The Best Pop Culture References in Season 2 of The Magicians
The Magicians is technically a fantasy show but it’s also kind of a mix of TV genres. There’s a bit of action as well and drama and even occasional sci-fi and who could forget the COMEDY? We’ve all giggled and guffawed at numerous episodes of the often hysterical series and what makes it extraordinarily unique, eccentric and humourous are the references to our favourite TV shows and movies and bands and politicians and fashion designers. The dialogue in the show is very witty and we love listening to that banter. Here’s some of the best references in season 2.
The most epic mention of a classic movie happens in the season premiere when Eliot performs a Patrick Swayze speech word for word from the film Dirty Dancing. He does so in order to impress the “Knight of Crowns” which in turn gets him and his comrades official royal titles. Eliot grabs Alice’s hand (who he casts as Baby) and plays out the incredible scene where Johnny Castle storms into the Kellerman’s end-of-season talent show, takes the stage, lectures the audience, and then launches into one of the most iconic dance numbers in cinema history. No surprise that Eliot is a die hard Dirty Dancing fan, although he’d likely have a hot guy play Baby.
Quentin also nails an answer in the Knight of Crowns quiz when they’re tested about a long-running Tim Daly TV show. Obviously it’s Wings because, I mean, what else would it be? Also no surprise that Quentin enjoys the earnest 90s sitcom about a tiny but quirky airport.
Noel Coward and Cole Porter
We discover pretty quickly in season two that The Beast aka Martin Chatwin has a passion for singing and dancing. He particularly likes to belt out cabaret style tunes and transport himself around the city while doing so. In “Hotel Spa Potions” he sings “If Love Were All” which is a song from Noel Coward’s play “Bitter Sweet”. He also gives Cole Porter’s “At Long Last Love” a whirl and although both of these ditties are about love Julia feels way more hate towards them.
The Beast comically misunderstands what “tweeting” means in the same episode as well. After Julia informs him that the police tend to “tweet” about criminal activity he thinks that she’s explaining how birds also have computer accounts on earth which is LOL and also adorable. He kind of sounds like everyone’s clueless dad in that scene as opposed to a murderous tyrant.
In “The Flying Forest” Eliot becomes a tad annoyed when Margo is all assertive and bold in her role as Queen so he replies to her sass with the question “Since when are you Fillory Clinton?” implying that her new commanding nature is similar to the former Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who we all hoped would be more than a candidate of the Presidency. Apparently, the creators of The Magicians were predicting Clinton would win the election which is why they included a running gag where characters called Margo Fillory Clinton many times. But, most of the gags were removed in post-production after the election results weren’t in Clinton’s favour.
Game of Thrones
But it’s not just Eliot who has a little nickname for Margo. She’s got one for him too which she debuts in the episode “Cheat Day” when Eliot heroically declares that one of his citizen’s lives is his burden to bear and Margo rolls her eyes and retorts with “Get over yourself, Ned Stark”. She makes a good point. He was being very over-the-top with his “I’m a good ruler” mumbo jumbo.
Also in “Cheat Day” Eliot is almost assassinated by a man named Bayler who reveals himself to be “a proud soldier of Fillorians United” otherwise known as a FU Fighter. The “FU” part of the name is spelled differently than the 90s band it’s making reference to (whose chosen spelling is instead two O’s). This is quite the amazing, nostalgic joke. It’s even more amazing because Bayler, who does NOT like Eliot one bit, discusses his rebel collective at length and repeats the words FU and Fighter multiple times. Margo is of course the one to point out the hilarity of it all.
In “Word as Bond” Penny notices that something is up with Quentin’s mind and that something is Niffin Alice hanging about and having long, sarcasm filled conversations with her former lover. In order to distract Penny from figuring out what’s really going on Quentin starts singing songs by the rock band Imagine Dragons in his head. Penny becomes frustrated upon hearing these specific tunes for numerous reasons. Clearly he isn’t jazzed about Quentin’s taste in music.
In “Plan B” Julia and Kady head to Brakebills for protection after their Haxenpaxen dude is killed by those invisible demons. While there Professor Lipson checks out Julia’s uterus situation. As she’s doing an examination she asks Julia if she’s seen the Twilight movies, specifically the last one. Julia hasn’t and the Professor mutters “that’s probably for the best” since the magician seems to be in a similar situation as Bella who fatally gave birth to her own demi-vampire baby.
When Kady rescues Julia from Dana’s basement In “The Cock Barrens” she gets a whiff of the Haxenpaxen guy chained up in the corner and hilariously asks “What’s with stink master flash?” It’s a brief moment but we love the clever wordplay and mention of the legendary Grandmaster.
Also in “The Cock Barrens” Margo rips Prince Ess, the ruler of Loria, a new one after she discovers that he didn’t transport the Fillory castle to his land but instead made it look like he did in order to get half the wellspring and Margo’s hand in marriage. Her main threat involves a metaphor about putting a pair of Jimmy Choos so far up his ass that he’s going to taste next season. Queen Margo really knows her famous designers and Eliot, who replies “Exactly… whatever that means”, really does not. There’s nothing like a fashion inspired act of violence.
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