10 Pop Culture Savvy TV Characters

Music, TV Shows, Movies, Video Games, Comics and Everything Screen Rant are often considered “nerdy” but thankfully that’s not a bad thing anymore. These days, it’s considered cooler to admit how obsessed a fandom is than just a few years ago. Mirroring their own fans, the TV shows are full of equally savvy characters.

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Whether these characters are enjoying a good Netflix binge like everyone else, watching cult classics, listening to every rock song imaginable, or just plain obsessing over all things geek culture, they’re easier to relate to than ever.


Dean Winchester – Supernatural

Jensen Ackles as Dean Winchester in Supernatural

SupernaturalDean may ridicule his little brother Sammy for being a nerd, but he’s probably just as geeky as he is. While Sam’s hobbies are more academic, Dean’s nervousness comes from his pop culture references and encyclopedic knowledge of rock music. And in some of SupernaturalIn the more meta episodes, audiences learn just how nerdy Dean can be – whether he’s obsessed with his childhood show Scooby Doo or admitting his guilty pleasure of Dr. Sexy.

He loves cowboy movies, knows the lyrics to every “back and forth” classic rock song in existence, and according to Sam in the Season 14 finale, Dean watches Peril! every night. It makes at least one reference per episode to a beloved movie (star trek Where star wars) or TV show (game of thrones Where looney tunes). Although it took Dean a while to admit his nerdy side, later episodes show he’s not afraid to let his geek flag fly.

Dustin Henderson – Stranger Things

Gaten Matarazzo as Dustin Henderson in Season 3 of Stranger Things

stranger things is full of 1980s nostalgia and pop culture references – from ghost hunters for Dungeons & Dragons. The core circle of friends are classic nerds – those who get bullied at school for admitting they like comic books. Perhaps the most pop culture savvy is Dustin, not least because he knows all the lyrics to “The Neverending Story.”

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He is the most scientifically inclined member of the group and often saves the day with his technological savvy – such as his radio ham named Cerebro after the x-men gadget used by Professor X. Obsessed with D&D, he names their enemy backwards after The Mind Flayer and comes up with the clever name “Demo-dogs” for young Demogorgons. With stranger things season 4 will air later this year, hopefully season 4 will bring many more classic 80s pop culture references.

Pat Rollins – Raising Dion

Pat Rollins in Raising Dion

Raising Dion is packed with comic book and superhero references, the second season even ends with a tantalizing post-credits scene reminiscent of every movie in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. The show’s pop culture references are always either by the titular Dion or his mentor in all things nerdy, Pat Rollins. While Dion is fairly knowledgeable, Pat taught him everything he knows.

pat likes stranger things since it’s his ringtone. Even when faced with The Crooked Man, Pat can’t help but slip in a classic X-Men reference to Moira McTaggert. There’s no doubt that Pat, armed with his knowledge of all things great, will be a handful in future seasons – especially given the aforementioned post-credits scene where Pat looks like a modernized take on the classic. The Fantastic Four evil Dr. Doom.

Lorelai Gilmore – Gilmore Girls


Gilmore Girls was all about the mother-daughter relationship – whether it was between Emily and Lorelai or Lorelai and Rory. Fast-talking Lorelai even passed on her love of pop culture and coffee to her daughter. While Rory is very studious and enjoys reading great works of literature, Lorelai’s knowledge of pop culture remains unwavering in music, movies, and television.

As an early 2000s show, some of the pop culture references in Gilmore Girls are a bit dated now and may confuse new viewers. Lorelai even names her dog Paul Anka after the Canadian singer. Gilmore Girlsand especially Lorelai, remains a masterclass in pop culture references.

Elena Alvarez – One Day at a Time

One day at a timeElena Alvarez is a fan favorite for her commitment to social issues and her love for all things corny. Elena is obsessed with buffy the vampire slayerwas in love with Kristen Stewart from duskand even dressed up as Tom Baker’s iteration of The Doctor of Doctor Who.

When she finds Syd, it’s a match made in nerd heaven. Quickly, Elena and the iconic non-binary character Syd became an item. They both share an affinity for X Files, Wynonna Earp, Harry Potter, and video games. While Syd is just as nerdy, Elena had a longer rental on the show, which further explored her love of pop culture.

Tony DiNozzo – NCIS

Although Tony DiNozzo was not sure NCIS for several years now, he remains a fan-favorite character and is often referenced by McGee or Palmer. This special agent was obsessed with movies in particular, a habit he picked up while going to the movies with his mother before her death.

Often playing the role of comic relief — whether through a movie reference or Gibbs slapping the back of his head — he eases the drama’s high-stakes tension with much-needed levity. His impressions and anecdotes make him all the more beloved and during the show, he made sure to let his colleagues and newfound family know how much he loves movies at least “multiple times a day”.

Cisco Ramon – The Flash

Cisco Ramon is in geek heaven when he’s suddenly surrounded by superhero shenanigans in The flash. Nearly breaking the fourth wall with his love of pop culture credentials and graphic tees, he is the epitome of a fanboy. Cisco often portrays the show’s comic book-loving audience as the flashthe resident pop culture aficionado.

Often described as the goofy but lovable sidekick, Cisco is also wickedly smart with added depth and a sweet side. This fan-favorite character has watched a number of beloved movies and shows from The princess to be married for Back to the future for Friends. He’s even a nerd of his own life, getting excited about meeting other superheroes and naming Team Flash’s enemies, making him the show’s closest character.

Liz lemon – 30 rock

30 Rock features some of the best homages and most obscure references, making it hard to pick just one of the many “nerds” featured on this show. But the honor must go to Liz Lemon, played by Tina Fey, who is a socially awkward and geeky TV writer. While she adores several television shows from Lost for Hero anything and everything with Oprah, she is undeniably obsessed with star wars more than anything else – except maybe food.

She compares moments of her daily life to star wars films and has dressed up as her idol Princess Leia on several occasions – during her jury duty and her wedding. She’s also known for playing D&D, owns Hulk gloves, and loves The Muppets – she even had a childhood crush on Kermit. Without knowing it, when she married Criss Chros, she was even marrying x-men James Marsden (aka Scott Summers/Cyclops).

Abed Nadir – Community

Abed Nadir as Inspector Spactime in a red phone booth

Corn Community had more than a few ups and downs, namely “the year of the gas leaks”, Abed’s love of pop culture never wavered. Several episodes were even based on or picked up by the lovable jester’s affinity for movies and TV, like the beloved Season 2 finale in which Abed turns paintball warfare into a “thing of Star Wars”.

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Abed knows everything there is to know about pop culture, from classic to contemporary Batman films starring Christian Bale to his unusual love for the Courtney Cox show Cougar City – which he even starred in one episode. The most referenced and adored is the parody of the show of Doctor Who known as Inspector Spacetime, his cosplays and re-enactments of this imaginary spectacle are brilliant and fans only wish it was real too.

Sheldon Cooper – The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon explains the rules to Rock, Paper, Scissors, Lizard, Spock in The Big Bang Theory

The Big Bang Theory is full of pop culture references. While everyone in the gang makes pop culture references – from knowing Penny on reality TV to Raj’s love of romantic comedies – Sheldon is by far the most pop culture conscious on the show. and his passion leads to some of the best nerdy scenes in The Big Bang Theory.

His eidetic memory allows him to remember every plot, word, and quote of anything he’s ever heard, seen, or read. And that’s a lot. Sheldon is a member of every fandom imaginable which he proudly displays on his t-shirts, he visits his local comic book store more than once a week and thanks to Penny he has managed to expand his knowledge to include the Kardashians and Taylors. Quick.

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