A reference so obscure only YOU got it?

A lot of the references are for everyone. Or for the well-read. Or the cinephiles. But it feels like some are just so specific or peculiar they must’ve been meant just for…you?

Has this happened to you too?

I’m watching “Beginning of the End”—a giant grasshoppers eat Chicago type deal starring Peter Graves…and the SOL guys offhandedly mention Pottawatomie Park. That park is in St. Charles, IL and we used to snow sled there back when I was a kid (back in the 1900s). Great sledding hills.

It hit me like a brick. I’m like, what dark sorcery is this!? Are they listening to me?


I don’t get any of the references :< except the s11 ones about bojack horseman but I don’t care for those


One of my favorite erudite jokes was from Cave Dwellers when one of the characters says something to the effect of “Man’s destiny is predetermined” and Joel chimes in “Oh, he’s a Calvinist!” While I’m sure plenty of people got that one, you can’t really go wrong with a good philosophy joke.

Then you’ve got lines like “Otto Preminger flees the scene!” from The Human Duplicators, which was pretty obscure in the 90’s but is really obscure now, unless you’ve been to film school or are an arthouse cinema buff.

And also the really specific regional references. One that crops up occasionally is whenever someone’s walking through what looks like a parking structure and someone comments “remember, we’re parked in the Giraffe Lot.” Unless I’m mistaken and there’s some similarly named place in Minnesota, this is a reference to parking at the Philadelphia Zoo. It’s one of those jokes that’s pretty easy to pick up the general gist of even if you’ve never been there, but is probably funnier for those people who have.


I mentioned this in another thread, but I think it’s quasi-applicable and it’s in the same experiment that you mention - Beginning Of The End.

At the end, Mike and the 'bots are mocking the effect of having real grasshoppers crawl over pictures using postcards. One of the postcards is of a very small down about a mile away from the very small town in which I grew up.


I always appreciated the obscure music references, like the reference to Domenico Scarlatti in Village of the Giants, or the spontaneous attempts at recreating György Ligeti’s Kyrie, the second movement from his Requiem, any time something monolithic appeared on screen. The Kyrie sequence was used as the monolith theme in Kubrick’s movie, 2001. Also, random references to Koyaanisqatsi, both Phillip Glass’ music and Godfrey Reggio’s film. The film is mesmerizing to watch. There’s even a reversed version. I actually like some (not all) of Glass’ music, like his string quartets and some of his keyboard compositions.


One of the Joel episodes, he refers to the Mads as “Aunt Dan and Lemon.” The first time I saw said episode was maybe like a month after the theater department at my college had put on…Aunt Dan and Lemon.

I felt really super erudite and cultured.


jacques tati

I felt this way about Catalina Caper’s “The Jacques Tati of the boating world” / “Monsieur Hulot in Catalina” references.

See also: Reptilicus’s “Oh, this is a Jacques Tati bit” reference.


Ah, Catalina Caper:

Meanwhile, in the dark impenetrable void, Jean-Paul Sartre was a-movin’ and a-groovin’.


Gah, I can-NOT remember which ep this was…I think it was Beginning of the End? B&W, sci-fi, monster? About halfway through the ‘military’ shows up, and they show 5 or 6 guys in WWII surplus coming up over the hill. Then I think it’s Crow who says, “We’re the cast of Combat! and we’re here to help!” I lost my crap because Combat! is my second favorite show of all time and finding fan references (or even fans) of it on the ground is a rare thing.

In a similar vein, the riff “Rat Patrol, in color!” has turned up in a few eps, most recently Reptilicus. Same deal!


Pretty much any time Trace did his Dennis Miller impression, with the one I remember best being in The Magic Voyage of Sinbad - “You had to sail the seven flippin’ seas to figure that out, cha-cha?”


I had a bit of a reverse experience watching Rifftrax’s Birdemic. When weird-walking Rob and his Victoria’s Secret model girlfriend go to the Half Moon Bay Pumpkin festival, the riffers make fun of it like it’s the rinky-dinkiest hick little thing in the world that a rich Silicon Valley guy would never go to. And yes it’s very hick but it’s also a HUGE event that thousands of people attend, including many rich Silicon Valley people, and to anyone in the area would be a perfectly reasonable place for a nice daytime date. So it was like the guys “didn’t get” the festival which was kind of funny to me. In fact the whole movie was rendered slightly less horrible by at least recognizing most of the locations :grin:

Mind you I’ve never been to the HMB Pumpkin Festival because I don’t want to sit in traffic for three hours. As Yogi Berra said, nobody goes there anymore, it’s too crowded.


The Starfighters
Not an “only I got it” reference, but I doubt too many people did. My brother and sister had summer jobs detasseling corn when they were teenagers1. It never seemed worthy of being a plot point2 in a feature film2 to me, but what do I know?

1I was too young/too short at the time, so I walked beans instead. If you know, you know.

2These terms are used very lightly.


Forgot about that. Worst summer job I ever had in DeKalb, Illinois and that includes painting fences and cleaning horse stalls. But I did manage to graduate NIU without any debt, so I guess it was worth it


There’s a Schoenberg riff in RiffTrax Crater Lake Monster that slays me every time.


Obscurity is relative, and for a fellow art student who took art history classes, these might not be obscure at all.

But the quips in show #1203 referencing neo-Dadaist Robert Rauschenberg, and #1204 with its nod to ‘brutalism’ hit me where I live, and they’re not something you hear in every day comedy, TV sitcoms and the like. So that makes it extra special and MST distinct.

Add in (the not obscure) Dali line from #1204 and I’m wondering who the lover of art or art student is on the writting staff?


There are no coincidences…


I think it makes the show more accessible for a wide audience. The references to neo-Dadaist Robert Rauschenberg are for you…and I laugh and clap my hands for the boob jokes.

Something for everyone.


Totally! Debt is for chumps.

Corn detasseling. What is?


Sometimes I look stuff up on my phone while I’m watching so I can “get it.”

It’s fun watching with my wife because she get some of the jokes that go over my head and she can splain ‘em to me.


That’s funny. James Nguyen didn’t quite do it justice then.

The guys go after Birdemic pretty hard and the riffing is extra hilarious. But it does feel a little like they’re punching down. The whole movie was made for whatever he could put on his credit card. It’s kinda like they’re riffing a junior high school play. But it’s sooo tragically bad, it’s hard not to laugh. Have you seen the YouTube documentary?

It’s different when an actual studio churns out some warm garbage. That’s fair game.