1.18 "Weapons of Class Destruction"

Aired Apr 12, 2005

Cultural References

Weapons of mass destruction (Things)

Episode Title: "Weapons of Class Destruction"

So that's where Saddam was hiding them: Neptune!

Seventeen Magazine (Literature)

"Dear Seventeen Magazine. How can I tell if the super-cute boy in my class likes me? No. Scratch that. Dear Seventeen. How can I tell if the super-cute boy in my class killed his own sister?"

There are occasions when the maturity of the cast pulls one slightly outside the drama, and one such occasion is this. Trying to imagine Veronica writing to this teen magazine about her love troubles is like trying to imagine Paris Hilton being an actress.

Pulitzer Prize (Literature)

"You know what? There's a good story for you, the fire drills."
"A fire drill story! Someone alert the Pulitzer Committee."

The holy grail of journalists, the Pulitzer is an annual prize administered by Columbia University and awarded for the best in journalism and fiction. There's cash on the table, courtesy of a bequest from a Mr. Pulitzer (Hungarian-American newspaper man) in 1911, but really, it's the kudos that are valued. Veronica has little faith that Ms. Stafford's suggestion will lead her to glory.

Who's Who bio: Joseph Pulitzer
Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle (Movies)

"Hey, I was thinking of busting out of here. Maybe go to White Castle. Wanna come with?"
"There's no White Castle in Neptune."
"It's kind of an expression."

Corny wants that feeling — the feeling that comes over a man when he gets exactly what he desires. He needs that feeling! As he tries to explain to Veronica, he doesn't want a hamburger. He wants a wild night out with her, getting up to all sorts of hijinks, as per the protagonists in Harold and Kumar go to White Castle. There's bad news and worse news. The worse news is that Veronica's not in the spirit and they won't be having fun. The bad news is the armed security guard and sniffer dog heading right for Corny's stash. Dude, that is SO not extreme!

The Washington Post (Literature)

"Let me be clear as I explain something. The Neptune Navigator is not The Washington Post. You don't have carte blanche to print whatever you choose."

The newspaper of the nation's capital still rides on the reputation gained in the '70s when Woodward and Bernstein broke Watergate and, ultimately, a president. Sadly for The Neptune Navigator, Clemmons is no Ben Bradley, and sadly for everyone else, no presidents fall when Veronica breaks the news about the bomb threats at Neptune High.

The Brothers Karamazov (Literature)

"Who would like to compare the character of the three Karamazov brothers? I'd like to hear from someone who hasn't spoken today. Ben?"
"I didn't read it. I thought maybe I'd wait for the miniseries."

Considered by many to be Fyodor Dostoevsky's greatest novel, The Brothers Karamazov is a tale of responsibility and culpability for the effects of one's actions on others. Oh, and of the existence or otherwise of God, of the nature of truth, and the need for forgiveness on the pursuit of happiness. So, you know, Russian. What makes it particularly apropos in Mrs. Murphy's English class is that on the surface, Ben is a man-boy in search of truth, but he is corrupted by that search — a Russian topic if ever there was one.

Storm Warning (Movies)

The movie in which Doris Day died! The perennial virgin was a supporting player, sister to star Ginger Rogers and married to a Klansman. Keith and Alicia should have known that their romance was bound to be rocky when they cuddled up to this 1951 minor classic on intolerance and small-town xenophobia.

Diner (Movies)

"What's happening?"
"They're still watching a movie. He has his arm around her."
"Uh, he's not…groping her or anything, is he?"
"No, but earlier I saw him cutting a hole in the bottom of his popcorn bucket."

In 1982's Diner, a group of male high school friends, now in their twenties, reunite for a wedding and, through a series of vignettes, ponder their need to grow up in 1959 Baltimore. It marked Barry Levinson's debut as a director and kick-started the careers of Kevin Bacon and Ellen Barkin, among others. These are the sort of things that should make a film memorable. Then again, when one of the men cuts a hole in the bottom of his popcorn bucket to get his date to grab something that's not normally in a popcorn bucket, that's the sort of thing that really has legs. Stung by Wallace's implication that Keith is a groper, Veronica at least remembered it.

Geeks (People)

"Wait, how can you even have an opinion on Ubuntu if you haven't tried it? Two six kernel, Live CD, they even had GNOME 2.O the day Warty Warthog came out."
"I'm sorry. I'm perfectly content with OS X. I have all the awk, grep, and sed I want without any need for that pitiful font de-uglification."
"But the fonts are de-uglified, and it's free. Yep, fine, you know, live in the dark ages."
"I know what I like, and I like what I know."

Need I say more?

The Maltese Falcon (Literature)

"So, a-are you working on any interesting cases with your father?"
"Well, that Maltese Falcon is still eluding us, but…"

When Meg asks Veronica if she's working on any interesting cases with her father, Veronica falls back on that old stand-by, The Maltese Falcon. In Dashiell Hammett's complex novel, the original hard-boiled detective, Sam Spade, hunts for the Maltese Falcon, a gold-encrusted life-size statue of a bird of prey. The book's been filmed multiple times, most notably in 1941 with Humphrey Bogart in the leading role. Spoiler alert! In the original story, the falcon is never found, lending some credibility to Veronica's tale.

See all references about Sam Spade
Heathers (Movies)

The whole episode — damn, the whole series — has much in common with the 1989 black comedy Heathers, beyond the name of the main character. Yes, it's a high school movie, but in the same way that Veronica Mars is a high school TV drama — that is, not at all. More importantly, both delve into the dark heart of the human cesspool of which high school is but a microcosm. This is all a bit meta. In "Weapons of Class Destruction," the homage is more direct, with Veronica polling the combat-clad Ben. In the movie, Veronica polls to join the Heathers, the popular clique of bitchy, elitist schoolgirls, and so meets the combat-clad JD, one of whose ambitions is to blow up the school.

See all references about Heathers
21 Jump Street (TV)

"Is it all right if he goes outside? I'd like to talk to you."
"Dream on, Jump Street. I'm not leaving you alone with her."

We are such stuff as dreams are made of, according to Shakespeare. I don't know about Joe Blow down the street, but there's a lot of dreams inspired by Logan's rush to play Veronica's knight in shining armor and its consequences, kick-started by this reference to the dreamy Johnny Depp via the show that made his name, 21 Jump Street. The series, about a squad of young-looking cops who went undercover in high schools, aired on Fox from 1987-1991 with a lot of "Hey, it's that guy!"s, but it was Depp who was the draw, as proven by the show's quick demise when he left and was replaced by Richard Grieco, who was obviously not quite the stuff dreams are made on.

Failure is not an option (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"I will bust him. Be sure of that. I've got more arrests on my record than any ATF agent my age, ever. Failure's not an option."

Apollo 13 was the space mission that went a bit wrong, as any superstitious soul could have predicted. "Houston, we have a problem." As those words of astronaut Jim Lovell from space in April 1970 orbited the globe, Flight Director for NASA Mission Control, Gene Kranz, was reassuring: "Failure is not an option." So, until then, failure was an option? Good to know for aspiring spacemen. Ben blusters in similar fashion.

Braveheart (Movies)

"This one's very Braveheart."
"That's a replica of William Wallace's sword. I've seen that movie like 50 times."

One of Mel Gibson's many pops at the evil English in his career, Braveheart is a historically inaccurate fictionalized account of the life of William Wallace, a Scottish hero who fought to repulse the English from Scotland in the 13th century. Norris doesn't have a replica of William Wallace's sword. He's got a replica of Mel Gibson's broadsword when Mel played a replica, of sorts, of William Wallace. But, hey, it's a movie; it must be real, right? Historians, and the English, be damned.

C. Montgomery Burns (Characters)


Veronica channels the weasel-faced, amoral megalomaniac Mr. Burns as she hacks into Norris' Wi-Fi computer with just the right inflection and gesture of that character's favorite expression. Of course, what's excellent for Mr. Burns is never excellent for anyone else and hence his place in popular culture as the epitome of Corporate America.

See all references about The Simpsons
2001: A Space Odyssey (Movies)

"What did you ever do before you met me?"
"Ever see the first ten minutes of 2001: A Space Odyssey? It was a lot like that. Monkeys clubbing each other—"
"No, I…I got it."

In 1968, Stanley Kubrick's version of Arthur C. Clarke's short story hit cinema screens to the praise of critics and the confusion of much of the public. Visually stunning and innovative, it was the story that one might both start and end with a "Huh?" At the start, rival bands of monkeys, under the watch of a strange black monolith, learn how to use bones as weapons and kill each other more efficiently. Veronica is telling Mac that before they met, she was clueless when it came to computers.

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