3.05 "President Evil"

Aired Oct 31, 2006

Cultural References

Resident Evil (Movies, Sports, Games and Toys)

Episode title: President Evil

Resident Evil is the name of a franchise that includes the original videogame and sequels, novelizations, a comic book, movies, and action figures. It's the sweet tale of a special police squad that gets sent to find out why people keep disappearing. Turns out, it's flesh-eating zombies. Of course. The title of the episode, "President Evil," has a couple of meanings: the first is the obvious one, that the armed robbers used masks of U.S. presidents to hide their identities, but there's also the term "Resident," which refers to the fact that the robbers were actually university police, who are residents (and evil!) of the university.

The Venetian (Places)

"Meeting the boyfriend at the Benetian after he gets out of his night class."
"The Benetian?"
"It's Room 332, Benes Hall. Some guy runs a casino out of his room."

One of Las Vegas's most expensive and luxurious casino and hotel combinations, the Venetian's clientele is the highest of the high-rollers. Its amenities include an incredible spa, a 40-foot indoor rock wall, and a specially built theater in which the world-renowned Blue Man Group performs. With all this in mind, Mercer combines its name with the name of his dorm, Benes Hall, and voilà – the Benetian. But no matter how nice he makes things for his customers, I think the college would frown on a 40-foot indoor rock wall, so he'll have to settle for keeping his guests happy in other ways.

Lost Horizon (Literature)

"Hey, Dad. Back from Shangri-La."

In the book Lost Horizon by James Hilton, a plane crashes in the Himalaya mountains. The survivors are rescued and taken to an isolated utopia, Shangri-La, untouched by the outside world. The inhabitants of the valley have never suffered from war, disease, or famine. Time is slowed down, so people don't age as rapidly. The idea of Shangri-La is used frequently in pop culture, both as a legitimate paradise but also, ironically, as an anti-paradise, like a bar or casino. Or, as Veronica infers, a university.

A Clockwork Orange (Movies)

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 movie by Stanley Kubrick, based on the book by Anthony Burgess. It's set in futuristic England and features a man whose hobbies include classical music, rape, and "ultraviolence." Good times! Mercer is dressed as the main character, played by Malcolm McDowell in the movie. A Clockwork Orange is, in a way, more infamous than famous and was banned in Britain for almost thirty years.

Point Break (Movies)

This 1991 movie starring Patrick Swayze and Keanu Reeves told the story of a young FBI agent (Reeves) who goes undercover to catch a group of bank robbers who wear masks of ex-presidents while committing the crime. The Benetian robbers copy this, dressing up like Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. The similarities end there, though. At the 1992 MTV Movie awards, Reeves and Swayze were both nominated for "Most Desirable Male" as stars of this movie. I mean, the two security guards were okay, I suppose, but "desirable" is not a word that comes to mind.

Richard Nixon (People)

"There's a bad guy coming through! ... Now, what you're gonna do is you're gonna give me everything you got. I want the watches, the jewelry, the wallets, everything. And I want you to put it all in Tricky Dick's bag, right over here. Move!"

Richard Nixon was the 37th President (1969-1974) and the only president to resign from office. He is notable for, among other things, being the only person to be elected twice both as vice president (under Dwight Eisenhower) and as president. This says something rather depressing about the American people who voted for him, as he would have been impeached for doing some thoroughly underhanded, illegal, and unethical things if he hadn't resigned first. The press gave him the nickname "Tricky Dick" as he tried to weasel his way out of the scandal, but to no avail. One is not surprised a robber would use his mask to hide behind — who better?

Who's Who bio: Richard "Tricky Dick" Nixon
Jimmy Carter (People)

The 39th President of the United States, though he's more highly regarded for the philanthropy work he's done since leaving office in 1981. One of the Hearst casino armed robbers wears a Jimmy Carter mask, which could be a subtle, possibly satirical, shout-out to Carter's gun-control beliefs.

Who's Who bio: Jimmy Carter
The Big Lebowski (Movies)

We're not sure if you noticed, but Rob and the gang REALLY love The Big Lebowski, the Coen Brothers' 1998 cult fave about mistaken identity, bowling, White Russians, and the value of a really good rug. It figures, then, that a character dresses up as The Dude for Halloween, recognizable because of his imitation of Jeff Bridges' flowing locks and a telltale bathrobe. No, that's not Jesus, though Jesus was probably an awesome bowler.

Who's Who bio: Jeffrey Lebowski
See all references about The Big Lebowski
A Mighty Wind (Movies)

"Wha' happened?"

A Mighty Wind is Christopher Guest's mockumentary of the world of folk music. A reunion of once-famous acts brings together the New Main Street Singers, whose manager has inflated ideas of his own hilarity; the Folksmen, who disdain the current state of folk music; and Mitch & Mickey, who haven't spoken in years and who have gone their separate ways — Mickey to suburbia, and Mitch to a sanitarium. The phrase "Wha' happened?" was a catchphrase unsuccessfully promoted by the NMSS manager. Incidentally, the movie features the always hilarious Ed Begley Jr., who also plays Hearst's Dean O'Dell.

The White Stripes (Music)

Rock-and-roll duo comprised of the gifted singer/songwriter Jack White and Meg White, who sort of attempts to play the drums. Feeling they would attract more publicity (or something) as a brother/sister act, these ex-spouses spent the early part of their career lying about their relationship. This underlying creepiness makes one think Logan and Veronica's Halloween costume idea may have been a better choice for Veronica and Duncan, no?

Sodom and Gomorrah (Religion, Folklore, and Urban Legends)

"Well, well, what do we have here? An illegal gambling establishment. Underage drinking. Public displays of affection. It's like Sodom and Gomorrah in here."

The epitome of debauchery and sinful living, Sodom and Gomorrah were two Biblical cities that were condemned to be destroyed by fire and brimstone. The only good resident of the cities, Lot, escaped with his family, but his wife was turned to a pillar of salt when she looked back while they were fleeing. The Benetian isn't quite that depraved, but if the robbers had turned into pillars of salt, they would have been a lot easier to catch. And they would have tasted good on fries.

See all references about The Bible
Scotland Yard (Places)

"You know, with Scotland Yard on the case, you're sure to have that necklace back in no time."

The headquarters of England's Metropolitan Police Service, Scotland Yard, while an actual building, is often used to refer to the actual police force. Famous for over 150 years for being at the top of the crime-solving game, Logan (jokingly) compares them to Lamb and the rest of the Neptune P.D. Not surprisingly, Veronica isn't reassured.

En Vogue (Music)

"Wasn't it En Vogue who taught us all to free our minds, as the rest would follow?"

Free your mind, and the rest will follow.
Be color-blind, don't be so shallow.

Female R&B group En Vogue first gained popularity in the 1990s and have seven gold and three platinum singles to their credit. One of these, 1992's Free Your Mind, gave us the above lyrics as a life lesson, and Mason shares it with his friend Wallace in an effort to get him to loosen up.

Who's Who bio: En Vogue
Drakkar Noir (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"Let me spell it out. I tell you about a working on-campus casino. Six hours later, it's held up by a guy your size wearing a mask, who happens to be covered in a thin film of drywall dust and the stench of Drakkar cologne."
"My cologne stinks? So, all this play I've been getting is from pure sex appeal?"

This distinctive cologne for men was the must-have fragrance for guys in the ‘80s and ‘90s. The earthy scent conjures up images of sexy men like Patrick Swayze, Kevin Costner, and Tim Allen. Well, not so much Tim. Veronica teases Weevil about his strong cologne, and he counters with (paraphrased): "So what? Girls like me anyway." Ladies like their men to smell like men, right?

Monster Truck Rallies (Sports, Games and Toys)

"Race fans, hot-rodders, the monster trucks are coming to Neptune, Neptune, Neptune!"
"That's great, Cliff, but just remember—"
"Sunday! Sunday! Sunday!"

Forget foreign films, poetry readings, and art galleries – we want to see big trucks race around a dirt track and hope that they crash into something! That's entertainment! Another thing that's entertaining — the commercials! The announcer yells throughout the whole thing! Sunday, Sunday, Sunday! Whoo-hoo! I think Grave Digger is going to take the season! I can't stop using exclamation marks! It's very exciting!

Olive Garden (Places)

"So, Mickey, you book that Olive Garden gig?"
"When you're here, you're family!"

Home of unlimited soup, salad, and breadsticks, the Olive Garden is an Italian-American chain restaurant with — have I already mentioned this? — delicious (and unlimited!) soup, salad, and breadsticks. Every meal is made into two, since customers are usually too full to eat more than a few bites of the entrée and end up taking it home. The restaurants are modeled after an existing Italian farmhouse, and the current marketing slogan, "When you're here, you're family!" is Cliff's brotherly reassurance to Keith. Although, given that they're in Keith's office, shouldn't it be the other way around?

Mister Microphone (Sports, Games and Toys)

"Hey, good-looking, we'll be back to pick you up later."

A toy microphone from the '70s that broadcasted over an FM radio and featured a happy, upbeat TV commercial with people singing Christmas carols together, livening up a party, roller skating with radios on their shoulders, and, most famously, a carful of boys announcing, "Hey good-looking, we'll be back to pick you up later!" Lamb is in '70s mode this week, as he uses the CB radio in his patrol car to try the same pick-up line on Logan. Hmmm... where's the campaign slogan in this one?

Robot Dance (Things)

"Does not compute."
"Hey, Sheriff's doing the robot again."
"Does not compute."
"I'll get my camera phone."

A fun dance that imitates the jerky, mechanical movements of a robot. The dance saw its heyday in the 1970s, when Michael Jackson popularized it during a televised performance of the Jackson 5 song "Dancing Machine." Lamb teases Veronica using a "robotic" voice when he sees her hanging out in the sheriff's office. Cool moves. But can he breakdance?

Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Be it ever so humble..."
"Yeah. I'm thinking of some curtains over here, maybe a koi pond in the corner."

Mid pleasures and palaces though we may roam,
Be it ever so humble, there's no place like home;
A charm from the sky seems to hallow us there,
Which, seek through the world, is ne'er met with elsewhere.
Home, home, sweet, sweet home!
There's no place like home, oh, there's no place like home!

A line from a nineteenth-century poem by John Payne, put to music by Sir Henry Rowley Bishop, this is now recognized primarily as a saying, independent of the rest of the poem. Weevil's not roaming through many pleasures and palaces these days, but when he ends up in a cell in the sheriff's department — again — he starts thinking that maybe it's time to spruce it up a little, maybe bring some things from his apartment, hang some posters, find a nice piece of artwork to accentuate the space...

See all references about "Home Sweet Home"
The Hills Have Eyes (Movies)
Redenbacher (People)

"Redenbacher and The Hills Have Eyes. You remember Chloe and Jessica from last night. Instant party."

The top-selling brand of popcorn in America, Orville Redenbacher's offers such delights as Butter Toffee and Caramel Nut popcorn clusters; Cinnabon, kettle, and honey butter microwave popcorn; Peanut Caramel Crunch, Popcorn Peanut Crunch, and White Cheddar popcorn cakes... and now I'm making myself hungry. Wallace might not be, though, when he realizes that the movie of choice is the not-so-popcorn-friendly The Hills Have Eyes, chock-full of torture, cannibalism, rape, genetic mutants, a smattering of animal cruelty, and a crucifixion for good measure. Mason, Chloe, and Jessica think this is a good movie; but then again, they also are dirty, dirty cheaters.

Who's Who bio: Orville Redenbacher
Monk (TV)

"You presented yourself as an Adrian Monk, a Los Angeles County Building Inspector? And I believe that's your cell phone number written on it?"

In a shout-out to the USA Network's Monk, Keith's building-inspector alias is Adrian Monk, the aforementioned show's titular character. Tony Shalhoub plays the OCD-suffering, germaphobic, milk-fearing detective whose name Keith borrows. Why this name? Maybe Keith likes the show. He has to do something to keep himself occupied on Friday nights when Veronica's out causing trouble.

Tartuffe (Plays)

"We're the theater department. We don't do guns."
"We do Molière."

A French comedy by Molière first performed in 1664, Tartuffe's title character is a falsely pious fraud who worms his way into a prominent family, hoping to be written into the will and take over everything, but his scheme is thwarted. Hmm... except for the piety, that kind of sounds like Kendall Casablancas. Guess there really is nothing new under the sun. Hearst's theater department is trying to perform this play, but they took on the wrong adversary in the War of the Ticket Sales and Audience Numbers when they scheduled their opening night on the same night as the film department's festival. Now their stage is covered in Pam and far too slippery — just like Tartuffe himself! — to walk on.

Quentin Tarantino (Movies, People)

"You want a poor man's Tarantino, that would be the film department. If you see them, tell them we just loved their little opening night present."

A shining inspiration to wannabe high-school dropouts everywhere, Quentin Tarantino rose from the depths of video retail to become one of the top independent filmmakers in recent history. His bloody but bodacious body of work includes Pulp Fiction, Jackie Brown, and the Kill Bill two-parter. Tarantino has a masterful touch for bringing careers back from the brink of extinction: John Travolta, Pam Grier, Robert Forster, and David Carradine have the man to thank for an extension of their respective 15 minutes. On a completely unrelated note, Rob Thomas has given roles in the past three seasons to Harry Hamlin, Richard Grieco, and Steve Guttenberg.

Girl Scouts (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"I see. I'll take two boxes of the Thin Mints and some Lemon Coolers."
"You can keep all the gambling money, everything else. I don't care. Just give me my necklace back, and-and we'll be cool."
"Wow, that's some hard-core salesmanship. You're good. Uh, tell you what. Throw in a box of the shortbread."

Founded in 1912 by Juliette Gordon Low, the Girl Scouts of America is an organization in which girls from ages 5 to 17 perform community service, learn camping skills, and take part in other tasks in an effort to increase self-esteem and personal values. What the Girl Scouts are most famous for, however, may be their yearly cookie sale. The most popular sellers are Thin Mints, followed closely by Samoas. Some good news for people watching their diets: as of 2007, all Girl Scout Cookies will be trans-fat free. But it's possible that they may still contain heroin, as there is no other reason for them being so addictive.

Scarface (Movies)

"How you like that, huh? There's a bad guy coming through. Better get out of his way."

"Say hello to my leetle friend."

This 1983 remake of a 1932 film stars Al Pacino as a Cuban immigrant who becomes a local drug kingpin. It's become an American cultural phenomenon and has spurred a multi-million-dollar merchandising campaign — and even a popular video game. Although the Hearst casino robbers aren't fooling anybody with their (really bad) Cuban accents, their shout-out to Pacino's Tony Montana is still pretty cool. Veronica turns the tables when she tricks and catches the robbers using her "leetle friend": an undercover mike.

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