The episode: “Mitchell,” ep. 512
The riff: Observed disapprovingly by Crow as Mitchell blows away a thug in a park who breaks off conversation with him and sprints away. Yes, the scene is as weird as that makes it sound.
The explanation: Daryl Gates was the chief of the Los Angeles Police Department from 1978-1992. He was extremely hard-line in carrying out his duties, favoring swift action and not shying away from violence. His administration came under heavy national fire following the 1992 police beating of Rodney King and the ensuing race riots that resulted in more than 50 deaths, and he resigned shortly thereafter. The bots are making fun of this bloody streak, about as political as they ever get.
Novelty factor: I know about the riots of course, but I was too young at the time to really be following the name of Gates in the media.
The episode: This running gag is used in at least three episodes: “Mitchell” ep. 512, “Radar Secret Service” ep. 520, and “Angels Revenge” ep. 622. There may be more.
The riff: Usually sung by one of the riffers during a less-than-exciting car chase. In “Radar Secret Service,” Mike sings this snatch of lyrics in an extremely deflated, uninterested tone of voice while a car slowly rolls up on a pair of thieves.
The explanation: The lyrics are actually an excerpt from the song “Drive,” the theme song for the action-drama show “Hardcastle and McCormick,” which aired on ABC from 1983-1986. The show was about an ex-judge and an former racecar driver who teamed up to battle crime, and featured lots of flashy driving in McCormick’s “Coyote X” racer. Interestingly, the SOL crew seems to have misquoted the actual lyrics of the song, which are “Drive! Drivin’ like the demon that drives your beat!” It would seem that the writers simply found the bombastic song amusing, as they re-used it multiple times.
Novelty factor: I’d heard of Hardcastle and McCormick before, but had no idea what the show was about, nor had any idea the riff was a reference to the theme song.