A Shout-Out is something subtle (a name, line of dialogue, or prop) in a show that refers to fans or family members of the cast or crew, or to another source of inspiration. By nature, these can be obscure for casual fans.
You can even talk about them in English class if only you call them "allusions". However, remember that many tropes
, symbols, and such are older than they look and can, often, arise in parallel. So despite (or because of) the ubiquitous nature of some creative properties, that doesn't mean that anything that seems somewhat similar is referencing said work.
is when a series is loaded with these. Referenced By
is for the work that the Shout-Out is aimed at.
Giving references to other works can predate to older times but became increasingly common in medieval times. In modern times, almost every larger film, Video Game
and so on intentionally references some other work, making the phenomenon nearly omnipresent.
Tropes Are Tools
applies to shout-outs. A good shout-out should still fit within the context of the story or it may end up a Big Lipped Alligator Moment
to people not familiar with what's being shouted about. It also has to be subtle enough that viewers either only notice the double meaning
after a trip to the fridge
or have a short chuckle if they notice it immediately, a blatant Shout-Out will break the Suspension of Disbelief
and kick viewers out of the story. (Especially if it's Breaking the Fourth Wall
. Shout-outs that the characters would recognize get a little more leeway.)
Remember that a Shout Out must be deliberate
on the part of the authors; simply resembling something from another work is not sufficient, and the very existence of tropes and popular culture means that it's natural for resemblances to appear without any intent on the part of the authors. Just because two characters use similar unusual weapons
or wear similarly-shaped sunglasses doesn't mean one is a reference to the other; just because two plots are similar doesn't mean there's actually any connection between them. Small Reference Pools
can also lead people to see shout-outs where none exist because their own favorite things loom large in their mind. A true shout-out is intended to be noticed, so if there's any doubt, it's probably just a coincidence.
See also Homage
, Stock Shout-Outs
, Opening Shout-Out
, Shout-Out Theme Naming
and The Joy of X
. Literary Allusion Title
is a subtrope. Easily confused with a Mythology Gag
and Continuity Nod
, and may overlap with Actor Allusion
. Contrast Take That
, which is a negatively-spirited Shout-Out. Biblical Shout-Outs should go on As the Good Book Says
See Stock Shout-Outs
for a list of Shout-Outs and other references common enough to earn their own page.
Remember, a Shout-Out is intentional.
If a character just happened to use a similar turn of phrase to another work, that's just a coincidence