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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, disco, pins, breakdancing, 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 is now Deader Than Disco, 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 damn kids today don't believe it was actually real, it's Aluminum Christmas Trees.
Anime and Manga
- 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 FLCL
- 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!
- 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.
- On Married... with Children...Marcy takes Peg to "Antoine's Under the El" for an anniversary gift. Instead of taking the cactus smackage, Peg gives her masseur money to go buy some Pogs, which makes him extremely happy.
- 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.)
- 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.
- This Dungeons And Dorks strip.
- 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.
- 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".
- The premise of this College Humor 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 My Space, 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.
- The Simpsons does this often.
- 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!")
- Moe was once asked why his 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."
- Do you remember ALF? He's back, and in Pog form.
- The Ultimate Pog, which bears the likeness of Steve Allen.
- 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 father gave him his old pet rock to substitute for the new toy everyone has. It barely lasts one scene before Arthur dumps it.
- 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 machines 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!
- ↑ Capsule machines, for anyone who missed them, involved putting anywhere from a penny (in olden times) to four quarters in a slot, then turning a handle to release a toy/gumball/other prize into a little receiving bay