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Reference Over Dosed
All the blue fictional people that could have been in James Cameron's Avatar.note 

Any work where the Homages and Shout Outs are too numerous to count. Basically, if there are enough references to make a ShoutOut/ sub-page, the work is overdosed.

Often these are fan works or comedies (goes triple if the series is a Long Runner), since it would be distracting to have so many of these in more serious works, save for comic relief moments.

But even in the appropriate works, how well this is done depends on most of the references being done well. If a work overestimates the audience's knowledge this might overlap to Viewers Are Geniuses. This sometimes works: those who are familiar with the references will enjoy it. The references can even turn into multiple Genius Bonuses. And those who are unfamiliar with it might be encouraged to look up more information about the reference in order to understand it. That way they feel challenged and rewarded for their effort and grow along with the creator. But in instances where too much stuff just flies over the audience's heads the general public could feel alienated and lose interest.

If a work mostly consists of stuff referencing other stuff the dangerous border to blatant Plagiarism and/or sheer uninspiredness might be crossed. The audience might even feel as if it's just watching/listening/reading a scene by scene rehash of other, more original works.

A Super Trope to Speaks in Shout-Outs.

Compare Trope Overdosed, Pastiche, Fountain of Memes, Continuity Cavalcade.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Advertising 
  • This ad for Pepsi Minis.

    Anime & Manga 

    Comic Books 
  • Watchmen has a whole load, especially musical references, but also to works of literature and to modern (1980s) pop-culture.
  • Astérix references a lot of history, culture and other stuff from the Ancient Roman Empire. This includes untranslated Latin phrases as well! Apart from that several references to later time periods can be found as well. Some of them only comprehensible to a French audience, others too old to be recognized by modern audiences, like winks to Corsican singer Tino Rossi, the 1930s movie "Marius" and politicians of the 1970s.
  • The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Specially in the latest graphic novels. Seriously, you will be surprised how many British 60's sitcom characters can appear in a number of pages. It wasn't until the third series that there was an original speaking character not absconded from an earlier work (even background characters running from a battle were Fagin, Dodger, and company), and that original character was Champion Bond of her majesty's secret service.
  • And also Alan Moore's Top 10, which came out at the same time as the early installments of LoEG. Practically every background character, business name, vehicle or grafitto is a shout out to someone or something.
  • De cape et de crocs is the French equivalent of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen in terms of number of Shout Outs per panel, starting with the title.
  • The Sandman is an unusual serious example; it probably manages to stay serious because its Homages and Shout Outs are usually to myths or the classics instead of pop culture.
  • Scott Pilgrim, particularly in relation to video games and music.
  • Kill Shakespeare has a lot of references to Shakespeare, naturally.
  • As you can see in the picture above, the Monica's Gang comic can get so blatant and ridiculous in it's shout outs, it can be called Refuge in Audacity (and that Avatar parody manages to put more blue characters - which include a real person, Zinedine Zidane, decked in France colorsnote  - in another panel). This also applies to other Brazilian comics, such as Holy Avenger.
  • Nero : Since this was a newspaper comic it contains thousands of references to stuff that was current when the comics were published in the papers. Famous politicians and media celebrities from the second half of the 20th century will have a cameo or have jokes based on them. The author also threw in several references to his personal life, including colleagues and exotic animals he encountered during his safaris. Unfortunately this is also the reason why reprints have included some necessary background explanations to put stuff into context.
  • De Kiekeboes: Also contains several references, most of them to artists and comedians the author enjoys.
  • Urbanus: Several references to other comics, TV shows, films and Dutch and Flemish pop culture stuff.
  • Agent327: Many references, shout-outs and name drops, mostly to Dutch culture and society. Especially in later albums the author went berserk with this.
  • The author of Bloom County wrote that:
    Bloom County was awash with pop culture references and celebrity mockery... largely because those beguiling assets were virtually absent from the comedic media at the time. But just look at us now. No, it's not my &@%# fault.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic (IDW): Any story drawn by Andy Price usually includes overwhelming amounts of pop-culture references in the background.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • A Series of Unfortunate Events: If you made a list of every time Snicket makes a Shout-Out to literature and history in one of the later books (especially through Sunny's dialogue), it would be as long as the book itself.
  • Among Others by Jo Walton is full of references to the science fiction and fantasy of the 1980s.
  • Ready Player One has this as part of its plot, but mostly narrows it to 1980s video games and pop culture in an effort to solve the puzzle left behind by a rich eccentric as part of his will.
  • Finnegan's Wake features thousands of references to everything imaginable. It is probably the only work to turn this trope into True Art Is Incomprehensible.
  • A Night in the Lonesome October abounds with references, being a wide-ranging gothic horror pastiche with references to other genres. It contains many Homages and Shout Outs beyond its crossover characters.
  • The works of Philip Jose Farmer are sometimes Reference Overdosed, particularly those set in the Wold Newton universe. A single work may be a Homage to one writer while encoding allusions to the work of many, many others. For example, no name is innocent until all anagrams, obscure linguistic derivations and so forth have been exhausted.
  • Discworld
  • The Dresden Files, since everyone is Genre Savvy and the narrator is a Pop Cultured Badass.
  • The works of Robert Anton Wilson
  • Most stories by Kim Newman (including those written under his Jack Yeovil pseudonym), especially the Anno Dracula series.
  • The Ciaphas Cain books are absolutely loaded with references to both science fiction and turn-of-the-century juvenile adventures.
  • The author of the Warhammer novels collectively known as "The Vampire Wars" acknowledges his books contain at least a hundred references to classic vampire stories like Dracula. One of his fans sent him a list of references in his novels, but the author didn't have the heart to say he'd missed about another fifty.
  • The first page of Where's Waldo? The Wonder Book. It puts all the other examples to shame.
  • Bret Easton Ellis likes to do this with his characters to highlight how shallow they are. Many pages in Glamorama are just long lists of Victor and his friends name dropping celebrities, and in American Psycho, Patrick has to describe in excruciating detail what everyone is wearing.
  • T. S. Eliot's works, especially The Waste Land. The poem is full of classical literature and religious references, and quotes them in their native language.
  • Zadie Smith's White Teeth contains tons of references to various minutiae from literature, history, science, and pop culture (both British and American). Some of them serve no purpose, such as a Long List of all of Millat Iqbal's favorite books, records and tapes, and movies on videocassette.

    Live Action TV 
  • The Middleman, usually with a different theme each episode (one episode is full of Dune references, another Back to the Future references, another Ghostbusters references, and so on...)
  • Spaced. There's even a bonus subtitle track on the DVD that notes all the references.
  • Community. Abed is stated to be incapable of communicating through any other medium than movies.
  • Psych CONSTANTLY references obscure 80s and 90s pop culture.
  • NCIS: Tony is a movie buff, and McGee is a gamer, among other justifications for this.
  • Gilmore Girls is famous for its abundance of references. Each DVD even has a little booklet explaining the more obscure ones.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus: many encyclopedic references to historical and cultural figures, exotic animals and places. Most of these jokes could make sense to intellectuals, but then there are also many references to British culture, especially politicians, TV hosts, soccer players, cricketers and programs that were famous during the late 1960s and early 1970s. They are usually completely incomprehensible and obscure to international audiences and even to the English, especially while Time Marches On.
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000. Being a show built around providing audio commentary to Cult Classic genre movies, it couldn't help being stuffed full of references, but some them were so obscure only the members of the show's own cast understood them.
  • Supernatural, particularly when it comes to music. every episode from the first 5 seasons is named after a classic rock song, while the newer episodes reference other.
  • Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger is this towards the Super Sentai series.
  • Doctor Who is fifty years old, so its accumulated a lot over that time. Some of the older episodes reference things like Beatles lyrics, while New-Who has referenced things like Star Trek, Ghostbusters, Harry Potter, Teletubbies, The Lion King and way, way more.
  • Red Dwarf often makes reference to films such as Casablanca, Gone with the Wind, and Blade Runner. For instance, the episode Back To Earth is considered by most to only be enjoyable if you know the Blade Runner references, to most other fans it is a horrible episode.
  • Leverage is so reference overdosed that its shout outs had to be moved to their own page.
  • We don't even try to list the shout outs in Farscape. Crichton is a fountain of late-20th-centrury cultural references, which only makes him a Cloud Cuckoolander in the eyes of all the aliens around him.
  • The Tau'ri (Earth-born humans) in the Stargate Verse have Genre Savvy as their Hat. They're well aware that their daily lives resemble science fiction and are all too happy to show it.
  • Spitting Image: Where to start? Several references to 1980s and 1990s society in general, yet also to everything that was in the media in the week of broadcast. From news reports over TV commercials. If you wanted to understand every reference you really had to read, listen and watch to every report. And most of it references British culture in particular. This also explains why the show was so difficult to export to other countries. The stuff dated rapidly and a lot of it was incomprehensible to foreign viewers. When broadcasted on Dutch TV the translators even added some extra subtitles on top of the screen to give some explanations about certain politicians or TV stars that only the English would immediately recognize.

    Music 
  • The Wu-Tang Clan: cursory examination of the first two tracks on Enter the Wu-Tang/36 Chambers turns up, in addition to the samples and references to old Kung-fu movies for which they're famous, overt references to Steven Seagal and his film Out For Justice, Voltron, and The Warriors.
    • Also, Ghostface Killah had a song from the 1996 album Iron Man (which was when he started using the alias Tony Stark) entitled "Daytona 500" (named mostly for its fast pace) which used clips from the original Speed Racer to make one of the first Anime Music Videos which is still considered a favorite by many.
      • The song itself contained samples from Bob James' "Nautilus" and "Crab Apple" by Idris Muhammad while the chorus from "Turn The Beat Around" by Vicki Sue Robinson sped up and reworded for the hook. And even featured two samples from previous Wu singles, "Mystery of Chessboxin" and Raekwon's "Incarcerated Scarfaces" which also had an obvious Shout-Out in title as well as the lyrics.
    • The mileage varies, but this opened the AMV flood gates, being one of the first AMV's showed on TV and predating YouTube and self-made AMV's.
  • John Cena and Tha Trademarc do a lot of this on You Can't See Me; ironically, most of the references are not to Professional Wrestling. This was spoofed in their video for "Bad, Bad Man", which had as its plot a homicidal maniac kidnapping midgets dressed as Madonna, Michael Jackson, and certain other 1980s cult figures - not to mention that said homicidal maniac was played by Gary Coleman. And Cena, Trademarc, and Bumpy Knuckles dress up like (respectively) Hannibal Smith, Murdock, and Mr. T from The A-Team!
  • Half Man Half Biscuit. Their website has a section dedicated to explaining some of the references.
  • No More Kings. When describing them most places refer to them and funk/pop mixed with 80s references. Though there are more references, the 80s are just the most prominent.
  • Destroyer. Dan Bejar's main band has its own wiki and drinking game.
  • Frank Zappa: His music was deeply personal and references several aspects of the society of his time, including music, commercials, politics, TV and even inside jokes in his own band and anecdotes from his own life. Zappa once claimed that he doubted if his lyrics could make sense to anyone but himself.
  • The entirety of Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny is Shout-Out after Shout-Out from beginning to end.
  • Sage Francis, a rapper from Providence, RI, makes tons of references to "classic" hip hop songs. He'll often re-use classic lines, substituting a word here or there or reversing the word order as a kind of wordplay homage; he'll also re-use the cadence of certain iconic lines in a subtle nod.
  • REM's music would frequently make references to ancient mythology in order to conceal the true meanings of the songs (namely Michael Stipe's bisexuality or political events). This had the side effect of making people think he spoke gibberish. To clarify, the first time he admitted to writing a song with straightforward lyrics was in 1992 when the band recorded "Everybody Hurts" - 12 years after they started.

    Radio 

    Tabletop Games 
  • Dungeons The Dragoning, which mashes together the rules of several pen-and-paper systems, uses the setting of others, and gives shout-outs to everything else.
  • Shadowrun is full of these, particularly where harlequin is involved. In one book in particular he refers to the Dead Kennedys and Cypress Hill and quotes a line from a Florence + the Machine song. All this in the year 2074, by the way.
  • Warhammer and Warhammer 40000 are packed with shout-outs, and it's not just the historical or literary origins of practically every faction and variant army (especially Space Marines and Imperial Guard). The flavor quotes, maps and locations, character names, most of the fiction, and the universe backstories are plundered from all over, ranging from the Bible to minor quotes from travel writers.

    Theater 

    Video Games 

    Web Comics 

    Web Original 
  • Any Abridged Series. Especially the one that started them all.
    Rose: I don't understand, how did you defeat him using karaoke?
    Ed: The guy had a rational hatred for references; a vocal cover was too much for his elitist brain to handle.
  • That Guy with the Glasses.
  • Skippys List
  • This phenomenon was a constant in the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, and given that the players involved included ordained ministers, a professor of quantum physics, a member of the British House of Commons, several professional writers, a television producer, a movie special effects expert, a chef, three lawyers, active duty soldiers, artists, actors, attorneys, doctors, nurses, police officers, fire fighters, a librarian, a stock broker, computer programmers of various types, a Roman Catholic priest, a biochemist, the mayor of a small Florida, and a professional dominatrix, amongst others, all of whom were highly educated and all of whom were widely read, this was to be expected. Some stories were so thick with various references (from pop-culture to legal to scientific to political) that the story itself was lost in the mix.
  • Things Mr. Welch Is No Longer Allowed to Do in an RPG
  • The Whateley Universe, especially the story "Tales of the MCO", where the kids watch a television show and give it the Mystery Science Theater 3000 treatment.
    • Everything about it, since it's a superhero universe which has Marvel and DC as superhero comic publishers within it. People constantly refer to this, talking about a girl who leaps in front of teammates to protect them as having 'superman syndrome' or arguing about what is needed for Marvel to make an Iron Man movie or even talking about why 'real' supers can't swipe copyrighted/trademarked superhero names.
    • The Phase novels are chock full of literary references, which even touch the chapter titles and Phase's obscure jokes that no one else gets. Generator is more likely to make references to anime and cartoons.
  • Unskippable
  • YouTube Poop is chock full of random references to pop culture.
  • A Very Potter Musical. Of course there's references to the books, but between that you've got things like Zac Efron. Furthermore, entire parts of the dialog are just homages to Avatar: The Last Airbender .
  • SF Debris
  • Survival of the Fittest: Due to being a collaborative work between the board's members, it qualifies. While there have been Shout Outs to previous versions and the original canon, a few others are to... less expected works, such as a character suddenly talking like Kefka, and a few characters being an Expy of characters from other works. Honestly, if one were to list every single reference in SOTF, it would take a while. It has been a minor issue on the board, however, in how many Shout Outs are okay.
  • Homestar Runner, mainly to '80s and '90s pop culture.
  • They Made Me Watch This not only has a lot of references, once scene in the review of Barbie and the Three Musketeers turned into a reference cluster bomb.
  • The Cinema Snob references tons of obscure exploitation movies, B-grade actors, cult directors, and occasionally more mainstream stuff such as Death Note in every episode. Host Brad Jones even throws in little winks to his other videos and his friends featured in these videos.
  • Radiodrome: Countless references to exploitation movies and other films, even mentioning old TV series in the process.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy, although it has gotten out of hand for a lot of fans, and nowadays the show frequently includes references that are nothing but padding, without a joke to justify their inclusion. It's gotten to the point where you could type practically any pop-cultural phenomenon of the past 80 years into the YouTube search engine and find a Family Guy clip spoofing it.
  • American Dad! tends to throw them in through dialog or character actions.
  • The Cleveland Show. Sensing a pattern yet?
  • The Simpsons: Hundreds of references to politics, films, TV shows, musicians, art, literature, comics, animated cartoons, philosophy, video games, economy, math, geography, history, biology, religion, society in general, commercials, ... A lot of them you can only catch by freeze-framing the background.
  • Futurama: Hundreds of pop culture references, just like The Simpsons. However, there's a lot more emphasis on references to science fiction, astronomy, math, physics, quantum physics, space, computer programming, ...
  • Many Looney Tunes and Tex Avery cartoons, but as Time Marches On fewer and fewer people get the references. This is especially caused by references to film actors, radio shows, songs, and commercials that were very popular in the United States during the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, but are nowadays completely obscure for modern audiences, left alone audiences outside the U.S.A. There currently exists an entire page dedicated to all the references the series has made over time. Examples are:
    • "Turn off that light!" (reference to air raid wardens during World War II)
    • "Was this/that trip really necessary?" (reference to a slogan used to encourage people not to take unnecessary trips to free up gas and rubber for the war effort and to free up space on trains to ferry troops to their duty locations. )
    • "It's a possibility!" (reference to Artie Auerbach's catchphrase as Mr. Kitzle during Al Pearce's radio shows)
      • "Nobody home, I hope, I hope, I hope" - Al Pearce
    • "That ain't the way I heard it!" (reference to The Old Timer character from the radio series Fibber McGee and Molly)
      • "'T ain't funny, McGee!" (reference to the character Molly, addressing Mc Gee in Fibber McGee and Molly)
      • "I love that man!" - (reference to the character Beulah (Marlin Hurt) on Fibber McGee and Molly.)
      • "Operator, give me number 32O.. ooh, is that you, Myrt? How's every little thing, Myrt? What say, Myrt?" - (reference to the character Fibber, whenever he made a phone call to a certain Myrt in Fibber McGee and Molly. )
      • "Well now, I wouldn't say THAT!" - (reference to the character Peavey (Richard Le Grand) in the radioshow The Great Gildersleeve)
    • "Don't you believe it!" (reference to a 1947 similarly titled radio show in which popular legends, myths or old wives' tales were debunked with this quote.)
    • "Aha! Something new has been added!" and "So round, so firm, so fully-packed. So free and easy on the draw." (reference to Lucky Strike cigarettes)
    • "B.OOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" (reference to a commercial for Lifebuoy soap against B.O. (body odor))
    • "Ain't I a stinker?" (Lou Costello from Abbott and Costello)
      • "I'm only three and a half years old!" - From a character named Martha (Billy Gray) on the Abbot & Costello radio show.
    • "Ah, yes! (Insert statement here), isn't it?", "Yehudi?", "Don't work, do they?" and "Greetings, Gate! Lets osculate!" (Jerry Colonna, sidekick on Bob Hope 's radio show.)
    • "I dood it!", "He don't know me very well, do he?" and "You bwoke my widdle arm!" (reference to Red Skelton's radio comedy character Junior, aka "Mean Widdle Kid")
    • "Of course you realize this means war!" (Groucho Marx)
    • "Ain't I a devil?" - Ralph Edwards in "Truth or Consequences".
    • "Which way did he go, George? Which way did he go?" and "I'm going to hug him and pet him and hug him and pet him..." (reference to John Steinbeck's novel Of Mice and Men)
    • Several dimwitted characters were based on Mortimer Snerd, who was created in 1938.
    • "Henry! Heeeeeeeeeeen-RY!" "Coming, Mother!" (reference to The Aldritch Family, a radio sitcom)
    • The NBC Chime
    • "Monkeys is the cwaziest peoples." - A catch phrase from Lew Lehr. In parody the word "monkeys" was often replaced by other animals or people.
    • "Ah say! I'm from the South, son!", "That's a joke, son!", "Pay attention now, boy!" - Kenny Delmar as Senator Claghorn in "The Fred Allen Show". The Looney Tunes character Foghorn Leghorn was entirely based on this radio personality.
    • "See?" - A verbal tic actor Edward G. Robinson used. When characters in Looney Tunes use it, it's usually in a police or gangster context.
    • "I'll moida da bum." - A reference to boxer Tony Galento.
    • "I have a problem, Mr. Anthony!" - Reference to John J. Anthony, who presented the daily radio advice program "The Goodwill Hour".
    • "Train leaving on Track 5 for Anaheim, Azusa and Cuuuu-ca-mon-gaaa!" - Mel Blanc usually said this, as it was a reference to a character he played on "The Jack Benny Show".
    • "Come with me to the casbah" - Reference to Charles Boyer as Pépé le Moko in the 1937 film Algiers. Interesting detail: the line was prominent in the trailer, but not in the movie itself.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures
  • Animaniacs
  • Megas XLR has an extremely large amount of references to other shows, and not just of the Humongous Mecha genre (Wave Motion Gun, anyone?).
  • Transformers Animated. Without interfering with the plot or making it so that you can't follow it if you don't know what's being referenced, it manages to fit in a zillion little easter eggs into every episode. Its "Allspark Almanac" guidebook is this taken to its logical extreme. Every single thing references something, no matter how deeply the reference is buried note  or how obscure the things being referenced are note  Oh, and a second volume is on the way.
  • The short-lived Spaceballs series was nothing but Whole Plot References. No original storylines or jokes to be found anywhere. Probably explains why it was short-lived. Yes, the whole concept is a Whole Plot Reference to Star Wars, but you'd think the writers could come up with at least a few new plots and gags in the 15+ years it took to get the cartoon made.
  • South Park series have tons of these in every episode, enough that the Shout Out page had to be split thrice. The Imaginationland episodes feature virtually HUNDREDS of fictional characters.
  • Robot Chicken is based on referencing works.
  • Phineas and Ferb. Though aren't they a little young to know about all those older references?
  • ReBoot makes references in every episode ranging from the obvious computer technology to 70s pop music and beyond.
  • Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers manages to fit a lot into only 65 episodes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic doesn't allow the references to overwhelm the story, but just about every episode includes shout outs and references to topics like Blazing Saddles, Avatar: The Last Airbender , The Benny Hill Show, X-Men, and 1984. See the show's Shout-Outs page and episode guide for a complete list.
  • The Venture Bros. The show references music, history, art, literature, politics, pop culture (from the 1890s through modern), comic books, pulp fiction, film, television, philosophy, religions, etc. Each episode is approximately 22 minutes long and every single one includes dozens of these.
  • Kim. Freaking. Possible. Her targets include James Bond, Resident Evil, The Lion King, Toy Story, Psycho, Splinter Cell, Buffy, Tomb Raider, and that's just the obvious stuff.
  • Recess: 2001: A Space Odyssey, Hey Arnold!, Hogan's Heroes, Rugrats, The Absent-Minded Professor, Dirty Harry, The Wall, Barney & Friends, Maximum Overdrive, Hello Kitty, A Goofy Movie, the list goes on. Some of also double as Parental Bonuses
  • ''Batman: The Brave and the Bold rarely had a episode where there wasn't some reference to a little-known or forgotten bit of DC Comics lore. It accumulates in the finale, where the episode ends with nearly every character that appeared in the series attending a farewell party in the Bat-Cave after becoming aware of the fourth wall and learning of the show's cancellation.
  • Gravity Falls, like the Phineas and Ferb example above, has numerous pop cultural shout-outs and references. Most of them will fly over the heads of the target demographic.


Real Song Theme TuneShout-Outs IndexSpeaks in Shout-Outs
Precision F-StrikeAbridged Series TropesRunning Gag
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