The Middleman

Season 1 Episode 7

The Cursed Tuba Contingency

Aired Monday 10:00 PM Jul 28, 2008 on ABC Family



  • Trivia

    • Trivia: The Middleman claims he's from the American Shrimp and Crab Amalgamated Processors, but says he can't use the acronym due to copyright reasons. The acronym ASCAP belongs to the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers... who among other things protect copyrights. (There is no American Shrimp and Crab Amalgamated Processors organization in real life.)

    • Trivia: There are numerous real-life references to the RMS Titanic and the films and books surrounding it:

      * The names Erica Ambler and Ray Ward Baker refer respectively to the writer and director of A Night to Remember (1958), another movie version of the sinking of the RMS Titanic starring Kenneth More, Honor Blackman and Ronald Allen.
      * The Middleman uses the aliases of Harland and Wolff. Harland and Wolf is the company that built the RMS Titanic.
      * Edward J. Smith High School refers to Edward J. Smith, the captain of the Titanic.
      * A school poster in the background says the team is "Fighting Icebergs", a reference to the iceberg that sank the Titanic.
      * The Middleman's exclamation of "Sweet Molly Brown!" refers to Margaret Brown, an American socialite aboard the Titanic on its first and final voyage.

    • It's never explained how Cecil escapes Middleman HQ. They know he's hunting for the tuba, and he's not to be trusted, so it's unlikely they'd let him go until they at least recover it, and nothing in the episode establishes they let him go.

    • Trivia: The Middleman uses the aliases of Boetticher and Kennedy Budd. Boetticher directed Ride Lonesome and Burt Kennedy wrote the screenplay.

    • Trivia: 8660 Hawks Lane refers to famed Western director Howard Harks, who directed classics like Rio Bravo (1959) and Red River (1948). The Peckinpah hotel refers to Sam Peckinpah, who wrote and directed dozens of Westerns, and is best known for his ultra-violent style in such movies as The Wild Bunch (1969).

  • Quotes

    • Johnny John: Look, I've got a beautiful woman in here, who is hot, willing and able, who finds me devastating in my raw, feral power. Did I mention she was hot? Do you have any idea how rare that is for me?
      Wendy: Yes I do.

    • Lacey: What do you do for a living?
      The Middleman: We are international consultants that solve exotic problems for corporations, individuals and even governments. Obviously our clients often prefer anonymity.
      Lacey: That's so clear... concise.

    • Lacey: It's just, I mean, God knows I've spilled a lot of fake blood on your stuff, but what the hell is this. It almost looks alive.
      Wendy: Don't worry, it's dead. Any movement is just reflex action.
      Lacey: You mean it was alive?
      Wendy: A bug. I stepped on a bug.
      Lacey: With both my boots?!?

    • The Middleman: Let this be a lesson to you. The next time we trap a rampaging pig-insect hybrid from another galaxy that accidentally gets loose in custody, you should shoot after it gets out of the car.
      Wendy: Right. Next time I'll find a more convenient place to be attacked.

    • The Middleman: We're agents Boetticher and Kennedy from American Shrimp and Crab Amalgamed Processors. Law enforcement branch.
      Cecil: ASCAP?
      The Middleman: We avoid using the acronym for copyright reasons.
      Wendy: But, uh, whenever unexpected shrimp or crab appear in the context of a homicide, we're not far behind.

    • Roxy: (about The Middleman) You are as ignorant as your jacket is tacky.

    • (the Middlewatch beeps)
      Lacey: Do you ever take that thing off?
      The Middleman: No.
      Lacey: Never?
      The Middleman: It's waterproof, shockproof and grafted to my skin.

    • Wendy: One coffee and milk, hold the coffee for you, and one coffee and milk for me, hold the milk for me.

    • The Middleman: This is good. No one's drowned yet.
      Wendy: And no one's playing the tuba, which is just as good.

    • Lacey: So is it just strictly business tonight between you and sexy boss-man.
      Wendy: I refuse to answer until you stop calling him that.
      Lacey: So, is it strictly business between you and pillow-lips?

    • Lacey: Dub-Dub, first rule of achieving a happy makeover: never argue with the person holding the curling iron.

    • The Middleman: (to Wendy) Not tonight, I'm on armed goon tuba duty. You're on lose the roomie detail.

    • The Middleman: Sensei Ping. Twisted Stones. On three.
      Wendy: One, two, three.
      (The Middleman knocks out the bad guys)
      Wendy: I forget. What's my part in Twisted Stones?
      The Middleman: The counting.

    • The Middleman: There's still time, Rogers. If you help us, I'll make sure your tuba is safe for all eternity. You have my word.
      Cecil: Sorry, I don't trust good-looking, heroic people.
      Wendy: You have eternal life and this is what you choose to do with it?
      Cecil: Did I mention how good the dating's been?

    • Wendy: She's my roommate and my best friend and you're my boss. How does that make anything easier? Why don't you just date my mom while you're at it?
      The Middleman: Is she nice?
      Wendy: Ahhh!
      The Middleman: Just kidding. It was a joke to relieve the tension.

  • Notes

    • The CSIs were styled after the first-season cast of CSI. The episode's script also referred to Michael Gier's character as Bearded Petersen Guy.

    • Injoke: All of the names on the (fake) posters at the theater are those of The Middleman production crew. Only the Ride Lonesome poster is real.

    • The music heard at the beginning of Ride Lonesome was composed by Tree Adams specifically for the episode: the production crew were unable to get the rights to use the actual music.

    • Injoke: All of Roger's aliases have the last names of former classmates of co-executive producer Hans Beimler.

    • Injoke: As the Middleman pauses to hear footsteps behind him, at the 2:27 mark, one of the Western movie posters behind him mentions a movie starring Brett Born. Brett Born is the show's production controller.

    • Featured Music

      "Nothing More" by Pepi Ginsberg
      "Stars" by Au Revoir Simone

  • Allusions

    • Ida: Time to quit your grinning and drop your linen, people.
      Referencing a line spoken by Bill Paxton's character Pvt. Hudson in Aliens (1986). The movie, a sequel to Alien (1979), had Sigourney Weaver return to the role of Ellen Ripley and also starred Michael Biehn, Lance Henriksen and Paul Reiser.

    • Lacey: Noser, get the axe.
      Noser: What axe?
      Lacey: Like in the movie...

      Referencing Titanic (1997). Lacey is referencing the scene where Rose (Kate Winslet) frees Jack (Leonardo DiCaprio) with a fire axe.

    • Noser: So, how did your day begin?
      Wendy: With a friendly voice.
      Noser: Really? 'Cos all I heard was the sound of salesmen.
      Wendy: Of salesmen?
      Noser: Yeah, of salesmen.

      Referencing "The Spirit of Radio", a 1980 song by Canadian rock band Rush. It reached #13 on the UK singles chart and is Rush's only entry on the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame's 500 Songs That Shaped Rock and Roll.

    • The Middleman: Ride Lonesome isn't just a movie, Dubbie.

      Ride Lonesome (1959) stars Randolph as Ben Brigade; Pernell Roberts as Sam Boone; Lee Van Cleef as Frank; Karen Steele as Carrie Lane; and James Coburn as Whit. Brigade is a bounty hunter delivering a murderer named Billy John (James Best). Brigade has to enlist two outlaws (Roberts and Coburn) to help him complete his journey safely. Along the way Billy has to deal with the outlaws when they consider betraying him, Billy's brother Frank (Van Cleef) and hostile Indians.

    • Ida: Happy scrubbing, Tinkerbell.

      Referencing the fairy created by J.M. Barrie in Peter and Wendy (1904), subsequently popularized in Disney's animated movie Peter Pan (1953). Tinkerbell (also "Tinker Bell") is a small flying woman who sprinkles magic pixie dust that allows others to fly. She has since become a major icon of the Disney franchise.

    • Lacey: Most men your age, it's all Boba Fett and Jack Bauer.
      Referencing first Boba Fett, the armored bounty hunter featured in the Star Wars franchise starting with The Empire Strikes Back (1980), and Jack Bauer, the protagonist of the FOX television series 24. Bauer is a counter-terrorist agent played by Kiefer Sutherland.

    • Wendy: So basically you're Highlander with a tuba.

      Referencing the film and television franchise which started with the 1986 movie starring Christopher Lambert as Connor MacLeod, one of a sub-race of Immortals who can only die through decapitation. The movie spawned four sequels, a television series starring Connor's "cousin" Duncan MacLeod, another television series starring Duncan's associate Amanda, and an animated series set in the future.