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Who watches the watchmen?

Friday, July 22, 2005

It's the Brack show! Starring me, I'm Brack!

Obscure pop-culture references from Freefall
I've been reading Freefall for awhile now, and I've finally decided that the thing I like most about the comic isn't the humor (which is good), or the science (which is impeccable), but rather the ridiculously obscure sci-fi pop culture references that Stanley so consistently puts into the comics.

Take this one for example. Here we have Sam doing what Sam does best, which is scrounging (for those of you just joining the party, Sam comes from a race of sentient scavengers, so you'll see him sinking as low as he can get as often as he can). It's a joke that's been made in Freefall literally thousands of times and yes, it has lost a little bit of luster from the early days, but this strip still managed to make me smile, simply from what is in the dumpster that Sam is searching in panel two.

I admit that I've failed to figure out what is the small bomb-shaped item on the far left, and everybody reckognizes the old robot from "The Forbidden Planet" in the middle, but I think a lot of people will miss on the item on the right, which is really what made me laugh, because it's an honest to goodness INTEROCITOR. That's right, he's picking up the interstellar communication device first introduced in the awful fifties movie "This Island Earth" and then so delightfully spoofed by the Mystery Science Theater 3000 guys in Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Movie. And that's pretty dang cool.

My question is, how did the Interocitor end up on this manmade world that Sam, Florence, and Helix live on? Did the intrepid crew of the Satellite of Love leave it behind on the planet whilst running away from Pearl in one of those awful cut scenes from the last few years of the show? Or was it left there by the tube-farting humans of "This Island Earth" themselves? And why didn't Sam take such an obviously useful device back with him to his ship???

We may never know the answers to these questions, but I know one thing, as long as I've got the material to ask them with, I'm going to keep reading -and enjoying- Freefall, hopefully for many years to come.