[[quoteright:350:[[WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/twilight_math_2770.png]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[[EEqualsMCHammer E=MC Hammer]] not good enough for you? Twilight Sparkle does [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Time_dilation#Time_dilation_at_constant_acceleration time dilation]].]]

->''"And here we go, another reference no one gets but you. Consider your audience once in a while, huh?"''
-->-- '''Daru,''' ''VisualNovel/SteinsGate''

A joke or tidbit meant for people knowledgeable in a certain field. The rest of the audience doesn't get it, but it's usually subtle enough for them not to care. This is the non-age-related counterpart to ParentalBonus.

Genius Bonuses are most often seen in series with a DirectDemographic, especially NewMedia, as they can expect their audiences to be sufficiently focused that most of them will recognize an in-joke.

If this goes too far, it falls into ViewersAreGeniuses, so it has to be applied carefully. If it seems to be a byproduct of necessary research into the story, setting or plot, then the author is [[ShownTheirWork showing their work]]. Understanding one of these may lead to FridgeBrilliance.

Whenever a series of ZeroesAndOnes or two-digit hex codes are shown, chances are they'll spell out something when translated to ASCII.

A SuperTrope to LampshadedTheObscureReference.

Can overlap with ReferenceOverdosed.

Contrast with SmallReferencePools.
----
!!Examples:

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Anime & Manga]]
* ''Manga/BillyBat'' is chock full of references to American, animation and film culture and history. So are ''Manga/TwentiethCenturyBoys'' and ''Manga/MasterKeaton''. Perhaps historical references is [[Creator/NaokiUrasawa Urasawa Naoki]]'s AuthorAppeal.
* The opening of ''[[SuzumiyaHaruhi The Melancholy of Haruhi Suzumiya]]'' depicts positronium, Lambda baryons, benzene ring, cyclohexanes, infinite number, Titius-Bode law, Planck's constant, Drake equation, time-dependent Schrödinger equation, Hubble's law, infinite product, definition of information entropy, large numbers, stationary Schrödinger equation, the theory of relativity, probability axioms, definition of Laplace operator, the wave equation in one space dimension, and small numbers. In case you haven't noticed, [[CreatorThumbprint the author likes math]].
** The Second Season ([[AnachronicOrder kind of...]]) continues this tradition, with Millennium Prize Problems, photons, quarks, electrons, tau neutrinos, gluons, M-theory, supersymmetric GUT, Tsuchinoko, and oddly enough some Nietzsche (Gott ist tot, ha-ah).
** The books are even worse. In addition to the advanced mathematics and science references mentioned above, Kyon's narrative contains allusions to obscure science fiction novels, classical mythology, medieval Japanese history, and other highly esoteric topics. Also doubles as making him come across as, contrarily enough, a BookDumb FirstPersonSmartass.
** The later novels and the incredibly complicated [[spoiler:TimeTravel]] plot take the advanced mathematics from "Extra Credit" to "[[ViewersAreGeniuses Required Courses]]".
** In the DeepImmersionGaming episode, Kyon makes reference to the philosopher Lacan when musing about being special because he's a completely normal person who's been able to cope with some pretty odd things.
** Aside from the confusingly vast amount of scientific and mathemathic references, there are also a few philosophical and mythological ones. In the earlier parts Kyon compares his life to Sisyphus' task in such a way that evokes Albert Camus.
** In later novels, we see Sasaki, who talk about quantum physics with Kyon in ''middle schools''.
** In ''The Day of Sagittarius'', Nagato is seen to be [[http://infinitemirai.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/nagato-yuki-and-the-c-programming-language/ wielding syntactically correct C Language and Windows command line arguments]]. [[note]] The code itself has not been verified to be correct logically.[[/note]]
** Nagato Yuki's [[spoiler:alien incantations]] are shown in the anime as seemingly random high-speed gibberish. In the first light novel during [[spoiler:her confrontation with Asakura Ryoko]] it's SQL code.
*** And if you slow down the corresponding clip from the anime and play it in reverse, it is, in fact, SQL code (although, between the audio quality and the voice actor's accent, it's just barely identifiable as such).
* ''HunterXHunter'' often contains very minor and obscure details that can actually completely change the perception one has of a character of event if one does get the reference. The most notable case is a dialog scene in issue 10, chapter 84, between Feitan and Shalnark, where an attentive reader will notice that Feitan is reading a book from ''Trevor Brown'', a RealLife, underground illustrator who specialized in such family friendly subjects as bondage, rape, torture, dismemberment, and pedophilia, all of this with a voluntarily [[UncannyValley uncanny]] style of drawing (his characters often look like puppets). So not only Feitan is a PsychoForHire who completely lacks any kind of patience and [[ColdBloodedTorture uses torture on a regular basis]], but he is also apparently a sick and sadistic pervert.
* There are some Genius Bonuses in ''Anime/NeonGenesisEvangelion'', like Central Dogma coming from biology, or the Pribnow Box where the Simulation Bodies are kept coming from a sequence of base pairs in a section of DNA.
** Numerous other scientific, philosophical, mythological, psychological and even political allusions, shout-outs to works of film, music and literature, and of course, obscure religious references that [[EveryoneIsJesusInPurgatory may]] or [[TheWalrusWasPaul may not]] possess a deep symbolic meaning.
** But the really obscure parts of Evangelion? The ones drawn on from [[VeryLooselyBasedOnATrueStory real life]]. It's the one and only topic there hasn't been a [[InternetBackdraft flame war-igniting]] argument over, at least in English. Which is weird considering it involves the only [[WriteWhoYouKNow Japanese animator]] [[SmallReferencePools most of us can name]].
* In the ''KingdomHearts'' manga adaptation of ''Chain of Memories'', the female Nobody Larxene is seen in a library reading a book about the infamous French writer Marquis De Sade, the namesake of sadism, which is clearly related to her sadistic nature.
* ''Anime/LuckyStar'' likes to [[LampshadeHanging hang lampshades]] on this trope, mainly in regards to {{otaku}} culture, which most of the characters don't get, but the minority understand all too well (* cough* Konata * cough* ).
* ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'' uses a large amount of alchemic symbolism with decent accuracy, for anyone who has ever studied that period of Western history in which alchemy was a legitimate form of science/mysticism. Accurate symbols for aspects of each element, the 'elements' known at the time (Edward in particular refers to Saltpetre and Ammonia in his list of the elements making up a human, compounds which were thought to be elements at the time) the 12 processes of alchemy, and various alchemic artworks. In particular, each alchemist's Gate of Truth has a different piece of real-life alchemic art on it, which can be related to aspects of their personality.
** Large portions of random English seen in various books in the first anime are copypasted from third edition Dungeons & Dragons books (or online reviews of the same). [[WhatDoYouMeanItsNotSymbolic The selection is completely meaningless, however, so its appropriateness to this trope is debatable.]]
** Another surprising thing is OST in Russian. There is a song performed by boys chorus in a second episode of first FMA series which has meaningful text and perfect language.
** Also, a joke for those who know Chinese - Ran Fan enjoys using explosives. "ran fang" is Chinese for "to light/set off (as firecrackers)"
** One combined with a {{Woolseyism}}: The English term for Xingese Alchemy is Alkahestry, which is named for a substance called the Alkahest, that was supposedly discovered by Paracelsus. Paracelsus' real name was Von Hohenheim, and in the series, Von Hohenheim is the inventor of Alkhahestry.
* ''Manga/BlackLagoon'' includes ''loads'' of these. To name a few, several European/Asian dialects are used (from Russian to Romanian), quite a few old movie references are made ("This looks like a remake of the movie "The Last Command") as well as several obscure gun comments ("I mean he's Jewish, right? Of course he'd have an Israeli-made gun!"). References to various philosophers and their view on consequence ethics, like Kierkegaard and Sartre, are made by several of the characters.
* When Minatsu teaches math in ''SeitokaiNoIchizon'', a proof of Euler's identity can be seen on the whiteboard behind her.
* ''Manga/MahouSenseiNegima'' has tons of these in the {{Omake}} in the collected volumes; one needs a decent understanding of physics to understand the explanations of how the spells function. There are also a number of visual {{Shout Out}}s to famous architecture, such as the [[http://www.mangafox.com/manga/mahou_sensei_negima/v12/c104/15.html bell tower at Mahora]] being the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Florence_cathedral bell tower on the Florence Cathedral,]] and the background of [[http://www.onemanga.com/Mahou_Sensei_Negima!/100/03-04/ this page]] contains the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Suleymaniye_Mosque Suleymaniye Mosque]]. It's [[RealPlaceBackground strikingly realistic]] when compared to [[http://img697.imageshack.us/img697/6215/orto2852006.jpg the actual landscape.]]
** Not to mention that the spell incantations actually make a lot of sense if one has a familiarity with ancient Greek, Latin, and Greco-Roman Mythology.
** Chisame's [[DeepImmersionGaming Deep Immersion Magical Hacker Battle]] in the Festival Arc displays realistic hacking techniques... visualized in bizarre ways (a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SYN_flood SYN flood]] as a giant swarm of tuna fish, for example). When she incants "spells", she's actually reciting iptable syntax.
* ''Anime/YuGiOhGX'' features references to alchemy, tarot cards, and various other subjects.
* ''SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' ladles these on thick, primarily in the form of random scribbles on the ever-changing blackboard. Topics range from writer/illustrator Edward Gorey to philosophy to prominent (and obscure) works of Japanese and English literature. Even character names are not exempt ("Kafuka", anyone?).
* On the surface, the concept of StrikeWitches is just a [[GuiltyPleasure shallow excuse]] for underage {{Fanservice}}, with storytelling chock full of [[MoeMoe moe]] cliches. And yet [[ShownTheirWork it's littered with references]] to [[WorldWarII WWII events]], [[HistoricalDomainCharacter figures]], and especially [[RealLife/CoolPlane technology]] down the the obscure, unimplemented aircraft designs. Basically, it [[InvertedTrope inverts]] GettingCrapPastTheRadar.
* In TowardTheTerra, when the first Mu baby is born by sexual reproduction, the mother is given a wreath of pea flowers. Gregor Mendel discovered heritability and genetics of sexual reproduction through his experiments with pollinating pea plants.
* Poor Anime/EurekaSeven. Since the show is a massive sea of [[ShoutOut pop culture references]] with FauxlosophicNarration, its [[ShownTheirWork surprisingly well-applied]] Buddhist elements are written off as equally shallow FauxSymbolism.
* In Anime/Xam'dLostMemories, at the the climatic moment of she show ([[spoiler:Nakiami reversing the Hiruken emperor's zone of darkness]]), the animation is a visual depiction of the solution to a (until it was solved) long standing topology problem: how to turn a sphere inside out without making any cusps, tears, or holes. A video of this can be found here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R_w4HYXuo9M.
* Surprisingly, ''Anime/PrincessTutu'' is rife with these. Naturally they're all ballet references, but it's still saying something when the translators compiled a list of notable references several pages long and it's likely they missed quite a few.
** Even the [[http://30.media.tumblr.com/tumblr_lnz9v5y5fM1qdyi3xo1_500.jpg comedy relief character]] [[http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/d/d4/Bakst_Nizhinsky.jpg did his research]].
* Anime/RevolutionaryGirlUtena has the student council's speech in the elevator. It sounds like it's just some wordy nonsense, but it's actually a shout out to Herman Hesse's novel, Demian. The rest of the show benefits tremendously from knowledge of fairy tale tropes.
* Fun game: try to recognize all of the RealLife people/events/spacecraft shown in the ''{{Planetes}}'' opening.
* With TearsToTiara, barring the obvious [[KingArthur Arthur, Morgan]], and [[Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar Gaius]], a lot of names and characters [[{{Mabinogion}} harken back to Welsh Mythology]] like Arawn, Rhiannon, Epona, Annwn, Pwyll, etc. ''Especially'' clever is the [[OnlyTheChosenMayWield Sword in the Stone]] being named 'Durnwyn' rather than the [[PublicDomainArtifact generic Excalibur]].
** Myrddin is more of an {{Expy}} of [[spoiler:Greek Titan Prometheus]] and has nothing in common with his Welsh namesake. The villains feel like a [[spoiler:Gnostic Demiurge committee, being tasked by an aloof deity to create the world but failing at making it `perfect`... and not happy about it]]
** Taliesin is named after a poet who supposedly lived during the time of KingArthur and wrote a bunch of poems about him.
* ''Manga/{{Akagi}}'' is about a guy who plays mahjong, anyone can watch and enjoy it even if they haven't the slightest clue of how to play mahjong, however the autor manages to make the games realistic and the point of view changes from time to time so at one round you can see the main character's tiles and next round you can only see his oponent's tiles, this obviously means nothing if you know nothing about mahjong and can be easily ignored, however if you learn to play mahjong even to the most basic level it instantly becomes way better because you understand what's going on, and you can finally understand why is Washizu in love with his [[spoiler:1-pin]].
* [[Creator/JorgeLuisBorges Tlön, Uqbar, Orbis Tertius]] is both the title of a story, and the incantation that [[Anime/DigimonAdventure Vamdemon]] uses to open the gate from the Digital World (where everything is made of computer data) to the Real world. One of the main themes of the story is that ideas (or data) ultimately manifest themselves in the physical world.
* ''HeartcatchPrecure'' is filled with stuff about flowers and just about every episode has Tsubomi (sometimes the other girls pitch in) talking about what their Heart Flower means in The Language of Flowers.
* ''LightNovel/AsobiNiIkuYo'' has quite a few references to obscure artistic films only a handful of film students and hardcore film enthusiasts will know.
* Viewers of ''Anime/PuellaMagiMadokaMagica'' with a knowledge of physics will be amused when they realize that [[spoiler:Kyubey]] is Maxwell's demon. There's also the scene of [[spoiler:Madoka's ascension to godhood and her wish being granted]]. Upon firing straight up to the sky, the pattern that forms for a split second is a map of the trail particles took in a particle accelerator.
* A character in ''LightNovel/ProblemChildrenAreComingFromAnotherWorldArentThey'' is confident about the accuracy of a certain prophecy because it was made by the source of all prophecies: the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Laplace%27s_demon Demon of Laplace.]]
* ''{{Manga/Berserk}}'' has one of these in MeaningfulName form. CuteWitch Schierke may just have a random Germanic sounding name. Nope. Schierke is a mountain village in Germany right next to the Brocken - the ''mountain of witches''.
* The beginning of ''Anime/GalileiDonna'' shows workers harvesting [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Methane_clathrate methane hydrates]], a real potential future energy source that Japan plans to begin mining a few years after the show's air date.
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' usually gets its chess horrendously wrong. The first episode demonstrates this with the line "If a king doesn't lead, how can he expect his subordinates to follow?" Good leadership; terrible chess. Usually. But in the game featured in the first episode, the fastest win is in fact with the king, which forces mate in three more moves.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comedy]]
* Creator/TheFiresignTheatre is notorious for this; e.g. "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zeno%27s_paradox#The_dichotomy_paradox Antelope Freeway, one mile. Antelope Freeway, one half mile. Antelope Freeway, one quarter mile.]]" And so on.
* Dennis Miller has spoken of liking to say things like "the Middle East situation is less stable than Crispin Glover", knowing that few of his listeners will have seen [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ALapHYNSmoA Glover nearly kick Letterman in the head]], but that the few who have are saying, "Thank you for making that joke".
* [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BJUgu9qr8wI This clip]] features [[KidsInTheHall Dave Foley]] delivering a monologue, in which he claims that the average temperature in Canada is 275 degrees below zero, which he quickly qualifies with, "But that's in ''Celsius.''" High school physics students are duly impressed.
* PattonOswalt often lampshades this in his act, {{facepalm}}ing at the fact he just made a reference nobody will get, then sarcastically topping himself.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* Brazilian comic book MonicasGang has [[StayInTheKitchen Chauvinist]] as a character's pet pig name
* ''TheLeagueOfExtraordinaryGentlemen'' by Alan Moore. Just try to catch all the references in it to Victorian literature, politics, and events.
* Moore's ''ComicBook/VForVendetta''. Nearly every other sentence V utters is a quote from some famous writer. [[LampshadeHanging Lampshaded]] near the end.
* Although the {{Batman}} graphic novel ''Comicbook/ArkhamAsylumASeriousHouseOnSeriousEarth'' by GrantMorrison can be enjoyed as a psychological horror story with drool-worthy art, readers with a knowledge of Jungian psychology and symbolism (or who own a copy of the fifteenth anniversary edition with Morrison's annotated script) will get much more out of it.
* As a FantasyKitchenSink series, ''{{Finder}}'' is overflowing with obscure and unusual references. The author wisely chooses to weave most of them into the background and leave the most complex and unwieldy connections in the (substantial) footnotes.
* ''ComicBook/BodyBags.'' The city where all the action takes place is Terminus, Georgia. A little research reveals that Terminus was the original name of the city of Atlanta. By this the reader can assume that Terminus is just Future Atlanta.
* In ''Knight & Squire'' #3, Britain is under threat from the Bad Kings of England, superpowered clones of the originals. Each of them attempts to conquer a different area of the country; Edward I takes the north, and his superpower is a massive energy-mallet. If you ''know'' the real Edward was called the Hammer of the Scots...
* ''DeCapeEtDeCrocs'' pretty much runs on this trope, and still manages to avoid ViewersAreGeniuses.
* You sure have to have read a lot to catch all the mythological and literary references in ''ComicBook/TheSandman''. Just to throw in a few:
** ''World's End'' has many parallels with ''Literature/TheDecameron''.
** Creator/WilliamShakespeare plays a significant secondary role during the whole series. Bonus points if you are familiar with the relevance of ''Theatre/TheTempest'' in Shakespearean studies.
** Lucifer quotes Satan from Literature/ParadiseLost and immediately claims having borrowed the quote from Milton.
** There are characters a-plenty from different traditions: Morpheus, Orpheus, Calliope (GreekMythology); Odin, Loki (NorseMythology); God, Lucifer, Azazel (Christianity); Ra, Bastet (Egyptian mythology); the Three (found in multiple traditions as the embodiment of femininity); and many, many more.
** Why and how does abusing a woman named Calliope make you a bestseller author? If you're familiar with the concept of [[TheMuse Muses]] you will get it: not everyone is, nowadays.
** TheFairFolk sent to parlay with Morpheus in ''Season of Mists'' say that they want an end to the tithe they've been paying to Hell. If you're familiar with the 400-year-old Literature/{{Child Ballad|s}} "Literature/TamLin", this will make perfect sense. If not, well...
* An Italian Donald Duck comic story had Daisy Duck and her friends eating madeleine cookies. One of the friends remarked "The memories they awaken..." If you're a fan of Marcel Proust, a writer most adults consider too "heavy" to read, you recognize this reference to classic, deep French literature. In a ''children's'' comic. Never let it be said that the Walt Disney company underestimate the smarts of their readers.
* In the first issue of ''SevenSoldiers: The Shining Knight'', all the stuff about KingArthur plundering the realm of the Sheeda with three ships, and only seven men returning, but they did get the Cauldron of Rebirth out of it? Straight from the less-well-known Arthurian epic ''The Spoils of Annwn'', supposedly by Taliesin. "Revolving Castle" is one of many possible translations of the Welsh ''Caer Sidi''; others being "Castle of the Mound" and "Castle of the Zodiac".
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Fan Works]]
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'' has a few examples, usually spouted by Gohan (to which Piccolo retorts "neeeeerrrddd"). But one of the more subtle ones was Piccolo's "Damn you, Pavlov" moment, which was followed by an interrupted explanation of who Pavlov was.
** The Namekians all speak in Klingon as well.
* Among the topics discussed[=/=]mentioned in one episode of ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'' include [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Squat_lobster squat lobsters]] that perform [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemosynthesis chemosynthesis]], as well as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acromegaly acromegaly.]]
** Then there's "[=SouthWest=] Pacific", which is about Calvin performing in a school play. What does the title mean, then? Well, during WorldWarII there was an [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_West_Pacific_theatre_of_World_War_II area]] entitled South West Pacific, where many important things happened. The wartime definition for this? A ''theater''.
* {{Subverted}} in ''FanFic/YouGotHaruhiRolled''. It includes a parody of {{Eliezer Yudkowsky}}'s "AI in a Box" thought experiment, with Kuyou as the AI and Kyon's sister as the gatekeeper, but the narration right out tells the readers of the experiment beforehand.
* In ''FanFic/ThePowersOfHarmony'', much of the backstory mythology is tied into a group called the Order of the Zodiac, whose members had the names of the Zodiac constellations. Bearing that in mind, also take into account Ophiuchus (an EnergyBeing whose existence is crucial to the plot) and Cetus (the BigBad) -- Ophiuchus and Cetus are also the names of constellations (the Snake and the Whale, respectfully) considered in some circles to be the unofficial thirteenth and fourteenth Zodiac symbols.
* The OriginalCharacter Trent's name is this from the ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil'' novelizations. There are a number of placeholder names in Cryptography for archetypal characters. Alice and Bob are communicators, Eve is an eavesdropper, Mallory is a malicious hacker, and ''Trent'' is a neutral third party who's role whose exact role varies from protocol to protocol.
* ''Fanfic/{{Bait and Switch|STO}}'' has a bit character named S'bek, a [[LizardFolk Gorn]] who is the skipper of an independent freighter. The author mentions in the author's notes on Website/DeviantArt that the name is a play on Sobek, an ancient Egyptian river god depicted with the head of a crocodile.
* In Jeconais' Harry Potter fanfic ''Happily Ever After'', a knowledge of psychology will let the reader suspect the main plot twist well ahead of its reveal in-story. [[spoiler:No reputable or competent psychologist would give a diagnosis of Antisocial Personality Disorder for a ''six-year-old child''. The diagnostic criteria specifically requires that the patient be at least 18 years of age to be diagnosed, as several of the possible symptoms are not atypical behavior for small children and are only alarming if they persist unchanged through adolescence and into adulthood. Of course, Gabrielle's psychologist is actually the BigBad and misleading her parents for his own Svengali-esque agenda, which is exactly why he did it.]]

[[/folder]]

[[folder:Film]]
* As is Takashi Miike film SukiyakiWesternDjango. It helps if you have full understanding on Medieval Japanese history, history of UsefulNotes/WarsOfTheRoses, Western movies and Shakespeare ''Henry VI''
* The Amazing Bobinsky from ''Film/{{Coraline}}'' wears a Liquidator's Medal on his chest, which was given to the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liquidator_%28Chernobyl%29 clean-up crew]] of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster Chernobyl Disaster]]. This turns his baldness and odd color scheme from a funny quirk to a DarkAndTroubledPast, when you think about it.
* ''PiratesOfTheCaribbean''
** In the first movie, during the attack on Port Royal, two of Jack's former crew visit him in the stockade (they originally thought it was the armory). After one of them taunts Jack about his "fortunes", Jack replies "Worry about your own fortunes, gentlemen. The deepest circle of Hell is reserved for betrayers and mutineers." To the general audience, this seems like a standard retort. For those familiar with classical poetry however, this is a reference to Dante Alighieri's ''Divine Comedy'', which indeed depicts Hell's ninth and final circle as reserved for traitors (such as Mordred and Judas Iscariot).
** In the second movie, Jack shows the crew of the Black Pearl a scroll with an image of the key that will become a major plot point. A pirate exclaims "A key?" in puzzlement and is told that it is not a key, but a drawing of a key, which seems to be a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Treachery_of_Images this painting]] by Magritte.
** When [[spoiler: Barbossa]] tells the story about how he lost his leg in the fourth movie, he paraphrases the poem ''Invictus'' by William Ernest Henley ("I am the master of my fate ... I am the captain of my ship ..."). Henley wrote the poem in response to losing his leg to tuberculosis and his maimed-yet-powerful figure was one of his friend Robert Louis Stevenson's inspirations for [[TreasureIsland Long John Silver]].
** In the third film, when characters on ''both'' fleets' flagships remark that [[spoiler: the wind is with them]], anyone with sailing and/or meteorological expertise could probably guess that [[spoiler: Calypso had something worse in mind than just departing in a huff....]]
** Anyone who has ever read Lovecraft knows what Davy Jones' beard was based on.
* ''Film/MightyAphrodite'' is much funnier if the viewer is familiar with classical Greek dramas.
* ''Film/MuppetsMostWanted'' has several references to films and the film-making process, such as ''Film/GoneWithTheWind'' and ''Film/TheGodfatherIII'', but the greatest reference is when the Muppets are suggesting film plots, The Swedish Chef turns up [[TheSeventhSeal playing chess with death]]; a reference that would go over the head of anyone without a degree in Film Studies or an expert on obscure Swedish cinema.
* ''Film/RealGenius'' is chock full of these (not surprising given the decidedly highbrow nature of the film). One of the best though would be this scene:
-->'''Mitch:''' What are you doing?
-->'''Chris Knight:''' Self-realization. I was thinking of the immortal words of Socrates, who said, "... [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Socrates#Trial_and_death I drank what]]?"
* ''{{Sideways}}''
** The lousy vineyard in wine country is called Frass Vineyards. "Frass" is bug poop.
** features an incredibly subtle ironic joke in its last few minutes: The hero finally opens his prized possession of a classic vintage of wine which experts will know is made from merlot and cabernet franc grapes, both of which he had disparaged earlier in the film.
* The scene in the ''Film/MasterAndCommander'' movie in which Jack describes [[MemeticBadass Lord]] [[EyepatchOfPower Nelson]] as [[IncrediblyLamePun "A man of singular vision."]]
* In ''KillBill'', the Bride questions how long she'll have to train with Pai Mei. Bill responds "That's the title of my favorite soul song from the '70s," without elaborating further. If one pays attention to the dialogue at all, they would note that the exact words she uses are "when will I see you again?" Which means that the song referred to is most definitely... [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Will_I_See_You_Again When Will I See You Again]].
* Toward the end of ''TheRockyHorrorPictureShow'', the "sonic transducer" probably gets more laughs from those who recognize the phrase as meaning "speaker or microphone."
* In ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', part of the plot requires Batman to use an experimental form of sonar [[spoiler:to track the Joker's location]]. Whilst often criticised as being a sci-fi concept jammed into a movie which had not used much of that, it contains two little notes that the informed will appreciate: (a) bats track movement and location through using a form of sonar; and (b) the sonar device make the eyes in Batman's cowl glow white with energy. In the comics, Batman's eyes are never seen when he is wearing the cowl - they merely appear as two white slits.
* The film ''Film/{{Malice}}'' features an ornate ballerina statue that Bill Pulman's wife (played by NicoleKidman) supposedly made for him, but he finds another one in her mother's house. She tells him that you can buy those statues in any store. Of course, if you already knew that the statue was a replica of "Little Dancer at Fourteen Years" by Edgar Degas, you wouldn't have been surprised by the twist...
* ''ShakespeareInLove''
** Basically, the whole movie isn't half as funny if the viewer isn't familiar with RomeoAndJuliet. Knowing the other works of Creator/{{Will|iamShakespeare}} doesn't hurt either.
** An early scene featured Creator/{{Will|iamShakespeare}} listening, horrified, to a young boy who's a huge fan of all the gorier elements in his work (he specifically praises ''Theatre/TitusAndronicus'', which was so [[{{Gorn}} horrifying]] that scholars used to believe that it couldn't have been Shakespeare's). While funny on its own, it's even funnier if you know the HistoricalInJoke - this is a young John Webster, who will grow up to write even more violent tragedies himself.
** Also, when Shakespeare is asked his name by an enemy and he blurts out "Creator/ChristopherMarlowe!" Although Marlowe appears in the film and this becomes a plot point (as Shakespeare thinks this led to his death), at first it looks like a HistoricalInJoke about how some scholars believe Shakespeare's plays were written by Marlowe.
** And another scene, when Viola asks Will, "Are you the author of the plays of William Shakespeare?" is probably also a reference to those same conspiracy theories.
** Another example from close to the start of the movie: when Shakespeare is practising his signature and tossing all of them into the bin is a huge joke if you know that [[spoiler:there are very very few examples of the Great Bard's signature to be found in the wild, AND no two of them are spelled the same way]].
* Almost all of ''Film/TheatreOfBlood'' is way funnier if you've read the Shakespeare plays that are the core of the story (hack actor who did a list of Shakespeare plays is killing off his critics via deaths from the plays).
* Many a snarky historical comment was made in ''GangsOfNewYork'', especially when a character, Boss Tweed, can be heard making a comment about his plans for the [[http://www.nyc.gov/html/dcas/html/resources/man_tweed.shtml Tweed Courthouse]] being both "modest" and "economical," which, as history buffs will know, is completely untrue.
* There are some Fan Bonuses in ''Film/TheLordOfTheRings'':
** In ''The Return of the King'', at the Gray Havens, Bilbo is wearing [[http://www.enjoyfrance.com/images/stories/world/entertainment/JRR-Tolkien.jpg the outfit that Tolkien was most commonly photographed in during his old age]].
** The lines "riddles in the dark" and "shortcut to mushrooms" are both taken from chapter titles in ''The Hobbit'' and ''The Fellowship of the Ring''.
** Don't forget "A long expected party," a line from Gandalf and the title of the first chapter of The Fellowship of the Ring, itself a reference to the first chapter of the Hobbit, "An Unexpected Party."
* ''EvanAlmighty''
** When God shows up in the back of Evan's car and scares the pants off him, God replies [[StealthPun "Let it out, son. It's the beginning of wisdom."]] Proverbs 1:7 states "The fear of God is the beginning of wisdom".
** In another example from the same film when God tells Evan his mission Evan replies with "But I have plans!" which makes God laugh. This is reference to an old Jewish proverb that "When Man plans, God Laughs".
* One from ''YoungFrankenstein'': [[FictionalDocument a book]] is found by Doctor Frankenstein entitled ''How I Did It.'' In Mary Shelley's original novel, the method of monster-creation is never described and Victor Frankenstein specifically says that he will never reveal how it's done. The "lightning" method dates from the film version in 1931, although this reflects early-19th century ideas contemporary with the book that electricity might be the "vital force" causing life.
* In ''Film/{{Spaceballs}}'', immediately after the order is given to prepare Spaceball One "for metamorphosis", we get the line "Ready, Kafka?" This is a reference to Creator/FranzKafka's ''Literature/TheMetamorphosis.'' In the DVD commentary, Mel Brooks admits to being ashamed of that joke.
* In the original ''Film/TheProducers'', Max Bialystock looks through a pile of scripts for the worst one and reads the first line from one of them: "[[Creator/FranzKafka Gregor Samsa]] awoke one morning to discover that he was transformed into a giant cockroach. ''(beat)'' Nah, it's too good."
** At another point Max refers to Leo as "[[Literature/TheIdiot Prince Myshkin]]".
** And Leo himself is named after Leopold Bloom of Creator/JamesJoyce's ''Literature/{{Ulysses}}''.
* ''Film/BlazingSaddles'':
** Hedley and Taggart consider plans to terrorize the town of Rock Ridge.
-->'''Taggart:''' I got it! I know how we can run everyone out of Rock Ridge.\\
'''Hedley Lamarr:''' How? \\
'''Taggart:''' [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plagues_of_egypt#Death_of_the_Firstborn_.28.D7.9E.D6.B7.D7.9B.D6.B7.D6.BC.D7.AA_.D7.91.D6.B0.D6.BC.D7.9B.D7.95.D6.B9.D7.A8.D7.95.D6.B9.D7.AA.29:_Ex._11:1.E2.80.9312:36 We'll kill the first born male child in every household!]] \\
'''Hedley Lamarr:''' ''[after some consideration]'' Too Jewish.
** The name of the villainous thug is "Mongo", leading directly to the line, "[[http://www.drummerworld.com/drummers/Mongo_Santamaria.html Mongo!?! Santa Maria!]]"
* ''{{Tampopo}}'' is a very funny movie in its own right, but it becomes ''drop dead hilarious'' once you've seen a couple of westerns.
* ''Film/{{Watchmen}}'': the inscription on the pedestal "LookOnMyWorksYeMightyAndDespair!" just after the DiabolusExMachina Ending [[TheReveal Reveal]]. Even if you heard of [[http://phdiva.blogspot.com/2009/02/watchmen-ozymandias.html the poem]] and assume it is a mere ShoutOut, bonus points only come from remembering [[IronicEcho how the poem ends]]. Basically, it's a TakeThat implying no tyrant's rule ever lasts.
* The film version of ''ThePaperChase'' has a fair number for lawyers/law students--the cases discussed are real and some are recognizable even from shots a few seconds long. One of the more obscure references comes when Hart looks up Professor Kingsfield's notes from when he was a student. The camera shows that Professor Kingsfield took Contracts from Professor Williston--who really did teach Contracts at Harvard in the early part of the 20th century and is one of the most important Contracts scholars, and whose treatise will be familiar to many law students.
* ''{{Hairspray}}'', amazingly enough, has a Genius Bonus, and even more surprisingly it's a very subtle one. It comes in the scene where the main characters visit the beatniks' apartment. One of the residents is playing the bongo drums and reciting some poetry, when he glances at the African-American character and suddenly stops. If you recognize that he is reciting the 1950s classic poem ''Howl'' then you'll realize why he stops so suddenly: he was about to get to the line about "dragging themselves through the negro streets at dawn looking for an angry fix."
* The source code running on the background of the camera in ''UntilTheEndOfTheWorld'' looks like feasible matrix functions to process graphics data, like the ones a real camera would use.
* ''SouthlandTales'' includes a number of references to literature. It's seeping with quotes from Robert Frost and T.S. Eliot. A more oblique and obscure reference comes when a cop (played by Jon Lovitz) mutters "Flow my tears," in one scene. You would have to be a fan of Sci-Fi author PhilipKDick to realize it's a reference to his novel ''Flow My Tears, The Policeman Said''.
* If you're familiar with Minnesota, ''{{Juno}}'' has many great jokes others won't get. One great example is when Juno and Paulie get the bickering lab partners, of which the guy says "You've been like this ever since I got back from my brother's in Mankato, I already told you nothing happened." Mankato is a college town with a reputation for [=STD=]s and riots and disruptive behavior by drunks.
* ''Film/EasyA'': The various movies that Olive sees throughout the films are adaptations of ''TheScarletLetter'', including a German one. The film is a modernized retelling of that story.
* ''Film/TronLegacy'' has many bonuses for unix users. And one for Go players.
* ''Film/HaroldAndKumarGoToWhiteCastle'', surprisingly enough, has a Creator/WilliamShakespeare reference. The characters Rosenberg and Goldstein are a based on {{Hamlet}}'s Rosencrantz and Guildenstern.
* ''SunshineCleaning'', set and filmed in Albuquerque, New Mexico, uses an old yellow brick building as a location for several scenes. Viewers familiar with Albuquerque (or InPlainSight) could recognize it as the historical [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunshine_Building Sunshine Building]].
* ''TheSocialNetwork'' included a scene rife with hacker-sounding jargon and cool techno-like music playing in the background as the Mark Zuckerberg character "hacked" the Harvard University computer network to gather photographs of as many students as possible. The informed viewer will notice that all the jargon in this "hacking" scene is actually completely accurate, and quite feasible if you were to understand what it meant and try it yourself in real life (but only in that one scene, and on computer systems of that era). The screenplay writers say they adapted to the film an actual interview with Zuckerberg on how he created the website that was depicted in that scene in the movie.
* In one of the funniest scenes of Creator/WoodyAllen's ''Film/MidnightInParis'', Gil tells [[spoiler: a young [[Creator/LuisBunuel Luis Buńuel]] he has an idea for a movie about a group of rich upper class bourgeoisie who go to a dinner party at a mansion and find themselves unable to leave as they slowly turn into the very animals that they're dining on. Gil quickly exits as Buńuel repeatedly and fruitlessly asks what is keeping the group from leaving the room. [[http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056732/ It would take about 40 years for him to finally get it.]]]] Actually, ''Film/MidnightInParis'' basically runs on this trope since getting at least half the jokes depends on if you know who the characters are.
* Unsurprisingly, the Iron Man movies get a few. In ''Film/IronMan,'' the Vanity Fair reporter at the beginning of the film refers to Tony being nicknamed "The Merchant of Death." That's actually the phrase used in the obituary for Alfred Nobel, inventor of dynamite, which was accidentally published before his actual death, and was what inspired Nobel to use his fortune to create the Nobel prizes for people, so as to try and make the world better. Similar to what happens to Tony during the events of the movie.
* In ''Film/IronMan2''
** Howard Stark's notebook [[http://i.imgur.com/t8k0e.jpg shows him discovering]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stark_effect the Stark effect]].
** During Hammer's description of "the Ex-Wife" he mentions it has a "cyclotrimethylenetrinitramine RDX burst". [[DepartmentOfRedundancyDepartment That's the same term being said twice]], one's the chemical name, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/RDX the other's the initialism]]. In other words, Hammer is simply reciting the spec sheet, and doesn't have a clue how it's supposed to work. [[spoiler:Quite a subtle way to foreshadow that the weapon isn't all it's hyped to be.]]
** During that same scene, Hammer says that if the "Ex-Wife" were any smarter, it would write a book that made ''Ulysses'' look like it was written in crayon. ''Ulysses'' actually ''was'' written in crayon: James Joyce's eyesight was failing, so he used crayons and large sheets of paper to make it easier for him to write.
** In one of the notebooks from his father Tony looks through, a drawing of a hypercube, also known as a "tesseract", can be seen, foreshadowing Howard's work with the Tesseract after the events of ''Captain America'' and that the arc reactor is based on his studies of it.
* There was a fight to keep a line in ''Film/DiamondsAreForever'': when Bond is asked by Felix Leiter where the diamonds are hidden in a dead body coming into the country (the stomach), he replies "alimentary, my dear Leiter." Cubby thought it far too esoteric, but it got a couple hearty laughs from some doctors during a preview, and stayed in.
* ''Film/{{Inception}}''
** The architect of the team is "Ariadne". The architect designs the mazes of the dream world. Any Greek mythology buff will clue in the reference to the Princess Ariadne who helped Theseus find his way out of the labyrinth.
** Additionally, "Cobb" is an old English word meaning "spider" (hence "cobweb"). Christopher Nolan had previously named a twisty villain Cobb in his first film, ''{{Following}}''.
** And "Eames" is also the surname of Charles and Ray, a pair of famous graphic designers and architects; pretty much every major character in the movie was named for a very specific reason or reference.
** The characters' names create the acronym : D R E A M S.
* In ''TheSilenceOfTheLambs'', Hannibal Lecter had occasion in the past to be around patients in insane asylums. In that era, most depression would have been treated with MAO inhibitors, which have a terrible reaction if the patient eats foods containing tyramine. Thus, access to foods containing tyramine would have been strictly forbidden to any patients in the asylum who were on MAO inhibitors. Now, name three foods that contain tyramine.... [[spoiler: Liver, fava beans, and chianti.]]
* The schlocky DTV slasher film ''.Com for Murder'' includes a surprising number of references to ''The Sorrows of Young Werther'' by Creator/JohannWolfgangVonGoethe.
* ''Film/{{Serenity}}'' has a very subtle one: the planet where [[spoiler: the government used mind-control drugs to make the public complacent]] is called Miranda. Miranda is the character in ''Theatre/TheTempest'' whose famous line inspired the title of the novel ''Literature/BraveNewWorld'', in which [[spoiler: the government uses mind-control drugs to make the public complacent.]] In addition, the [[spoiler: drug used to sedate the population is called "Pax", Latin for "peace"]]... or "serenity".
* In ''Film/ThisIs40'', a music journalist for a Jewish magazine asks a musician, "What makes this album different from all other albums?" This is a reference to one of the traditional Four Questions of a Passover seder: "What makes this night different from all other nights?" It's pretty much an inside joke for the Jews in the audience.
* ''Film/{{Gladiator}}'' has a couple for history buffs.
** Before the battle with the Germanic tribes at the beginning of the movie, Quintus' remark that "a people should know when they're conquered," is very ironic to anyone who knows that Rome never ultimately DID manage to completely conquer Germania.
** When he first meets him in the arena (before realizing who he is), Commodus tells Maximus that his nephew "insists you are Hector reborn...or was it Hercules?" The real-life Commodus believed HE was the reincarnation of Hercules.
* The 2012 film ''The Raven'' ends with a hint that its Poe-obsessed psychopath intends to stalk and murder Jules Verne next. This provides bonus chills for viewers familiar with Verne's life, as he actually was (non-fatally) shot by a madman at one point.
* ''Film/PacificRim'': To understand all the entries on the web page for the Jaeger blueprints you need to be able to understand English, French, Latin American Spanish, Russian, Chinese and Japanese. The last three use their native writing systems.
* In ''Film/PitchBlack'', Riddick-o-vision is in anaglyph 3d. Go get those red/blue 3d glasses. It's simply purple and blurred at the edges in all the other installments of the franchise, though.
* ''Film/HereComesTheBoom'' includes a lot of references and inside jokes regarding MixedMartialArts. For example, Chael Sonnen plays a fighter who gets submitted and immediately protests, "I didn't tap! I was just playing!" This is a reference to Sonnen's infamous stoppage loss to Paulo Filho in which he denied tapping. The final fight with Dietrich also references quite a few famous MMA bouts, which Joe Rogan helpfully name-checks.
* ''Film/PansLabyrinth'' is made up of nearly 100% folklore that has been adapted to the film's setting and re-arranged almost vignette style within a framework story based on even more folklore. Almost every event and even the little superstitions shown in the film can be traced back to existing lore from multiple countries.
* ''In Doom'' Dr Carmack mentions the name of his research : Project Olduvai . Olduvai Gorge is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world and has been instrumental in furthering the understanding of early human evolution.
[[/folder]]


[[folder:Literature]]
* AAMilne's ''Literature/WinnieThePooh'' has many jokes that will go straight over your average five-year-old's head.
* The works of Creator/NealStephenson can be read and enjoyed without advanced knowledge of computer science, meme theory, classical and ancient mythology, international finance, particle physics or the geopolitical dynamics or history; however, readers who are familiar with those topics have a massive head start when it comes to figuring out what the hell is going on.
* In JulianComstock, while Adam is assisting a doctor with amputations during the Goose Bay campaign, a soldier who is posing as a priest uses parts of a WaltWhitman poem as an impromptu prayer for the wounded. During the American Civil War, Whitman volunteered as an army nurse and did much to publicize the experiences of medical personnel and wounded.
* The MichaelCrichton novel ''{{Sphere}}'' involves a cryptogram. A plot point is that a character [[spoiler:deliberately errs in solving it, changing its meaning by changing one letter. The deception is not revealed until much later in the novel, but if the reader solves the cryptogram himself, he discovers it right away.]]
* The ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'' series is plenty accessible, and damn funny even if you're not a genius, but there are ''hundreds'' of subtle jokes and references in the books that are easy to miss if you're not well versed in a number of subjects. The Terry Pratchett L-Space wiki has compiled [[http://disc.osiris-web.com/mediawiki/index.php/Annotations annotations and references]].
* Creator/AlfredBester's ''Literature/TheDemolishedMan'' features a code key of various business phrases in its first chapter. There are so many listed that readers will likely just skip over them. However, [[spoiler:if you actually apply the key to the messages sent and received in the chapter, you'll see that the message a character claims is a rejection of a merger request is actually an approval of the merger. This becomes very important toward the end of the book.]]
* ''HouseOfLeaves'' is stuffed with references both to entirely fictitious and real works, mixing them up for maximum confusion. Astute readers, however, will start noticing the references to Creator/JorgeLuisBorges, author of "The House of Asterion" and "Literature/TheLibraryOfBabel"... including a multiple-paragraph quote from ''Pierre Menard: Author of the Quixote''.
** The novel also contains numerous references to philosophers like Derrida and Heidegger, who are known for their theories on language and textuality. Heidegger specifically is known for his notion of 'Unheimlichkeit', meaning both creepy (uncanny) and unhomely. Also, and according to him, "language is the [[color:blue:house]] of Being."
* There's comparatively easy Pynchon, and then there's stupefyingly intimidating DoorStopper Pynchon. The former would include ''The Crying of Lot 49,'' his "Whatever happened to the 1960s?" novel ''Vineland,'' a few short stories like "The Secret Integration" and his recent book, ''Inherent Vice.'' These offer a healthy dose of Genius Bonuses, while ''V,'' ''Gravity's Rainbow,'' ''Mason & Dixon'' and ''Against the Day'' head over into ViewersAreGeniuses territory.
* A lot of jokes and references in John Hodgman's ''CompleteWorldKnowledge'' series will fly over readers' heads unless they have enough historical, geological, or pop cultural knowledge to understand ''why'' they're funny.
* Creator/NeilGaiman's ''Literature/AmericanGods'' is, not surprisingly, rife with references to religions around the world, so much so that the forums on his official website are filled with guessing games as to the identities of many of the more obscure ones. Anyone who knows the origins of the English days of the week will know who Mr. Wednesday as soon as he's introduced [[spoiler: Wednesday is named for Woden, a Germanic name for the Norse god Odin.]] He even drops a big hint when [[spoiler: he mentions that today is ''his'' day (meaning that Shadow is meeting him on a Wednesday), but because of the stormy weather, it might as well be Thursday. Thursday is named for Thor, Odin's son and the Thunder god.]]
* LoisMcMasterBujold tosses an easter egg for classicists in her SF novel ''[[Literature/VorkosiganSaga The Warrior's Apprentice]]'' by piling Pelian on Oseran.
* T.S. Eliot's poem ''Literature/TheWasteLand'' contains so many obscure references to different works that it makes the reader wonder if they are reading a poem with footnotes or footnotes with a poem.
* Creator/KimNewman's ''Literature/AnnoDracula'' is filled with a massive cast of historical figures, 19th century fictional characters, and more recent vampire horror characters, all swanning around in a London where Dracula survived and married Queen Victoria. You pretty much need an encyclopedia to catch all the historical references and literary in-jokes.
* The ''Literature/ArtemisFowl'' books have some fun wordplay, the notable example being in ''Eternity Code''.
** Try saying the names of the rival telecommunications companies out loud. They are "Phonetix" (think three syllables) and "Fission Chips" (perhaps less erudite, but still amusing).
** Doctor F. Roy Dean Schlippe anyobody?
** All of his pseudonyms. Emmesey Squire probably knows quite a lot about Einstein. Dr. C. Nial [=DeMencha=] is mentioned to be a psychologist. Sir E. Brum is named after part of the brain. TheOtherWiki lists them all in his article/profile.
* The DalzielAndPascoe series of novels has any number of literary references that erudite readers can pick up on.
* JimButcher's ''Literature/TheDresdenFiles'':
** ''Ghost Story'': It starts on May 9th, which was the first day of the Roman festival of Lemuralia, which was when people would banish the Lemures, vengeful angry ghosts.
** ''Cold Days'': People familiar with their mythology will recognize the names Harry uses for Mother Winter as one of [[GreekMythology the Fates]] and one of [[NorseMythology the Norns]]. The revelation that [[spoiler:Santa is an aspect of Odin]] will also make a lot more sense to a reader who knows about the history of the mythological figures involved.
** Attempted, but failed, in ''Fool Moon''. When talking about a type of super-werewolf called the loup-garou, Bob mentions that the last one was seen in Gevaudan and killed a lot of people very quickly. It's meant to be a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Beast_of_G%C3%A9vaudan the Beast of Gévaudan]], but ''every single detail involved'' is wrong, from the number of attacks to the number of deaths to the resilience of the Beast to the time the attacks took place to the duration of the attacks to etc. It's a borderline CriticalResearchFailure.
* Creator/DrSeuss indulged in these now and again. One particular example is when a character is charged with having "a flugelhorn ge-busted." Flugelhorns are real instruments, even if the word does sound like a Seuss invention.
** Better yet, the Flugelhorn is a German instrument with a German name. Adding "ge-" to the beginning of (some) verbs in the past tense is a feature of the German language.
* In Creator/BrianClevinger's ''Literature/NuklearAge'', Dr. Genius mentions that her company does testing on various animals to make sure that they aren't just using humans for slave labor. However, they're having trouble with cats, as they can't seem to prove [[SchrodingersCat that they're actually in the testing box]].
* Surprisingly, ''Literature/HarryPotter'' is far more meaningful to those who have a working knowledge of Latin, are well-versed in European mythology, or happen to be religious scholars.
* ''Literature/LettersBackToAncientChina'' has many details about Munich, where the story is set.
* Creator/IsaacAsimov wanted to call his short story "Flies" (in which a manufacturer of flyspray is worshiped by flies as [[HumansAreCthulhu a vengeful god]]) "''Theatre/KingLear'' Act IV, scene i, lines 36-37", but his editor said no-one would get the reference. (It's the "As flies to wanton boys are we to the gods..." line.)
* ''Literature/TheSecretsOfTheImmortalNicholasFlamel'' has some. Machiavelli's passwords are the best examples, being titles of his lesser-known works. ''In Italian'', so it doubles as a BilingualBonus.
* ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' contains several major [[ShoutOut shout outs]] to ''Theatre/{{Macbeth}}'', all taken from Act IV, Scene i, when the Witches tell Macbeth their prophecies of his death. First of all, the phrase "Crack of Doom" was coined by [[Creator/WilliamShakespeare Shakespeare]] in this scene. And, bordering on TakeThat, the Ents' besiegement of Isengard and the Witch-King's defeat by Éowyn are references to two of the three prophecies: namely, that it will not happen until "Great Birnam Wood... shall come against him" and that "[[NoManOfWomanBorn none of woman born]] shall harm" him. In Macbeth, the trees do come to the castle when Macduff's army [[MobileShrubbery uses their branches as camouflage]], and Macbeth is killed by a man who was not ''[[ExactWords born]]'', but removed from his mother's womb. Tolkien thought both {{Prophecy Twist}}s were huge cop-outs--as such, in Lord of the Rings, when Fangorn Forest comes against Saruman [[GaiasVengeance it damn well is the forest doing it]], and the Witch-King who no man can kill is slain by a woman, with help from a hobbit. Denethor's TakeThat to "other places of less royalty" where it takes only a few years for a steward to become king is also directed at the [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/House_of_Stuart House of Stuart]], whom ''Macbeth'' was written to flatter.
* While you don't need to be familiar with ancient/medieval Middle Eastern art and Islamic theology to enjoy ''Literature/MyNameIsRed'', it doesn't hurt. On the other hand, the neophyte reader gets several college courses worth of information on the subjects, wrapped up in a fascinating set of narratives.
* ''Lovely Assistant'' by Geoph Essex. The few [[TheGrimReaper Angels of Death]] whose names we learn [[spoiler: (besides Jenny)]] are Caravel, Ketch, Curach, Pauzok, and Voitas. If you know [[spoiler: boats or the right languages]], the shout out to [[spoiler: TheFerryman guiding the dead to the afterlife]] is a fun bonus.
* Geoph Essex does this again in ''Jackrabbit Messiah'':
** If you know the etymology behind the name of {{UsefulNotes/Chicago}}, then the description of the city mentioned by a more [[TheGrimReaper knowledgeable character]] [[spoiler:(actually Ketch from ''Lovely Assistant''!)]] earlier in the book makes perfect sense. The place [[spoiler:[[JourneyToTheCenterOfTheMind inside the Prince/Princess of Chicago's head]]]] is subtly described to full of wild onions, there's some play with metaphors of certain people having "layers within layers", and there's the less subtle pun in the name of the place where the heroes first find the Prince of Chicago.
** And readers who understand the Hindi word Indra uses to refer to Caleb O'Connor (right after meeting him) have a little head start on Caleb's backstory, assuming [[MouthyKid Indra]] isn't just [[RefugeInVulgarity insulting]] Caleb like he does everyone else. [[spoiler: He's [[HumanityEnsues not]].]] The word ties up a MeaningfulName triple play, too, if you also know how both Caleb's first ''and'' last names are derived - it's ''very'' unlikely that Essex didn't do that deliberately.
* The main character of the obscure children's book ''Sleepers, Wake'' by Paul Samuel Jacobs states that his favorite organ piece is Bach's ''[[TitleDrop Sleepers, Wake]]'', an alternate name of the chorale prelude ''Wachet auf, ruft uns die Stimme'' (BWV 645). Obviously, the intended audience of the book would not know what Jacobs is talking about. Even most parents wouldn't know about the piece because of how obscure Bach's chorale preludes are to the general public.
* The Genius Bonuses are practically nonstop in Catherynne M. Valente's ''Literature/TheOrphansTales.'' Valente was a medievalist scholar, and a little research into monsters and mythology of the medieval period will reveal how many creatures she borrowed from pre-existing stories. Like African cyclops that are at war with griffins, dog-headed men, people with one giant foot, goldfish that can turn into dragons if they swim over a waterfall (Japanese myth, along with polite kappas and fox-women), even huldras. Yes, one-third girl, one-third cow, one-third tree? Authentic Germanic myth!
** The "eaten" people of Marrow might be a reference to ''Literature/TheFaerieQueene.'' Marrow was cursed for its gluttony, and all of its people devoured by a hunger-spirit. Once they have been eaten, the people stop looking human and instead grow long necks and fat bellies. This happens to sound a lot like the description of the incarnation of Gluttony according to Spenser.
* Creator/SimonaAhrnstedt has put a lot of research into her historical love novels. ''Överenskommelser'' has a mention of the royal wedding, that really took place in Sweden in 1881, and also name-drops celebrities like Claude Monet, Charles Darwin and Henrik Ibsen. ''Betvingade'' features three real historical personages: King Magnus, Queen Blanche and Saint Birgitta. ''De skandalösa'' name-drops Niccoló Machiavelli and Galileo Galilei and features king Carl XI.
* Two alien races in {{Literature/The Osmerian Conflict}} the titular Osmerians and the Silicians are primarily made of Osmium and Silicon respectively. Their physical appearance and chemical make up reflect this and are used as defining traits.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/{{Frasier}}'' is as much a master of this trope as Ada Lovelace was a master of mathematics.
** That's ''Augusta Ada King, Countess of Lovelace'' to you!
** According to the producers, {{sitcom}}s generally run on "the 70% joke", where 70% of the TV-watching audience will get the joke and laugh, while ''Frasier'' often had "the 20% joke". It didn't seem to hurt them, though.
** Sort of parodied when Kelsey Grammer and David Hyde Pierce guest-starred on ''TheSimpsons'':
---> '''Cecil:''' But I suppose I should thank you. After all, it led me to my true calling.\\
'''Bob:''' Cecil, no civilization in history has ever considered "chief hydrological engineer" a calling.\\
'''Cecil:''' *clears throat meaningfully* \\
'''Bob:''' Yes, yes, the Cappadocians. Fine.
*** Cappadocia was one of the only civilizations in Western history small enough to exist ''entirely'' within an arid region as it was too elevated for rivers to run through it.
---> '''Cecil:''' I have the '82 Chateau Latour and a rather indifferent Rausan-Segle.\\
'''Bob:''' I've been in prison, Cecil. I'll be happy just as long it doesn't taste like orange drink fermented under a radiator.\\
'''Cecil:''' That would be the Latour, then.
*** Chateau Rausan-Segle was not a successful winery until it was taken over by winemakers from Chateau Latour.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' included many of these. In the [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QNRkhJc2d_w words]] of Creator/{{Trey Parker|AndMattStone}}, "They'll do that joke that they know only 20% of the audience is gonna get, so you know that 80% is not gonna be with you, but you know that 20% is [[OneOfUs gonna follow you to the grave.]]"
* ''Series/TheWestWing'':
** In one episode, Toby tells the president, "Your favorite movie was on last night." They then spend a few minutes (mis)quoting and discussing it, and Toby eventually applies AnAesop from the movie to their current situation. But neither of them ever actually says the name of the movie. (It's ''The Lion in Winter''.)
** In another episode, Bartlet learns that his daughter Ellie, who seemed to be manipulating him by appearing to express confidence in him, [[spoiler: was simply, honestly, expressing confidence in him.]] He just says, "My God, ''Theatre/KingLear'' is a good play" (in that play, the daughter Lear thinks is the least loyal is the most).
** ''Series/TheWestWing'' is simply crammed with this. The sheer number of subtle puns and jokes that would take a rather high level of knowledge about American history and politics to understand makes watching any given episode five times funnier for a political wonk than for a regular viewer. And the genius bonuses aren't limited to history and politics - there's a lot of literary, religious, scientific, sports-related, and pop-culture references slipped into the dialogue as well.
*** Leo goes on a long rant comparing Pro-Wrestling to politics (Which happens a few times) and concludes with: "But at the end of the day you don't vote for them." To which Josh replies: "[[JesseVentura Except for in Minnesota.]]"
* In a much less genius of a bonus, over the course of several episodes ''NewsRadio'' had a running gag concerning every time a character goes to a movie theater, the same terrible movie is playing, though its name is never mentioned. Astute viewers will pick up that the crappy movie is John Travolta's ''{{Michael}}''.
* ''Series/{{Lost}}'' contains constant references to philosophy, religion, literature, and science. Is the casual viewer really expected to understand the significance of someone named John Locke, or their using the alias [[spoiler: Jeremy Bentham]]? Plus, the plot became increasingly complicated as the show has gone on, with innumerable callbacks to previous episodes, making it extremely hard for new viewers to understand what is going on.
** When Hurley wonders what could be inside the hatch. Locke responds that he believes hope is inside, referencing Pandora's Box.
** Another episode had John Locke asking Desmond David Hume how he knew something. Answer: "[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Empiricism Experience.]]"
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' story ''[[Recap/DoctorWhoS24E4Dragonfire Dragonfire]]'' had a sequence in which the Doctor distracts a guard by discussing semiotics with him. The real joke... the dialogue came verbatim from a semiotics text examining ''Doctor Who''. Particularly impressive for a story which came out way back in 1987, before such post-modern humor appeared everywhere.
** The ''real'' real joke: Apparently, the Doctor's line is semiotics-jargon for something like "The less relevant an in-joke is to the story, the greater its cultural significance".
* The episode "[=QPid=]" of ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' is a ''lot'' funnier to anyone who's seen ''Film/TheAdventuresOfRobinHood'', as it's basically a WholePlotReference, down to several shots and some of the background music cues. It also makes Vash's complete inversion of the Marian character all the more hilarious.
** ''[=NextGen=]'' is rife with references to Japanese anime (the Nausicaans, the ''USS Yamato'', etc.).
* A lot of ''{{Blackadder}}''. For instance, when Edmund tells the newly-solvent Prince Regent to "take out the plans for the beach house at Brighton" he's referring to the Royal Pavilion, which was indeed paid for and occupied by the Regent.
** In the same episode, Blackadder, explaining why purchasing a "tuppenny ha'penny" tract of land will cost a thousand pounds, lists a string of spurious expenses, including "window tax". While it seems to fit in with the other expenses, like "swamp insurance", the window tax was a real thing in Georgian Britain; an attempt at progressive taxation on the basis that rich people had bigger houses, and therefore more windows. (Which is why in some parts of Britain you can still see historic houses with bricked-up windows.)
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000''. Annotations circle the Internet... You have to have a wide knowledge of a lot of things to get many of the jokes on the show, a lot like ''TheSimpsons''.
** Other references can be chalked up to over-obscuring the comedy, forcing the viewer to laugh not because they get the joke but that it's so random there's no way it ''can't'' be funny. A backstage motto of the writers was "The right people will get it."
*** The right people could occasionally just be the writers though. One of the robots quipping "There goes Mike's keyboard!" was absolutely meaningless to everyone who was unaware that Mike's ex-girlfriend had taken his keyboard with her when she moved out the previous week.
** The episode featuring ''The Rebel Set'' nicely worked in an obscure reference that was still funny if you didn't know the source: As the camera pans past a man in a suit with slicked back hair playing a vibraphone, Crow quips "...And looking very relaxed, AdolfHitler on vibes". This is a direct quote from The Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band's "The Intro And The Outro", but if you've never even heard of that group, it's just funny because of the actor's vague resemblance to Hitler.
* ''Series/BabylonFive'':
** The station's head of security is named Michael Garibaldi. The most famous real-life Garibaldi is probably Giuseppe Garibaldi, a major figure in the struggle for Italian unification and independence. Giuseppe's followers were dubbed {{Redshirt}}s.
** Ironically, Sheridan is probably the real Garibaldi expy: CrazyAwesome general specialized in coming BackFromTheBrink and who wins battles even when his side has ''already'' lost the war? Check, Check and re-Check. Plus the events described in Severed Dreams resemble a lot the events of the siege of Montevideo.
* The ''Series/{{Seinfeld}}'' episode "The Betrayal" is based on Creator/HaroldPinter's ''Betrayal'' and is far funnier if you've seen the play first.
** In one episode Elaine's boyfriend takes Jerry's parents to the art museum and his father spends the rest of the episode obsessing about how Claude Monet must have been nearsighted to paint waterlilies like that. This parallels the Jewish scholar Max Nordau's theory of ''Entartete Kunst'' (Degenerate Art), the belief that the oddities of 20th Century modern art reflected various disorders on the part of the artists, such as impressionism being symptomatic of a diseased visual cortex. This idea was famously (and somewhat ironically, considering Nordau's background) co-opted by the Nazis as justification for their censorship of the art world.
* ''Series/TheBigBangTheory''. Oh... where do we even start?
** How about with [[Series/BattlestarGalacticaReimagined Cylon toast]]? To the general public, funny because Sheldon is making toast with scifi characters on it. To nerds, funnier because [[DontExplainTheJoke Cylons are often called toasters]].
** Also, the equations on the whiteboard are always real and recognisable to physicists. They have a physics professor helping them out.
** In fact, the equations on the boards change throughout each season in a logical manner as the characters work on and solve the problems depicted.
** Sheldon comparing himself to RichardFeynman becomes a complete joke if you read up on the man. Feynman was endlessly sociable; life of many parties, he loved the company of women and was somewhat of a TheCasanova. He was married three times and had several children. He was an artist and musician. Most importantly, he had great respect for all branches of science. He insisted that divisions between sciences are only for convenience and no one is better or more important than any other. Now compare all that to Sheldon.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'' had an episode which parodied ''{{Amadeus}}''.
** They also centered a storyline around a birthday party thrown for a Hapsburg. If you knew who the Habsburgs were, there's a chance you could know where things were going at the start of the episode when the name Hapsburg is first mentioned, but either way, the Habsburg in question is so ridiculously inbred to cause everyone to laugh on sight.
** At one point, [[MarriedToTheJob Liz]] went out to a club and was questioned on it. She responded "I'm [[NietzscheWannabe saying yes! to life.]]"
** Cerie showed up to a Halloween party dressed [[FanService in a bikini]]. When asked what her costume was, she replied "I'm an [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_I4rrvSHoc Italian senator!]]"
* An episode of ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'': Sam and Dean meet an author who has been inexplicably writing sci-fi novels about characters named "Sam and Dean" whose monster-fighting adventures are [[WhoWouldWantToWatchUs exact retellings of their own story.]] When confronted, the author has a moment of realization when he admits that his still-unfinished new novel is kind of inspired by KurtVonnegut. Dean asks "''SlaughterhouseFive'' Vonnegut or ''CatsCradle'' Vonnegut?" and he replies "[[AuthorAvatar Kilgore Trout]] Vonnegut." The references are not elaborated upon, it's just assumed that the viewers understand what that means. Doubles as a HiddenDepths moment for [[BookDumb Dean]], since that kind of question would generally be in [[TheSmartGuy Sam's]] arena.
* In ''[[Series/TheOfficeUS The Office]]'' (US) episode "Trivia," Robert California, while discussing the various unpleasantries of living in Florida, remarks, "Alligators are ''dinosaurs'', Dwight. You know that, right?" Dwight makes a pained face and replies, "[[ArtisticLicensePaleontology Mmm... it's complicated]]."
* ''Series/TheITCrowd'' is so chock full of real technology in-jokes and references that people who work in IT would go ''{{Squee}}'' in recognition at almost every scene.
** The decor of their basement office was a clutter of old computers, classic videogame posters and other nerdy reference, with the occasional [=ThinkGeek=] t-shirt.
* ''Series/{{Glee}}'': In an episode introducing two show choirs, one of them was from a ghetto school that had a member named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aphasia Aphasia]], while the other was from a deaf school. Heh.
* It's not ''excessively'' intelligent, but one brilliant visual joke in the "Manny's First Day" episode of ''BlackBooks'' depends on the viewer recognizing a physical similarity to Beethoven.
* When he learns that a possible "recruit" was a dance teacher when Mitchell knew her, ''Series/BeingHuman'''s [[AffablyEvil William]] [[BigBad Herrick]] offers a wonderfully subtle ShoutOut to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emma_Goldman Emma Goldman]]:
-->"Come the revolution, we'll all need to know how to dance."
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'': While sneaking into the Initiative during the fourth season, the Scooby Gang are surrounded by enemy soldiers. Buffy quickly grabs their leader as a hostage with a crossbow to his head:
-->'''Buffy''': "Stay back, or I'll pull a William Burroughs on your leader here."
-->'''Xander''': "You'll bore him to death with free prose?"
-->'''Buffy''': "Was I the only one awake in English class that day?"
** The exchange is funny even if you know nothing about Creator/WilliamSBurroughs, a famous author from the 50's who's probably best known for writing the book ''Literature/NakedLunch''. However, Buffy's original threat only makes sense if you know that William Burroughs drunkenly shot his own wife to death.
** In "Bewitched, Bothered & Bewildered" there's an example that's either this or CriticalReasearchFailure on the writers' part. Amy casts her love spell by invoking "Diana, goddess of love and the hunt". Anyone who's savvy on their Roman mythology knows the spell is going to backfire because Diana was '''NOT''' the goddess of love, Venus was. It's probably why the spell had the opposite effect and enchanted every woman except the intended target (Cordelia).
** While to the vast majority of the show's audience the Greek letters Willow writes on Tara's Back in "Restless" will be undecipherable, the inscription is an invocation to Aphrodite, which is responded to by the goddess's promise to make whoever the poet desires love her back in return "if she does not love, soon she shall love - even unwilling". The particular verse has special meaning for the pair - Sappho and Aphrodite as representative of their being lesbian and witches respectively, but also on another level because Willow in the future will indeed use magic to sustain her love with Tara
** The human/demon cyborg hybrid created by the Initiative named Adam, one could be forgiven for thinking the name is refrence to the first man in the bible given that the human/demon cyborg hybrid was meant to be the first of it's kind, until you start to research another story with a creature created from bits and peices of dead people by a mad scientist playing god and realise that said creature was also named Adam (or at least refers to himself as Adam when speaking to Victor Frankenstein as an allusion to the Adam of the bible)
* ''Series/{{Dollhouse}}''. Oh, so many... The biggest (and most obvious) is the name of the Dollhouse's parent corporation: Rossum, which comes from Karel Capek's play ''Theatre/{{RUR}}''. The basic premise of the play is very similar to that of the Dollhouse- a company that produces humanoid slaves.
** "The Target" features a psychopathic ([[spoiler:and possibly cannibalistic]]) hunter calling himself "Richard Connell". Richard Connell wrote a short story called ''TheMostDangerousGame'', in which the [[spoiler:protagonist is hunted by a psychopath, as sport, and winds up killing him]] in a plot deliberately echoed by the episode.
** Wondered why the D.C. House uses Active codes from Greco-Roman mythology? Thank [[SummerGlau Bennett Halverson]]. The cabinet in her office contains a small statue of Romulus and Remus, suckled by a wolf.
* In the ''Series/JimHensonsTheStoryteller'' episode "The Soldier And Death", the soldier plays cards against a troupe of devils in an abandoned castle. The game they play isn't specified, but based on the fact they're using three cards in a hand it appears to be [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Three_card_brag three-card brag]] (a predecessor of modern-day poker) that would fit in with the medieval setting of the show.
* When one thinks about it, anything in ''SesameStreet'' could be considered this. [[ItMakesSenseInContext Don't forget what kind of show it is, and what its purpose is]]. For example, during [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=orrSp1IQV3A a promo with Entertainment Weekly]], Grover and Cookie Monster manage to work in a reference to [[http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/stage-door_Johnny stage door Johnnies]] of all things- a term which would probably be a [[ParentalBonus GRANDparental bonus]] for modern kids. (They also manage to rhyme [[SophisticatedAsHell dystopia and cookie-copia]].)
* ''TheVampireDiaries'' has one that most in the target audience will probably get: During an emotional scene between Damon and Elena, there's some piano music playing in the background. This could simply be because there's a funeral going on, or it could be background music. Someone who knows the song, however, may remember the lyrics.
-->''You tore me to pieces...You tore me to pieces...''
** And in a sort of combination of this trope and FunnyBackgroundEvent, the Salvatores' house is full of famous paintings that a viewer with both keen eyesight and a knowledge of art will spot. This includes a Manet that shows up in almost every living room scene.
** Similarly the paintings in Klaus's bedroom are reproductions of actual paintings that have been stolen from various museums throughout the years.
* In ''Series/{{Sliders}}'', Quinn's cat was always named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schrödinger%27s_cat Schroedinger]]. Interestingly, in different {{Alternate Universe}}s the cat was visibly different.
** But always alive, so...y'know...that answers that.
* A number of signoffs for ''BillNyeTheScienceGuy'', while relevant to the episode's topic, are much more advanced in that field than the target demographic has likely studied.
-->"Now if you'll excuse me, I've got some [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strike-slip_tectonics strike-slip-shear modulae to compute]]. See ya!
* During one episode of ''Series/ThirdRockFromTheSun'' Dick comments that Easter Island was a practical joke that got out of hand. Many listeners will simply associate this joke with the massive stone heads and laugh, but a person who has read about the ecological and societal collapse resulting from overuse of natural resources due to moai construction will understand the "got out of hand" differently.
* Hilariously done by the Series/{{Mythbusters}} ''editors'' in a combination with CensoredForComedy. Adam tests out a [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6Vy6DZaJCok curse-proof tool]] in the "No Pain, No Gain" episode. [[spoiler:If you know [[EveryoneKnowsMorse Morse Code]], the beeps spell out HELLO.]]
* ''Series/CriminalMinds''
** The two-parter "The Fisher King" has the team trying to find a kidnapped girl. We're shown her locked in a basement bedroom, coughing hard and apparently ill, having been taken some time ago by a kidnapper who acts as though he cares for her. At this point viewers who've read John Fowles' ''The Collector'' may have spotted that this plot is somewhat familiar; and then the clues the kidnapper sent to the FBI turn out to be centred around... John Fowles' ''The Collector''. It's never mentioned in the episode what the novel's about.[[note]]It should be noted that ''The Collector'' has been a favorite book of several serial killers in real life, despite [[CompletelyMissingThePoint the moral of the story being don't be a serial killer]].[[/note]]
** The fifth season episode ''Slave of Duty'' [[DoubleMeaningTitle refers not only to the action of the episode]] but is also an alternate title for ''PiratesOfPenzance'', which is referenced a few times in that episode and a couple of first season episodes. The high school production of the play was when Hotch met Haley ([[spoiler:who got murdered in the previous episode]]).
** The [=UnSub=] in "I Love You, Tommy Brown" defends her relationship with [[spoiler:a teenage boy who was a student of hers]] by arguing that Henry VIII's first wife was twenty years older than him[[note]]Not quite; Catherine of Aragon was only six years older than Henry VIII[[/note]], and that RomeoAndJuliet were teenagers as well. Now that might sound all very intelligent and cultured, but think about how both those relationships turned out...
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' features a cat called Schrodinger. That is, until [[SufficientlyAdvancedAlien said alien mentioned that yes, they know about that superstition and disproved it a while back]]. Cue Carter becoming very surprised at how such a basic theorem of physics can be false (note that Schrödinger's original point was how ridiculous the Copenhagen interpretation could be). The most amusing part is that it took only ''three episodes'' for humans to reach a high enough level of understanding about the universe to be able prove that "superstition" false on their own. This is because the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum mechanics is only one possible way of understanding the weirdness that happens on the quantum level of reality. One of the other possible ways? The many-worlds interpretation. Visit a parallel universe, and you prove the Copenhagen interpretation (and the concept of Schrödinger's cat) incorrect. And a parallel universe is visited exactly three episodes later.
* ''Series/StargateAtlantis'' introduces a character named Janus in an episode featuring time travel into the distant past and stasis. In myth Janus was The God Of Memory And Sleep; seems more than a little suitble to me.
** Knowledge of myth, history, physics, and millitary strategy, while rarely unexplained, can occassionally make moments in Stargate more fun.
* ''{{Lexx}}'' might be extremely perverted, but it also has some very obscure jokes. One is the Higgs Boson apparently can't be measured without causing a planet to implode into a stranglet. Another involves a big crunch and the corresponding theory for the effect on time it has.
* ''Series/MaxHeadroom'', a show ripe with social commentary, features a trailer for the wacky show "Lumpy's Proletariat". Aimed at the lower classes, no less.
* On ''TheWire'', Brother Mouzone is a CulturedBadass who tasks his assistant with collecting his issues of ''Harper's'' while researching hits. The Bonus is that the actor and character are a dead ringer for the original composite sketch of the man who allegedly murdered NotoriousBIG.
* Sometimes on ''Series/{{JAG}}'', the meaning of military acronyms are at times never explained to the viewers, and upon even rarer occasion are references made to federal case law without explaining in detail what that case means to the viewers.
* BetterOffTed loves working this into background gags. For example, Rose, Ted's daughter and moral compass, attends [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_Debs Eugene Debs]] Elementary.
* In ''Series/{{Community}}'', an evil German man says, "I wish there were a word to describe the pleasure I feel in seeing misfortune!" In fact, the German word "''schadenfreude''" has this exact definition. It's sometimes used as a loanword in English.
* The final episode of ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' has a tense game of cat-and-mouse between the crew of ''Serenity'' and the incredibly creepy bounty hunter Jubal Early. It's a testament to the strength of the writing that the episode is compelling to those without a degree in philosophy; as the dialogue contains so many references to existentialist thought, it's borderline-impenetrable to the average viewer.
* In the ''Series/{{Warehouse 13}}'' episode "[[ChristmasEpisode Secret Santa]]", Claudia offhandedly asks how many piano tuners there could be in the Philadelphia area. This is a reference to the archetypical example of a [[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fermi_problem Fermi problem]], a form of estimation based on multiplying estimates to obtain a close approximation of an otherwise incomputible answer. The classic Fermi problem is 'How many piano tuners are there in Chicago?'.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Music]]
* ''TheyMightBeGiants'' features a variety of songs about semi-obscure characters such as James Ensor and James K. Polk.
** And four key figures from Mesopotamian history ([[Literature/TheEpicOfGilgamesh one]] of whom is probably fictional, but still...).
*** Another one from the Mesopotamians: "Hey, man, I thought that you were dead, I thought you crashed your car." "No, man, I've been right here this whole time playing bass guitar." Only people who know their Beatles trivia will get this one.
** Another example is the song "She Thinks She's Edith Head," which references [[CaptainObvious Edith Head]] and Helen Gurley Brown, both "cultural figures we don't know a lot about."
* ''Bastille'' not only references the myth of Icarus, but more impressively, crafts an ''entire'' song alluding to ''The Rime of The Ancient Mariner''.
* ''TheSmiths'' developed a reputation of using quotes from various literary works (particularly Shelagh Delaney's plays and other "kitchen sink"-era works) for their lyrics that would fly over the average listener until someone else points them out. This led to the band being accused of plagiarism and "Cemetry Gates" being written in response.
* The ManicStreetPreachers often reference obscure historical figures and artistic works. For example, historical dictators Miklós Horthy and Jozef Tiso in "Of Walking Abortion".
* ''PetShopBoys'' songs regularly reference various European (especially Russian - Neil Tennant is a fan) history and culture, for example in "Jack the Lad," "Don Juan," "My October Symphony," etc.
** One of their more famous songs, "West End Girls", includes the line "from Lake Geneva to the Finland station". This refers to the railroad route Lenin took when returning from his exile in Switzerland to Russia near the end of first World War.
* Mr. Bungle's songs, specifically those on their album California, are chock-full of esoteric name drops. The track "None Of Them Knew They Were Robots" alone is a six minute long wall of doctrinal and scientific references.
* ''FrankZappa''. Not only do his lyrics contain many obscure references, but the music itself is often quite complex, featuring odd time signatures and "quotes" from other songs. Ironically, he's most famous for his fairly straightforward comedy-rock songs.
* ''BobDylan'', once he stopped being a protest singer, pretty much referenced everything from Shakespeare to pop culture in his songs
* Bands like ''Augie March'', ''Okkervil River'' and ''The Decemberists'' often get lumped into "lit pop" because of their insane number of literary references - like Decemberists songs featuring exact quotes from William Blake.
* John Darnielle of ''TheMountainGoats'' has written songs about everything from HP Lovecraft to obscure boxers to minor Greek political events
* ''TheHoldSteady'' sound like just another bar band - until you realize they're singing about John Berrymen, Jack Kerouac, and other authors you feel guilty for not having read.
** Not to mention references to obscure locations, songs, and people, plus the thick internally consistent narrative. Enjoying "First Night" from Boys and Girls in America is almost entirely dependent on having listened to the previous album, Separation Sunday.
** Furthermore, if you live in and/or are very familiar with the layout of the Twin Cities, it's not at all confusing to hear about Lyndale, 494, or the Grain Belt Bridge.
* ''Secret Chiefs 3'' (not coincidentally led by Trey Spruance, who was responsible for some of the more esoteric Mr Bungle lyrics) manage to do a lot of this despite primarily playing instrumental music. Their song titles include references to Zoroastrianism, alchemy, the unfinished PhilipKDick novel ''The Owl In Daylight'', and illuminationist philosophy, and even their name is a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Secret_Chiefs a group of occult figures]].
* ''JonathanCoulton'' does a hell of a lot of songs on various nerdy topics, ranging from DNA structure to Evil Supervillains to one on the mathematical Mandelbrot set. Smart listeners will realise that, despite everything else in the song, [=JoCo=] is actually singing about the Julia set (something he freely admits).
* Mikhail Scherbakov. Pretty much Russian Coulton, only Scherbakov's more of a philology nerd. Get ready for references and allusions to Xenophon, Gogol, Tolkien and so on.
* Music/{{Tool}} is very fond of this trope. For instance, the syllable count to the lyrics and the time signature of "[[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wS7CZIJVxFY&fmt=18 Lateralus]]" is based upon the Fibonacci Sequence. "Lost Keys (Blame Hoffmann)" is a shout out to the father of LSD. The whole album ''Ćnima'' is a reference to both the "Anima" (or the soul) and "Enema" (a cleansing of the bowels by flushing them with liquid). Jungian references abound; "Forty Six & 2" references a theory that human evolution will continue by adding another chromosome pair (46+2 instead of 44+2); and "Lateralus" (again) references a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Linguistic_relativity_and_the_color_naming_debate#Berlin_and_Kay landmark study by Berlin and Kay]] about the universal pinnings of color naming in its opening lyrics before moving on to Hermetic mysticism.
* ''British Sea Power'' have written songs filled with all manner of obscure references. ''The Open Season'' album features a song called [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Larsen_Ice_Shelf Oh Larsen B]], for example.
* There's a song by ''[=anNina=]'' called "Rothschild Rh-" (the B-side to ''[[VisualNovel/HigurashiNoNakuKoroNi Higurashi no Koro ni Kai]]''[='s=] ending theme, "''Object a''"). "Rh-" would be an anion of rhodium; not possible. The lyrics are basically about realizing when something's not possible and moving on.
** It's far more likely to be a reference to the Rhesus-negative blood type.
* ''{{Fugazi}}'' lyrics are often in this territory. Then they wrote a song about Creator/JohnCassavetes.
--> '''Cassavetes:''' Crush my calm, oh you Cassavetes... That's something from someone / [[MyFriendsAndZoidberg and Gena Rowlands!]]
* Composer Peter Schickele has made a career as the musicologist irresponsible enough to "discover" the forgotten works of one Music/PDQBach, last and least of Johann Sebastian's grandchildren. P.D.Q. Bach's "works" include obvious riffs on well-known classical works, such as the "Short-Tempered Clavier" and the "1712 Overture," as well as less well-known pieces. In addition, he does things like describing one of his sopranos as an "off-coloratura," or specifying tempo for movements as "andante alighieri" or "presto changio." Sometimes you need to be familiar with the original piece being parodied; sometimes you need a cursory knowledge of Italian, German, or Latin.
* ''Music/SteelyDan'' does this from time to time.
* ''Half Man Half Biscuit''. Everything from obscure biblical references to Leadbelly songs and the history of Blackpool Town Football Club, with a healthy does of Britsih 80's / 90's pop culture thrown in too.
* ''Joaquin Sabina'' is very fond of these. He has songs that are fully comprehensible only by having vast knowledge of Spanish, Mexican and Argentinian culture and history, like "Mas de cien mentiras".
* The more lyrical rappers tend to reference their own areas of interest in their lines.
** KanyeWest tends to reference movies (which he seems to have a questionable taste in), artwork, fashion, celebrities, other music, and of all things, [[OneOfUs anime]].
** {{Jay-Z}} will reference expensive alcohol, fashion, celebrities and, as of ''Watch the Throne'' artwork.
** LupeFiasco - [[OneOfUs where to begin]].
** {{Eminem}} reeferences lots of popular culture, such as movies, celebrities, comic books etc. (the man did a video where he and Dr. Dre were Batman and Robin)
** Kendrick Lamar and J.Cole both tend to reference (understandably) movies, games, TV shows, music and celebrities that were popular during their teenage years (late 1990s-early 2000s).
** Music/LilWayne slips in words into his lines that he'd know due to being a sports fan, slang that is twisted and played into metaphors and {{One Liner}}s that rely on word play.
--> One life to live, never ask for a mulligan.[[note]]Obscure if you don't know golf or Magic: the Gathering, but it means pretty much a do over.[[/note]]
** Music/{{Drake}} seems to rely on referencing various different movies, TV shows and music - in particular {{Aaliyah}}.
** Creator/TheGame name-drops everybody, especially his idol, Dr. Dre.
** Music/NickiMinaj's name-drops tend to come very much out of left field, and from almost anywhere.
* As you might have guessed by the content of the song itself, ''Music/WeirdAlYankovic Yankovic'''s "White & Nerdy" has some. The biggest one is him and Donny Osmond dancing in front of the Schrodinger equation for a hydrogen atom.
** It has an error, though.
* ''{{Clutch}}'' peppers their lyrics heavily with mythological and folklore references that sound cool even when too obscure to be comprehensible.
* The songs on the ''FallOfTroy'' album ''Doppleganger'' are most, if not all, obscure pop culture references that have nothing to do with the music itself. Two are references to HouseOfLeaves ("You Got A Death Wish, Johnny Truant?" and "The Hol[ ]y Tape"), one references AceVentura ("Laces, Out Dan"), etc.
* ''Queen'''s "'39" appears to only be about an astronaut traveling on a ship traveling at significant-fraction-of-C speeds, and the effects of time-dilation on him and those he left behind; however, Brian May has stated it has a second, more-personal, meaning: [[spoiler: It's about how a musician feels about having to be out touring all the time -- coming back a year later to find his kids had grown, the neighborhood had changed, someone he knew is dead, and so on.]]
* ''Music/TheDivineComedy'''s "Woman of the World" works as a song in its own right, whether or not you know that the title character is Holly Golightly of ''Film/BreakfastAtTiffanys'' (she's not named, and it isn't made explicit, but it's obvious once you spot it).
* ''And Then There Was Silence'' by ''Music/BlindGuardian'' has various lines that are only really meaningful to someone who knows their Greek mythology and/or Homer; for example, "the coin's been placed beneath my tongue".
* The Music/{{Rush}} song "YYZ" begins with Neil tapping a rhythm in Morse code. Specifically, he's tapping the code for "YYZ"[[note]]which, in turn, is the airport code for Toronto Pearson International Airport, as in what the luggage tags said when the boys in Rush were finally heading home after another grueling tour[[/note]].
* The BarenakedLadies song ''Aluminum'' describes various properties of the title element, a few of which are somewhat obscure. For example, "''but just below where you shine you burn''" references the fact that it's used to make thermite and "''every time you're here I forget''" comes from various medical studies that have shown a possible connection between excessive aluminum exposure and Alzheimer's Disease.
* {{Music/Thrice}}'s lyrics are full of literary, religious, philosophical, and historical references. Friedrich Nietzsche, René Descartes, and Aristotle all get name-dropped in various songs, and the works of [[Creator/CSLewis C.S. Lewis]], Creator/GeorgeOrwell, Main/ThomasPynchon, and Creator/EdgarAllanPoe are all referenced via [[LiteraryAllusionTitle Literary Allusion Titles]] (as well as in the lyrics themselves).
** There's also the ''The Alchemy Index''. It's a ConceptAlbum in which each disc [[ElementalEmbodiment embodies a different alchemical element]] (fire, water, air, and earth). The ''Fire'' tracks are mostly metal and hard rock, ''Water'' is electronic and post-rock, ''Air'' is a variety of "airy" styles, and ''Earth'' is gritty folk. In addition to this, the last track on each disc is a sonnet from the perspective of that disc's element, and the last two lines of each have the same melody. The songs all sound great on their own, but the listener doesn't get the full effect unless he or she hears it all together.
** "Image of the Invisible" on ''Vheissu'' has a morse code intro that spells out the album's title (which is itself a reference to Thomas Pynchon's novel ''V.'').
** "The Red Death" is mostly based on Poe's "The Masque of the Red Death," but the end is also a ShoutOut to {{Romeo And Juliet}}. A line in the play reads, "With love's light wings did I o'erperch these walls/For stony limits cannot hold love out." The song quotes this line almost verbatim (aside from a couple word swaps to make it fit the song's theme).
* Most of {{Sabaton}}'s music is about history, so the more history you know, the more references you'll get from their songs.
* The {{Duran Duran}} song "Last Chance on the Stairway" definitely qualifies. First off, if you're British you should be able to get the gist of what the song is about by looking at the song title and letting it remind you of "l'esprit d'escalier". Secondly, there's a lyric that says that the song's scenario is "just like a scene out of Voltaire/twisting out of sight". Someone who's read ''Candide'', say, might understand what Simon Le Bon was getting at there. As for Simon, knowing that he spent time as a tree surgeon in an Israeli kibbutz will help you understand why the haunting instrumental on the band's debut album was called "Tel Aviv".
* Music/PinkFloyd: the outer and inner sleeve of the ''Wish You Were Here'' album has photographs depicting a man on ''fire'', a scarf blowing in the ''wind'', a diver frozen in mid-plunge into ''water'', and a mannequin on desert ''sand''. You know, references to the classical elements.
* Music/TheLonelyIsland: "Lazy Sunday" contains the line "You could call us Aaron Burr from the way we're dropping Hamiltons" in reference to Burr's killing of Alexander Hamilton in a duel. A lot of the jokes in "Ras Trent" rely on the listener having some knowledge about the Rastafari movement, along with terms from its associated dialect, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rastafari_vocabulary Iyaric]]. While it's pretty easy to get the overall humor of the narrator being [[PrettyFlyForAWhiteGuy a clueless middle class white college student trying to emulate Rastafarian culture]], a lot of the lyrics involve him using references to the movement in a way that makes it clear that he doesn't quite understand it. For instance, the very first two words in the song are "Jah! Rastafarianism!"; Most Rastafari would consider the term "Rastafarianism" offensive and would never use it themselves.
* Jason Derulo does this with references to Katy Perry, {{Coldplay}} and Kanye West in ''Trumpets''. However, he doesn't identify the songs in question...
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* ''ComicStrip/FoxTrot'' author Bill Amend sometimes puts challenging math puzzles in his strips, where only the genius or patient would ever try and solve them. The rest just scratch their heads. Amend also has a real-life degree in physics, so all of the formulas in the series are perfectly accurate.
* ''ComicStrip/{{Frazz}}'' has one in [[http://i.imgur.com/muJoZ.gif this strip]] for climatologists. See SnowMeansCold for details.
* ''ComicStrip/TheFarSide'' was full of these.
* ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes,'' beginning with the names of the two main characters referencing philosophers John Calvin and Thomas Hobbes.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Pinball]]
* Invoked as a gameplay mechanic in the ''Pinball/{{ACDC}}'' pinball. During the Album and Tour Multiball modes, scoring a multiball jackpot shows either an album or a tour ticket, in RealLife chronological order. If the player's current song first appeared on that album or was first played live on that tour, the player also gets the Song Jackpot as a bonus. Folks who know their AC/DC history have used this to strategically increase their scores.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* Little Egypt's GratuitousRap in ''{{Wrestling/GLOW}}'' is surprisingly well-researched.
** "''Even though I may be little, I'm the answer to the [[RiddleOfTheSphinx Sphinx's riddle]]''" - technically she's right as she is a human after all.
** "''Here's one wrestler who never fails, there's action behind my seven veils''" - the dance of the seven veils performed by Salome for her father King Herod's birthday. As a reward she asked for John the Baptist's head on a platter.
*** The character herself is a Genius Bonus as she is a HotGypsyWoman when you consider that Gypsies were mistaken as Egyptians by medieval Europeans.
* {{Kane}}. He's the treacherous brother of TheUndertaker, and ''he's'' [[Literature/TheBible the treacherous brother of Abel]]. The only difference is XtremeKoolLetterz.
* In the mid-2000s, WWE fans were treated to a ({{Kayfabe}}) mentally-challenged wrestler named Eugene. Ironically, "Eugene" is from a Greek phrase meaning "well-born" (or, less literally, "genetically superior"), which WWE's Eugene definitely was not.
* Matt Striker is notorious for these. He seems to have a vast knowledge of professional wrestling history and movesets that could constitute an entire encyclopaedia.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Radio]]
* BBC Radio 4 quiz show ''The 3rd Degree''. Steve Punt's introductions to the specialist rounds usually incorporate some highly esoteric reference to the subject in question. Although this is PlayedForLaughs, the references ''do'' (usually) make sense... if you're an expert.
* In ''Franchise/{{Dragnet}}'', the idea was to present police work as realistically as possible. So, the characters used accurate police terminology and codes without providing explanations for the audience. In most cases, listeners caught onto what was being said in context. This was carried over into the TV series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Toys]]
* ''Cabbage Patch Kids'' is a well known line of dolls that's been around since 1978. However, what some people may not know is that the name is a reference to one of the myths surrounding "where babies come from". One of those myths is that they're "found in the cabbage patch", inspiring the name of the toyline.
* One of the dolls in the ''Lala Loopsy'' line is Patch Treasurechest, a living doll who likes to play at being a pirate. He's said to have been [[SignificantBirthDate sewn into life on September 19th]]... but how many grade-school girls are going to recognize that as International Talk-Like-A-Pirate Day?
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Theater]]
* In ''{{Evita}}'', the musical based on the life of Argentine First Lady Eva Perón, mourners at Eva's state funeral sing a Latin chant based on the real-life Roman Catholic prayer, the Salve Regina. The original prayer references the [[Literature/TheBible Biblical Eve]], known in Latin as Eva, meaning that the chant can be read as a prayer to Eva Perón herself.
* At the very end of ''{{Urinetown}}'', the Narrator, Officer Lockstock, concludes the tale of [[spoiler:the eventual decay and collapse of the town's society when people are allowed to use water without restraint]] by shouting "''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malthusian_catastrophe Hail Malthus!]]''" This is a reference to a Malthusian Catastrophe, which is ''exactly'' what Urinetown illustrates.
* In ''Theatre/IrmaVep'', stage directions indicate that the innocent-young-girl character is to play a few bars of "The Last Rose of Summer" on the dulcimer. Although "The Last Rose of Summer" is perfect for this gothicky play, being a sentimental Victorian song that's [[http://www.potw.org/archive/potw105.html really pretty morbid]], few people in the audience will know the words, even if the tune sounds vaguely familiar to them.
* In ''Theatre/NoisesOff'', Lloyd the director mentions in the second act that another play he is directing is having many problems, including the actor playing Richard III suffering a back injury. This becomes funnier when you remember that Richard III the character has back problems, too.
* In ''{{Company}}'', [[LadyDrunk Joanne]] says that smoking is the best, saying that it's "better than Librium". Librium was the precursor to Valium and is a sedative/muscle relaxant/anti-anxiety/anti-convulsant drug, mostly prescribed in the short term to treat anxiety. You know what else it's prescribed for? [[TheAlcoholic Acute alcohol withdrawal]].
[[/folder]]

[[folder: Theme Parks]]
* The ''Pirates of the Caribbean'' ride at [[DisneyThemeParks Walt Disney World]] features a scene in the queue area where you see skeletons of pirates playing chess. The average person would think nothing of the way its arranged, but apparently, Imagineer Marc Davis set up the pieces specifically so that it would result in a neverending game- justifying why the pirates were playing up to their deaths!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* General Pepper from the ''VideoGame/StarFox'' series. Think about it. If you don't get it, here's another clue for you all: in the VideoGame/StarFox comic in ''Magazine/NintendoPower'', Fara asks why Pepper didn't do something. His answer? "I was [[Music/TheBeatles only a sergeant then...]]"
** ''VideoGame/GhostRecon: Future Soldier'' has similar - the Master Sergeant of your squad has the codename "Pepper".
* In ''VideoGame/BatmanArkhamAsylum'', the last health upgrade is described as the batsuit being soaked in a secret formula. While the description is pretty vague, it sounds very much like a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shear_thickening_fluid dilatant.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheWorldEndsWithYou'', the math jokes that [[GoodWithNumbers Sho Minamimoto]] makes vary from simple to comparatively advanced.
** To give a notable example: Level ''i'' Flare, which is lightly foreshadowed by the mentioning of imaginary numbers. The "Level x" spells in the ''Final Fantasy'' games hit all enemies whose level is divisible by the number placed in x. ''i'' is the square root of negative 1, and negative 1 is a square root of 1. In addition, ''i'' is the most basic imaginary number, meaning Level ''i'' Flare is a powerful attack that will hit more than a Level 1 Flare would.
* As with ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', these jokes are all over the place in ''KingdomOfLoathing''.
** These include jokes about Creator/JRRTolkien's "Cellar door" idea, and a parody of the rats' song from the novel version of ''Literature/{{Coraline}}''.
* ''VideoGame/CastlevaniaSymphonyOfTheNight'''s "What is a man? A miserable little pile of secrets!" won't be immediately recognizable ([[{{Narm}} if at all]]) by most gamers unless they know [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andre_Malraux André Malraux]].
* ''[[VideoGame/PennyArcadeAdventures Penny Arcade Adventures: On The Rain-Slick Precipice Of Darkness: Episode One]]'' has the first robot you meet ask you "01100110 01110101 0110001101101011?" "01100110 01110101 0110001101101011!". 01100110 01110101 0110001101101011 is binary for "Fuck". [[BlackComedyRape The robots want to rape you]].
* The opening of ''VideoGame/{{Persona 3}}'' is full of philosophy, including a whole paragraph of Descartes that gets flashed on screen [[UnreadablyFastText for a couple seconds]]. The PSP remake prefers Nietzsche, and it throws in some complex math too.
** The ''Franchise/ShinMegamiTensei'' metaseries, which includes the Persona games, is also generally chock full of very obscure mythology references. The tameable/fusable "demons" include Greek and Roman gods, Judeo-Christian angels, both Eastern and Western dragons, Japanese mythological creatures and even Aztec deities.
*** Considering it goes all the way back to the {{SNES}} days, there had to be more than a few players who wrote it off with, "Japan is [[CompletelyMissingThePoint being silly again]], [[KnowNothingKnowItAll they got Satan all wrong!]]" Not that a lot of players here could have known about the series then.
*** When Christianity was introduced, mythological figures were written off as demonic. [[FridgeBrilliance Considering that the main villain is YHVH...]]
** The entire Persona series is rooted in Jungian psychology, mainly the titular personae and the shadows the characters fight regularly. ''VideoGame/{{Persona 4}}'' also utilizes some Nietzsche in it's underlying themes as well, both in the stereotypical NietzscheWannabe sense and Nietzsche's actual philosophy.
** In ''Persona 4'', [[spoiler: Izanami]] may come right out of left field when introduced as the ultimate mastermind behind the game's events, unless you know that [[spoiler: Izanami is the wife of Izanagi - the Protagonist's initial persona - in Japanese mythology. In fact, the TheVeryDefinitelyFinalDungeon is named after the Japanese underworld where Izanagi went to see Izanami after she died.]]
** Certain games in the series like to focus on a particular mythology or religion, offering little moments like these to people who know a lot about them. Persona 3 had Greek mythology, ''Persona 4'' had Japanese mythology, and the DigitalDevilSaga duology focused on Hindu mythology and Buddhism.
* Dmitri and Jorge of ''VideoGame/BackyardSports'' throw in a lot of references to computer programming.
* ''VideoGame/RatchetAndClankUpYourArsenal'' contains a pair of of planetoids named 'Obani Gemini'. Both planetoids have their own name - one is 'Castor', the other is 'Pollux'. Castor and Pollux are the two main stars of the Gemini constellation.
** And when TheDragon tries to create an artifical third planetoid, she names it 'Obani Draco', after a huge constellation (the fact that she and the constellation are ''TheDragon'' is a coincidence, but brilliantly [[FridgeBrilliance fridgy]]).
* ''[[{{VideoGame/Tribes}} Starsiege: Tribes]]'' and its sequel ''Tribes 2'' featured a number of maps with obscure names that would seem meaningless to most people, but brilliant to those who know something about archaeology (Skara Brae), meteorology (Katabatic), history (Masada), metallurgy (Recalescence), et cetera.
* ''VideoGame/TheNeverhood'' has a few bizarre jokes that only make sense if you've read Literature/TheBible.
** "Hang me from a tree by my hoop and we can play Absalom!"
** And then there's that one story in the Hall of Records that parodies Gnosticism...
** Well, the entire Hall of Records is a parody of the Old Testament.
* In ''VideoGame/TeamFortress2'', The Sniper has an apricot air freshener. The "apricot" is a real-world sniper slang for the medulla oblongata, a popular "sweet spot" to aim for. The team has confirmed this was an intentional reference.
** Likewise only those that play a lot of [=FPSes=] are likely to get the fact he drives a camper.
** In the "Meet the Spy" trailer, one of the many [[CrazyPrepared signs on the board]] at the beginning reads "defenestrated". Defenestration is the act of being thrown out of a window, [[spoiler:which actually happens to the Sniper later on.]]
** Another example from "Meet the Sniper". The line "be polite, be efficient, have a plan to kill everyone you meet" is a popular quote amongst [[SemperFi United States Marine Corps]] soldiers serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.
* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'' is so chock full of references to other things that even the smartest player is bound to miss on a few. On the websites that collect data about the game, discussions about new items frequently flare up concerning whether or not the name of an item or an NPC references something or not.
--> I can't wait till this quest is done and I can look for another [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alias Garibaldi artifact]].
* Everywhere in ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'', especially in the spellcards and music. By far the most famous is the title of [[CrowningMusicOfAwesome U.N. Owen Was Her?]], referencing the Creator/AgathaChristie story ''And Then There Were None'', in which the characters are invited by someone calling themselves U.N. Owen (i.e. Unknown).
** The boss to whom the aforementioned song belongs also has her second to last spell card named ''Secret Barrage "And Then Will There Be None?"''. The same boss also has some other spell cards with terms such as ''Starbow Break'' and ''Catadioptric''.
** The Komeiji sisters have many of these: their costumes are negati or specifying tempo for movements as ves of one another, Koishi's theme sounds the same [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-4BWUjPebmE played backward or forward]], and many of Koishi's spell cards have Psychology related themes such like ''Instinct "Release of the Id"'', ''Suppression "Super-ego"'', ''Subconscious "Rorschach in Danmaku"'' and of course, the one that Dr. Freud would be proud of ''Rekindled "The Embers of Love"'', which is basically a barrage of {{danmaku}} phalluses. And yes, MOST of the attack patterns used by these bosses and others do reflect the meaning in their names. Also, from the wiki:
-->Koishi's musical theme, ''Hartmann's Youkai Girl'', may refer to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Karl_Robert_Eduard_von_Hartmann Eduard von Hartmann]] (whose most famous work is entitled ''The Philosophy of the Unconscious'') or [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Heinz_Hartmann Heinz Hartmann]] (as many of Koishi's spellcards seem to make references to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ego_psychology ego psychology]].)
** There are quite a few of these in the ''Shoot the Bullet'' spellcard names too including RealityWarper and BarrierMaiden Yukari Yakumo having a card based upon the [[http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Shoot_the_Bullet/Spell_Cards/Level_Ex boundary between wave and particle]] ([[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8wsoxeHhVMo which does indeed resemble the boundary between wave and particle]]). [[http://en.touhouwiki.net/wiki/Shoot_the_Bullet/Spell_Cards You can check out all the card names here]] and all all the genius references added by the good contributors of Touhou Wiki.
** The plot of ''Ten Desires'' heavily references religious conflicts during the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Asuka_period Asuka period]] of Japan. [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soga_clan This]] is the family of the Stage 5 midboss, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mononobe this]] is the family of the Stage 5 boss, and [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prince_Sh%C5%8Dtoku this]] [[HistoricalDomainCharacter is the Stage 6 boss]]. [[GenderFlip Sort of]].
* Classic example in ''VideoGame/GrandTheftAutoIII'', a series of levels labeled [[Film/TheCookTheThiefHisWifeAndHerLover "The Crook", "The Thieves", "The Wife" and "Her Lover"]].
* In ''VideoGame/SuperRobotWars'', this and BilingualBonus crop up occassionally in the names of mecha and their attacks. This is only notable because almost all of the games are [[NoExportForYou Japan-exclusive]], making this the primary method of figuring out [[SpellMyNameWithAnS the correct way to say the names]]. One notable example is the "Ley Buster" attack, which was called "Ray Buster" until fans made the connection between [[LeyLine Ley Lines]] and another character's "Akashic Buster" attack.
* The Subject 16 puzzles in ''VideoGame/AssassinsCreedII'' contain all sorts of references, typically about various cultures' versions of TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt. The "radar" puzzles in particular will contain hidden text, often in binary or other languages, that further expands on what Subject 16 is trying to tell you.
* The ''VideoGame/HalfLife'' series is full of these, mainly regarding physics, and quantum mechanics in cosmology. This is where most people hear about Dark Energy and The Calabi-Yau Model for the first time.
* In one of the sidequests in ''VideoGame/{{Mass Effect|1}}'' you are sent to eliminate a rogue VI, which is an advanced computer intelligence that doesn't have the self-awareness to become true AI. [[spoiler: When you destroy the VI, it sends out a signal that your helmet displays as binary. It translates as "help", so the people who translate it know the VI actually did become self aware]].
** In another sidequest, Shepard will quote ''Literature/CrimeAndPunishment''.
** Several of the location names in the first game are references to the history of space travel, ranging from the commonplace to the obscure.
*** The Tereshkova system is named for Valentina Tereshkova, first woman and first civilian in space.
*** The Gagarin system is named for Yuri Gagarin, first man in space.
*** The Grissom system and Grissom Academy are named for an in-universe character named John Grissom, likely a reference to John Glenn/Gus Grissom, the first and second Americans in space.
*** The planet Benda is named for a minor planet in the solar system's asteroid belt.
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect2'', in one of [[MemeticMutation Shepard's favorite shops on the Citadel,]] charming the clerk results in Shepard saying:
--> "You wouldn't believe how often I hear 'Why is the ship turning around? [[SpaceFriction We're only halfway there!"]]
** When [[spoiler:Legion]] hacks a rocket turret during their loyalty mission, one of the possible random comments is "Executing sudo command." 'Sudo,' short for 'superuser do,' is a {{Linux}} command that allows an admin to give certain users temporary admin privileges. (Even more hilariously, in the early stages of that mission, [[spoiler:Legion]] informs us "[[spoiler:Geth]] do not use windows.")
** One star cluster has systems named after physicists (Chandrasekhar, for example), and one system has all the planets named after biologists - Darwin, Wallace, Franklin, Watson, Crick and so on.
** In the ''Lair of the Shadow Broker'' DLC, the last lines of Jack's rejected submission to ''Galactic Poetry Monthly'' are part of the [[http://www.damninteresting.com/this-place-is-not-a-place-of-honor/ Yucca Mountain nuclear waste facility warning message]].
** A vending machine in the game announces proudly that its product will "bring your ancestors back from the dead". Hilarious on its own, even funnier if you know the source. This is a reference to an urban legend about the famous Pepsi slogan "Come Alive with Pepsi!" was [[BlindIdiotTranslation mistakenly translated]] into "Pepsi Brings Your Ancestors Back from the Dead".
* ''VideoGame/{{Mother 3}}'' had a few, but by far the most {{egregious}} example is the naming of the Magypsies (Ionia, Doria, Phrygia, Lydia, Mixolydia, Aeolia, and Locria) after the names of the modal scales.
* ''VideoGame/TalesOfTheAbyss'' uses the modal scales as well, though not as explicitly. Tear is a "Locrian" Sergeant and Van is a "Dorian" General. It's easy to assume these are indications of the hierarchy in Daath, especially when you consider who's at the top - ''Ion,'' who's named after the first modal scale.
** There are other music bonuses in ''Abyss'' on top of that. In ''Franchise/TalesSeries'' games you're normally limited to carrying around fifteen of each healing item. In ''Abyss'' it's extended to sixteen. Why? In everyday life, we like things rounded into fives and tens. But in music, it's (usually) simplest when things are in four - 4/4 time, for example. So the game rounds it to a multiple of four instead of a multiple of five. Another one occurs when you open the menu and realize it's decorated with musical staves.
** You also get bonuses for having knowledge of the Kabbalah - that's where the names Sephiroth, Qliphoth, Daath, Keterburg, St. Binah, Grand Chokmah, Hod and Malkuth originate from. It's especially fun when they give places a double meaning. "Keter", the term from which Keterburg originates, represents the divine will of the God to create - [[spoiler: appropriate, since Keterburg is where Jade decided to play God and create the first replica.]]
** And there's a little literary one - you can find a Vorpal Sword in the same area in which you encounter an enemy called the "Jabberwocky."
* The English translator for ''VideoGame/PokemonDiamondAndPearl'' is also a writer for Website/SomethingAwful. So for fun, he subtly slipped in a few references that a meme-savvy gamer might catch, such as the line "[[http://www.amazon.com/My-Tank-Fight-Zack-Parsons/dp/0806527587 My Pokemon is fight!]]".
** Also there are ''tons'' of weird, out-there Pokemon that are based on obscure animals.
* The ''VideoGame/{{Thief}}'' series has a few of these:
** ''Thief: Gold'' features a mission with several obscure nods to Andrew Lloyd Webber's ThePhantomOfTheOpera. First, the protagonist encounters a man named Raoul living in the [[ElaborateUndergroundBase caverns under the opera house]] (albeit in the musical, Raoul is not the one who resides there, but the Phantom's real name - Erik - is not mentioned in the musical). Further allusions include a ballet dancer named Christine being mocked for her lower-class upbringing (the protagonist of the musical, Christine, was orphaned and raised in the opera house) and a haughty soprano storming out of a rehearsal telling the manager to "find a new leading lady" (a central plot point in the musical).
** The phrase "Bunch of taffers in this city" is used in multiple missions in ''Thief 2''. Since "taffer" is the [[UnusualEuphemism all purpose curse word]] in the series, and the city is always referred to as [[CityWithNoName "The City"]], this hearkens strongly to the oft-repeated "Bunch of savages in this town" line from {{Clerks}}.
** Also in the second installment, there is a book titled [[Literature/AliceInWonderland "Hunting of the Frumious Bandersnatch"]].
* The graphics for bard songs in ''ForsakenWorld'' use correct musical notation. (For those who aren't musically inclined, the description lists the notes in text.)
* Twelve in ''VideoGame/StreetFighterIII'', whose speaking is half understandable in battle, but has his victory quotes (as in after the battle) are all in binary code. One of the funniest is 00101 01101 00001 01111, meaning "LMAO". [[note]]The first character's binary representation is incorrect, however, as a character in Twelve's cipher is representable by its index in the alphabet ("00001" for 'A', "00010" for 'B', etc.). "00101" is 'E', not 'L'; 'L', instead, is supposed to be "01100".[[/note]]
* The music for one of the nastier dungeons in ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyIX'' uses a slowed-down version of the opening of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dies_irae "Dies irae,"]] the best-known of Gregorian chants, as its bass line. Since it's an ominous chant about the Day of Judgment, it's rather appropriate.
** Some secondary villains on the first disk are called The Black Waltzes. Zidane guesses there are only three of them because of the name. The Waltz is performed at three beats to the measure.
* ''VideoGame/DragonAgeOrigins'' includes a banter in which Leliana is praising Wynne for doing good for its own sake rather than for show, and comparing her favorably to women in her homeland, who will make boasts such as "Today I washed the feet of forty lepers." This is a reference to a common practice in RealLife history; medieval women would wash the feet of lepers (considered unclean, the lowest of the low) as a means of showing their charity and humility.
** And in the ''Leliana's Song'' DLC, which tells the story of her [[spoiler: HeelFaithTurn]], there is a scene where she is escaping from jail. One of the fellow prisoners she rescues (who joins the party) is named [[MeaningfulName Silas]]. This is likely a reference to the Biblical apostle Paul, who, like Leliana, [[spoiler: got religion and repented of his previous life of sin]] and was imprisoned with his future helper Silas.
* In ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda'' series, the most obvious nod is to a certain Celtic goddess of horses. However, one can drive oneself mad with what appear to be this, such as noting that the Koroks in ''VideoGame/TheLegendOfZeldaTheWindWaker'' look suspiciously similar to how kodama are depicted in ''Princess Mononoke.''
* ''VideoGame/SilentHillHomecoming'' has an unusual one. The original series was developed in Japan, and would have lots of forgivable errors regarding American culture. Homecoming was developed in the United States, and the devs had ShownTheirWork regarding background details about the US Army. If you understood military culture at all, and you remembered that the devs were in the States and had done their homework, you had a good chance to guess TheReveal right about the time you finished the tutorial level. [[spoiler: There's no way Alex could be mistaken for anything except someone trying to impersonate a troop, even if it is because of psychiatric disease.]]
* In ''VideoGame/TheElderScrollsVSkyrim'', the Sabre Cats have bodies more similar to bears than cats, with many a player probably thinking this was some fantasy take on saber-toothed cats. Well, the genus ''Smilodon'' had bear-like bodies stockier than modern day cats, with the most accepted theory being that it was an adaptation to take down large prey such as mammoths. [[FridgeBrilliance Mammoths also live in Skyrim]].
** For the literary player, finding a copy of the book ''Palla'' will induce either [[{{Squick}} grimaces of shock]] or [[BrokenBase squeals of delight]] when they recognize it as a corruption of Vladimir Nabokov's ''Literature/{{Lolita}}''
* All over the place in ''VideoGame/{{Marathon}}'', which contains numerous references to philosophy and mythology (the name "Durandal" was not picked out of a hat). Many of the terminals also contain gibberish characters... some of which are actually hex values that contain meaningful messages if one knows how to decipher them. The developers even went so far as to hide the code for an ''entire multiplayer level'' in two terminals that, to the average user, contained nothing but a long string of nonsense.
* In one mission in ''VideoGame/ModernWarfare 2'', a corkboard in a terrorist safehouse holds a diagram of the chemical structure of RDX, a military-grade high explosive.
** While gamers are an audience expected to understand a lot of military jargon, ''Modern Warfare'' basically requires the player to sit down with a book of U.S Military code phrases to get a full idea as to what is going on around them. "Oscar Mike" is just the start. For instance, anyone familiar with the phrase "Broken Arrow" will undoubtedly have an additional OhCrap moment at the start of "Wolverines!", whereas the rest will probably wonder [[Film/BrokenArrow1996 what the hell that Christian Slater movie has to do with a Russian invasion]].
** During the Chernobyl mission's sniping section in ''Call of Duty 4'', [[ColdSniper Captain MacMillan]] tells the player to compensate for the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coriolis_effect Coriolis effect]].
* ''Dungeon Overlord'':
** On the Mission screen, a Warlock is teaching a goblin about the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Golden_ratio golden ratio]].
** The illustrations for Primordial Elements contain [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Platonic_solid Platonic Solids]] corresponding to the element in question.
* ''VideoGame/ResidentEvilRevelations''. Ever read the ''Literature/TheDivineComedy''? Play this game and count the references. It may take a while.
** ''VideoGame/DevilMayCry'' also exhibits this and to an insane degree. Every playable main character barring Nero [[ShoutOutThemeNaming is named after a character from the work]] (your first hint is that the protagonist is named Dante), and even Nero was originally going to be named Rodin in honor of [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Auguste_Rodin the man who sculpted]] ''[[HellGate The Gates of Hell]]'' after scenes from Dante's ''Inferno''. The various demons, key items, and even some of the locales come from a myriad of mythological sources and demonology. The BigBad of ''2'' was named [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arius Arius,]] several enemy types in ''3'' found their namesakes in the SevenDeadlySins, and once ''4'' [[FauxSymbolism kicked the Christian symbolism into overdrive]], we even had prominent human characters named after [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mass_(music) the Ordinary of Mass.]] Creator/{{Capcom}} seems to like this in their more supernatural series. See also: ''VideoGame/{{Darkstalkers}}'', ''VideoGame/ChaosLegion''...
* ''VideoGame/{{Diablo}} II'': The first game featured a type of high-level demonic enemy called the Balrog. That is, there were several {{palette swap}}ped variants, and the most powerful ones were called Balrogs, but the type they all belonged to were also called Balrogs. That's just an obvious Creator/JRRTolkien reference. But in the next game, while some enemies are still called Balrogs, the broader type they belong to is now "Megademon". Since "bal" in Sindarin means something like "might" (Quenya: "vala", cf. the Valar, Tolkien's "gods"), and "rog" means demon, "Megademon" is a stylistically odd but pretty much direct translation of "Balrog".
* ''VideoGame/TheSimsMedieval'': in a quest you get the screenshot of a tablet with writing in Runes. The transliterated message is: nom donuts are so good like them lots
* ''VideoGame/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' on XBOX contains a plot where The Master takes over Angel's body. David Boreanaz; who plays Angel, cameoed as The Master in the season two premier after the character was killed off.
* Similar to a reference further down, ProfessorLayton happens to have a colleague called Dr. Avogadro. If you're a mathematician, this instantly becomes hilarious.
* It's never mentioned or noticed by any of the characters in ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil2'', but Ada Wong [[http://images.wikia.com/residentevil/images/a/a5/RE2_AdaFirstAppearance.png fires her weapon]] on a 45 degree angle and uses the edge of the slide to aim. This is actually a tactic used by Chinese Special Forces, and it basically screams out loud [[spoiler: that she's a spy]] to anyone playing the game who knew it.
* Similar to the above example, Bruce [=McGivern's=] awkward way of carrying a handgun in ''[[VideoGame/ResidentEvilGunSurvivor Resident Evil: Dead Aim]]'' is a real life technique. It's used in two kinds of situations: when one is alone and could easily be ambushed from behind as it allows one to cover their rear very quickly, and when one is going to be carrying the weapon for a long time as it keeps one's arms from getting tired. Both are situations Bruce is in.
* In ''VideoGame/ResidentEvil5'', the player encounters [[DemonicSpiders Reapers]], which are mutant cockroaches with praying mantis-like arms. These mutated arms are likely a reference to the fact that cockroaches and mantises are--as unlikely as it seems--evolutionary relatives.
* In ''VideoGame/{{Dominions}} 3'', each playable nation is based on real-world mythology and history. Many unit and commander types, and almost all national hero units, are based on specific people. The game is still fun if you don't know the references, but there are a lot of historical in-jokes and tie-ins to get.
* In ''VideoGame/DeBlob 2'', the intro text for the Soda Cannery level has one of the characters drinking Blanc Cola and remarking, "Yuck! What's in this? [[http://www.snopes.com/cokelore/tadpole.asp Waxed Tadpoles?"]]
* ''[[VideoGame/RaySeries RayStorm]]'' is actually a reference to the Roman Empire and its fall. For starters, the bosses are named after enemies of the Roman Empire and are even fought in the places where said enemies came from. [[http://shmups.system11.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=44444 This]] gives more insight to the story.
* In ''VideoGame/MegaMan8'', Search Man's two-headed design is nothing but a silly quirk to a casual player, but it's actually a nod to the fact that snipers usually work in pairs in real life: One shooter and one spotter.
* The combined form of Bit and Byte in VideoGame/MegaManX3 is known as Godkarmachine O Inary, which is basically a big old mish-mash of Shinto and Buddhist references. Bit and Byte's Japanese names (Vajurila FF and Mandarela BB) are also Buddhist references.
* In ''VideoGame/MetroLastLight'', protagonist Artyom visits an underground theatre that has survived through the nuclear fallout, and his friend Pavel jokingly refers to him as [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Constantin_Stanislavski Stanislavski]]. To deconstruct the reference, the developers of a video game about 21st century nuclear war [[SmallReferencePools expect you to catch a reference about a 19th century theatre director]] responsible for MethodActing.
* While the species of most of your neighbors in ''VideoGame/AnimalCrossing'' are fairly easy to recognize, Dr. Shrunk (an NPC who first appeared in ''Wild World'' to teach you new expressions) is actually a fairly obscure species of salamander, the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Axolotl axolotl]].
** Starting with ''New Leaf'', the counterfeit paintings and sculptures Crazy Redd sells are a lot less frustrating if you can find a reference pic of the original art, because the fakes are slightly (or in some cases, blatantly) different from the original. For example, the fake Nike of Samothrace has bat wings unlike the feathered wings of the original, and in the fake version of Vermeer's "Girl with a Pearl Earring" her headband is red instead of blue.
* Archeops, a [[VideoGame/{{Pokemon}} Pokémon]] with both a base stat total and National Pokédex number of 567 (as an aside, this is the only Pokémon whose Pokédex number matches its base stat total), is based on the ''[[https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Archaeopteryx Archaeopteryx]]'', considered to be a transitional fossil between feathered dinosaurs and birds. If you're looking for a book on feathered dinosaurs at the library, you'll find it at 567.9 in the Dewey Decimal system.
* In ''Jet Set Go'' the award for performing forty dance steps in the Galapagos is called "Do the Darwin."
* One of the Adjab Dunes puzzles in ''Main/ScribblenautsUnlimited'' is a reference to Zeno of Elea's "Achilles and the Tortoise" paradox.
* One early puzzle in ''Hidden Expedition 6: Smithsonian Hope Diamond'' involves putting the correct heads on a collection of "American Legend" bobblehead dolls. Alongside such better-known figures as Washington, Lincoln and Eleanor Roosevelt, we have one [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harriet_Quimby Harriet Quimby]].
* ''VideoGame/TheWolfAmongUs'', par for the course, contains a lot of references to obscure European folklore and fairy tales. The average gamer might get a few of the more well-known ones, but many will likely elude you.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Webcomics]]
* ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'' does this a lot. DMMaus tends to explain the references for those who don't get them in TheRant, though. Even then, they can be a bit brain-breaking and tough to understand.
** In [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/2339.html this one]] he goes UpToEleven by explaining the [[MindScrew Banach-Tarski theorem]] and ''making it make sense.''
* ''Webcomic/SchlockMercenary'' does [[http://www.schlockmercenary.com/2010-04-20 a cool arc]] where the villains use command injection to force a CCTV system to sleep for ten minutes. When a QR code is held up to a security camera, the system reads the commands contained in the code and executes them because the administrators never changed the system's admin username and password from their defaults. The QR code in question is displayed to the reader, so what happens when you use your smartphone's bar code scanner to read the QR code the character is holding up? Your phone returns the following data:
** UID='ADMIN'
** PASS='DEFAULT'
** CMD='sleep, 600sec, noprompt, [[{{Illuminatus}} fnord]]'
* ''Webcomic/GunnerkriggCourt'' makes some obscure references without stopping to explain: Though Reynardine's character is more based on Reynard the Fox, his first meeting with Antimony references the seduction from the [[Literature/ChildBallads English folk song]] "Reynardine". Similarly, Winsbury and Janet's secret relationship is a reference to the song "Willie O'Winsbury". The [[http://www.gunnerkrigg.com/archive_page.php?comicID=121 First Treatise]] copies poses and Latin from the ''MutusLiber'', a 17th-century Hugenot [[EsotericMotifs alchemy text]]. And Chapter 17 references Medieval German master swordsman Johann Liechtenauer.
** Tom Siddell seems to be particularly fond of song references. Mr. Eglamore's name contains yet [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JgidfxhVAFU another one]].
* ''ListeningTo11975Mhz'', if you understand every obscure literary, mathematical, and radio reference, you ''need to get out more often''.
* As a comic that bounces around between physics, psychology, math, philosophy, and general geekery jokes, you need to be fairly cosmopolitan in your background to enjoy ''DresdenCodak''. It's worth it though.
** The author mentions at one point that the comic probably wouldn't work in another medium but the web, where readers don't have near-instantaneous access to obscure information.
* The entire cast (and most of the dead bodies) in ''WeaponBrown'' comes from various syndicated comic strips. Identifying all of them and picking up all the references and in-jokes would take someone who's a talking encyclopedia of the hundred year history of comic strips.
* [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/050511 This]] ''BobAndGeorge'':
-->'''Ran''': The way I see it, we've broken every law of physics except the third law of thermodynamics.
-->'''Dr. Light''': Aha! Negative two Kelvin!
-->'''Ran''': Nevermind.
* ''WebComic/{{xkcd}}'' is loaded with these, to the extent that some have called xkcd a series of obscure references that occasionally involve jokes, rather than the other way around.
* ''Webcomic/CyanideAndHappiness'' actually had a week's worth of strips called "90% Of The General Public Won't Understand Week".
* In a filler comic of ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'', the Demonic Duck informs Dan that he's going to Australia to discover his roots. There is fossil evidence of a large, prehistoric bird that lived in Australia which has come to be known as the "[[FeatheredFiend Demon]] [[MorallyAmbiguousDucktorate Duck]] [[DoomyDoomsOfDoom of Doom]]".
* ''NoBlackPlume'' does this from time to time.
* ''Webcomic/{{Homestuck}}'' is chock-full of references to video games, pop culture and bad movies, but its biggest bonuses are probably in astrology. People who study the astrological signs will often find the corresponding trolls to be either spot-on representations of their supposed traits... or [[SubvertedTrope humorous subversions.]] (Such as the tradionally rational, serious Capricorn being deployed as their [[TheStoner friendly neighborhood stoner]].)
** Don't forget all the biology bonuses. While Hussie is a bit [[ArtMajorBiology artistic]] with the trolls, the fact that the handle abbreviations are genetic code pairs (GCAT), and the fact that [[spoiler:Bslick's "cancer" is caused by an error in his genetic code]] are completely sound.
*** Especially if you consider that [[spoiler:the "cancer" was caused by Karkat, whose chum handle (carcinoGeneticist) practically means "creator of Cancer". He's also the Cancer troll, and John changed his handle from valid genetics to "EB", (a [[FridgeBrilliance mutation]]) after Karkat messed with Jade, who brought it up, causing John to decide to change his handle. And his WeaponOfChoice is a sickle- this initially appears to just be because it resembles a crab's claw, until we find out Karkat is a mutant himself, with the only other troll sharing his blood color being his ancestor. Let's see, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sickle-cell_disease sickles and genetic blood disorders caused by a mutation]]...]]
** Also don't forget the first three kids' sylladexes. Those three are commonly used data structures in computer science. Extra Genius Bonus Points goes to Rose's Tree Module, specifically an AVL tree, which mandates that the two subtrees of a binary tree must not have a height that differs by more than 1 (and consequently all the subtrees must follow this rule). As such, the auto-balance is a perfect double rotation that would be used in an AVL tree. Shame it [[http://www.mspaintadventures.com/?s=6&p=002295 doesn't handle the deletion of the root element very well]], like a real AVL tree.
* ''Webcomic/ThePackrat'' already expects [[ViewersAreGeniuses the reader to be a synth geek]], but still, spotting the many unmentioned but accurately drawn synthesizers and other electronic devices is a nice bonus.
* ''Webcomic/TheIllustratedGuideToLaw'' does this every now and then. In its section on [[http://lawcomic.net/guide/?p=786 Duress]], for example, the members of the outlaw biker gang engage in discussions of physics and philosophy and multiple dimensions while brawling. In its section on [[http://lawcomic.net/guide/?p=710 Entrapment]], the physicist has real equations on the blackboard behind her.
* ''Webcomic/ChasingTheSunset'' plays with this a lot. In [[http://www.fantasycomic.com/index.php?p=c533 one notable instance]] a broken automaton lets out a stream of plusses and other symbols which, when compiled with a brainf*ck compiler (it's a programming language) spells out "beep".
* ''{{Narbonic}}'' is chock full of refs on literature and manga and comics, many of which are not apparent even to the aficionado without reading the "Director's Cut" version.
* Spinnerette nails it with the engineering crowd by one super hero claiming to fly via the [[http://www.spinnyverse.com/2012/10/08/10082012/ 'Left Hand Rule'.]]
* Ursula Vernon, author of Webcomic/{{Digger}}, has a degree in antropology and an interest in the more obscure mythologies (South American, Balkian). This shows up frequently in her works.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The magical young children of the ''GlobalGuardiansPBEMUniverse'' attend Martha Corey Memorial High School in Nowhere, Ohio. Martha Corey being the first woman convicted of witchcraft during the Salem Witch Trials.
** British FlyingBrick heroine Samsonite, from the same setting, took her name from the [[NighInvulnerable indestructible]] brand of luggage of the same name. Most people assume its a variation on "Samson".
* ''AMVHell'', despite being mostly lowbrow humor, has a degree of this in that you need a lot of knowledge about a lot of different shows to get all the jokes.
* Maddox, owner of ''[[http://maddox.xmission.com The Best Page In The Universe]]'', occasionally interjects these in his pages:
--> "In fact, this book can be expressed mathematically by the following theorem: lim(manliness -> â) Books = ''The Alphabet of Manliness''" \\
"36 NEW PAGES! 8 FULL-COLOR INSERTS! ''NEW ISBN NUMBER!'' '''HOLY SHIT!'''"
* One of ''OpenBlue'''s mods is Kukulu, a CaptainErsatz of [[Creator/HPLovecraft Cthulhu]]. If you look at his profile, his country section says he's from "Pitcairn", which is the name of one of the three RealLife countries nearest to the canon location of R'lyeh.
* ''DarwinsSoldiers'' is laden with little references that are not necessary to the plot but are quite interesting to know about nonetheless. The catch is that one must be fairly well versed in science to understand them.
* In the ''WhateleyUniverse'', Phase is almost as [[DeadpanSnarker snarky]] as {{Daria}}, with refs covering everything from Shakespeare and Sinclair Lewis to Umberto Eco and Spenser. Also doubles as "Showing off the Research".
** When Chaka is deciding on her codename ('chaka' means 'leopard'), she mentions some old book by some Belgian guy who said that pound for pound, the leopard is tougher than the lion. Most readers won't know this is supposed to be ''Congo Kitabu'' by Jean-Pierre Hallet.
* ''FreemansMind'' (a narrative playthrough of Half Life "voiced" by Gordon Freeman himself) does this a ''lot.'' Sophisticated jokes about quantum physics pop up from time to time (Gordon is supposed to be a physicist, after all) and the episode where Gordon does nothing but talk like a pirate is full of archaic English and historically accurate nautical terms. Fortunately the show is still very approachable from a lowbrow perspective.
* ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'' once recites Coulomb's Law, though he mistakes it for the sum of two and two.
** A Strong Bad email featured a jumbled spam message to which Strong Bad says, "Did the quadratic formula explode?".
** In "Ballad of The Sneak", the eponymous creature is referred to as "The Strong Bad's [[Theatre/DonGiovanni Leporello]]".
* Of a sort: Sears.com had a zombie-themed page for Halloween with the text almost entirely in Zamgrh, one of the user-created languages of ''VideoGame/UrbanDead''.
* ''ChaosFighters'' shows the constituents of various alloys and composites which can be understand better if one has the periodic table of elements.
* ''WebAnimation/TheNekciMenijShow'' is fueled by Genius Bonus, particularly in regards to the modern music industry. No bit of Billboard chart knowledge or tidbit about an artist's personal life is too obscure to be joked about.
* The first impression show ''Continue?'' follows these with '''''SMART JOKE''''' vibrating in big red letters appearing onscreen.
* [[Website/TheAgonyBooth Mr. Mendo's]] [[http://www.agonybooth.com/video645_Coal_Black_and_de_Sebben_Dwarfs_Censored_Eleven.aspx review]] of a racially insensitive propaganda cartoon ends with a lengthy soliloquy about how the animators must have been "sulky and dissatisfied". With some slight re-purposing, this is a word-for-word quote from an [[http://www.google.com/books?id=mjkCAAAAYAAJ&pg=RA2-PA707&#v=onepage&q&f=false actual medical journal]] from over 150 years ago.
* In WebVideo/DemoReel, Uncle Yo compares Donnie to Sisyphus. Sisyphus was punished for his lies by having to walk a rock up a steep hill over and over. Donnie has told nobody about his tragic past by this point, and his punishment is self-loathing.
* The Finnish-made science fiction parody ''WebOriginal/StarWreck'' is full of this trope.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Half of the comments made by Brain in ''WesternAnimation/PinkyAndTheBrain''.
* Half of the comments made by Brian in ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''.
** And a great many Non-sequiturs that leave a majority of the audience going, "huh?", while a handful are laughing with tears streaming down their cheeks.
*** Some of those moments would require a pretty big knowledge of musicals
*** ''Family Guy'' is nowhere near as funny unless you have a good knowledge in 80s and early 90s pop-culture.
** Back in the earlier seasons particularly, there was an extra layer of funny for those who live or have lived in Rhode Island. Lately, however, they seemed to have abandoned that.
** Lampshaded [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gpMshQ-7F5A early in the episode ''One if by Clam, Two if by Sea'']]:
-->'''Louis''': Nigel's charming! All British men are!
--> '''Peter''': Yeah, right...that's what they said about Benjamin Disraeli.
--> (Cut to Benjamin Disraeli at a writing desk)
-->'''Disraeli''' (scornfully addressing the camera): You don't even know who I am.
** Another episode noted that Jesus's actual last name is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hong_Xiuquan Hong]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}'' contained a large amount of jokes relating to scientific concepts. For example, a dating agency had a sign reading "discreet and discrete", a joke which would make more sense to mathematicians. (Although, WordOfGod says that it is a reference to discrete electronics, not mathematics.) Other jokes included binary, and not one but ''two'' bilingual bonuses in the form of "languages" (actually encrypted text) which the viewers were left to translate/decrypt for themselves.
** There are so many mathematical jokes in ''Futurama'' that the writers did a special for the first movie's DVD with a real Mathematician dedicated to explaining them.
** Math isn't the only topic they do this with. How many people will get all the jokes about decades-old politics in "A Head In The Polls", for example? And not just the Nixon stuff, but the Bull Space Moose Party, which is a joke almost a century old.
*** Or the obscure webcomic joke, to boot.
** "Wow, I love symposia"
** They note several of these jokes during the CreatorCommentary. Following the explanation for the 'Aleph-Nought'-plex theater as "infinity, but a small form of infinity[[note]]Specifically, it's an infinite quantity that can be indexed by the natural numbers, unlike, for instance, the set of all reals.[[/note]]", the voice actor for Fry chimed in:
-->'''Billy West''': "That is the nerdiest thing in the universe. However, it's only the ''fifteenth'' nerdiest thing in ''Futurama''..."
** "It's so cold, my processor is running at peak efficiency!" -Bender, ''Bender's Big Score''
** It's probably the only TV show, ever, to include a homage to Creator/IsaacAsimov's ''{{Foundation}}'' novels, the Holophonor.
** And the Professor bemoaning how a horse race was so close that it came to a "Quantum Finish", but they changed the outcome by measuring it.
** Or the beer in Klein bottles, on display next to St. Pauli Exclusion Principle Girl beer.
** In "The Honking," Bender sees a string of zeros and ones on the wall, and tells Fry and Leela it's gibberish, then sees it in a mirror and panics. The creators are very coy about the significance on the commentary, but anyone who bothers to check will find the backwards string, 1010011010, is the base-2 representation of 666.
** "The Prisoner Of Benda" is full of these. The CouchGag is "What happens in Cygnus X-1, stays in Cygnus X-1" -- a fact that's almost certainly true, since Cygnus X-1 is the most famous observed black hole candidate. Then Bender proves he's a robot through a reverse Turing test. Finally, at the end of the episode, the Globetrotters use abstract algebra to sort everyone back into their proper bodies. Naturally, the math checks out. And they said math has no practical applications!
*** It should be noted that the theorem and proof used by the Globetrotters were ''developed specifically for the show'' - in this case the practical application was "resolve a cartoon plot twist in a mathematically valid manner." The creator of this theorem is writer Ken Keeler, who holds a [=PhD=] in applied mathematics.
** In "Fry and the Slurm Factory" the chip in Bender's head reads "6502", the model number of the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/6502 8-bit 6502 microprocessor.]]
** "The Why of Fry" appears to take its name from "[[http://www.dreamsongs.com/NewFiles/WhyOfY.pdf The Why of Y]]".[[note]]For the non-mathematicians/programmers - the Y combinator allows an anonymous function to be defined in terms of itself, [[DontExplainTheJoke exactly what Fry does to his own life]] during that episode.[[/note]]
** In "Hell Is Other Robots" we encounter the Church of Robotology, whose logo is a jagged line, the schematic symbol for a resistor in electronics. I.e. "Resisting temptation".
** In one episode, they go to a dance club called "Studio 1^2 2^1 3^3," the math adding up to "Studio 54."
** In “Law & Oracle” there is a reference to Erwin Schrödinger and the [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Schr%C3%B6dinger%27s_cat Schrödinger’s cat]] thought experiment:
-->'''URL''': Erwin Schrödinger, huh? What's in the box, Schrödinger?
--> ''' Schrödinger ''': Um... A cat, some poison, und a cesium atom.
--> '''Fry''': The cat! Is it alive or dead? Alive or dead?!
-->'''URL''': Answer him, fool.
--> ''' Schrödinger ''': It's a superposition of both states until you open it and collapse the wave function.
--> (Fry enter the car)
--> '''Fry''': Says you.
--> (Fry opens the box and a cat jumps out of it, attacking him. Fry screams. URL takes a close look at the box.)
-->'''URL''': There's also a lotta drugs in there.
* On ''WesternAnimation/RockosModernLife'', the guys are making a cartoon and have some problem taking the film out of the camera with the lights off. When Heffer asks to turn the lights on to see what they are doing, Filburt says, "That'll expose the film, Eisenstein!" To most viewers, this will sound like a mispronunciation of Einstein; those familiar with film history will recognize it as a reference to Soviet silent film director Creator/SergeiEisenstein.
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Fillmore}}'' contained a surprising number of these, in a addition to the regularly spoofed cop show tropes; including a quick, but legitimate discussion of whether JudyBlume has subtext, and shout outs to Charles Laskey, Miles Davis, Arthur Schopenhauer, and others.
* ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'':
** The name Federico Fettuccine (the director character in "Lights! Action! Garfield!) is probably to many people an Italian-sounding name with a food reference. But to those with the right knowledge of film history, it's an obvious reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Federico_Fellini Federico Fellini]].
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Daria}}'', being the genius that she was, often made quips at her family's expense in relation to literature she enjoyed. Odd for a teen animated show, most of the titles she referenced averted SmallReferencePools of teenage life.
-->'''Jake''': "Why do they make sewing needles so damn SMALL?"
-->'''Daria''': [[Literature/TheBible "Probably to piss off the camel."]]
** Or:
---> '''Jake''': "Which one of you girls wants to try my new recipe?"
--->'''Daria''': "You pick, mom. It'll be like SophiesChoice."
** As well, during a recitation by Brittany and Kevin of RomeoAndJuliet:
---> '''Brittany''': "You promised to learn your lines, you, you CLOWN! [[{{Hamlet}} And what's that skull supposed to be?!]]"
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' brought this exchange between Homer and Lisa: "He's nailing something to our door!" "Hmm, I wonder if it's theses?"
** Which, surprisingly, wasn't even close to the first "Martin Luther nails something to a cathedral door" joke in ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'':
-->'''Lisa''': I've created Lutherans!
** In "Much Apu About Nothing", Chief Wiggum prepares his men to deport illegal immigrants:
--> "Allright men, here is the order of deportations. First we'll be rounding up your tired, then your poor, then your huddled masses yearning to breathe free."\\
[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_New_Colossus Sounds familiar?]]
** ''The Simpsons'' is full of obscure -- and accurate -- mathematical references. You may be surprised to know that many of the writers possess advanced degrees in physics, mathematics and astronomy, among others. Many of the same writers moved on to to work on ''WesternAnimation/{{Futurama}}''. Given the futuristic bent of the latter show, it's even more packed with scientific references.
*** This fact lends itself to a Genius Bonus from ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' in which Michael refers to the child of Harvard alumni as "Probably some geek ''Simpsons'' writer's kid."
** The "Homer 3D" episode was full of references to mathematical equations, physics and 3D graphics once he enters the 3D realm.
*** The [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Utah_teapot UtahTeapot]] can be seen in the 3D world, as well as many 3D graphics primitives used as standard building blocks in 3D modeling, such as spheres, cubes and pyramids.
*** One of the equations in the background (1782^12 + 1841^12 = 1922^12) is very obscure. It 'almost' disproves FermatsLastTheorem, which states that such an equation should not be true. If you do it on your calculator, it seems to be correct - the error is in the eleventh decimal place, which is more than most calculators will display.
*** Not to mention that the place he's in is an Einsteinian representation of space-time and the vortex he creates is therefore a black hole which leads to an alternate universe.
*** The library from ''VideoGame/{{Myst}}'' also shows up, along with the music that plays when you are infront of it.
*** The chalk lines drawn on the wall where Homer vanished are a reference to the Twilight Zone episode "Little Girl Lost".
** The rhyme scheme that the [[Franchise/SpiderMan Jonah Jameson]] CaptainErsatz rambles is the pattern for a Petrarchian sonnet.
** In the episode "Thank God, It's Doomsday", God [[StatusQuoIsGod reverts everything back to normal]] and shouts ''''[[DeusExMachina DEUS EX MACHINA!]]'''', which means in Latin "god out of the machine", as well as meaning 'excuse to make everything suddenly go well for the protagonist'.
** In the episode "Mountain of Madness", Mr. Burns say that "there's more organization in a Marx Brothers film", which nowadays wouldn't be that known. Now, the true Genius Bonus is in the Latin American translation. Burn's phrase turns into "Hay más orden y cordura en película de Buńuel! (There's more order and sanity in a Buńuel's film!)" Those familiar with the name know that the famous Luis Buńuel is one of the masters of surrealist film, and that along notable and famous surrealist artist, Salvador Dalí­, made the film 'Un Chien Andalou'. The Latin American translations of the Simpsons episodes are famous for translating jokes and phrases that are not much known in the United States, instead they mention events and characters that are known through Mexico, South America and Spain.
** Actually, (and I could be wrong, but I don't think I am)...Burns says "Ritz Brothers", which many would know as a cheap Marx Bros. knockoff. Something akin to Ritz Bros=Go Bots to Marx Bros=Transformers....
** Not to mention referencing Creator/HPLovecraft's AtTheMountainsOfMadness in the title.
** In one of the "Treehouse of Horror XIII", several historical criminals come back as zombies including the most evil German, Kaiser Wilhelm ([[spoiler: Hitler was Austrian]]). This isn't as much a genius bonus as a "paid attention in 9th grade history" bonus.
** In "Black Widower", Sideshow Bob is [[Literature/LesMiserables prisoner 24601]].
** In one episode, Lisa is trying to complete a cryptic crossword with the clue "''Yentl'' singer" (13). This is too short to be Barbra Streisand and Lisa is stuck until she triumphantly cries [[spoiler:Isaac Bashevis]].[[note]]Isaac Bashevis Singer was the author of ''Yentl the Yeshiva Boy'', which the movie was based on.[[/note]]
** The show also has some not-so-well hidden science jokes
--> Homer (about Lisa's perpetual motion machine): In this house, we obey the Laws of Thermodynamics!
** The villains in the episode "The Crepes of Wrath" are named César and Ugolin, which were the names of the antagonists in a pair of french Novels, ''Jean de Florette'', and ''Manon des Sources''.
** "The Homer They Fall" had Homer practicing a "technique" of just taking blows and letting his opponent tire out before fighting back. It sounds laughable to a casual viewer, but any real life boxer will instantly recognize it as being based on the ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rope-a-dope Rope-a-dope]]'': an actual (and effective) technique that was notably used by Muhammad Ali to defeat George Foreman in 1974, and has been used to great effect in numerous other fights.
* In ''WesternAnimation/TheVentureBrothers'' episode "The Lepidopterists," two OSI agents claim to be amateur lepidopterists as an excuse for helping him fight the monarch. A lepidoperist is, of course, [[spoiler:someone who watches butterflies.]]
** [[spoiler:more specifically, someone who COLLECTS butterflies... as in impaling them on pins in little display cases.]]
** In "Self Medication", Sgt. Hatred makes a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henry_Darger Henry Darger]]. This while at a movie that is obviously LOTR inspired... double genius bonus since Darger was kind of a [[http://elizabethhand.com/articles_by_hand.php#darger darker, damaged-goods version of Tolkien]].
** In the episode "Return to Malice", 21 names his revenge scheme for [[spoiler:24's death]] "An Eye for an I." Go look up Exodus 21:24.
** Brock has just bisected an assassin, vertically. As he drags the body away, he tells Dean to get a phone number from his coat and call "The Cleaner" and tell him "we've got a 'Damien Hirst' in room 204." Hirst is a controversial conceptual artist who is known for, among other things, creating anatomical sculptures of humans with various layers of skin and muscle peeled back.
** The episode "ORB" is positively dripping with this trope. A scene set in the late 19th century chronicles the precursors of The Guild and the OSI. Most people could probably recognize the references to Twain, Tesla, Wilde, and maybe even Crowley. But there probably weren't that many who knew that Fantomas was a character from a series of French novellas, or that Sandow was a real-life strongman and the father of body-building. To take this trope to rediculously meta levels, the characters attempt to solve a series of riddles using Wikipedia and end up entirely in the wrong place. The Alchemist calls them out on this, pointing out that the meaning of words change over time. He uses an old dictionary to prove his point and find the location of the final clue.
*** The show is PACKED with references of all sorts. There are at LEAST 30 an episode. You don't have to have an eclectic knowledge of art, literature, television, music, film, philosophy, religion, etc. to enjoy the show, but it certainly helps!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}''. Particularly for the supposed target audience, but even amongst adult viewers there were some references that were quite obscure... enough so that there's a Cultural Reference Guide circulating the Internet.
* There's even an example in ''WesternAnimation/VeggieTales'' - in Silly Songs with Larry, no less! During the song "I Love My Lips", while Archibald is showing Larry a series of Rorschach Test cards, near the end of the cards, if you pause just about [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j1FGaCNN1aw 1:41]], you see the number 6.023 x 10^23. For the average child, this is nonsense, which fits the song's theme. For people in chemistry, this is [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Avogadro%27s_number Avogadro's Number]].
** There was a stand-up comedian who had a joke that, while in college at Lehigh, their basketball team once lost a game by Avogadro's Number. He then thanked the people who got that and laughed.
*** And another who, when performing in Fairfax, Virginia, said something about needing sunscreen that was SPF 6.022*10^23. One person laughed, but he laughed extremely hard.
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Arthur}}'', Binky is frustrated because he wants to write a poem on a birthday card for his mother, but he can't rhyme. He goes to sleep and dreams that he ends up in a magical land called Verseburg, where [[SublimeRhyme "it's a crime not to rhyme,"]] and Verseburg's authorities throw him in jail for his inability to rhyme. Binky ends up sharing a cell with William Carlos Williams, a 20th-century poet famous for his use of "free verse" (poetry that doesn't rhyme), and Binky asks, "So you can't rhyme, either?" Williams answers, "Oh, I can rhyme--I just choose not to. FREE VERSE! FREE VERSE! I'm a political prisoner." Williams then shows him a secret passageway out of the cell and gives him a rhyming dictionary. A few minutes later, the episode mentions Walt Whitman and Pablo Neruda without any further explanation.
** Additionally, Williams and Binky escape jail in a [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Red_Wheelbarrow Red Wheelbarrow]], and the people of Verseburg give him a [[http://www.poemhunter.com/poem/ode-to-a-large-tuna-in-the-market large tuna caught by Pablo Neruda]].
** When Binky complains while wheeling Williams out of the cell, Williams quips that Binky's "lucky you weren't imprisoned with Creator/SylviaPlath - now ''she's'' a heavy poet!"
* ''WesternAnimation/SpongebobSquarepants'':
** In one scene in "Squidward the Unfriendly Ghost", Squidward has tricked Spongebob and Patrick into doing his every whim, and has them carry him around in a litter to various locations, which he dismisses as "Too hot" and "Too wet" They then stop in front of a background that looks like a fish-y version of a ''Moulin Rouge'' poster, which Squidward dismisses as "[[{{Pun}} Too-louse]] [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Henri_de_Toulouse-Lautrec Lautrec]]!" Cue [[http://www.instantrimshot.com/ rimshot]].
** A Valentine's Day episode had Patrick look at paramecium under a microscope. Made all the funnier by how Patrick is [[DumbassHasAPoint most of the time an idiot.]]
** In Sandy's debut episode Patrick tells Spongebob putting your pinkie up when drinking is fancy. It's not an incredibly known fact that doing so has the ''opposite'' effect and is impolite. It just shows Patrick's [[TheDitz ignorance]]
* ''WesternAnimation/HortonHearsAWho''- It's pretty well-known that JimCarrey likes to insert little impressions in all of his movies. In this kid's movie, as he (who's voicing the titular character) is being chased by the Wickersham Brothers, he randomly does an impersonation of... Henry Kissinger, of all people.
* During a talent show in ''WesternAnimation/ReBoot'', one comedian cracks a joke in binary, which is promptly derided for not being child-friendly. For those patient enough to translate it (or google it), turns out to mean "Take my wife, please!".
** That's just the tip of the iceberg. Any episode of ''[=ReBoot=]'' can basically be described as "24 minutes of computer jokes", some of which require intimate knowledge of computer hardware from the 80s and early 90s to understand.
** There were also references that one wouldn't get unless one was very familiar with the show creators' previous work. In that same episode about the talent show, a more crudely-rendered handyman and younger man appear, who are promptly booed off-stage. This is a reference to the ''[=ReBoot=]'' creators' work on the (at the time) very cutting-edge CG in the 1985 music video for Dire Straits' "Money For Nothing."
** Many characters and jokes are based off of actual CGI development terminology. In the case of Phong and Ray Tracer their namesakes were actual rendering tools that were important in their visual look (Phong is a gradual shading composition tool that is evident in his metallic head and Ray Tracing is about layers of opaque surface reflections that can be seen in his crystal-like body suit). Also in the "Talent Show" episode, one group of musicians called "The Primitives" consisted of a sphere, a cone and a cube, which are the basic shapes of CGI ''called'' the primitives.
* In the ''WesternAnimation/BuzzLightyearOfStarCommand'' episode "Ancient Evil", the SealedEvilInACan is a "living mummy" (found on a planet with all UsefulNotes/AncientEgypt motifs the artists could imagine) called Natron the First. In RealLife, natron is a mineral that was widely used in the mummification process in Ancient Egypt.
** The episode "[[{{Pun}} NOS-4-A2]]", about a robotic energy [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nosferatu vampire]].
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' frequently goes from jokes about anal and drunkenness to jokes about Indira Gandhi, Eugene V. Debs, and Herman Melville. "I would prefer not to." [[ClickHello * click* ]] "''Bartleby the Scrivener''? What, not many Melville fans here, huh?"
** Archer gives a gun, [[LampshadeHanging branded "Chekhov"]], to Cyril and adds that it [[ShurFineGuns tends to go off for no reason]]. Later on... [[RedHerring nothing happens with the Chekhov gun]], but the unreliable pen he ''also'' gave him does become important. So let's see, that's subversion, aversion, lampshading ''and'' playing it straight?
--->'''Archer''': "God, I SAID the cap slips off the poison pen for no reason, didn't I?!"\\
'''Cyril''': "I know, I know, but I just assumed that if anything bad happened it-it would've been-"\\
'''Archer''': "No, do NOT say the Chekhov gun Cyril! THAT, sir, is a facile argument!"\\
'''Woodhouse''': "Also woefully esoteric."
** Archer also tends to make obscure psychology jokes. At one point Lana tells Cyril that his sexual addiction is not a real thing. Cyril responds "Just wait until the new DSM comes out."
* In the second ''Franchise/StrawberryShortcake'' special, The Purple Pieman tries to enter the bake off in [[BigApplesauce "Big Apple City"]] by making "kohrabi" cookies. "Kohlrabi" is a type of cabbage, hence why they taste so awful.
* Quite a few of the details of ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' would go completely over the head of anyone not familiar with written Chinese, or various intricate details of Asian cultures and history. They are detailed exquisitely [[http://atla-annotated.tumblr.com here]].
** There's more linguistic jokes: in the episode ''Bitter Work'', Sokka promises to give up meat and sarcasm. The word ''sarcasm'' comes from the Greek word for meat/flesh: sarx.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheBoondocks'' is rarely a subtle show. Some viewers might have missed the Wunclers parodying Bush's family and administration, since their actions work as jokes on their own and it's never stated outright. The comics became famous almost entirely for [[AuthorTract the author's stance on them]], though.
** Not to mention that "Wuncler" sounds exactly the same as "Once-ler", a man who--in Creator/DrSeuss's "Literature/TheLorax"--used business to drive out everything that was natural to the land and make it a desolate wasteland. Take notice in the episode where Mr. Wuncler tricks Robert Freeman into opening a soul food restaurant which drives the crime rate up so that he can buy the park next to it.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyGymPartnersAMonkey'' contains a surprising number, usually delivered by Windsor the gorilla, such as when he explains what would otherwise be a fairly lame gag about an owl answering "Who?" to every question asked of it is, in fact, an illustration of the Socratic dialogue.
* ''WesternAnimation/DextersLaboratory'' - [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bJGItzuFkEM Dexter's Joke.]] It's about the professor's wife being a pain.
** One comment on the video explains:
-->"I feel like there can be two meanings:
-->1) As many commenters have stated, hydroxyl ions are abbreviated as OH- or, in this case, HO-. So, the punchline will read: "That's no HO, that's my wife!"
-->2) He talks about the professor trying to "liberate" negatively charged hydroxyl ions (HO-). After the punchline, it could mean that the professor is trying to figure out how to "liberate" himself from his wife.
-->Either way, it is a GREAT joke, which definitely went over my head when I was younger!"
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Ratatouille}}'', [[CausticCritic Anton]]'s food-induced {{flashback}} hails from Marcel Proust's concept of "involuntary memory". Quoth ''[[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/In_Search_of_Lost_Time#Themes In Search of Lost Time]]'':
--> No sooner had the warm liquid mixed with the crumbs touched my palate than a shudder ran through me and I stopped, intent upon the extraordinary thing that was happening to me. An exquisite pleasure had invaded my senses, something isolated, detached, with no suggestion of its origin. And at once the vicissitudes of life had become indifferent to me, its disasters innocuous, its brevity illusory â this new sensation having had on me the effect which love has of filling me with a precious essence; or rather this essence was not in me it was me. ... Whence did it come? What did it mean? How could I seize and apprehend it? ... And suddenly the memory revealed itself. The taste was that of the little piece of madeleine which on Sunday mornings at Combray (because on those mornings I did not go out before mass), when I went to say good morning to her in her bedroom, my aunt Léonie used to give me, dipping it first in her own cup of tea or tisane. The sight of the little madeleine had recalled nothing to my mind before I tasted it. And all from my cup of tea.
** Additionally, if you look at the movie from Chef Skinner's perspective, it starts to look a whole lot like a ''fantastique'' story, a genre in which the French excelled in the nineteenth century. Your typical ''fantastique'' story is about an ordinary man who grows increasingly obsessed with some supernatural phenomenon, until it destroys his life, but it's never exactly clear if the supernatural phenomenon is real, if it's a conspiracy by persons unknown, or if it's all a delusion in the ordinary man's head. See Skinner's rant about "Is there a rat?" "''No!'' But he wants me to ''think'' there's a rat!"
* In the ''WesternAnimation/XMenEvolution'' episode "Middleverse", one of the devices created by mutant Forge is said to run on CP/M, a pre-DOS computer OS.
* ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' is *thick* with these, but one standout example is "Carl Rossum," a brilliant cyberneticist named for the author Karel Čapek and the main character of his best known play, ''Theatre/{{RUR}}'', a.k.a. ''Rossum's Universal Robots''.
* In ''WesternAnimation/FiremanSam'', the Welsh wannabe rockstar being named Elvis Cridlington is funny for [[Music/ElvisPresley obvious reasons]]. It's even funnier if you know the popular but discredited theory that Elvis's name is of Welsh origin (Elfys Preseli).
* ''WesternAnimation/PhineasAndFerb:'' In TheMovie, Candace wonders out loud why the mysterious force of the universe help her brothers so much. Buford says, "Well, why don't you ask it, Kierkegaard?" He gets weird looks from the others, to which he responds, "Existentialist trading cards. It came with the gum."
-->Baljeet: Would you like to trade two Sartre for a Nietzsche?
-->Buford: Alright.
-->Baljeet: Sucker...
** In the episode where they're at the endangered species benefit...
-->Scientist 1: I bet I'll have more species named after me than you. Care to make a wager?
-->Scientist 2: No.
-->Scientist 1: Why not?
-->Scientist 2: Because your last name is "Pithecus."
** The song writing staff are clearly familiar with Marxist economic theory, because they keep referencing it.
--> '''Doofensmirtz''': And at the end of the day, there's more for me/'cause everyone else is the proletariat/ and baby I'm the bourgeoisie- [[LampshadeHanging Look it up, Joe!]]
** Heck, half of the humor on Phineas and Ferb is this.
* The goofy astronauts in ''WesternAnimation/TomAndJerry Blast Off To Mars'' spout an extensive Joseph Campbell quote while wondering if humanity is alone in the universe:
-->'''Astronaut 1:''' The universe? An inconceivable immensity of galaxies, clusters of galaxies, and clusters of clusters of galaxies, speeding apart into expanding distance. And humanity? A kind of recently developed scurf on the epidermis of one of the lesser satellites of a minor star in the outer arm of an average galaxy, amidst one of the lesser clusters among the thousands, catapulting apart, which took form some fifteen billion years ago as a consequence of an inconceivable preternatural event.
-->'''{{Beat}}'''
-->'''Astronaut 2:''' Well, I don't see anything.
-->'''Astronaut 1:''' Guess that answers that. Let's hit it.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'', when faced with the proposition of building a dream chip for Jenny, Dr. Wakeman posits, "What ''do'' androids dream of? [[Literature/DoAndroidsDreamOfElectricSheep Electric sheep?]]"
* In the ''WesternAnimation/{{Doug}}'' episode "Doug's Brainy Buddy", Doug has a hard time believing that Skeeter could be a genius after the latter gets a perfect score on an intelligence test... until he notices Skeeter's collection of books includes Immanuel Kant's ''A Critique of Pure Reason'', among [[GeniusBookClub other heavy science and philosophy texts]].
* In one episode of ''WesternAnimation/{{Mad}}'', a young time traveler knocks out his father with a "Titor" brand aluminum bat. John Titor was the name used by someone who posted on various internet forums claiming to be a time traveler.
* Shows up in a couple episodes of ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'':
** In "Daddy's Little Monster", while Jake is recording Finn's fight with [[spoiler: the amulet-possessed Marceline]], Finn gets thrown at Jake and Jake shouts "Ow, my hippocampus!" Present!Jake says "That explains why we got amnesia", and he's right: the hippocampus is the part of the brain that supports formation of long-term memory.
** The objects used to summon Bella Noche in "Betty" are a sword, a orb, a staff, and a goblet. These represent the suits in Minor Arcana Tarot (Swords, Pentacles, Wands, and Cups).
* "Chip Off The Old Smurfs" from ''WesternAnimation/TheSmurfs''. Handy Smurf and Painter Smurf are arguing over Baby Smurf's future when Poet Smurf walks in to find Baby Smurf singing a song to himself, in baby talk, and rhyming the last syllable as he sings. Poet's response? "Why, listen to that, [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_verse free verse]]!"
* In "Helga on the Couch", from ''WesternAnimation/HeyArnold'', one of the paintings on psychiatrist Dr. Bliss's wall is by Andrew Wyeth. Wyeth was involved in a complex, semisecret relationship with a model named ''Helga'', whom the show's character in fact somewhat resembles.
* ''WesternAnimation/MissionHill'' had a few, but one as a RunningGag. The gay couple Gus and Wally are huge fans of David Niven and Broderick Crawford. Anyone familiar with movies from the 50's will instantly recognize Gus and Wally as [[CaptainErsatz looking like Broderick Crawford and David Niven, respectively]].
* ''WesternAnimation/FindingNemo'' has a StealthPun in the title that requires knowledge of Latin to understand. Nemo is Latin for "no one", so the title means "Finding No One". It's also a ShoutOut to [[Literature/TwentyThousandLeaguesUnderTheSea Captain Nemo]], whose name was itself a genius bonus; Nemo is the Latin equivalent of the Greek Outis, which is the name Odysseus used when blinding the cyclops Polyphemus in ''Literature/TheOdyssey''.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSecretSaturdays'' features very obscure cryptids that only cryptozoologists can recognize.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheAmazingWorldOfGumball'' has, as one of Gumball's classmates, a giant named Hector Jotunheim. Jotunheim is one of the nine worlds of Norse Mythology, specifically the home of the giants.
* How many kids watching ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'' do you think realized that Boris Badenov is named for [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boris_Godunov the man who ruled Russia from 1585 to 1605]]?
* The ''WesternAnimation/SchoolhouseRock'' song "Unpack Your Adjectives" features a part where the protagonist labels two characters "dumb" and "brainy", initially incorrectly due to intelligence stereotypes like FatIdiot, DumbMuscle and SmartPeopleWearGlasses. The bulky guy proves he's actually the brainy one by rattling off a definite integral, a type of formula people wouldn't see until after several weeks of calculus. It's completely accurate, right down to simplifying the answer. What makes this better is that it's a Grammar Rock song and this series' main contributions to mathematical knowledge are the much more rudimentary multiplication tables. Doubles as a FreezeFrameBonus.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** The ponies give Princess Luna a flower necklace as a sign of forgiveness. The flowers are red and white roses, together, symbolizing reconciliation within the royal family, just as the red and white rose of the Tudor house in real life symbolized the reconciliation between Lancaster and York at the end of the War of the Roses.
** "Luna Eclipsed" has one that doubles as a StealthPun: Twilight Sparkle dresses for [[AllHallowsEve Nightmare Night]] as "Star Swirl the Bearded", a unicorn wizard from ancient times who was "father of the amniomorphic spell", according to Twilight. "Amniomorphic" means "bowl-shaped" in Greek, which means Star Swirl was a bearded shaper of bowls, or a [[Literature/HarryPotter hairy potter]]. In addition, the "amnion" is the term for the membrane that forms around the fetus of reptiles, birds, and mammals, meaning this may also be a CallBack to the spell Twilight cast in "Cutie Mark Chronicles" to hatch Spike's egg. This episode also has a far more subtle case when Princess Luna doesn't understand what "fun" means. It's not the concept of fun that baffles her; it's the ''word itself''. The word "fun" is less than 1000 years old, which is how long Luna spent banished to the moon.
** In "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom all of a sudden gets a cutie mark shaped like a Fleur de Lis. Immediately, she begins speaking in French. The average American child watching the show is unlikely to be aware of the connection between a Fleur de Lis and the French language. And of course, if the viewer does not speak French, he or she will not know what Apple Bloom is saying.
** In the episode "Bridle Gossip", Zecora shows a number of strange habits or possessions that cause the ponies to conclude that she's evil. All of these are explained away in the episode as actually being entirely innocuous... except for her habit of pawing at the ground and digging small holes. This is something zebras actually do to find water -- by pawing at the ground of dry river beds and the like, they can draw out water that's seeped into the ground. Also, while zebras scrape their hooves on the ground to find water, in horses and ponies (in-show and in real life) it is a display of aggression.
** In "Read it and Weep" and "Daring Don't", the villain is Ahuitzotl, who is based on [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ahuizotl_(creature) a real creature of the same name from Aztec mythology]].
** Big Macintosh's discorded form where he acts like a dog that burrows in the ground makes little sense to most people who assume that's the idea given who's responsible. Anyone from the central United States or Canada will ''instantly'' recognize it as a both a [[JustForPun pun]] and a reference to [[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prairie_dog Prairie Dogs]]: small burrowing creatures that are a nuisance to farmers.
** A ''lot'' of the creatures in the show take inspiration from actual mythological creatures. Most everyone knows about the Hydra and Cerberus, but Orthrus the two-headed dog, Jackalopes, and Windigos are much lesser known references.
** In "It's About Time", Twilight Sparkle is seen working at a chalkboard full of equations while trying to figure out the supposed disaster that her future self traveled through time to warn her is due to happen by Tuesday morning, and how she might prevent it. The equations in question describe the effects of time dilation[[note]]it's only the base formula, however, not an actual application of it - note how all variables are in their literal forms[[/note]].
** In "A Canterlot Wedding - Part 1", we get a musical foreshadowing bonus in the form of "B.B.B.F.F", as explained [[http://www.reddit.com/r/mylittlepony/comments/sm22p/a_spoiler_in_the_song/ here]] and verified [[http://twitter.com/dannyimusic/status/193926339043147777 here]]. Long story short: a certain sequence of tones ending in a major chord is called an "[[spoiler:authentic cadence]]". If it instead ends in a minor chord, it's called a "[[spoiler:deceptive cadence]]".
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Other]]
* Though the (alleged) historical incident it refers to is relatively well-known, one suspects that the pun in the title of the ''Nero Burning ROM'' software package still went over many people's heads.
* There's a commercial for an Allentown, Pennsylvania dental clinic in which a little cartoon girl uses a hand mirror to count her own teeth. It's actually an in-joke for dental care professionals: she's too young to have adult teeth yet, yet keeps counting even after reaching 20 -- the total number of baby teeth in human kids -- indicating she must've lost count somewhere along the line.
* The former Universal ride for ''Film/BackToTheFuture'': When Doc Brown goes back in time and meets Albert Einstein, he doesn't look ecstatic or happy like the other scientists that the Doc saw. During the press shoot, there is a man standing next to Einstein; that man is Oppenheimer. The press shot that Doc went to was about the atomic bomb during/after UsefulNotes/WorldWarII!
[[/folder]]

[[folder:This Very Wiki]]
* See the article for TypeCasting.
[[/folder]]
----