287. “You could learn a lot from a dummy.”

The episode:Village of the Giants,” ep. 523

The riff: Asserted by Mike as a bunch of crazy teenagers pile out of a car in a ditch and began dancing and frolicking wildly in the rain.

The explanation: “You could learn a lot from a dummy” was the slogan of a 1980s campaign by the U.S. Department of Transportation that featured two talking crash test dummies named Vince and Larry. The series was all about teaching people to wear seatbelts, and in this it was apparently very effective. The commercials were so popular that the characters transcended them, becoming a line of action figures from Tyco. There was even an animated film featuring them.

Novelty factor: I totally remember the commercials and especially the toys. A friend of mine had a Crash Test Dummies car toy that would crumple when you crashed it, and the dummies themselves could break into a bunch of pieces and be reassembled. In retrospect, they must have been great choking hazards.

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