Pop-Cultured Badass

"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."
Fry, Futurama, "When Aliens Attack"

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.

Contrast Cultured Badass and Wicked Cultured. Sometimes the eponymous bunny ears of a Bunny-Ears Lawyer.


Examples:

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    Anime and Manga 
  • Revy from Black Lagoon kills a dozen people while listening to White Zombie's 'Electric Head Part 1' on her walkman.
    • At least in the manga; for the anime, she plumps for the just-as-awesome 'Peach Headz Addiction' by Breath Frequency.
    • Balalaika quotes Oingo Boingo during a Hannibal Lecture, and she nevertheless remains terrifying.
  • 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.
    Jotaro: Who was the female lead in the 1981 film Tarzan the Ape Man?
    Joseph: Bo Derek!
    Jotaro: Who performed the parody of Michael Jackson's Beat It titled Eat It?
    Joseph: Al Yankovic!
    Jotaro: Good grief...I guess you are the real thing if you know pointless crap like that.

    Comicbooks 
  • The progenitor and original. Spider-Man 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 iCarly".
  • 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".

    Film 

    Literature 
  • 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 T Vtropes.orh. 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.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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:
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Revolution:
    • 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 amd classic movies.
  • Supernatural:
    • 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:
    Sam: Yeah... you're not a fan.
    Dean: It's a guilty pleasure!
  • 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.

    Music 
  • Subverted with Jon Lajoie 's alter ego, MC Vagina. He tries to be one, but just ends up with the funniest Analogy Backfire s ever.

    Role-Playing Games 
  • 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.

    Videogames 

    Webcomics 

    Web Originals 
  • 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.
    • Generator has built herself a working Raising Heart (of Lyrical Nanoha fame) and has a Nanoha costume in her purse of holding.
    • Chaka would have to count too, since she's the team Deadpan Snarker and once beat up a CIA team while listening to Macy Gray (she was out for a jog).
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • 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.