In this entry, we’re taking a look at an early episode of one of the geekiest shows ever to air on network television: Chuck. Chuck never shied away from its geekiness and a such it was home to more pop-culture references than you can shake a wookie at. Let’s queue it up.
As always bold numbers represent the time at which the reference happened and spoilers abound for a wide variety of films. Scroll down at your own risk. Okay, let’s get started.
00:00– The title is a reference to the Dune franchise which began with the 1965 novel Dune by Frank Herbert and has continued through twenty novels and a film and television adaptation. The Sandworm is a fictional creature important to the central Dune narrative.
1:01– The primary setting of the show is the Buy More which is a spoof of the real-life electronics retail chain Best Buy.
1:14– Chuck points out that he works for the Nerd Herd which is a spook of Best Buy’s Geek Squad.
4:38– Chuck specifies that he and Morgan’s costume is Shai-Hulud which in the Dune novel is the native Fremen people’s sacred name for the sandworms.
4:50– Devon enters wearing nothing but tan underwear with a green leaf attached and says he is Adam. This is a reference to the biblical book of Genesis where, after eating from the tree of knowledge, Adam and Eve are said to have covered themselves with leaves in their newly discovered shame.
4:54- “Wait ‘till you see my snake.” Satan took the form of a snake to tempt Adam and Eve.
5:30- The Playland Arcade is a real arcade located in Santa Monica.
5:51- Morgan play Guitar Shredder which is a spoof of the popular game series Guitar Hero (2005)
7:39- Chuck has a poster of the Korean film Oldboy(2003) on his wall.
8:20 Chuck asks Sarah to stay forty-two minutes fifteen seconds. The length of indie rock band Arcade Fire’s first album Funeral (2004).
8:55 In the photograph Sara is dressed in the slave Leia costume from Return of the Jedi(1983) and Chuck is dressed as Han Solo.
12:06– Casey asks “What is he going to hurt me with his mind”, this is a reference to the TV show Firefly (2003) where Adam Baldwin, the actor who plays Casey, plays the character Jane. On that show, the character River threatens Jane by telling him “I can kill you with my brain”
14:10 Chuck takes Lazslo for Pancakes at the Continental Hut of Hotcakes which is a spoof of the pancake chain IHOP or the International House of Pancakes
14:20 Chuck calls Lazslo a real-life Q. Q is the name of the character who builds James Bond’s gadgets in the 007 franchise.
20:30-Sarah works at the Wienerlicious which is a spoof of Wienerschnitzel
21:02 There is a Tron(1982) Poster on Chuck’s wall
21:13 There is a Dune(1984) poster on Chuck’s wall
22:34- Chuck and Lazslo watch A View to a Kill(1985).
24:59- Lazslo asks Chuck if he would like to play a game of Thermonuclear War, the question is the same one the computer asks in WarGames (1983)
25:24- Chuck Suggests they watch the Bond film Goldfinger(1964).
27:57- Chuck gets ejected from the nerd herder in direct reference to a scene from Goldfinger(1964).
29:58- Big Mike is dressed up as the character Huggy Bear from the TV Series Starsky and Hutch (1975) for Halloween.
30:13– Jeff and Lester dressed as the figures in Grant Wood’s painting American Gothic (1930)
32:23- The Buy More HR rep thinks Morgan is dressed in a Gordon Gekko costume. Gordon Gekko is one of the main characters in the film Wall Street(1987)
33:31 Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan (1982) Morgan says that Chuck knows ‘Wrath of Khan’ word for word in an attempt to convince the interviewer to promote Chuck instead of Harry.
34:03- Harry Tang’s middle name is Tiberius which is a nod to Capt. James Tiberius Kirk of the original Star Trek series and films.
35:24 Lazlso brings up Goldfinger again then Chuck disarms the bomb at seven seconds left on the countdown just like the bomb in the James Bond movie Goldfinger. The movie also gets mentioned several times during this episode
37:40-The scene where Chuck enters the costume party is nearly identical to the ending scene of The O.C. season 1 episode “The Countdown”. Both shows were created by Josh Schwartz.
40:17 Picture of Ronald Reagan the 40th President of the United States.
If you know a reference I missed feel free to leave it in the comments section.