3.11 "Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves"

Aired Jan 30, 2007

Cultural References

"Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" (Music)

Episode title: "Poughkeepsie, Tramps and Thieves"

Ah, Cher. Famous as part of the comedy duo Sonny & Cher, the 1971 song "Gypsies, Tramps and Thieves" was her first solo hit. It tells of her childhood, "born in the wagon of a travelin' show," derided by the same townspeople who spent money to watch her mother dance. Not the healthiest environment for a growing child, and one assumes Wendy had a similarly dysfunctional upbringing in her hometown of Poughkeepsie, NY.

Sir Lancelot (People)

"Sir Cheats-a-Lot. How's business?"

In folklore, a noble knight of King Arthur's round table, famed for rescuing damsels in distress; being a noble, pure-hearted, handsome, charismatic, and skilled warrior; and being denied possession of the Holy Grail because of his illicit love affair with King Arthur's wife, Guinevere. While Max may live up to his knightly namesake, rescuing damsels in distress, his propensity for "aiding" those unfortunate damsels (and certain young men) caught unawares in the not-so-noble quest for the perfect term paper (minus, of course, the work) is far too reminiscent of Lancelot's fatal flaw.

Friends and family plan (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"Do I have an option of using you for your skills and not paying?"
"The friends-and-family plan...unfortunately, you're neither."

In this day and age of competing cell-phone providers, there's always a hook. First, there were the family plans, with free calling between phones on the same bill. Then, there was in-network calling, allowing free calls for anyone with the same provider. Now, there's unlimited calling for frequently-dialed numbers. Before we know it, it'll all be free! (We can only hope for a world so idyllic...) Veronica's standards are a little higher — it's unlikely, even given the fact that she's no longer hated by half the town, that her friends-and-family plan will ever include all of Neptune and beyond.

Comic-Con (Events)

"Uh-huh, so, what was the convention? Is there actually
a fake-term-paper and stolen-test-provider union?"
"It was Comic-Con."

Nerdvana. A convention held annually in San Diego, Comic-Con has been bringing comic creators and fans together since 1970. In the years since, Comic-Con has expanded to include all elements of fandom, including movies, books, and television shows. Wonder if Max got Kristen Bell's autograph while he was there?

Star War (Movies)
Trekkies (People)
Dave Gibbons (People)

"You didn't get all sweaty in your Wookiee suit, did you?"
"Yuk it up. You know, it's not all Trekkies and Star Wars nerds. I was there because Dave Gibbons has a new graphic novel that he scripted as well as drew."

When you talk about nerds, the "Star" movie/TV show nerds are the first that come to mind. Combined, the two franchises have 11 TV shows, 16 movies, millions of actions figures, and billions of fans lusting over metal-bikinied Princess Leia, shiny-domed Jean-Luc Picard, and sometimes (ew) an extraordinarily tall, very hairy Wookiee from the planet Kashyyyk. But the Star Wars fans don't have as cool of a nickname as the Trekkies. I guess that's because "Starries" or "Warries" or "StarWarsians" just didn't flow. Neither does "Kashyyykies."

Dave Gibbons is a British writer and graphic artist best known for illustrating a little comic called Watchmen. Never heard of it? Then shame on you! Shame! It was only the best comic in the history of ever and a thrilling deconstruction of the superhero genre. Max was probably referring to Gibbon's 2005 graphic novel The Originals, which he wrote and drew. Who's a big nerd now?

See all references about Star War
See all references about Star Trek
Who's Who bio: Dave Gibbons
Battlestar Galactica (TV)

"So, about the one that got away, she was dressed as a Cylon, and you only knew her as Six, right?"
"Her name is Chelsea, and she was in regular clothes. And, yeah, after the Dave Gibbons thing, I may have drifted into the Battlestar Galactica session. And, yeah, that's where we met. And, okay, we started out talking about how the Cylon raiders on BSG look like Batman's car when it turns into a plane."
"You get the picture."
"I do. Connection, higher plane. Then you frakked."
"They gave her the "So Say We All" t-shirt she was wearing."

This episode really should have been called "Veroni-star Mars-lactica," because it was really just a giant shout-out to one of the best shows on television, Battlestar Galactica. This reimagining of the cheesy '70s space adventure show has it all — amazing acting, wonderful writing, and a mythology that just draws you right in. So, let's just break down the basics of these many references, shall we?
1) Cylons are robots, created by man, who later became sentient, rebelled, and attempted to wipe out humanity. They started out as big silver monsters with one glowing red eye, but...they've evolved. They look like us now! Which brings us to...
2) Six. One of the "skinjob" Cylons, Six is the tall, blonde bombshell Cylon who loves to have sex, snap babies' necks, and mess with Gaius Baltar's head. She's effing gorgeous to boot.
3) Raiders are the spaceship species of the Cylons. They also have the glowing red eye, but they're not merely spaceships. No, they're all sticky and organic on the inside. Rumor has it that they look like Batman's car, but I think that's just nerd-talk.
4) "Frakked" — fake swear word originally used in the original series and brought into the new series. You can probably tell from the context which swear word it's meant to replace.
5) In the crazy mythology/religion on the show, after a prayer, everyone says "so say we all," sort of like saying "Amen."
To sum up, Veronica assumed Max met a girl dressed up as Sexy Six at a Battlestar Galactica convention, formed a connection, and then made sweet, sweet love to her. Turns out the girl wasn't dressed up as Six but was merely wearing a show-themed t-shirt given to her by the "friends" of Max that hired her to sleep with Max, who...didn't sleep with her. D'oh!

See all references about Battlestar Galactica
Batman (Literature)

"We started out talking about how the Cylon raiders on BSG look like Batman's car when it turns into a plane.""

Batman started as the Bat-Man in Detective Comics #27 in 1939 by Bill Finger and Bob Kane. He became a national hit soon thereafter, with his own comic books, serials, tv shows, and movies, and he gained sidekicks, partners, and numerous gadgets along the way, including his Batmobile, Bat-Signal, Batcycle, Batboat, Batcopter, and, of course, the Batplane. I don't know when exactly his Batmobile turned into a plane like Max does, but in Tim Burton's 1989 movie, the plane certainly looks like a Cylon Raider. See for yourself.

Who's Who bio: Batman
Chuck Klosterman (People)

"But then...then we started talking about our crappy relationships with our parents and, and Chuck Klosterman and moral grayness."

Tragically hip author, wildly popular among droll 30-somethings and emo kids alike. Chuck Klosterman is the author of Fargo Rock City, Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs, and Killing Yourself to Live. His essays on topics ranging from Guns 'N' Roses cover bands to The Real World speak to everyone, from comic-book geeks to ladies of the evening, apparently.

Who's Who bio: Chuck Klosterman
American Beauty (Movies)

"And how when you see a plastic bag flying around, you think there's so much beauty in the world, you can't take it?"

This 1999 flick about the hypocritical misery of suburban life won five Oscars, including Best Cinematography. Iconic, of course, was American Beauty's gratuitous shot of a plastic bag floating in the wind for what seemed like four hours. "Sometimes there's so much beauty in the world, I feel like I can't take it," croons pretentious teenager Ricky as he shows the pride of his off-beat home video collection to sardonic Jane — and gets laid for his trouble.

Chelsea Clinton (People)

"Chelsea, Chelsea, Chelsea. And thar she blows. One Chelsea."

Chelsea Clinton is the daughter of former President Bill Clinton. She spent her awkward teenage years in the White House, in the forefront of the American public's greedy eye. While just naming a character Chelsea doesn't qualify something as a reference, Veronica reading off Chelsea's name in a distinctly Clintonian drawl does. While Chelsea is now a lovely woman in her twenties, we doubt she's making her living the same way Chelsea/Fiona/Wendy is.

Milla Jovovich (People)

"You know Max's preference?"
"Hey, that's easy. Yeah, we just described Milla Jovovich with a B-cup."

Milla Jovovich is the woman of every game-nerd's dreams. She starred in the Resident Evil movies, which are probably Max's favorites. It makes it so easy to find a hooker that matches your resident virgin's preferences when you know what he likes!

Who's Who bio: Milla Jovovich
Weird Science (Movies)

"How very Weird Science."

In this 1985 John Hughes gem, triple-named teen stars Anthony Michael Hall and Ilan Mitchell-Smith play nerds who create a woman who is just the right mix of hair-band goddess and genius, all out of a government database and some red fog. This was the movie that launched a thousand young programmers, who, in their never-ending search for quality virtual babes, eventually began websites to hook up willing guys with working girls.

Zagat's Guide (Organizations, Companies, and Products)

"Let's see. It's like a Zagat Guide for hookers. How did people find sex before there was an internet?"

Want to know where to eat? Which hotel to stay in? The hottest nightclubs? The best golf courses? Check out the Zagat Guide — the definitive guide to over seventy cities' institutions. Graded on a 30-point scale, the guide awards points for food, decor, service, and cost. In hooker terms, that translates to brand of whipped cream used, number of Swarovski crystals on her lingerie, ingenuity in trying new positions, and orgasm-to-dollar ratio.

Tripple Bagger (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

Whoa, overall looks we've got everything from "model material" to "tripple-bagger."

Ever hear of the term "buttaface?" You know, "her body's smokin', but her face..." The "tripple-bagger" designation takes this gallant idea one step further. If your date's got kicking curves but a face only a mother could love, perhaps a paper bag — or three — can keep the fantasy alive. Hell, no sense risking a glimpse of reality when you can imagine Halle Berry under all those grocery sacks.

Star War (Movies)
Trekkies (People)
Dave Gibbons (People)

"Your attention to detail has served us well, young Jedis."

Aha, a Star Wars reference. Jedis are the knights of the Star Wars world. Veronica Mars is the master of them all, and dear Max's friends still have a lot to learn, apparently. But with Veronica's help, maybe one day they will be able to say the famous words: Luke, I am your father.

See all references about Star War
See all references about Star Trek
Who's Who bio: Dave Gibbons
Harper's Bazaar (Literature)

"I come home after a hard day at work, and there you are, lounging with your bonbons and your Harper's Bazaar."

Long-running fashion magazine and friend to bored housewives across the United States and the UK, Bazaar is purported to be a sophisticated resource for American style. However, its most notable cover of late featured a very naked and very pregnant Britney Spears. Well, better to think of that than as a shameless plug for Bazaar's publisher: the Hearst Corporation.

Easy Rider (Movies)
The Times They Are a-Changin' (Music)

"If you go undercover as a student, no Daniel Boone jacket, no peace signs. The times, they have a-changed."

The 1969 road movie Easy Rider starred Dennis Hopper as Billy, who was influenced by the Old West in his suede jacket but added a modern touch with a peace sign pendant. The look caught on with hippies (such as Keith!), but Veronica warns against wearing such clothes now to blend in with college students. She calls upon voice-of-his-generation Bob Dylan, who declared that the times, as we all know, are not what they used to be.

Casablanca (Movies)

"You'll always have Comic-Con."

"We'll always have Paris," Bogie (maverick casino owner Rick) tells Ingrid Bergman (elegant heart-breaker Ilsa) in the classic 1942 film Casablanca. Yes, they certainly did have each other in Paris, lots and lots of times. Alas, they are shocked, shocked to find that Ilsa's husband and hero of the Resistance against the Nazis survived the perils of war and won't escape to America without her. With these words, Rick convinces Ilsa to leave with her husband at the end of the film and forsake their epic love for the good of the free world. Against that story, Max's problems hardly amount to a hill of beans, so he'd do well to listen to Veronica when she echoes this quote.

See all references about Casablanca
The Happy Hooker (Literature)

"From where I stand, Wendy's the idiot. And now we must crush her. How to make the happy hooker not so happy."

Xaviera Hollander, a former call girl and madam, wrote the 1971 memoir The Happy Hooker, which was made into a movie in 1975. It's the charming story of a girl who figures she might as well be getting paid for all the fun she's having, and the story continued in The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood and The Happy Hooker Goes to Washington. Believing Wendy to have tricked Max into giving her money, a vindictive Veronica goes after the crestfallen courtesan.

Man of La Mancha (Literature)
How's tricks? (Words, Sayings, and Slogans)

"If it isn't the Man of La Mancha. How's tricks? Sorry. I mean "things." How are things?"

Man of La Mancha is the 1965 musical version of Miguel de Cervantes' classic Don Quixote, in which a man is so obsessed with the idea of gallantry that he battles a windmill in order to prove himself a deserving knight. Veronica sees Max's defense of and monetary assistance to a prostitute as similarly misguided. "How's tricks?" is a casual term meant to ask "what's up?", but use of the term "tricks," which can also describe how a hooker spends her time, might be more of a reminder than Max is ready for.

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