The Geekiest Pop Culture Experts In Pop Culture
For years, pop culture experts have been making lists of various character-types seen in movies and TV shows. But no one’s made a list of the top Pop Culture Experts in Pop Culture. Until now!
We’ve rounded up everyone from the obnoxious loudmouth know-it-alls to the socially awkward walking encyclopedias in this comprehensive list of music snobs, movie geeks and every other Pop Culture Expert. (And maybe some of you real-life pop culture experts will non-ironically leave comments about who’s missing from this list.)
10. Jeff Albertson (a.k.a. Comic Book Guy), ‘The Simpsons’
With his famous catchphrase (“Worst. Episode. Ever.”), Comic Book Guy might as well be the voice of every blog comments section. (Fun fact: Voice Actor Hank Azaria based the voice of Comic Book Guy on his nerdy college neighbor.) Unlike the other characters in this list, Comic Book Guy’s wisdom has been collected in one essential volume. And, of course, he’s been immortalized in an acclaimed comic book.
9. Randy Meeks, ‘Scream’
Jamie Kennedy made a name for himself as the horror movie geek within the meta horror movie ‘Scream.’ His character Randy Meeks famously explains “horror movie rules,” such as abstaining from sex (virgins always die) and never saying “I’ll be right back.” (Watch the NSFW scene here.) But super-nerds will note that four years earlier, indie horror-comedy ‘There’s Nothing Out There’ featured a horror-movie expert trying to save his friends from certain death. Yep. We just out-nerded a fictional horror movie nerd.
8. Liz Lemon, ’30 Rock’
‘TGS’ Head Writer Liz Lemon surprised Jack Donaghy (Alec Baldwin) by speaking fluent German, but she’s also fluent in pop culture. She regularly references ‘Star Wars’ and Bugs Bunny cartoons and has been known to tell a new friend the story of ‘Caddyshack’ over lunch. Plus, who else would try to get out of jury duty by dressing like Princess Leia?
7. Barry, ‘High Fidelity’
Jack Black perfectly embodies the typical awful record store employee. (Watch a NSFW clip of Barry ripping into a customer here.) We imagine this same scene plays out today, only with a middle-aged dad trying to rent Black’s ‘Gulliver’s Travels’ remake while a hipster video store clerk rails against the later-day sins of a formerly great comedian. Except that there aren’t any more video stores.
6. Xander Harris, ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’
Dismissed by some as the “Zeppo” of Buffy’s “Scooby Gang,” Xander has no mystical powers, but he does provide comic relief and plenty of pop culture references. In the show’s seventh season, when Xander loses an eye, he puts on a brave face and says “No one will ever make me watch ‘JAWS 3-D’ again.” Every geek can relate to that one.
5. Randall and Dante, CLERKS
Xander Harris was a stand-in for Buffy creator Joss Whedon (which explains why a 1990’s teen show is chock full of dated references from a 30-something TV writer). Likewise, the lead characters in ‘Clerks’ clearly represent the Id and Superego of mega-geek Kevin Smith. It’s safe to say that Smith has engaged in heated pop culture debates like Dante and Randall’s discussion about independent contractors in ‘Return of the Jedi.’
4. Bill Haverchuck, ‘Freaks and Geeks’
Martin Starr’s unforgettable character was a geek among geeks. He quoted Steve Martin movies, watched Gary Shandling on ‘The Dinah Shore Show’ and dressed up as the Bionic Woman for Halloween. But his greatest feat was getting a popular cheerleader (and his best friend’s crush) to start watching ‘Welcome Back, Kotter.’
3. The Frog Brothers, ‘The Lost Boys’
When Corey Haim was in trouble, he sought help from Alan and Edgar Frog (Jamison Newlander and Corey Feldman).These amateur vampire hunters learned everything they know from comic books. Today it’s hard to believe there’s not a reality show about a pair of real comic book shop employees who are part-time vampire killers. (Watch the Frog Bros. in action here.)
2. Marty Walker, ‘The Devil’s Rejects’
Rob Zombie’s second feature is populated by greasy killers, sleazy cops and doomed victims. Thankfully there’s some comic relief when the police ask Marty Walker (Robert Trebor) to help investigate a string of crimes committed by a man using aliases from Marx Brothers’ films. Let’s hope Marty shows up in Zombie’s next film. (Watch Marty drop some Marx Brothers knowledge in a NSFW clip here.)
1. Abed Nadir, ‘Community’
Abed is the everyman of pop culture experts – he doesn’t work at a cool record shop or a seedy comic book store, he’s just a third year student at Greendale Community College. His crowning moment may have been in season 2, episode 20 (‘Competitive Wine Tasting’) where Abed disproves his professor’s theory about TV’s ‘Who’s the Boss?’ With ‘Community’ finally back on March 15th, we look forward to more of Abed’s dissertations on ‘Cougar Town’ and the show’s ‘Doctor Who’ parody ‘Inspector Spacetime.’
Danny Madigan, ‘The Last Action Hero’
Danny (played by Austin O’Brien) is obsessed with Arnold Schwarzenegger movies and finds himself living in one. ‘Die Hard’ director John McTiernan’s post-modern movie satire needed a special cine-nerd to navigate the loopy plot, and who better than a pre-teen kid to guide us through the fantasy.