6. “And you truck like the doodah man.”

The episode: “Posture Pals,” a short before “The Unearthly,” ep. 320

The riff: Inserted by Joel as a teacher informs her students about the basics of proper posture. She tells them that “arms are easy at the sides, eyes straight ahead, shoulders relaxed…”, at which point Joel adds “…and you truck like the doodah man.”

The explanation: This is apparently a direct reference to the 1970 Grateful Dead song “Truckin’,” which goes “Truckin’–got my chips cashed in. Truckin’–like the doodah man.” Servo confirms the riff by muttering “Ooh…got your chips cashed in?” under his breath right after Joel delivers the line. The original lyric is apparently a reference to a group called the “Bonzo Dog Doodah Band” that the Dead were fond of.

Novelty factor: I had no idea, nor do I truly understand the riff even now. I think he’s basically trying to compare the teacher’s lesson to dance move instructions, but overall I may have to chalk this one up to Joel’s oddball sense of humor. Moreover, I think the way Tom Servo adds a little snippet of the lyrics himself shows the writers of the show almost poking a little bit of fun at the obscurity of their own reference here. They’re practically daring you to know what they’re talking about.

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3 thoughts on “6. “And you truck like the doodah man.”

  1. I’d figured that Joel’s riff was inspired by the guy from the R. Crumb “Keep On Truckin'” comic, as seen here: http://keepontruckin.us/tribute.html . His arms are easy, his shoulders relaxed, and sure enough, he’s looking straight ahead.

    Really, the comic has nothing to do with the Grateful Dead (the lyrics are from Blind Boy Fuller’s “Truckin’ My Blues Away”), but the hippies long ago adopted the guy as a mascot and associated him with the only “Truckin'” song they knew, much to R. Crumb’s chagrin.

    • Yeah, I assumed it was that “Truckin'” comic as well at first, but Tom’s line confirms the song reference. It could be a reference to both at the same time.

      • Well, the hippies made the R. Crumb character virtually synonymous with that Dead song because they didn’t understand the original reference. So I’d always assumed Joel was using the song to reference the character.

        An alternative explanation would be the hippie use of the term “truck” to mean “move along” or “travel”, since once your posture is perfect, you’re ready to go!

        It’s like peeling the onion of pop culture references… Gotta love MST!

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