I'm not a genius at pop culture stuff, but I think I'm better than average. I know about stuff I've never even seen before - stuff from my parents' era. I know that there used to be a show called Green Acres about people living on a farm. I know George Burns had a comedy show with someone called Gracie Allen (who I think was his wife but I'm not positive). I know that Sally Field once famously accepted an award by saying "You like me! You really like me!"...plus I have an almost encyclopedic knowledge of the '80s sitcoms I grew up on and I've seen a fair number of classic movies.
The Boy, meanwhile, doesn't recognize any pop culture thing from before his time*, ever, unless it pertains to the original Star Trek series, the original Planet of the Apes movies, or some other nerd thing. For that matter he barely knows pop culture stuff from his own time. I guess he just doesn't pay attention to that sort of thing. So, I often pause DVDs to give The Boy a quick history lesson so he can fully understand what we're watching. Here are some things I have told him:
"Whenever anyone likes the smell of something in the morning, that's from Apocalypse Now. That's a war movie where someone liked the smell of napalm in the morning."
"Whenever someone asks 'are you trying to seduce me?' or if there's a shot with a guy in the background and a woman's leg in the foreground arching over him, that's from The Graduate."
"If people are taking a long time to analyze where a projectile came from - especially if they say the phrase 'back and to the left' a lot - that's from the movie JFK."
"The phrase 'It's Chinatown' is from some old movie- a cop movie, I think. I'm pretty sure it means 'you're not gonna win this so just give up.'"
"If a guy says he's gonna make someone squeal like a pig, he's talking about anal rape. It's from a movie called Deliverance."
"That's Anne Bancroft**! She's an actress mommies and daddies like."
I've given literally dozens more of these "history lessons" but I'm sure you get the idea.
We've also had a bunch of exchanges like this:
Boy: Is that Burgess Meredith?
Me: What? How do you even...?
Boy: He was The Penguin on the old Batman series!
Me: Ah, yes. Of course.
It always flabbergasts me when he recognizes an actor who's over 40 years old, and it always turns out to be because they were in some nerd thing. It's adorable.
Actually, I shouldn't say The Boy knows less about pop culture than I do. He knows less about actors and actresses. When it comes to music or comic book trivia, he could hang me out to dry. (Comic books count as "pop culture", right?)
* Also, he's eleven years younger than me so "his time" is shorter than "my time" in the first place.
**The Anne Bancroft movie we watched was the 1998 Ethan Hawke version of Great Expectations. In it, Anne Bancroft's character sarcastically says, "Chicka-boom!" (long story). Now, every time we're watching anything with an old dark-haired actress in it, The Boy says "Chicka-boom!" and I'm like "dude, that's not her."