2.16 "The Rapes of Graff"

Aired Mar 29, 2006

Cultural References

The Grapes of Wrath (Literature)

Episode title: "The Rapes of Graff"

This John Steinbeck novel set during the Great Depression is a classic portrait of the conflicts between the powerful and the powerless. In tonight's Veronica Mars episode, a sexual assault on the campus of Hearst College provides the backdrop for this modern-day struggle between the powerful and the powerless. And that handsome guy Troy makes a return appearance.

Portrait of the Artist As A Young Man (Literature)

"You are no longer writing about the use of mythic archetype in Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man."
"All right!"

James Joyce's semi-autobiographical novel is about a man who questions his Catholic faith and leaves his Irish homeland in search of independence and freedom of expression. The protagonist's surname is Daedalus, a character in Greek mythology, which opens the door for more examples of mythic symbolism. Or maybe Mrs. Murphy is just trying to sound really, really smart. In any case, Dick is happy for the reprieve from writing. And thinking.

"London" (Literature)
"The Tyger" (Literature)
"The Lamb" (Literature)

This episode's writer, John Enbom, must have been an English major in college ‘cause here we go with another reference to classic literature. Mrs. Murphy writes the names of three William Blake poems on the chalkboard. William Blake was a late 18th century-early 19th century British writer and painter. His poems are lyrical and full of imagery — right up the alley of bored high school students who've been raised on a cultural diet of video games and Reality TV. Keep up the good work, Mrs. Murphy. The future of young America is in your hands.

"Folsom Prison Blues" (Music)

"I'm Veronica, I'm from Neptune, and I once shot a man in Reno just to watch him die."
"Um, okay, well, uh, my name is Dean, I'm from Wheaton, Illinois, uh, my father owns a Ford dealership, and I also shot a man in Reno, but it was not to watch him die. It was for other issues."

When I was just a baby, my mama told me, "Son,
Always be a good boy; don't ever play with guns."
But I shot a man in Reno, just to watch him die.
When I hear that whistle blowin', I hang my head and cry.

Johnny Cash's tragic song "Folsom Prison Blues" was recorded live during his 1968 concert for the inmates. At Folsom Prison is still considered one of his best albums. It's surprising that a 19-year-old college student in 2006 would know these lyrics, but Veronica Mars characters tend to be more well-rounded than most teenagers. Or is it the writers who make them that way?

Monopoly (Sports, Games and Toys)

This board game features a coveted card that allows players to escape the consequences of being placed in the "Jail" square on the board. Hannah bakes Logan a "Get Out Of Jail Free" cake, complete with a lock-jimmying nail file, and hopes he'll never become the girlfriend in a jailhouse romance.

Easy Bake Oven (Sports, Games and Toys)

"Dude, so we hanging this weekend, or that chick still have your sac locked up in her Easy Bake Oven?"

In the forty years since its invention, there have been eleven variations of the toy oven that manages to bake edible cakes and cookies with a light bulb. Dick teases Logan about Hannah's youth and probable virginity. But why would she hold and possibly burn in her oven a vital part of Logan's anatomy — something she might need one day?

Legoland (Places)

"We? What happened to Madison?"
"Bailed. According to her friend, she met someone more mature."
"Where, at Legoland?"

Legoland California is a 128-acre family theme park in southern California that's perfect for children who like to play with the tiny, interlocking plastic bricks. It's also suitable for adults who never outgrew their love for Legos or who want to recreate the stabbing foot pain one experiences after stepping on one of those little suckers while barefoot. Logan chides that most visitors to this kiddie park are more mature than Dick, and Dick can't disagree.

Ozzy Osbourne (People)

"Oh, so this worked out great for you."
"Dude, why do you think I'm in such a good mood? …Screw it. This weekend, you and me, partying like Ozzy."
"I'm just imagining what Ozzy would think of your concept of partying like Ozzy."
"You want to snort a line of ants? I'm in."

Ozzy Osbourne is the vulgar, sometimes demonic rock star who's known most recently for his MTV reality show. He's a legendary party animal and former member of the group Black Sabbath. He once bit the head off a live bat during a concert. In Ozzy's defense, he said he thought he was biting a rubber bat. Dick and Logan might choose to skip the rodent-vittles during their weekend travails, but everything else is fair game. Dick is even willing to snort live ants, something Ozzie once did when he was drunk and stoned.

Who's Who bio: Ozzy Osbourne
See all references about Ozzy Osbourne
Martin Heidegger (People)

"No, Heidegger's fine...if you're a Nazi."

Martin Heidegger was an early-20th century German philosopher and member of the National Socialist Party. His teachings focused on existentialism and deconstruction, and whether or not he truly was a Nazi sympathizer is a subject for debate. But not at a college party with free-flowing beer and eager prospective freshman. Come on. No one is that much of a nerd.

Who's Who bio: Martin Heidegger
The Office (UK) (TV)

Veronica pours beer on an obnoxious prat and then, when he tries to retaliate, flips his beer back onto him, dousing him once again! Does this scene look familiar? It does to fans of the original British version of The Office, Rob's all-time favorite televison show. In the Christmas special (yeah, British TV is WEIRD), a woman does the exact same thing to David Brent. We wonder if Veronica has learned any other tricks from The Office, like putting staplers in Jello or combining Flashdance with Michael Jackson.

Søren Kierkegaard (People)

"Hey, my pro-fros. Fun party, huh?"
"Not bad. I actually talked to a cute girl about Kierkegaard. Made me wish I knew something about Kierkegaard."

See comments on Heidegger. Wallace, if you meet a girl at a party who only wants to talk about 19th-century Danish philosophers, back away slowly. No matter how cute she is, if she doesn't have a life outside of class, do you really think she could be the love of your life?

Who's Who bio: Søren Kierkegaard
Pi Sigma Sigma (Things)

"I remember getting the stink-eye from this guy who was hitting on her earlier."
"What guy?"
"Long, dark hair, blue sweatshirt with like, uh, pi sign."

Secret societies with abusive initiation rituals. Not to mention loud, drunken parties and loose sexual morals — these are some of the negative stereotypes of fraternities on North American college campuses. However, Greek fraternities are dedicated to philanthropy, community service, and academic excellence — or so it says right here in the history book. Pi Sigma Sigma, a fictitious fraternity on Hearst's campus, doesn't make a good case for itself when Veronica finds evidence of a recent wild party in the frat house and might be able to link one of its members to a date rape.

ELLE (Literature)

"So, other than the files, it's an address book, receipts, some keys, I believe a copy of ELLE magazine, but I forget why. Oh, and the murder case files."

ELLE is a word-wide women's fashion and beauty magazine, but it also features articles on politics and social issues. That's probably why Cliff had a copy in his briefcase, not for the titillating pictures of scantily-clad models. Our Cliffy is way too high-class for that.

Motorboating (Things)

"My god, Cliff, you're like a wild animal. Is that what the kids call motorboating?"
"I have a zest for life. So sue me."

Score another victory for the Veronica Mars writers, who manage to slip one more sexually-suggestive reference past the censors. Motorboating is a slang term describing the act of a man's throbbing member finding a home between the pulsating breasts of the woman he loves (lusts?). It's a form of safer sex, and Cliff feels no shame when Keith outs his acts of passion.

Animal House (Movies)

"Hi. Uh, Chip. Sorry, brothers only past the entryway without invitation."
"Hi, Chip."

Chip Diller, one of jackass Pi Sig frat boys, is also the name of Kevin Bacon's character in Animal House. While Bacon's character is merely a pledge, this Chip Diller is a full-fledged fraternity brother, complete with the cool nickname Ice Man and the privilege of bedding the dean's wife. The important question here, though, is obvious. How many degrees connect Kevin Bacon and David Tom? Discuss.

See all references about National Lampoon
Emmy Awards (TV)

"So, if someone sent Stacy a box of hair that wasn't hers, there's a chance she's not the only victim and there's another girl at Hearst forced to wear a wig. And so it's now time for me to clinch that Emmy nomination."

If voters from the Academy Of Television Arts and Sciences really chose nominees for this award based on excellence of performance and programming, rather than popularity and tradition, then Veronica Mars, or Kristen Bell at least, should have been nominated a long time ago. Since Veronica herself is a fictional character, we doubt she'll be nominated for her melodramatic portrayal of a runaway girl's sister, but the message is not lost on us.

Iceman (Characters)

"There, 300 points. And the hero of the hour? Of course his name is Iceman."
"Ice! Hey, Iceman?"

This fraternity brother is aptly nicknamed — Iceman just happens to be the character that the actor Shawn Ashmore played in the three X-Men movies. Shawn Ashmore also happens to be the twin brother of Aaron Ashmore, who plays the tormented Troy in this episode. So there's a shout-out to Shawn's X-Men character and sort of a shout-out to his brother. Unfortunately, Veronica considers both Ashmore brothers possible suspects in the Hearst college date rape.

Who's Who bio: Ice Man
See all references about X-Men
Ryan Seacrest (People)

"But the jury will understand. After all, you had to do it or your frat brothers would shave off your awesome Ryan Seacrest hairdo."

This guy is everywhere! From hosting American Idol to being the most popular reporter on the Red Carpet to DJ-ing America's Top 40 on the radio, it's hard to turn on the TV or radio without running into him. His perfect hairdo is one of his claims to fame, as Veronica reminds the Pi Sigma Sigma frat brothers.

Who's Who bio: Ryan Seacrest
How to Win Friends and Influence People (Literature)

"That's Veronica Mars. Making friends and influencing people wherever she goes."

In 1936, Dale Carnegie published one of the greatest self-help books of all time. It explained how to...well, the title is pretty self-explanatory. Has Veronica read it? She did follow the Six Ways to Make People Like You: Be genuinely interested in people (she investigated the Pi Sigs!), Smile (look at that radiance!), Remember and use people's names (she addressed Gordon personally!), Encourage others to talk about themselves and listen to them (she asked Chip all sorts of personal questions!), Discuss what the other person is interested in (like the frat scoreboard!), and Make the other person feel important (nothing makes a person feel more important than probation!). Good job, Veronica. Hearst will love you.

Blog (Things)

"So, why don't you go to your room and do your, uh, blog, whatever you kids do."

A blog, short for weblog, is an online journal used to publish one's most intimate thoughts and opinions for all the world to see. It's often used as a forum for political expression, but teenagers usually use it to update friends about their personal lives. Keith isn't sure if Veronica has a blog or not, but she fits the demographic.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (People)

"So, you know if you go to Hearst, you could come home and do your laundry on weekends, and we can talk about Nietzsche, the French Revolution, boys, whatever."

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche was a 19th-century German philosopher whose life ended after a long bout with mental illness brought on either by his complex, intense thinking or by a brain tumor. Keith, you and Veronica shouldn't discuss too much Nietzsche on the weekends — it seems bad for your mental health.

Who's Who bio: Friedrich Nietzsche
Bugs Bunny (Characters)

"So, the contest winner gets to push that thing, you know, that thing like Bugs Bunny always pushes and the stadium explodes?"

Bugs Bunny is that "wascally wabbit" from the Looney Tunes cartoons who always manages to escape from his enemies, including Elmer Fudd, Yosemite Sam, and Marvin the Martian. He used his brain more than his brawn and rarely used explosives to get out of tight situations. Maybe Veronica didn't watch many cartoons as a kid because she was too busy studying television detective shows.

Who's Who bio: Bugs Bunny

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