a guide to the pop culture references in "the paradoxically festive mortality"

- "higbee's department store" is an homage to bob clark's film of jean shepherd's "a christmas story."

- the middlejetpack was first seen in the "middleman in africa" chapter of the middleman graphic novel "the third volume inevitability - illustrated by the amazing les mcclaine.

- "guy goddard" and "fleming's commander jamaica rum" are both callbacks to the character played by kevin sorbo in the spy-themed middleman episode "the obsolescent cryogenic meltdown. "commander jamaica" was the original title of ian fleming's james bond novel "dr. no."

- the "30-megahurt definit-kil photrazon cannon" was famously featured in douglas adams's "the hitch-hiker's guite to the galaxy."

- "ferrets of fury" is my goof on "angry birds." the "gummi bears" cartoon - and its theme song - are real.

- davis is the canonical maiden name of james tiberius kirk's mother winona across the many incarnations of star trek.

- the paragraph introducing khan noonien singh is a bowdlerization of the original series episode "space seed" and the films "the wrath of khan" and "the search for spock."

- the paragraph introducing gary mitchell is an encapsulation of the original series episode "where no man has gone before."

- in other news, summarizing the lives of even the most minor of star trek characters reminds me of that old monty python sketch set at a "summarizing proust competition."

- the crew of the enterprise famously used a slingshot around the sun to go back in time in the film "the voyage home."

- "chronometric particles" is an homage to the star trek film "first contact," and "psycho-kinetic energy" is a term from "ghostbusters."

- "the big green cheese" is an homage to the nickname given to captain marvel by his arch-nemesis, doctor thaddeus bodog sivana, "the big red cheese."

- "kaiju" is a japanese term for "giant monster," "kawaii" is the same for that same popular culture's predilection for hypercute, stylized characters and objects.

- "sons of anarchy" is a reference to the popular fx drama about outlaw bikers - though it is unlikely that the middleman would favor such violent fare.

- "you'll put your eye out, kid" is another reference to "a christmas story."

- "oh, the humanity" was the famous cry of despair heaved by a radio announcer upon witnessing the destruction of the hindenburg.

- stuntmen "mike," "bob," and "zoe" are an homage to the tarantino grindhouse flick "death proof."

- the history channel is a basic cable network famous for having more shows about things like ducks, truckers, and lumberjacks than...you know...history.

- "pineapple express" is a reference to a recent seth rogen/james franco stoner comedy.

- "jolly fats wehawkin" is a name taken from the jerry lewis film "cracking up."

- "pink-skinned normal" is a common derogatory used by members of the church of the sub genius to refer to "ordinary people."

- the last heir of the qin dynasty was a character in the middleman episode "the accidental occidental conception." the next two lines are in homage to harry potter and "the matrix."

- "mona lisa overdrive" is the title of the second book in william gibson's seminal cyberpunk trilogy that began with "neuromancer" and ended with "count zero."

- "corinthian leather" is a quote from a famous chrysler car commercial featuring celebrity pitchman ricardo montalban - who invented, perfected and slam-dunked the role of khan. khary mingh's language is peppered throughout with paraphrases from this commercial.

- gene roddenberry was, in fact, involved in a plane crash in the syrian desert as a young commercial pilot soon after his stint as a b-17 aviator in world war 2. he conducted himself heroically and was awarded a medal for his stewardship of the survivors.

- "you are in a position to demand nothing" is a quote from "the wrath of khan."

- the nexus - and kirk's equestrian ranch/love nest were featured in the star trek film "generations."

- in "where no man has gone before" gary mitchell famously threatened Captain Kirk with an open grave featuring a headstone engraved with his name.

- laura mulvey is a prominent cultural critic/feminist philosopher whose work on defining "the male gaze" in cinema seemed appropriate here, considering how much watching khary ming wants his victims to do.

- uri geller was an infamous psychic who came to prominence through books and talk show appearances in the 1970's. he claimed to be able to bend spoons with his mind - which in hindsight, is kind of a piss-poor mutant ability.

- asbestos seems to be a very popular building material with O2STK - one of the middlesubs is also coated with the stuff (as seen in the series episode "the obsolescent cryogenic meltdown).

- "there's a storm that's threatening my very life today" is the opening line of the rolling stones song "gimme shelter."

- shout! factory is the producer of the middleman dvd sets - now available through amazon.com!

- the "phynberg oscillating framizam" and the "irvingoscope" were both place-holder names used by classic-series star trek writers when they did not have the time to research a technical name for a device used on board the enterprise. they are named after the show's propmaster irving feinberg. i know this because i wrote a paper in the ninth grade about the making of star trek. in other news, i'm a fucking geek.

- the scramble suit was an identity-concealing gizmo in philip k. dick's novel "a scanner darkly."

- the heydar is an homage to the middleman series online editor heydar adel. nice guy.

- in the film "deep impact" nasa tried to stop a comet from hitting earth by shooting a flight of titan missiles at it. the missiles failed and tea leoni almost had to go to the ark while frodo outran a tsunami in a dirt bike. it's better than it sounds.

- "fools, i will destroy you all" was a villain catch-phrase pitched by middleman editor raul davalos as a potential second season replacement for the first season catchphrase "my plan is sheer elegance in its simplicity."

- the baobab trees ravaging a small asteroid are my tip of the hat to one of my favorite books, "the little prince" by antoine de st. exupery.

- the shai hulud is a reference to the king sand worm in frank herbert's novel "dune."

- "ents of middle earth!" is a reference to the tree creatures featured in "the lord of the rings."

- "no, you cannot get away" is one of khan's last lines from "the wrath of khan."

- "clarence" was revealed as the middleman's real name in the canonical graphic novel "the doomsday armageddon apocalypse," co-written by hans beimler and illustrated by armando zanker.

- code 47 is a last resort communication sent by the middlewatch in the event of a middleman's death to a member of his/her next of kin. it was introduced in the middleman episode "the clotharian contamination protocol."

- "infinite diversity in infinite combinations" is the vulcan philisophy of tolerance and good will. i also suspect gene roddenberry intended it as a statement on the sexual revolution, but don't quote me. the vulcan symbol is canonically referred to as the IDIC after this concept. in other news, really, i'm a fucking geek.

- "welcome to the machine" refers to a pink floyd song from the album "wish you were here." this song was widely used in "laser floyd" laserium shows beloved by toking college students everywhere.

- the enterpise of the next generation series is a galaxy class starship. the original enterprise was a constitution class ship, the refit from the films was occasionally called the enterprise class (but really, it was still a constitution) the enterprise b was an excelsior class ship with the boat-prow variant main hull, the c was an ambassador class and the e was a sovereign class. i don't consider the jonathan archer nx-1 enterprise to be canon. shoot me.

- "brains of braga!" is a reference to brannon braga, who co-created several star trek series and was known for his labyrinthine mind-screw plots.

- technically, galaxy-class ships were not fitted with quantum torpedoes, a weapon that seemed unique to the defiant class light assault vehicles in ds9, but since this ship may be a middle variant of the galaxy class, i figured what the hey.

- "what about me?" was a common cry among victims in the middleman series.

- the canonicity of the star wars expanded universe is so heavily debated that i often wonder if any it ever happened at all - not just fictionally, but, like, i wonder if the novels even came out at all...that much said, i truly enjoyed the series of books detailing the yuuzhan vong invasion of known space, even though many fans cite it as a low point in the franchise's history.

- pip's epic monologue "hey, mister god" was first heard in the middleman episode "the flying fish zombification."

- jamie - the nag champa-stinkin' resident goth was created by middlewriter andy reaser for the episode "the vampiric puppet lamentation."

- "all was right with the world" is jean shepherd's catch phrase, often heard in the film "a christmas story," and is as good a way to cap the middleman and wendy's christmas adventures as any!
  • Current Mood
    indescribable indescribable

A Christmas Card From The Middleman - 2012


STARDATE 1212.23


In the past twelve months, The Middleman had gotten used to the feeling of utter, unadulterated and - frankly - de-goshdarn-lightful pride at the progress of his young apprentice. Without fail, the art student who had come under his tutelage a snarky, vinegar-veined quipper had turned into a reliable - if sometimes idiosyncratic - Middleman-to-be. Today was no exception - even if its events were causing him to suck air in a mad canter toward The Middlemobile, where - at the beck and call of a signal from his Middlewatch - the trunk would soon pop open to grant him access to the seldom-used-but-always-at-the-ready Middlejetpack.

The Middleman disliked the Middlejetpack: an archaic contraption harkening back to the days when former Middleman Guy Goddard - his sexual promiscuity as overt as his appetite for vehicular carnage in exotic locales - rode the thing in a green smoking jacket with a Beretta in one hand and a highball of Fleming's Commander Jamaica Rum in the other...but desperate times called for desperate measures, and flingety-flangety-foom, this time was more desperate than a Portland vegan at a Texas barbecue.


In the past twelve months, Wendy Watson had honed the cool and sardonic demeanor that first got her this job into a weapon as powerful as a 30-Megahurt Definit-Kil Photrazon cannon. Even now, as she made an uncontrolled ascent over the city, hands white-knuckling one of the control lines of a massive helium balloon in the shape of one of the adorable characters from "Ferrets of Fury" - the almost criminally popular game app that had taken the country's tablet and smartphone users by storm - her thoughts ricocheted with their usual post-modern tangentiality...but even as her mind ameliorated all the synaptic red alerts over her current predicament by busily trying to replace the lyric "high adventure beyond compare" from the theme to the old "Gummi Bears" cartoon show with the more descriptive "they're gelatinous with sucrose to spare" she truly could not tune out the screams of the fourteen year-old boy clutched beside her in the inflatable paws of this once adorable video game creation turned hateful harbinger of helium-filled hatred.

Wendy disliked it when the people targeted by the many villains she and The Middleman were tasked with neutralizing blew their Huggies in the face of danger, but even she had to cut this kid some slack: not only had he been put in the crosshairs by a time-traveling superbeing from three hundred years in an alternate future, he had also seen his first day volunteering at the Higbee's Department Store Christmas Parade turn into a Grand Guignol of mayhem at the hands of a hundred foot long inflatable ferret. Also, he'd grown up with the incredibly misguided name "Tiberius Davis." Poor kid, his parents really should have shown him mercy.

Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    ecstatic ecstatic

a guide to the pop culture references in “thew timey-wimey, wibbly-wobbly, jiggery-pokery”

- “jiggery-pokery” is my homage to the ninth doctor.

- “the big green cheese” is my homage to doctor thaddeus bodog sivana’s insultiing monicker for captain marvel: “the big red cheese”.

- the “vitrioplasmic consciousness” is my homage to both the "nestene consciousness" (seen in and both the third the ninth doctor's first appearances) and the tasha yar- murderin' "skin of evil" from “star trek: the next generation".

- the middleman series established that wendy’s aunt margarita LOVES miguel bose. i’m with her on that.

- the cinderellica is my homage to the matt smith episode “the pandorica opens”.

- kanimang kang was established in the middleman comics as the middleman’s arch-nemesis (and manservant neville as his perpetually gorilla-suit-clad sidekick), this is my attempt to fanwank both continuities. the comic book manservant neville was drawn in the likeness of actor mark sheppard, who then played the role of manservant neville's younger twin brother in the series. he also played the role of parallel universe manservant neville - who was good. technically, that still makes the younger twin "good" since manservant neville was not actually evil until the power of the polyditetrahexamonotrioctalon turned him evil. so it all makes sense. perfect sense. mark sheppard - and his father w. morgan sheppard - appeared in the eleventh doctor episodes "day of the moon" and "the impossible astronaut".

- shurons are both my (and buddy holly’s) eyewear of choice.

- “the most powerful thing in the universe” is my homage to “the most fabulous object in the world” from “time bandits”.

- roxy waserman also referred to wendy as “sidecar”.

- the bbc radiophonic workshop is best known as the birthplace of the doctor who theme music.

- “i can practically smell the history” is a callback to the middleman episode “the manicoid teleportation conundrum”.

- “the red riding trilogy” is a series of novels and movie murder mysteries set in the north of england.

- “the caves of androzani” is - of course - the serial in which peter davison handed the mantle to colin baker.

- we now know that ida’s favorite doctor is number three.

- “you remain as sweet as apple cider” is a reference to an eddie leonard/eddie munson-written song famously sung by bing crosby, frank sinatra and al jolson... the song featured in an ida the cranky android fanvid.

- i do not know if roland emmerich will, in fact, direct “time tsunami” for a 2018 release, but if he wants to, i have some ideas.

- greenland seems to be the place where everyone is sent who finds out too much about the middleman organization - at least that’s what we established in the middleman episode “the ectoplasmic panhellenic investigation”.

- guy goddard was the 1960’s middleman portrayed by kevin sorbo - his time travel to the nixon era was mentioned in the middleman episode “the obsolescent cryogenic meltdown”.

- captain jack is known to fans of the doctor as his occasional companion and star of the spinoff “torchwood”.

- the sixth doctor faced off against an army of daleks in the planet necros in the serial “revelation of the daleks”.

- the buddha fish is my homage to the babel fish from douglas adams’s “the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy”.

- high aldwyn, maximum aldwyn - and now “extreme aldwyn” - (supreme commander of the clotharian rebel fleet) was a villain played by alan smyth in the episodes “the boy-band superfan interrogation” and “the clotharian contamination protocol”.

- “eroticon 6” was a planet in “the hitchhiker’s guide to the galaxy” the place was famous for its three-breasted whores.

- the middleman’s adventures with the first doctor were alluded to in the “the doomsday armageddon apocalypse” graphic novel that completed the television series continuity.

- “samadhilon 5” is a tip of the hat to the buddhist concept of samadhi: a high level of concentrated meditation.

- the mikheyev/smirnov/wolfenstein effect has something to do with neutrinos existing simultaneously as both particles and waves - and the dearth of detectable neutrinos from the sun. the truth of the matter is that i don’t understand it fully to this day - in spite of having taken a physics course at carnegie mellon university taught by professor lincoln wolfenstein himself (a man whom i respected enormously and who treated me with the patience of a saint). that i passed this class is, in and of itself, a miracle of providence and it is my hope that in keeping the name of this process alive in the popular literature, i can encourage people smarter than myself to actually study science. the wikipedia entry for the MSW reads thusly: “The presence of electrons in matter changes the energy levels of the propagation eigenstates of neutrinos due to charged current coherent forward scattering of the electron neutrinos (i.e., weak interactions). The coherent forward scattering is analogous to the electromagnetic process leading to the refractive index of light in a medium. This means that neutrinos in matter have a different effective mass than neutrinos in vacuum, and since neutrino oscillations depend upon the squared mass difference of the neutrinos, neutrino oscillations may be different in matter than they are in vacuum. With antineutrinos, the conceptual point is the same but the effective charge that the weak interaction couples to (called weak isospin) has opposite sign. The effect is important at the very large electron densities of the Sun where electron neutrinos are produced. The high-energy neutrinos seen, for example, in SNO (Sudbury Neutrino Observatory) and in Super-Kamiokande, are produced as the higher mass eigenstate in matter ν2m, and remain as such as the density of solar material changes. (When neutrinos go through the MSW resonance the neutrinos have the maximal probability to change their nature, but it happens that this probability is negligibly small—this is sometimes called propagation in the adiabatic regime). Thus, the neutrinos of high energy leaving the sun are in a vacuum propagation eigenstate, ν2, that has a reduced overlap with the electron neutrino νe = ν1 cosθ + ν2 sinθ seen by charged current reactions in the detectors”. ‘nuff said?

- “deus ex machina” is not to be mistaken for “deus ex pip,” which does NOT mean “the machines of pip”.

- the song quoted by noser is - of course - michael penn’s “seen the doctor”.

- the idea of the doctor as lacey’s imaginary friend is a tip of the hat to both “the girl in the fireplace” as well as amy pond’s arc with the eleventh doctor.

- “tell him i’m over him” is a callback to “the ectoplasmic panhellenic investigation”.

- “chesterton school of the arts” is a tip of the hat to the first doctor’s companion ian chesterton. similarly, tyler ford studied liberal arts at “mcrimmon college,” so named after another one of the second doctor’s companions.

- the doctor’s age is the subject of significant debate - this figure seems to get bandied about quite a bit.

- guy debord was the ideological mastermind behind the situationist international movement, which, in turn, inspired kalle lasn, the mastermind behind adbusters magazine, who, in turn, inspired the occupy wall street movement, in which, undoubtedly, lacey would be a major participant.

- the eye of harmony has not been seen in doctor who since the 1996 tv movie that introduced the eighth doctor - it has been described alternately as a portable black hole that powers the tardis or a lenticular gateway to the gallifreyan black hole that powers all tardii...

- the fourth doctor famously abandoned sarah jane without saying good-bye, and inexplicably left her in aberdeen, scotland instead of her home town of south croydon. kind of a dick move, that.


8:00 a.m.

“Fudgety-Bow-Wow, Dubbie!”

The Big Green Cheese’s language was extra-salty today, but Wendy Watson couldn’t muster the gumption for a witty rejoinder for two distinct reasons. Reason number one? Two adamantine thoughts currently raging like an electrical storm in her brain:

Thought number one: an intense calculation of the tangled path of clues and conspiracies that had led her to this present, and precarious situation. The winding and dangerous intrigue of the past few days included but was not limited to: a. the kidnapping of a genetically-enhanced, superintelligent dolphin from a children’s waterpark in Dubuque, b. the sudden manifestation in a Bhutanese monastery of the Vitrioplasmoid Consciousness - an alien entity comprised of pure hatred expressed as a small pool of malodorous brown bioluminescent ooze and c. the HEYDAR’s discovery of a not inconsiderably large rift in the fabric of space and time emanating from this location.

Thought number two: a certain yearning for her aunt Margarita’s Ropa Vieja, a thick and vinegary Caribbean stew of meat, peppers, and onions whose preparation inevitably filled the house with a. a delicious and savory aroma and b. the irresistible strains of Miguel Bosé’s signature 1980‘s hit single Amante Bandido.

Thought number two always intruded into Wendy’s mind during moments of extreme danger... and may have been the key contributing factor to her trademark serenity in the face of overwhelming odds.

Reason number two for Wendy Watson’s lack of a witty rejoinder? She was - indeed - experiencing a moment of extreme danger when she heard the voice of her employer: hanging upside-down, her legs magnetically shackled to a shining steel girder over the Coliseum-like lair of yet another egomaniacal-male-chauvinist-pig-supervillain who was probably neither breastfed as a baby nor picked for the football team as a child...

...and beneath her, an army of somewhat comical salt-and-pepper-shaker-shaped robots... all sporting plunger-shaped manipulator arms and lethal gunsticks... all crying out the same word with shrill and excruciating homogeneity:


The Middleman and Wendy

Collapse )
  • Current Mood
    accomplished accomplished

(no subject)

friends, i have uploaded links to the bootleg table read, and to the mark sheppard video interview by maureen ryan of the chicago tribune to the middleblog over at o2stk.com...but, of course, anyone with a web browser and youtube can find that...

...but if you want to see something truly exclusive, check out the podcasts , where i have just uploaded the original teaser for the middleman pilot - an extra you will not find anywhere - not even on the dvd!

click on the link to check it out!


welcome (again) to the middleblog!

we are running some temporary repairs on o2stk.com - so until the end of the san diego comic-con, this is the place to find the middleman and wendy!

here's our comic-con schedule:

thursday -

11:15 AM - the middleman table read! room 6a
IMMEDIATELY FOLLOWING: Cast Autographs at the Shout! Factory booth!

friday -
9:30 - noon - javier grillo-marxuach and les mcclaine autograph signing at the viper comics booth
5:00 - javier grillo-marxuach at the dynamite entertainment panel - room 8

saturday -
9:30 - noon - javier grillo
4:00 pm - javier grillo-marxuach, writing for television panel (including the middleman's sarah watson!) - room 8

sunday -

wanna order the middleman dvd? click on this url -

  • Current Music
    smashing pumpkins - the end is the beginning is the end