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Episode no. Season 1
Episode 1
Written by Javier Grillo-Marxuach
Directed by Jeremiah Chechik
Original airdate June 16, 2008
Episode chronology
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List of Episodes

PlotEdit

Wendy Watson is a struggling artist who is forced to work temp jobs out of necessity. She is dumped by her film student boyfriend Ben Stanley and while working at A.N.D. Laboratories is attacked by a giant lab monster, until the Middleman shows up and saves the day. After being fired for her supposed involvement in the lab incident, she receives a call from the Jolly Fats Wehawkin Temp Agency, offering her a chance at a job. She goes to the address given and is greeted by Ida, who subjects her to a number of tests. Finally, the Middleman steps in and offers her a job as his sidekick in the fight against evil.

Her first case involves mobsters who are being whacked all over the city, and the only clues left behind are banana peels. A DNA investigation leads them to Simiontics Labs and Dr. Gibbs. Inside the lab they find genetically enhanced apes painting and reciting poetry with the help of Electronic Voice boxes. However, one cage is empty, that of Spanky. Investigating, the Middleman and Wendy find Spanky's secret room filled with mobster memorabilia. They track down the ape, and after a short chase he escapes into a zoo. Later, Wendy finds a banana peel in front of her apartment and after calling the Middleman they detain the ape, who they discover has a brand new voice box, indicating that Dr. Gibbs was really behind it all. After a fight with the doctor's army of super apes, the Middleman and Wendy destroy the supercomputer controlling the apes' higher brain functions, thus returning them back to their normal state. Dr. Gibbs is arrested and Wendy goes home after her first day on the job, where she relaxes by painting an image of an ape with a machine gun.

Characters and LocationsEdit

Pop Culture ReferencesEdit

General Pop Culture Reference Theme: Classic mob movies, especially The Godfather

Mob Movie ReferencesEdit

  • Wendy: "He sleeps with the fishes." (When she thinks Spanky has died). References a classic line from The Godfather.
  • Andolini Social Club, where Middleman goes to investigate, is named after The Godfather himself, Vito Andolini Corleone.
  • Spanky's line of dialogue as we see him at the strip joint is a line direct from The Godfather.
  • Spanky is wearing a track warmup suit, just as The Godfather did in most of his appearances.
  • Spanky: "Say hello to my little friend!" is a line from Scarface
  • Spanky: "Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in." References a very famous line from The Godfather Part III.

General References Edit

  • Wendy: "What about the hentai tentacle monster?". References a recurring theme of many Japanese porn comics (known as hentai manga): tentacle monsters are common.
  • Wendy's favorite comic books are Powers, Fell, Astro City, The Spirit, X-Men (old school and not Ultimate), Mouse Guard, and The Flash (when asked which one, Barry Allen or Wally West, she says, "Do you want me to leave?"). Note that this is a very realistic list of comics for a young woman to enjoy, as with the exception of X-Men and The Flash, they are targeted at people her age. Also note that Powers, Fell, and Astro City in particular have significant relevance to her new job as the Middleman's sidekick: performing unusual detective work in atypical or fantastic situations. If she enjoys those books, it implies she's ready to face the surreal dangers of the Middleman's job.
  • When Wendy decides to join, 20 minutes into the episode, they do a brief shot-for-shot black-and-white remake of the opening credits for the classic seasons of the show The Avengers, the ones which starred Patrick Macnee and Diana Rigg.
  • Wendy: "Don't point that at me! I don't want to have a flipper baby!" Objecting to Ida shining her "electron microscope" at her. This is a reference to a major health scare from the 70's where women were reported to have babies with severe birth defects from the use of Thalidomide.
  • Wendy: "Oh no, it's Gorilla Grodd. Run for your life." References the super-genius gorilla who is a major recurring villain in the Flash comic books. Note that Wendy does say she reads The Flash.
  • Wendy: "Cut out the twang, Gomer." References Gomer Pyle from The Andy Griffith Show and Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C..
  • Jane's Coconuts Gentleman's Club strip joint is a reference to Tarzan.
  • Wendy: "Get your filthy paws off of me, you damn dirty ape!" Reference to a famous line of dialogue said by Charlton Heston in Planet of the Apes.
  • Middleman: "Let her go, Blofeld!" References a classic Bond villain, Blofeld.
  • At Simionics, a gorilla is seen performing Tai Chi in the background.

Common Middleman Jokes Edit

Aliases Edit

  • (at the restaurant) Middleman doesn't use a specific alias but says "FBI - Night Shift". He then calls Wendy "Special Agent Watson".

Noser Knows Edit

Who's The Man? Edit

  • Noser: Yo, Wendy Watson!
  • Wendy: Hey, Noser.
  • Noser: Who's the man?
  • Wendy: That would be Shaft, Noser.
  • Noser: What kind of man?
  • Wendy: A complicated man.
  • Noser: And who understands him?
  • Wendy: No one but his woman.
  • Noser: Right on.

This is a reference to Isaac Hayes' classic Theme From Shaft.

Hungry Edit

  • Noser: Yo, Wendy Watson!
  • Wendy: Hey, Noser.
  • Noser: I'm feelin' kinda hungry.
  • Wendy: You mean Hungry Like The Wolf?
  • Noser: Nope.
  • Wendy: Hungry Heart?
  • Noser: Nope.
  • Wendy: Hungry Eyes?
  • Noser: Hmmm... nope.
  • Wendy: Hungry Hippos.
  • Noser: The only one who gets me!

Hungry Like The Wolf is a Duran Duran song. Hungry Heart is Bruce Springsteen, Hungry Eyes is by Eric Carmen (and from Dirty Dancing), and Hungry Hippos is the classic children's game from the 1970's with the catchy jingle.

Brick House Edit

  • Noser: Yo, Wendy Watson!
  • Wendy: Hey, Noser.
  • Noser: What is that mighty mighty girl?
  • Wendy: A brick house?
  • Noser: And what is she doin'?
  • Wendy: Letting it all... (see banana on floor) uh-oh... you got a gun on you Noser?
  • Noser: War is not the answer, Wendy! Only love can conquer hate!

The start is from Brick House, the classic funk tune from the Commodores. War and love is from Marvin Gaye's famous protest song, "What's Going On"

Ida Is Edit

Wendy calls Ida:

  • Wendy: "Can it, Yoda, we're talking!" References Yoda from Star Wars.
  • Wendy: "Does Rosie have an off switch?" References Rosie the Robot Maid from The Jetsons.
  • Wendy: "Ida the Prune-Faced Android" References Marvin the Paranoid Android from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy

Wilhelm ScreamEdit

  • Background effect while the Middleman fights thugs inside Andolini's off camera.

TriviaEdit

  • Il Mutande Grandissimo, the Italian restaurant, translates as "The Really Big Underpants."
  • The song "Palomino", which became the Middleman's theme song, is introduced in this episode. It is played in the Middlemobile on the way to Andolini Social Club.
  • During the Middleman's unseen but overheard face-off with various patrons in the bar, you see Wendy studying various objects in the car. As she looks at a mini-crossbow, a Wilhelm scream is heard. That very scream is used in every episode of "The Middleman".
  • Intelligent enhanced gorillas? could be a reference to "Boookworm, Run!" short story by Vernor Vinge (in that thers is a chimpanzee instaed).

QuotesEdit

Wendy: Thank you for calling A.N.D. Laboratories, rescrambling your DNA, how may I direct your call?
Wendy: Get a hold of yourself man. What's easier to believe: a gorilla holding a gun or a big hairy guy doing a drive by?
Wendy: So rule number one, never, ever give me the "a man's gotta do what a man's gotta do" speech before you strap on your six-guns and leave me back at the ranch with Ida the prune-faced android. Two, you don't crack my boyfriend's skull. And three, you don't date my roommate. Got it?
The Middleman: Now that's just mean. I'm single. I-I'm eligible.
Wendy: Just drive.
The Middleman: Are you ashamed of me?


Wendy: Did you mean what you said? That if there's one thing you hate more than scientists trying to take over the world, it's scientists who twist innocent primates with computer-enhanced mind control to live out their sick and perverted fantasies of criminal power?
The Middleman: Why would I lie about that?
Wendy: It's just a very specific thing to hate.
The Middleman: Self-knowledge is the gateway to freedom.

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