“Well, they made four more gift sets after this one, so add that to your Gen Y denunciations, American Media.”
- Generation Y is the generational cohort who have been coming to maturity in the Western world since the year 2000. Popular depiction of the demographic is of a wasteful, parasitic collection of gilded youths. By casual estimation, the date-of-birth bracket for the group spans from the early-1980s to mid-1990s. It is segmented from Generation X and will itself be followed Generation Z.
“Sam likes to tease David about how few letters he receives. And by few, I mean zero. And by tease, I mean mock. And by David, I mean David. Finally though, one day David has reason to wag his tail and wail when Sam announces that the camp’s secretary found a letter addressed to him at the bottom of a drawer.”
- This comes from the children’s programme Blue’s Clues (1996-2006). Steve Burns, the host, would chant “Here’s the mail/it never fails/it makes me want to wag my tail/when it comes I want to wail/Mail!” before disclosing viewer mail.
“David’s now very confused, as his life is starting to resemble a terrible Hallmark special: Great-Uncle John is 87 years old and probably not the best guardian for a child. Or is he? Watch Welcome to Gramp’s Nightmare next Sunday at 8/7c, only on ION.”
- The Hallmark Channel is a cable network owned by the Hallmark Cards, Inc. Programming is dominated by domestic advice and cookery shows, “special” made-for-television films, and sitcom re-runs. Ion Television is another cable network; one that appears to have a less specialised programming.
“So the Lake is across the lake from the Lane in the hills, which sounds like the start of a Danny Kaye routine.”
- A reference to the famous rhyming exchange from the 1956 film The Court Jester. Danny Kaye plays a bard who becomes caught up in a Kingdom’s succession troubles. As he faces a jousting competition, Griselda the witch poisons one of the pre-joust toasts. “The pellet with the poison’s in the vessel with the pestle; the chalice from the palace has the brew that is true”, her assonant counsel to Kaye, is later amended to “the pellet with the poison’s in the flagon with the dragon; the vessel with the pestle has the brew that is true”. The confusion is doubled when his competitor is also warned, and both approach the drinks attempting to remember and repeat the couplet.
“The Incredible Mr. Limpet: ‘I Wish I Were a Fish’”
- The Incredible Mr. Limpet was a 1964 Warner Bros. movie that starred Don Knotts as the titular Mr. Limpet.
“His plan is successful, proving that there ain’t no party like the communist party cuz the communist party stops aliens.”
- Coolio’s 1996 song ‘1, 2, 3, 4 (Sumpin’ New)’ has the line “ain’t no party like a West Coast party/’Cos a West Coast party don’t stop”.
“The only thing worth mentioning about story, other than it being one big ‘Oh cool, I’ve seen the Blob and Creepshow 2,’ is that it takes place on ‘Black Island.’”
- The famous 1958 science fiction picture The Blob and its 1988 remake, also titled The Blob, star a ravenous space-amoeba that consumes a small American town and threatens the entire planet. The most fondly-remembered of the three tales in 1987’s Creepshow 2 is ‘The Raft’; a story of four teenagers trapped on a raft in a lake by a sapient and also ravenous oil slick.
“As the story opens, he’s watching a flick about a plant that lifts its victims ‘Up Up Up’.”
- ‘Up Up Up’ is a song by indie-pop band GIVERS. Yeah, we up.
“The store is closed but Ben goes in anyways, since breaking and entering in the Goosebumps world is about as frowned upon as MDMA use in Skins.”
- Skins, previously mentioned television series, probably contains frequent depictions of youths hitting bolus after bolus of the popular amphetamine MDMA (3,4-Methylenedioxymethamphetamine), or ecstasy.
“Rather than being upset that Ben’s broken into his closed business, Dr. Horror Swanbergs him into starring in the new Lizardman sequel.”
- Joe Swanberg is an American independent film-maker whose films are often labelled “Mumblecore” or “hipster”. Some of his works are LOL (2006), Hannah Takes the Stairs (2007), Nights and Weekends (2008), Alexander the Last (2009), and the web-series Young American Bodies. How Joe Swanberg inveigles his actors is unknown to me, but he is known for depicting on-screen sexuality rather casually.
“Unfortunately, before Ben can Gerwig out for Dr. Horror, the entire cast of the General Mills Breakfast Brigade descends on the boy and is suddenly dawns on him that hey, wait a minute, slasher-style horror movies only serve to fuel misanthropic misogynistic angst on the part of the viewer by feeding into their basest fantasies borne out of social rejection.”
- Greta Gerwig is an actor, screenwriter, and frequent collaborator with Joe Swanberg. For example, they portrayed a long-distance couple together in Nights and Weekends. The “breakfast brigade” is probably the five General Mills breakfast cereals themed after classic horror movie monsters: Count Chocula, Frankenberry, Booberry, Fruit Brute, and Fruity Yummy Mummy. The latter two have been discontinued.
“She misses taxis. She misses her friends. She misses ‘Friends’.”
- Television series Friends.
Leave it be.”
- One of several mnemonics for identifying the uroshiol-producing poison ivy plant that populates large swathes of North America is “leaves of three: leave it be”.
“This is some threat, because I didn’t want to see The Mist for two hours, so I certainly wouldn’t want to be it for a year.”
- The 2007 adaptation of Stephen King’s The Mist, directed by Frank Darabont, covered an entire New England town in a strange mist. The mist brings with it a passel of perverse creatures, all of which prey on humans. The townspeople barricade themselves inside a supermarket and the standard apocalypse-survivalcharacter templates are brushed off and marched out.
“Only, turns out he wasn’t the spirit at all, as the dog then turns to Jenny and spookily intones, ‘Roll that ethereal being footage.’”
- A reference to a series of commercials for Bush’s Original Baked Beans. They feature the company-founder’s grandson Jay Bush and a talking retriever called Duke, whose catchphrase was “Roll that beautiful bean footage”.