A Shout-Out is something (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.
The idea isn't new even if this term is. Arthur Conley, in his 1967 hit "Sweet Soul Music" mentions several performers by name he finds have done great work, by "spotlight" on some of their songs of note or their distinctive style.
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.
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.) An explicit, open Shout-Out to one of the work's sources of inspiration is an Inspiration Nod.
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, Expy, 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.
- Anime and Manga
- Card Games
- Fan Works
- Live-Action TV
- Professional Wrestling
- Tabletop Games
- Video Games
- Web Comics
- Web Original
- Western Animation
- Real Life
- Plumbing the Death Star:
"We use pop culture references to explain older pop culture references."
- Guest star Shant explains how The Good Guys Always Win in Harry Potter by comparing it to "betting on Sebulba, he always wins," a quote from The Phantom Menace. He lampshades how strange it is to reference something so specific as Jackson passionately puts forward that there just aren't enough good Phantom Menace references in the world.
- In "When Bad Guys Go Good," Zammit tries to explain the dynamics of his good-aligned versions of the sharks from Jaws by comparing them to the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles and the X-Men. Jackson laughs at how recursive their pop culture references have become that they need to explain.
- In Red Panda Adventures, the Mad Monkey's debut episode, "Monkeyshines", reveals his origin story as the Sole Survivor of a plane crash who lived among baboons so long before his rescue that he developed a psychic affinity with them. He had a brief tour telling his story on the lecture circuit better he was overshadowed by the lost English lord who could talk to apes and the the little Indian boy who was raised by wolves.
- Bear in the Big Blue House:
- In "I've Gotta Be Me," Bear dons a grayish sweater and tells us that "It's a beautiful day in the neighborhood." Some familiar music plays and he suggests that maybe he should get a pair of sneakers.
- At one point in the episode "Let's Get Interactive," Bear is looking for dirt, water and seeds to help solve a puzzle. He says "You know, these things would be a lot easier to find if we had a couple of guides to help us" and then Pip and Pop show up. When he says this, closed-captioning reads "You know, these things would be a lot easier to find if we had a little blue dog to help us."
- At the end of "I've Got Your Number," Luna states that "numbers go on and on forever, to infinity and beyond!"
- According to this, the "What If?" song from "A Beary Bear Christmas" was patterned after the film It's a Wonderful Life, down to it being presented in black-and-white.