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Shout Out / Superjail!

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Within the 11 minutes of psychedelia and violence that play through an episode of Superjail!, you can also wind up finding several pop-culture references from decades past. While some may be immediately visible to viewers, others are tucked away as gags.

General References

  • The Twins wear outfits that are similar to the Sandman uniforms from Logan's Run. This reference was definitely intentional, as Stephen Warbrick liked the look of the uniform and the creators wanted to have the Twins have an obvious sort of '70s glam and sci-fi look to them.
  • The centaur-pegasus thing that the Warden sometimes is riding looks very similar to Mrs. Whatsit from A Wrinkle in Time. Christy Karacas confirms the resemblance.

Season One

  • In "Superbar", the Warden seems to sing a particularly off-key parody of "Love Shack" by the B-52's (titled "Party Bar"). A bumper before the original airing of the episode had stated that the creative team had planned to use the actual song, but could not clear the rights. The animatic reel on the season 1 DVD contains David Wain's original recorded dialogue where he could be heard singing the first few lines.
  • The Twins create Combaticus (from the episode of the same name) in a pod similar to Seth Brundle's matter transport pod. Combaticus' "commercial" shows him shattering someone's skull with a punch, just like the infamous scene from Riki-Oh: The Story of Ricky (incidentally a film set in a very violent prison).
    • Combaticus comes out to music not entirely unlike "Stone Cold" Steve Austin (of WWE)'s theme. Meanwhile, Specimen 7's theme references "Tubular Bells" (most notable for its usage in The Exorcist).
    • The ending music to the episode (at 0:52) references the song "Shenhua" from the video game Shenmue, done in a slightly different key and a few notes left out (and only referencing the first few seconds or so).
    • The Doctor forces an inmate to view images in a way almost reminiscent of A Clockwork Orange (although with much more torture involved).
    • One world that Jailbot chases the scorpion through in the jail features green parodies of the The Smurfs (1981), who are holding an inmate captive in a parody of Gulliver's Travels.
  • "Cold-Blooded": a number of prisoners are wearing Slipknot masks and two are painted up like the Insane Clown Posse; the psychopath brought to Superjail by mistake is based on Ed Gein. The episode also features both Andrew Wyeth's oft-parodied painting "Christina's World" as scenery and Wampas in Superjail's cellar.
  • "Don't Be a Negaton": in the space-dust induced hallucination, the Twins ride in a Yellow Submarine. The weird aesthetics of the Mushroom Samba are also reminiscent of the film.
  • "Terrorarium": Jared touches a drop of the liquid that makes things grow to a huge size, but he becomes instead green and over-muscled. He then begins a fistfight with Alice.
  • "Dream Machine" features a reference to Hitchcock's 1945 film Spellbound, as Warden travels through the dream world.
    • The basis for the dream organ was lifted from The 5,000 Fingers Of Dr. T. The headpiece that the Warden (and later the Twins) wears is also referenced from the film, although it's colored silver (as opposed to blue) and a lightbulb replaces the hand on top.
  • The Time Police (in the two-part season finale of the same name) were based on Cheap Trick's "Dream Police," with the helmets from Bubblegum Crisis.

Season Two

  • "Best Friends Forever" has a quick gag where an inmate resembling Wolverine from X-Men can be seen among the crowd of other inmates surrounding Jared.
    • Another background gag in the episode has Mayor McCheese, Grimace, and The Hamburglar (of McDonalds fame) appear on one of the surveillance TV screens as inmates at the jail.
  • "Mayhem Donor": There is a part where the Superjail staff and some of the inmates fight the giant spare body part abomination using a giant mecha which has a bunch of drills come out of it, ala Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann. An animator confirms the reference.
    • The Doctor's organ hivemind monster grabs and absorbs humans and objects in a similar way to Tetsuo's mutated form from AKIRA.
    • The inside of the Mechadrill has a split-screen view similar to Voltron as well as Super Sentai series (the likes of which Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers were based from).
    • The opening sequence also has a part where a giant heart monster can be seen stomping on miniaturized versions of Robert Smith (of "The Cure").
    • Another frame in the opening shows a parody of McDonald's called "MagDaggots", with maggots all feasting upon a rotting fox carcass.
  • "Lord Stingray Crash Party": Lord Stingray and the spec ops team trying to capture him are clearly a parody of Cobra Commander and G.I. Joe.
  • "Hot Chick": the premise of the episode, a shape-shifting alien hunter coming to Earth to find and kill a rare but dangerous species, is similar to the one of Critters.
    • In the Twins' false flashback, we can see a bird-like creature housed in a tree, referencing a similar creature in the film Fantastic Planet.
  • "Gay Wedding": the fight between the two gangs of gay inmates is a parody of West Side Story.
    • An "Outer World" in the opening features Raymond Scott composing sound on a keyboard, only for his machines to all explode on him.
    • A pop-art comic titled "Sir and Miss" that Jailbot and Jacknife travel through is meant to be a parody of Roy Lichtenstein's artwork (and the man in it appears to be a comic book version of Jacknife, of all people).
    • Within the flashback sequences, Jean and Paul are shown munching on a hot dog in a fashion similar to the spaghetti scene in Lady and the Tramp, complete with their lips touching and both looking bashful about it.
  • "Ghosts": There are a few Poltergeist references when Superjail becomes possessed, such as the Warden dreaming of ripping off his own face, being lifted and thrown across the walls and ceiling of the room by an invisible force, and being surrounded by corpses.
    • The whole trippy reincarnation climax of the episode features a reference to the cover of Pink Floyd's album "The Dark Side of the Moon".
    • There's an unusual one in the intro: at one point Jailbot passes what seems a rendition of Henry Fuseli's "The Nightmare".
  • "Jailbot 2.0": One of the discarded robots has a pixelated "face" that looks like the one of the Mooninites in Aqua Teen Hunger Force.
    • Richard Mather's "Sawboy Buck" character can be seen on Jailbot 2.0's screen at one point.
    • One "Outer World" features Andy Warhol, having painted a bunch of Jailbot faces on a canvas.
  • "The Budding of the Warbuxx" features a parody of The Lone Ranger, which Ash is a fan of. Rather than his Native American hero being Tonto, he's called "Potawatomi" (after the tribe of the Mississippi River region).
    • There's also the Doctor's Randy Savage-themed bong that he uses to smoke the Warbuxx crystals with. Considering the episode's airdate wound up falling two days after the "Macho Man"'s death, it became a somewhat morbid shout out.
  • "Superjail Grand Prix" is a Homage to Wacky Races, with a couple possible nods to Cars.
  • "Vacation" has a blink-and-you'll-miss reference to Alice Cooper's album cover for "Muscle of Love". If you look at the poses of some of the inmates partying on the ship, they're mimicking the poses of the band members.

Season Three

  • Alice and Mistress's sex montage in the climax of "Stingstress" references Vince Collins' '82 short film "Malice in Wonderland".
    • One of the "Outer Worlds" that Nova and the female Jacknife pass through is a session of the game Pong.
  • "Uh-Oh, It's Magic": the ventriloquist puppet that came alive rotates its head 360° and pukes green goop, a reference to Regan in The Exorcist. Also, the episode title and premise are similar to the film Magic, about a stage magician/ventriloquist that becomes a slave to his puppet.
    • Part of the magic-themed bloodbath sequence involves the Warden and Jared suddenly appearing in white and purple striped jumpsuits with their chests bared, ala Siegfried and Roy.
  • "Sticky Discharge": Paul is seen reading his favorite vampire romance novel, Moonlight (in his fantasy of what he'd do when he gets back home).
    • The Warden's eyeball-shaped craft also has several workers that are modeled after The Residents. They reappear in "Burn Stoolie Burn".
    • Jean and Paul attempt to respectively roleplay Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara from Gone with the Wind, although Jean botches his linenote  and refuses to play along.
      • In the climax of the episode, Jean also paraphrases Rhett's line "I want to see if somewhere there isn't something left in life of charm and grace.", with it slightly altered to be "I want to see if there is someone in this world left with charm and grace". Paul then answers, as Scarlett had, with "No! I only know that I love you!"
    • One of Paul's personal belongings given back to him for his release (and which he wears throughout the climax of the episode) is a red-and-black vinyl jacket from Michael Jackson's music video for Thriller. Alice even says "Let's beat it", after Paul puts it back on.
  • In "Special Needs", Alice's montage of flashbacks to her pre-Superjail life includes her brutally beating up an Expy of Jem in a bar.
    • One of the "Outer Worlds" that Jailbot takes Jacknife through features a bunch of Playboy bunnies hopping around on pogo sticks.
  • You'd be hard-pressed to name a video game that goes unhomaged in "The Trouble with Triples". In the first minute alone we get spoofs of Pac-Man, Snake and Q*bert.
    • The title also references the Star Trek episode "The Trouble with Tribbles". Although said reference was lost in some listings, as other crew members, iTunes, and Adult Swim used their own variations on it ("Troubles with Triples", "Troubles with Triplets"). The liner notes in the season 3 DVD list the intended title by the writer.
    • Fantastic Planet is visually referenced yet again in the false world that the Twins create with their illusions, along with taking some influence from the artist Moebius.
      • The ending theme to the episode is also a rearrangement of Deshominisation, one of the BGM pieces in the film.
    • An Ohm from NausicaƤ of the Valley of the Wind is seen on the planet that the Triplets invade to kill/capture creatures. This was more apparent in Elliot Byrne's original background layout for the episode, while the Ohm was moved further off-screen in the finished product.
    • Although their shape is different, the overall color scheme and robot-like behavior of the Triplets' drone aliens seem to evoke the Machine Men from the film Gandahar. The aliens that the Triplets are shown invading resemble some of the mutant aliens shown in the film as well, down to the multiple breasts.
    • Though unused in the actual episode, one of the members of the art team made a layout of Jared, colored to resemble Cyclops from X-Men.
    • One "Outer World" features Regan (of The Exorcist) vomiting at the viewers, as demons fly about.
  • The intro to "Nightshift" features a quick scene of a pony getting its cutie mark.
    • The same episode features ponies in a quick hallucination sequence.
    • Another "Outer World" in the intro features Evel Knievel leaping over a buffet bar and through a flaming hoop.
  • "Planet Radio" begins with "Goooood Mooorning Superjail!" and goes on to spoof MTV (especially the classic '80s bumpers), Cats, talk shows and children's programmes a la Sesame Street among other things.
    • The Jacknife opening has a quick shot where an actor playing Superman is electrocuted, then reduced to a bloody mess after his cape causes him to get sucked through a high-powered fan.
    • Adam Savage and Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters can be seen depicted as inmates, in the scene taking place in Superjail's surveillance room.
  • "Burn Stoolie Burn": the Superhell below Superjail is populated by creatures directly based on Hieronymus Bosch's paintings, but with the Warden's color scheme and details such as bowtie and top hat. And don't forget the Warden's Iron Man-esque power armor (which the creators pointed out in an interview before the episode aired).

Season Four

  • One episode has the Doctor show a blackboard with a diagram labeled "Inmate Centipede". It looks almost tame compared to other experiments of his...
    • It's especially interesting since the third Human Centipede film is said to have a centipede made of prison inmates.
  • "Last Pack" has the following claim for the Toque King cigarettes: "So smooth, it's almost criminal!"