Created By: MrInitialMan on August 3, 2011 Last Edited By: Lawman592 on March 19, 2014
Troped

Polka Dork

Un-cool character who likes polka and/or plays the accordion

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Trope
"Everybody polka!"
John Arbuckle from Garfield

A character's coolness factor is often demonstrated by what music they prefer—whether it's the popular guy who likes popular bands, someone out of touch who still listens to disco (or older music), or a complete dork who likes polka.

This trope is about that dork. Bonus Points if said dork also plays the accordion. Since the accordion, and polka, are often associated with an aged demographic, it's certainly not going to be cool for a young person to admit to enjoying them.

Not to be confused with an Accordion Man.

Note: In recent years, especially with the popularity of "Weird Al" Yankovic and the advent of Steampunk, there has been somewhat of a reversal of this trend (even Christina Hendricks proudly plays the accordion!) and it borders somewhat on the verge of becoming a Dead Horse Trope.

Examples:

Advertising
  • Coors had a commercial where the spokesman cleared out a bar by playing polka music on the jukebox. They pulled the ad after a Polish-American group complained it was offensive and culturally insensitive to Poles.
  • Pepsi had an ad that was advertising earning points from their products that could be redeemed for free music downloads, set to polka music. The implication was that listening to their artists was a far better option.

Anime and Manga
  • In the original Japanese dub of the Soul Eater anime, Maka is laughed at by the others when it's revealed she's a fan of polka music (it never comes up again, since it's just meant to be idle chatter while Chrona's having a crisis of conscience). The English dub changes it to Country.

Film
  • Airplane!: When the air traffic controllers pull Ted Stryker's record, they realize they're in trouble: it turns out to be an LP of Stryker's favorite polka hits. He looks really dorky in the album's cover picture.
  • In Fargo, there is a shot of a polka band poster in a teenager's room. It's not as much a comment on the teenager, as much as one on Minnesotans in general being dorky, or at least square.
  • Air Force DJ Adrian Cronauer's nemesis in Good Morning, Vietnam firmly believes US' soldiers' morale will be boosted by three hours of polka music in the mornings... when Cronauer is taken off the air, GI's are dismayed by his uber-square replacement, and morale duly plummets.
  • In Groundhog Day, polka music is playing in Punxsutawney town square on the morning of Groundhog Day. All the locals love it, and Rita's getting into it. When she tells Phil that the locals have been partying like this all night long, he just replies, "They're hicks, Rita."
  • In Home Alone, Kevin's mother's desperate journey to get back home to her son—amidst more conventional transportation options being booked full for the holidays—was aided in its last leg by "The Polka King of the Midwest" and his band's touring van. He asked her "You don't mind riding with a bunch of polka bums?" and she indicated she was grateful for the ride. The band played polkas the whole way back to Chicago.
    Gus Polinski: I had a few hits a few years ago. That's why I just... "Polka, Polka, Polka? "Twin Lakes Polka"? "Yamahoozie Polka," a.k.a. "Kiss Me Polka"? "Polka Twist"?''
    Kate Mc Callister: These are songs?
    Gus Polinski:Yeah. Yeah, we... some fairly big hits for us.

Literature
  • The resident nerd Waldo Butters in The Dresden Files uses "Polka will never die!" as his BattleCry.
  • In Discworld Accordion playing is one of those things that will attract Lord Vetinari's displeasure, as well as attracting mockery from ordinary Anhk-Morporkians. When The Disc's first Newspaper is set up in The Truth they cover the Ankh-Morpork folk music group and note:
    Sacharissa: Twenty-six people are mentioned by name.
    De Worde: As accordionists?
    Sacharissa: Yes.
    De Worde: Won't they complain?
    Sacharissa: They didn't have to play the accordion.

Live-Action TV
  • Ghoulardi's disdain for Parma was based in part on their love of polka.
  • Night Court: When Dan's parents come for a visit, the reveal that in his youth he was an accordion player in a polka band. This embarrasses Dan greatly.
  • Arnold J. Rimmer in Red Dwarf counts polka music as an art form, albeit not one on a par with his all-consuming love of the Hammond organ and easy-listening music played thereon. Rimmer's dork status is well documented.
  • In the episode "Hollywood Babylon" of Supernatural, a poster is shown for a movie called Hollywood Polka Party with a lot of the cast playing accordions. The poster are lampooning bad Hollywood films and include other fake movies like The Revenge of the Monster Truck.
  • In the TV series Family Matters, ubernerd Steve Urkel loves to polka and plays the accordion.
  • SCTV parodied "champagne music" shows such as The Lawrence Welk Show with a pair of brothers named Yosh and Stan Schmenge (John Candy and Eugene Levy) from the fictional Baltic state of Lutonia who hosted a polka show (the audience consisting of immigrant senior citizens). Their segment occasionally also featured the "Lemon Twins" (there were three of them), a parody of Welk's "Lennon Sisters".

Music
  • Lawrence Welk. While wildly popular with the older crowd, his music was considered square and dorky by the younger generation and even by his contemporaries and has often been parodied.
  • Used as a gag by "Weird Al" Yankovic, who does polka versions of popular music. He plays the accordion.

Newspaper Comics
  • Garfield's owner Jon Arbuckle from Garfield likes polka music and he also plays accordion. He is perennially shown to be about as unhip as someone can be. In one comic, his idea of getting "wild" was shouting "EVERYBODY POLKA!" while putting on an impossibly tacky suit.
  • Several early Peanuts strips have Schroeder cringing at the popularity of polka music among less sophisticated listeners. Despite being a virtuoso classical pianist before being old enough to go to kindergarten, he even lost a talent content to a guy who "played the accordion real fast."

Radio

Web Animation
  • The Reds' driving music in Red vs. Blue is a Mexican polka. Given the Reds are the even more inept side in this series whose theme is Armed Farces, this seems oddly appropriate.

Western Animation
  • Animaniacs:
    • Used in "Good Idea, Bad Idea" skit. Good idea: Playing the accordion at a polka festival. Bad idea: Playing the accordion anywhere else.
    • In one episode, Slappy Squirrel's quiet meadow is colonized by the Woodstock beatniks. Slappy takes the stage armed with an accordion and announces into the mike: "Okay, everybody polka!" Not even Chirping Crickets remain to listen.
  • In Biker Mice from Mars, polka music is used to subdue Modo's bike Lil' Hoss.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Cheese Sandwich, voiced by Weird Al, is essentially him in pony form. Accordion-playing polka music pony.
    • Pinkie Pie. She carries a huge one-man band around on her back and the Cheese Sandwich episode points out how similar her and Cheese are.
  • In Phineas and Ferb, resident nerd Baljeet has mentioned going to polka lessons.
Community Feedback Replies: 82
  • August 3, 2011
    Shnakepup
    Used as a gag by Weird Al Yankovic, who does polka versions of popular music.
  • August 3, 2011
    Koveras
    The resident nerd Waldo Butters in The Dresden Files uses "Polka will never die!" as his Battle Cry.
  • August 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    Yosh and Stan Schmenge (John Candy and Eugene Levy) from SCTV.

    Also John Candy's character in Home Alone.
  • August 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    Steampunk parodist Veronique Chevalier, who had a minor hit on the Dr. Demento show a few years back with "The Beer Hall in Hell" off her album, "Polka Haunt Us."
  • August 3, 2011
    69BookWorM69
    Nick Knight's partner Skenke on Forever Knight. Justified by his ethnicity.
  • August 3, 2011
    kentdyson88
    Steve Urkel from Family Matters
  • August 4, 2011
    Arivne
    Film
    • Airplane!. When the air traffic controllers pull Ted Stryker's record, they realize they're in trouble: it turns out to be an LP of Stryker's favorite polka hits. He looks really dorky in the album's cover picture.
  • August 4, 2011
    FalconPain
    Flagrant aversion: according to an episode of Batman The Brave And The Bold guest-starring Weird Al Yankovic and the cast of Scooby Doo, Batman likes polka music.

    Probably doesn't deserve to be on the page, but it had to be said.

    Aside from that, I recall a Pepsi ad that was advertising earning points from their products that could be redeemed for free music downloads, set to polka music. The implication was that listening to their artists was a far better option.
  • August 5, 2011
    JonnyB
    Aversions deserve to be here... especially if it's The Goddamn Batman.
  • August 5, 2011
    MrInitialMan
    Aversions definately deserve to be here, as Polka is almost always a signal of dorkitude.
  • August 5, 2011
    aurora369
    No one mentioned Loituma's Ievan Polkkaa yet?
  • August 6, 2011
    goodtimesfreegrog
    What about Ievan Polkka?
  • August 6, 2011
    thegrenekni3t
    • In Phineas And Ferb, resident nerd Baljeet has mentioned going to polka lessons.
  • August 6, 2011
    aurora369
    It's a dorky meme,isn't it?
  • August 6, 2011
    randomsurfer
    Why not just Polka Dorks? (Being in the plural would be necessary, since it's a pun based on "Polka Dots" and they're never referenced in the singular.)
  • August 6, 2011
    JonnyB
    ^^ for those of you who have absolutely NO idea what you're talking about when you say "Loituma's Ievan Polkkaa", how about describing it or providing a descriptive link.
  • August 7, 2011
    Arivne
    ^ Here is "Loituma - Ievan Polkka" on YouTube.

    The music is a traditional Finnish polka tune.
  • August 7, 2011
    SKJAM
    In one of the "Bill and Ted" franchises (I think it was the Saturday morning cartoon) if Bill and Ted fail to form Wyld Stallyns, the Bad Future is instead centered around "dorky" polka music.
  • August 7, 2011
    BokhuraBurnes
    In Fargo, there is a shot of a polka band poster in a teenager's room. It's not as much a comment on the teenager, as much as one on Minnesotans in general being dorky, or at least square.
  • August 13, 2011
    MrInitialMan
    @Random Surfer: Actually, Jon from Garfield is usually referred to in the singular.
  • August 13, 2011
    FalconPain
    In hopes of cleaning this up before the page reaches launchability, the instrument is spelled "accordion".
  • August 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    ^^I ass/u/me that's a joke I don't get.
  • August 13, 2011
    RobinZimm
    I think Polka Dork or Polka Dorks would be good - I've heard people say "polka-dot".
  • August 13, 2011
    JonnyB
    I've heard polka-dot in the singular quite a lot before. "She wore an itsy-bitsy teenie-weenie yellow polka-dot bikini", for example.
  • August 13, 2011
    randomsurfer
    But the "polka-dot" in that context is an adjective or modifier, not a noun. "a polka-dot bikini," yes. "a bikini decorated with polka-dot," no.
  • September 3, 2011
    JonnyB
    Really a nitpicky detail. Besides, one individual dot would be a polka dot. I'm sure people would still get it if this was called Polka Dork.
  • September 3, 2011
    RobinZimm
    I prefer Polka Dork on general principles.
  • September 4, 2011
    IkedaFan
    I like it. Just don't forget Steve Urkel in Family Matters. Make the description longer and I'll give you a hat!
  • December 25, 2011
    Koveras
    Would give this my hat if my example were included...
  • December 25, 2011
    Lawman592
    In 1989, Coors had a commercial where the spokesman cleared out a bar by playing polka music on the jukebox. They pulled the ad after a Polish-American group complained it was offensive and culturally insensitive to Poles.
  • December 25, 2011
    randomsurfer
    • Ghoulardi's disdain for Parma was based in part on their love of polka.
    • Night Court: when Dan's parents come for a visit, the reveal that in his youth he was an accordion player in a polka band. This embarrasses Dan greatly.
  • August 24, 2013
    adrianleverkuhn
    In the episode "Hollywood Babylon" of Supernatural, a poster is shown for a movie called Hollywood Polka Party with a lot of the cast playing accordions. The poster are lampooning bad Hollywood films and include other fake movies like The Revenge of the Monster Truck.
  • August 25, 2013
    MetaFour
    • In Groundhog Day, polka music is being played Punxsutawney town square on the morning of Groundhog Day. All the locals love it, and Rita's getting into it. When she tells Phil that the locals have been partying like this all night long, he just replies, "They're hicks, Rita."
  • August 25, 2013
    JonnyB
    The Schmenges and Home Alone are mentioned twice.
  • August 25, 2013
    Bisected8
    It might have just been a bad fan sub, but;

    • In the original Japanese dub of the Soul Eater anime, Maka is laughed at by the others when it's revealed she's a fan of polka music (it never comes up again, since it's just meant to be idle chatter while Chrona's having a crisis of conscience). The English dub changes it to Country.
  • November 26, 2013
    XFllo
  • November 27, 2013
    MonaNaito
    Comic Strips
    • Several early Peanuts strips have Schroeder cringing at the popularity of polka music among less sophisticated listeners. Despite being a virtuoso classical pianist before being old enough to go to kindergarten, he even lost a talent content to a guy who "played the accordion real fast."
  • November 27, 2013
    Larkmarn
    • Jon Arbuckle, Garfield's owner is perennially shown to be about as unhip as someone can be. In one comic, his idea of getting "wild" was shouting "EVERYBODY POLKA!" while putting on an impossibly tacky suit.

    • The Reds' driving music in Red Vs Blue is a Mexican polka. Given the Reds are the even more inept side in this series whose theme is Armed Farces, this seems oddly appropriate.

    EDIT: Realized that Jon was added already. Well, this is still here in case someone wants to pick and choose parts.
  • November 28, 2013
    ShanghaiSlave
    I removed a hat. although this is a simple trope the description still isn't much of a description.

    needs more elaboration and related tropes. quotes help too.
  • November 28, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    .
  • November 28, 2013
    WeAreAllKosh
    Putting some meat on one example:

    • In Home Alone, Kevin's mother's desperate journey to get back home to her son—amidst more conventional transportation options being booked full for the holidays—was aided in its last leg by "The Polka King of the Midwest" and his band's touring van. He asked her "You don't mind riding with a bunch of polka bums?" and she indicated she was grateful for the ride. The band played polkas the whole way back to Chicago.
  • November 28, 2013
    JonnyB
    You've mentioned Yosh and Stan Schmenge and John Candy's Home Alone character twice.

    Also, has this been abandoned? I don't see many of the contributed examples up top. Needs to be fleshed out before it's anywhere near five hats.

  • December 1, 2013
    Wyvernil
    • A Good Idea, Bad Idea skit from Animaniacs; Good idea: Playing the accordion at a polka festival. Bad idea: Playing the accordion anywhere else.
  • March 3, 2014
    XFllo
    Up For Grabs. Anyone wants tO take care of it? :-)
  • March 9, 2014
    oneuglybunny
    Ew, I don't want it. However, I can add another example:

    Western Animation
    • Invoked by Slappy Squirrel from Animaniacs when the Woodstock beatniks colonize her quiet meadow. Slappy takes the stage armed with an accordion and announces into the mike: "Okay, everybody polka!" Not even Chirping Crickets remain to listen.
  • March 9, 2014
    AgProv
    Robin Williams' nemesis in Good Morning Vietnam firmly believes US' soldiers' morale will be boosted by three hours of polka music in the mornings... when Williams is taken off the air, GI's are dismayed by his uber-square replacement, and morale duly plummets.

    Also, Arnold J. Rimmer in Red Dwarf counts polka music as an art form, albeit not one on a par with his all-consuming love of the Hammond organ and easy-listening music played thereon. Rimmer's dork status is well documented.
  • March 10, 2014
    flamingcarrot
    Real life: Me.

    );
  • March 10, 2014
    XFllo
    How did it happen that it has five hats so suddenly? I think the description should be tweaked a bit.

    I tried copying more valid examples from the discussion.

    However, these two are Zero Context Examples.

    • Yosh and Stan Schmenge (John Candy and Eugene Levy) from SCTV.
    • Steve Urkel in Family Matters.
  • March 11, 2014
    GovernorExplosion
    Cheese Sandwich from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, voiced by Weird Al, and is essentially him in pony form. Possibly Pinkie Pie as well, because she carries a huge one-man band around on her back (and the Cheese Sandwich episode points out how similar her and Cheese are).
  • March 11, 2014
    JonnyB
    Live Action TV
    • SCTV parodied "champagne music" shows such as The Lawrence Welk Show with a pair of brothers named Yosh and Stan Schmenge (John Candy and Eugene Levy) from the fictional Baltic state of Leutonia who hosted a polka show (the audience consisting of immigrant senior citizens).

    Music
    • Lawrence Welk himself. While wildly popular with the older crowd, his music was considered square and dorky by the younger generation and even by his contemporaries and has often been parodied.
  • March 11, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch plz.
  • March 12, 2014
    JonnyB
    Made a minor fix. Launch it.
  • March 12, 2014
    XFllo
    Anyone who wants to launch it, may do so because it's Up For Grabs and none called it. But if you do, please cross-wick the trope and index it.

    I still think the description is too short and inadequate.
  • March 12, 2014
    JonnyB
    I'll work on the description tomorrow.
  • March 12, 2014
    XFllo
    ^ Cool. :-)
  • March 12, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    • In Discworld Accordion playing is one of those things that will attract Lord Vetinari's displeasure, as well as attracting mockery from ordinary Anhk-Morporkians. When The Disc's first Newspaper is set up in The Truth they cover the Ankh-Morpork folk music group and note:
      Sacharissa:Twenty-six people are mentioned by name.
      De Worde:As accordionists?
      Sacharissa: Yes.
      De Worde: Won't they complain?
      Sacharissa: They didn't have to play the accordion.
  • March 12, 2014
    KarjamP
    The fact that the title is a pun on Polka Dot gave me the first impression that it's about dorks who like polka dots, not the dance/music genre.

    Therefore, I don't think this is ready for launching since to me, it needs a better name.
  • March 12, 2014
    Larkmarn
    I think the name is fine. I think it's in the sweet spot where it's similar enough to be punny, but not so similar that there is a risk of misuse.
  • March 12, 2014
    JonnyB
    I never got the assumed association with "Polka Dot." "Dork" and "Dot" seems like a very strained rhyme. I think the name is just fine.
  • March 12, 2014
    lavalyte
    Home Alone quote:

    Gus Polinski: I had a few hits a few years ago. That's why I just... "Polka, Polka, Polka"? "Twin Lakes Polka"? "Yamahoozie Polka," a.k.a. "Kiss Me Polka"? "Polka Twist"?
    Kate Mc Callister: These are songs?
    Gus Polinski:Yeah. Yeah, we... some fairly big hits for us.
  • March 13, 2014
    JonnyB
    Added to the description. Should be good to go.
  • March 13, 2014
    DAN004
    Launch?
  • March 13, 2014
    KarjamP
    ^Not when there's a complaint about a bad name.

    The fact that the title is a pun on Polka Dot gave me the first impression that it's about dorks who like polka dots, not the dance/music genre.

    Therefore, I don't think this is ready for launching since to me, it needs a better name.
  • March 13, 2014
    XFllo
    I think the name is fine as well. I wanted to write that Karjam is the only one unsatisfied with the name, but there was some confusion about the pun above, too. Polka Loving Dork is unnecessarily long.

    The description is much better, though I'd swap "recent years" with concrete years — is it The Noughties or The New Tens?
  • March 13, 2014
    KarjamP
    ^Well, what about those who don't know what Polka is and first heard the word in conjunction with "polka dot" like I had?

    (And BTW, I didn't see the replies to my concerns. :P )
  • March 13, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    I didn't see any confusion with actual polka dots, Polka Dork works fine as a name for me. Just Launch It Already.
  • March 13, 2014
    KarjamP
    ^That's probably because you knew what "polka" was before seeing this trope, not only knowing the term "polka" as used in conjunction with the word "dot". :P

    Anyway, Just Launch It Already is about an entry that's not being edited in quite awhile, and thus, is stockpiling replies that's not being taken care of into the article. :P

    (That's the problem with tropes (or, in this case, administrivia pages) with dialog-based titles - it tends to get misused as a term like that. I think I may need to start a Repair Shop discussion about it once I managed to slot it in. :P )
  • March 13, 2014
    XFllo
    @Karjam: There are people who don't know what polka is? :-D It's ike not knowing what disco or waltz is. :-) If they don't know it, they're going to learn a new thing if they read the page.
  • March 13, 2014
    JonnyB
    ^ That would have been my reply as well.
  • March 14, 2014
    Arivne
    I think Polka Dork is O.K.
  • March 14, 2014
    JonnyB
    That's 5 votes for, one against Polka Dork. Anyone else?
  • March 14, 2014
    KarjamP
    @XFllo: I was one.
  • March 14, 2014
    Lawman592
    Go with Polka Dork. It's short, easy to remember, and sufficiently describes the trope.

    Now launch!
  • March 14, 2014
    KarjamP
    I don't care that I lost this public thingy.

    After all, I apparently suffered from Pop Cultural Osmosis Failure, there. :P

    ^
    Just Launch It Already is about an entry that's not being edited in quite awhile, and thus, is stockpiling replies that's not being taken care of into the article. :P

    (That's the problem with tropes (or, in this case, administrivia pages) with dialog-based titles - it tends to get misused as a term like that. I think I may need to start a Repair Shop discussion about it once I managed to slot it in. :P )

    The fact that it's a stockphrase that's being misinterpreted for another thing here just goes to prove the point of the No New Stockphrases rule.
  • March 15, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    Have you read what Just Launch It Already is for on its own page? For someone that doesn't care that they "lost" (more like the wiki Hive Mind made a decision you disagreed with, no one wins or loses), you sure are doing your best to take potshots over it.
  • March 16, 2014
    KarjamP
    ^I'm taking potshots because it's being misused, not because I'm lying about not caring that I've lost.

    And yes, I did read it.

    Second and third paragraph:
    A common syndrome among YKTTW entries is when the original poster of the entry for some reason (forgot about it/had no internet/write your own excuse) starts ignoring it without previously declaring it Up For Grabs. In this case, instead of being launched immediately after accumulating a critical example mass and finding a nice name, the YKTTW entry stays in discussion for weeks, repeatedly bumped by people who find it tropeworthy but dare not launch it themselves out of fear to offend the original poster.

    Also, if you think yourself smart for declaring a YKTTW Up For Grabs and hope that somebody will launch it, we have bad news for you: no one will. Instead, the entry will accumulate another 60 replies and go down because nobody would ever want to sort that mess out. Or just go down as it is, because everybody is busy monitoring and launching their own tropes. Either way, your trope ain't gonna get launched, period. So take responsibility for your creations, damn it.
    This IS Up For Grabs, and there's people who are planning to launch it.

    The rule describes someone who's ignoring their trope for so long that more and more replies are added to it, to the point where it's started to become more and more unmanageable.

    It's not about a plea to have someone launch it, contrary to its title.
  • March 16, 2014
    DAN004
    ^ I find it funny how you think it's Serious Business.
  • March 19, 2014
    XFllo
    This looks ready to launch.

    Noone called it. Anyone? (If noone volunteers, I might do it eventually.)

  • March 19, 2014
    DAN004
    Wait for the OP first...
  • March 19, 2014
    XFllo
    Have you checked the dates? This draft was started in 2011. Last reply from the OP was added on 23th August, 2011. This is no longer "his" draft. I really don't expect him to show up.
  • March 19, 2014
    CrypticMirror
    ^ They are still active on the wiki. I'd suggest dropping them a PM and if they haven't replied by the weekend then launch it.
  • March 19, 2014
    XFllo
    ^ Ok. (Though I don't feel like PM'ing him myself.)
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