Follow TV Tropes

Following

Shout Out / The Middleman

Go To

The Pilot Episode Sanction

  • Wendy refers to the monster that attacks her in the cold open as a "hentai tentacle monster."
  • When asked by the Middleman if she reads comics, Wendy first says that she thinks Jughead "is a real hoot." When the Middleman doesn't respond, she name-drops Powers, Astro City, Fell, The Spirit, Mouse Guard, X-Men, and the The Flash. The Middleman asks if she's referring to Barry Allen or Wally West.
    • Wendy specifically states that she prefers "old school" X-Men, "not Ultimate."
  • Wendy refers to the super-intelligent ape as "Gorilla Grodd," a super-intelligent gorilla who serves as a DC supervillain.
  • Wendy tells one of the mind-controlled gorillas to "get [its] hands off [her], you damn dirty ape."
  • Advertisement:
  • At the end of the episode, Wendy refers to The Joker's nickname for Batman Sidekick Robin, "The Boy Hostage."
  • When Wendy imagines joining the Middleman, she daydreams that the two of them participate in a shot-for-shot black-and-white remake of the opening credits of the Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg seasons of The Avengers.
  • The "escaped" gorilla, Spanky, is obsessed with gangster media:
    • The Godfather:
      • When Wendy thinks that Spanky has died, she says that he "sleeps with the fishes."
      • The Middleman interrogates a henchman outside of the Andolini Social Club, which is named after The Godfather himself, Vito Andolini Corleone.
      • Spanky wears a tracksuit and at one point says "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in," a line from the third film in the series.
    • Spanky says "Say hello to my little friend!", a line from Scarface (1983).
    • Wendy asks the gorilla scientist how Spanky managed to acquire a home video release of The Sopranos.
  • Advertisement:
  • When Wendy and Noser are playing Noser's musical reference game, she mentions Duran Duran's "hungry Like the Wolf," Bruce Springsteen's "Hungry Heart," "Hungry Eyes" by Eric Carmen, the theme song from the Shaft films, and The Commodores's "Brick House."
  • Wendy refers to Ida as "Yoda" after a series of strange aptitude tests. After learning that Ida is a robot, she calls her "Rosie" and "Ida the Prune-Faced Android," a reference to Marvin the Paranoid Android.
  • When Wendy and the Middleman first see the mind-controlled apes, one of them is shown quoting Auric Goldfinger from the titular villain's ''James Bond" film. Which turns out to be foreshadowing as to who the real bad guys are.

Advertisement:

The Accidental Occidental Conception

  • Several to Dune:
    • Wendy and the Middleman find Duncan (named for Dune's Duncan Idaho) at Frank Herbert Junior High School. They later take him to his home at 1965 Caladan Lane (Caladan is the home planet of the Atreides family in Dune, and 1965 was the publication year of the novel).
    • The Middleman and Wendy use the aliases "Kynes and Rabban."
    • Roxy tells Lacey to send "fifty daffodils to Shaddam at the House of Corrino," a reference to the universal emperor of Dune, Shaddam Corrino IV.
  • When the earth elemental reforms his body after being blasted by the Middleman, Wendy states that there are "way too many copies of Terminator out there."
    • Later, Duncan tells his family that the Middleman "went T2" on the warrior's ass.
  • When Duncan asks what Wendy's relationship is to the Middleman, she asks him if he knows who Robin is.
  • A Salman Rushdie novel is featured prominently on the shelf behind the Middleman when meeting Duncan's family.
  • Upon meeting Roxy Wasserman, a reformed succubus who runs a fashion studio that functions as a halfway house for other reformed succubi, Wendy notes that the Devil actually does wear Prada."
  • Roxy lambasts her assistants by saying that three models on a shoot look like the girls from Robert Palmer's "Addicted to Love" video.
  • Roxy fires her assistant, Betty, possibly a reference to Ugly Betty.
  • After Roxy provides exposition about the earth elemental that is the antagonist of the episode, Wendy refers to him as the "Magneto of mud."
  • The Middleman references a mixtape that was given to him by a female classmate. He claims that he was distracted on the football field by "that haunting Bryan Adams song" from Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, referring to Award-Bait Song "(Everything I Do) I Do It For You."
  • There are two plays on Wendy Watson's name in this episode:
    • The Middleman, referencing the earth elemental, says "Elemental, my dear Watson."
    • The Middleman later says "Watson, I need you," a reference to the first phrase uttered over the telephone by Alexander Graham Bell.
  • Two of the Middleman's Goshdang It To Heck euphemisms in this episode reference older works: "The Grapes of Wrath!" and "The Guns of Navarone!"
  • Noser's musical reference word game appears again. Wendy does not play along, but Noser asks her "So whaddya gonna do with the Light Fandango?", a reference to "A Whiter Shade of Pale" by ProcolHarum.
  • Wendy calls Ida "Threepio."

The Sino-Mexican Revelation

The Manicoid Teleportation Conundrum

  • The fact that Dr. Gil is kidnapping and hunting the Manicoids at Kirk's Rock is probably a reference to The Most Dangerous Game.
  • Dr. Gill is a parody of Dr. Phil.
  • Back to the Future (thankfully all of them annotated here)
    • The Rendezvous Point is located at Lyon Estates. Lyon Estates is a subdivision where Marty and Jennifer live in the future.
    • Wendy discovers that the bomb is located at Twin Pines Mall. This is the mall that Doc Brown first performed his time travel experiment. It is also where Doc Brown explains to Marty that the plutonium he obtained from the libyans was meant to be turned into a nuclear bomb.
    • Ida gives the address of one of the victims as being on Eastwood Ravine drive. After going back in time to 1885, Marty inadvertently changes events such that Shonash Ravine is renamed Eastwood Ravine instead of Clayton Ravine.
    • The station where Dr. Gill works at has a call sign of KBTTF. Television station call signs typically begin with a K when they are west of the Mississippi River, and BTTF is the commonly used acronym for Back To The Future.
    • Several aliases are used which are all references to Back to the Future characters, including Doctor Emmett Brown, Buford Tannen, Clara Clayton, and Agent Strictland.
  • Wendy asks "Where in Carmen Sandiego is Kamchatka?"
  • Wendy also lets loose with a "Yippee Ki Yay [bleeped expletive]" in the first of the series's many, many Die Hard references.

The Flying Fish Zombification

  • This episode contains numerous references to the '60s British rock band The Zombies:
    • Wendy and the Middleman are alerted to the problem when a man is attacked by his zombified wife. His name is Rod Argent; Rod Argent was a member of The Zombies who played piano, organ, keyboard, mellotron, backing and lead vocals, and harmonica (1962-1968, 1997).
    • The heroes investigate the Beechwood Park RV Park, where Wendy fights off and kills a Peruvian Flying Pike. "Beechwood Park" was a track on the album Odessey And Oracle, released in 1967 in the UK and 1968 in the US.
    • Speaking of, the heroes track the source of the infection to the Odessey And Oracle Fish Hatchery, where they discover tanks full of pike, along with several goons preparing a shipment for a mysterious Mr. White. Chris White was also a member of The Zombies: bass, backing and lead vocals (1962-1968, 1997).
    • There are mentions of the Grundy Fish Market (named for drummer Hugh Grundy) and Atkinson Insane Asylum (named for guitarist Paul Atkinson).
    • Wendy uses the alias Ms. Blunstone of the "Time of the Season" life insurance company; this is a reference to both Colin Blunstone, lead vocalist for The Zombies (1990-1991, 2001-Present), and The Zombies' biggest American hit "Time of the Season."
  • Dr. Barbara Thornfield M.D. Ph.D. is unable to attend the Art Crawl because she is called away by Henry Kissinger.
  • The name of the energy drink that is turning people into trout-craving zombies, !!!!, is “pronounced” by stomping feet, flashing palms, and grinning. This may be a reference to post-punk Sacramento indie band !!!, whose name is pronounced "chk chk chk" (/tʃk.tʃk.tʃk/).

The Boyband Superfan Interrogation

The Cursed Tuba Contingency

The Ectoplasmic Panhellenic Investigation

  • This episode contains multiple references to Ghostbusters (1984):
    • Middleman describes spectral events including the walls bleeding, which is mentioned in the mayor's office as happening to the 53rd Precinct
    • The sorority house is at 55 Ray Parker, Jr. Ave. Ray Parker, Jr. is the musician who performed the theme song for the movie, while the final battle against Gozer (and Dana Barrett's apartment) were at 55 Central Park West.
    • The sorority is located at Reitman University, named after director/producer Ivan Reitman
    • Wendy and the Middleman introduce themselves to a campus security officer as Doctors Stantz and Zeddemore
    • The fraternity pledge describes the ghost saying "I don't know if she had legs, but she definitely had arms because she reached for me," quoting the librarian who encountered the library ghost at the beginning of the movie.
    • The fraternity pledge's name is Louis, possibly referencing Louis Tully.
    • Wendy and MM use the codenames Gatekeeper and Keymaster
    • Wendy uses a PKE meter to check for ghosts
    • Eleanor is possibly named after the Library Ghost (Eleanor Twitty), received the Egon Spengler Memorial Award for Excellence in Physics and was shortlisted for the "Ivo Shandor Medal" — named after the (fictional) architect of the 55 Central Park West building.
    • Wendy has to trigger a total protonic reversal to return everyone to their bodies
  • Wendy quotes Obi-Wan's "wretched hive of scum and villainy" line to describe the sorority party
  • Wendy exclaims "Holy Wachowski Brothers" when she sees the physics girls plugged into the machine

The Obsolescent Cryogenic Meltdown

The Vampiric Puppet Lamentation

The Clotharian Contamination Protocol

The Palindrome Reversal Palindrome

The Doomsday Armageddon Apocalypse (unfilmed)

Top

How well does it match the trope?

Example of:

/

Media sources:

/

Report