"While other people were out living their lives, I wasted mine watching TV, because deep down, I knew it might one day help me save the world. Plus, I would have lost my Workman's Comp if I had gone outside."While the Cultured Badass and Wicked Cultured kill to Tchaikovsky and Wagner, and read Nietzsche on their spare time, the Pop-Cultured Badass rocks out to the latest hits on their iPod and discusses their interpretation of recent movies. They may very well engage in discussing tropes and Conversational Troping, and weaponising their media awareness to analyse and solve problem. Contrast Cultured Badass and Wicked Cultured. Sometimes the eponymous bunny ears of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer.
— Fry, Futurama, "When Aliens Attack"
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Anime and Manga
- Q-Feuille from Kiddy GiRL-AND is quite up to date to the latest shows in-universe and even admits to being an otaku, often shoting out to many popular real life hit Japanese media works. While not much else is shown in the show, she's also implied to be a big reader and has a large collection of novels in her rooms.
- Revy from Black Lagoon kills a dozen people while listening to White Zombie's 'Electric Head Part 1' on her walkman.
- Canaan has a taxi driver that drives like a professional stuntman while listening to girly pop idol songs.
- Nyarko will beat the snot out of you while doing Kamen Rider poses, quoting Jotaro Kujo, using Ranma Saotome's tactics, and much, MUCH more.
- Applies to pretty much everyone from Binbō-gami ga!, but especially Momiji, who tends to cosplay even while fighting.
- Joseph Joestar of JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, to the point where his grandson Jotaro uses 80s pop culture trivia as a Something Only They Would Say test.
- The progenitor and original. SpiderMan has spouted off pop culture jokes while fighting since the beginning and still going strong despite Deadpool being the new poster boy of comedy references. From AC/DC, Lord of the Rings, YouTube, World of Warcraft, DC Comics, Comedy Central plus Stephen Colbert etc. Taken to eleven in Ultimate Spiderman.
- Doc Magus from Marvel Comics 2. His Sanctum Sanctorum is in a comic book shop.
- Deadpool: Olsen Twins, Bea Arthur, Fat Albert, Lord of the Flies, Lethal Weapon, The Warriors, Golden Age, Steve Ditko...
"You're right. That's why I'm rollin' with my posse" (he was fighting Tombstone, so, gangster affectations are... excusable...)
- Marv from Sin City has an affinity for country music and cars. He's gone on more than one monologue about the current versions of both.
- The Runaways in general are this, with the troupe making various references to movies, actors, Real Life events, etc. Even two(three if you count the dinosaur) of their members superhero names are Shout Outs to The Beatles and Arsenic and Old Lace.
- Most of the Young Avengers, but particularly Billy Kaplan, aka Wiccan.
- Speedball from the New Warriors became "kinda addicted to the History Channel"
- In Death of the Family, Batgirl goes in to brief the Teen Titans on the situation of this storyline. She insultingly compares them to "the cast of I Carly".
- Early in his tenure as Ant-Man, Scott Lang had this as his primary character trait. It faded pretty quickly, and is now a completely forgotten piece of his characterization.
- Though for much of his history he had a disdain for anything mortal, Loki became this after he was resurrected in the body of a child and discovered the Internet. He is now one of the very few Asgardians who carries a cell phone (he even boosts the reception with magic), will use the Internet to accomplish his goals, play video games, and is constantly making pop culture references, having apparently become quite the fan of many movies and TV shows which he gets via "torrents of bits".
- Bill from Kill Bill, who seems to be a fan of Star Trek and Silver Age comics. Which is probably where the Bride got it from.
- Nicholas Cage's Ghost Rider really enjoyed the music of the Carpenters. And jelly beans.
- Abigail Whistler from Blade: Trinity, who was listening to trip hop while kicking ass. Kind of counterlogical too. Why would you want to cut off one of your main senses while wading into melee combat?
- Crimson Tide: Lt. Commander Ron Hunter has the balls to stare down a Naval captain and his backers who insist on launching an unconfirmed preemptive nuclear strike. He's also got time to talk the Silver Surfer and Star Trek.
- Pulp Fiction: Vincent and Jules both frequently reference pop-culture as they do their jobs. Quentin Tarantino is famous for his eclectic, pop-culture-laden dialogue, so this extends to many of his other characters.
- In Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason, there is a quiz game at the Law Council Dinner where a round of Pop Cultural trivia proves Bridget and Rebecca Gillies to be this trope.
- Many of the characters in Kingsman: The Secret Service fall under this trope. Superspy Harry Hart is familiar with Trading Places, Nikita, and Pretty Woman, and discusses James Bond and spy film tropes with the Big Bad. His protege is a streetwise thug who knows My Fair Lady and names his dog after Jack Bauer,
- Harry Dresden. He even references the Evil Overlord List at one point. Presumably one of his fellow badass nerds from the Alphas printed it out for him, what with the Walking Techbane thing.
- Joseph Carrion of the Mediochre Q Seth Series is arguably the biggest Badass Normal in the setting, and is also a fan of Star Trek, The A-Team and The Beatles.
- American Psycho's Patrick Bateman fancies himself one— but then he also describes Whitney Houston as a jazz singer, so...
- The Animorphs all make plenty of references to 90s pop culture - even Ax, an alien, gets in on it a bit once he starts binge-watching TV in his spare time. Marco is the most frequent offender; he unconsciously gives himself away to the Yeerk controlling his mom by referencing The Prince of Egypt.
- Gary Karkofsky in The Rules Of Supervillainy is constantly making references to everything from Star Wars to the Lord of the Rings to this very wiki. He's also capable of killing Kaiju with his superpowers.
- Chiun in The Destroyer series of books is a grand master of the supreme martial art Sinanju, which among many other things allows one to dodge bullets, break through the wall of a bank vault with one punch and survive a lethal fall by landing in a small puddle of water just right. Chiun's favourite pastime is watching soap operas, which he considers the only significant artistic contribution the United States has ever managed.
- In the Red Room series, Derek Hawthorne is a fan of Bruce Lee, the Lord of the Rings, Star Trek, James Bond films (enough to know details about individual films), several video games, Star Wars, and horror movies. Justified as it's mentioned Derek, despite the fact he's a super-cool spy, was more or less raised at home by the television.
- Babylon 5: Mr. Garibaldi is a huge fan of old Looney Tunes cartoons, specifically Daffy Duck. At one point, his Starfury can be seen to have Daffy Duck Nose Art. He's even quote-checked Elmer Fudd as a Pre Ass Kicking One Liner. Contrast with his first boss, Commander Sinclair, who was more of a fan of Tennyson.
- Band of Brothers: George Luz is knowledgeable about movies and musicals.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Spike has moments of this.
- And season 4 Big Bad Adam was a fan of the Beatles.
- Specifically, he liked the song "Helter Skelter," likely an allusion to Charles Manson's fixation on the same.
- Xander is so very much this, after losing an eye and being made Buffy's number two, he likes to be referred to as Nick Fury, even using this to charm Renee.
- Faith has brought up everything from Star Wars to Transformers to Batman: Arkham Asylum, and she hasn't exactly been around Xander or Andrew.
- Buffy herself would obviously be pop cultured, and mentions both Star Trek: The Next Generation and James Bond in the same breath. Her One True Love Angel however is even more so, being a Barry Manilow fan, a Douglas Adams fan, a huge Charlton Heston fan and just like Faith owns a PlayStation.
- Chuck: Bartowski loves his video-games, Sci-Fi movies, and MacGyver.
- Community: Abed. The badass part is best demonstrated by the "paintball war movie" episodes.
- The same goes for Jeff, who admits in the pilot he was "raised on TV".
- Doctor Who:
- The Doctor likes this. For example, the Master is a fan of the Scissor Sisters, and Crane broadcasts The Lion Sleeps Tonight while converting the masses into Cybermen.
- The Tenth Doctor was particularly fond of 20th / 21st century Earth pop culture. For example, he seems to be a Harry Potter fan, and once gave a humanitarian speech to an alien race that was threatening to kill a third of Earth's population...with lyrics from The Lion King. In "The Idiot's Lantern", he uses Kylie Minogue lyrics for an inspirational quote.
- In one Eighth Doctor Adventures novel, the Eighth Doctor (yes, the one with the cravat and the long hair) quotes "All Along the Watchtower", whilst in an Enemy Mine situation with a man who literally stole his heart, trying to escape a creepy Eldritch Location (ie., It Makes Sense in Context):
'"'There must be some way out of here,' said the joker to the thief".'
- Farscape: John Crichton, with heavy, heavy emphasis on the Pop Culture, especially early on before he really develops the Badass. And he never stops, no matter the situation—one time, when he realized he was going to be frozen in stone for 80 years, one of his regrets was that Buffy would be dead by then. To clarify, he started out as a Southern-Fried Genius who took several levels in badass.
- Lost: Sawyer, given the amount of references he makes.
- In Misfits the misfits defeat a person with a compelling voice by drowning it out with their individual choices of iPod music.
- The Nanny:
- The title character Fran is absolutely this trope. In one episode, her pop culture knowledge actually helps her successfully track down the guy who'd kidnapped C.C.'s dog (It Makes Sense in Context).
- In "The Nanny Napper", Fran is arrested for allegedly kidnapping a foreign woman's baby (she was simply holding him for her on the subway, before being separated). She likens her plight to that of a soap opera, which the foreign woman watches too, leading to an intense conversation about the show, which convinces the police to drop the charges.
- NCIS: Tony seldom has a scene where he doesn't drop some kind of reference to movies.
- Psych: Shawn and Gus are a gold mine of obscure references of eighties films no one but them have bothered to remember as well as more modern fare such Phineas and Ferb, The Mentalist (with appropriate Take That and Lampshade Hanging to Dueling Shows), Supernatural and others.
- Captain Jeremy Baker. He said, "This is so dramatic. You guys remember One Life to Live?"
- Miles Matheson shows himself as this by saying, "You're gonna poke your eye out, kid," and making a comment about Jason Neville having a "boy-band" face.
- Major Tom Neville shows himself to really like Lionel Ritchie and compares John Sanborn to Travis Bickle of Taxi Driver.
- Stargate SG-1:
- When not wasting hordes of Jaffa or otherwise saving the world, Colonel Jack O'Neill never misses an episode of The Simpsons. He's also a bit of a Star Trek fan, getting upset when the USAF wouldn't name the first Earth built starship "Enterprise". Also, when he traveled back in time, he said his name was James T. Kirk...then said it was Luke Skywalker.
- Teal'c, surprisingly, after he acclimates to Earth culture. Turns out he's a huge fan of Star Wars.
- From Stargate Atlantis, there's John Sheppard, who loves Johnny Cash, Popcorn... and ferris wheels.
- Eli Wallace in Stargate Universe, who frequently drops sci-fi and comic book references, built his own version of a hoverboard and uses cartoon characters as aliases. His tendency to do gets to the point where Colonel Young once orders him to "reply in English, Ancient... Bat-Signal".
- As a cartoon character example, Eli used Ancient body-swapping technology to visit his mother on Earth in the body of someone else. She didn't have security clearance, so he wasn't allowed to say "I'm your son in someone else's body", so he identified himself as a friend of Eli named Phillip J Fry.
- Star Trek: Enterprise: Commander Charles "Trip" Tucker of the NX-01 Enterprise is fond of his Superman comics and classic movies.
Sam: Yeah... you're not a fan.Dean: It's a guilty pleasure!
- Dean Winchester is a fan of classic rock and B-grade horror movies. In "Hollywood Babylon", his movie knowledge paid off. Every episode has him make tons of references to pop cultural including name-dropping celebrities, films, etc.
- In "Changing Channels" where his love of trashy television shows makes him incredibly savvy when the Trickster traps them in TV-Land, particularly whilst they're in the Dr Sexy MD universe:
- The Wire: Chris Partlow, assassin and fan of Baltimore Club.
- Throughout the run of M*A*S*H, Hawkeye and Trapper/B.J. make numerous references to American pop culture of approximately the late 1940s and early 1950s (and occasionally anachronistic references to American pop culture of the later 1950s or early 1960s). For some reason, the show really loved to reference Gone with the Wind.
- Justin Russo from Wizards of Waverly Place manages to be both this, and a Cultured Badass. A highly intelligent and well read young man, Justin loves comic books (to the point where he even ends up owning his favourite one and writing it himself), collects action figures (and plays with them), enjoys roleplaying games, can speak (fictional) alien languages and is a huge fan of inverse band "Tears of Blood". He's also a Teen Genius wizard, the last surviving monster hunter, whose done things like take on three thugs with his bare hands and emerge victorious, and stared down monsters and demons.
- Andrew, Laxus, and Zachary Virchaus in Dino Attack RPG. Andrew and Zach are your ordinary pop culture-loving citizens-turned-Action Survivor, while Laxus, like all Martians, has made extensive study of Earth's pop culture. There's also quite a few unnamed Dino Attack agents who love spewing pop cultural quotes and references on the comm chatter during the Final Battle.
Truth In Television
- Naturally, this applies to every single Troper who serves frontline duty in any sort of job where violent confrontation is a real possibility.
- Belial, the player character in Painkiller Overdose, who constantly references films and movies in his neverending series of one-liners repeated ad nauseam.
- Metal Gear:
- Solid Snake loves action movies.
- Revolver Ocelot is a big fan of Spaghetti Western films, even wearing cowboy boots and a duster coat on the field. He's also called "Revolver" for a reason.
- No More Heroes: Travis Touchdown, Occidental Otaku, Assassin.
- Duke Nukem is a living, breathing pop culture reference. Most of his catchphrases are directly taken from action flicks of the 80s and 90s.
- In Mass Effect 2 (the Lair of the Shadow Broker DLC) it turns out Garrus and Legion are this. It doesn't get much play in the game, but then most of their activities are subject to conservation of detail (Garrus listens to pop and dance music while in combat, and Legion is a gamer nerd in his spare time).
- Zoey in Left for Dead knows just how to handle the Zombie Apocalypse because of her love for horror movies. May overlap with I Know Mortal Kombat.
- BlazBlue has this a lot, being a Trope Overdosed parody/Reconstruction of anime and Japanese fighting games. The most notable ones are Hazama, Makoto, and Taokaka.
- Similarly, Skullgirls's majority of shout-outs come from Peacock, a walking, talking, killing throwback to The Golden Age of Animation. She looks like something out of a deranged Merrie Melodies cartoon. She's actually a small-scale Reality Warper, and her love of classic animation has her manifest the power as a gang of cartoonish cronies, and various powers based on old cartoons.
- Similarly to Blazblue, the protagonist of Guilty Gear, Sol Badguy, is stated by Daisuke Ishiwatari to be a huge Queen fan. Funny enough, his age of around 170 would put him as being born in the 1980's, and his real name is Frederick.
- The protagonist of Far Cry 3, Jason Brody, makes a number of references to various media. Vaas is also an example of this trope.
(finds a briefcase with the Abstergo logo on it) "That symbol looks familiar..."(entering silo) "You know, I could really use a portal right about now."
- Francis York Morgan of Deadly Premonition. At his introduction, he's discussing the subtext of Tom and Jerry and his theory about them living in a co-dependent, sadomasochistic relationship. And when the player drives around for long in a car, he will randomly start discussions about various B-Movies, such as Attack of the Killer Tomatoes!, or Punk Rock, during which he name-drops bands such as Joy Division, with his Imaginary Friend Zach.
- The Boss in Saints Row IV is a gigantic badass with a taste for pop music. Granted, you can listen to the Classical station, but when the in-game radio is set to something automatically, it's usually an 80s or early 90s one-hit wonder like "Opposites Attract" and the Boss will cheerfully demand their partner at that point sing along with them.
- Mortal Kombat gives us Johnny Cage, an actor whose intro lines are almost always some references.
- Ness in Earthbound is implied to love Rock music, due to the default Favorite Thing being "Rockin'". It also becomes his most powerful attack, and the most powerful of all the playable characters.
- In Opplopolis the mysterious spy/mercenary (or something) Moon turns out to be an expert at the NES game Contra.
- Justin of El Goonish Shive is moving in this direction now that he has the badass part down. He works in a comic book shop, and has all of the interests that his job implies.
- Susan the magical militant feminist knows at least as much about pop media as Justin and Tedd, and even starts doing video movie reviews with Elliot, who also qualifies since becoming a bonafide superhero(ine).
- Since Grace lives with the Verres family, she's getting a lot of secondhand pop culture exposure from them. Grace is an alien hybrid super soldier.
- Jareth in Roommates is a Pop Cultured Hidden Badass, he can be cool if he wants to, is the most powerful of the main cast, and is really into Internet culture memes and fandoms. He referenced the Rules of the Internet (intentionally badly), used Fan Nicknames, and also countered in a game Super Hero with Nyan Cat.
- Most of the kids/trolls from Homestuck qualify for this. References made include, but aren't limited to: Ghostbusters, Juggalos, Betty Crocker, Phoenix Wright, Indiana Jones, Short Circuit, Iron Man, The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, Super Mario Bros., The Lord of the Rings, etc.
- Tyler Dawn in morphE is a typical D&D playing college kid obsessed with fiction. He relates all the abnormal and terrifying things in the awakened world of mages through fiction as a reference point (his reaction to having a death collar put on him was to refer to them as Battle Royale collars) it is this trait and mindset which makes him the first to adjust to his situation and to do so with unparalleled speed and enthusiasm. The more grounded characters take a while.
- Manly Guys Doing Manly Things lampshades how surreal Duke Nukem spouting pop-culture one-liners is when Jared laments that he's too nerdy to be like Duke.
- Crazy Awesome Generator (Jade Sinclair) from the Whateley Universe, who is a Hello Kitty addict and has been known to sing J-Pop anime theme songs. In public.
- Ninety-nine times out of a hundred, the Protectors of the Plot Continuum are protecting a pop culture universe. They need to be up on the canon; it's their job.
- Most of the reviewers for Channel Awesome are this. It's naturally a part of their jobs to be up to date on pop culture, and they all can kick ass when the need arises.
- Dragon of Worm is an AI who has quoted Wheatley in response to an attempted Logic Bomb. She's also the best tinker in the world by virtue of her synthetic nature, can kick an enormous amount of ass in her extremely sophisticated Powered Armor, and is the closest thing to a Big Good in the setting.
- Bungie of the Global Guardians PBEM Universe is a dedicated cosplayer, D&D player, and comic book geek in general who can produce a movie quote or a song lyric applicable to her current situation at the drop of a hat. She's also a member of the world's premiere superhero team. For extra points, she once responded to an emergency call while she was attending San Diego Comic Con... while cosplaying as her team leader, Achilles.
- Nearly everyone in Dragon Ball Z Abridged. Taken Up to Eleven where presumably the entire galaxy has its own versions of Earth classics so that even characters like Frieza and Nappa can make references to Pokemon and "Old Space Yeller"
Krillin: How is that a thing?!
Vegeta: Well if isn't Moe Howard.Gohan: How do you even...?Vegeta: Space Hulu.Gohan: Figures.
- Gohan even lampshades this at one point:
- The Venture Bros.: 21 was already pop culture savvy by the first three seasons, but by Season 4, he became a pumped up pop culture badass.
- Almost everyone in the show is this, especially the Monarch.
- Beast Boy from Teen Titans uses his pop culture knowledge of (fictitious) television shows in order to save the day.
- When Dr. Drakken accidentally sucked everyone into television reality, Ron was able to navigate the reality with his extensive knowledge of shows and their subsequent timeslots.
- Philip J. Fry from Futurama who frequently drops pop culture references and does incredibly badass things... all the while, screaming like a little girl.
- Totally Spies!: Clover is a Valley Girl superspy whose wide knowledge about pop culture is often very useful in her spy missions.
- Archer is known around the globe as the world's most dangerous spy, and for good reason. His dialogue is Reference Overdosed, one of his catchphrases comes from a Kenny Loggins song, and he has an obsession with Burt Reynolds movies.