2.09 "My Mother, the Fiend"

Aired Nov 30, 2005

Cultural References

My Mother, the Car (TV)

Episode Title: "My Mother, the Fiend"

Tenuous perhaps, but My Mother, the Car was reviled for at least three decades as being one of the worst sitcoms ever aired. It lasted for one season from its premiere in 1965, whereas the jokes about it lasted much longer. What a dead mother who returns as a car and can only be heard by, and thus torture, her harassed son has in common with an alcoholic mother who may have been a high school mean girl, an ice-veined mother who may have dumped a baby in the girls' bathroom on prom night, an adopted a step a mother figure who jumps off a bridge, a mother who abandons her illegitimate child...oh, wait a minute. It's mommy issues.

The Surreal Life (TV)

"If Logan's sister is back in Neptune, that must mean she was the first one booted off The Surreal Life this season."

TV reality (sort of) show starring celebrities (sort of). Truth is there is nothing real about putting a number of egotistic has-beens and wannabes into shared accommodation and hoping for fireworks for the entertainment of the masses. It's blood sports Hollywood-style and just the sort of thing that the deluded Trina Echolls would see as a career opportunity.

Harry Potter (Literature)

"And I can't use magic, right?"

In a series of books by J.K. Rowling, the main character Harry, a young wizard, and his schoolmates are proscribed from using magic when not in attendance at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Even at Hogwarts, magic is for the classroom, not for pranks, particularly when being given tedious tasks as punishment for infringements. Veronica's response to the Herculean task set for her by Clemmons does not, however, tell us the only thing that really seems to matter to Potter fans these days — where does she stand in the 'ship wars? Note: it could also be a reference to Sabrina, the Teenage Witch or Samantha of Bewitched or any number of other witches and wizards who lived amongst Muggles, but Harry will do for us.

Who's Who bio: Harry Potter
Mean Girls (Movies)

"Oh, and there's also this latent mean girl gene. You're lucky you're made out of plastic."
"So who's the mean girl now?"

Proving to be rather better that just a Lindsay Lohan vehicle, this 2004 film featured the queen bees of Evanston Township High School, the Plastics — living, breathing Barbie dolls. The A-list clique, including the lovely Amanda Seyfried in a role far removed from that of Lilly Kane, dictate, agitate, and manipulate to maintain their position as determiners of who's cool and who's a fool until challenged by a high school ingénue. Veronica wisely notes that her fake "daughter," possibly one-quarter mean girl through Lianne, has a head-start as a Plastic. Then later, just like in the film, Veronica has an epiphany as she realizes that she is becoming that which she hates and changes her path.

Cold Case (TV)

"More alphabetizing, less cold-casing."

The expression "cold-casing" doesn't have to be a reference to the CBS series featuring Kathryn Morris as a small, blonde investigator of old, unsolved cases. It's the boxes that clinch it. At the start and end of each episode, the heroine, Lilly Rush (not to be confused with Lilly Kane, but hey...), and her colleagues get down one of the boxes that contain what there is of an old murder case, find the answer, and return the box to the filing room. Having just seen Neptune's own small, blonde investigator amongst stacks of boxes containing old mysteries makes the connection inevitable.

Evan Rachel Wood (People)

"There has been some super-exciting news with the project. Three words: Evan. Rachel. Wood."

In addition to her CV, profiled in her Who's Who entry, Evan Rachel Wood's name lends a little bit of cool to The Aaron Echolls Story, enough cool in fact that given this astute actress's ability to pick good projects, Trina is probably talking out of her nether regions.

Who's Who bio: Evan Rachel Wood
The play is my master, and I am its whore (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Ach, the play is my master, and I am its whore!"

Trina, as usual, overplays herself when pulling herself back to her job of directing the high school production of Hamlet. If you search the internet, you will find that this quote is ascribed in various places to one Charles Jeffries. Who is Charles Jeffries? Who indeed. In theatre-land, the name comes up as one of the adaptors of John Gay's The Beggar's Opera. Certainly, the wording is somewhat indicative of a modern take on the language of Gay's eighteenth century masterpiece. It's not much in the way of verification, but damn it, it sure as hell sounds like a quote, doesn't it? Doesn't it?

Richie Rich (Characters)

"Loosen up, Richie Rich, okay?"

Kendall's charms are not working on Duncan Kane, much to her chagrin. Her reference to him as the famous rich boy of cartoon fame makes it clear what exactly she wants to loosen from Duncan — his wealth.

Who's Who bio: Richie Rich
Rode hard, put away wet (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Oh yes, where are my manners? Kendall Casablancas, Trina Echolls. Rode hard, meet put away wet."

Logan's manners are still AWOL as he insults both his sister and his lover in making this introduction. Originally, "rode hard, put away wet" described the mistreatment of a horse when it was ridden to exhaustion and then not cooled down or washed off before being stabled. This practice would make for one unhealthy horse. More recently, it has come to describe people, usually women, who have that worn look brought about by loose living. Think of most Tennessee Williams' heroines and you are there.

Dedee Pfeiffer (People)
Joey Travolta (People)
Melissa Rivers (People)

"Is there a club where you, Dedee Pfeiffer, Joey Travolta, and Melissa Rivers all meet for drinks?"

Kendall's point is well made when she lumps Trina in with the above named "celebrities" whose claim to fame is more through the efforts and talents of their more successful relatives — Michelle Pfeiffer, John Travolta, and Joan Rivers — than for anything they have achieved themselves.

Who's Who bio: Dedee Pfeiffer
Who's Who bio: Joey Travolta
Who's Who bio: Melissa Rivers
Chuck E. Cheese (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"We're hitting an after party at Chuck E. Cheese, though, if you're free."

Chuck E. Cheese is a U.S. restaurant chain that it fairly and squarely aimed at the kiddie market. Everything about it, except for the beer which is provided to stop the adults going insane, is for children, from the simplistic menu to the games to the sub-Disney animatronics. Trina gets her own back in suggesting that with her penchant for younger guys, this is the place for Kendall to find her next boyfriend.

Who's Who bio: Chuck E. Cheese
Wild Things 2 (Movies)

"Which is more torturous: organizing disciplinary files or spending lunch watching the Bard get flogged by the second lead of Wilder Things?"

Wild Things, with Matt Dillon, Kevin Bacon, Neve Campbell, and a cameo from Bill Murray, was a good movie. Straight-to-video Wild Things 2, a sequel with a cast made up of relative unknowns (although Grey's Anatomy regular Isaiah Washington is making good), was not. In a long tradition of sequels rushed to make a buck, it sucked and would be just the sort of thing in which Trina Echolls would be second lead.

Chicks dig scars (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Chicks dig scars and acronyms."
"Chicks dig scarves and acronyms."

There is controversy even here at MI.net as to what Mac actually said, but either way, it is pretty clear that Mac is referencing the common expression, most notably used by Keith Mars. Okay, maybe more notably used by Keanu Reeves's character, Shane Falco, in The Replacements: "Pain heals. Chicks dig scars. Glory lasts forever." Whether or not Mac is simply adding "acronyms" onto the adage or is cleverly subverting it to Beaver's new-found status as a white-collar entrepreneur is open to question. Do you hear the V?

Moxie (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"You're admiring my moxie, aren't ya?"

Moxie started life in 1884 as the world's first mass produced soft drink, and its marketing as a beverage that would endow its consumers with spunk led to the word becoming part of the American language as a description of spirited and courageous energy. Mac looks to be hoping that Beaver is admiring rather more than her moxie as she flirts with jail time for insider trading and him.

Punk'd (TV)

"No way. Ashton Kutcher is hiding somewhere, right? Ashton, come out! You can't get me that easy."

Trina's initial reaction to Veronica's revelation that Celeste Kane is the mother who left Trina in the girls' bathroom on Prom night is to believe that she is the victim of an elaborate prank a la those created and filmed on Ashton Kutcher's show Punk'd. Whether the line was instigated by Kristen Bell's own punking on that show, or simply as a neat indicator of how Trina would react positively to any chance to appear on screen, her delight at being so manipulated is oddly touching.

Who's Who bio: Ashton Kutcher
See all references about Ashton Kutcher
Pat O'Brien (People)

"Oh, it's the least Big Pat can do for me after leaving all those pervy messages on my voicemail."

Former Entertainment News reporter, former Access Hollywood co-host and host of The Insider, celebrity journalist (uh, yeah, okay) O'Brien found himself in the spotlight when he left explicit voicemails on a co-worker's phone, which ended up on the internet, regarding his desire to have sex with her...and for his girlfriend to have sex with her...and for them all to have sex and take drugs together...and other things inappropriate to mention on a family-friendly-ish site. However, Trina has to be kidding, right? You just know if she got Pat's calls, she would have gone straight to press.

Who's Who bio: Pat "Big Pat" O'Brien
Webster (Characters)
Emmanuel Lewis (People)
Neverland (Places)
Michael Jackson (People)

"Webster rumored to be discovered in Neverland basement."

Okay, this is sort of complicated, although Veronica sums it up nicely when she refers to one of the other stories running in the tabloids the day the Trina's "death scare" tale breaks. Webster was a TV show in the early '80s which starred the diminutive Emmanuel Lewis, a Gary Coleman look-alike. The show ran for six years and, like Coleman, Lewis has found it pretty hard to find work since, there being few roles for those only 3'6". However, Lewis, known as Webster for his title role in the show, was also a great friend of singer Michael Jackson, who is more famous these days for the various allegations of child molestation that have been made against him from children who were invited to his home, Neverland. Jokes such as "How do you find out Michael Jackson's sperm count? Look it up in Webster's" abound in a world which assumes that any of Jackson's contacts with children are of the sexual variety. Veronica manages to summarize all that, plus answer a "where is he now?" question, in eight short words. God, these writers are good.

Who's Who bio: Webster Long
Lunchlady Doris (Characters)

"Look, it's Lunchlady Doris. Doris was so nice to me when I went here. Used to always give me extra cake."

Chronology would dictate that this is the Lunchlady Doris from the TV show The Simpsons who was introduced in Season 3 in 1991. Since the death of the actress providing the voice in 1995, she has been a silent character. However, this is Trina, and somehow we think she might be channelling Xander channelling the cartoon in the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Earshot." Can't think where that idea comes from, but it just seems...right.

Who's Who bio: Doris
See all references about The Simpsons
Niccolò Machiavelli (People)

"You read Machiavelli this summer, didn't you?"

As reported in the Who's Who, Machiavelli's name has become synonymous with sharp political practice and those who indulge in such activities are said to be Machiavellian. Clemmons's deft handling of Veronica clears the path to his promotion to principal. Neatly done.

Who's Who bio: Niccolò Machiavelli

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