From the crossroads of cultural and political commentary (his sofa), Slate associate editor John Swansburg fires off this analysis:  

Did the New York Times host an impromptu screening of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off yesterday? A little matinee to take everyone’s mind off the Iseman firestorm

Stephen Holden’s review today of Charlie Bartlett makes an extended comparison between Anton Yelchin’s Bartlett and Matthew Broderick’s Bueller. It seems like a stretch— Charlie Bartlett is about a kid who achieves high-school popularity by dealing psychotropic drugs. Bueller achieved popularity by cutting class and making his keyboard approximate barfing sounds. Having not seen  Charlie Bartlett , however, I’ll give Holden the benefit of the doubt. 

But what was Alessandra Stanley thinking? Reviewing last night’s Democratic debate in a “TV Watch” column for the Times , Stanley wrote that “Mrs. Clinton looked like the Jennifer Grey character struggling to show up her favored brother in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off .” Huh? Ferris Bueller is a classic, but it’s a 22-year-old classic. Has Stanley not seen anything in the last two decades, the most recent chunk of which she’s spent covering TV, that would have made for a slightly more  au courant comparison?  

Of course, my colleague Chris Beam compared Clinton last night to a character from Star Trek: The Next Generation , an equally second-term Reagan analogy. But, in Chris’s defense, Clinton really was doing her best Tasha Yar last night.

So why Jennifer Grey in Bueller ? It’s not a particularly memorable performance, though I suppose the comparison isn’t inapt Jeannie Bueller is very jealous of what she sees as her brother’s undeserved popularity. And Stanley’s comparison did keep me reading to see whether there would be another  I Love the 80s gem. I was holding out hope that she might compare Obama to Deon Richmond , who played Rudy Huxtable’s smug yet lovable friend Kenny on The Cosby Show . No such luck.

Trailhead readers: What tertiary characters from 1980s popular culture were you reminded of during the debate last night? Am I the only one who thinks about Rick Astley whenever I see John King? Something about the hair.