The riff: Spoken by Tom in a grave tone as a kid playing with others in a barn tries to climb a rope but doesn’t do too hot at it.
The explanation: Tom is referring to a 1973 novel called “Summer of My German Soldier” by Bette Greene. The book is about a young Jewish girl living in Arkansas during World War II. She comes into contact with an escaped German POW (Did we really bring them to America? It seems like a lot of unnecessary effort.) and the two fall in love. <— He’s not a Nazi, clearly. The book was additionally made into a TV movie in 1978.
Novelty factor: Had no idea, but I assumed it was probably a film from the way Tom said it.