Phish fans are an astute bunch, especially when it comes to mainstream crossovers and references. While the Vermont jam legends get notably little public attention for a band of their stature, their fans always have eyes and ears peeled for cultural references to the band and their music. Last Tuesday night, the first episode of Runaways, the new Marvel Universe series on Hulu debuted to the platform’s subscribers, and featured a socially (if not factually) accurate reference to the Phish from Vermont.
In the comic, a ragtag group of teenagers teams up when they discover that their parents are part of a crime syndicate known as “The Pride”. Each parent is part of the evil consortium for a reason: because they are time-travelers, dark wizards, mad scientists, alien invaders, telepathic mutants, and the like. While only one episode of the Hulu series has been released so far, it gave audiences a glimpse at the diverse makeup of “The Pride”, helping to illustrate the varying backgrounds and personalities that make up the nefarious organization.
In one of the show’s opening scenes, when the The Pride is meeting at a “charity” event, two of the group’s members “nerd out” about Phish in demonstrably cringe-worth fashion. “Just make sure that her music library’s backed up–I mean, she’s got every tasty Phish bootleg going back to Burlington ’92!” remarks one Pride member. As another member responds another in agreement, “If you haven’t heard Trey’s 14-minute guitar solo on ‘Sample in a Jar’, you haven’t heard music.” As is common in real life, the Phish talk sort of freaks out the rest of the guests, prompting eye-rolls, scoffs, and generally appalled reactions from the party’s high-brow attendees.
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Oftentimes, those references come from Phish fans hiding within the media world, as with MSNBC news anchor Katy Tur and her frequent under-the-radar inclusion of Phish lyrics in her broadcast scripts. But judging by the way that it’s discussed, I’d wager a bet that the reference on Runaways comes from someone who is not familiar with the minutia of the band’s music, but is well versed in the apparent craziness of the band’s fan base and the social stigma and general jargon surrounding it–like, they probably have that one crazy friend who’s way into Phish.
So, we’re guessing that whoever that Phish friend on the Runaways writing staff is got a call when it aired that sounded something like: “Duuude, I caught that Phish reference you threw in there! Awesome! For the record, Trey has never actually played a 14-minute ‘Sample In A Jar’ (the only real jammed-out version was on Jam Tuesday at the Baker’s Dozen–definitely check that one out), and they actually didn’t debut ‘Sample’ until 1993, but still, that’s totally awesome, though!”
Oh, Phish fans. So crazy, so meticulous, so misunderstood–but so much fun. Never change…
You can watch the clip below, and check out new episodes of Runaways, released each Tuesday on Hulu.