Throughout human history, people have become obsessed over the darndest things, especially in the consumer-driven economy that sprung up during the 1950s. Hula hoops, pet rocks, disco, pins, breakdancing, and of course, pogs were all once insanely popular, but like most fads they faded away, and these days most of us look back on all the hooplah and laugh.
Thus, comedies can generate laughs simply by making an off-hand reference to a fad that was once wildly popular, but is now considered ridiculous. Sometimes this takes the form of a pointed comparison between a current fad, or a thinly-veiled parody of it, and one that used to be popular but is now Deader Than Disco
, with the implication that the current fad is headed the same way.
If the show is about
Remembering Pogs (humorously or seriously), we have I Love the Exties
. If it's a character who just can't leave his pogs behind, he's Disco Dan
. If it's so ridiculous that the damn kids today don't believe it was actually real, it's Aluminum Christmas Trees
and Cyclic National Fascination
open/close all folders
Anime and Manga
- An early episode of the Pokémon dub includes a Macarena reference. Dogasu runs a site dedicated to the changes made in the dub, and even he had to snigger a bit at that.
- The reference to Crystal Pepsi in the dub of FLCL. It was an attempt at a Cultural Translation of a reference to a similar fad soft drink sold in Japan, Cherio.
Live Action TV
- The last episode of Beakmans World actually does this to a then-current sensation:
Beakman: You wrench 'em, I'll drench 'em, let's Macarena!
Everyone in the entire friggin world, including the makers of the song: LET'S NOT!
- Jon Stewart uses a slightly more serious version of the trope in a lot of his standup. He mocks the tendency of politicians to pander to the Lowest Common Denominator by saying they're "Just like you. I'm a common man!"
"Really? You watch eight hours of television a day? You thought the Macarena was fun?"
- An episode of Teen Angel had the titular character going back in time to try to prevent his death. When his past self demands proof he's from the future, he says "I know this may be a little hard to believe...but the Macarena is just a phase.", followed by his past self bemoaning his huge investment in "Planet Macarena" stock (which he later plans to sell and invest in Tony Danza t-shirts instead).
- An episode of Murphy Brown had Murphy and Kay realizing they had met before during the Bicentennial at a Starland Vocal Band concert (which consists solely of them replaying their One-Hit Wonder "Afternoon Delight" over and over), of whom Kay was the manager. Murphy purchases a Pet Rock to "bash [her] blind date's head in", talks to Kay about how miserable both are, and Kay "accidentally" gives Murphy the key to backstage for her to sabotage the event.
- In an SCTV sketch, Woody Allen was trying to do a film project with Bob Hope, but found his outlook too old-fashioned - Hope was just as put out by Allen's morose personality and tells him "Your mood ring is turning black." Allen replies "My mood ring, what is this, 1968?"
- The MAD parody of Pokémon introduced Hokéycon as the latest "flavor of the week" fad destined to rot in closets everywhere. One later panel had a fanboy who boasts that Hokéycon is "a phenomenon whose popularity will never, ever fade" being approached by another desperate to trade him any number of Beanie Babies, Smurfs, Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in exchange for a single Hokéycon card. (Hilarious in Hindsight, as all of these are still being made in some form, even though they're not as wildly popular as they once were—as is Pokémon itself, which is still one of the top selling video game series overall. For the record )
- A Zits strip has Jeremy and Pierce reacting this way to Walt's description of tiddlywinks.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the radio host of K-DST, Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith, mentions "Whatever happened to Love Fist?" at one point of his show. Love Fist was a fictional band from Vice City that was banned in many countries. In 1992 (when San Andreas takes place), however, they're all but forgotten (which may also be a reference to how hair metal became Deader Than Disco in the early 1990s). CJ meets two of the band's members later in the game; their star has long faded and they're just getting by as has-beens.
- Kingdom of Loathing has multiple versions of a "pet rock" familiar (all of which do nothing), an entire player class dedicated to disco and, of course, pogs.
- The premise of this College Humor video.
- From The Onion: "Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins Of 'Friendster' Civilization" For those unfamiliar with Friendster, the site was, in fact, still active long after it had been largely eclipsed, first by MySpace, then Facebook until it was killed in 2011.
- Lore Sjoberg in his The Book of Ratings, Collectibles, Part I
Have a little nineties flashback, scarecrow! I actually had a temp job designing pogs in 1994. What kind? Why, I believe they are now rotting landfill pogs, just like the rest.
- Spoony once referenced this trope. He mentioned Vanilla Ice as something that was incredibly popular for a hilariously short period of time, and is now seen as thoroughly embarrassing by even the most die hard of fans. The context for the remark was that he predicted Twilight would be going the same way.
- In TheStrawhatNO!'s Let's Play of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, after Thorn gets lost in the Lakebed Temple, BigTUnit passes the time by asking the others, "Anyone remember pogs? Because I sure don't."
- From the Rifftrax of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, after Slugworth signals Charlie with a thumbs up.
Neil Patrick Harris
: A stiff "thumbs up" shows the kids you're "down" with the "music" and the "scene" and the "Pogs".
- The Simpsons does this often.
- In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Homer wins a Grammy thanks to inspiration from Marge's purchase of a then-trendy "Baby on Board" sign for the family car. ("Now people will stop intentionally ramming our car!")
- Moe was once asked why his bar doesn't have cable TV. He replies, "It was that, or the mechanical bull. (camera pans back to show the cobweb encrusted bull) I made my choice, and I stand by it."
- From the episode "Bart Sells His Soul": "Remember ALF? He's back, in Pog form."
- The Ultimate Pog, which bears the likeness of Steve Allen.
- In "Hurricane Neddy", Marge finds a Rubix Cube in the basement during the storm, and the family decides to try to solve it; they have no more luck than most people did when it was popular, Marge eventually getting frustrated, and yelling, "Now I remember why I threw this down here in the first place!" before tossing it.
- Peter finds his old pet rock in an episode of Family Guy. He remembers when they had to housebreak it after it peed on the floor, including rubbing its "nose" in the puddle.
- In an early episode of Arthur that dealt with fads, Arthur's grandmother gave him his father's old pet rock to substitute for a Woogle, the new toy everyone has. It barely lasts one scene before Arthur dumps it.
- Heck Arthur winds up creating a new fad by just popping a bottle cap. The kids instantly drop the new toys to get in on it and by episodes end, said toy is in the bargain bin.
- South Park focused an episode on Kyle's difficulty in getting in with the recent Chinpokomon trend. Every time he ran to the toy store to get the latest part of the fad, he would return to find his friends had already moved onto the next new item.
- The "Dethcomedy" episode of Metalocalypse had a comedian whose entire 'routine' was him standing on stage saying "Anybody here remember (insert old-school reference here)?" The guys Lampshaded it, but then admitted they found him funny.
- An episode of The Venture Bros. had Dr. Orpheus imprison the souls of a pair of annoying rednecks in Homies figures. Homies, for anyone who missed them, were collectible figures of stereotypical Latino "thug" types sold in the capsule machinesnote in front of grocery stores in the early 2000s.
- Recess dealt with this a few times, ranging from an addictive puzzle type game, to having a stock market style system based around stickers to quoting lines from a popular movie.
- Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz was once hula hooping and invited Perry the Platypus to join. However, Perry's hula hoop was a trap to capture him.