1.12 "Clash of the Tritons"

Aired Jan 11, 2005

Cultural References

Clash of the Titans (Movies)
Triton (Religion, Folklore, and Urban Legends)

Episode title: "Clash of the Tritons"

The 1981 movie Clash of the Titans chronicled the myth of Perseus, played by a young Harry Hamlin, and included in its cast Sir Laurence Olivier, Dame Maggie Smith, and Bond Girl Ursula Andress. At one point in pre-production, Arnold Schwarzenegger was rumored to have been considered for the role of Perseus. Wow. If things had gone that way different, Maria Shriver could have been playing Lynn Echolls and the people of California could be under the leadership of Governor Hamlin. According to Greek myth, Triton, son of god and goddess of the sea, Neptune (a.k.a. Poseidon) and Amphitrite, is "the trumpeter of the deep." According to Disney myth, Triton is the king of an underwater world and has among his loyal subjects a Jamaican-accented crab. According to Marvel Comics, Triton was a member of the Inhumans and couldn't survive outside of water. Which is the real Triton, you ask? The decision is yours alone. Choose wisely.

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Pub crawl (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Someone must have put a gun to your head, forced you on a pub crawl?"

Ah, the days of college…or, in this case, high school. This is one of those terms that is difficult to be defined by one who has experienced it, mainly because of the severe memory loss that follows, either real or feigned. From what I can gather from some impartial observers, a pub crawl consists of going from bar to bar (or pub to pub, as the name would suggest) in an effort to get supremely intoxicated. There is no maximum amount of bars that one must "crawl" to, though it would seem that a minimum of four establishments would be necessary to turn an ordinary night out into an all-out pub crawl.

Al Capone (People)
Lindbergh baby (People)

"Veronica, the sheriff wants to have a look inside your locker."
"Course he does. Just out of curiosity, what are you gentlemen hoping to find in here? Al Capone? The Lindbergh baby?"

Chicago resident Al Capone, arguably one of America's most well-known mobsters and murderers, was ultimately indicted and convicted for 18 counts of income-tax evasion in 1932. While imprisoned at Alcatraz, he suffered from syphilitic dementia and, when released, was unable to run the crime syndicate for which he became famous. Kidnapping and aiding and abetting a felon — two crimes that Veronica actually, at this point in time, has not committed. Charles Lindbergh, Jr., infant son of the first man to fly solo across the Atlantic, was kidnapped from his nursery on March 1, 1932, in what many consider to be "The Crime of the Century." Despite the family's payment of the $70,000 ransom demanded by the kidnappers, baby Lindbergh was found dead four miles from his parents' estate on March 12. Bruno Richard Hauptmann was convicted for the child's murder, though conspiracy theorists insist he was not the culprit. Hard to believe, however, that 18-year-old Veronica is.

Diners Club (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"Know any good lawyers?"
"Very cute. I know an adequate one who just posted your $500 bail."
"They take Diners Club here?"

We take our credit cards for granted. These days, no matter where our purchases may be, we can usually just throw down our Discover Card, Mastercard, or Visa. Not so a half-century ago. In 1950, Diners Club became the first credit card not issued by an individual business and quickly grew in popularity. Despite this somewhat-impressive history, Diners Club now brings to mind cheap businessmen in polyester suits.

La Femme Nikita (Movies, TV)

"La Femme Veronica — I heard it took three officers and a stun gun to haul your butt outta school."

La Femme Nikita, a 1990 French movie, the basis for the 1993 Bridget Fonda vehicle Point of No Return and a five-season-long TV show starring Peta Wilson, centers around one kickass babe, much like our Veronica. Depending on which version you watch, Nikita may or may not murder someone, but she definitely goes to jail and is then recruited to be an assassin. In all versions, she's not someone you'd want to meet in a dark alley, as she probably was tasked to meet you there and kill you. She's got mad fighting skills and is difficult to take down (sound like Miss Mars?). Plus, Anne Parillaud, Bridget Fonda, and Peta Wilson also have another thing in common with our heroine: they're all f***ing hot.

Ginsu knife (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"If you're breathing, then you've heard about Aaron Echolls getting Ginsued at his own Christmas party."

Who wouldn't want a knife that could cut through a steel pipe and then cut razor-thin slices of radish? One of the first and most well-known "as seen on TV" products sold via infomercial, Ginsu knives have been around since the late '70s. Originally called Eversharp, Ginsu knives are produced in Ohio and don't even have a real Japanese word for their moniker. At one point in the infomercial, this statement is given: "In Japan, the hand can be used like a knife...but it can't cut a tomato!" How could you not buy a product with logic like that?

The 12 Labors (Religion, Folklore, and Urban Legends)

"So this was all part of a hazing ritual?"
"The twelve labors."

Hercules, the strongest of the Greek heroes, was tasked to complete 12 labors by the Oracle at Delphi as penance for killing his wife and children. These labors were set forth by set by King Eurystheus, Hercules' mortal enemy, and included slaying the Lernean Hydra and capturing the Cretan Bull and the guard dog of Hades. Since one of the Tritons' 12 labors supposedly involved doing shots at 12 bars, something tells me that these labors may have been a bit easier than Hercules'. Then again, achieving membership in a secret society isn't exactly on par with doing penance for killing your family.

Candid Camera (TV)

"Yo, fella, check it out. You're on Candid Camera."

Wow, one of four cultural references in the time span of 10 seconds. Whew. Impressive. The catchphrase "Smile! You're on Candid Camera!" from TV's first hidden-camera show will probably haunt us until the end of time. First aired in 1948 and created and produced by Allen Funt , this TV show filmed unsuspecting everyday people as they got caught up in the web of trickery designed by its producers. We have Candid Camera to thank for modern hidden-camera shows like Punk'd and Boiling Points. Gee, thanks, Allen. How could we survive without fine television fare like this?

411 (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Gave him the 411 on our video-playback capabilities..."

411, the telephone number to dial in America to reach directory assistance, has made its way into everyday speech. When giving someone "the 411," you're telling them what's going on. Why this is simpler than saying, "I told him what's going on," I have no idea. Crazy kids.

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Shaft (Movies)
Shut yo mouth! (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"...you know, leaned on him. Like I was Shaft or somethin'."
"Shut yo' mouth!"

John Shaft, probably best known for his 1971 film incarnation, was an African-American detective based in Harlem. Shaft would always get his man…or his lady, as Shaft was quite the ladies' man. In an era of "blaxploitation" films with negatively stereotyped characters, Shaft stood out in that he was not a pimp or a drug dealer, but rather a confident, sexy, hardworking detective. In the year 2000, the film was deemed "culturally significant" by the U.S. Library of Congress. The film was a box-office success and earned an Oscar for its theme, cleverly titled "Theme from Shaft," sung by Isaac Hayes. "Shut yo' mouth," an oft-quoted lyric from the song, interrupts Hayes' assertion that Shaft was a bad mother…something. The backup vocalist admonishing Shaft is none other than Telma Hopkins, Addy from Gimme a Break. A bad mother, indeed.

Who's Who bio: John Shaft
See all references about Blaxploitation movies of the 1970s
Michael Jordan (Sports, Games and Toys, People)

"Hey, Wallace. How was practice?"
"I was on fire out there. Three-point line, hand in my face, fadeaway like Jordan!"

Michael Jordan is possibly the most well-known basketball player of all time. Wallace is currently the most well-known basketball player at Neptune High. But no matter how good his fadeaway jumper, it's doubtful that the phrase "slam-dunk from the free-throw line like Jordan" will ever be uttered by 5'6" Wallace.

Who's Who bio: Michael Jordan
See all references about Michael Jordan
The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dogs. (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"The quick brown fox jumped over the lazy dog."

While talking to Veronica during karaoke, Duncan utters this sentence to Veronica, and this actually made the most sense of anything he said that night, even though he misquoted it. By saying "dog" instead of "dogs," he took away this sentence's reason for existing. When spoken correctly, it contains every letter of the alphabet and is a good way to make sure all of one's typewriter keys are working. And if you're reading this and thinking, "Wow, I think I'll go check the keys on my typewriter right now," why don't you check and see if your abacus needs greasing while you're at it?

"One Way or Another" (Music)

By releasing this song in 1979, lead singer Deborah Harry gave voice to millions of teenage girls who were determined to get who they wanted. In dedicating this song to "my friends the Tritons," Veronica makes it clear she's a girl on a mission, and after the last chord rings out, she leaves no doubt in anyone's mind that she's gonna find them and she's gonna get them, maybe next week…one way or another.

Dave Chappelle (People)

"Hey, Wallace, whatcha doin'? Uh-huh. No, I haven't seen that one. Yes, Dave Chapelle is great."

Actor/comedian Dave Chappelle is probably best known as the star and host of Chappelle's Show his improv/sketch show on Comedy Central. Despite only airing for two full seasons and a tiny part of a third, Chappelle's unique humor made an impression on many, leading to his characters being quoted in places from Monday Night Football to late-night talk shows. Personally, I loved him in Robin Hood: Men in Tights. But who doesn't love men in tights?

Who's Who bio: Dave Chappelle
Lay rubber (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Man! Did you see me lay rubber in that LeBaron?"

I'm afraid Wallace is a bit off in his estimation of what he did by speeding off in Veronica's car. A correct statement would have been, "Did you see me lay synthetic rubber in that LeBaron? Not to mention the carbon black, silica, sulfur, and zinc oxide that are added to make the tire perform as well as possible?" Regardless, the term "lay rubber" refers to the small patch of burned rubber from a car's tires when said car either starts or stops suddenly. Wallace better make sure Keith doesn't find out it was him, because doing it too often is noticeable and makes your parents upset. Trust me.

Kevin Costner (People)

"So…what was the plan? Embarrass me? Destroy my career? Soften up public sentiment for a generous divorce settlement? Turn me into Costner?"

Poor Kevin Costner. 1990 – Oscar winner with Dances with Wolves. 1991 – Made women swoon with his portrayal of the title character in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and handed conspiracy theorists a voice in JFK. 1992 – Costarred with Whitney Houston in The Bodyguard. 1995 – Made one of movie history's biggest flops with Waterworld. 2001 – An Elvis impersonating ex-con in 3000 Miles to Graceland. The road downhill is easy to map in this case, but don't worry, Kevin – I'm sure your movie with Ashton Kutcher this year will revive your career. You won't be a punch line anymore. Honest.

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