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“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.

 “Poison Ivy
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”.

“Look Back in Languor”

- The 1958 film Look Back in Anger, starring Richard Burton as Jimmy Porter, was based on the successful John Osborne play of the same name. An example of British social realism, it is set in an uncomfortably changing English industrial town in the Midlands and focused on the complex relationships between Jimmy, his pregnant wife Alison, and their friends Helena and Cliff.    

Okay, this is the one where the kids go to a camp that’s run by a Wes Craven-type character.”

Wesley “Wes” Craven (b. 1939) is a movie director with a profuse catalogue of horror movies to his name. He is most known for his creation Freddy Krueger, from the Nightmare on Elm St. series, and the meta-referential Scream series. A few other notable credits include The Last House on the Left, The Hills Have EyesDeadly Friend (why not?), The Serpent and the Rainbow, Shocker, and the TV anthology series Nightmare Cafe.  

“I don’t remember a single thing about this one, either. Like, I can’t even picture the cover right now. Possibly this book doesn’t exist. Get Trump on the horn.”

- Donald Trump (b. 1946) is an American real estate developer and business personage, best known for being the breakout star of the reality TV series The Apprentice. He has been making increasingly earnest forays into political life since 2000, recently flaunting his name as a potential presidential candidate for 2012. He has been a vocal dissenter on the legitimacy of documentation on United States President Barack Obama’s early life.

“I think remembering this one is cheating since surely it’s a Jekyll and Hyde story?”

Probably not noted at the time of the entry, Jekyll and Heidi was a pun on Robert Louis Stevenson’s famous 1886 work The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. In the story, a lawyer friend of the respected and celebrated Dr. Henry Jekyll investigates the connection between him and a conscienceless murderer (memorably described as “Satan’s signature upon a face”) Edward Hyde. In Jekyll’s suicide note in the story’s closing pages, it is revealed that they were the same person: Hyde came from Jekyll’s experiments in bringing out and isolating his darker impulses from himself with a potion. He initially indulges in this and uses Hyde to release his suppressed urges.  As time went on, the characteristics and form of Hyde became dominant, leading Jekyll to kill himself to prevent becoming Hyde permanently.

“Drop Dead Fred was on the cover. Next.”

- The 1992 film Drop Dead Fred starred Rik Mayall as Fred, a manic, hyperactive imaginary friend who returns after many years to haunt his now-adult creator Lizzie.

“How is it that I can recall the Celery Stalks at Midnight, which I haven’t read in twenty-two years, but I can’t remember anything about this book I read a couple years ago?”

The Celery Stalks at Midnight was the third book in the Bunnicula series of children’s books and presumably a title parody of Goosebumps title The Scarecrow Walks at Midnight. In the series, a family adopts a fanged rabbit that they dub Bunnicula, and the family cat Chester becomes confident that the rabbit is a genuine vampire. Rounding out the cast is Harold the dog.

“So much so that I actually remember parts of it, with its time travel and card playing and Jumanjing. Glad I wisely resisted a My Sister Sam joke in this entry, that’s what I recall most fondly.”

- My Sister Sam was an American sitcom that ran from 1986 to 1988, starring Pam Dawber and Rebecca Schaeffer as the eponymous Sam.  Rebecca Schaeffer was murdered in 1989 by Robert John Bardo, a nineteen-year old stalker with a fixation on Schaeffer. His ease in obtaining a handgun (using his elder brother) and Schaeffer’s address from the DMV led to the passing of the Driver’s Privacy Protection Act in 1994. Name points out that that Troy was resisting a stalk-stelk joke in the original entry for Be Afraid – Be Very Afraid!

“She even torments him by mocking the fact that he still has to sleep in modified baby furnishings because his family can’t afford to upgrade his bedroom set. This is just adding insult to injury, though, as suffering through Tiny Furniture is certainly punishment enough already.”

Tiny Furniture is a 2010 semi-autobiographical independent film by auteur Lena Dunham, with a supporting cast of family members played by family members. Recent post-graduate Aura (Dunham) returns to New York City to live with her family after college, finding herself in a self-imposed rut. In the film, her mother, a successful artist, spends the film photographing dollhouse furniture and other tiny things in her atelier.

 

“Jason admires the new additions but finds himself uncomfortably drawn to the mirror, despite possessing neither a digital camera nor a MySpace account.”

- Myspace, previously mentioned. Profile pictures for social networking websites are notorious for being taken directly in front of a mirror or from the most flattering angle possible (with the help of the looking glass).

 

“They assure him that it’s a “scary” one, but Jason wisely opts out of watching Topaz.”

- Hitchock’s 1969 film Topaz, a Cold War espionage thriller, was ill-received by audiences. The plot involves a French intelligence operative’s family troubles; a defecting Soviet agent and his family; the eponymous Topaz; a spy ring inside the French secret service; and Cuban missile launch sites. From what I remember of Topaz, it was a bit of a disjointed affair that rapidly introduced characters and then dropped them just as abruptly.

Upon opening the door, a red-eyed creature leaps out at him, causing him to respond, “Oh no, not an esoteric representation of the impermeability of death in Thai culture! Turns out it’s just Sister Claudia Who Can Recall Her Past Halloween Costumes…”

- a reference to the 2010 film Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives. Boonmee, played by Thanapat Saisaymar, is visited by his wife’s spirit and his son (in the form of a red-eyed monkey) during his reminisces as he dies of renal failure.

“Fred reappears at school the next day, only, like Shirley MacLaine and Audrey Hepburn before him, he’s… different.”

- The tagline for the 1961 drama picture The Children’s Hour, starring MacLaine and Hepburn, was an insinuating “Different…” They starred as the heads of an all-girl boarding school whose professional and personal lives are ruined when they are falsely accused of lesbianism by a malicious student. It was directed by the prolific William Wyler and based on the successful play of the same name by Lillian Hellman.

 

“His sports abilities go from Lane to Kobe Bryant”

- Lane Bryant is a franchise retailer of plus-sized women’s clothing. It was established by one Lena Bryant in 1904 and given the misnomer by a banking clerk who switched the letters of her first name during paperwork. Kobe Bryant (b. 1978) is an accomplished NBA player for the Los Angeles Lakers. He has the current record for second-highest number of points scored in a single game (2006) and is consistently rated high in player rankings.

 

“And the rule of threes applies”

- Common and contrived folk legend asserts that tragedy comes in threes, usually the deaths of celebrities. Alternatively, the comedy and rhetoric technique by the same name also asserts that this number has the most impact or inherent humour of all the values. It’s just a big popularity contest. The Rule of Three was what I imagine the Gang of Four called themselves before Jiāng Qīng joined the group and it all cocked up.

“To be fair, maybe he though someone had brought a DVD copy of The Green Hornet into his room, which would certainly threaten the well-being of even the bravest among us.”

- The 2011 movie The Green Hornet is the latest superhero movie and latest incarnation of the 1930s-1940s radio and serial vigilante. It stars Seth Rogen as the Hornet and Jay Chou as the valet-bodyguard-superhero of malleable ethnicity Kato. The character was created by Fran Striker, also responsible for the Lone Ranger.

 

Late 90s Cultural References

Jason has some sweet WWF posters on his wall– it’s eventually revealed to be the wrestling one, but for a while there I was having fun picturing this kid bragging about having some kick-ass panda pix up in his room.”

The wrestling entertainment organisation WWE (World Wrestling Entertainment) was called the World Wrestling Federation during the 1980s and 90s. After a legal dispute with the environmental and conservational organisation World Wide Fund for Nature over use of the “WWF” initalism in 2000, it was changed to the current name. The World Wide Fund for Nature logo is a panda of cuddly contrasts.

 

“We’ve traced the bark, it’s coming from inside the mirror!”

The cold closing punchline, “the calls are coming from inside the house”, from the well-known urban legend about the babysitter who constantly receives threatening phonecalls. She calls the police, who stay on the line and prepare to trace the next call. After the next phase of threats, the officer frantically tells her, “Get out of the house! The calls are coming from upstairs!” The ending is usually left open to the imagination. The story and phrase have been used as a foundation for countless films and television shows, the most well known being the original versions of When a Stranger Calls and Black Christmas.

While visiting “HorrorLand”, keep an eye on your valuables, don’t leave your children unattended, and just… just stay away from the Bat Barn.

“I asked him to kindly return my pipe to the side table where he found it. He declined and attempted a poor René Magritte reference.”

- ‘The Treachery of Images’, one of surreal artist René Magritte’s most famous works, is simply an image of a pipe above the words “Ceci n’est pas une pipe.” (This is not a pipe.) Magritte more-or-less makes the comment that a representation of a subject is not the same thing as the subject itself. Magritte’s usual theme was re-appropriating ordinary, everyday sights and objects into visually disorienting places. See works like ‘Golconda, ‘Okapi’, ‘The Son of Man’ or ‘Personal Values’.

“(The patient then heaved pipe across the room. I later found it wedged between the leaves of one of my many office ficuses)”

- Small ficuses, otherwise known as fig trees, are common pot plants in offices.

“listing the dull things that he’s into, which are bland enough to double for the Facebook interests of anyone who graduated from state college with a business degree.”

- ubiquitously popular social networking website, founded in 2004 by four computer science students, the best known being Mark Zuckerberg.

Doctor: Is it possibly meant to be some sort of anorexia commentary? Patient: Bulimia maybe, because you’ll definitely want to throw up after a few pages of teethed-armpit-eating.”

- Anorexia nervosa and bulimia nervosa are common eating disorders. Both are associated with self-image obsessions and the conditions are often co-morbid with each other. Anorexia commonly involves withdrawal from and careful monitoring of food, overfrequent exercise, dining only in private, and denial of the condition. Bulimia is typically over-eating (“bingeing”) and then forced ejection through vomiting or consumption of laxatives (“purging”). Overexercising and fasting after the binge is also common.

Patient: …fend off the insects’ assault with high pitched singing. See, here’s where I’d make a reference to a musician with an unusual or unappealing voice. …Doctor: So, for instance, if you were to say that the two kids were anxious to thank Judy Holliday for coming to their rescue– Patient: Exactly. See, this stuff writes itself.”

- Actor-singer Judy Holliday (1921-1965) affected a squeaky, quavery Noo-Yorkah voice as Billie in Born Yesterday, winning an Academy Award for Best Actress.

“RL Stine loves non sequitur dream sequences like Tumblr users love Skins. Ack, see, I can’t stop!”

- UK drama series Skins (2007-) and its American-Canadian remake of the same name (2011-), set in teenage environments, warts and all, are presumably popular with the crowd of microblogging site Tumblr.

Patient: …And if that means that occasionally I have to do a self-indulgent meta entry, then so be it. Doctor: Well, would anyone even want to read that? Patient: Of course! There’s a reason why everyone’s favorite M. Night Shyamalan movie is Lady in the Water.”

- M. Night Shyamalan, probably previously noted, made the 2006 childish fantasy film Lady in the Water. Although his previous film, The Village, was also badly received, Lady in the Water really began his downward slide. Open acknowledgement of stock characters and fairytale tropes, the inclusion of a film critic character (who is then killed off), and his own expanded role as a messianic author were taken as self-indulgences.

Doctor: I snee mut you did mere.”

- The phrase “I see what you did there” has become one of the internet’s more popular shibboleths over the last few years.

I just parked in your garage while I went to go see Hanna across the street and didn’t realize that the theater didn’t validate parking. …Patient: Well, she shoots Cate Blanchett.”

- the 2011 black-ops action film Hanna stars Saoirse Ronan as the eponymous child super-soldier. Hanna is trained from birth to assassinate Cate Blanchett’s character, a task she accomplishes at the end.

“After our session ended, I sought out the rest of the story online, in the form of a Wikipedia entry on the novel.”

- Previously mentioned.

An update that will live in infirmary.

“’It feels like there’s a knife in my ears!’ Hey, enjoy the free WAVVES concert, kid.”

- The _____/_____ band WAVVES are a recently founded Seattle group who apparently have had concert performance troubles in the past, which led to the cancellation of their European tour. This is probably a reference to the incident, maybe it isn’t.

“his new brand of cartoonish offensiveness and contempt for the audience will be revolutionary, and O’James reminds him that the world already has one Sarah Silverman too many.”

- comedian Sarah Silverman’s most frequent topics are religion, race, and sex, typically addressed in a politically incorrect, inflammatory way.

“If only the Biblical warning against casting girls before Stine had been heeded.”

- in Matthew 7:6, part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus preaches “Give not that which is holy unto the dogs, neither cast ye your pearls before swine, lest they trample them under their feet, and turn again and rend you”. This is typically interpreted to refer to the giving of a gift or blessing to those incapable of appreciating it.

“Only this time it’s different, as he’s going to be a better man. Yeah, I’ve seen this Tyler Perry movie and it doesn’t end well (for the viewer, at least). Thankfully however, Slappy does not offer pandering relationship advice while dressed as an elderly black matron, but he does try his best to try his best.”

- Tyler Perry is a stage and film director, probably best known for also playing his comic relief character “Madea”, the elderly black matron described. The character usually has a cameo in most of his films. If a specific Tyler Perry film is being referenced and “being a better man” isn’t just a common theme in his movies, it would probably be I Can Do Bad All By Myself.

“Frailty, thy name is wooden.”

- paraphrasing of “Frailty, thy name is woman” from Hamlet, during a soliloquy by the title character. Being informed of the sudden remarriage of his mother and Claudius, he attributes her actions and attitude to the weakly diaphanous character of women.

“poor Mrs. Kramer’s daughter, Maggie, who is now confined to a wheelchair, and how much a ventriloquism show would cheer her up. With a subtlety befitting the family’s namesake, Stine takes a plotline featuring a character in a wheelchair pretty much exactly where you’d expect. Maggie gets pushed down a hill and hits a van.”

- Presumably a switcheroo from Kramer/Michael Richards of Seinfeld fame to celebrated movie director Stanley Kramer, almost universally known for pathos-ponderers On the Beach, Inherit the Wind, The Defiant Ones, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner, Ship of Fools, and Judgment at Nuremberg. Unless, of course, it’s a reference to Kramer’s It’s A Mad, Mad, Mad World, which has the same artful touch as what just happened in the book.

“Hey, I like watching some squirrels too… *image* ”

- in the Halloween-themed episode Introduction to Statistics, of American NBC comedy Community, the character Britta, weary of tarty Halloween costumes, attends as a squirrel.

“Uh, if I wanted to sit through a work of fiction celebrating an insufferable asshole, I’d watch As Good As It Gets, and I would not watch As Good As It Gets.”

- in As Good As It Gets, Jack Nicholson plays an obsessive compulsive writer who passes off his dickishness as a part of the disorder.

“Slappy then enters Stella’s room and is hit over the head with a metal baseball bat. I don’t really know much about sports, but now that’s what I call a Slam Dunk!”

- In the sport of baseball, this would be a huge faux pas! In basketball, more appropriate.

“Unfortunately the blurry photo looks like Slappy is at worst short-sheeting her bed.”

- probably already covered, short-sheeting is a boarding-school prank. The victim’s sheet is untucked at the foot of the bed and folded back on itself.

“Q: Why are you so bad?
A: Because I’m made of naughty pine!”

- A pun of “knotty pine, the tree.

“That’s so funny I forgot to Lagerstroemia.”

Lagerstroemia, or crape myrtle, is a plant that generally flowers best in warmer climates.

“He then throws a vat of spaghetti at her. That’s (something less than) amore.”

- a reference and general tempo match to popular Dean Martin track That’s Amore, which draws a parallel between love and Italian food.

But the Twist is
Slappy wakes up. He is greeted at the airport by Jimmy O’James, who has with him Slappy’s two children. Slappy spins the top on the kitchen counter and the book ends before the reader can discern whether it fell or kept spinning.”

- a reference to the ending of the Christopher Nolan film Inception, which ends more-or-less as elucidated here (on a kitchen table)

“Or would that screw up the next Mad Lib-crafted Slappy adventure?”

- See Madlibs, previously mentioned.

“Jessica Valenti Alert
Slappy attacks another female victim by telling her she’s “hisssstory.””

- Jessica Valenti, prominent feminist blogger, already mentioned.

“and/or grounds for a CSPI protest” - The Center for Science in the Public Interest is a consumer watchdog group that typically targets nutrition and health concerns; they are best known for their attacks on trans fats.

“But this Fur has no bangs to ease the bitter pill of its execution.” - The 2006 movie, Fur, a mostly-fictional account of the life of photographer-of-the-odd Diane Arbus, starred Nicole Kidman. Presumably, it’s a reference to a recurring element of Kidman’s hair style: a fringe on top.

“there is also an extended sequence involving a disguised character named Wolf that makes the List of Adrian Messenger look competent retroactively” - This 1968 flop film featured a variety of stars, like Frank Sinatra and Burt Lancaster, doing cameo appearances in heavy makeup for the sake of a marketing gimmick.

“an ending line that instructs the only sane response to and subsequent way to recover from the book: Curse bar.” - curse the book, recover at the bar.

“Guys and dolls, if you have any doubts as to how I feel about nearing that milestone via this book, allow me:

  • Ask me how do I feel
  • Ask me now that we’re nearing the ending
  • Well sir, all I can say is if I were a check you’d be paying
  • From the moment Stine killed tonight
  • That last hope I had for a save
  • Boy, if Goosebumps were dead I’d fight
  • To make it stay put in the grave
  • Ask me how do I feel, little me with my quip-happy blogging
  • Well sir, all I can say is if I weren’t great I’d be quitting!
  • And if I were this book I’d start stopping my reading
  • Or if I were Scholastic I’d know when to stop printing
  • Ask me how do I feel from this “Do Not Do” lesson I’m learning
  • Well sir, all I can say is if I were a bridge game I’d be folding!
  • Yes, I knew my morale wouldn’t last
  • From the woeful way the book looked!
  • Boy, if this were a meal I’d fast!
  • Only if I were a fish I’d be hooked!
  • Ask me how do I feel, ask me now that the moment is coming
  • When if I were Vegas I’d know there’s no payout for sucking
  • Ask me how to describe the whole damnable outlook
  • Well, if you were a car wash you’d cost five dollars, book.”

- A re-imagining of If I Were a Bell, from Guys and Dolls. For your edification, the original lyrics:

  • Ask me how do I feel
  • Ask me now that we’re cosy and clinging
  • Well sir, all I can say, is if I were a bell I’d be ringing!
  • From the moment we kissed tonight
  • That’s the way I’ve just gotta behave
  • Boy, if I were a lamp I’d light
  • And If I were a banner I’d wave!
  • Ask me how do I feel, little me with my quiet upbringing
  • Well sir, all I can say is if gate I’d be swinging!
  • And if I were a watch I’d start popping my springs!
  • Or if I were a bell I’d go ding dong, ding dong ding!
  • Ask me how do I feel from this chemistry lesson I’m learning.
  • Well sir, all I can say is if I were a bridge I’d be burning!
  • Yes, I knew my moral would crack
  • From the wonderful way that you looked!
  • Boy, if I were a duck I’d quack!
  • Or if I were a goose I’d be cooked!
  • Ask me how do I feel, ask me now that we’re fondly caressing
  • Well, if I were a salad I know I’d be splashing my dressing
  • Ask me how to describe this whole beautiful thing
  • Well, if I were a bell I’d go ding dong, ding dong ding!

There is a parade of puns in the latest entry, most of them car and ghost related. If you hate puns, skip this section: ‘cos Volks, wagen ‘til you hear these.

Mitchell is such a neutral when it comes to the automobiles

it’s the poor craftsman who blames his ghouls

still harbors his auto-erotic fixation

There’s little joy to be found in this ride

It’s haunted. Mitchell shows little apparition

Mitchell continues to go where the spirit moves him – specifically, the song Let the Spirit Move You, previously mentioned

This Ghostmusters – specifically, Ghostbusters, previously mentioned

I don’t know what he specter to do

when he returns from his phantasm voyage- specifically, Fantastic Voyage

He continues to take thing a shade too far

more of his father’s wraith

they simply can’t phantom what possessed their son

Praise be to ghost a bad thing – Psalm 147:1, “Praise you the Lord: for it is good to sing praises to our God”

“he once even mistakenly rented Separate Tables” – 1958 Terrance Rattigan film based on the play about two separate couples having problems at a seaside hotel. One of the stars of the movie version was Deborah Kerr.

“Mitchell and his brother get to ride in the flyest hoopty” ­­- “hoopty,” a kind of jalopy.

“the damp weather may hamper Todd’s plan of suggesting their father ghostride the whip”- both a pun and a joke in its own right, if you want to try  ghost-riding the whip for yourself,  leave the  car running in automatic on the street and then climb on top and start car surfing.

“Like most who experience a horrendous Crash”- 2004 Oscar-winning movie, probably previously mentioned, about racial, criminal, and drug tensions in Los Angeles and the characters in the various groups and how they relate to each other.

“the extra precautions are due to the bad neighborhood, but it’s not like the retiree doesn’t have the time to devote to Gran Torino-ing the ‘hood”- at the end of Gran Torino, Clint Eastwood’s character cleans up his gang-plagued neighbourhood by deliberately getting himself shot and killed by them in front of an entire crowd of witnesses.

“this time to buy some milk. But this brief trip does not do a body good.”- a mid-90’s campaign slogan for milk was “Milk does a body good.”

“Steve and Allan come to visit. I guess his friends Ed and Sullivan were unavailable”- Comedian, writer, talk-show host Steve Allen, and Ed Sullivan, ditto, both probably previously mentioned.

“Mitchell gets grounded for life and there’s no Uncle Eddie-style silver lining to the whole thing.”- one of the characters of the previously mentioned 2001  sitcom, Grounded for Life, was the stock sitcom character Uncle  Eddie, played by Kevin Corrigan.

“Yes. Yes it does.”- Based on the URL of the picture, it’s probably a reference to the professional opinionist  Matt Drudge, a conservative blogger and news reporter who’s gained some popularity/infamy in the last few years depending on how excited you can really get about political mud-slinging. Not knowing much about him outside of joke punchlines, it’s probably safe to assume the flashing lights and quote are his catchphrases?

“I thought it was already well-established that Mr. Douglas has a hard time letting go of things that happened in the past.” – link to the poster for the Kirk Douglas movie Detective Story. Unsure if this is a reference to his character in the film or his own opinion of his performance, but most likely the character, who broods on his childhood as a reason for becoming a cop and alienates his wife for her relationships prior to meeting him.

“they’re getting picked up to enchant sick Cousin Ella” – Ella Enchanted, previously mentioned.

“Ugly deady” – Ugly Betty, probably previously mentioned.

“With all the aggressive arm grabbing on display here, it felt a little bit like a child’s novelization of the Haunted Career.”- Martin Crandall, keyboardist for the Shins, has been dogged by various reports of domestic violence

“Oh cool
I’ve read Christine too.” –
One of Stephen King’s most well known stories, Christine, is the one about the possessed killer car.

“Know Your Audience Alert
Todd crosses his arms over his X-Files t-shirt and ominously proclaims that ‘The truth is out there.’”  –
Catchphrase from the mid-90’s tv show, The X-Files.

“Late 90s Cultural References
You Don’t Know Jack” –
not having a copy of the Haunted Car and having never played the game or seen the TV show You Don’t Know Jack, I can’t be sure if the book actually does reference it or if this is an elaborately constructed joke that I’m less of a person for not understanding.

“Oh man, Laffy Taffy time” – flavoured taffy candy sold by Nestle that have a  punderful variety of jokes written on the wrappers.

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