3.16 "Un-American Graffiti"

Aired May 01, 2007

Cultural References

American Graffiti (Movies)

Episode title: "Un-American Grafitti"

Ah, George Lucas. Before he was doing cameos on The O.C., this man directed a movie that helped define a generation. No, not that silly one about outer space. The one with Harrison Ford. No, the other one with Harrison Ford. You know, the one about the group of kids who just graduated high school and what they're going to do with the rest of their lives. 'Cause that's when all important life decisions are made...like when to go all-in.

Pay It Forward (Movies)

"Just pay it forward."

It's a lovely idea: doing good things for others in the hope that they will one day return the favor by widening the circle of generosity. The best thing you can possibly do for the needy people around you is prevent them from watching this upchuck-worthy Haley Joel Osment flick, which popularized both the phrase and the concept. The all-too-saccharine script about a troubled boy with a golden heart brought shame to Kevin Spacey's name, but Logan's the son of a psychotic Hollywood manslut, so — he's seen worse.

My Super Sweet Sixteen (TV)

"I've been studying up; I watched My Super Sweet Sixteen."

A troubling yet addictive "reality" program on MTV that highlights all that is wrong with America's youth. Spoiled, entitled, and disrespectful, the birthday girls (and occasionally boys) demand the finest cuisine, the hippest entertainment, and sometimes troupes of dancing little people in honor of the simple fact that they happened to be born once. Money is never an object, and neither is shame. The attitude displayed on this show is where bridezillas come from, but down-to-earth Parker probably wouldn't make for a particularly captivating episode.

"Yankee Doodle" (Music)

"I'm a Yankee Doodle damn Dandy!"

If America could be boiled down to one song, it might be "Yankee Doodle," a song originally sung by British armed forces mocking American troops. During the Revolutionary War, American soldiers appropriated the lyrics as their own, and ever since, the song has been an iconic part of American national identity. Referring to one's self as a Yankee Doodle (damn) Dandy is to claim to be American through and through. The feather-stuck cap and pony are optional, though.

Who's Who bio: Yankee Doodle
"It's Raining Men" (Music)

"Look at these ads. Twofer Tuesday, It's Raining Gin, Dollar Shot Night."

Hallelujah! Penned by David Letterman's sidekick, Paul Shaffer, and released (most famously) in 1982 by The Weather Girls, this song is a favorite in gay bars everywhere. And the "high-concept" video is truly something to behold. Geri Halliwell, formerly of the Spice Girls, recently covered this ode to men for the film Bridget Jones's Diary. Simply put, it's cheesy, it's campy, it makes no sense, and it's awesome.

KFC (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"From what I've heard. 'Cause the only buckets I order come in Original and Extra Crispy."

Fast-food eatery specializing in greasy fried chicken, buttermilk biscuits, and mashed potatoes and gravy. In the early 1990s, the company took a shortened form of its original name, "Kentucky Fried Chicken," in the absurd hope that the elimination of "fried" in the name would make people forget that batter-soaked fowl, dredged in flour and plunged into grease, was an unhealthy gastronomic choice. Over the years, KFC has introduced popcorn chicken, grilled chicken, and other choices, but its two venerable menu offerings are old-fashioned buckets of Original and Extra Crispy, the latter of which I'm betting Veronica is a fan.

South Park (Movies, TV)

"'Kay, keep up, Towelie."

What's that? A clue to the mystery of the week? No, it's the melody to Funkytown! This self-admitted "worst character ever" is everyone's favorite beach companion, guaranteed to conquer dryness. He spends most of his time losing his short-term memory to weed in South Park, a show beloved by slackers, loadies, potheads, and the daughter of Neptune's best local sheriff. Veronica's not wrong to assume that the teenage delinquents she's interrogating are so high right now, they have no idea what's going on.

See all references about South Park
Pulp Fiction (Movies)

"Say what again, I dare ya! I double dare ya!"
"What? Aaaaah! God! Someone wrote "terrorist" at Babylon Gardens?"
"Check out the big brain on Brett!"

Veronica rips the dialogue of Samuel L. Jackson's character Jules in Tarantino's Pulp Fiction when she confronts the idiots who think shooting random people in the street with paintballs is good, clean fun. Thankfully for the boys, Veronica gets her point across with neon green paint instead of warm, gushing blood. What would we have given to have heard her take on Ezekial 25:17. "The path of the righteous girl is beset on all sides by the iniquities of popularity and the tyranny of ratings. Blessed is she, who in the name of quality television and witty dialogue, shepherds the faithful through the valley of darkness, for she is truly the lost's keeper and the finder of little mysteries. And I will strike down upon thee with great vengeance and furious anger those who would attempt to poison and destroy my show. And you will know my name is Veronica when I lay my vengeance upon thee with a paintball gun."

Who's Who bio: John Travolta
See all references about Pulp Fiction
MySpace (Places)

"Check it out! Two hot chicks I met on MySpace."

Known to savvy Internet users as the embarrassing cousin of Facebook, MySpace.com is a place for social networking, photo posting, blogging, and some truly awful embedded .midi files. The meeting and seducing of video-happy young sluts, however, takes on new and horrific meaning for Dick when he commits a fatal faux pas — neglecting to cross-reference the friends lists of potential hotties.

See all references about MySpace
Heathers (Movies)

"Just takes me back to high school. Remember, Logan, when we used to sit at the same lunch table and make fun of all the fat kids?"

This 1989 black comedy is the fifth greatest high school comedy of all time, according to Entertainment Weekly. Heathers is about a girl named Veronica (no, seriously!) who used to be one of the popular kids (no, SERIOUSLY!). The leaders of the popular clique are all named, you guessed it: Heather. One of the things they like to do is sit at the same lunch table and make fun of all the fat kids. The Heathers were the prototype for the titular Mean Girls, as well as, probably, Madison Sinclair. Which makes it even more ironic that Mac busts out with a reference.

See all references about Heathers
I Know What You Did Last Summer (Movies)

"We ran over that fisherman and promised we'd take the secret to our graves."

At the height of the teen-horror-flick craze in the late 1990s, I Know What You Did Last Summer featured a cast of young beautiful people covering up a silly little hit-and-run and then becoming irritated when the left-for-dead man just won't let them forget it. The movie begat a horrendous sequel, I Still Know What You Did Last Summer (shouldn't it be "Two Summers Ago?") as well as a Sarah Michelle Gellar/Freddie Prinze, Jr. union. In the Neptune High version of the movie, would the newly bonded Logan and Mac be Ryan Phillippe and Jennifer Love Hewitt, respectively? Maybe Clarence Wiedman could be the guy with the hook.

See all references about I Know What You Did Last Summer
She's All That (Movies)

"Remember? You bet your friends you could turn me into a super-hot prom date as a joke, but you ended up falling in love with me."

Freddy Prinze, Jr., where would we be without you? What cheesy teen movies would we mock? What would the correct answer be to "What Would Buffy Do?" Where would we have learned that beauty is on the inside? All you have to do is take off someone's glasses to find it. Well, it's not all on the inside. The girl has to be hot under the glasses. And don't worry -- even after she finds out that dating her was just a bet with your supercool jock friends, if you're FPJ, the course of love runs smooth. By a pool. With Christmas lights.

Rocky Horror Picture Show (Movies)
The Room (Movies)

"It's like the new Rocky Horror. Now at one point people throw plastic spoons at the screen. You gotta check it out. It'll-it'll change your life."

Piz's favorite obsession isn't building a man in a lab like Dr. Frank-N-Furter in The Rocky Horror Picture Show. Oh, no. He's into a cult movie of a very different kind as he explains to Wallace. The Room is writer/director/star Tommy Wiseau's ego project, which is credited as being the absolutely greatest worst movie ever made. Everything in the film is bad: the production, the script, the acting. There is not one single moment, including the inexplicable reappearing framed photograph of a plastic spoon, that doesn't make you want to tear apart your brain and replace it with a kitten. It's that bad, so of course it has a cult following in L.A., where monthly showings are accompanied by Rocky-like audience particition. Go see it now. Take your plastic spoons. It will change your life. I can see y'all shivering with antici...


See all references about Rocky Horror Picture Show
Yo La Tengo (Music)

"I thought you were going to Yoyo Taco on Saturday."
"Yo La Tengo. Yeah, but this sounds more fun."

Yo La Tengo is an indie rock band with a large, devoted fan base that obviously includes Piz. Though Wallace may never have heard of them, he should probably know they got their name from a famous baseball anecdote involving the New York Mets. When outfielder Richie Ashburn and shortstop Elio Chacón kept colliding in the outfield, Ashburn started to yell "Yo la tengo" instead of "I got it" to warn Chacón. They stopped running into each other, but Ashburn was bulldozed by another outfielder, Frank Thomas, who didn't speak Spanish. See, indie rock lovers and baseball fans can get along.

Who's Who bio: Yo La Tengo
The Benny Hill Show (TV)

"Okay, a Peeping Tom in a tree takes off on a bike. I feel like I stumbled into a Benny Hill sketch."

The Benny Hill Show was a British sketch show in the '60s famous for sight gags, double entendres, and slapstick. Although Nasir can't quite pull off Benny's trademark charm while checking into his formerly intended fiancée's bedroom activities, his tree-climbing, Peeping Tom, and bicycle escape routine really had all the earmarks of a sketch from the show.

Who's Who bio: Benny Hill
Omar Sharif (People)

"That's your boyfriend?"
"Yeah, it's like I'm dating a young Omar Sharif."

Before he was found guilty of assaulting a Beverly Hills parking lot attendant, Omar Sharif lit up Lawrence of Arabia and landed the titular role in Doctor Zhivago. But his most important accomplishment? Being considered a hottie by our own Veronica Mars. In one of her cleverest ploys yet, V tricks a pharmacist into giving her somebody else's photos by calling her "boyfriend" a "young Omar Sharif." Here's hoping Omar himself will put a copy of this week's episode right next to his Golden Globes.

Who's Who bio: Omar Sharif
Judas Iscariot (Religion, Folklore, and Urban Legends)

"We came here for me, remember?"
"Yeah, that was before I saw her."
"No, you don't, no. Judas!"

History will forever shame Judas Iscariot as the man who betrayed Jesus Christ with a kiss, sending the Messiah to a certain and very painful death on a cross. Upon realizing his transgression, Judas, one of the original Twelve Apostles, reportedly committed suicide. Wallace is possibly attracted to the same girl that Piz has just noticed. Yeah, totally close to the same thing. Nice analogy, STOSH.

Who's Who bio: Judas
See all references about The Bible
Mars Attacks! (Movies)

Whether those highbrow journalists at The Lampoon were referring to the popular science fiction trading cards from the '60s or the 1996 Tim Burton film based on the cards, we can't tell. Either way, showing a giant-headed Sheriff Mars terrorizing poor underaged drinkers probably doesn't look a lot like Martians attacking the Earth, but we've got to hand it to them — they sure know an obvious joke when they see one.

Jon Bon Jovi (People)

"This picture is Jon Bon Jovi."

The musical genius behind dozens of hits, including "Livin' on a Prayer," "Bad Medicine," and "It's My Life," Jon Bon Jovi is also an all-around nice guy, a capable actor, and a devoted husband and father. All of his achievements pale in comparison, however, to having the best looking head of hair imaginable on this planet or any other. While Piz may share his all-American good looks, the 25-year age difference makes JBJ a poor match on a fake ID.

Who's Who bio: Jon Bon Jovi
Biggie Smalls (People)

"Biggie Smalls? We don't really all look alike, Mr. Mars."

Christopher Wallace, aka Biggie Smalls, aka The Notorious B.I.G., is one of the countless talented musicians in this world who died tragically at a young age. The victim of a still-unsolved drive-by in L.A. at the age of 24, the rapper was involved in the East Coast-West Coast rivalry, which many believe was responsible for his murder. Despite sharing a name, he and our beloved Mr. Fennel don't have a whole lot in common. Biggie was an appropriate nickname — he stood at 6'3" and weighed over 300 pounds. That's not even two of our Wallaces put together.

Who's Who bio: Biggie Smalls
Ali Baba (Literature)

"So turn me in, Ali Baba."

Have you ever wondered where the phrase "Open, sesame!" came from? Ask Ali Baba, star of "Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves," one of the 1,001 tales in the famous Arabian Nights. American soldiers appropriated the name to refer to Iraqis during the Iraq War, and now, during the occupation, it continues to be used as a general term for them, like the name "Charlie" was used during the Vietnam War. So Derrick isn't racist, he's just topical! Okay, yeah, he's totally a racist.

Who's Who bio: Ali Baba
Scott Peterson (People)

"Things I'd rather than attend this party solo: seven minutes in Heaven with Scott Peterson."

A definite finalist for Worst Husband in the History of the Universe, right alongside O.J. Simpson and King Henry VIII, Scott Peterson received the death sentence for killing his eight-months pregnant wife and unborn son. What kind of person does that? Seriously? And the fact that Veronica would rather play a high-school make-out game with him than attend Parker and Logan's party alone? Wow. One thing you can say for Scott, though, is at least he didn't kill his mistress. V probably would have made it out alive.

Who's Who bio: Scott Peterson
Casablanca (Movies)

"What's that line about the beginning of some sort of friendship?"

This 1947 romantic classic is so famous, people who probably haven't even seen it quote it. Rick Blaine and Ilsa Lund find one another after years of separation in Rick's chichi gambling joint in Morrocco. There's some stuff about Nazis, and Ilsa still loving Rock despite the fact that she's married, and intrigue about papers — but in the end, it's all about Ilsa's plane taking off, leaving Rick alone with the corrupt Louis Renault, with whom he is about to begin a beautiful friendship. No doubt Dick thinks Veronica is beautiful, but we really don't think he wants to be her friend any more than she wants to be his.

See all references about Casablanca
The Big Lebowski (Movies)

"'The Dude abides.' I don't know about you, but I take comfort in that."

The multiple-episode mysteries might have stopped, but the The Big Lebowski references keep on comin'. This pithy phrase is oft-repeated by The Dude throughout the movie as an existential self-confirmation and platitudinous advice. It's "Qué será, será" filtered through a dozen White Russians.

Who's Who bio: Jeffrey Lebowski
See all references about The Big Lebowski
René Descartes (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"I think, therefore I am."

French guy known as the Founder of Modern Philosophy for his groundbreaking statement, "Cogito ergo sum." See, before the 17th Century, people went about thinking without realizing that they existed. After Descartes, people were a lot more confident that they were. Yes, that was the end of the sentence. They were going around being now, just because they were thinking! It was radical, dude! I could go into methodological skepticism and the Cartesian plane (the man INVENTED GRAPHS, you guys), but the main point here is that Max is proving that he knows philosophy by quoting the most famous philosophical statement of all time, which is like saying I'm an expert in quantum physics because I've heard of E = mc2.

Doublemint (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"Hottie Internet chicks found out about each other, talked it over, and they're into it!"
"Into it?"
"Doublemint, baby!"

Who knew chewing gum could be so sexy? Still on the shelves, Doublemint gum was introduced by Wrigley in 1914. The brand's decades-old advertising campaign, which employs sets of nubile twins and the phrase "double your pleasure, double your fun", continues to be misappopriated by perverse men (and boys such as Dick) everywhere.

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