1.15 "Ruskie Business"

Aired Feb 22, 2005

Cultural References

Risky Business (Movies)
Ruskie (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

Episode title: "Ruskie Business"

Before Tom Cruise started jumping on couches and prescribing vitamins for depression, he was simply a sexy movie star whose first big role was in the 1983 teen flick Risky Business. "Ruskie" is a slang term for Russian. The title of this '80s-themed episode, which also involves a Russian bride-to-be, combines the two jokes and sums up the plot nicely. There's also a Tom Cruz, but that's just a coincidence.

See all references about Tom Cruise
"Total Eclipse of the Heart" (Music)

"Don't be stingy with the glitter. Remember. It's an '80s dance.... You know, if I didn't know better, I'd swear I just saw my best friend ask you to 'Total Eclipse of the Heart.'"
"No, no one's asked. But I'm pining away by the phone waiting for that special boy to call."

This love ballad, written by Jim Steinman and performed most famously in 1983 by Bonnie Tyler, is the theme for Neptune High's spring dance. For some reason, Duncan equates the '80s with glitter, and as Student Body President, it's his job to make sure every inch of the gym gets covered with it. He teases Veronica about her intimate conversation with Logan, which actually was all about missing mothers and had nothing to do with school dances.

Moonies (Religion, Folklore, and Urban Legends)

"Then there was Martin. He's sweet but a little moonie, if you know what I mean."
"Or it could be some maladjusted freshman who likes to lurk outside your bedroom window with binoculars and a bag of pork rinds."
"Come on, Veronica. You gotta help me find out who it is. This could turn out to be my soul mate."

"Moonie" is the colloquial term for a member of Sun Myung Moon's Unification Church. Moonies deny that the Unification Church is a cult, but members practice aggressive recruitment techniques that border on brainwashing, their financial structure is questionable, and members used to hang out in airports selling flowers. That's strange enough. Meg hopes her secret admirer isn't the weird, quiet guy. Those are usually the ones who wind up being serial killers, you know?

BFF (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Wallace, if you do this for me, we'll be best friends forever. Come on, don't you want us to be BFF?"
"All right, all right. But the next time we hang out, you gotta actually hang out."
"You can B your own FF. I'm retired...What's all this?"
"Casting call for Tom Cruz with a Z. Apparently, he has changed his name."

Veronica is being serious this time when she calls Wallace her best friend forever. Too bad she can't sit down long enough to enjoy a movie with him without talking shop. Detective shop, that is. When Wallace helps Veronica on a case, he discovers that being friends with her comes at a higher price than his reputation is willing to pay. But like a true friend, his decision lasts all of two seconds. Those two crazy kids, they can't make it without each other.

See all references about BFF
The Rockford Files (TV)

"Hold that thought....Hello, no-limit platinum card."
"How many cases you working on here, Rockford?"

James Garner starred as private investigator Jim Rockford in this popular television show, which ran from 1974-80. Rockford drives a cool American car, he's always cash-strapped, and he rooms with his father, often joining forces with him to solve crimes. And like Rockford, Veronica usually juggles more than one case at a time. So when a concerned Wallace calls her "Rockford," he really isn't too far off.

Hamburglar (Characters)

"Veronica. Don't waste your time on this. If the computer search didn't do it, then just tell her we're too busy."
"She agreed to the daily rate, and we can always use the money. I mean, wouldn't it be cool to have glasses in the kitchen that didn't have the Hamburglar on them?"

Introduced as a character for the McDonald's corporation in 1971, Hamburglar's claim to fame is...stealing hamburgers from unsuspecting diners. His likeness has been parodied on several primetime cartoons, and he continues to be part of the McDonald's marketing empire. Veronica expresses her desire for fine china that can't be bought at a McDonald's restaurant for 79 cents a pop — with the purchase of a Big Mac.

The Love Boat (TV)

"I just thought it would be nice if instead of breaking people up, we brought them together for once."
"Honey, we're private investigators, not the frigging Love Boat."

Keith, you and Veronica are exciting and new, just like The Love Boat. This Aaron Spelling TV show, which ran from 1977-86, was about a cruise ship where people hooked up. Keith wants no part in playing matchmaker and discourages a surprisingly romantic Veronica from helping the Russian bride find her fiancé.

Ashton Kutcher (People)
Teen People (Literature)

"Don't forget. You're a high school girl. Do some high school girl things now and then."
"Relax, Dad. I'm cutting pictures of Ashton out of Teen People as we speak."
"You better be. Gotta run, sweetie."

High school girls aren't the only ones who drool over pictures of heart-throb movie and TV star Ashton Kutcher. 40-something-year-old Demi Moore, the love of young Ashton's life, thinks he's pretty cute, too, and she probably saves his clippings from Teen People, an adolescent magazine. Veronica appeases? teases? her dad by implying that she giggles and squeals over Ashton like most other teen girls. He seems satisfied with the lie. Or chooses to ignore it. Same difference.

Who's Who bio: Ashton Kutcher
See all references about Ashton Kutcher
See all references about Teen People
The Adventure of the Abbey Grange (Literature)

"The game is afoot."
"Nice house."

"The game is afoot" is a phrase uttered by Sherlock Holmes, the famous fictional British detective, in Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's 1904 short story "The Adventure of the Abbey Grange." Veronica spit-shines and raises her detective antennae when she and Meg enter the party at Caz's house. They're on the lookout for Meg's secret admirer, and Veronica spouts the early 20th-century equivalent of "Game On."

Who's Who bio: Sherlock Holmes
See all references about Sherlock Holmes
Jeeves (Characters)

"I'm sorry. But the lobby's reserved for hotel guests only."
"So book me a room, Jeeves. Bring me a room service menu while you're at it."

Reginald Jeeves is the personal valet for Bertie Wooster, the main character in P.G. Wodehouse's popular book series. Contrary to popular belief, Jeeves was not a butler but a valet, but the term "Jeeves" is a commonly misused pejorative. Logan doesn't clarify whether he's calling the hotel clerk at the Sunset Regent a butler or a valet, but it doesn't matter. He flashes his credit card and acts like a snotty rich kid nonetheless.

Who's Who bio: Jeeves
Brat Pack (People)

"Veronica, hey!"
"Hello, Trina."
"So, is the whole Brat Pack here? What is this, like, like, prom night? You guys get a room here for some after-party. Oh, hey. Oh. I've been kinda outta the loop lately. Are you two—"
"Stop! You shut up."

Does Logan get to be neurotic Andrew McCarthy or bad boy Rob Lowe? Is Veronica the demure Molly Ringwald or the oft-troubled Demi Moore? Trina doesn't specify which members of the Brat Pack she thinks Logan and Veronica could be, but she knows they have what it takes to be part of the group of young movie stars who reigned in the 1980s. She also knows her brother Logan is always up for a good after-party. Truth is, Logan and Veronica are at the Sunset Regent Hotel waiting for Logan's presumed-dead mother to appear, but he gets snarky big sis instead. And he doesn't like her presumptions about a relationship between him and Veronica. The gentleman doth protest too much, methinks.

The Big Bad Wolf (Characters)

"Dad could've used you there."
"So now you're worried about Dad's welfare. Isn't he the big bad wolf?"
"No." (mouthed)
"Cigarette burns and broken noses. Oh, the stories you used to tell."

The Big Bad Wolf is a fixture in many fairy tales, including "The Three Little Pigs" and "Little Red Riding Hood." He's a deadly adversary who deceives his victims by pretending to be a nice guy. Aaron indeed might be The Big Bad Wolf, as witnessed by Logan's recent punishment with a belt from Aaron's special Belt Closet. Or he might be exaggerating, as Trina implies. In any event, Logan doesn't want the information shared with Veronica.


"Wow, we should get together and do this more often."
"Yeah, well, you're in luck. I'm heading home now. I guess some accountant finally cancelled Mom's cards."
"But if you're coming home, who will play Dead Hooker Two on CSI this week? How will you get your attention fix?"

CSI: Crime Scene Investigation is a popular CBS television show about forensic investigators. There are lots of roles for struggling actors who don't mind playing homicide victims, suspects, or extras in a crowd scene. Logan suggests this is the best work his "actress" sister can hope to attain. Ah, brotherly love.

Pretty in Pink (Movies)

"Would you care to dance?"

How very clever of Duncan. He arranges for his big reveal as Meg's secret admirer to go down at the '80s dance. Meg dresses as Andie from the 1986 movie Pretty in Pink, and Duncan dresses as Duckie, the boy in the film who has a crush on Andie. It's a great set-up. Too bad Veronica gets hurt in the process.

You go, girl! (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Now, who says I need a date to go to the dance?"
"Oh. Right. You…go, girl."

This term of female empowerment, invented by comedian Martin Lawrence, was a popular catchphrase on his 1990s sitcom Martin. Veronica tries to be enthusiastic when supporting Meg's decision to go to the school dance without a date, but Veronica hasn't had a close girlfriend or been especially girly since Lilly's death. So she's a little rusty. Veronica, you go, girl! Way to put forth an effort.

Manila whore (People)
Barbie (Sports, Games and Toys)
Madonna (People)

"Well, what do you think?"
"I look like Manila Whore Barbie."

Our little Veronica as a hooker? Not even. However, she's right to point out that the sex industry is booming in Manila, Philippines, and several other southeast Asian countries. Most sex-trade employees are impoverished Chinese and Filipino women, but over time, there have probably been a few blonde prostitutes who look like Barbie, Mattel's voluptouous 12-inch doll. Veronica feels like a lady of the evening, but Meg actually has dressed her like Madonna, a pop music icon who began her career in the '80s but is still popular today in the early 21st century. Manila Whore Barbie vs. slutty Madonna outfit. That's splitting hairs.

Valley Girl lingo (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Wow. '80s fashion. Grody to the max."
"Don't spaz. Aren't you totally stoked to go to this thing?"
"Oh, for sure. "

Meg and Veronica exchange some '80s Valley Girl lingo when they arrive at the '80s dance in '80s costumes. Translated into Generation Y-speak, it would be:
"Ew. Retro '80s fashion. Those are some fugly clothes."
"Chill. Aren't you psyched to show your face in the place?"
"Fo' shizzle."

The J. Geils Band (Music)
Love Stinks (Music)

"J. Geils was right. Love stinks. You can dress it up with sequins and shoulder pads, but one way or another, you're just gonna end up alone at the spring dance strapped into uncomfortable underwear."

You just can't win
And so it goes
Till the day you die
This thing they call love
It's gonna make you cry
I've had the blues
The reds and the pinks
One thing for sure,
Love stinks.

The J. Geils Band's 1982 hit song pretty much sums up Veronica's feelings after finding out her ex-boyfriend Duncan is Meg's secret admirer, then watching them walk away together at the '80s dance. In a rare moment of vulnerability, Veronica breaks down crying in her car. Were her tears from emotional anguish or the pain of a tight corset? We'll never know.

Miami Vice (TV)

"What's wrong, Veronica?... Are you ready for a — a total eclipse of the heart?"
"Crockett or Tubbs?"

Pastel suits became all the rage in America after the launch of Miami Vice, a TV show about two undercover police officers in Miami, Florida, that from 1984 to 1989. Deputy Leo comes to the '80s dance dressed as one of the officers, and he gives Veronica a corsage and rescues her from moping over Duncan and and Meg's coupling. He even convinces her to return to the '80s-themed dance and share a slow dance with him. Leo's no dead ringer for either officer, but we can safely assume he's dressed as Sonny Crockett, the blond, blued-eyed cop. Ricardo Tubbs is his black, curly-haired partner, but a drunk Logan can't decide which one Leo is supposed to be. Cops: they all look alike to drunk people.

I Love the '80s (TV)
Risky Business (Movies)

"I love the '80s!"
"Heads up. Risky business at 12:00."

Logan's quip is a reference to VH1's I Love the '80s TV series, but he probably means he loves the '80s since that's when he was born. He comes to the dance decked out in an oxford shirt, sunglasses, and socks (and underwear, we presume), looking just like Tom Cruise's character in the famous "Old Time Rock and Roll" scene.

See all references about Tom Cruise
Everybody Have Fun Tonight (Music)
Wang Chung (Music)

"Come on everyone. Let's wang chung tonight...What, everybody wang chung tonight....Wang chung or I'll kick your ass. Everybody!"

The members of the 1980s band Wang Chung said its name derives from the sound a guitar string makes when it is strummed down then up. One of its most popular songs was "Everybody Have Fun Tonight," which includes the line Logan quotes at the dance, "Everybody wang chung tonight." It's not clear what wang-chunging is: playing a guitar? Dancing? Running around the room in a frenzy so you won't get your ass kicked? What is clear is that Logan's pissed no one will do it with him.

1999 (Music)

"Come on Logan, just give me your keys. Leo, can you follow us in your car?"
"No. No! No. No. ‘Cause tonight I'm gonna party like it's 1999."

Prince's 1983 album and its title track transformed him from an eccentric alternative musician to an eccentric pop icon. The song "1999" predicted that the world would end once we reached the year 2000, and everyone was encouraged to party — in 1983 — like it was Earth's last day — in 1999. Logan quotes a line from the song to Veronica to justify his public drunkenness at the school dance.

Kajagoogoo (Music)
Entertainment Tonight (TV)

"Is that Kajagoogoo?"
"There's no point you going in there, Trina. Entertainment Tonight is not covering it."
"Bummer. Well, I guess I'll just drag your sorry little self home."

Kajagoogoo was a British band from the 1980s, and its name was chosen because, as bassist Nick Beggs said, it sounded like something a child would say. Since Trina wasn't born until 1980, she would have been at the perfect age to pronounce the band's name correctly. Maybe that's why she recognizes their music so easily when she comes to Neptune High to pick up Logan.

Entertainment Tonight is the longest-running television entertainment show in history. Everybody who's anybody gets mentioned on ET, but Logan tells Trina not to get her hopes up too high — she won't be featured on tomorrow's episode.

Season 1

Season 2

Season 3

Season Overview