1.11 "Silence of the Lamb"

Aired Jan 04, 2005

Cultural References

The Silence of the Lambs (Movies)

Episode title: "Silence of the Lamb"

This 1991 movie was directed by Ted Demme and starred Anthony Hopkins as an incarcerated cannibal and Jodie Foster as an FBI agent hunting for a serial killer. Sheriff Lamb and Keith Mars are themselves on the hunt for a serial killer, but they don't have someone as creepy/cool as Hannibal Lecter to help them out.

A Few Good Men (Movies)

"[My parents] act like they were always perfect. And every little thing I do wrong is catalogued so they can rub my nose in it later."
"Sure you can handle the truth? The '70s and '80s were not pretty decades for people."

Veronica is asked to dig up dirt on fellow student Jackson Douglas's parents. Her answer references the movie A Few Good Men, the 1992 movie written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by Rob Reiner, starring Tom Cruise, Demi Moore, and Jack Nicholson. When Cruise demands to know what really happened to a soldier who died under mysterious circumstances, Nicholson's Col. Jessup utters the famous line, "You can't handle the truth!" Veronica is suggesting that perhaps Jackson doesn't want to know what his parents did before he was born. Jackson disagrees, and he is quite pleased to learn that his parents were just as immature then as he is now.

"Birthday" (Music)

Madison Sinclair's parents help encourage their daughter's intense bitchery by arranging a lovely rendition of the Beatles tune played by a string quartet during lunch. Written mostly by Paul McCartney (though credited to Lennon/McCartney), it appears on the White Album and features Yoko Ono as one of the backup singers. Madison is pleased by this display, along with the cake, but as Veronica points out, "If they really loved her, they would've gotten the real Beatles."

See all references about Beatles
Little Bo Peep (Characters)

"Is your daddy here, or is he too busy peeking in people's windows?"
"You stop dressing up like Little Bo Peep, he'll stop peeking."

Little Bo Peep is best known as the nursery rhyme character who lost her sheep and did not know where to find them. Veronica casts aspersions on Lamb's manhood by suggesting he likes to dress in shepherdess's clothing (heh, his name's Lamb) and that Keith can't help but peek and laugh.

Who's Who bio: Bo Peep
Rod Serling (People)

"I'll just have Rod Serling wait out here on the couch."

When the Sheriff and the Mayor pay a call on her father, Veronica expresses her confusion by mentioning Serling, host of the The Twilight Zone, a television series that ran from 1959-1964 and focused on normal people who found themselves in extraordinary circumstances.

Who's Who bio: Rod Serling
8-ball (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)
Eagles (Music)

"Here are the highlights. Your dad was busted trying to buy an 8-ball from an undercover cop at an Eagles concert in '74."

Veronica discovers Jackson Douglas's dad has some skeletons in his closet: specifically, his misguided efforts to buy an 8-ball, or one-eighth of an ounce of a drug, usually crystal methamphetamine or cocaine. He did so at a concert of the country rock band the Eagles, among the biggest rock groups of the 1970s and one of the best-selling groups of all time. While he can be forgiven for getting into the spirit of the rock mentality, buying from an undercover cop? Not a good move.

Hillside Strangler (People)

"The murders are reminiscent of the Hillside Strangler case."
"Except the Hillside Strangler actually did strangle the girls."
"Party girls, like ours. Picked up outside of bars. The killer leaves his mark."
"Okay. Except for the asphyxiation, the imprisonment, the body disposal, these cases have a lot in common."

Sheriff Lamb compares Neptune's "E-String Strangler" to this pair of serial killers from the late 1970s. Kenneth Bianchi and Angelo Buono were two cousins convicted of torturing, raping, and killing girls and women for a four-month period from late 1977 to early 1978. The bodies were found on the same hills outside Los Angeles, hence the name. Lamb tries to show off that he's still in charge of the investigation by interrupting Keith whenever possible, making tenuous connections to another famous serial killer.

Who's Who bio: Hillside Strangler
Internet Movie Database (Places)

"Your mom sued her parents for emancipation when she was 16 and then moved to Hollywood. According to the Internet Movie Database, she went on to play such roles as Trucker's Girlfriend, Screaming Maid, and Bi-curious Roommate."

Another of Veronica's classmate/clients finds out her mother had a short and shady acting career through Veronica's research on this massive online database of movies, television, actors, directors, producers, writers, and almost everything else involved in the entertainment industry.

NASCAR (Sports, Games and Toys)
Federico Fellini (People)

"It's not that they're bad parents. They just don't get me. They're nachos and NASCAR people, and I'm more..."
"Falafels and Fellini?"

Mac's parents are fans of NASCAR (National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), which oversees an enormously popular series of stock car races throughout the US and abroad. Mac, however, is more likely to be found in her room, headphones on, watching the works of Federico Fellini, the Italian filmmaker known as one of the most influential directors of the twentieth century. Mac is right to wonder at the difference, as Veronica's dirt-digging digs up something rather unexpected.

Who's Who bio: Federico Fellini
This is Spinal Tap (Movies)

"Hello, Cleveland! … Spinal Tap."
"The movie, Spinal Tap. You've never seen Spinal Tap?"
"That explains a lot."

Keith and Lamb go to Evermore Guitars to investigate the E-String Strangler, and Keith learns Lamb is sorely lacking in his film education. The 1984 movie This is Spinal Tap, directed by Rob Reiner and starring Michael McKean, Harry Shearer, and Christopher Guest, is a mockumentary of the fictional band Spinal Tap. Spinal Tap is modeled after the legendary rock bands of the late 1970s and early 1980s, especially Led Zeppelin, Aerosmith, Judas Priest, and others known for their face-melting rock and borderline-illegal partying. It's a classic comedy about self-delusion and the importance of dials that go up to 11.

Throwing one's panties (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"I think he's waiting for you to throw your panties."

A staple of any good rock (or Tom Jones) concert is the throwing of girls' panties to the musicians. This is meant to show that the audience members (probably female, but who knows?) thoroughly appreciate and enjoy the music they're hearing and feel so strongly about it that they must toss up their underwear as a sign of respect. As Keith and Lamb wait for a music store clerk to stop rocking and talk to them, Keith guesses he might move faster were Lamb to engage in this practice and throw his panties. Another aspersion cast on Lamb's masculinity — the poor guy gets no respect.

Girls Gone Wild (TV)

"You know who you should talk to? The Worm."
"The Worm?"
"Yeah, this guy who shoots videotapes of all the girls, then sells them to Girls Gone Bad."

The bartender from Body Shots, in between insulting women in general and talking dirty about Veronica, suggests Keith and Lamb investigate the Worm, who supposedly sells videos he makes to the Girls Gone Wild-like series Girls Gone Bad (not to be confused with Girls With Low Self-Esteem). This fine example of American culture shows drunk young women showing off their bodies and doing lewd things in order to be on camera (and get a hat).

See all references about Girls Gone Wild
Pig Latin (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"You should have consulted me first."
"What'd you want me to do? Consult you in Pig Latin?"

Eith-kay ells-tay Amb-lay e's-hay upid-stay by pointing out there was no way for him to tell Lamb what he was planning with the suspect standing right in front of them. Pig Latin is the fake language in which the first letter or consonant sound plus "ay" is moved to the end of the word. For vowels, "-ay" is added to the end of the word by itself. Example: Cat = at-cay. Apple = apple-ay. It's not especially ubtle-say.

Fievel Mousekewitz (Characters)

"Adam Bunting? Isn't that the guy who looks like Fievel?"
"No, no, that's Adam Hamilton. Nobody talks to him, he's poor."
"He still looks like Fievel."

The cute little mouse from the 1986 animated movie An American Tail, Fievel Mousekewitz is not who any human would want to be compared to, however cute he is. The Russian Mousekewitz family immigrates to America but gets separated, and young Fievel must learn to survive on his own as he searches for his family. Mac and Veronica would have been too young to remember this movie when it came out, but they likely saw it on video.

Who's Who bio: Fievel
See all references about An American Tail
The Westing Game (Literature)

"So, what are you reading?"
"The Westing Game. It's really good."
"Yeah, it is."

Mac happens upon Madison Sinclair's little sister, Lauren, as she investigates the Sinclair home. Lauren is reading The Westing Game by Ellen Raskin, a classic mystery for young readers. Originally published in 1978, the book would have undoubtedly made its way into Mac's hands, but even children who don't read as easily can appreciate the puzzle.

Martha Stewart (People)

"Happy birthday, Madison. Thanks for being such a gracious host. Martha Stewart has nothing on you."

Martha Stewart, the doyenne of doilies, the queen of quince, the countess of cookery, is famous for her skills as a housekeeper and host (and also for spending some time in jail as a result of insider trading. So classy.). Veronica uses super-subtle sarcasm to insult Madison's nonexistent hostess skills.

Who's Who bio: Martha Stewart
See all references about Martha Stewart
Water Lilies (Art)
Revlon (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"She wouldn't know Monet's Water Lilies unless Revlon named a nail polish after it."

Claude Monet's series of Impressionist paintings of his pond and its water lilies are among the most recognizable images in art. For Madison Sinclair not to know what they were unless it were a nail polish from the cosmetics company Revlon is pretty believable.

Corn dogs (Things)
NPR (Things)

"At two I was spitting out corn dogs and tuning the radio to NPR."

Mac was not a fan of hot dogs coated in cornbread batter, deep-fried, and served on a stick. Some people just aren't. We might think they're crazy, but that's okay. She was, however, an avid listener of National Public Radio, aka NPR. NPR is the not-for-profit organization of public radio stations in the US, and its shows are some of the most popular on radio. Her parents may not be public radio types, but they still love her. Aw.

Stripogram (Things)

"So, what made you decide to be a cop?"
"Well, same old tired story. I was sent here by the agency to do a stripogram for Inga, an armed robbery call came in, I figured I was in uniform anyway, so what the hell."
"So you're saying you just kind of stumbled into it."
"Oh, what I'm trying to say is, this uniform, it's a tear-away."

Following in the esteemed tradition of the singing telegram, the candygram, and the kissogram, the stripogram consists of a message sent from one person to another in the form of a stripper. Deputy Leo (who would make a lovely stripogram…) tries to charm Veronica with this tale, but one bets his uniform really doesn't tear away. What a shame.

Cop Rock (TV)

"A cop that rocks. What will they think of next?"

In flirting with Leo, the deputy who drums, Veronica alludes to the short-lived (and for good reason) Steven Bochco drama/musical from 1990, Cop Rock. Bochco, creator of shows like Hill Street Blues and NYPD Blue, did something no one had ever done before (or would ever do again): he merged the genres of cop drama and musical. As intriguing as the idea is, it's not hard to see why such a show didn't last.

Good cop, bad cop (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"So how do you wanna play this?"
"I say we play to our strengths."
"So I'm good cop?"

The phrase "good cop, bad cop" refers to the interrogation tactic in which two interrogators take what appear to be opposing positions. One acts sympathetically to the subject, and the other acts aggressively, with the hopes that the subject will warm to the "good cop" and cooperate. Of course, the term "good" as Keith uses it could also be construed to mean he thinks he's the better detective.

"The Battle of Evermore" (Music)

"Deputy D'Amato and I are checking out Evermore Guitars. It's probably nothing."

Investigating the E-String Strangler leads Keith and Leo to Evermore Guitars, a music store named after the Led Zeppelin song, "The Battle of Evermore." Led Zeppelin, an extremely successful English rock band of the 1970s, based much of their fourth album (known as Led Zeppelin IV) on the Lord of the Rings trilogy by J.R.R. Tolkien, and "The Battle of Evermore" may refer to a battle from the third book, Return of the King. A rock guitarist would undoubtedly be familiar with the works of the Zep and would think himself clever indeed to name his store after one of their songs.

See all references about Led Zeppelin
A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius (Literature)

"Honey, you have everything you need? Pocketknife, headlamps, latest works of staggering genius?"

Mac's father tries to show he's hip by referencing this 2000 memoir by Dave Eggers. This self-aggrandizing (or self-deprecating? You decide) book was declared one of the best books of the year by many big publications, and it does make for a very interesting read. Mac's dad might not actually be hip, but he's trying, and that's cute.

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