Pop Culture References

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Pop Culture References

Postby DarthLocke on Thu Aug 16, 2012 6:32 pm

So after a series rewatch, I had noticed that there are really a lot of pop cultural references to songs/records, films, Television Series, novels, children's literature, ect. So I thought it would nice to make a thread that listed some of these, which in some cases the references may be more subtle and 'maybe'-references, rather than just direct ones.


Born Free - 1966 song by John Barry and Don Black, but originally preformed by British singer Matt Monro. Born Free was made for the film of the same name which about a couple who raise a Lion cub to adulthood and then release it back into the wild.

Note: Characters names and phrases with "FRE BO" - FREd BOwman--> BOyd FowlER--> FREe the BOy -->BOrn FREe

Venus - 1959 song by Ed Marshall and Peter DeAngelis but performed by Frankie Avolan. The song is about a man pleading to the Goddess Venus, to send him a girl to love.

Karma Chameleon - 1983 song by British band Culture Club. The song, going with Eastern Philosophy ("Karma" = Action), is about the belief that if you are not true to yourself and/or honest with others, the universe will rectify the situation, often by taking something you care about away from you in order to make you change.

Changes - 1971 song by British performer David Bowie. The song is often characterized to show Bowie's "chameloic"personality, but also is about the compulsion needs for artist reinvention.

U Can't Touch This - 1990's song by MC Hammer. The song is known for iconic phrases such as "Hammer Time". During the course of series hammers have been used by a few killers in various gruesome murders. The most iconic of which is Arthur Mitchell (Trinity Killer) who, taking on the role of his father Henry Mitchell, sets himself up in cycles to kill counter parts of his own family and has ultimately killed several adult males using a hammer. In season 3 Dexter and. M. Prado find a way to help a criminal to escape prison only to kill him for another crime he committed, killing his pregnant wife with a hammer. In season 6 Dexter goes to his high school reunion to track down former class mate, Joe Walker. "U Can't Touch This" plays at the reunion and Dexter utters the words "hammer time", as he chooses to kill Joe with a sledge hammer. The song is also known to have ripped off sounds of "Super Freak" which is meant to invoke that Rick James of MC Hammer could sell more records and receive more fame using similar music, making the song about success and competition.

Mighty Quinn - Although the song does not play in the series, I suspect that the character Joesph Quinn may be a reference to the 1968 song originally written by American song writer Bob Dylan, but was made famous by the British band Manfred Mann. In Theory I believe that Joesph Quinn reflects a younger version of Dexter's father figures in the series such as Harry Morgan ( note: looks and parallels - law enforcement roles and behavior with other Law enforcement officers and CI's - and "struggles" with Dexter) and Joesph Drishcoll (Note: both Josephs have arm tattoos and Dexter tends to deny the attentions of both Josephs -a juxtaposition to Dex's relationship with Harry ). Bob Dylan wrote this song based on a 1960's film called "The Savage Innocents", where the main character is played by actor Anthony Quinn. It's about an Eskimo hunter who kills a priest, because the priest denies the Eskimo hunter's offerings. The police chase the Eskimo hunter only for him to turn around and save the life of one of the officers, who then has to choose if he should let the Eskimo hunter go. The work seemingly is about modern civilization taking over ancient civilizations, and ultimately culturally debating the idea of social beliefs in terms of moral ethics.

Miami Vice - 1984-1989 Police Procedural Crime Drama Television Series featuring the VICE cops of MDPD taking place in Miami, Florida. The series stared Don Johnson and Philip Michael Thomas, two vice cops working undercover to clean up the streets of Miami, particularly from drug dealers. It was recognized and distinguishable from other police procedural crime dramas in that it artistically included "new wave" culture and visual effects never before used in story telling on TV. Obviously Dexter shares a great deal with Miami Vice in the way it uses pop culture and visual effect to tell a story, let alone it being partially a police crime drama taking place in Miami and then both shows usuing "Miami/Florida culture" (Marina/Beach life, Politics, Latin American influences, Industrialization, Retirement, Children's Dreamscape-Disney World, Criminal-Wildlife culture of the Everglades, and Miami is rich with Art-Deco architecture). Additionally some of Dexter's characters have or do work in "Vice" such as Debra Morgan, Joesph Quinn, and Barbra Gianna. Trivia: Edward James Olmos, who portrayed Professor Gellar in S6 had series regular role on Miami Vice as Detective Lieutenant Martin Castillo for all six season!

The Wizard of Oz - 1939 film based on the first series of 1900's children's books by Frank L. Baum. The books and film tell a story of a young girl yearning for adventure who visits an fantasy-like alternate reality, only to discover that she is home sick and does love her family. Episode 6x04 is titled, "A Horse of a Different Color". Thematically this may refer to both Dexter's desire to change, or the idea that he and others in the series become changed through traumatic experiences. Additionally visually in The Wizard of Oz, the horses of a different color play to Oz's overly colorful aesthetic that may then also relate to psychedelic-drug culture that often is about opening up one's mind for a different perspective.

Humpty Dumpty - 1800's English Nursery Rhyme about an Egg-like-man who falls of the wall being left "shattered" in pieces and even the royal people (the wealthy and politically controlling) couldn't put him back together again, suggesting that Humpty Dumpty is forever "broken" apart. In season 5 Jordan Chase uses the words "shattered" to describe Dexter's state of being after the death of Rita. Dexter himself refers to himself as Humpty Dumpty when talking to chase in the bathroom, as again this is thematically reflective of many of the characters in Dexter.

Beauty and the Beast - 1740 French Fairy Tale telling a story of a romance between a young women and a Beast. Many film, television, and musical adaptations have been made from the original tale. In Dexter it is the title of a season 5 episode reflecting Dexter's and Lumen's relationship, as Lumen represents light, truth, hope, and love for Dexter. Dexter himself often refers to himself as "a monster", which can be synonymous with Beast. Additionally the Beast in the fairy tale is "cursed" never being able to others his true identity, a handsome prince, until the curse is broken by the love of young Belle. It's possible considering how Debra also reflects many of the other women in the series, that she too like Lumen, may reflect Belle in time.


Lost - 2004-2010 Television Series plane crash survivors stranded on a mysterious Island. Lost, like Dexter is full of cultural and pop cultural references. Both shows explore facing existentialism, Fate/Consequences of actions, survival off the fittest, science & spirituality, and set in a tropical location. In the first 3 seasons I noticed many addresses or apartment numbers with Lost's famous 4, 8, 15, 16, 23, 42 , Dexter's apartment number is 10B -which looks like "108". The Hotel number of Brian's recreation of Laura Moser's death is 23, Rita drops Dexter off to meet Lila at a building who's address is 1542, ect. Additionally the numbers themselves were first presented as "a curse". Dexter himself wonders and thinks of himself as cursed on some occasions. Additionally in season six while Dexter waits for Harrison to come out of surgery at the hospital, Dexter sees both a wheel chair (reminding him of Harry) and asks 'God' a fate-related question while waiting for a beverage at a [broken] vending machine. Like John Locke, who also was iconic because of his use of wheel chair, does Harry appears after his death. Additionally we learn that Travis went to collage under professor Gellar in Tallahassee, making Gellar, 'the man from Tallahassee', again just like John Locke, as Gellar like Harry, appears after death.

Dirty Harry - 1971 American Crime Thriller Film staring Clint Eastwood about a serial killer who murders a women in a swimming pool and leaves behind a ransom note for the title character Inspector Harry Callahan. Obviously Harry (Harrison) is the name of Dexter's adopted father and appears in image as Dexter's dark passenger. Both Harry's are detective type of law enforcement. Additionally the pilot episode of Dexter features the murder of a women in a pool (although very different methods applied to the victims). 4x05 is also titled "Dirty Harry". In season four it is Deb and Quinn whom both reflect Harry's behavior, as Deb comes to realize the same as Dexter during seasons one and two, that Harry might not be the man Deb and Dexter had thought him to be. Later in season 4 Dexter under the alias Kyle Butler attempts to black male Arthur Mitchell for ransom, that's really a ploy to try find an opportunity to kill him. Arthur also buries boys alive, something the Scorpio Killer of Dirty Harry did to teenage girls.

Note: I feel many of the characters reflect other characters. In terms of Harry Morgan I feel Joseph Quinn represents a "dark" younger version of Harry. In some ways Desmond Harrington, especially in this role, is reminiscent of a younger Clint Eastwood.


The Hannibal Lecter Series - 1981's novel "Red Dragon" by Thomas Harris introduced us to the psychiatrist and cannibalistic serial killer Dr. Hannibal Lecter, whom through out the series of novels that continue to explore Hannibal's life, helps Intelligence Agents track down other serial killers. 3 more novels, 5 films, and an up and coming television series continue Hannibal's legacy, but in seasons 5 and 6 of Dexter two references to "Red Dragon" are made. The Hannibal series, like Dexter, tends to feature/highlight a serial killer antagonist in one novel/one season. In 6x03 ("Smokey and the Bandit") Dexter tracks down an old serial killer Walter Kenny, also known as "The Tooth Fairy". The Tooth Fairy is also the moniker given to "Red Dragon's" main antagonist. Walter Kenny uses the alias Francis Dolarhyde which is the actual name of the serial killer in "Red Dragon". In season 5 Vince tries to help Debra find a specific tattoo leading to Vince's own tattoo artist. He reveals for the first time that he has a tattoo which is a large dragon across his whole back. In "Red Dragon" Dolarhyde, obsessed with William Blake's painting "The Great Red Dragon and Women Clothed in Sun', also has a large dragon tattoo.

Smokey and the Bandit - 1977 Action Comedy Film Staring Burt Reynolds, Sally Field, Jackie Gleason. This film relates to Dexter in a few ways, besides the season 6 episode title of the same name. The film really features "high speed chases" and close encounters something Dexter is also known for, but done in a comical, ironic, absurd way. Additionally it's about getting a truck driver to deliver illegal beer to a certain part of Texas. A truck driver was featured in season 4, as Dexter tried to peg The Trinity Killer on a scumbag truck driver instead to buy Dexter some time. Additionally in the episode title of the same name, Angel acquires the same kind of car that Burt Reynolds drives in the film.



Be sure to check back later as I will be adding more references when I have the time :)
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Yet for all their evolution, they form no bonds.
Love does not exist for them. They are incapable of dreaming,
Of contemplating beauty, Of knowing something greater than themselves.
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DarthLocke
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