The episode: “Devil Doll,” ep. 818
The riff: Spoken by Mike in a high-pitched voice with a French accent as the diminutive, possessed Devil Doll ambles forward on stage, all on its own.
The explanation: He’s referencing “Tattoo,” a character played by the French dwarf actor Herve Villechaize on the classic ABC series “Fantasy Island.” At the beginning of every episode, the dwarf would spot incoming guests to the island and excitedly point out, “ze plane!” Apparently this phrase remains so well known that it improbably has its own Wikipedia page. Villechaize, meanwhile, was best known elsewhere in his carer for playing “Nick Nack,” the villainous lackey of The Man with the Golden Gun in the James Bond film of the same name.
Novelty factor: Despite the fact that I never actually saw a “Fantasy Island” episode, I was able to guess this one. The high-pitched French accent made me think of Villechaize from the Bond movie, and in turn I knew that he had been on “Fantasy Island.” It made sense to assume that the phrase came from that show. Chalk this up to a rare victory for my powers of riff deduction instead of research.