[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/FinalFantasyVIITheSevening http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/ff7_obscure_reference_9039.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:350:[-[[http://obstinatemelon.deviantart.com/art/Final-Fantasy-7-Page208-202630330 Next time]], make a ''VideoGame/{{Growlanser}}'' reference.-] ]]

->"''Welcome to Julie Taymor's Playhouse. (''beat'') Like five of you got that, but the five of you who got it are gonna be laughing''."
-->-- '''Creator/DougWalker''' (during his tour of Austria)

When a reference or ShoutOut is made, and it's acknowledged InUniverse to be obscure.

This isn't done all the time, because references tend to be subtle if they are obscure, so that those that don't get them can just enjoy the show. Doing it once in a while can give the audience a bit of curiosity about the reference, but not slow down the show with them wondering about every one.

A SubTrope of GeniusBonus.

Compare PopculturalOsmosisFailure, ShownTheirWork, LateToThePunchline.

Contrast SmallReferencePools.

'''Not to be confused with characters not getting a commonly known thing.'''

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!!Administrivia/InUniverseExamplesOnly

[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Comedy]]
* Creator/DennisMiller constantly uses obscure pop culture references in his stand-up routine. He occasionally mentions that he's doing so and that many of the people watching won't get them.
* Creator/PattonOswalt also did this after making an Creator/HPLovecraft reference.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In the ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'' story, ''Fanfic/{{Legacy}}'', Trent identifies ''[[Theatre/UtopiaLimited Utopia, Limited]]'' -- one of the least known of the Creator/GilbertAndSullivan operettas -- only as "some old musical" because he didn't remember the name and couldn't be bothered to look it up. The narrative expressly notes that the song from ''Utopia, Limited'' that became the basis for Trent's [[GriefSong tribute song]] is quite obscure.
* ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'' did a scene which referenced RickRoll, ''ComicBook/TheIncredibleHulk'' and ''Franchise/TheLegendOfZelda''. Tea said she was leaving due to getting annoyed by all the obscure references.
* Creator/{{hbi2k}} calls some of his jokes "2 percenters" based on how much he thinks his viewers get them.
* In ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'', after they'd been talking about Raditz, Nappa asks, "But what about the [[Series/FraggleRock Fraggles]]?" Vegeta answers "No one is going to get that reference, Nappa."
-->'''Tien:''' As a matter of fact, I did.
* In Episode 11 of ''WebVideo/TeenTitansTheAbridgedSeries'', Robin wondered who declared it obscure reference day.
* In episode 13 of ''CodeMent'', Lelouch calls himself "a regular ComicStrip/DickTracy." Suzaku says back, "Five people left on the planet know who that is and I'm not one of them!"
* In ''WebVideo/ImAMarvelAndImADC'', [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=de06YM2mDlA "Ways to Screw Up the Avengers Movie"]], it's mentioned that the villain is "not [[ComicBook/TheMightyThor Loki]], but [[Film/TheAvengers1998 Sean Connery and his weather machine]]". {{Deadpool}} appears to say "Obscure reference for the win!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/KissKissBangBang''. When two goons appear to accost Harry, one of them introduces himself and his colleague as "Ike, Mike, and Mustard"[[note]]Salt, Pepper, and Mustard, your standard-issue dinner condiments[[/note]]. Harry doesn't get it, and even the other goon outright agrees that it's pretty damn obscure, and the two start arguing over it.
* {{Inverted|Trope}} in ''Film/TheAvengers''. Almost all of the modern well-known cultural references are lost on Captain America, who has been frozen since World War II. When someone makes a reference to ''Literature/TheWizardOfOz'', he's delighted to be able to point out that he actually got it.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* In the ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' episode "S.O.B.s", Tobias brings up someone named Freddie Wilson while talking, prompting the other characters to say they "don't get that reference". This doubled as an in-joke about how some people thought the show's inability to gain mainstream appeal was caused by its numerous and sometimes obscure jokes about pop-culture and topical references.
* Played with in an episode of ''Series/TheMiddleman'', where Middleman '69 (who has been [[HumanPopsicle in cryonic stasis for the past four decades]]) makes a ''Franchise/StarTrek'' reference and notes the [[ItWillNeverCatchOn unlikeliness]] of Wendy getting it.
* ''Series/ThirtyRock'':
** Liz tells her writers not to use Krang from ''WesternAnimation/{{Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles|1987}}'' on sketches. "No one knows who Krang is! It would be a waste of time to talk about Krang on television! No more Krang!"
** Another instance, this time when Liz is having a fake argument with [[GentleGiant Dot Com]] her pretend-boyfriend to make her new roommate move out (ItMakesSenseInContext):
--->'''Dot Com:''' I feel ANGRY! Like Warren Moon must have felt back in 1995!\\
'''Liz:''' As I have told you many times in our relationship, no one gets that reference.
* In the ''Series/{{House}}'' episode "Perils of Paranoia", House's team doubts that their PatientOfTheWeek was a victim of chlorine gas poisoning. House, however, says that there still might be a toxin involved because "[[Franchise/{{Pokemon}} Arceus]] created a universe with three states of matter and 300 solid or liquid poisons that could cause his symptoms." Puzzled, Taub asks, "Arceus?" House casually replies, "Look it up."
* In ''Series/FatherTed'', Ted makes a reference to the Jeff Bridges movie ''Fearless''. When Dougal remarks that he hasn't seen it, Ted replies, "Not a lot of people have, Dougal, so it's probably a bad reference."
* ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000''. The episode ''Gamera vs. Guiron'' has what is usually acknowledged as the most obscure joke in the entire show's history. Tom Servo makes a reference to head writer Mike Nelson's recent break-up with his girlfriend (and the fact that she took his computer keyboard when she left):
-->(''a girl runs away from the camera'')\\
'''Tom Servo:''' Look out, Mike, she's got your keyboard!\\
'''Joel:''' Huh?\\
'''Tom Servo:''' Oh, it's obscure.
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'', "New Moon Rising", Buffy threatens to "[[PersonAsVerb pull a William Burroughs]]" on [=MacNamara=][[note]]Not a perfect analogy; the Burroughs case was WilliamTelling gone wrong and Buffy would be deliberately shooting [=MacNamara=][[/note]], earning a lot of blank looks until Xander speculates she intends to "bore him to death with free prose."
-->'''Buffy:''' Was I the only one awake in English that day? I'll ''kill him''.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'': If James talks Shepard into buying some fellow marines a round, the soldiers start a toast based on Robert Burns (that was also used in the videogame ''VideoGame/ReturnToZork''). Shepard's half is based on a Renegade Interrupt -- hit it, and James admits he wasn't sure they'd know the line.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick''
** One comic ends with gladiators being torn apart by a giant version of Ollie from ''Kukla, Fran and Ollie''. The comic's title is [[http://www.giantitp.com/comics/oots0746.html "Ask Your Grandparents"]].
--->'''Roy:''' (''[[MediumAwareness looking at the cutaway panel]]'') ...Wow, that's, uh... that's a bit of a dated reference, don't you think?
** Not as old nor as obscure, but the SuddenVideogameMoment featuring ''VideoGame/{{Centipede}}'' is lampshaded too.
-->'''Chief:''' Man, that brought back memories.\\
'''Rookie:''' I don't get it.\\
'''Chief:''' Before your time, kid. Before your time.
* The commentary to ''Webcomic/IrregularWebcomic'' [[http://www.irregularwebcomic.net/617.html strip #617]]:
-->''Yes, to understand this joke you need to know relativity ''and'' image processing theory. No, I am unrepentant.''
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''Roleplay/DinoAttackRPG'', after Rockford grumbled about Dino Attack Team's code being blatant ''Franchise/StarWars'' references, Mur just remarked that he was glad it wasn't a much more obscure ''Series/{{Firefly}}'' reference instead, much to Rockford's confusion.
* WebVideo/StuartAshen has a recurring segment in his reviews, "Quincy: a caterpillar that sings obscure Beatles songs".
* ''WebVideo/TheSpoonyExperiment'':
** The Spoony One occasionally succumbs to this:
--->'''Spoony:''' Actually my first thought was that he kinda looks like Locklear from ''VideoGame/BetrayalAtKrondor''... Oh God... I just made a ''Betrayal at Krondor'' reference in Two-Thousand-and fucking-Eleven... I don't get out much...
** He also feels the need to explain to his younger viewers what things like [[TechMarchesOn floppy disks and BBS were]].
* ''Podcast/{{Psycomedia}}'' does this, often via the use of Venn diagram. Often involving the Star Wars Expanded Universe in one of the host's case.
* Linkara of ''WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall'' does this once in a while.
-->'''Linkara:''' My thanks to the three people who get that joke.
* In his "review" of ''Film/TheDarkKnight'', MikeJ compares the flyover establishing shots in the film to the [[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Disney attraction]] ''Soarin' Over California''.
-->'''[=MikeJ=]:''' It's like ''Soarin' Over Gotham''! (''beat'') Little uh, theme park humour for you there so uh, thanks to those three people out there who got that joke. (''whispers'') You're my favourites!"
* ''WebVideo/TheyMadeMeWatchThis'' thanked the 1% of his viewers who got one of his references.
* GuitarMasterx7's Master Chief series pulls one in the retard daycare episode, racial stereotype and all.
-->'''Ali Baba:''' Nobody would be getting a ''WesternAnimation/{{Captain Planet|AndThePlaneteers}}'' reference!
* {{Diamanda Hagan}}'s crossover review of "Zombeak" with JewWario has her make a comparison between the goth characters in the movie splitting up with Music/TarjaTurunen leaving the band Music/{{Nightwish}}. JewWario sums it up in one line:
--> '''Jew Wario:''' You lost me about five obscure references ago.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Animaniacs}}'' did a short where the Warner brothers (and the Warner sister) met Rasputin. They did a pun involving "Anastasia" getting mixed up with "anesthesia", and Dot said "Obscure Joke. Ask your parents." (This was years before [[WesternAnimation/{{Anastasia}} that Don Bluth film]] came out.)
* ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' mentioned Creator/BenjaminDisraeli in the episode "One If By Clam, Two If By Sea" to set up a CutawayGag. It cut to Disraeli working at his desk, when he suddenly glares at the camera and snaps "You don't even know who I am!"
* The ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheBraveAndTheBold'' series finale had a character from Franchise/TheDCU appear for the first time.
-->'''Bat-Mite:''' ComicBook/AmbushBug? You're a pretty obscure hero, even for this show.
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' has done this a few times.
** "In the Name of the Grandfather":
--->'''Grandpa Simpson:''' I was lonelier than Estes Kefauver at a meeting of Murder Incorporated! (''{{beat}}'') That actually makes sense. Look it up!
** "They Saved Lisa's Brain":
--->'''Lisa:''' (''reading Comic Book Guy's shirt'') "C:/DOS C:/DOS/RUN RUN/DOS/RUN". (''laughs'') Oh, only one person in a million would find that funny.\\
'''Frink:''' Yes, we call that the "Dennis Miller Ratio".
* An episode of ''WesternAnimation/RobotChicken'' spoofed the ending to ''Film/SleepawayCamp''. At the end of the skit, the director of ''Sleepaway Camp'' quickly shows up, ecstatic that ''someone'' remembered his movie and decided to spoof it.
* On an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheTick'', a hand puppet compared The Tick to [[Literature/TheIliad Achilles in his tent]]. When no one, even his ventriloquist, got it he said "The Illiad?" (looks around) ''"Homer?"'' (still no reaction) "READ A BOOK!!"
* A joke from ''WesternAnimation/RockyAndBullwinkle'':
-->'''Bullwinkle:''' Twenty dollars!? That's antihistamine money!\\
'''Rocky:''' Antihistamine money?\\
'''Bullwinkle:''' Yes. It's not to be sneezed at. [[DontExplainTheJoke Get it? Not to be sneezed at?]]\\
'''Rocky:''' [[LamePunReaction I get it.]]\\
'''Bullwinkle:''' Thousands won't!
* ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'':
** In season 1, when Archer is training Cyril to be a field agent, he gives him a pistol (Chekhov 9mm) and a poison pen, both of which, he warns, go off for "basically no reason". Later, when a prostitute is accidentally killed by the pen, Cyril bemoans that he figured he have to watch out for the ChekhovsGun. Archer dismisses this as "a facile argument" and Woodhouse chimes in that it's "also woefully esoteric".
** In another episode, Archer makes a reference to ''Bartleby, The Scrivener'', and is annoyed when no-one else gets it.
[[/folder]]

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