Love in Reality: Cultural References [SPOILER ALERT]

Here are the references to other books, movies, places, people, etc. in Love in Reality. Non-fictional ones, that is. If we left anything significant out, please let us know in the comments.

Aaron Spelling

The fictional TV producer Alan Jennings (Rand’s father) is comparable in fame to Aaron Spelling, producer of numerous shows including Charlie’s Angels and Sunset Beach.

“The twin sister did. Lissa—the real Lissa—had torn some picture of my family out of People magazine years ago. You know—when they couldn’t get the Spellings, they settled for the Jennings.” [Chapter Twenty-Five]

ABA

When Blackjack McIntyre (hero of book 3, Blackjack & Moonlight) discovers his niece Libby is working as a bartender, one of his concerns is that she might be in violation of the American Bar Association (ABA) rules.

I got the acid cold prosecutor routine—he demanded to know why I was in the bar, where you were, why we switched, how had I managed not to have gotten kicked out of law school, and whose social security number was on my paycheck. You know—the basic Blackjack grilling to make sure we’re not violating any federal laws.”

“Kicked out of law school?”

“I can’t work more than twenty hours a week under the ABA rules.”

Lissa groaned. “Don’t ever let me go to law school. I hate rules.” [Chapter Two]

The Amazing Race

Rand’s father—the famous producer Alan Jennings—generally dislikes reality television, but considers The Amazing Race to have some redeeming qualities.

“Quality reality TV? Isn’t that an oxymoron in your book, Dad?”

“I don’t like the genre, no. But look at The Amazing Race. That’s educational…on occasion.” [Chapter Nine]

Annette Bening

Perhaps because of her performance in The Grifters (1990), producer Saul has Annette Bening in mind to play the Marcy-Edelstein-equivalent in his screenplay.

“Yeah, yeah. Send me the script when it’s done. I love the idea and I think it would test well as a smaller budget film. Heh heh, you got anyone in mind for Marcy Edelstein? I was thinking Annette Bening.” [Chapter Seventeen]

Aprihop

aprihopAprihop is a seasonal brew of the Dogfish Head Brewery, based in Milton, DE, about 100 miles south of Philadelphia.

“I like a hoppy pale ale,” Rand said.

“I’ve got just the thing. Aprihop. Local brewery, they only brew it in the spring.” [Chapter One]

The Bachelor

When Debbie hears Rand is becoming romantically involved with a Fish, she recalls a scandal on the set of The Bachelor, as reported in the New York Post and elsewhere.

Rand sat back and shrugged. “Embarrassing to admit, but…I think I’m falling for her.”

“You’ll get fired.”

“That was part of the game plan, as you’ll recall.”

“Yeah, but it’s tacky to get caught fondling the Fish,” Debbie retorted. “You’ll be like that crew member on The Bachelor. Not cool.” [Chapter Eleven]

Baylor University

Baylor UniversitySusie (the Girl Next Door) will start studying dentistry at Baylor University in Waco, TX, after the show is over.

I have a receptionist in a dentist’s office—Susan—whom Marcy will think is just a cute blonde Texas bimbo.”

“She’s actually curing cancer?”

Rand laughed. “Not quite. She’s finishing up her undergrad degree and starts at Baylor’s dental school in the fall.” [Chapter One]

Beavis and Butt-head

Libby compares her classmates Steve and Ted to the immature title characters in Beavis and Butt-head.

Libby flipped Ted and Steve her best Lissa smile. They lit up like a synchronized Christmas display. Libby went back to making drinks, her nausea rising as she imagined all the ways this situation could play out.

It wasn’t too hard to see what Lissa wanted from Beavis and Butt-head either. Libby didn’t talk a lot about law school to Lissa, who only wanted the gossip, stories about classmates and who was dating. Stuff Libby didn’t even know.

Clearly her twin had found another source. [Chapter Three]

Bel Air

Bel AirRand’s parents—Alan Jennings and his wife Dee—live in Bel Air, an affluent district of Los Angeles.

His parents’ house wasn’t large by Bel Air standards, but it sat on a particularly gracious lot, perfect for entertaining. Perfect for his mother to swan around, impeccably dressed, making sure everyone was comfortable. Perfect for his father to entertain industry moguls with his stories of clashes with the network honchos. Perfect for everyone to feel smart and creative instead of just lucky. [Chapter Nine]

Beverly Hills, 90210

Sweet Cherry, the fictional TV show produced by Alan Jennings (Rand’s father) is comparable to the Aaron Spelling show Beverly Hills, 90210.

“I really loved Sweet Cherry,” Libby offered.

“Which one was that?” Susie asked.

“Before your time,” Jim said. “All about a group of teens, but smarter than 90210. We watched with our kids. It was pretty good. I don’t miss it, but my oldest daughter was addicted and still watches the reruns on cable.” [Chapter Fifteen]

Born Yesterday

When trying to get a handle on what his boss Marcy might mean by “ditzy,” USC film school graduate Rand imagines Judy Holliday‘s character in Born Yesterday (1950).

“Yeah. My boss wants someone who’s not dim, precisely, just not very intellectually organized. I’m a film buff, so I imagine Carole Lombard in My Man Godfrey—” he paused to check if she’d seen it. Libby shook her head. “—or Judy Holliday in Born Yesterday.” [Chapter Five]

Bound

In his efforts to get “Lissa” on the show, Rand sells her as a younger version of Jennifer Tilly, famous for her role in Bound (1996).

He’d apologized to Marcy, explained that he had new picks for the Girl Next Door and the Sophisticate, he had a great choice for the Codger—“He’s retired but still works out,” he’d assured her—and was staying in Philly another night because his Ditz was so awesome, Marcy was going to love her. “She’s a younger version of Jennifer Tilly,” Rand had said, knowing Marcy would get an intern to IMDb Jennifer Tilly and then order Bound from Netflix. So predictable. [Chapter Three]

Claire Danes

Rand describes meeting the teen star Claire Danes at an Emmy Award ceremony in Pasadena. Her character was Angela Chase in My So-Called Life.

“Anyway, it was surreal to see up close all these actors I’d watched on TV. But here’s what I realized. They weren’t real when I saw them on TV—they were acting their parts—and they weren’t real on the red carpet in their fancy gowns and borrowed gems.”

Lissa stared at him, her hand holding a zori halfway to her foot. She waited for him to continue.

“I had a crush on Claire Danes, but all dressed up she wasn’t what I’d expected. She looked like what she was—a pretty actress. I didn’t want to meet a pretty actress. I wanted to meet Angela, her character,” he said. “I knew they were different people. I knew that, but it didn’t really hit me until I saw her with makeup and everything.” [Chapter Fourteen]

Cruella de Vil

Rand compares his boss Marcy Edelstein to Cruella de Vil, the fur-obsessed antagonist of  One Hundred and One Dalmatians.

“I don’t understand this. How can someone get to be a manager if they’re so capricious?”

“Capricious,” Rand chuckled. “That’s a great word for it. Well, maybe it misses her Cruella de Vil qualities, but it nails the lack of rhyme or reason.” [Chapter One]

CSI

A.J., the animatronics expert who makes the Lissa dummy for the “fish heists,” works for the CSI franchise.

“It was all Deb’s idea. She knows A.J. from the CSI franchise. He’s a model maker. He’s the go-to-guy when they need a plausibly-human dead body. She told him what we needed, your measurements, hairstyle, and that it had to be breathing but asleep. That was the tough part, of course—his creations never need to be alive for the show. But work is light for him at the moment, so he was psyched by the challenge of making the chest cavity breathe. [Chapter Thirteen]

David McCullough

When Rand visits the apartment shared by Libby and Lissa, he spots some books by the popular historian David McCullough and assumes they belong to Lissa.

Your sister’s desk had all the law books, but yours had some David McCullough books and an Isabel Allende novel.”

“Wow. You remember what books I had out? That’s impressive.” They were all her books, but he had no way of knowing that. [Chapter Fourteen]

The Devil Wears Prada

The Devil Wears Prada (2006), in which Meryl Streep plays a fashion magazine editor, is the classic modern movie comedy about a demanding and capricious female boss like Marcy.

When had his life morphed into a Hollywood version of The Devil Wears Prada? Only stupider. [Chapter One]

Dire Straits

Libby hums a Dire Straits song after her Journal Room meetings with Rand, which reveals her state of mind to her roommate Greg (the Band Geek). The author doesn’t say which song, so if you think you know, please tell us in the comments!

She started to hum a tune as they shuffled their feet in no particular rhythm.

“What is that?”

“A Dire Straits song,” she said. She could feel the bass drum of his heart. “I never knew how much I would miss music. I’ve been replaying songs in my head for weeks now. I didn’t realize until Greg told me that I’d been humming out loud after my times with you.” She started humming again. [Chapter Thirteen]

Dorney Park

Dorney ParkThe days after parting from Rand at the Los Angeles airport remind Libby of the roller coaster at Dorney Park, an amusement park about 60 miles north of Philadelphia.

Libby started to cry. From the scene at the airport—the last time she’d touched Rand—to seeing him at the Cork, every day had been an amusement park ride. The scary kind, like the roller coaster at Dorney Park that always made Libby weak-limbed and wobbly. She wasn’t sure she could take much more. [Chapter Twenty-Six]

Gaslight

Gaslight (1944), in which Angela Lansbury plays a young maid, is the other movie Rand references in the tagline for his screenplay.

He handed over his corporate credit card to the aggressively chipper young woman at the hotel’s main desk. Something about her smile made him think of Angela Lansbury in Gaslight. Gaslight? Rand’s head exploded with ideas.

Gaslight. Directed by George Cukor in 1944, starring Ingrid Bergman, Charles Boyer, and Joseph Cotten. Won two Oscars. Charles Boyer tries to drive his heiress wife, Bergman, crazy before she’s rescued by Cotten.

Rand would love to screw with Marcy’s head. Just the sort of detail that might save his life’s screenplay—Lowly producer pulls off a surprising practical joke on his hateful boss. That was a movie Rand could sell for real. It even had a cliché logline: “The Devil Wears Prada Meets Gaslight.” He’d quit the show at the end of the season, write the screenplay and see if he couldn’t get a production deal out of it. [Chapter One]

The Godfather

Garrotting, as portrayed in The Godfather (1972), is one of the ways Rand fantasizes about killing his boss during long business meetings.

During one of Marcy’s particularly nasty harangues, Rand slipped up behind her and garroted her with her own Hermès scarf (The Godfather, modified). [Chapter One]

Goldfinger

Epidermal suffocation with gold paint à la Goldfinger (1964) is another way Rand fantasizes about killing his boss.

He dipped her in gold paint so her skin smothered (Goldfinger). [Chapter One]

Goldfish

GoldfishWhen Rand explains he is a producer on The Fishbowl, “Lissa” offers him Goldfish as a snack, which Rand suspects is an intentionally mischievous choice.

Lissa blinked at him. “Let me get you some Goldfish,” she said after a moment.

Rand wasn’t sure if that was a non sequitur, or had she really thought Goldfish would keep him company? Or—he grinned at this idea—she was deliberately messing with him, Mr. Bigshot Fishbowl Producer, by making sure it was Goldfish crackers and not pretzels in front of him. [Chapter Three]

Hemet

Hemet is the city about 80 miles southeast of LA where Debbie’s mother lives.

Debbie had to take over Rand’s night shift duties, Rand was moved to mornings, and all their writing assignments were jumbled up. Rand knew not to complain, but it sucked for a lot of reasons. Debbie would have to send her son to live with her mother in Hemet because she couldn’t afford a sitter every night. [Chapter Nineteen]

Hollywood Freeway

After Libby leaves the Fishbowl, she’s sequestered in a hotel room overlooking the Hollywood Freeway, which connects the Los Angeles Basin with the San Fernando Valley.

Wrapped in the hotel’s bathrobe, Libby looked out over the Hollywood Freeway. She hadn’t slept well—she kept waking, hoping Rand would call, or even show up. She didn’t want to miss his knock. Every time she woke to a dead silence, disappointment bitter in her mouth. Lissa being here would help a lot. [Chapter Twenty-Three]

Isabel Allende

When Rand visits the apartment shared by Libby and Lissa, he spots a novel by Isabel Allende and assumes it belongs to Lissa.

Your sister’s desk had all the law books, but yours had some David McCullough books and an Isabel Allende novel.”

“Wow. You remember what books I had out? That’s impressive.” They were all her books, but he had no way of knowing that. [Chapter Fourteen]

Jack and Diane

When Kai finds herself in a room with Tommy (the Country Bumpkin) and Diane (the Cougar), she thinks of a John Mellencamp song. As Libby points out, the actual song title is Jack & Diane. In an odd coincidence, Mellencamp was—at the time the song was recorded—performing as “John Cougar.”

“Nope. I’m in with Tommy and Diane.” She nodded. “Yup, trust my luck to be the third wheel in a John Mellencamp song.”

“I think that was Jack and Diane,” Libby said. “So you’re safe.” [Chapter Eight]

John Hughes

When Libby discovers that Rand’s father is the famous TV producer Alan Jennings, she thinks of Alan in relation to John Hughes, the king of teen movies such as The Breakfast Club.

Libby just shook her head. She didn’t remember the photo, she didn’t remember Lissa’s crush and she barely remembered the show. She knew who Alan Jennings was, of course. He’d followed in the footsteps of John Hughes, only in television. Everyone who grew up in the nineties knew his shows. She could even picture the animation for Minor Developments, his production company. Every episode of Sweet Cherry closed with an empty cornucopia from which rolled a single tiny pumpkin. [Chapter Twenty-Four]

Judd Apatow

The fictional TV producer Alan Jennings (Rand’s father) is comparable in fame to Judd Apatow, producer of TV shows such as Freaks and Geeks and movies such as Knocked Up.

“That he’s Alan Jennings. He is not some senior VP for development with a studio or a network. He’s like Judd Apatow or Aaron Spelling or someone. I’ve even heard of him. I would say it was a relevant fact.” [Chapter Twenty-Four]

Juicy Couture

Juicy Couture is a international upscale fashion brand, with a branch in Philadelphia. Their apparel would appeal to Lissa, but not (normally) Libby.

“Yup. Walked in for the first time since you left, took one look and knew. I have no idea how he can tell us apart when no one else can.”

“What were you wearing?” Lissa demanded.

“I was not wearing baggy jeans and a Franklin Law sweatshirt, if that’s what you’re thinking. I have on your black Juicy Coutures, the cute blue top from Sugarcube, large gold hoop earrings and boots, although I don’t know how you manage in these things. My feet are killing me.” [Chapter Two]

Law Review

A law review is a scholarly journal published by select students of law schools such as the fictional Franklin Law in Philadelphia.

Libby looked out the window at a crystal clear April afternoon. She was home for once, although she’d been planning to go into school to do some research on her Law Review note. [Chapter Five]

The Lingerie Bowl

Rand considers The Fishbowl only slightly less tacky than The Lingerie Bowl, a Super Bowl halftime entertainment involving scantily clad female American football players.

Marcy wanted this year’s crop to be “types” so she could market the season as “Opposites Attract.” The Band Geek falls for the Ditz. The Sophisticate goes for the Country Bumpkin. Stupidest thing Rand had ever heard, only that’s reality TV for you—it didn’t need to make sense, it just had to provide enough excuses for people to fight with each other while wearing skimpy clothes. Only a step up from The Lingerie Bowl. [Chapter One]

The Lower 48

The Lower 48 refers to the contiguous United States, excluding Hawaii and Alaska, where Lissa moved to live with her boyfriend Duke.

Lissa laughed. “The only people who asked were tourists from the Lower 48 who came into the museum—I work in the gift shop,” she explained to Jeremy, “and I had a patented look of dim confusion ready for them. [Chapter Twenty-Three]

Marching Mizzou

Greg (the Band Geek) played the piccolo in the Marching Mizzou, the University of Missouri’s marching band.
[weaver_youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5-padUCSmo4 percent=50 start=164]

It’s my first time in L.A. I kept thinking my band would get to the Rose Bowl, but it never quite happened.”

“Your band?”

“The Marching Mizzou.” [Chapter Six]

Moot Court

In law schools, moot court is a simulated court proceeding, allowing students to practice their brief drafting and oral argument skills. In the fictional Franklin Law, Libby Pembroke and Meghan Mattson (heroine of book 2, The Cost of Happiness) face off in a moot court competition.

Libby knew Meghan. They jogged together occasionally, but she wouldn’t consider Meghan a friend. They were both on Law Review, of course, and had drawn each other as competition in the moot court oral argument. Libby figured that was a lucky break for her because Meghan was so quiet. If she had a weakness, it had to be oral argument. [Chapter Three]

Moreton Bay Fig Tree

Moreton Bay Fig TreeReaders who know the area might have recognized the Moreton Bay Fig Tree as that standing in front of Santa Monica’s Fairmont Miramar Hotel. The author scouted out the hotel as a location for the second “Fish heist” in July 2012.

While Rand talked to the attendant, Libby looked up at the massive tropical tree that dominated the front of the hotel. It was floodlit a lovely blue, as if the entire trunk were underwater.

“Is that a banyan tree?” she asked the valet.

“It’s the Moreton Bay Fig Tree. Over a hundred years old.” [Chapter Seventeen]

Mutiny on the Bounty

When his colleagues turn to him to approve the burying of incriminating Fishbowl footage, Rand imagines himself as Fletcher Christian. Being a film buff, Rand would probably think first of Clark Gable‘s portrayal in Mutiny on The Bounty (1935).

Dick and Jamie instinctively looked at Rand. They wanted him to approve this mutiny, he realized. Who cast him as Fletcher Christian? [Chapter Twelve]

My Man Godfrey

Rand Jennings uses Carole Lombard‘s character in My Man Godfrey (1936) to show Libby how to act ditzy.

Rand connected the laptop to the TV, something Libby had no idea you could even do, and before long, My Man Godfrey had started. Libby had to smile, as there were a couple of similarities between the father, Mr. Bullock, and Bill Pembroke. Of course, the mother in the movie was nothing like Mom, who was scarily on top of things. Still, the image of William Powell as a butler calming “the pixies” made Libby laugh out loud. [Chapter Five]

101

During the first “fish heist,” Rand explains that he doesn’t want to take Libby to his apartment because bad traffic on U.S. Route 101 could be disastrous for their plans.

“Where are we going?” she asked. She didn’t know enough about L.A. geography to tell where they were.

“I wish we had time to go back to my place, but if we got caught on the 101, we’d be screwed. And even at one in the morning, accidents can happen. So I got us a hotel room.” [Chapter Thirteen]

The Other Venice Film Festival

The Other Venice Film FestivalRand Jennings’s student film was presented at The Other Venice Film Festival—an event in Venice, CA, named in contrast to the more famous Venice International Film Festival.

His father didn’t seem amused. “Well, you are. I saw your student film at The Other Venice Film Festival. I was blown away. I didn’t know what to say to you, probably in the same way I wouldn’t have known what to say to Frank Capra or Billy Wilder. I don’t have that kind of talent.” [Chapter Twenty-Five]

Patrick Fitzgerald

Patrick FitzgeraldRand likens the fictional Jack “Blackjack” McIntyre (hero of book 3, Blackjack & Moonlight) to Patrick Fitzgerald, former US Attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

“Is that your uncle?” Rand jerked his head in the guy’s direction.

Lissa flicked a glance over at the uncle and nodded slowly. “Unfortunately, yes.”

“Blackjack McIntyre?”

She turned back to Rand. This time she met his eyes square on, but her tilted jaw reminded Rand he was an outsider. Her temperature had dropped back to cool. “Why do you ask?”

Rand faked what he hoped was a disarming chuckle. “No reason. I’m from Los Angeles, but prosecutors like your uncle and—” Hell, what was the name of the US Attorney in Chicago? Oh, right, “—Patrick Fitzgerald get noticed.” [Chapter One]

Pepperdine University

PepperdinePepperdine University, located near Malibu, is one of the schools from which The Fishbowl‘s summer interns appear.

The appearance of the interns was a seasonal phenomenon, like the swallows returning to the mission at San Juan Capistrano. As soon as UCLA, USC and Pepperdine were out for the summer, a flock would be assigned desks in Rand and Debbie’s office. He never bothered to learn their names—his token protest to their presence. [Chapter Six]

Pretty Woman

When Lissa hears about the Hollywood hotel she’ll be staying at with her sister, she of course imagines the luxurious suite in Pretty Woman (1990).

“I don’t suppose it’s like that hotel suite from Pretty Woman,” Lissa said.

“Hell, yeah. Larger than our apartment in Philly, fabulously appointed, with an implausible balcony.” Libby laughed, looking around the generic hotel room. Well, it did have a seating area, so maybe it qualified as a “suite.” [Chapter Twenty-Three]

Psycho

The iconic shower scene from Psycho (1960) is yet another way Rand fantasizes about killing his boss.

He stabbed her in the shower (Psycho)—an awkward, blindly-slashing affair as he really didn’t want to see her naked. [Chapter One]

Ryan Reynolds

Rand Jennings is similar in appearance to Ryan Reynolds, known for playing “Berg” in Two Guys and a Girl and Chris Brander in Just Friends.

The bartender left, heading for the old guy. She froze when the door to the bar opened and a tall, dark-haired man walked in. Something about him caught Rand’s eye, he was that sort of man. He looked like a character from TV or film. Black hair, strong jaw line, natural confidence. The Hero, straight out of Central Casting. Whereas Rand was a Ryan Reynolds type—the boy-next-door with a charming grin. [Chapter One]

St. Joseph

Pony Express National Museum, St. JosephGreg (the Band Geek) comes from St. Joseph, Missouri, famous for its association with the Pony Express mail service.

“Where are you from?” Greg asked.

“Philly. How about you?”

“St. Joseph, Missouri,” he replied proudly. “Birthplace of the Pony Express.” [Chapter Six]

San Juan Capistrano

San Juan CapistranoRand thinks of the arrival of the summer interns as like the famous “Return of the Swallows” to the ruined mission at San Juan Capistrano.

He stood up and headed for the door. Sure enough, one of the interns had slithered in while Rand’s back was turned. The appearance of the interns was a seasonal phenomenon, like the swallows returning to the mission at San Juan Capistrano. As soon as UCLA, USC and Pepperdine were out for the summer, a flock would be assigned desks in Rand and Debbie’s office. He never bothered to learn their names—his token protest to their presence. [Chapter Six]

Santa Monica

Santa MonicaFor the second “Fish heist,” Rand takes “Lissa” to Santa Monica, a beachfront city about 15 miles from downtown LA.

“Nope, Santa Monica this time. I took a chance on our having time to get to the ocean, so at least we could hear the waves.”

Lissa peered up at the sky. “Or even walk along the beach in the moonlight?” she asked.

He laughed. “Sure, why not? [Chapter Sixteen]

Schenectady

Union CollegeAndrew, one of Lissa’s ex-boyfriends, went to a small college (perhaps Union College) in Schenectady, NY.

Libby picked one of Lissa’s pre-Duke boyfriends at random. “Andrew. He’s a nice guy. I met him at the bar, and we dated a bit, but he wasn’t from Philly, so eventually the time came for him to go home.”

“Sounds like he was married,” Kai said cynically.

Libby tried to imagine the real-life Andrew—a frat boy from a small college in Schenectady—as a married man. “No, he wasn’t married. Cute enough, sure, but he didn’t have that aura, you know? That vibe that says he’s playing at being squeaky clean.” [Chapter Eighteen]

Schuylkill River

Schuylkill RiverLibby and Lissa’s apartment is located in a converted warehouse close to the Schuylkill River in Philadelphia.

Libby looked out the window and saw the bridge over the Schuylkill coming up.

“Oh, my stop. Look, call me if you decide to be on the show, okay?” Libby said swiftly, before closing the phone. She trotted down the bus’s back steps and into the converted warehouse. [Chapter Two]

(S)He Hates Everything

Rand’s boss Marcy Edelstein is compared to the iconic Little Mikey who in a long-running ad campaign “hates everything.”
[weaver_youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vYEXzx-TINc percent=50]

She’d look good on TV. But did she fit Marcy’s idea for the Ditz? Rand suspected he knew the answer. She’d think the bartender too cool and confident, and Rand would get another screaming text on the subject. Marcy was like that old TV ad: She hates everything. [Chapter One]

South Philadelphia

The Colors of South PhiladelphiaThe fictional County Cork bar is located in South Philadelphia (sometimes shortened to “South Philly”), a section of the city known for a sizable Irish American population in addition to the Italian American community it is famous for. The author lived in this area from 1998 to 2002.

The cab pulled up to a South Philly bar and Rand got out. An icy wind helped him slam the cab’s door.

He turned, taking in the bar’s windows, bright with neon. Not the worst place to be on a chilly March night. Inside, The County Cork was warm and redolent of fresh beer over a clean scent. Standard layout—horseshoe bar in the center, tables and booths around the perimeter. The few patrons were clustered close to the bar as though huddled together for warmth and community. It looked like the type of local bar where they really did know your name. [Chapter One]

South Side, Chicago

South SideDylan (the Hunk) hails from the Chicago’s South Side, where he claims to be a cab driver.

“Would winning here help your acting career?” she asked, her eyes deliberately wide.

He looked pissed off. “You don’t know what you’re talking about, bitch. I’m a cabby from the South Side.”

Oh, sure, like every cabby in Chicago has a few thousand dollars’ worth of dental work in his mouth. [Chapter Eight]

Stanford University

Stanford Law SchoolPhil Gaffney (hero of book 4, Lost and Found) studied law at Stanford University, about 37 miles southeast of San Francisco.

It wasn’t Lissa he’d fallen for, it was Libby. A law student who wasn’t free to leave Philadelphia. She had to finish school and start her career. Based on what Phil had gone through after Stanford, the hours for a newly minted lawyer were as bad or worse than Rand’s schedule while The Fishbowl was taping. She might not have time for a relationship with him. So toss all those living-together-in-L.A. plans out the window. [Chapter Twenty-Two]

Statue of Frauds

The Statue of Frauds is the requirement that certain contracts be in a signed writing. Law students use the mnemonic MY LEGS (Marriage, one Year, Land, Executor, Guarantor, Sale) to remember the circumstances in which it applies.

Libby fell asleep reciting the conditions that triggered the Statute of Frauds while trying to ignore her disappointment that Rand hadn’t called her back to the Journal Room. [Chapter Thirteen]

Sugarcube®

Sugarcube® is an independent fashion store in Philadelphia—the sort of place Lissa (but not Libby) would shop for clothes.

“Yup. Walked in for the first time since you left, took one look and knew. I have no idea how he can tell us apart when no one else can.”

“What were you wearing?” Lissa demanded.

“I was not wearing baggy jeans and a Franklin Law sweatshirt, if that’s what you’re thinking. I have on your black Juicy Coutures, the cute blue top from Sugarcube, large gold hoop earrings and boots, although I don’t know how you manage in these things. My feet are killing me.” [Chapter Two]

Sunset Boulevard

The murder in Sunset Boulevard (1950) is the final way Rand fantasizes about killing Marcy.

Rand settled for the classics. He shot her and let her fall into a Hollywood Hills swimming pool (Sunset Boulevard). [Chapter One]

Sweet Valley High

As a kid, Libby Pembroke enjoyed reading Sweet Valley High books. It’s no coincidence that they have identical twins (one good and one bad) as the principal characters.

I had such a crush on Danny,” Libby admitted dreamily. Of course Lissa had the crush. Like Jim’s daughter, Lissa watched every episode. Libby had preferred reading her latest Sweet Valley High book. [Chapter Fifteen]

UCLA

UCLAThe University of California, Los Angeles, located in Westwood neighborhood of L.A., is one of the schools from which The Fishbowl‘s summer interns appear.

The appearance of the interns was a seasonal phenomenon, like the swallows returning to the mission at San Juan Capistrano. As soon as UCLA, USC and Pepperdine were out for the summer, a flock would be assigned desks in Rand and Debbie’s office. He never bothered to learn their names—his token protest to their presence. [Chapter Six]

USC School of Cinematic Arts

USC Film SchoolRand Jennings is a graduate of the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, one of the most famous film programs in the world.

“Wow. You remember what books I had out? That’s impressive.” They were all her books, but he had no way of knowing that. “So what do you read?”

“Thrillers, mysteries, Stephen King—that kind of thing. And books on film,” he added.

“Film?”

“I went to USC’s film school,” he said. [Chapter Fourteen]

The Valley

In the context of the book, “the Valley” refers to the San Fernando Valley, where much motion picture production activity has been relocated to from Hollywood.

“Yeah, my summer jobs were on TV or movie sets,” he told her. “Always on location, as it happened—I’d get stuck with the location shoots in the Valley, where it’s brutal in the summer. My friends from college who weren’t in the industry would kid me about how cushy it was to intern for a TV show or a movie. I could never express how dreary it really was.” [Chapter Three]

Walnut Street, Philadelphia

Walnut Street is one of the principal east-west streets in downtown Philadelphia, and is the city’s premier shopping district. Libby and Lissa share an apartment close to where Walnut Street crosses the Schuylkill River.

Libby caught the late-night Walnut Street bus, found a seat well away from the small number of passengers already on it, and took a deep breath. [Chapter Two]

War of the Worlds

Rand Jennings thinks finding a suitable Ditz candidate for The Fishbowl is about as hard as locating an autographed script for Orson Welles’s War of the Worlds. Steven Spielberg indeed acquired one of the two only known scripts for $32,200 in 1994.

His current assignment to find a zany “Fish” felt impossible—like a scavenger hunt for the only Orson-Welles-autographed War of the Worlds script when everyone knows Spielberg already owns it. [Chapter One]

The Wire

Susie (the Girl Next Door) and Jim (the Codger) discuss the TV drama series The Wire.

“Before your time,” Jim said. “All about a group of teens, but smarter than 90210. We watched with our kids. It was pretty good. I don’t miss it, but my oldest daughter was addicted and still watches the reruns on cable.”

 “I had such a crush on Danny,” Libby admitted dreamily. Of course Lissa had the crush. Like Jim’s daughter, Lissa watched every episode. Libby had preferred reading her latest Sweet Valley High book. Susie gave her a look, then went back to discussing The Wire with Jim. Libby pursed her lips to keep from smiling. They really did think she was a ditz, didn’t they? [Chapter Fifteen]

WolfBlock

The failure of the fictional Myer & Hogg has a real-life parallel in the orderly unwinding and dissolution of the Philadelphia-based WolfBlock.

After a few days of crazy shit at the Cork, Libby couldn’t stop her anxiety. Not this too. Not her M and H job. She slowed to a walk. Meghan dropped back to walk with her.

“What gossip? How credible is it?” Libby asked, fighting her panic.

Meghan turned her palms up. “Who knows? After WolfBlock dissolved a few years ago, everyone’s been skittish about the financial health of local law firms. It sounds like M and H people are already looking around.” [Chapter Four]

The Woodlands

The WoodlandsThe Woodlands estate in Philadelphia includes a federal style mansion, an arboretum, and a rural cemetery in which Joseph A. Campbell is interred, amongst others.

“I found a route through Woodlands,” Libby said. “That okay with you?”

Meghan nodded.

When they reached the stone gates to the cemetery, they started running a slow steady pace around the circular drives and roadways. Libby got into a rhythm and felt her muscles responding to the effort.

“Did you know that Campbell, of Campbell Soups, is buried in Section C?” Meghan said. [Chapter Four]