falcon (1941).
Kill the Outlander!
In the 1984 film Children of the Corn, the cultish homicidal children refer to outsiders as “Outlanders.” At one point Malachi (the cult leader’s right-hand … boy) has captured Linda Hamilton and shouts to her boyfriend, “Outlander, we have your woman!”
Hey, you got your Poltergeist ripoff in my E.T. ripoff!
See above notes on Poltergeist and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. In the 1970s and ‘80s, TV commercials for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups featured two people colliding, one eating chocolate and the other eating peanut butter. They trade accusations: “You got your peanut butter on my chocolate!” “You got your chocolate on my peanut butter!” Then comes the realization, and the slogan: “Two great tastes that taste great together.”
[Sung.] “Yakety Sax.”
“Yakety Sax” is a 1963 novelty instrumental song composed by James “Spider” Rich and Boots Randolph; saxophonist Randolph also performed the piece, which is his signature tune. It was made famous by the British sketch comedy series The Benny Hill Show (BBC, 1955-1991), which played it over the sped-up, slapsticky chase scenes that ended each episode.
I can’t help feeling like I’ve seen all this before. Single mom, suburban kid, big brother, little girl. –Yeah, that’s E.T. –No, that’s not it. You know, they find an alien, he loves junk food … –Yeah, no, it’s from E.T. – No, but the alien is separated from his family and just wants to call home. –You’re thinking of E.T. –No, but then the alien helps the kid fly … –E.T.! –Let me finish. During a summer camp boxing match. –Oh, Meatballs 2. –Now, that’s it!
See above note on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. All of the above, except for the boxing match, are accurate plot points from E.T. Meatballs Part II is the 1984 sequel to Meatballs (1979), and features a subplot about campers hiding an alien that has been left on Earth by its parents. The original featured Bill Murray’s first starring film role, was the directorial debut of Ivan Reitman (Stripes, Ghostbusters), and was a serviceable if lowbrow comedy. Critics were not kind to Meatballs Part II, which was a sequel in name only. The New York Times reviewer said it “[trailed] bits of Rocky and E.T. and [used] a plot device from the 1983 film Screwballs, which itself aspired to be Porky’s.”
Bela Lugosi never actually said “Bleh!” (or “I vant to suck your blood,” for that matter) in his most famous role as Dracula. This catchphrase actually appears to have originated with comedian Gabriel Dell, who performed a popular Dracula impersonation on The Steve Allen Show (1956-1964).
Keep cool, just call Mr. Wolfe. He solves problems.
In the 1994 crime drama Pulp Fiction, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, Winston Wolfe (played by Harvey Keitel) is a “cleaner,” a mob associate who can swoop into a tough situation and, well, solve problems—in this case, dispose of an inconvenient body.
“Get me a drink.” Two Moscow Mules, coming up.
A Moscow mule is a cocktail consisting of vodka, ginger beer, and lime juice. It is usually garnished with a wedge of lime and/or mint leaves, and served in a copper mug.
Nothing a cold Coca-Cola can’t fix. [Sung.] Always Coca-Cola …
See above note on Coca-Cola. The “Always Coca-Cola” ad campaign ran from 1993 to 2000, involving many different themes and styles.
An imitation of Scooby-Doo, the anthropomorphic Great Dane that first appeared in the animated TV series Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! (CBS/ABC, 1969-1978). He was voiced by Don Messick. The show spawned several other series, TV movies, videos, and even live-action films.
Boys, is tonight the purge?
The Purge is a horror franchise that began with the 2013 film of the same name and has continued with a series of films as well as a TV show that first aired in 2018. The premise: once a year, all crimes including murder are legal for 12 hours. As of 2019 the films have grossed approximately $457 million worldwide, on a cumulative budget of $34 million.
Just some X-Files, go back to bed, ma’am.
The X-Files is a sci-fi/drama TV series about two FBI agents (played by Gillian Anderson and David Duchovny) investigating unsolved cases involving the paranormal—particularly aliens and alien abductions. The original series ran on Fox for nine seasons (1993-2002); a short tenth season aired in 2016, and an eleventh aired in 2018. There have also been two feature films, one in 1998 and one in 2008.
The royal we.
The royal we, also known as the majestic plural, uses a plural pronoun when referring to a monarch—saying “we,” “us,” or “our” when talking about oneself. The classic example: Queen Victoria’s famous (if probably apocryphal) “We are not amused.”
“It’s the truth, Mom.” “No, I can handle it, I …” She can’t handle the truth!
“You can’t handle the truth!” is a famous line from the 1992 film A Few Good Men, spoken by Jack Nicholson. Mac and Me practically served up this riff on a platter.
The desert hasn’t been so fabulous since Queen Priscilla left.
The 1994 movie The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert is a cult classic about three drag queens who trek across the Australian outback in a bus (the titular queen). It stars Matrix villain Hugo Weaving, Guy Pearce (Memento), and Terence “General Zod” Stamp.
When visiting Bakersfield, California … reconsider.
Bakersfield is a city of about 380,000, located a couple of hours north of Los Angeles. With natural gas extraction and oil refining among its main industries, Bakersfield has a reputation among Californians as a somewhat bleak destination.
Did he pogo stick over there?
The pogo stick, a short, pole-like device with a spring in the shaft that allows the user to jump up and down, was invented by Max Pohlig and Ernst Gottschall in 1920. Pogo sticks have been marketed both as toys and as exercise equipment.
Okay, Mac and Me, second unit, we’re good.
In moviemaking, a second unit is a separate film crew tasked with filming some action sequences, close-ups, establishing shots, or scenes not requiring the main actors, often after major filming has wrapped.
[Sung.] I put my hands up, they’re playing my song, the butterflies fly away …
“Party in the U.S.A.” is a 2009 reggae-ish pop song written by Dr. Luke, Jessie J, and Claude Kelly that was a top 10 hit for Miley Cyrus and became one of her signature songs. Sample lyrics: “So I put my hands up/They’re playing my song/And the butterflies fly away/Noddin’ my head like, yeah …”
Oh, Shriner at 12 o’clock.
The Shriners are a fraternal organization known for hosting circuses, donning fezzes, and driving comically small cars in parades.
Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing, boys! Whooo!
“Boogity, boogity, boogity, let’s go racing, boys and girls!” was a catchphrase used at the start of a race by motorsports announcer and former NASCAR champion Darrell Waltrip. Waltrip provided color commentary for Fox’s NASCAR shows from 2001 to 2019, when he retired from broadcasting.
Wow, this is like a Pixar film. In that it exists and has a title.
Pixar Animation Studios was founded as part of Lucasfilm in 1979, became its own corporation in 1986 with backing from Apple’s Steve Jobs, and was acquired by Disney in 2006. Along with dozens of shorts, many of Pixar’s feature films, including the Toy Story, Finding Nemo, and The Incredibles franchises, are among the highest-grossing animated films of all time.
[Sung.] Snoop Mac-y Mac.
A paraphrase of the line “Snoop Doggy Dogg” from the chorus of “Who Am I? (What’s My Name?),” the 1993 debut single by rapper Snoop Dogg (see above note). Snoop Doggy Dogg was his early stage name. The video for the track, from his debut album Doggystyle, features a lot of dogs running around, including Snoop himself, who transforms into a Doberman pinscher.
Damn you, Waze!
The GPS navigation app Waze was launched in 2006 in Israel (originally under the name FreeMap Israel), and acquired by Google in 2013.
The American remake of White God is real silly.
White God is a 2014 Hungarian film about a young girl and her dog. The fanciful story involves her pooch, abandoned by the girl’s father, leading a revolution of street dogs against humans. Around 225 dogs were used in the film, most of which came from shelters and were later adopted.
That’s a smart move. Distract the dogs with some Peter Cetera music.
Singer, songwriter, and bassist Peter Cetera is a founding member of the group Chicago and has had a successful solo career, with many of his songs becoming soft-rock classics, including “Glory of Love” and “The Next Time I Fall.”
[Chanting.] Mysterious Alien Creature, Mysterious Alien Creature, sittin’ in a tree, M-A-C-ampersand-Me.
A paraphrase of the age-old schoolyard chant “______ and _______, sittin’ in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.”
[Imitating.] Come on, Mom! You call that running? That Russian’s gonna kill ya! Push through the pain! You’re gonna eat lightning and crap thunder! And my character’s not even in Rocky IV. Cha-cha!
An imitation of Burgess Meredith in his role as boxing trainer Mickey Goldmill in the Rocky movies: he appeared in the original 1976 film, in Rocky II (1979), Rocky III (1982), and in a flashback in Rocky V (1990). In Rocky IV (1985), in which his character does not appear, Rocky’s opponent is indeed a Russian boxer named Ivan Drago, played by Dolph Lundgren. Apollo Creed (Carl Weathers), Rocky's opponent in the first two films and subsequently a good friend, fights Drago early in the film and is killed in the ring. Meredith says “You’re gonna eat lightnin’ [and] you’re gonna crap thunder” in both the original film and Rocky II. See also note on Dennis Miller, above.
Just one more lap around the Forbidden City.
The Forbidden City in central Beijing, China, is a palace complex that served as the home of emperors and the center of government in that country for nearly 500 years. It is now a tourist attraction, with more than 15 million visitors annually.
This week, on the Young Professor X Chronicles.
Professor Charles Xavier, a.k.a. Professor X, is a Marvel Comics character created by Stan Lee and Jack Kirby. First appearing in The X-Men #1 (1963), Professor X is a wheelchair-bound, telepathic genius who can read and control other people’s minds, and is the founder of the superhero team The X-Men. Patrick Stewart portrayed Professor X in seven X-Men films, and James MacAvoy has played a younger version of the character in several more. The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles (ABC, 1992-1993) is a TV series, created by George Lucas, which featured adventuresome archeologist Indiana Jones in various adventures as a preteen and a teenager. The series cost a fortune to make and didn’t perform that well in the ratings, so it only lasted a year, but it was followed by four made-for-TV movies, which were then re-edited into a series of 22 episodes in 1999, titled The Adventures of Young Indiana Jones.
Eh … Mac loves me, Mac loves me not.
“He loves me, he loves me not” is a game that originated in France, in which you pull the petals off a flower (traditionally a daisy) one by one while repeating the above phrases. Whichever phrase you end on with the last petal supposedly reveals the truth of the matter. The original French game was more complicated, with options including “He loves me a little/a lot/passionately/to madness/not at all.”
I’m Jack Black’s dad.
Jack Black is an American actor, comedian, and musician. He got his acting start as a kid in TV commercials and is best known for such films as School of Rock (2003), King Kong (2005), and Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle (2017); for his voice work in the Kung Fu Panda animated films; and as the lead singer in the comedy rock band Tenacious D. His dad was a satellite engineer who worked on the Hubble Space Telescope.
Jah (derived from “Yahweh”), is the Supreme Being of the Rastafarian religion, so “Jah bless” is the equivalent of “God bless you.” “Jah Bless” is also the title of a reggae song by Vincent Ford and Stephen Marley, and there is a reggae saxophonist named Donald Toney who goes by the stage name Jah Bless.
[Sung.] They come a’runnin’ just as fast as they can, ‘cause every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp, sharp dressed man … That’s me.
Riffing on the 1983 ZZ Top song “Sharp Dressed Man.” Sample lyrics: “Silk suit, black tie/I don’t need a reason why/They come runnin’ just as fast as they can/’Cause every girl crazy ‘bout a sharp dressed man.”
Applebee’s is a casual dining restaurant chain with nearly 2,000 locations worldwide. It was founded in 1980.
Banana in the tailpipe. Works every time. [Imitating Eddie Murphy’s laugh.]
In the 1984 comedy/action movie Beverly Hills Cop, Eddie Murphy stops local police from following him by disabling their car with a banana. Murphy’s distinctive laughter is heard throughout the film. “It works every time” was an advertising slogan for Colt 45 malt liquor, flogged by suave actor Billy Dee Williams from 1986 to 1991. The ads were criticized for marketing the potent malt liquor to a low-income audience, and for their implied message that Colt 45 helped make women more willing to have sex. Nonetheless, the campaign was revived in 2016, this time featuring a 78-year-old Williams.
Oh, I forgot to feed the people under the stairs. Oooh!
The People Under the Stairs is a 1991 horror/comedy film directed by Wes Craven about a group of imprisoned, cannibalistic children.
Don’t mind me, just watching my stories.
In this context, “my stories” refers to TV soap operas.
That delicious, nutritious Coke.
See above note.
“You have a family?” You got all your sisters with thee?
“We Are Family” is an R&B song written by Bernard Edwards and Nile Rodgers that was a number-one hit for the group Sister Sledge in 1979, eventually becoming their signature song. It was also the theme song for the Pittsburgh Pirates that year. Sample lyrics: “We are family/I got all my sisters with me/We are family/Get up everybody and sing.”
[Sung.] Oh, my love, my darling, I’ve hungered for Mac’s touch …
Paraphrasing lyrics from the pop ballad “Unchained Melody,” which was written in 1955 by Alex North and Hy Zaret for a film called Unchained. It has been recorded by many artists, but the 1965 version by The Righteous Brothers (which made the top 10) is the most famous. The song got another surge of popularity in 1990 when it featured in a much beloved (and parodied) scene in the movie Ghost, in which Patrick Swayze and Demi Moore’s hands intertwine as they use a potter’s wheel. Sample lyrics: “Oh, my love, my darling/I’ve hungered for your touch/A long, lonely time.”
That’s neither the church nor the steeple.
Riffing on the nursery rhyme “Here is the church, here is the steeple. Open the door and see all the people,” which is traditionally performed with fingers interlocked in such a way as to illustrate each line, thus encouraging both a child’s imagination and dexterity.
You know what they call a Royale with cheese in America?
In a famous scene in the 1994 crime drama Pulp Fiction, written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, two hit men chat casually while driving to a mob execution. Vincent (played by John Travolta) asks Jules (Samuel L. Jackson):
“You know what they call a Quarter Pounder with cheese in Paris?”
“They don’t call it a Quarter Pounder with cheese?”
“No, they got the metric system there, they wouldn’t know what the fuck a Quarter Pounder is.”
“Then what do they call it?”
“They call it a Royale with cheese.”
In fact, the French equivalent of a Quarter Pounder with cheese is called “Le Royal Cheese.”
And Santa Claus isn’t real.
Santa Claus is a fairly recent synthesis of various Christmas traditions of a being who delivers gifts the night before Christmas. Claus is based primarily on the Dutch gift-bringer Sinterklaas, who was in turn derived from the 4th-century historical figure Saint Nicholas of Myra. (Sinterklaas, rather than elves, has “Black Pete” to assist him, which leads to the [unfortunate, to American eyes] tradition of dressing up in blackface.) In the 1770s, the name “Santa Claus” was first published as an Americanized version of Sinterklaas. The details of Santa Claus’s tale (his North Pole residence, elven helpers, reindeer-powered sleigh, etc.) became widespread after the 1821 publication of the poem “Old Santeclaus with Much Delight” (author unknown) and the 1823 publication of “A Visit from St. Nicholas” (a.k.a. “The Night Before Christmas,” written by Clement Clarke Moore). The famous image of Santa Claus as a jolly, stout man with a full white beard and red clothing with white trim comes from the mid-1800s art of famed cartoonist Thomas Nast. Nast’s illustrations influenced later depictions of Sinterklaas and England’s Father Christmas.
“He’s from Illinois.” Land o’ Lincoln. Say no more.
“Land of Lincoln” is the official state slogan of Illinois; it has appeared on license plates since 1954. Abraham Lincoln was one of three U.S. presidents elected while living in Illinois, along with Ulysses S. Grant and Barack Obama. Ronald Reagan was born in Illinois, but his political career began while he was a resident of California.
Mac’s costume comes straight from the Jim Henson Creature Shop’s dumpster.
Jim Henson (1936-1990) was a puppeteer and the creator of the Muppets, the half-puppet, half-marionette creatures that appeared on the TV shows Sesame Street and The Muppet Show. He founded the special/visual effects company Jim Henson’s Creature Shop in 1979; their work has been featured in such films as The Dark Crystal (1982) and Labyrinth (1986).
Hope you like Wilson Phillips.
Wilson Phillips is a female pop trio consisting of sisters Carnie and Wendy Wilson (daughters of Beach Boys founder Brian Wilson) and Chynna Phillips (daughter of John and Michelle Phillips of The Mamas & the Papas). They hit it big in the early 1990s but broke up after the release of their second album. The trio got back together for a new album in 2004, had their own reality show in 2012, and have performed occasionally since then.
[Imitating.] Eric went to the Build-A-Scare Workshop, heh heh heh heh …
An imitation of the Crypt Keeper (see above note). Build-A-Bear Workshop Inc. is an American toy retailer specializing in teddy bears and other stuffed animals that customers can customize, selecting outfits and accessories and having them assembled in the store.
[Sung.] I just can’t believe, all the things movies say, whoooo, Mac and Me, am I an alien, am I straight, or gay? Wee-hooo! Mac and Me.
A parody of lines from the 1981 song “Controversy” by Minneapolis musician Prince, off his album of the same name. Sample lyrics: “I just can’t believe all the things people say (controversy)/Am I black or white? Am I straight or gay? (controversy)/Do I believe in God? Do I believe in me? (controversy) …”
They must be throwing a breakdance benefit to stop an evil land developer from tearing down the McDonald’s. –Oh, yeah. –Save the McDonald’s!
The 1984 film Breakin’ 2: Electric Boogaloo involves a trio of plucky breakdancers struggling to stop an evil developer from tearing down a community recreation center to build a shopping mall. Ice-T appeared in it as “Rapper” (his film debut was in the first Breakin’ movie). Breakdancing developed in the mid-1970s, primarily among African-American and Puerto Rican urban youth. There are many variations, but it generally involves a fair amount of athleticism, acrobatics, balance, and strength. McDonald’s is a fast-food chain that began in 1940 as a Southern California barbecue restaurant, operated by brothers Dick and Maurice McDonald. In 1948, it was retooled into a burger and fries restaurant that used assembly-line techniques in the kitchen. The brothers sold the business to entrepreneur Ray Kroc in 1961, who began aggressively expanding through franchising. Today, there are more than 37,000 McDonald’s locations worldwide.
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana? Anyway, back to work.
The punchline of an old knock-knock joke. To wit:
[Repeat above exchange multiple times, until …]
Orange you glad I didn’t say banana?
Notice how they’re not showing us the McDonald’s sign? Because that would be crass.
See previous note on McDonald’s.
[Sung.] Back to life … back to Mac and Me …
“Back to Life (However Do You Want Me)” is a 1989 Grammy Award-winning song by the British group Soul II Soul, featuring vocalist Caron Wheeler. Sample lyrics: “Back to life/back to reality/back to the here and now yeah …”
[Rapped.] East side walking, west side walking, east side walking, west side walking, walk it out …
“Walk It Out” is a 2006 song by DJ and rapper Unk, his debut single. The video for the track features dancers using a lot of vigorous arm movements. Sample lyrics: “West side walk it out/South side walk it out/East side walk it out/North side walk it out/Now here we go.”
Was that Freddie Mercury in football gear?
Freddie Mercury (b. Farrokh Bulsara, 1946-1991) was the lead singer of the British rock band Queen, known for his flamboyant stage presence, operatic vocal range, massive overbite, and Marlboro Man moustache.
Okay, Mac is flying across the McDonald’s dance party.
From this point on, references to McDonald’s (see above note), Coca-Cola (see above note), and E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (see above note) will become too numerous to mention. Unless the reference is to something specific—see above notes.
Hey, watch it, we’re Boogalooin’ here!
Boogaloo is an improvisational street dance style that developed among African-Americans in Chicago in the 1960s, although it later filtered out to white teenagers. It spread from there to California and is related to the later Electric Boogaloo dance style of the 1970s.
Criss Angel: Mindfreak (A&E, 2005-2010) was a reality TV show that featured street magic acts and larger stunts performed by magician/illusionist Criss Angel.
[Sung.] Here come the men in grey …
Riffing on the 1997 song “Men in Black” by rapper and actor Will Smith, which was featured on the soundtrack to the movie of the same name. The film starred Smith as a member of a deeply undercover government agency that polices extraterrestrials on Earth; the song played over the movie’s ending credits. It was Smith’s first solo single, and it won a Grammy Award in 1998 for best rap solo performance. Sample lyrics: “Here come the Men in Black/Galaxy defenders/Oh Ohhh/Here come the Men in Black/They won’t let you remember/Oh no.”
Bruce Campbell is Mel Gibson in the G. Gordon Liddy Story.
Bruce Campbell is an actor best known for playing Ash Williams in the Evil Dead film and TV franchise. Mel Gibson is an actor with a wide-ranging filmography, but he is best known for action roles in the Mad Max and Lethal Weapon movies. G. Gordon Liddy was a member of President Richard Nixon’s administration, organizer of the Watergate burglary and leader of the so-called “Plumbers” who broke in. Liddy was convicted for his role in the burglary and subsequent cover-up and spent fifty-two months in prison. He became a right-wing radio talk show host in the 1990s and used his airtime to rail against the ATF, once suggesting “shooting them in the head” to compensate for their bulletproof vests.
As you wish!
In the beloved 1987 movie The Princess Bride, “As you wish” was how dashing hero Westley (played by Cary Elwes) said “I love you” to Princess Buttercup (played by Robin Wright). At one point he shouts “As you wish!” as he is tumbling down a steep hill.
[Imitating.] Hoke, you’re driving too fast.
An imitation of Jessica Tandy as the elderly Miss Daisy, speaking to her driver Hoke (played by Morgan Freeman) in the 1989 Academy Award-winning comedy/drama Driving Miss Daisy.
Ah, Harlan Ellison (1934-2018). Short-story author, screenwriter, notorious gadfly. A man who once mailed a publisher a dead gopher fourth class and threatened a TV producer with a noose when his script was rewritten. Which is to say he was a ferociously talented writer and (by reputation, anyway) a downright irritating human being.
It’s less an E.T. rip-off and more an E.T. cosplay.
Cosplay—short for costume play—is a type of performance art in which performers dress up as characters from films, anime, cartoons, comic books, TV series, video games, etc. Cosplay and cosplay events are regular features at fan conventions worldwide. The costumes are generally homemade, D.I.Y. projects, and are often quite complex, detailed, and beautifully constructed.
Feel free to make the wheelchair fly any time now, Mac.
In an iconic scene in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, E.T., riding in the basket of Elliott’s bicycle, uses his powers to make the bike fly, allowing them to escape the government agents pursuing them. An image of the pair silhouetted against the moon became the logo for Steven Spielberg’s film company, Amblin Entertainment.
[Sung: “Back to the Future—Main Theme.”] We made it, Doc—I mean, Mac!
The musical score for the Back to the Future film franchise was composed by Alan Silvestri, who also did the score for Mac and Me, and if you listen closely you can tell that Silvestri may have “borrowed” the odd refrain from himself. In one scene from the original 1985 film, Marty McFly (played by Michael J. Fox) hitches a ride on his skateboard by grabbing the back of a moving truck. “Doc” refers to Dr. Emmett “Doc” Brown (played by Christopher Lloyd), the inventor of the time machine that sends Marty into the past.
Whoa, Coke, McDonald’s, Sumitomo Bank. Everybody wants a taste.
Sumitomo Bank was a major Japanese bank founded in 1895. It merged with Sakura Bank in 2001, becoming the Sumitomo Mitsui Banking Corporation. The new company, based in Tokyo, is the second-largest bank in Japan.
[Sung.] I’m too sexy for this shirt … and socks.
“I’m Too Sexy” is a 1991 song by the British group Right Said Fred, their debut single. It topped the charts in six countries, including the U.S. Sample lyrics: “I’m too sexy for my shirt/Too sexy for my shirt/So sexy it hurts.”
I wonder if Henry Thomas went to see this when it came out, just to make sure.
Henry Thomas is an American actor best known for his role as Elliott, the little boy who befriends an alien in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. He has continued to act in film and television, including a role as the young Hugh Crain in the TV series The Haunting of Hill House (Netflix, 2019).
Thank you, you truly are the Greatest Generation.
The Greatest Generation is the generation born in the early 1900s through the mid-1920s. This group came of age during the Great Depression and fought in World War II, and, in America at least, enjoyed the economic and population boom that followed the war. The term was coined by American journalist Tom Brokaw in the title of his 1998 book.
[Whooping noises.] That way, you knuckleheads, that way!
An imitation of classic sounds and insults used by The Three Stooges, a comedy trio with a varying lineup that began in vaudeville in the early 1920s and later appeared in more than 200 short films. They were known for extreme slapstick comedy that frequently turned quite violent.
In this one instance, women be shopping.
“Women be shopping” is a meme that originated as a line in the 1996 Eddie Murphy film The Nutty Professor, said repeatedly by Dave Chappelle as he performs in a comedy club. Versions of the line have appeared in The Office (American version), The Eric Andre Show, and The Late Late Show with James Corden; it has also turned up online, circulating on Twitter and in Tumblr posts.
Hey, Hot Wheels!
Hot Wheels is a line of miniature die-cast cars, tracks, and playsets introduced in 1968 by Mattel. To this day, they remain a popular Christmas gift for children and have become a hot item with adult collectors.
[Sung.] White riot, I wanna riot … White riot, a riot at the Sears …
“White Riot” is a 1977 song by British punk rock group The Clash, their debut single from their self-titled first album. It was written after two of the band members were involved in the 1976 riots at the Notting Hill Carnival in London, in which mostly Caribbean immigrants fought with police as a protest against how they were treated. Sample lyrics: “White riot—I want to riot/White riot—a riot of my own.” Sears, Roebuck & Co. started as a mail-order catalog company in the late 19th century and later expanded to a chain of retail department stores. From a high of 3,500 locations, Sears’ market share declined dramatically after 2010, with thousands of stores closing, and the chain declared bankruptcy in 2018, emerging with only a few hundred stores remaining.
I saw it in Teen Wolf!
In the 1985 comedy film Teen Wolf, a wolfed-out Michael J. Fox climbs onto the roof of a van in traffic for a little auto-surfing.
Wolverine is a character in the Marvel Comics universe, one of the X-Men mutants. Wolverine has enhanced senses and physical strength, the ability to regenerate and heal from even fatal injuries, and three retractable claws, like knives, in each hand. He first appeared in 1974 in The Incredible Hulk #180, and became a fan favorite, appearing in every media adaptation of the X-Men franchise (movies, TV, video games, etc.). Hugh Jackman has portrayed Wolverine in nine films.
Possibly a reference to the 1978 movie National Lampoon’s Animal House, in which the denizens of Delta House, facing the threat of their fraternity being kicked off campus, forget their troubles by embarking on an alcohol-fueled road trip.
[Sung.] Ooh, I wanna dance with somebody … –All right. –I wanna have a Coke with somebody … –Uh-huh. –With somebody named Mac and Me … –What?
“I Wanna Dance with Somebody (Who Loves Me)” is a song written by George Merrill and Shannon Rubicam that became a Grammy-winning hit (and her fourth consecutive number-one single) for Whitney Houston in 1987. Sample lyrics: “Oh, I wanna dance with somebody/I wanna feel the heat with somebody/Yeah, I wanna dance with somebody/With somebody who loves me.”
This is where they take Mac up to wine country before his wedding.
The 2004 Academy Award-winning movie Sideways is about two guys in their forties (Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church) who travel to Southern California wine country to celebrate Church’s approaching nuptials.
Are these your kids? Experimenting with Coke and Skittles?
Skittles are a brand of fruit-flavored candies, which were introduced in the U.S. in 1979 and are made by the Wrigley Company. The candy that famously reacts with Coke (Diet Coke, specifically) to produce an impressive explosion is Mentos; Skittles and Diet Coke just kind of sits there; you can find videos on YouTube of people who have tried it.
[Sung.] Holiday road …
“Holiday Road” is a song written and performed by Lindsey Buckingham (formerly the guitarist for Fleetwood Mac) for the 1983 comedy film National Lampoon’s Vacation. The song was also used in the two Vacation sequels and the 2015 soft reboot. Sample lyrics: “I found out long ago/It’s a long way down the holiday road/Holiday road/Holiday road.”
And the ’88 VW bus is leading, but what’s this? Nancy Boy is forcing his way into first. It’s anybody’s race now.
An imitation of a horseracing announcer. There have been six generations of Volkswagen vans, beginning in 1950 with what was often called a VW Microbus. By 1988, Volkswagen was producing the third-generation Type 2 van, called the Volkswagen T3 Transporter, which is the type being driven in this scene.
You sure this is where the rave is? –That’s what the flyer at the record store said.
A rave is a dance party featuring electronic music mixed by a DJ and elaborate light shows; they often continue all night or even longer, fueled by ecstasy, ketamine, and other club drugs. Raves originated with the acid house parties of the 1980s, although the term was used earlier in 1950s London to describe parties held by beatniks (which tended toward jazz, booze, and pot). Since raves are one-off events, they were held in temporary locations like warehouses, rather than established clubs or ballrooms. To minimize complications like permits and visits from the authorities, the location was often a semi-secret, so finding it was part of the adventure. In recent years, rave culture has become more mainstream, and events are now held in regular venues.
That was the worst Extreme Home Makeover reveal I’ve ever seen.
Extreme Makeover: Home Edition is a reality TV series that ran on ABC from 2003 to 2012. An offshoot of the Extreme Makeover reality series, which involves participants receiving plastic surgery and other body alterations, Home Edition (also known as Extreme Home Makeover) took participants who were suffering from hardships and gave their homes or schools extensive remodeling work. The big dramatic moment in the show was the “reveal,” when the homeowners toured the finished remodel for the first time.
Paul is the bowl-cut-sporting, medallion-wearing lad who befriends Bigfoot in Show 1102, Cry Wilderness, and Jim is his wise, chortling Native American friend. The movie features a scene in which the characters spend a lot of time calling to one another while running around in a cave.
Fox Mulder (played by David Duchovny) and Dana Scully (played by Gillian Anderson) are the two main characters in The X-Files TV series and feature films (see above note).
Gomer Pyle (played by Jim Nabors) was the bumbling gas station attendant, sometimes deputy and later Marine who appeared on The Andy Griffith Show (CBS, 1960-1968) and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. (CBS, 1964-1969). “Shazam!”, spoken with a deep North Carolina accent, was one of Gomer’s favorite exclamations.
“Chief” and “McCloud” refer to characters from the TV series McCloud (NBC, 1970-1977). Chief Peter Clifford (played by J.D. Cannon) had a love-hate (mostly hate) relationship with the down-home Deputy Marshal Sam McCloud (played by Dennis Weaver). Rattling off a long list of names ending with “Chief? McCloud!” was a running gag on the MST3K original series, especially in Show 303, Pod People.
When Mount Vesuvius erupted, the aliens of Pompeii were buried under a layer of ash, still clutching their Coke cans and Skittles.
Mount Vesuvius is a volcano near Naples, Italy. It is the only volcano on the European mainland that has erupted within the past century (its last eruption was in 1944). It is best known as the volcano that destroyed the Roman town of Pompeii in 79 C.E.; residents of the resort town were buried and preserved in the searing hot ash that was ejected from the volcano. Today, it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world because 600,000 people live in its “red zone,” and would almost certainly be killed in a major eruption. See above note on Coca-Cola and Skittles.
[Sung.] Sleep with one eye open … also the other eye …
Riffing on the 1991 song “Enter Sandman” by American heavy metal band Metallica. Sample lyrics: “Sleep with one eye open/Gripping your pillow tight/Exit light/Enter night/Take my hand/We’re off to never-never land.”
Well, Roswell that ends well.
“Roswell That Ends Well” is a 2001 episode of the animated TV series Futurama (Fox, 1999-2013), in which Philip Fry travels back in time to Roswell, New Mexico (famed for a supposed UFO sighting), accidentally kills his grandfather, and is seduced by his grandmother, thus becoming his own grandfather. The episode won an Emmy Award and is considered one of the series’ best. The 1947 Roswell UFO incident is a popular conspiracy theory about a crashed alien spaceship covered up by the Air Force. Roswell is a town about 75 miles away from where the UFO supposedly crashed; at the time, it was home to Walker Air Force Base, which was decommissioned in 1967. All’s Well That Ends Well is a comedy play by William Shakespeare, written sometime between 1598 and 1608. The title was likely adopted from an earlier aphorism, a tongue-in-cheek way of saying a positive outcome can overshadow any difficulties encountered along the way.
[Imitating.] Luke, 30 years from now, overly possessive fanboys, upset with your character arc will be. Hmm, yes.
An imitation of the unique voice and sentence structure used by Jedi Master Yoda in the Star Wars universe. His voice was supplied by Frank Oz, who also did the puppeteering early on (in later films Yoda was a CGI character). Luke Skywalker is the young hero of the original trilogy of Star Wars films. In the 1980 film that introduced Yoda, The Empire Strikes Back, the diminutive alien is shown riding on Luke’s back in one scene. Many fans were unhappy with Luke’s portrayal in the 2017 film The Last Jedi (spoiler alert!), which had him sulking on a deserted planet for years before sacrificing himself in a duel with his protégé, just as his teacher Obi-Wan Kenobi had in 1977's Star Wars: A New Hope.
Now you’re gonna see how they really make California Raisins.
The California Raisins were advertising mascots for the California Raisin Advisory Board beginning in 1986. They became spectacularly popular, spawning toys, TV specials, albums, a video game, and a cartoon series. Created and produced by Will Vinton Studios, the Claymation characters were anthropomorphized raisins who, more often than not, performed R&B numbers, the first being “Heard It Through the Grapevine,” a 1968 hit for Marvin Gaye. Musician Buddy Miles, who played with Jimi Hendrix and Carlos Santana, among others, supplied the lead vocals.
Mmm, draw me like one of your French girls.
A line from the 1997 blockbuster film Titanic, written and directed by James Cameron, spoken in a scene in which unhappy rich girl Rose (played by Kate Winslet) reclines on a couch and invites starving artist Jack (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) to sketch her in the nude.
Hey wait, did you hear that? It sounds like Rush Limbaugh. Did your mom swallow a radio?
Rush Limbaugh is a conservative commentator who helped lead the conservative talk radio revolution in the 1990s. His legions of fans were dubbed “dittoheads” for their loyal support of everything Limbaugh said. Despite frequent controversies causing sponsors to abandon the program, Limbaugh’s show remains the highest-rated talk radio show, with around 14 million weekly listeners, and he earns about $85 million per year.
I got it! I need 100 ccs of junk food, stat!
“Stat,” from the Latin word statim, meaning “instantly” or “immediately,” is used as a directive to medical personnel during an emergency. In actual practice, an attending physician is more likely to just say “Now!” if they need something urgently.
Stand back. I’m gonna have to perform a Coke-eotomy.
The suffix “-otomy” is a medical term meaning to cut into a part of the body. A tracheotomy, for example, is a surgical procedure in which an incision is made in a person’s trachea, or throat, allowing air into the lungs without use of the mouth or nose. It can be done as an emergency procedure to bypass a blocked windpipe. Other well-known -otomies include the lobotomy (cutting into the brain) and the episiotomy (cutting the perineum to reduce tearing during birth).
Damn it, nurse, this is a Pepsi! It doesn’t have the unique healing properties of a Coke Classic.
Pepsi is a major brand of cola, the chief competitor to Coca-Cola. It was first made in 1898 in North Carolina by pharmacist Caleb Bradham and sold as “Brad’s Drink.” In 1985, the Coca-Cola Company decided to tinker with its secret formula, introducing so-called “New Coke.” The change was met with a huge public outcry, and within three months the company relented and began selling its original recipe again, this time under the name “Classic Coke.” “Classic,” however, used high fructose corn syrup instead of the pure cane sugar previously found in Coke. Coke is still sweetened with cane sugar in Mexico, however.
What kind of jacket? It’s got to be name brand. Canada Goose or better, or she’ll slip back into a coma.
Canada Goose is a Canadian maker of high-end winter clothing and accessories. Their coats, which use high-quality down and fur, range from about $500 to $1,500.
[Sung.] And the gorps and gleebacks and the Alpha Centauri …
A parody of the folk rock song “Cat’s in the Cradle” by Harry Chapin, which topped the Billboard Hot 100 in 1974. Sample lyrics: “And the cat’s in the cradle and the silver spoon/Little boy blue and the man in the moon/When you coming home?/Son, I don’t know when/But we’ll get together then.” Alpha Centauri is a triple star system containing a planetary system, which, at 4.3 light-years away, is the closest star/planetary system to our own solar system.
Writer/director George Romero’s 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead established the modern cinematic convention of zombies as slow-moving animated corpses that feast upon the flesh of the living. The 1985 comedy/horror film The Return of the Living Dead, written and directed by Alien screenwriter Dan O’Bannon, introduced the concept of fast-moving zombies that are only interested in eating brains.
[Sung.] Holiday Road … Holiday Road …
See above note.
[Imitating.] Oh, run, Marty! It’s the Libyans!
Another riff on the original Back to the Future film. Early in the movie, Doc Brown, imitated here, warns Marty to flee when they are attacked in a mall parking lot by a van full of heavily armed Libyan terrorists: “Run for it, Marty! –Who? Who? –Who do you think? The Libyans!”
Huh, Earth girls are sleepy.
“Earth Girls Are Easy” is a 1984 comedy song by Julie Brown, from her mini-LP Goddess in Progress. It was frequently played on Dr. Demento’s radio show along with other songs from the album, including “I Like ‘Em Big and Stupid” and “The Homecoming Queen’s Got a Gun.” In 1988 Brown starred in a film by the same title (her song was included on the soundtrack), about a trio of hunky alien dudes (played by Jeff Goldblum, Jim Carrey, and Damon Wayans) making time with some very ‘80s Earth chicks (played by Brown and Geena Davis).
Sprite? Are you kidding me? That’s not even a cola.
Sprite is a caffeine-free lemon-lime–flavored soft drink manufactured by Coca-Cola. It was originally marketed in Germany under the name Fanta Klare Zitrone (Clear Lemon Fanta).
Will that be Venmo, Bitcoin, or Trump-buck?
Venmo is a mobile payment service in the U.S. similar to PayPal—in fact, it is a subsidiary of PayPal. The major difference is that Venmo transactions can take up to three days to be finalized and can be cancelled after payment is sent, and there is a social media component that makes it possible for a group of people to split a bill. Venmo was founded by two University of Pennsylvania students in 2009. Bitcoin is a form of electronic currency, also called cryptocurrency, which can be sent from user to user without a central bank or administrator. It was founded in 2009 by an anonymous person or group of people going by the name Satoshi Nakamoto. Donald Trump is a real estate mogul, former reality show host, and the 45th president of the United States. As of early 2020, he has not established his own monetary system.
Jenga is a skill game sold by Hasbro. Players construct a tower using 54 small rectangular wooden blocks; they then remove the blocks one at a time and replace them at the top of the tower, making it taller and wobblier as the game progresses. The player who makes the tower collapse loses. The name comes from the Swahili word kujenga, meaning “to build.”
[Imitating.] Firearms bad!
Frankenstein’s monster, as portrayed in films by Boris Karloff, was terrified of fire. In the original 1931 film Frankenstein, the monster is shown recoiling in horror from a flaming torch carried by the doctor’s hunchbacked assistant, Fritz. In its 1935 sequel Bride of Frankenstein, the monster learns some rudimentary language skills, namely “Good!” and “Bad!”, from a kindly blind man. However, the specific line “Fire bad!” is probably a reference to Phil Hartman’s portrayal of the monster on Saturday Night Live during the 1980s: “Fire bad!” was his standard answer to all questions, including when he was asked for his opinion on the I.N.F. treaty.
Oh, great, Detective Nordberg’s here.
In The Naked Gun comedy film series, Officer Nordberg (played by O.J. Simpson) is partner and best friend to hero Sergeant Frank Drebin (played by Leslie Nielsen). Nordberg was constantly getting horribly injured in the line of duty, yet somehow surviving. In the Police Squad! TV series (ABC, 1982) upon which the movies are based, Officer Norberg (no “d”) was played by Peter Lupus.
I love the smell of napalm in the morning.
An often-quoted line from the 1979 Vietnam War film Apocalypse Now, spoken by Lieutenant Colonel Bill Kilgore (played by Robert Duvall) as he gets all sentimental over his deep and abiding affection for war.
In that case, I call dibs on his TV/VCR combo.
VCR stands for videocassette recorder, an ancient home electronics device that recorded TV programming onto a magnetic tape cassette. Now replaced by streaming/video on demand, digital video recorders (DVRs), DVD players/recorders, and Blu-ray players, VCRs ruled the home entertainment landscape in the 1980s and 1990s, with prerecorded tapes widely available for rental or purchase (the last major Hollywood film released on videocassette was A History of Violence in 2006), and blank videotapes used for home recording. A TV/VCR combo was a television with a VCR built into the bottom, which were first sold in the mid- to late 1980s.
Did she run here all the way from Sears in her heels?
See above note on Sears.
He was only two Book It! points away from earning a personal pan pizza.
Book It! is a reading-incentive program begun in 1984 by the restaurant chain Pizza Hut. Classroom teachers set monthly reading goals, and students are rewarded with certificates for personal pan pizzas. Classrooms whose students reach certain reading goals are rewarded with pizza parties.
Hey, van’s busted. Can anyone give us a lift back to Eden Prairie?
Eden Prairie, Minnesota, is a suburban business district, or “edge city,” 12 miles southwest of downtown Minneapolis. An unassuming industrial park in Eden Prairie housed the offices and studios of Best Brains, Inc., where MST3K was written and produced, from 1989 until the show went off the air in 1999.
Are we Eric’s soul watching all this from outside his body right now?
Many people have described out-of-body experiences, in which they perceive the world from outside their physical bodies. The experiences can be induced by brain injuries, drugs, sensory deprivation, or meditation, but a major cause is near-death experiences, in which people typically describe floating above their bodies, often seeing themselves getting medical treatment. Many neuroscientists regard out-of-body experiences as particularly vivid dissociative states, rather than the soul or consciousness literally leaving the body.
Kali Ma, Kali Ma, shud-ti-day ...
The 1984 Steven Spielberg action/adventure movie Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom has a scene showing a human sacrifice, where the victim is surrounded by cultists chanting “Kali Ma … Kali Ma …” That scene, which featured a guy getting his heart ripped out of his chest, led to the MPAA establishing the PG-13 rating, at Spielberg’s suggestion, later that year.
Just feel all the stress leave your body. I’m a trained reiki practitioner.
Reiki is a kind of alternative medicine (or pseudoscience, to some), which involves the practitioner touching the patient to transfer a “universal energy” through their hands, which supposedly promotes physical or emotional healing. No clinical research has shown reiki to be an effective treatment for anything, and the American Cancer Society has expressed concern that cancer patients may forgo conventional, effective treatments in favor of reiki.
Featuring Drew Barryless as Debbie.
Drew Barrymore is an actress who became famous at the age of seven, playing cute younger sister Gertie in E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial. She began using alcohol and drugs two years later, but after a rough adolescence she recovered and became a go-to star for romantic comedies in the ‘90s and ‘00s. She’s also a writer, producer, and director.
More like Hands Across Him-Eric-A.
In May 1986, the charitable event Hands Across America was held to benefit USA for Africa. About 6.5 million people joined hands for 15 minutes from New York City to Long Beach, California, covering more than 4,100 miles and raising $34 million.
So we’d like to apologize, aliens, on behalf of the Motion Picture Academy of Arts and Sciences.
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences is an honorary organization, with a roster of about 6,000 members representing all branches of filmmaking, best known for the annual Academy Awards, or “Oscars.” Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer chief Louis B. Mayer came up with the idea for the organization in 1927, picturing an elite club of filmmakers to mediate labor disputes and boost the industry’s image. The first Academy Awards presentation took place in 1929.
Often a ghost will inhabit the empty shell and you’ll get your son back. Hopefully it’s not Vlad the Impaler, but we can’t guarantee anything.
Vlad III, popularly known as Vlad the Impaler, was a 15th-century Wallachian prince who was notorious for his cruelty, especially his penchant for impaling victims on long poles, often hordes of prisoners at once, and hoisting them skyward to die slowly. Bram Stoker mashed up a few stories about Vlad (including his family name, Dracul) with some Romanian folklore about bloodsucking vampires to create his 1897 gothic horror novel Dracula.
Oooh, these Thom McAns are slippery!
Thom McAn is a brand of shoes, and formerly a large chain of retail shoe stores (the last stores closed in the mid-1990s). The brand is now sold in Kmart and Sears stores.
[Sung.] “Main Title” from Dragnet.
The ominous “dum-de-DUM-DUM” opening signature, followed by the “Dragnet March” musical theme, was composed by Walter Schumann for the 1940s-‘50s radio series Dragnet. The themes were adapted, under the title “Badge 714,” for the 1950s-‘60s TV series, which opened with a shot of the Los Angeles City Hall building, the same building shown in this scene.
Whoa, movie ends with a sorting hat ceremony. What won’t they rip off?
In the fictional Harry Potter universe created by British author J.K. Rowling, the Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry places new students into their various houses on campus by using an enchanted, talking hat. The sorting hat ceremony is featured in the first Harry Potter novel, Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone (later published in the U.S. as Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone) and that book’s 2001 film adaptation.
McKids is a line of children’s clothing marketed and operated by McDonald’s. The McKids line was first sold in 1987 at Sears stores (see above note); the following year Sears opened free-standing McKids stores, all of which closed by the early ‘90s. In 1997 the line was sold at Walmart stores, and in 2004 the clothing was introduced to China, with 15 stores opened there.
Good luck in Afghanistan.
The South-Central Asian nation of Afghanistan has been embroiled in warfare of one kind or another at least as far back as its conquest by Alexander the Great in 330 B.C.E. The U.S. War in Afghanistan began in 2001 with “Operation Enduring Freedom,” and the freedom endures as of this writing in 2020, making it the longest war in U.S. history. Service in the U.S. military is voluntary, and since economic conditions often make employment and higher education unattainable for underprivileged young Americans, many find military service their only viable option.
Guests of Judge Judy stay … at home.
Judge Judy (Judith Sheindlin) is a lawyer, former New York family court judge, and author, famous for presiding over the arbitration court TV series Judge Judy (syndication, 1996-present). The series has won three Daytime Emmy Awards, been helmed by Judge Judy for so long she’s in the Guinness World Records, and, with an annual salary of $47 million, made her one of the world’s highest-paid TV hosts.
Along with her large bosom, a pink Corvette is a trademark of Angelyne (born Ronia Goldberg), an actress, singer, and model whose celebrity was essentially self-created. In 1984 she paid for a series of billboards around Los Angeles showing only her name and a picture of her posing suggestively, which captured the attention of local media and brought her offers of film roles, TV appearances, and interviews. The billboards became an L.A. icon, much like the Hollywood sign, and have appeared in movies and TV shows, including the opening credits of Moonlighting (ABC, 1985-1989).
Ooh, somebody sold a lot of Mary Kay.
A pink Cadillac is the iconic reward given to top-selling distributors of Mary Kay cosmetics. Mary Kay Inc. operates on the multilevel marketing business model: distributors, called “beauty consultants,” earn income through direct sales to customers, and through commissions on products sold to other distributors they recruit. In 2018, Mary Kay reported wholesale earnings of $3.7 billion.
[Sung.] Whatever happened to predictability … the milkman, the paperboy, Mac and/or me …
Riffing on lyrics from the theme song of the TV sitcom Full House (ABC, 1987-1995). Titled “Everywhere You Look,” the tune was co-written and performed by Jesse Frederick; slightly different versions of the song were used for different seasons and syndication. Sample lyrics from the season one version: “Whatever happened to predictability?/The milkman, the paperboy, evening TV?/How did I get delivered here?/Somebody tell me please/This old world’s confusing me.”
Pretty nice us all, every one.
Riffing on the line “God bless us every one!” spoken by Tiny Tim in the classic A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, which was originally published as a novella in 1843 and has been adapted countless times in pretty much every medium, from stage and screen to graphic novel.
[Hummed.] “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing.”
The Christmas carol “Hark! The Herald Angels Sing” was originally written as a slow and solemn piece by Charles Wesley and first published in 1739. The joyful version familiar today was written by Felix Mendelssohn for another piece (the “Gutenberg Cantata”) and adapted to fit the hymn in 1840 by English musician William H. Cummings. Sample lyrics: “Hark! The herald angels sing/Glory to the new-born king!/Peace on earth, and mercy mild/God and sinners reconciled.”