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Pop Culture 101: SILKWOOD

The term "Silkwood Shower" entered into the cultural lexicon in the years following the film's release. As defined in the online "Urban Dictionary," it means "a very long, hot shower taken to disinfect and decontaminate oneself from environmentally acquired smells such as smoke or food." It is a pop cultural term that has been used frequently in comedies including Home for the Holidays (1995).

In the Seinfeld episode titled "The Shower Head" Jerry, Kramer and Newman meet with a black market shower head dealer after their apartment manager has their shower heads replaced with energy efficient low-flow alternatives. When the dealer asks what he is looking for in a shower head, Kramer responds, "Power, man. Power." Newman then adds, "Like Silkwood."

In the Will and Grace episode titled "Gypsies, Tramps and Weed" Jack plays with his favorite toy-the Cher doll. At one point using his "Cher" voice, Jack says, "Let's stay home and watch Silkwood. I'm a lesbian who's been exposed to nuclear waste!"

In the 30 Rock episode titled "Retreat to Move Forward" Jenna says, "I'm the one who had to take the Silkwood shower this morning!" after her shame about sleeping with Frank the writer.

In the Glee episode titled "The Rhodes Not Taken" germophobic guidance counselor Emma Pillsbury says to Will, "I just got back from the emergency room. I had them give me four decontamination showers. I think they call that the full Silkwood." When Will asks what happened, she says, "Kurt was drunk and he ralphed on me."

by Andrea Passafiume