3.02 "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week"

Aired Oct 10, 2006

Cultural References

My Big Fat Greek Wedding (Movies)

Episode Title: "My Big Fat Greek Rush Week"

There's no Aidan Quinn. There's no headphones pulling women to the ground. So what's with the title? It's simple really. It's all about the Greeks. As the heroine's father was keen on repeating, again and again, the Greeks started it all — democracy, sporting events...and fraternity and sorority houses. Well, perhaps not, but he would say they did solely because of the use of Greek letters in their names. ∏ηγαινετε Ελληνες

Rush Party (Events)

"I was at the Theta Beta rush party."

Rush week is part of the Greek system, giving fraternities and sororities a chance to see the new meat coming into the school and determine who is worthy of their further attention and maybe even a coveted spot within those Greek-lettered walls. The parties are a chance for current members to get to know their favorites a little better in a more informal setting before voting them in or out — or, in Parker's case, for someone to get to know her a lot better.

"The Morning After" (Music)

"I have 'There's Got to Be a Morning After' stuck in my head. If I start singing, kill me."

There's got to be a morning after
If we can hold on through the night,
We have a chance to find the sunshine
Let's keep on looking for the light.

It's funny how the most inappropriate lyrics can pop into one's head at the worst possible times. This song, the Oscar-winning love theme from the popular 1972 movie the Poseidon Adventure, isn't about that kind of "morning after;" it's actually a hopeful, sweet love song that Parker probably doesn't need to hear, especially as she's dealing with Sheriff Lamb. Fortunately, Mac has the social grace to keep her mouth shut. Of course, that doesn't mean she can't hum the song...

"The Boy Who Cried Wolf" (Literature)

"Tell me I'm here because of you. Not that I'm counting or anything, but isn't this wolf cry number two?"

The Boy Who Cried Wolf was an impish little fellow who caused alarm and distress among his neighbors; scaring them with false alarms of wolves who came to attack their sheep, threaten their livelihoods, and even eat him. Alas, every time they came to rescue him, there was no wolf, and he was getting far too much amusement from their panic. The tables turned, though, when a wolf really did attack him, and no one came to rescue him, thinking it was all a joke. Sheriff Lamb knows his fairytales; what he needs to brush up on are the similarities between this sad little boy and Veronica. There are none.

Rednecks (People)

"As long as there has been war and prisons and soldiers and orders, there has been torture. You don't think it was invented by a handful of rednecks on the fly in Iraq?"

Characterized by ignorance and low-brow tastes, the stereotypical redneck hails from the rural areas of the southern United States, lives in a dilapidated trailer, has a mullet, wears a wife-beater, and is probably related to his cousins in more ways than one. Lovely connotations, those. Dr. Kinny suggests that such paragons of refined taste and gentility may not have the capacity to think up such cruel torture methods, although they may be more than willing to carry them out.

George Washington and the Continental Army (People)
British Redcoats (People)

"I guarantee the great George Washington and his Continental Army indulged in this sort of behavior with the British Redcoats."

Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose. Introducing his class for the semester, Dr. Kinny makes the point that war, and the methods of torturing the enemy, haven't really changed since the 18th century, when George Washington and his army was fighting against the British for the United States' independence. And given that good ol' George was the winner, his torture methods were probably superior to the other guys'.

Abu Ghraib Prison (Places)

"Who of you saw this photo from Abu Ghraib and thought, 'I would never do that to another human being'?"

Abu Ghraib is a city in Iraq west of Baghdad. There's a prison in the city that was used for torture first by Saddam Hussein and then, horribly, by U.S. troops. There's not really much to be snarky about there. Dr. Kinny wants his students to know that they're all probably capable of such atrocities, despite their beliefs that they're not.

Stanford Prison Experiment (Events)

"There's an alternative. I'm conducting an intensive study on the prisoner-guard relationship in which volunteers are assigned those roles."

And you thought Dr. Kinny's experiment was bad? It was child's play compared to the 1973 experiment at Stanford University, which studied the human response to captivity. If Horshack was traumatized by this weekend, and if Moe had a life-changing experience when he participated, we can only imagine what would have happened if they'd been part of the original, complete with burlap sacks for the prisoners to wear, arrests made by the local police department, and ultimately, the experiment ending early because things got too out of hand.

Doc Martens (Organizations, Companies, and Products)
Unibrow (Things)

"She's a great writer, but can you see her blending in at a sorority? They're not big on Doc Martens and unibrows."

Clunky boots with comfortable soles and yellow stitching around the sole? You've got yourself a pair of Docs, popular with German housewives and skinhead punks alike since 1947. One single eyebrow that goes on and on and on? You've got a unibrow, indicative of a lack of plucking, waxing, or threading that pesky hair between the eyebrows (and, more than likely, a lack of any care given to the eyebrows, period). Neither one would endear a girl, talented or not, to a sorority, unless it was in a "Hi! You're, like, totally our new project and we're, like, totally not going to let you keep looking so, like, horrendous!!" kind of way.

You ain't got no alibi (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"She's picking a wedgie, and she ain't got no alibi."

Who says that Veronica hasn't retained anything from her pep squad days? She clearly remembers at least one cheer, which begins with, "U-G-L-Y! You ain't got no alibi! You ugly! Hey! Hey! You ugly!" No wonder Nish sent her undercover at a sorority — with credentials like that, Veronica will fit right in. Too bad she left her pom-poms at home.

Toilet-papering (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"She TP'd my house in the tenth grade."

Called "rolling" in the southern United States and "toilet-papering" or "TP-ing" most everywhere else, this is an oh-so-cerebral prank in which the perpetrator "decorates" his or her target's home, trees, mailbox, etc. with streamers of (typically unused) toilet paper. The worst-case scenario for the victim is a subsequent downpour, rendering the tissue virtually impossible to clean up with any degree of ease. Lucky for the frequently targeted Veronica, it rarely rains in Southern California.

Rush Week (Events)
The Wizard of Oz (Literature, Movies)

"I've been trying to find someone who could get inside Theta Beta during Rush Week, do a 'Behind the Greek Curtain' expose."

Rush week (or, in some cases, rush month) is standard practice at all universities with a "Greek" system of sororities and fraternities. Traditions may vary from campus to campus, but the process always involves young hopefuls dressing to impress and established sorority sisters or fraternity brothers wielding their most judgmental collective eye as they look to form a new class of pledges. The idea of looking "behind the curtain" has been around for decades, ever since we learned (through L. Frank Baum and then through Judy Garland and friends) that the great and powerful Wizard of Oz was the product of a diminutive (though oddly megalomaniac) simple Midwestern man. In the mid-1980s, headbangers were taken Behind the Iron Curtain with an Iron Maiden live-performance video. Oddly enough, this had nothing to do with the symbolic European divide that defined the cold war. The editor of Hearst's student newspaper, who may or may not have unknown ulterior motives, wants Veronica to pay plenty of attention to the women behind the Greek curtain when she sends her undercover into the Theta Beta house.

Jerry Maguire (Movies)

"You had me at 'secret room.'"

Before he was a couch-jumping, Matt Lauer-attacking, Kat(i)e-Holmes-brainwashing social pariah, Tom Cruise played the titular character in 1996's romantic-comedy-slash-feel-good sports flick Jerry Maguire. Cruise earned an Oscar nomination for his portrayal of the sports agent with a heart newly made of gold. At the climax of the film's romantic arc, Maguire tries to win back the affection of his estranged wife, Dorothy (Renée Zellweger), with an empassioned speech. Jerry is successful with the first word out of his lips, apparently, as she famously and breathlessly affirms "You had me at 'hello'!" The phrase, in all its variations, has been in the lexicon ever since. Veronica uses it here, immediately snapping up the chance to covertly investigate Zeta Theta Beta.

See all references about Jerry Maguire
Domestic bliss in the 1950s (TV, Ideas and Concepts)

"What's really worse? Getting girls to undress in front of a two-way mirror, or getting them to dress like a '50s vacuum ad first?"

In the decade after the Rosie the Riveter campaign gave women some well-deserved empowerment, early television ads put the fairer sex back in their place — as perfectly groomed, eager-to-please wives and mothers who wanted nothing more than a clean, brightly-colored home and a wardrobe full of their Sunday best. Is Veronica entering a sorority or Stepford? You be the judge

See all references about Domestic bliss in the 1950s
"True Colors" (Music)

"You with the sad eyes, don't be discouraged
Now, I realize it's hard to take courage"

"True Colors," a number-one hit for Cyndi Lauper, had a simplistic beauty when it was released back in 1986. Since then it has been used at the theme song for the Olympic games, bastardized in a Kodak commercial, and covered with an unparalleled degree of twee-ness by Phil Collins. But never has this song about the beauty of self-expression suffered more than at the hands of a gaggle of uniformly dressed sorority fembots, saccharinely belting it out a cappella.

Battlestar Galactica (TV)

"I'd like a boy, a bottle of hooch, and you can fast-track me to the dirty room so I can get the frak out of here."

Don't let that pesky FCC get you down...drop an F-bomb without the fines. "Frak" is among the newest and most popular fictional explicatives. This one is taken from the cult-favorite Battlestar Galactica, which shares both critical acclaim and mediocre ratings with our favorite little teen-detective drama that could. Veronica is clearly an avid viewer as well — or perhaps Keith is?

See all references about Battlestar Galactica
Worst. [Thing]. Ever. (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Worst. Roman orgy. Ever."

It's not enough to call something the "worst ever" these days; thanks to the implied periods (puntuated by pauses) popularized by The Simpsons Comic-Book Guy and writers at Television Without Pity, we can now emphasize an event's true awfulness. Handed lemonade by a perky co-ed when she expects mind-erasing shots from a girl gone wild, Veronica is none too impressed.

See all references about The Simpsons
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" (Music)

"Swing low, sweet Theta Beta,
comin' for to carry me home"

What's more offensive than a bunch of lily-white rich chicks smiling and performing an old Negro spiritual that slaves once sang while praying for the sweet release of death? Changing the words to said spiritual (in this case, Wallis Willis' "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot") to incorporate the name of one's sorority. These days, the song has also been adopted by the English rugby union as an unofficial fight song. Okay, that might also be fairly offensive as well.

Cortisone shot (Things)

"Oh, and Becky's father is a dermatologist, and he totally hooks us up. You even think you're getting a zit, and you swing by — cortisone shot and you are golden."

Cortisone shots are an injection of a steroid that the body produces naturally and are most often used to treat inflammation in ailments such as arthritis, carpal tunnel syndrome, and tennis elbow. It's probably not that likely that the Theta Beta girls are using it for such noble purposes — they're using the shot for its "other" purpose: as an anti-inflammatory for problem acne. Of course, what these girls would consider problematic is probably akin to what someone with real problem skin would consider a clear complexion.

"Macarena" (Music)

"Last week, they tried to change the lyrics to ‘Macarena.' I almost impaled myself on the banister."

Come on, if you were even alive during the mid-1990s, you know the dance. Right hand out, palm down; left hand out, palm down. Right hand palm up; left hand palm up. Right hand on left shoulder; left hand on right shoulder. Right hand on the back of the head; left hand on the back of the head. Right hand on left hip; left hand on right hip. Right hand on right hip; left hand on left hip. Gyrate pelvis, jump a quarter-turn to the right, yell, "Hey, Macarena!" and repeat. As much as it makes Marjorie want to do serious harm to her own body, it would be rather impressive to see the Theta Betas sing, dance, and stay on pitch, all while wearing '50s floral dresses. Might be a little hard to do on the stairs, though.

Geneva Conventions (Ideas and Concepts)

"These are the rules of the Neptune Conventions."

The Geneva Conventions, adopted between 1864 and 1949, set the standard for international law for humanitarian concerns, particularly in times of war. This included the treatment of wounded members of the armed forces, civilians in wartime, and, most significantly for Logan and Wallace's sociology class, prisoners of war. Dr. Kinny must have a high estimation of these freshmen (or maybe he's just assuming that they actually paid attention in their high school history classes) if he expects them to know all that in their first week of college.

See all references about Geneva Conventions
Cucumber sandwiches (Things)

"Cucumber sandwiches and lemonade. I'm really gonna blow the lid off sorority malfeasance."

Closely associated with dainty afternoon teas and high-society groups such as the Daughters of the American Revolution and the British Aristocracy, cucumber sandwiches have little nutritional value. But if there's anything that can make you look rich and spoiled while eating it, this is it. Veronica's assumptions about the Theta Beta girls seem to be well on their way to being validated when she attends their floral-themed tea party, complete with a bouquet in her car when she returns.

Pussycat Dolls (Music)

"I guess ‘dress to impress' meant ‘dress like your favorite Pussycat Doll.'"

The Pussycat Dolls are, uh, a "musical" group (is that what the kids are calling it these days?) that began as a burlesque dance troupe in Las Vegas. That in and of itself should explain Veronica's misinterpretation of "dress to impress." Dressing like a Pussycat Doll and dressing to impress a group of ladies who wear matching floral? Two very different things.

Who's Who bio: Pussycat Doll
Panty-Dropper (Things)

"Boys, booze..."

Since I don't drink, it took some doing to figure out what a panty-dropper is, although it's pretty easy to figure out what it does. And after days of, uh, "research," I'm no closer to the answer, since it seems to be the recipe for one of a number of drinks, made of some combination of tequila, sloe gin, Kahlua, cranberry juice, lemon juice, lime juice, half-and-half, Hawaiian punch, and/or beer. Suffice it to say that a well-made panty-dropper will cause the drinker to, well, drop her panties with very little provocation. Or, in Veronica's case, it'll be used to water the plants while she looks drunker and drunker, hoping for entrance into a secret room.

Mark McGrath (People)

"What do I think? I think I'd sooner drink Mark McGrath's bathwater than drink anything here."

Why Mark McGrath? Who knows. Maybe Veronica has a deep affinity for his band, Sugar Ray. Maybe she wants to fly, as suggested in their 1998 hit single. No, wait. Wrong character.

Who's Who bio: Mark McGrath
Luke Wilson (People)
Owen Wilson (People)

"I hope you don't have a boyfriend. There are so many cuties here! Like Newbie Legacy behind you — lost Wilson brother."

The Wilson Brothers are Luke and Owen Wilson, handsome movie stars. Luke is the darker-haired brother who tends towards more romantic comedies. Owen is the blond, quirky-looking one, who does more goofy comedies. We're betting Hallie is talking about Owen when she's calling Dick a lost Wilson brother, especially considering that the inimitable Couch Baron at TWoP used to call Dick "Ugly Owen Wilson" in his first-season recaps. Shout-out?

Who's Who bio: Wilson Brother
Kretchmer County (Places)

This location of the police station Keith stumbles to after wandering in the desert (at least it wasn't for 40 years) doesn't actually exist, no matter how many maps you look at. John Kretchmer, however, is the director of this and several other "Veronica Mars" episodes as well as the second part of the series premiere of Buffy, "The Harvest."

The Hustle (Things)
Moonwalk (Things)

"The '70s had the Hustle; the '80s, the Moonwalk; we have the faux-lesbian dance."

The Hustle was a popular disco dance in the '70s. It started as a line dance, was appropriated by a disco musician named Van McCoy into a song appropriately named "The Hustle," became a huge dance craze, and was made most famous by Saturday Night Fever. The Moonwalk, contrary to popular belief, was not invented by Michael Jackson. A version of the Moonwalk was performed as early as 1932 by Cab Calloway. Michael Jackson merely coined the name "Moonwalk," made it extremely popular, and acted really crazy. Wait, that last one's totally now.

See all references about Michael Jackson
The Adventures of Pinocchio (Literature)

"I can't eat this."
"Sure you can. Maybe it's magic corn and you can grow to be the size of a real boy."

To be honest, we're not entirely sure what Rafe is talking about here. He's mixing up all kinds of metaphors and fairy tales, and basically, he's talking out of his donkey. "Real boy," however, is definitely referring to Pinocchio, which is a story about a puppet who wants to be a real boy. However, there's nothing in Pinocchio about growing in size, nothing to do with corn, and if he's thinking of the story of Jack and the Beanstalk, he's definitely mixing up his vegetables. In conclusion, Rafe is an idiot.

The Vagina Monologues (Plays)

"Do you want me to juggle? Back handspring? A Vagina Monologue, perhaps?"

Veronica is trying to prove her sobriety to the prickly Fern, her Safe Ride Home. Apparently her offer to perform a monologue from this play, written by Eve Ensler, did the trick. It contains one-woman monologues that variously celebrate the vagina, discuss sexuality issues, and decry inhumane sexual practices. There's even one about a dominatrix! While Ensler used to perform all the monologues herself, the monologues have now been acted by many women across the world, including Oprah Winfrey, Glenn Close, Calista Flockhart, and many others. Perhaps Kristen Bell will be coming soon to a theater near you.

Welcome Back Kotter (TV)

"Ooh! Ooh! Ooh!"

This episode has a few references to this late-‘70s sitcom which introduced future Scientologist and movie star John Travolta and future poker analyst Gabe Kaplan. "Ooh! Ooh, ooh! Ooh, ooh!" Ron Palillo's Arnold Horshack would shout, arm waving in the air, as he tried to get teacher Kotter's attention. Rafe likens his classmate Samuel Horshack to this one, shouting Palillo's catchphrase at him and pointing out their short, nerdy resemblance. But to be honest, a character played by a guy with a sweet porn name like "Rider Strong" shouldn't be mocking anyone's moniker.

"Escape (The Piña Colada Song)" (Music)

"Okay, okay, I'll tell you what you want to know. Come here. Yes, I like piña coladas. And getting caught in the rain."

"If you like piña coladas and getting caught in the rain,
If you're not into yoga, if you have half a brain
If you'd like making love at midnight in the dunes on the Cape,
Then I'm the love that you've looked for
Write to me and escape."

Rafe's attempt to torture Logan and his fellow fake prisoners doesn't work out very well, since Logan seems to be a fan of this 1979 song by Rupert Holmes. Or perhaps Logan is more familiar with the Jimmy Buffet cover? Either way, this song about an unhappy couple that answers each others' personal ads doesn't really seem like it would be Logan's cup of tea.

Pound of flesh (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Once your father gets his pound of flesh at the dean's office, we're taking you home."

Parker's mom, Mrs. Lee, is misusing this saying just a little. Coined by Shakespeare in the Merchant of Venice, it is meant to describe the collection of a debt, no matter how harsh the consequences are to the debtor. Perhaps she means Parker's father is literally taking a pound of flesh off the dean? Ouch!

See all references about William Shakespeare
Lance Armstrong (Sports, Games and Toys)

Given that Karen the den mother is struggling with cancer, it's fitting that she's got a poster of Lance Armstrong in her office. No, we're not suggesting that she's a cyclist. Lance Armstrong famously recovered from testicular cancer that had metastatized into his brain — cancer that his doctors told him he had little chance of recovering from — and went on to seven consecutive Tour de France victories.

Who's Who bio: Lance Armstrong
Prison Break (TV)

"I do declare, I believe that was the finest Frito Pie I believe I have ever tasted."

Prison Break is the story of Michael Scofield and his brother, Lincoln Burroughs, and their daring/crazy/hotgenius escape from prison. Along the way to their escape, they had to make some unsavory alliances, including one with Theodore "T-Bag" Bagwell. T-Bag is a total psychopath who was in prison for raping and murdering his way across the South. Not exactly the kind of guy you'd want to escape prison with, eh? Logan is channeling T-Bag's southern accent and speaking cadences when he declares his love for Frito Pie, a southwestern "dish" consisting of a bag of Frito corn chips, chili, and cheese. Uh, yum?

Romeo and Juliet (Plays)

"Have a seat. We're waxing nostalgic about our time on the inside."
"Hmm, I can't. You're breaking out; I'm breaking in. Star-crossed."

Romeo and Juliet, one of playwright William Shakespeare's most famous works, contains the first usage of the term "star-crossed" in the prologue of Act I. Seeing as the line is "A pair of star-cross'd lovers take their life," let's hope that the similarities to Logan and Veronica end there.

Who's Who bio: Romeo
See all references about William Shakespeare
Freshman Fifteen (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"What the hell do you think you're doing?"
"Getting a jump start on the freshman fifteen?"

Ah, that first year of college when everything is new...including the freedom to eat whatever you'd like with no parental influence. Unfortunately, this often results in either rickets or the freshman 15, the inevitable weight gain that happens in that first year. Crazy amounts of stress; high-carb and high-fat cafeteria food; eating M&Ms for dinner and beer for breakfast, lunch, and dinner are all contributors. It's a safe bet that Logan's immune, though, since the lack of parental figures isn't exactly new.

D'oh (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"We have the address. 114th and Jamestown."
"Congratulations. You managed to get false information. Call me again when you get accurate intel. D'oh!"

Homer Simpson's catchphrase, "D'oh," has become a part of the English language's lexicon, so much so that it even appears in the Oxford English Dictionary. The sociology professor, Dr. Kinny, is actually played by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer. In a shout-out to his full-time job, Castellaneta utters Homer's favorite word after his character informs the jailer students that they've obtained the wrong info. D'oh!

See all references about The Simpsons
'Sup (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"I'm not acknowledging that."

Instead of saying to Veronica, "What's up?" Keith tries to be cool (and fails). "'Sup?" is a prime example of an elision, a word or phrase which is truncated by eliminating syllables, clearly the basis for the appearance of "ROFL" and "WTF" and "U R kewl." This is how busy we as a society have become. In the olden days, entire words and sentences were spoken. Contractions soon followed. Now we're eliminating syllables and chunks of written words. What's next? We can't get rid of much more.

Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (People)
Schoolhouse Rock! (TV)

"Knowledge is power."
"Schoolhouse Rock!"

Friedrich Nietzsche is a well-known Prussian 19th-century philosopher whose famous works include Thus Spoke Zarathustra and the quote "God is dead" from The Gay Science. Schoolhouse Rock! is an educational TV show from the ‘70s and ‘80s which put basic concepts of math, grammar, science, and history to music in an attempt to make learning more fun. While both have their place in the learning process, Schoolhouse Rock! is easier for Veronica to remember and quote. It's also more fun – why else would there be an exclamation point at the end of the title?

Who's Who bio: Friedrich Nietzsche
Vincent Van Gogh's Two Lovers (Art)

"Van Gogh's Two Lovers. Do you have any idea how much this is worth?"

Vincent van Gogh, a highly influential 19th-century Dutch artist, is classified as a Post-Impressionist painter. His works are some of the most famous and most expensive in the world and include Starry Night over the Rhone, Cafe Terrace at Night, and The Yellow House. Two Lovers is what's known as a fragment. Van Gogh, like most creative types, thought a lot of his work was crap and would cut up canvasses and reuse them. It seems as though cutting things up was a little hobby of his, seeing as he is also "famous" for slicing off a section of his ear. Anyway, somehow, this painting fragment survived and eventually made it into the hands of Kendall. It's doubtful the fragment of his ear was as fortunate.

Who's Who bio: Vincent Van Gogh

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