1.09 "Drinking the Kool-Aid"

Aired Nov 30, 2004

Cultural References

Jonestown Massacre (Events)

Episode Title: "Drinking the Kool-Aid"
"Sounds to me, Veronica, like you've been drinking the Kool-Aid."

That a drink so innocuous could give its name to something so vile, particularly as it wasn't even Kool-Aid that was imbibed, is one of the ironies of modern-day living. "Drinking the Kool-Aid" refers to an actual event and has led to an expression that describes those who follow wholeheartedly or blindly. In 1978, nearly a thousand men, women, and children died by murder or suicide on the instructions of the leader of the Peoples Temple cult, Jim Jones. Jones had moved himself and his followers from the United States to Jonestown, Guyana, in 1977. They were supposed to be building Utopia, but harsh conditions and Jones's demand for absolute obedience made Jonestown a living hell for many. Concerned relatives in the States lobbied for action and accompanied Leo Ryan, a Congressman, and various officials and journalists on an inspection of Jonestown to investigate claims of human rights abuses. A number of Jonestown residents took the opportunity to leave the compound, planning to fly out with the visitors. However, as the party waited on the airstrip to board flights to escape, members of the Peoples Temple opened fire on them, killing Ryan and many others. On the killers' return to Jonestown, Jones ordered his followers to drink poisoned Flavor-Aid. After the majority died in that manner, Jones and the rest killed themselves with bullets. Serious bummer.

Chicks dig scars (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Did you see a doctor?"
"Honey, it's fine. Chicks dig scars, now come on. Ya gotta see this."

It's one of those expressions that has sort of crept up on the population, but now everybody knows or has heard of it. It was used as the tagline to a not-terribly-good movie in 2000, The Replacements: "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever," which was kind of appropriate as the central character played by Keanu Reeves was a scab (or a heroic strike-breaking quarterback, depending on your politics). Keith's scabs aren't so pretty as he brushes off Veronica's concern. Keith Mars's injuries came from sliding home. Enrico Colantoni's real-life injuries, necessitating this minor plot point, came from ice hockey.

Z-Bots (Sports, Games and Toys)

"Come on, you've wanted one of these things since you were, like, five years old."
"I also wanted to marry Vanilla Ice and build the world's largest collection of Z-Bots."

"A group of brilliant scientists invented a corps of perfect robots to protect the world against evil — the Z-Bots™. But rival inventors stole the technology and invented their own brand of robot warriors programmed to do to evil — the Voidss™! Now Z-Bots designed to defend are locked in battle with the Voids made to menace! Collect all the Z-Bots and determine Earth's destiny — will good prevail or will nice guys finish last?" Thus does the power of packaging shape the hearts of little girls.

Vampires (Religion, Folklore, and Urban Legends)

"This is so endearing. My badass, action-figure daughter is afraid to draw a teensy little drop of blood."

It's Keith's Bela-Lugosi-dialect delivery of this line that brings up the spectre of Transylvania's best-known export. Vampires have been the stuff of legends for centuries, but it was Bram Stoker who made the creatures enduring in popular culture.

Wedgies (Things)
Keggers (Events)
Platinum cards (Things)

"He joined a cult? What do they worship? Wedgies? Keggers? Their parents' platinum cards?"

Veronica finds it hard to believe that the vapid 09er, Casey Gant, could have joined a cult, identifying what she judges to be the extent of his interests — humiliating others by pulling underwear up hard into the crack of their buttocks, beer fests, and spending money with credit cards allowed to the favored few...million or so that buy into the hype.

Hacky Sack (Sports, Games and Toys)

"Hacky Sack? The final arena of unquestioned white domination."

Wallace makes social comment on a game played with a footbag, a small, soft ball that is designed to be passed from player to player in a circle. Play ends when ball touches either the ground or the arms/hands of any of the player whereupon the other players disembowel the loser. Okay, maybe not that last bit.

Cliffs Notes (Literature)

"He even started working for the literary magazine. I mean, this is the same guy who's been downloading every writing assignment since the seventh grade. He used to think CliffsNotes were for the intellectual posers."

Study guides or cheat sheets? This is the long-standing debate on the value of CliffsNotes which have been getting students through Literature courses since the '50s. The pamphlets detailing plots, characters, and points of critique are often used to avoid reading the subject of the notes at all. Casey Gant's ex-girlfriend indicates that even CliffsNotes were beyond her former beau.

See all references about Cliffs Notes
Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (TV)

"So I guess you can tell I learned all I know about country life from Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman reruns."

Veronica's awkwardness around Isis the cow suggests that she really wasn't paying attention to the tales of the life of a female doctor in a small wild west town. It ran on CBS for six seasons before an abrupt and unexpected cancellation in 1999 that led to fan protests that would make any Veronica Mars fan proud.

Who's Who bio: Dr. Quinn
Yahtzee (Sports, Games and Toys)

"I-I don't think I asked what you guys were growing."
"I guess you could say it's the ultimate cash crop."

Yahtzee is a dice game, the object of which is to score points from combinations created by the throw of five die. Throwing five-of-a-kind garners the highest score and requires the player to shout "Yahtzee!" Veronica eschews the use of the more traditional Greek "Eureka!" or common-folk "Bingo!" when she hits pay-dirt on finding out the true nature of the Moon Calf Collective's produce.

David Koresh (People)

"I was just reading in last month's Koreshian Bride that four out of five cult leaders like their handmaidens nubile, flighty, and teetering on the edge of a breakdown."

David Koresh was the leader of a group of Branch Davidians, a cult based at a ranch in Waco, Texas. As is common with many cults, it was reported that Koresh advocated polygamy for himself and partnered many of the female members, some allegedly as young as fourteen. Whether or not this was true, Veronica is wary of the attentions of the leader of the Moon Calf Collective.

The Brady Bunch (TV)

"You've been listening in?"
"Heard anything incriminating yet?"
"Nope. It's like listening to The Brady Bunch with a reggae soundtrack."

On the one hand, Keith may be describing the Moon Calf Collective as wholesome. On the other hand, he might be suggesting that they are as bland as butter. Both fit the inexplicably popular-in-syndication '70s sitcom of a blended family. Mr. Brady wed Mrs. Brady and formed an instant family with his three sons and her three daughters. There was a housekeeper and a dog in the mix, too, and everything was just so...squee. Not.

Waco Siege (Events)
Oliver Twist (Characters)

"I'm prepared to admit that these Moon Calves probably don't merit the full ATF fire-bombing treatment. I mean, my guess is they're just a bunch of tie-dyed Oliver Twists who scam naïve kids to pay the bills."

If Keith Mars had investigated David Koresh's Branch Davidians, maybe that incident wouldn't have merited the full ATF fire-bombing treatment either, but in 1993, the decision was taken by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms to raid the Waco compound to obtain evidence of weapons violations. The raid ended in the deaths of four ATF agents and five Branch Davidians. There then ensued a siege by the FBI that lasted 51 days and ended in controversy and the death of another 83 people, including children. Wow, Keith. Glad you have some sense of proportion. But Oliver Twist wasn't really a scammer either, mate. Oliver was an innocent who fell into the hands of a band of pickpockets and was forced into the trade temporarily, in Dickens' classic tale of Victorian London.

Who's Who bio: Oliver Twist
The Jerry Springer Show (TV)

"You better recognize."
"Thank you for being my own personal Springer audience. Should I check myself before I wreck myself?"

The epitome of tasteless tabloid TV, Jerry Springer's talk shows features deliberately chosen combatants guests, the tackier and more violent the better, and always ends with a bit of moral sermonizing of the pop-wisdom, sound-bite variety. Jerry often asks audience members their opinion of his guests' problems. Their advice tends to be more along the lines of what Wallace and Veronica are parodying here.

Who's Who bio: Jerry Springer
Milk carton advertisement for runaways (Things)

In the early '80s, a program was instituted to feature pictures of missing children on milk cartons in the hopes of improving the chances of recovering them. Rain, a.k.a. Debbie Meyer, is conveniently featured on one that resides in the Mars's refrigerator.

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