The episode: “Fire Maidens of Outer Space,” ep. 416
The riff: Exclaimed with concern by Tom as the hero’s plane flies over a grid of tightly packed homes and roads.
The explanation: The first “Levittown,” as it turns out, was a suburb on Long Island built between 1947-1951 as a planned community. It is considered one of the first “truly mass-produced” suburban areas, featuring the kind of antlike conformity that the American middle class would all grow to love in the 1950s. There were many other Levvittowns, such as Levittown, Pennsylvania, which set the standard for planned communities. Naturally, these communities have been criticized in the years that followed for being completely soulless.
Novelty factor: It’s all new to me, although I am familiar with the idea of these communities. I did grow up in suburbia, after all. What a reference to use as a joke, though. Did they really expect anybody to know this one?
NOTE: Please watch the below video for the ridiculous 1950s “progress” montage music.