In popular culture

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This page documents appearances that The Smashing Pumpkins and related acts had in popular culture, apart from direct musical contributions.

Clarissa Explains It All[edit | edit source]

Clarissa Explains It All is a teenage sitcom that ran on Nickelodeon from 1991-1994. Noted Smashing Pumpkins fan, Melissa Joan Hart played the title character. She reportedly wore an SP shirt on the show on occasion[1].

Flipper[edit | edit source]

Flipper is a 1996 remake of the 1963 film of the same title, starring Paul Hogan and Elijah Wood. During the film, Sandy (played by Wood) is seen wearing a classic SP heart shirt. This is significant as Elijah Wood is a big SP fan and was even spotted by fans at Zwan concerts in the early 2000s.

Jeopardy![edit | edit source]

According to the J-Archive, the following clues involved The Smashing Pumpkins or Billy Corgan:[2]

Air date Category Amount Clue Answer
1994-05-03 Rock 'N' Roll $400 This alternative rock group with the album "Siamese Dream" was on SNL's 1993 Halloween show The Smashing Pumpkins
1996-02-16 Alternative Rock $500 This Chicago-based band's major label debut, "Siamese Dream", went platinum The Smashing Pumpkins
1996-05-14 Lead Singers $400 Billy Corgan The Smashing Pumpkins
1997-04-30 Pop Music $400 This group won a 1996 Grammy for Best Hard Rock Performance for "Bullet With Butterfly Wings" The Smashing Pumpkins
1997-05-12 Music Videos $400 Billy Corgan of this band that won seven 1996 MTV Video Awards was quoted, "Videos kind of ruin the song" The Smashing Pumpkins
1997-09-11 Music Honors $800 September 4, 1996 was a "Tonight, Tonight" to remember for this group; it won MTV's Video of the Year Award The Smashing Pumpkins
1998-04-28 Music The Kids Love $200 James Iha, guitarist of this "Smashing" group, put out a solo album in 1998 The Smashing Pumpkins
1999-02-19 Melancholia $600 Group that released the punny 1995 album "Melon Collie And The Infinite Sadness" The Smashing Pumpkins
2000-01-10 Illinoise $400 Songs by this Billy Corgan band out of Chicago include "Tonight, Tonight" & "Today" The Smashing Pumpkins
2000-10-09 The Bald & The Beautiful $500 This bald man's early rock band The Marked didn't go far, but his Smashing Pumpkins took over the world Billy Corgan
2003-02-26 Albums $1000 In 2001 their "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" CD was certified 9 times platinum The Smashing Pumpkins
2003-12-15 Bands In Other Words $200 Walloping gourds The Smashing Pumpkins
2007-11-15 It's Only Rock 'N' Roll $800 This band is now part of the "Zeitgeist" after suffering "Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness" The Smashing Pumpkins
2008-02-07 Sing! $800 Smashing Pumpkins Billy Corgan
2011-03-22 Tasty Musical Acts $400 Billy Corgan of this band wasn't Melon Collie when its third album sold over 4 million copies The Smashing Pumpkins
2013-02-27 Silver Anniversaries $200 With infinite gladness, Billy Corgan formed this band in 1988; happy anniversary The Smashing Pumpkins
2014-02-07 Song Of The Year $2000 "Justine never knew the rules, hung down with the freaks & ghouls" in this song by Smashing Pumpkins 1979
2015-09-29 Hairless Bands $600 The follically consistent Billy Corgan fronted this band on "1979" The Smashing Pumpkins
2018-04-25 Singers $800 In 2017 this onetime lead singer of Smashing Pumpkins rebranded himself using his full name Corgan
2019-07-24 New Music Supergroups $600 Smashing Blowfish The Smashing Pumpkins

and Hootie and the Blowfish

Late Night With Conan O'Brien[edit | edit source]

Max Weinberg getting "competitive" with The Smashing Pumpkins on Late Night with Conan O'Brien, October 2009

On the heels of the Infinite Sadness tour, the Pumpkins appeared on Late Night with Conan O'Brien on February 25, 1997. The band performed "Muzzle" and were interviewed, discussing everything from the upcoming Grammy's to how Andy Richter forgot he had met Billy before. SP was joined on the couch by fellow guest, Melissa Joan Hart. A fan of the band, Hart appeared elated while SP was interviewed.

During a subsequent episode, Conan claims that his drummer, Max Weinberg was competitive with the band, which Max denies. Conan shows ‘footage’ of the band’s performance as proof. It was in fact a parody version recorded during SP’s appearance, involving Max’s attempts to ‘sabotage’ them.

Sabrina the Teenage Witch[edit | edit source]

Following the Pumpkins appearance on Conan with Melissa Joan Hart in 1997, they were referenced on her show, Sabrina the Teenage Witch. In "The Great Mistake" (Season 1, Episode 22), Sabrina (played by Hart) tries to sneak out of the house to see a Smashing Pumpkins concert on a flying vacuum cleaner.

Saturday Night Live[edit | edit source]

The band has appeared a total of three times on the long-running sketchy comedy show. Their first appearance was a Halloween episode in 1993 with host Christian Slater, performing "Cherub Rock" and "Today". The Pumpkins next appearance was in 1995 with host Quentin Tarantino. They performed "Bullet with Butterfly Wings" and Zero". The episode is notable because it is SP's first live television appearance with Billy Corgan sporting his now trademark shaved head.

SP's most recent appearance on SNL was in 1998 for the Season 24 premiere with host, Cameron Diaz. In addition to performing "Perfect", the band appeared in a sketch for the first time. During the sketch, Corgan, Iha and Wretzky are seen as fictionalized versions of themselves in the Moomba Club. A character played by Diaz, Celeste enters the club and notes the band’s presence. Corgan asks Celeste if she got his messages and asks for a dance. She gets distracted by the Butabi Brothers (Will Ferrell and Chris Kattan), who she leaves with. When Celeste returns to the club later, Corgan tries again to ask for a dance.[3]

On April 12, 2003, Zwan made their only appearance on SNL, hosted by Ray Romano. They performed "Lyric" and "Settle Down".

Scott Pilgrim[edit | edit source]

Michael Cera as Scott Pilgrim in the feature film

Scott Pilgrim is a series of graphic novels written by Bryan Lee O’Malley. The third volume is called Scott Pilgrim and the Infinite Sadness, a reference to Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. Chapter 16 specifically is called "Frail and Bedazzled". At times in the graphic novels, Scott Pilgrim is seen wearing Smashing Pumpkins ‘SP Heart’ and ‘Zero’ t-shirts.[4][5] The Smashing Pumpkins was one of O'Malley’s favorite bands in high school and college, hence all the references.[6]

A feature film directed by Edgar Wright, Scott Pilgrim vs. The World was released on August 13, 2010. Much like the graphic novels, Scott wears unique versions of the ‘SP Heart’ and ‘Zero’ shirts.

While no Smashing Pumpkins music plays in the film, the soundtrack does have an eventual SP connection. “Black Sheep”, by popular Canadian band, Metric, is featured prominently. Metric would go on to open for The Smashing Pumpkins during the Shiny and Oh So Bright Tour in 2018.[7]

The Simpsons[edit | edit source]

Clips of the episode involving The Smashing Pumpkins

In the "Homerpalooza" episode of The Simpsons (season 7, episode 24), The Smashing Pumpkins guest star as themselves. The premise is that Homer tries to earn "street cred" with young people by joining Hullabalooza – a comedic take on the Lollapalooza music festival which the Pumpkins headlined in 1994. In the episode, the band is seen performing "Zero". Backstage, Billy Corgan compliments Homer on his cannonball catcher performance, and the two befriend each other. In a later scene, the entire band is conversing with Homer backstage in regards to their next stop on the tour in Homer's hometown of Springfield.

Reportedly Billy Corgan impressed The Simpsons production staff by doing strong impersonations of Homer and Marge, though it was decided to not have him use them in the episode. In 2007, Simon Crerar of The Times listed The Smashing Pumpkins' (and Cypress Hill's) performances among the 33 funniest cameos in the history of the show.[8]

The events of “Homerpalooza” are later referenced in “Homer’s Enemy” (Season 8, Episode 23). In the episode, Homer tries to befriend his new co-worker, Frank Grimes, who dislikes him. After inviting Frank to his home, Homer tries to ingratiate himself to Frank by showing him pictures of some fond memories/accomplishments. Homer points to a picture of him and the band from the earlier episode, saying “...And this is when I was on tour with The Smashing Pumpkins.”

Star Trek[edit | edit source]

The Star Trek: The Next Generation episode, “Masks” (Season 7, Episode 17) features a number of references to The Smashing Pumpkins. Writer Joe Menosky explained that he was a huge fan of the band when he wrote the episode. The episode involves an alien archive from an extinct civilization, D’Arsay, that transforms the Enterprise and transfers personalities from their mythology into the character of Data. One of the personalities, Ihat (originally Iha in the first draft of the script) was named after James Iha. [9] Korgano, a moon god from D’Arsay mythology was named for Billy Corgan.[10] While not explicitly stated by Menosky, it’s not a stretch to think that the D’Arsay civilization’s namesake was D’arcy.

References[edit | edit source]

  1. https://www.elitedaily.com/life/90s-childhood-stars-queer/1545675
  2. http://www.j-archive.com/search.php?search=smashing+pumpkins&submit=Search
  3. https://snltranscripts.jt.org/98/98aroxbury.phtml
  4. https://scottpilgrim.fandom.com/wiki/Scott_Pilgrim_%26_the_Infinite_Sadness
  5. https://scottpilgrim.fandom.com/wiki/Music_References
  6. http://www.fluxblog.org/2010/08/interview-with-scott-pilgrim-creator-bryan-lee-omalley/
  7. https://exclaim.ca/music/article/smashing_pumpkins_add_canadian_dates_to_reunion_tour
  8. Crerar, Simon (2007-07-05). "The 33 funniest Simpsons cameos ever". The Times. Retrieved 2010-08-09.
  9. https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Ihat
  10. https://memory-alpha.fandom.com/wiki/Korgano