The Mandatory Entertainment Guide for People Living Under a Pop Culture Rock
You can’t escape pop culture. Or so we thought. But every once in a while we’ll ask someone “Who you gonna call?” and instead of thinking Ghostbusters, they stare back at us with a perplexed expression. Yes, some people live under a fucking rock. Maybe you do, too. Whether you’ve just now managed to roll out from under that rock or have been smiling and nodding at references you don’t get for years, fear not, we got you. Here’s a particle beam of sporadically assorted pop culture.
Cover Photo: Columbia Pictures
Television and the internet are becoming one in the same.
Channel surfing has become as archaic as gluten. The days of setting aside some time to aimlessly browse through channels 1-305 and maybe waste some money on pay-per-view are nearly at an end. Grandma and Grandpa are still on that same cable-driven page, but it's a book that has been read way too many times. Save the start times, commercial breaks, and TiVo for them. You've got better things to do, like subscribe to every single streaming service and watch whatever you want whenever you want. TV has officially taken the red pill and omniscience is only a click away.
Simple recipe really: take a bunch of America’s newest sweethearts and throw them in an already established franchise. When it comes to the remake/reboot/spinoff everything and nothing is sacred. Movies, television shows, you name it. The idea here is: if it was popular once, surely it will be again. The recycled idea is a cornerstone of popular culture. Make fun of the bad ones and gawk at the successful ones.
This is one of the most quoted lines in cinematic history.
The film Star Wars, featuring a dark samurai wizard called "Vader," became a cultural phenomenon, sprouting various sequels and prequels. At some point in your journey to enlightenment, you will be advised to watch the original trilogy (before the prequels). When you get to the big twist at the end of The Empire Strikes Back, do yourself a favor and don’t ask your friends if Vader is really Luke’s father. He is, and may be, the worst dad ever. Instead, randomly say "Luke, I am your father," whenever there's an opportunity to muffle your voice.
Disney has deep pockets.
Walt Disney built an empire with the help of a mouse. The international mass media entertainment conglomerate pretty much owns everything now, even Vader.
Robert Downey Jr. is a big deal right now.
Iron Man is the OG of New Age superhero movies and it's all thanks to RDJ. People have been quoting this actor's now iconic line often lately. "I am Iron Man" has been announced loud and proud from the rooftops of various campuses, comic book stores, movie theaters, coffee shops, and bars. It's a very "I am Spartacus" salute to a man who went from falling asleep in other people's beds to being the savior of a shared cinematic universe.
This is the epitome of a Hollywood actress.
Here's Emma Stone being awesome as she's about to win an Oscar because she's the most charismatic, grounded and charming person ever.
These are Minions.
The single-celled yellow organisms that initially gained popularity in the Despicable Me franchise and are now sold as Halloween costumes at a fancy dress shop near you.
We're way past Beethoven's Symphony No. 5.
Just think about the pissed off the teenager inside of you that doesn't give a fuck and then give them a recording studio, microphone and one hell of a beat. The avenues available to the musically inclined are plentiful; expression has never been a more liberating experience; however, quality may vary. This means we get to witness some brilliant boundary-pushers and not-so-brilliant ones who have gone viral for uttering obscenities on Dr. Phil.
People love acronyms.
And why wouldn't they? Quick, easy and to the point. GOAT (Greatest Of All Time) is a classic. How else can you refer to the greatness of an NFL quarterback over the course of three seconds? One can't debate all day. Let's not even get into LOL; we can't be expected to contain our spontaneous combustion of laughter. The first cousin of acronyms is slang. “Keep it 100,” there's no need to be “extra” or “spill tea,” otherwise you risk being “basic” and “ratchet.”
CGI (Computer Generated Imagery) is big.
CGI is like cinematic LSD. Nothing is unattainable on screen anymore; imagination is only limited by a studio's budget. Big explosions, spaceships, and airbrushed 60-year-old actors and actresses are just some of the marvels of CGI. Neil Armstrong walked on the moon in in 1969 and James Cameron made Zoe Saldana a Na'vi in 2009. One small step for man, one giant leap for big budget entertainment.
Legos are not just toys.
They have their own multimedia empire.
'The Office' will never die.
In this TV series, Steve Carrell brings back a phrase that was originally made popular in the 1992 comedy Wayne's World. This show will continue to be binge-watched (but not on Netflix) and mentioned in almost every girl's dating profile for years to come.
You can't beat Samuel L Jackson.
He is a bad motherfucker.
Ultimately, pop culture is subjective.
Sometimes popular culture can seem like a drunken Walmart employee browsing through the aisles on their lunch break. It's a chaotic, nonsensical, ineffable particle beam shot from a proton blaster made of lavender soap. If you're really worried about keeping up to date with it, listen to podcasts, follow celebrities on Instagram, and talk to your friends about what they are into. There's really not a stigma attached to living under a pop culture rock. It's probably nice there; you can form your own “popular” opinions and make choices on the foundation of personal nostalgia and appreciation. So do that. Don't worry about popular culture—scroll, stream, read at your leisure. And when someone asks, “Who you gonna call for relevant pop culture references?” you can confidently reply, “me,” whether you know what the fuck you're talking about or not.
But just to clarify, those burly rock stars up top are the Ghostbusters, and they are indeed who you should call.