[[quoteright:342:[[Disney/{{Aladdin}} http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/genie_knows_jack_nicholson.jpg]]]]
[[caption-width-right:342:[[Film/TheShining "Heeeeeere's... Genie!"]]]]

->''"Are you a genie who does references only my parents get?"''
-->-- '''Billy''', ''WesternAnimation/TheGrimAdventuresOfBillyAndMandy''

Often, you'll want to get some ParentalBonus or cool and hip comedy into your work to broaden your appeal to the PeripheryDemographic.

One common method of doing this in ScienceFiction and {{fantasy}} is by having a non-human character or a magical creature of some sort appear to be in tune with the cultural Zeitgeist of the time period when the work was made, but [[OrphanedEtymology not the one the work is]] ''[[OrphanedEtymology actually set in]]'', adding an extra touch of spice to the AnachronismStew. Thus, [[Literature/SoLongAndThanksForAllTheFish space aliens]] will watch ''Film/{{Casablanca}}'', Film/{{gremlins}} will cosplay as [[Film/FirstBlood Rambo]], and, yes, [[Disney/{{Aladdin}} the Genie]] will impersonate Creator/JackNicholson. Logically, there does come a moment when you must ask, "This alien/gremlin/genie can do all of these insane things, but they can't violate causality?"

This can be justified in various ways. Perhaps the character is a time traveler, or spent a great deal of time on Earth at one point, or [[AliensStealCable has intercepted Earth's TV and radio transmissions and fallen in love with them.]]

Though this particular gag did not originate in TheNineties, it became very popular for a long time following the smashing success of Creator/{{Disney}}[='s=] ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}.''

A bit of trivia: This trope was almost called "The Genie Knows John Wayne". In the original script, Genie was supposed to do a Creator/JohnWayne impression (note the line about being a "straight shooter"). But Creator/RobinWilliams did a better Jack Nicholson impression.

Very much comes under the RuleOfFunny and WillingSuspensionOfDisbelief.

Compare to the FishOutOfTemporalWater, who may make constant pop cultural references as a way to remind himself of home, even if none of his new friends understand them.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* ''Manga/{{Berserk}}'': Guts' FairyCompanion Puck has made more pop culture references than every other member of the cast put together. His notable character impressions include Creator/BruceLee, the Film/CreatureFromTheBlackLagoon, Danpei from ''Manga/AshitaNoJoe'', Manga/{{Devilman}}, Manga/{{Doraemon}}, a Franchise/{{Gundam}} Frame, a Saint from ''Manga/SaintSeiya'', and Yoda from ''Franchise/StarWars''.
* For a bunch of villains who've never previously been to Earth, the original English dub of ''Anime/DragonBallZ'' suggests they know an awful lot about its customs, cuisine and pop culture. Regardless of any dubbing, there's also the fact that the Ginyu Force settles every dispute with RockPaperScissors, even though they're all totally different species from presumably different planets who've also never been to Earth before. The non-actiony parts of the entire ''Manga/DragonBall'' saga are largely dictated by RuleOfFunny, however.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* Franchise/DisneyAnimatedCanon:
** ''Disney/TheSwordInTheStone'' did it first, with Merlin lamenting the fact that he lives before indoor plumbing and [[ScrewThisImOuttaHere going to 20th century Bermuda]] when the mood suits him. He even comes back in a Hawaiian tourist shirt. The gag is true to the original ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'', in which Merlin makes a number of anachronistic references to 20th century events due to [[MerlinSickness living through history in reverse]].
** The toy shop visited in ''Disney/TheGreatMouseDetective'' contains a bubble-blowing Disney/{{Dumbo}} toy, despite being set in the 19th century.
** The Genie from Disney's ''Disney/{{Aladdin}}'' is this to the max, as well as the TropeNamer. His accurate impressions of movie stars (such as, notably, Creator/JackNicholson) provided ample {{Parental Bonus}}es, and like Merlin in ''The Sword in the Stone'', he exhibits ample working knowledge of twentieth-century zeitgeist and technology. In the sequels and [[WesternAnimation/AladdinTheSeries television series]] that followed, he frequently alluded to several other Disney franchises and impersonated their characters, including Pumbaa from ''Disney/TheLionKing'' and ''Disney/{{Pinocchio}}''.
** Worth noting is that Aladdin {{lampshade|Hanging}}s the Genie's tendency to do this in the cartoon series. "What's the genie doing?" "Dreaming about references to some form of entertainment that hasn't been invented yet." It's occasionally mentioned that Genie sometimes time-travels in his spare time, which explains how he knows about pop culture icons from the future. There is one episode of the show that [[CutawayGag explictly shows him in another time, with Napoleon]]. There's also a fairly popular fan theory that [[EpilepticTrees the movie actually takes place in the distant ''future'']], which also explains it handily.
** In the first ''Disney/TheLionKing'', Zazu, while being held prisoner, sings "Nobody Knows the Trouble I've Seen", "[[Ride/DisneyThemeParks It's a Small World After All]]", and "I've Got a Lovely Bunch of Coconuts" in that order, while at one point Timon and Pumbaa sing "The Lion Sleeps Tonight". The POVSequel, meanwhile, had [[ThoseTwoGuys Timon and Pumbaa]] making jokes like, "We moved into the theater district," and "Something tells me this ain't the traveling company of ''Theatre/{{Riverdance}}''" (followed by them making the dance from that play as they exit the scene). Though that said, ''The Lion King'' doesn't necessarily take place in the past. But the African savanna without any human settlements nearby is close enough.
** During their musical number, the gargoyles in ''Disney/TheHunchbackOfNotreDame'' are seen playing a piano centuries before it was invented, as well as throw in references to Creator/MichelangeloBuonarroti's ''David'' (the film is set nearly a quarter-century before the statue's completion) and ''Film/{{Amadeus}}'' (an ActorAllusion; Tom Hulce, who plays Quasimodo, also played Mozart). And there's a huge shout-out to ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'' when Laverne "sics" her birds on the enemy...
** Played with in ''Disney/{{Hercules}}'', with the side characters making pop culture jokes masked under Ancient Greek references: Phil refers to Thebes as "[[BigApplesauce The Big Olive]]", Meg makes reference to seeing through Hercules' act "in a Peleponesian minute", Panic yells for someone to "call IXII", etc. Played straight with Hades who makes references to "[[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball halftime]]" and tennis, and with Meg when she compares Pain and Panic to costumed theme park characters.
** Mushu in ''Disney/{{Mulan}}'' gets to do most of the anachronistic jokes, including using a modern toothbrush after biting Ling, and lamenting about not having an entourage.
* Devon and Cornwall, the two-headed dragon from ''WesternAnimation/QuestForCamelot'' is this film's answer to Disney/{{Aladdin}}'s Genie. During their big musical number, everything from ''Disney/TheLionKing'' to ''Franchise/{{Godzilla}}'' gets a ShoutOut, including ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' and ''Franchise/FridayThe13th'', and they close up with impressions of Music/ElvisPresley and Sonny and Cher. Bladebeak may also qualify; he makes a pun based on Film/DirtyHarry.
* Prehistoric possums Crash and Eddie, in ''WesternAnimation/IceAge3DawnOfTheDinosaurs'', demonstrate that they are somehow familiar with "[[Franchise/AlvinAndTheChipmunks The Chipmunk Song (Christmas Don't Be Late)]]", despite predating both the Chipmunks and indeed Christmas itself by quite a wide historical margin.
%%** And that was only the third movie. In the second movie a certain R. Kelly song line is being sung.
* ''WesternAnimation/ChickenRun'' is supposed to take place during TheFifties, but during the musical number "Flip, Flop and Fly", [[ThoseTwoGuys Those Two Rats]] Nick and Fetcher do dance moves borrowed from ''Film/TheBluesBrothers'', ''Film/SaturdayNightFever'', and hip-hop.
* Most of the characters in the entire Franchise/{{Shrek}} universe, despite it being set in a FairyTale setting, seem inexplicably knowledgeable about pop culture.

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* Gizmo, and the eponymous creatures from ''Film/{{Gremlins}}'', are like this. In the first movie, this quality is restricted to their love of the movie ''Disney/SnowWhiteAndTheSevenDwarfs'', but in [[Film/Gremlins2TheNewBatch the sequel]] (a more humorous take on the first movie's premise), the gremlins are total pop culture junkies mere hours after having been spawned, going so far as to stage elaborate recreations of scenes from ''Film/{{Batman}}'', ''Film/TheWizardOfOz'', and ''Franchise/ThePhantomOfTheOpera'', among others, plus their enormous, balls-to-the-wall musical rendition of 'New York, New York'. It's somewhat more reasonable with Gizmo, since Billy taught him to watch television, and thus his infatuation with Franchise/{{Rambo}} makes some sort of sense. Especially since ''he was watching the film just before donning the costume''.
* Draco in ''Film/{{Dragonheart}}'', when called out on having eaten a human. "I may have chewed in self-defense, [[UsefulNotes/BillClinton but I didn't swallow]]!"
* The Great Gazoo does this many times in ''Film/TheFlintstonesInVivaRockVegas''.
** Though the world of WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones seems to be so much like the contemporary RealLife world that it would be unsurprising, in terms of continuity, if Fred were watching his TV (made out of stone casing, of course), and remarking on how he's a big fan of TheHoneymooners.
* Star-Lord from ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxy'' is constantly dropping pop culture references despite the fact that he was abducted by aliens in 1988 and hasn't had any contact with Earth since. Granted, [[DiscoDan most of his references are dated enough to escape the trope]], but he was a child when the abduction took place. So references to ''Franchise/TeenageMutantNinjaTurtles'' and ''Literature/TheGivingTree'' are justified, but at the point that he references ''Film/PulpFiction'', ''Literature/TheMalteseFalcon'', and ''Film/RaidersOfTheLostArk'' in a single sentence, it gets a bit harder to believe.
** In ''Film/GuardiansOfTheGalaxyVol2'', he calls Rocket a "trash panda", a memetic alternate name for raccoons. He should have absolutely no idea that Internet memes exist.
* Korg introduces himself in ''Film/ThorRagnarok'' with a RockPaperScissors joke, even though he's a [[RockMonster Kronan]] from Sakaar. There have been a few Earthlings on Sakaar, but there's no indication that he interacted with them.

* ''Literature/TheOnceAndFutureKing'' has Merlin make all kinds of references to 20th century events and culture in "The Sword in the Stone," to the point that this section is more of a satire and commentary on T. H. White's time than it is a retelling of Arthurian myth.
* Throughout ''[[Literature/AssassinFantastic Myhr's Adventure in Hell]]'', Myhr and his wizard companion make constant pop culture references. It's {{Justified|Trope}} by having the pair as [[AlternateUniverse universe-hopping travelers]]; when Myhr tries to get Terrin to tone down the jokes so that they don't risk driving off a prospective client, Terrin insists that [[GenreSavvy they'll expect the wizard to seem a little surreal and difficult to understand, anyway]].
* The butterfly in ''Literature/TheLastUnicorn''. All of its conversation consists of random quotes, some of them suspiciously modern-sounding for the world it lives in.
* The ''Literature/MythAdventures'' series is full of SchizoTech, with lizard-drawn carriages in the streets and computers in the banks. This still doesn't explain the constant pop culture references, as the human home dimension is stuck in the Middle Ages and is definitively not Earth.
** Lampshaded: The human almost never gets them.
* Occurs frequently in ''Literature/{{Discworld}}'', explained by the characters being hit by cross-dimensional inspiration particles, morphic resonance between universes, and of course the TheoryOfNarrativeCausality. A common LampshadeHanging is for another character to question the line, only for the first character to suddenly realise ''they'' don't get the reference either, and have no idea why they said it.
* In the ''Literature/{{Relativity}}'' story "Rune Returns... Again", a two-thousand-year-old mummy reanimated using magic is somehow familiar with ''Film/TaxiDriver''.
--> '''Mummy:''' Raw rar rar rar rar?[[note]]You talkin' to me?[[/note]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* The Doctor from ''Series/DoctorWho'' is a time traveler, so he often references time periods that occur after the time period he's currently visiting. This was, at [[DoctorWhoS29E2TheShakespeareCode one point]], played with when the Doctor mentioned having read ''Literature/HarryPotterAndTheDeathlyHallows'', when the episode aired months before the book was released.
* Crow, Tom Servo, Gypsy and even ''Cambot'' from ''Series/MysteryScienceTheater3000'' drop pop culture references left and right when riffing or doing sketches, despite never having been to Earth and having limited communications to the planet. Joel might have programmed them with these references, but whatever. [[MST3KMantra It's just a show,]] as the theme song reminds us.
** Though Joel will occasionally call them on it... a good example being sometimes Tom talks about his time in school, only for Joel to remind him that he was built on the Satellite of Love. Mike, as less of an authority figure, tends to get bullied if he tries to protest to their inexplicable references.
* Despite being born and raised in the bowels of a ship three million years into deep space, Cat from ''Series/RedDwarf'' seems to have a solid grasp of 20th-century pop culture.
** Justified; two episodes have shown Lister and The Cat watching old cartoons like ''WesternAnimation/TheFlintstones''.
* [[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=47gCW0ZvdDc This]] special celebrating [[Ride/DisneyThemeParks Walt Disney World's]] 25th anniversary at one point has the Disney version of MaryPoppins (who lived in TheEdwardianEra but was, of course, magic) make a joking reference to NAFTA in 1982 to time-travelers from 1971. ItMakesSenseInContext... kind of.
* In the 1998 miniseries ''[[{{Series/Merlin1998}} Merlin]]'' (taking place in the 5th century) the shape-shifting gnome Frik played by Martin Short constantly switches between anachronistic personas including a pirate, a Chinese houseboy, an aristocrat with Louis XIV hair, snooty professor in an Oxford cap, and a dashing swashbuckler with a shortsword. It is mentioned that the Fae can see into the future, however.

* ''Theatre/TwistedTheUntoldStoryOfARoyalVizier'' [[DeconstructedTrope deconstructs this trope]]: Ja'far does not get the djinn's anachronistic pop culture references, and [[RealityEnsues is annoyed when he refuses to stop]] [[SpeaksInShoutOuts speaking in shout-outs]].

* Belial (a half-angel, half-demon) from ''VideoGame/{{Painkiller}} Overdose''.
* The characters of ''VideoGame/{{Touhou}}'', ranging from humans to demons, tend to all freely make references to recent Japanese pop culture, despite being sealed off from the modern world.
* ''VideoGame/MonkeyIsland'': Guybrush Threepwood frequently drops references to other Creator/LucasArts games, plus a catchphrase borrowed from ''Series/GetSmart'' ("That's the second biggest [...] I've ever seen").
* Another ScummVM game, ''VideoGame/SimonTheSorcerer'' contains a fair share of references also. Somewhat justified what with Simon being transported from a modern world into a magical fantasy realm, but the fantasy realm itself seems pretty heavy on the references and not just to fairy tales and fantasy books, mind you.
* ''VideoGame/BlackAndWhite'': The world you rule over seems ancient and fantasy-like, but The Consciences reference everything from ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'' to thrash metal.

* Richard from ''Webcomic/LookingForGroup'' is a partial example, what with webcomics generally not needing any ParentalBonus, but otherwise fits: in the Medieval Fantasy setting, the warlock is quite prone to anachronistic (Anageographic? Anaparallelrealitic?) references to pop culture.
* [[EveryoneCallsHimBarkeep Angel]] from ''Webcomic/CastlevaniaRPG''. Constantly makes references to culture and events that may not EVER exist in that universe.
* Merlin does this a lot in the baseline arc of ''Webcomic/ArthurKingOfTimeAndSpace'', since his characterisation owes a lot to T. H. White's Merlin. For example, when Lancelot and Galehaute are in combat with a zombie parrot, and realise that it's trying to find a shallow point in the river where it can cross to the pine forest on the other side, Merlin suddenly pops up, having apparently tracked them down ''just to say'' "So the dead parrot is [[Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus fording for the pines]]!"
* In ''Webcomic/{{Exiern}}'', the evil (if mostly snide and sarcastic) wizard Faren at one point gets his head lopped off. (He gets better.) While just a head, he starts singing, "[[Music/TalkingHeads Same as it ever was, same as it ever was...]]"
* In ''[[Webcomic/{{Melonpool}} Melonpool,]]'' Melotians have the natural ability to pick up Earth TV braodcasts with the antennae growing out of their heads. The main character, Mayberry Melonpool, is completely obsessed with them - especially ''[[Series/StarTrekTheOriginalSeries Star Trek.]]''
* The alien title character of ''[[Webcomic/{{Zortic}} Zortic]]'' is similarly obsessed with Earth's TV transmissions, and is also a huge Trekkie. The two strips have even [[CrossOver crossed over]] more than once.
* Pretty much everyone in ''Webcomic/TheOrderOfTheStick'', which largely runs on RuleOfFunny and MetaFiction.
* Phil Foglio's self-insert prisoner character in ''Webcomic/GirlGenius'', who sings [[Music/TheBeatles "Oubliette, oublada..."]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* The Creator/FilmCow short [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zoj2mJWlKUk "It's Aladdin!"]] parodies this trope and [[Disney/{{Aladdin}} the trope namer]]. The genie can only do impersonations of celebrities who won't be born for another thousand years.

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* The ''Frog Prince'' segment in ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresFromTheBookOfVirtues'' has the frog saying [[Film/TheTreasureOfTheSierraMadre "Badgers? We don't need no stinking badgers!"]] at one point.
* In ''[[ComicBook/LuckyLuke Tous à l'Ouest]]'', when Lucky Luke reunites with his pet [[DogsAreDumb Rantanplan]], the dog has a hard time remembering where he's seen this cowboy before. After racking his brain for a while he eventually comes to the wrong conclusion that Luke is Creator/ClintEastwood and asks for his autograph. Also counts as AchievementsInIgnorance.
* Pretty common in the WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes and WesternAnimation/MerrieMelodies shorts, as well as Creator/TexAvery's work.
* In ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' Discord does this on occasion. He does it a ''lot'' in "Three's a Crowd", where he visually references ''Film/{{Flashdance}}'', ''Literature/HarryPotter'', and ''Literature/FearAndLoathingInLasVegas'', among other things.
* Parodied in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheCritic'', in which Jay's friend Jeremy Hawke has a role in a somewhat...different adaption of ''Literature/{{Pinocchio}}''. In this version, a "beige fairy" appears, clearly spoofing Robin Williams' Genie in voice, mannerisms, and pop culture references.
* Referenced somewhat cruelly in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/DrawnTogether'', with a Robin Williams-like genie appearing and performing shtick including an imitation of [[Film/TheMarxBrothers Groucho Marx]], prompting Clara to exlaim "Wow! [[TakeThat You're a comic genius]]!"
* The Junkions from ''WesternAnimation/TheTransformers'' are the kings of the AliensStealCable version of this. Their entire language was constructed from Earth television broadcasts they intercepted, and they speak in nothing but ad jingles and other TV references.