Do you know what Pogs are? Do you care? Does anybody who knows care?
Throughout human history, people have become obsessed over the darndest things, especially in the consumer-driven economy that sprung up during the 1950s. Hula hoops, pet rocks, pins, breakdancing, various child stars, One-Hit Wonder bands, Silly Bandz, fidget spinners, and (of course) pogs were all once insanely popular, but like most fads they faded away, and these days most of us look back on all the hooplah and laugh.
Thus, comedies can generate laughs simply by making an off-hand reference to a fad that was once wildly popular, but is now considered ridiculous. Sometimes this takes the form of a pointed comparison between a current fad, or a thinly-veiled parody of it, and one that used to be popular but has since been Condemned by History, with the implication that the current fad is headed the same way.
If the show is about Remembering Pogs (humorously or seriously), we have I Love the Exties. If it's a character who just can't leave his pogs behind, he's Disco Dan. If it's so ridiculous that the today's kids don't believe it was actually real, it's Aluminum Christmas Trees. When the use of a widely popular fad ends up dating a work to a specific time period, it's Unintentional Period Piece. When the fad in question later manages to withstand the test of time, that's It Will Never Catch On. When the fad in question actually progressively Zig-Zags this trope as time goes on, that's Popularity Polynomial.
- An early episode of the Pokémon dub includes a Macarena reference. Dogasu runs a site dedicated to the changes made in the dub, and even he had to snigger a bit at that.
- The reference to Crystal Pepsi in the dub of FLCL. It was an attempt at a Cultural Translation of a reference to a similar fad soft drink sold in Japan, Cherio.
- The last episode of Beakman's World actually does this to a then-current sensation:
Beakman: You wrench 'em, I'll drench 'em, let's Macarena!
Everyone in the entire friggin world, including the makers of the song: LET'S NOT!
- Jon Stewart uses a slightly more serious version of the trope in a lot of his standup. He mocks the tendency of politicians to pander to the Lowest Common Denominator by saying they're "Just like you. I'm a common man!"
"Really? You watch eight hours of television a day? You thought the Macarena was fun?"
- An episode of Teen Angel had the titular character going back in time to try to prevent his death. When his past self demands proof he's from the future, he says "I know this may be a little hard to believe...but the Macarena is just a phase.", followed by his past self bemoaning his huge investment in "Planet Macarena" stock (which he later plans to sell and invest in Tony Danza t-shirts instead).
- An episode of Murphy Brown had Murphy and Kay realizing they had met before during the Bicentennial at a Starland Vocal Band concert (which consists solely of them replaying their One-Hit Wonder "Afternoon Delight" over and over), of whom Kay was the manager. Murphy purchases a Pet Rock to "bash [her] blind date's head in", talks to Kay about how miserable both are, and Kay "accidentally" gives Murphy the key to backstage for her to sabotage the event.
- In an SCTV sketch, Woody Allen was trying to do a film project with Bob Hope, but found his outlook too old-fashioned - Hope was just as put out by Allen's morose personality and tells him "Your mood ring is turning black." Allen replies "My mood ring, what is this, 1968?"
- The MAD parody of Pokémon introduced Hokéycon as the latest "flavor of the week" fad destined to rot in closets everywhere. One later panel had a fanboy who boasts that Hokéycon is "a phenomenon whose popularity will never, ever fade" being approached by another desperate to trade him any number of Beanie Babies, Smurfs, Power Rangers or Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles in exchange for a single Hokéycon card. (Hilarious in Hindsight, as all of these are still being made in some form, even though they're not as wildly popular as they once were—as is Pokémon itself, which is the most profitable franchise in the word. For the record )
- A Zits strip has Jeremy and Pierce reacting this way to Walt's description of tiddlywinks.
- In Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, the radio host of K-DST, Tommy "The Nightmare" Smith, mentions "Whatever happened to Love Fist?" at one point of his show. Love Fist was a fictional band from Vice City that was banned in many countries. In 1992 (when San Andreas takes place), however, they're all but forgotten (which may also be a reference to how hair metal fell out of favor in the early 1990s).
- Kingdom of Loathing has multiple versions of a "pet rock" familiar (all of which do nothing), an entire player class dedicated to disco and, of course, pogs.
- Wasteland 2 was made in 2014, 26 years after the original Wasteland, but still set in a world where the apocalypse happened in the 1990s. It playfully reminds the player of this by having bits of 1980s pop culture show up as Vendor Trash: Rubik's cubes, Teddy Ruxpin dolls, and snap bracelets are just some of the things you'll find lying around.
- Honkai Impact 3rd's "St. Freya Fiesta" event featured an interactive area where chibi versions of the characters could chat and pick up and exchange prizes. One of the possible commands was to have your chibi do the Macarena.
- The commentary in Getting Over It with Bennett Foddy discusses the trope in regards to Prop Recycling. It's noted how people expected games to eventually all be created from premade assets in the same way this game is, but that never came to pass because, once an asset is recognized as able to be reused, it becomes "trash".
- Literally used in Punch an' Pie when Angela tries to explain pogs to Justin.
- Summed up succinctly in this Hark! A Vagrant comic.
- Literally discussed in this Diesel Sweeties comic when Metal Steve mistakes Charles saying "blog" for "pog" and continues to talk about pogs.
- If you look closely at young Tedd's shirt in panel 4 of this El Goonish Shive comic, you can see it says "Pogs Rule".
- Terminal Lance does it in strip 307 when a First Sargent is shown with them.
- The premise of this CollegeHumor video.
- From The Onion: "Internet Archaeologists Find Ruins Of 'Friendster' Civilization" For those unfamiliar with Friendster, the site was, in fact, still active long after it had been largely eclipsed, first by MySpace, then Facebook until it was killed in 2011.
- Lore Sjoberg in his The Book of Ratings, Collectibles, Part I
Have a little nineties flashback, scarecrow! I actually had a temp job designing pogs in 1994. What kind? Why, I believe they are now rotting landfill pogs, just like the rest.
- Spoony once referenced this trope. He mentioned Vanilla Ice as something that was incredibly popular for a hilariously short period of time, and is now seen as thoroughly embarrassing by even the most die hard of fans. The context for the remark was that he predicted Twilight would be going the same way.
- In TheStrawhatNO!'s Let's Play of The Legend of Zelda: Twilight Princess, after Thorn gets lost in the Lakebed Temple, BigTUnit passes the time by asking the others, "Anyone remember pogs? Because I sure don't."
- From the Rifftrax of Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory, after Slugworth signals Charlie with a thumbs up.
Neil Patrick Harris: A stiff "thumbs up" shows the kids you're "down" with the "music" and the "scene" and the "Pogs".
- Pogressive Ruin, a site dedicated to posting especially ridiculous pogs from a giant collection sold to a comic book shop.
- Stuart Ashen will occasionally refer to artificial 'collectible' fads of yesteryear such as beanie Babies and Pogs when reminding us of his ire toward things in the ilk of Pop! vinyl figures.
- Homestar Runner released an episode of Marizpan's Answering Machine on April Fools' Day of 2016, which had a massive backlog of messages from the seven or so years since the previous Answering Machine had been released. One Running Gag from the cartoon had Homestar leaving messages gushing over such now-dated fads as planking, Jeremy Lin, and the Ouya, swearing each time they're going to be around forever.
- The Angry Video Game Nerd referenced this trope in his review of Tiger Electronic Games; likening them to a fad like Pogs.
- The Simpsons does this often:
Homer: (drinks the beer) Ah, we elected the wrong Carter.
- From the episode "Bart Sells His Soul": "Remember ALF? He's back. In Pog form."
- "'Round Springfield" features The Ultimate Pog, which bears the likeness of Steve Allen.
- In "Homer's Barbershop Quartet", Homer wins a Grammy thanks to inspiration from Marge's purchase of a then-trendy "Baby on Board" sign for the family car. ("Now people will stop intentionally ramming our car!")
- In "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment", Barney asks Moe why the bar doesn't have cable TV. He replies, "It was that, or the mechanical bull. (camera pans back to show the cobweb-encrusted bull) I made my choice, and I stand by it."
- In "Hurricane Neddy", Marge finds a Rubik's Cube in the basement during the storm, and the family decides to try to solve it; they have no more luck than most people did when it was popular, Marge eventually getting frustrated, and yelling, "Now I remember why I threw this down here in the first place!" before tossing it.
- "Lisa the Skeptic" reveals that Homer has an entire closet filled with such kitschy, outdated fad items collected over the years, including a large supply of Billy Beer.
Homer: The Internet? Is that thing still around?
- A similar gag is used in "The Otto Show", where Homer finds a can in his old concert jacket.
- A memorable Homerism from "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo":
- Peter finds his old pet rock in an episode of Family Guy. He remembers when they had to housebreak it after it peed on the floor, including rubbing its "nose" in the puddle.
- In an early episode of Arthur that dealt with fads, Arthur's grandmother gave him his father's old pet rock to substitute for a Woogle, the new toy everyone has. It barely lasts one scene before Arthur dumps it.
- Heck, Arthur winds up creating a new fad by just popping a bottle cap. The kids instantly drop the new toys to get in on it and by the end of the episode, Woogles are in the bargain bin.
- South Park focused an episode on Kyle's difficulty in getting in with the recent Chinpokomon trend. Every time he ran to the toy store to get the latest part of the fad, he would return to find his friends had already moved onto the next new item.
- The "Dethcomedy" episode of Metalocalypse had a comedian whose entire 'routine' was him standing on stage saying "Anybody here remember (insert old-school reference here)?" The guys lampshaded it, but then admitted they found him funny.
- An episode of The Venture Bros. had Dr. Orpheus imprison the souls of a pair of annoying rednecks in Homies figures. Homies, for anyone who missed them, were collectible figures of stereotypical Latino "thug" types sold in the capsule machinesnote in front of grocery stores in the early 2000s.
Orpheus: That's a "home-boy". But be careful! It houses the souls of TWO FOUL-MOUTHED REDNECKS!
- This trope is also used to show how hilariously out-of-date Hank and Dean's concept of pop culture is. Hank in particular makes frequent remarks and references to culture that a boy his age shouldn't even know about. Pogs themselves are brought up on one occasion (before their father confiscates them, claiming that they somehow promote gambling).
- Recess dealt with this a few times, ranging from an addictive puzzle-type game, to having a stock market-style system based around stickers to quoting lines from a popular movie.
- Phineas and Ferb: Doofenshmirtz was once hula hooping and invited Perry the Platypus to join. However, Perry's hula hoop was a trap to capture him.
- In The Amazing World of Gumball, it turns out in "The Void" that all the things in Elmore considered "bad ideas" are erased from existence by the universe itself. This is shown to include such things as pogo balls, disco, Crazy Frog, mullets, and people. In short, no one remembers pogs in Elmore because they can't!
- Bojack Horseman has the backgrounds of flashbacks ('80s, '90s, and 2007) filled with references to the time period in question, generally making them as on-the-nose and dated as possible.
- This was Played for Drama in the King of the Hill episode "Reborn to Be Wild", where Bobby becomes a born-again Christian thanks to the influence of a skateboarding ministry. Hank opposes Bobby's conversion not because he disagrees with it, but because he fears that Bobby is going about it the wrong way, and that treating something as important as his faith in such a manner will have it turn out to be just another passing fad, like his old Tamagotchi, Beanie Babies, and Ninja Turtles costume currently collecting dust in the garage next to Hank's old Members Only jacket.
- Gravity Falls: In "The Inconveniencing", Dipper and Mabel join Wendy and her friends in raiding an abandoned convenience store that shut down in the nineties. Dipper finds an old newspaper with a headline that reads "Cheese Crust Pizza Declared Delicious".
- In one episode of Code Monkeys the Game-A-Vision crew are searching for ways to compete with the Lettuce Patch Dolls that are taking away their market share (Larrity says that there's no way those dolls are ever going away). Dave attempts to pitch his idea for Pogs (Jerry's reaction is "Not Pogs again, Dave"). We hear him say "Now, you see they're these stupid cardboard circles, right..." before going to commercial.