3.08 "Lord of the Pi's"

Aired Nov 21, 2000

Cultural References

Lord of the Flies (Literature)

Episode Title: "Lord of the Pi's"

First published in 1954, William Golding's first novel is an allegorical tale about a group of young boys who unsuccessfully try to govern themselves after being stranded on a desert island. It's unclear why the episode used this novel as a springboard for its title. Is it that the Pi Sigs are a group of boys who can't keep plastic eggs out its members' rear ends, much less govern themselves? That Selma Hearst Rose gets stranded in a deserted guesthouse? Or were there scenes that wound up on the cutting room floor about a tyrannical baker who lorded over his kitchen, whipping up scrumptious apple and sweet-potato pies? Probably not.

Watts Riots (Events)

"My mom, California's last flower child, loved her. She had a poster of her. You know the shot I'm talking about?"
"Flying over Watts in '73. Dumping out sacks of cash — her entire trust fund. She's giving the thumbs up, huge smile on her face, while millions rain down on the ghetto."
"Well, she had her heart in the right place."
"Riots ensued. She was arrested when she landed. Served a month in County jail."

The real week-long rioting in South Los Angeles occurred during the summer of 1965 and began soon after the arrest of a black motorist for drunk driving. But the larger causes of the riot, according to later investigations, included poverty, racism, and housing discrimination. There were no Watts II riots in 1973, and no one named Selma Hearst Rose ever dropped money from a helicopter onto the inner city, but Veronica and the new Hearst Free Press editor swap stories about this altruistic but misguided alumna.

Patty Hearst (People)

This billionaire heiress became famous in 1974 when the Symbionese Liberation Army kidnapped her in Berkeley, California. She eventually joined her captors in a series of bank robberies and, after being captured, claimed she was brainwashed and/or intimidated into committing the robberies. Nevertheless, she was jailed for almost two years until being released and later receiving a Presidential pardon for her role in the crimes. Patty Hearst, who now acts for fun and not to save her life, plays Selma Hearst Rose, a rich heiress whose mysterious disappearance suggests a kidnapping. The similarities are eerie. And deliberate, according to Veronica Mars creator Rob Thomas.

Dollars to donuts (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Dollars to donuts, you'll find her sobbing into a mojito at the club because she lost an earring."
"Well, you'd be the donut expert."

A phrase that originated in the 1880s, betting "dollars to donuts" means you're so sure you're right that you're willing to bet real dollars to the other person's donuts (donuts having no fiscal value, beyond what you paid to buy them). As we all know police officers love donuts, Dean O'Dell recognizes Lamb's expertise in the area and is willing to take that bet.

High road and low road (Things)

"So, here's my thought: I'll go talk to the family tomorrow, and you talk to the waitress and the caterer."
"Ah...high road, low road. Got it."

The phrase "high road" usually refers to taking the ethical course of action, while its converse "low road" indicates the use of unscrupulous methods. Veronica means it in the sense of the elite versus the proletariat, as Keith interviews the "upstairs" Hearst family while she takes the "downstairs" help. They both came back full of information, but who got to Scotland afooooore ye?

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (TV)

"What do you want, Buffy, Tiffany, whatever your name is?"

Ah, Buffy -- a TV character who redefined the young heroine. Sound like another hot blonde we know? Joss Whedon's Buffy the Vampire Slayer's titular main character was a pretty kick-ass chick. With a calling (vampire slayer) and a fighting style (awesome) that belied her silly name, Buffy protected her hometown of Sunnydale from the big bads drawn to the city's hellmouth. With this comparison, Fern unwittingly gives Veronica a compliment. Who wouldn't like being compared to someone who saved the world on a regular basis? Oh, and another observation -- I bet Fern only watched Buffy for Willow and Tara. Just a guess. Not that there's anything wrong with that.

See all references about Buffy the Vampire Slayer
"I Am Woman" (Music)

"The Female Voice in Celtic Literature. I am woman, hear me bore."

Helen Reddy's 1972 song reflected the zeitgeist of the time with her lyrics, "I am woman, hear me roar." The lyrics have been used by feminists over the years to describe their own empowerment and desire for equality. Veronica is slightly more cynical, dismissing the fictional The Female Voice in Celtic Literature — and definite Womyn's Studies-type Fern — as boring.

Citizen Kane (Movies)

"Budd Rose is more of a man than you could ever begin to handle."

1941's Citizen Kane is considered by many well-respected movie critics to be one of the best movies of all time. Its lead character, Charles Foster Kane, is said to be a combination of several historical figures, including William Randolph Hearst, grandfather of Patty Hearst. Kane's dying word, "rosebud," actually referred to one of his prized childhood posessions, a sled. "Budd Rose" refers to a cheating, plotting, stealing philanderer of a husband. I'll take the sled, thanks.

See all references about Citizen Kane
The Big Lebowski (Movies)

"Mr. Mars. Sorry to keep you waiting."
"What is that? Is that a goldfish?"
"It's a carp, a golden carp awarded—"
"Please don't touch it. My name is Brant. I am Mr. Rose's personal assistant. Unfortunately, Mr. Mars, my employer won't be able to see you at the moment. He's resting."

This week's Big Lebowski reference is no dinky little line quotage: It's an entire scene. Fans of the movie immediately recognize the homage to the scene in which Jeff Lebowski's assistant, Brandt, meticulously points out the various awards and commendations on the wall. And when The Dude finally meets the man he's come to meet, he discovers that he is in a wheelchair...just like Budd Rose. Yes, these writers just can't get enough of this damn movie, even though they can't spell Brandt's name right. Seriously, though, if the next big mystery is "Who peed on Veronica's rug?" we're going to have to put a stop to this business.

Who's Who bio: Jeffrey Lebowski
See all references about The Big Lebowski
Kojak (Characters)
Worst. [Thing]. Ever. (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"So, not only did Chip get Kojaked, someone put a Roman numeral on one of those little plastic Easter eggs and stuck it in his where-the-sun-don't-shine place. And you know where that is."

"Worst. Easter egg hunt. Ever."

Kojak was a bald detective played by Telly Savalas in the 1970s show Kojak. He had a fondness for lollipops and dark wit, and he was one of the few prominent Greek characters ever featured on a tv show. The phrase "worst [something] ever" comes from the Simpsons character Comic Book Guy, who authoritatively claims various things as the "worst __ ever," such as "worst episode ever" (which was also the name of an episode of the show). Chip winds up sans hair and with an unfortunate toy surprise in his keister due to his obnoxious past behavior, but it's pretty fair to say that there could not be a more unpleasant Easter egg hunt than the one Chip had to endure, whatever he did to deserve it.

Who's Who bio: Theo Kojak
See all references about The Simpsons
"Pinball Wizard" (Music)

"It was more like the third-floor bathroom to the pinball machine in, like, 47 minutes."
"She always gets a replay. Never tilts at all."

"Pinball Wizard," a 1969 hit by The Who, is the most widely recognized song from the four-album rock opera Tommy. The Pinball Wizard the song speaks of is a not-so-smart deaf-mute who plays by instinct, intuition, and olfactory senses. He is so good because he "becomes part of the machine," has "supple wrists," "always gets a replay," and "never tilts at all." Ah, just like Bonnie. Well, she might tilt a little because of that curvature of the spine, but it's hardly noticeable.

The Incredible Edible Egg (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"Ah. The incredible, inedible egg."

In 1977, the American Egg Board launched a campaign to counter declining egg sales. Focusing on the nutritional value of eggs and the health benefits of dietary cholesterol, they promoted "The Incredible Edible Egg." Don't you know that RHYMES are the best way to entice the American public? It makes them look past the fact that all the slogan really says is that eggs are edible. That is, eatable. All these eggs, you can eat them. Which America already knew. Veronica likely saw one of the many cute commercials when she was a little girl, and she now makes reference to the slogan to describe an egg you most certainly cannot eat.

Ernest and Julio Gallo (People)

"I wouldn't be surprised if she left everything to little Ernest and Julio in her will."

Ernest and Julio Gallo own E & J Gallo Winery, a collection of vineyards that produce and distribute wine. The brothers have owned the operation since 1933, and they have become known around the world for fine California wines. Why Selma Rose named her two yappy Pomeranians after these winemakers, we don't know. Maybe they...whine a lot? (...Ba dum bum.)

Scrabble (Sports, Games and Toys)

"They glued 'Travel Scrabble' tiles?"
"'CXI' and 'CMIII.'"

At least they didn't glue the tiles to the outside of the egg. Now that would hurt. Instead, Chip's "gift" was left with the tiles from this popular crossword board game glued to the inside of the egg. Scrabble afficcionados want to know how many points one would get for "keister egg"? And, more importantly, would it rival the Sex Quest point board?

Dine and ditch (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"What do we call a tenth anniversary in the P.I. biz?"
"Dine 'n' ditch."

If you're not a P.I., a "dine 'n' ditch" — or, if you prefer, "dine 'n' dash" or "chew 'n' screw" — is leaving a restaurant after eating without paying your tab. If you are a P.I., it refers to a divorce that happens right after a couple's tenth wedding anniversary, ensuring that assets are split evenly and there is a greater payoff for hanging in there than if the divorce happened before ten years were up. Keith proves that he's still the master private eye in the family, pointing out this connection that Veronica missed in Budd and Selma Rose's case.

Swimfan (Movies)

"If there's anyone you should be concerned about, it's that guy Brant. Mr. Rose's assistant? He's, like, in love with Mr. Rose, like Swimfan love."

This 2002 thriller is about a high school boy whose one-night stand in a swimming pool becomes a tale of an obsessive woman scorned. Hallie doesn't say whether or not Budd Rose and his assistant, Brant, had a one-night stand, but it hardly seems to matter. Brant's love for Mr. Rose seems more a product of his own fantasies than anything else. How appropriate that a culturally-challenged Generation Y teenager like Hallie would reference this movie rather than more famous and well-done stalker movies like Fatal Attraction and Misery. She's probably never heard of them.

Jimmy Hoffa (People)

"God! What's with all the questions? What's next? Do you want to know where I buried Jimmy Hoffman?"
"Dustin's brother?"

James "Jimmy" Riddle Hoffa was a noted American labor leader with ties to the Mafia. He mysteriously disappeared in 1975 and is presumed by many to be dead. Hallie compares Veronica's incessant questions with an investigation into Hoffa's death, but when she mispronounces his last name, she makes Veronica think about the 5-foot-5 American actor who dressed up like a woman for one of his most famous movie roles. If Hallie had said "Jimmy Huffy," would Veronica have made a joke about a bike? Or "Jimmy Heifer" — would she have joked about a cow? Or "Jimmy Heizel" — a joke about a Jewish whorehouse? Let's hope Hallie learns something useful at Hearst besides sunbathing.

Who's Who bio: Jimmy Hoffa
The Simpsons (TV)

"Apparently, Brant is the Smithers to Mr. Rose's Monty Burns."

Two Simpsons references in one episode? Ex-cellent. Veronica notes the similarity between personal assistant Brant's, uh, affection for his boss and Smithers's, uh, admiration of Mr. Burns. And more subtly, actress Patty Hearst plays a character named Selma, and those just happen to be the first names of Marge Simpson's two sisters. Like the show's writing staff, we can't get enough of that wacky bunch from Springfield.

See all references about The Simpsons
Disneyland (Places)
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (Movies)

"This is just like that time we went to Disneyland! If I have another altercation with Snow White and her disapproving dwarves, you're taking Sneezy this time."

Known in the Disney cartoon as Sneezy, Sleepy, Dopey, Bashful, Grumpy, Happy, and Doc, Snow White's little men are just some of the bright, cheerful characters populating Disneyland, "The Happiest Place on Earth." When Veronica and Keith sneak behind the gates of the Rose mansion, far from the happiest place in town, Veronica's not so worried about seven little bearded men. Instead, she likely has her own consort of criticism in mind: Neptune's own Bashful, Sleepy, Dopey, Sneezy, Grumpy, Happy, and Doc.

Who's Who bio: Snow White
The Bionic Woman (TV)


Veronica is imitating the sound effects that always accompanied the Bionic Woman (Jaime Sommers) whenever she did anything...bionic. This spinoff of The Six Million Dollar Man, a show about a bionic man, starred Lindsay Wagner and was on the air from 1976-1977. Veronica definitely doesn't need bionic implants to be awesome, but the sound effects can stay, especially when she's scaling walls and sneaking into mansions.

National Lampoon's Vacation (Movies)

"The park is closed. The walrus out front should have told you."

This 1983 film was the first in a series of films starring Chevy Chase as patriarch of the Griswolds, who just can't seem to have a proper vacation. They get to Walleyworld, a fabulous amusement park, and are told by John Candy: "Sorry, folks, park's closed: moose out front should have told you." Wait, wait, a moose? As in moose-tastic? Where did Veronica get this "walrus" business? Has she been listening to too much Beatles? In any case, given what we know of Veronica's movie tastes, it's certainly believable that she and Keith would have watched it together.

See all references about National Lampoon
Paper Moon (Movies)

"Ryan. Tatum. When he gets in a jam, I make with the cute."

The 1973 film Paper Moon was directed by Peter Bogdanovich and starred Ryan O'Neal and his daughter, Tatum. They played a ragtag con-artist duo operating in the Great Depression era. A then 10-year-old Tatum won a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her role, the youngest person ever to win in a competitive category. Unfortunately, this soured relations with her father even more, who was already a tad jealous of his daughter's success. Veronica compares her and Keith's sleuthing partnership to the camaraderie of the Paper Moon characters, not to the rivalry between the O'Neals themselves. Although she did once claim she and Keith had their own game of "Spy vs. Spy"….

Who's Who bio: Ryan O'Neal
50-50 Split (Things)

"Your stock's going through the roof. Budd stands to make millions more in a 50-50 split."

A stock market term that describes when a share price is halved, meaning current stockholders own twice as many shares as they previously did. Since the price of the red-hot stock suddenly becomes more affordable, companies hope to attract new investors with their open wallets. Keith's comments convince Selma that he's not just another pretty face.

"You've Got a Friend" (Music)

"Whatever happened to 'winter, spring, summer, or fall; all I got to do is call, and you'll be there'?"

When you're down and troubled
And you need some loving care
And nothing, nothing is going right
Close your eyes and think of me
And soon I will be there
To brighten up even your darkest night

Carole King's 1971 hit song "You've Got a Friend" has been covered by numerous artists, among them James Taylor. Marking the start of the singer/songwriter movement, it's kind of surprising that Veronica would quote this song to Wallace. Not just because she should know this already: Wallace is her most true friend. Mostly because the song is incredibly sappy, and that's not usually how she rolls.

See all references about "You've Got a Friend"
Here Comes Peter Cottontail (Movies)

"Here comes Peter Cottontail
Hoppin' down the bunny trail
Hippity-hoppity Easter's on its way"

A 1971 Easter special, this animated movie was based off the already well-known song about a bunny who needs to deliver Easter eggs. Casey Kasem was the voice of Peter Cottontail! Amazing the things you can learn on the Internet. A bunch of jerky frat boys make fun of Chip Diller for having an Easter egg shoved up his...well, keister. That's right, guys, make fun of someone who got raped. Karma will come for you one day.

Anna Nicole Smith (People)

"Budd Rose is more of a man than you could ever begin to handle."
"Slow down, Anna Nicole. You're skeeving me out. "

Poster child for gold-diggers everywhere, Anna Nicole Smith earned her fifteen minutes of fame by marrying an octogenarian billionaire at age 26 and posing in Playboy. And then by gaining — and subsequently losing — a lot of weight. And then by giving birth to a daughter of questionable paternity and having a son who died of questionable causes. While we're sure Hallie doesn't see herself as the next Anna Nicole, her propensity for an older, wheelchair-bound, rich man has just a few too many similarities to this sordid tale.

Who's Who bio: Anna Nicole Smith
Ron Jeremy (People)

"I don't care if he's Ron Jeremy on wheels."

One of the most well-known names in the American porn industry, Ron Jeremy was "big" in the late-'70s to early-'80s heyday of porn. Unlike most of today's "actors," Jeremy had a B.A. in theatre arts (and a masters in special education) and, while not an Oscar-caliber actor, could at least hold his own onscreen. Nowadays, he can be found doing bit parts in TV shows and movies and giving speeches on the benefits of pornography on our society. Oh, and did I mention that one of his "signature moves" is a little thing called autofellatio? Bendy.

Who's Who bio: Ron Jeremy

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