2.07 "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner"

Aired Nov 16, 2005


Cultural References

Dirty Dancing (Movies)

Episode Title: "Nobody Puts Baby in a Corner"

In this 1987 blockbuster chick flick, Johnny, the white trash, sexy dance instructor, and Baby, a middle-class doctor's teenage daughter, defy the forces of 1963 social stratification and find twue love. Baby is smart (or, maybe not, given that she is still answering to the name "Baby" at the age of eighteen), but has long been overshadowed by her older, "prettier" sister. In the film's key scene, Johnny publicly declares that Baby's time out of the spotlight is over when he stands up to her father and declares that "nobody puts Baby in a corner." Many hearts go all aflutter at what is one of the most ridiculous lines of dialogue in cinema history. In class-conscious Neptune, at least one overshadowed younger sister's place in the corner is rather more literal.

The Big Lebowski (Movies)

"Look, let me explain something to you. Uh, I am not Mr. Lebowski; you're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. You know, uh, that, or, uh, His Dudeness. Or, uh, Duder, or, uh, you know, El Duderino, if you're not into the whole brevity thing—"
"Veronica. You need to stop being the Dude."
...
"Hey, you're watching The Big Lebowski. Why didn't you wait for me?"

In 1998, the Coen brothers followed their hit movie Fargo with this anarchic tale of mistaken identity, kidnapping, bowling, and a soiled rug. The characters are eccentric, the plot is, um, loose, and the comedy is bizarre, so of course the film is a cult classic. Logan pouts at missing the beginning, and Veronica is more inclined to recite the dialogue than make out with Duncan, a preference that makes one go "Hmmm."

Who's Who bio: Jeffrey Lebowski
See all references about The Big Lebowski
Domestic bliss in the 1950s (TV, Ideas and Concepts)

"Where's my martini, and why don't I smell pot roast?"

The 1950s was a time when many a man would expect to come home from work to a wife who had his drink and his dinner ready for him. Whilst not a direct quote from a specific show, Logan's opening gambit as he arrives "home" to find Duncan and Veronica making out on the couch reflects the lifestyle most commonly associated with television sitcoms of the time, the type of shows so successfully satirized in Pleasantville. This century, such a demand is more likely to be met with something rather fruitier than a "Here you are, dear."

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Awkward (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Seriously, though, I was reading 'Third Wheel: A Beginner's Guide,' and we should come up with, like, some kind of code word for when you guys are feeling frisky and, uh, don't want to be disturbed."
"Like scram?"
"I was thinking awkward. But scram's good. Or amscray."

In his recap of "Credit Where Credit's Due," Television Without Pity recapper Couch Baron wrote "You know, Wing Chun has a great response in situations like this. You look at the floor, cut your voice to an almost inaudible level, and whisper, 'Awkward.'" It became a running joke in his recaps — fitting for a show which features many awkward moments. Knowing that show creator Rob Thomas reads the recaps, guest recapper Jacob claimed this quote as a shout-out to Television Without Pity. You decide.

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"What a Difference a Day Makes" (Music)
"That's Life" (Music)

"What a difference a day makes. You're in the pink, you're in the red. You're on top of the world, you're sleeping in the gutter, not a penny to your name."
"You've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet!"

What a difference a day makes
There's a rainbow before me

Twenty-four little hours is enough to put Beaver ahead of Veronica in the virtual investment race. Mr. Pope starts the musical revue that is his FBLA class when he references this popular standard, written in 1924 as "Cuando vuelta a tu lado," and performed by many artists, most notably Dinah Washington, ever since. Clearly a closet Frank Sinatra fan, Logan rises to the musical challenge laid down by Mr. Pope with a line from "That's Life."

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate, a poet, a pawn and a king
I've been up and down and over and out and I know one thing
Each time I find myself layin' flat on my face
I just pick myself up and get back in the race.

If anyone should be appreciative of the sentiments of this 1966 hit song, it's the fey boy, although his days as a pauper are, so far, limited to the classroom.

Ferris Bueller's Day Off (Movies)
"Twist and Shout" (Music)

"Hey, are you sick, or am I gonna see you singing 'Twist and Shout' on a parade float?"

A reference within a reference, most people would probably think that "Twist and Shout" is a Fab Four original, as it is John Lennon's vocal that is most indelibly imprinted on the public consciousness. They'd be wrong. It's not even an Isley Brothers original. The song was first recorded in 1961 by the Top Notes. Who? Luckily, the song survived obscurity, enabling Veronica to remember what Ferris Bueller did when he played hooky in THE teen hit of 1986. Ferris Bueller's Day Off features a Teflon-coated protagonist who fakes illness to play truant. With the girl he is wooing and his pathetic friend in tow, Bueller takes Chicago by storm, turning a stodgy parade into a musical set piece with his accordion rendition of "Twist and Shout." Can Veronica really see Duncan with an accordion, leading a sing-song in a parade? Duncan, similarly Teflon-coated in the eyes of his girlfriend, is not having fun like Ferris nor in Chicago like Wallace, but he is missing, albeit temporarily.

Who's Who bio: The Beatles
"Can't Buy Me Love" (Music)
Selling England by the Pound (Music)
The Lamb Lays Down on Broadway (Music)

"Sorry, sweetheart. You can't buy love. Bored wives of the wealthy, however, can. I'm wondering if they'll sell Sheriff Lamb by the pound."

Either it is pure coincidence, or writer Diane Ruggiero was having a lot of fun with music references in this episode. Having already featured a tune most frequently associated with the Beatles, one of their own early hits comes to mind when Keith informs the disappointed Veronica that she is not rich enough to be invited to Lamb's fundraiser slash bachelor auction. Genesis's albums, consecutively released in 1973 and 1974, mash into a wonderful jibe on Neptune's sleazy sheriff.

Who's Who bio: The Beatles
No glove, no love (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"All right, Gia, we can be partners, but no glove, no love."

The slogan to encourage the use of condoms existed long before AIDS was identified — for example, John Irving uses it in The World According to Garp — but it wasn't heard much in polite company or high school classrooms. It was in the 1980s when decorum gave way to public health and the slogan began to be used for campaigns. National Condom Weeks are now annual events, coinciding with Valentine's Day. Ain't love grand?

"The Gambler" (Music)

"Last thing I need is more time in the tub. No sale, Miss Mars. Know when to fold 'em."

You got to know when to hold 'em, know when to fold 'em,
Know when to walk away and know when to run.
You never count your money when you're sittin' at the table.
There'll be time enough for countin' when the dealin's done.

When Ms. Hauser tells Veronica that efforts to foist Veronica's babysitting services upon her are in vain, she uses this poker expression. Now, whilst it is perfectly plausible that Ms. Hauser is a closet card shark, given the music treasure trove the episode proves to be, it's more likely that Ms. Hauser picked it up from the song — a huge country hit of the late 1970s by Kenny Rogers — which popularized potted poker prudence.

Romeo and Juliet (Plays)

"Wallace, Wallace, Wallace. Wherefore art thou? I know that quote doesn't really work, but you get the point."

"O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?" Shakespeare thought love was grand, but the old coot had a melancholy streak and never was there a story of more woe than this of Juliet and her Romeo. Veronica loves her Wallace, albeit that they are not lovers, and reckons parroting Juliet — albeit "wherefore" means "why" and there really is no problem that Wallace is a Fennel — sounds better than "WHERE THE HELL ARE YOU?!"

Who's Who bio: Romeo
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Doogie Howser, M.D. (TV)

"You really need to start answering my emails. This is a little too Doogie Howser's journal for me. "

This television show ran for four years from 1989, chronicling events in the life of a sixteen-year-old wunderkind. At the end of each episode, the teenaged doctor would record his thoughts in a journal on his computer. To give Veronica her due, not wanting to channel Doogie has rather more street cred than not wanting to channel that other diarizing teen show around at the time, Blossom.

Who's Who bio: Doogie Howser, M.D.
The Brady Bunch (TV)

"When's the last time you had a lunch like this?"
"When I was a Brady."

Here's the story of a bunch named Brady, who are cheesy to the point of causing pain. There are eight of them on screen, and one other. Not one has half a brain. Single mother, with an all girl trio, weds a man who had three boys of sim'lar age. Add a maid and shake to stir — it's a sitcom, if wits you disengage. There is kitsch that can be nearly tasteful. Especially when time eases the punch. But some shows are so bad that zilch redeems them. Such is The Brady Bunch.

"You've Got a Friend" (Music)

"This is great, Mom, really. We're glad you're here."
"And so quickly, right? I hope you see that. You need me, I'm here. All you have to do is call."

You just call out my name
And you know wherever I am
I'll come running to see you again
Winter, spring, summer or fall
All you have to do is call
And I'll be there
You've got a friend

James Taylor may have had the hit, but songwriter Carole King's own version of her song appears on one of the bestselling albums of all time, Tapestry. Bettina Casablancas offers to be the best of friends to her boys. Too bad that what they really need is a mother.

See all references about "You've Got a Friend"
Mensch (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"The good news is, I'm perfect the way I am. The bad, your plastic surgeon is a mensch."

A Yiddish word denoting a person of admirable qualities. One doesn't have to be a mensch to know that Veronica doesn't need his services, but for a plastic surgeon to admit that Veronica is too perfect for plastic seems unusually altruistic for a man of his profession. Perhaps perjury is more lucrative.

See all references about Jewish slang
Going commando (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

The phrase appears to have originated around college campuses in the mid 1970s, perhaps with returning vets. It's not uncommon for soldiers in the field to not wear underwear beneath their outer clothes to increase ventilation and decrease what they have to carry. However, it was after it was used on Friends that the expression gained popularity. Imagining Joey Tribbiani without underwear is bad enough. Did we really need to wonder if Dick was flappin' in the breeze too?

"I'm So Excited" (Music)

"Yay! I'm so excited! Oh, wait-wait-wait. You have to take off your shoes."

I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it
I'm about to lose control and I think I like it
I'm so excited, and I just can't hide it
And I know, I know, I know, I know I know I want you

The 1982 hit song for the Pointer Sisters is just made for Gia Goodman, who can hardly control herself at her pleasure at Veronica's company. Veronica is less thrilled and must be glad she established the "no love" conditions in sex ed.

Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (Literature)

"You brought your sleeping bag, that's so cute!"
"Well, I like to have the option. Don't judge me for my ninja turtles."

Introduced to the world for the first time in 1983 in a black-and-white comic, the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles were intended by creators Peter Laird and Kevin Eastman to be a parody of then current comic heroes who tended to be either ninjas or mutants. However, the comics proved so successful that soon the turtles got serious and their merchandise was everywhere, as is proved by Veronica's sleeping bag.

Spider-Man (Literature)

"My Spidey sense is tingling. Something bad is happening."

Stan Lee's popular comic book hero has many incredible powers, but perhaps the most amazing is the tingle he gets at the back of the skull that warns him of danger. It guides his reflexes and keeps him safe. Veronica is no doubt wishing she had some of his other skills when she lands in the slumber party from hell.

Bessie the Cow (Characters)

"You wanna go back to playing grab-ass with cheerleaders that have just mastered missionary? See ya. You want things to keep going the way they've been going, I'm gonna need a few things."
"I'm sorry, 'see ya' was option A? Bessie, when the milk stops being free, I stop drinking it."

Sugar-boy-toys are a rare breed indeed as even Logan rejects the idea of paying for sex with Kendall. It's all so tawdry, so shame on the boy for insulting Bessie the Cow. Bessie, also known as Elsie or Flossie the Cow, began life as a cartoon character for medical journal advertising in the 1930s. Wholesome and homely, she later became the symbol for Borden Dairy products; if you will, the poster cow. She is not to be confused with Polter-Cow. He's not wholesome.

Who's Who bio: Bessie
Gone with the Wind (Movies)

"Then what am I supposed to do?"
"Frankly, my dear...you know the rest."

"Scarlet: Rhett ... if you go, where shall I go, what shall I do?
Rhett: Frankly, my dear, I don't give a damn."

From having one of the silliest lines in cinema history for a title, the episode redeems itself by Logan's use, almost word for word, of one of the most enduring lines of movie history as Rhett Butler finally rejects Scarlet O'Hara after a long and passionate courtship. Clark Gable was probably the only star who could get away with the risqué use of the word "damn" in 1939, and his popularity certainly didn't suffer. Scarlet picked herself up, dusted herself off, and declared that she would win him back as, after all, "tomorrow is another day." Kendall picked herself off, dusted herself off, and declared to Duncan that she was in need of a naked back-scratch.

Pretty Woman (Movies)

"Pretty Woman is still my favorite movie. Vivian is, like, my hero."
"She's a hooker."

The 1990 breakout hit for Julia Roberts is a modern take on Cinderella with a dash of Pygmalion. Her character Vivian falls for Richard Gere's character, a ruthless asset stripper. He feels the same. His fear of commitment stands in the way when she refuses to be his mistress, wanting the fairy tale ending. Madison Sinclair just lurves her.

Spin the Bottle (Sports, Games and Toys)

"We came here for the panty raid!"
"Oh, god."
"We're stayin' for Spin the Bottle."
"I'm outta here."

This is a game designed primarily for teenagers to learn how to kiss. The players sit in a circle and a bottle is set on its side in the center and spun by one of the players. In the traditional game, the spinner kisses the person at whom the neck of the bottle points when it stops spinning, but there are variations on the game. Any bets that Dick is looking to play the strip version when he crashes Gia's slumber party? No wonder Veronica is taking flight.

Winnie-the-Pooh (Literature)
Goodnight Moon (Literature)

"I know we had the smoking talk somewhere between the birds and the bees and the drinking and driving."
"Actually, I think it was more of a sentence — 'Don't smoke' — and it was between the adventures of Pooh and Goodnight Moon."

When Veronica was very young, and her spelling was Wobbly (it was good spelling but it Wobbled, and the letters got in the wrong places), she may have read the original Winnie-the-Pooh and, possibly, The House at Pooh Corner, by A.A. Milne, about a Bear of Very Little Brain. There are many life lessons to be found there. For example, "when looking at your two paws, as soon as you have decided which of them is the right one, then you can be sure the other one is the left," and "When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and Thinker of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it." Such lessons may explain Veronica's approach to detection and to keeping things to herself. Of course, she may not have read the source works at all, but instead have been entertained by the Disnified version. In which case, she may have learned that dumb is cute.

First published in 1947, writer Margaret Wise Brown and illustrator Clement Hurd have been sending little 'uns to sleep for more than half a century with Goodnight Moon. The simple tale of a young rabbit trying to avoid the land of nod by naming everything in the bedroom is a favorite of parents and children alike, and wee Veronica and Keith are no exceptions. Imagine the scenario. "The cow jumping over the moon. Don't smoke, Veronica. And there were three little bears sitting on chairs..." Awww.

Who's Who bio: Winnie the Pooh
James Bond (Characters)

"No ski mask?"
"You said wear dark colors."
"We're not breaking into a bank vault in a James Bond movie."

Veronica's reaction to Duncan's all-in-black ensemble for their unlawful entry into the home of the Mannings is more diplomatic than hysterical laughter. She compliments her paramour's likeness to...Sean Connery? No...George Lazenby? Roger Moore? Timothy Dalton? Pierce Brosnan? Daniel Craig? Hm. Woody Allen, maybe? The Bond films, featuring the ever-changing face of the British Secret Service's most famous agent, and increasingly or not at all based on author Ian Fleming's books, have been a fixture of the movies since 1962. Want a list? Here you go — Dr. No, From Russia With Love, Goldfinger, Thunderball, You Only Live Twice, On Her Majesty's Secret Service, Diamonds Are Forever, Live and Let Die, The Man With the Golden Gun, The Spy Who Loved Me, Moonraker, For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, A View to a Kill, The Living Daylights, License to Kill, Goldeneye, Tomorrow Never Dies, The World Is Not Enough, Die Another Day, Casino Royale. Phew! And that's not including the "unofficial" ones.

Who's Who bio: James Bond
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Beatniks (People)

"Ah. Poetry reading?"

Logan's reaction to seeing Duncan all in black is hysterical laughter, although, being Logan, he externalizes this with a snarky comment. The connection is to the Beat Generation of the 1950s and 1960s, nicknamed Beatniks by a journalist to reflect their supposed Commie leanings and the then-recent Sputnik launch. Born of writers like Jack Kerouac and others, it was an anti-materialistic, soul-searching counter-culture, the fashion of which was goatees, berets, and black, black, black. Get-togethers to read angst-ridden poetry were de rigeur and the association continues to this day.


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