The episode: “Crash of the Moons,” ep. 417
The riff: Sullenly observed by Joel as Rocky Jones, the movie’s space ranger-style hero, blandly reads yet another line.
The explanation: This is a reference to the 1960s British children’s adventure show called “Stingray.” It was one in a series of shows made in “supermarionation” by a guy named Gerry Anderson, which is to say that all the characters were puppets. In effect, this yielded something that looked pretty similar to “Team America: World Police.” The protagonist of “Stingray” was the square-jawed Troy Tempest who piloted the titular vehicle, a state-of-the-art submarine.
Novelty factor: I didn’t know the riff, but I do know Gerry Anderson thanks to run-ins with his other shows over time. “Terrahawks” in particular is one that I’ve heard a lot about–it basically equates to “Stingray in space.” I must say that regardless of the context, the puppets really weird me out.