Cartoon Network has devolved from a channel devoted to the cartoons of yesteryear and today to a cesspool of lowbrow and obnoxious programming that even a neanderthal would take as an insult to their intelligence. Still, upon closer inspection -- obviously not too close --- you'll find two gems among the unwatchable turds. Namely Adventure Time and, its very close second and focus of this daily list, Regular Show. Created by J.G. Quintel, Regular Show may seem like any other cartoon with an arbitrary cast of characters and insipid humor when taken at face value, but anyone who watches the show will tell you that kind of sentiment couldn't be any further from the truth. Like Ren & Stimpy and Rocko's Modern Life before it, Regular Show pushes the envelope in respect to the subtle innuendo and bizarre humor that have become a hallmark of the series, sometimes surprising Quintel with how much network censorship overlooks.
But the one quality of Regular Show that has gained the hard-earned admiration from the nerdy masses (the greatest and most sincere kind of admiration given that we're such a discerning bunch) is the series' penchant for making references to nerd culture. Grab a Grilled Cheese Deluxe from Cheezer's, sit back and check out the 11 nerdiest Regular Show references! Hmm-hmm-hmm-hmm...
Nintendo games from the company's heyday in the '80s are always a good source for in-show pop culture references that aim for the nostalgia factor, but rarely do the writers go beyond Super Mario Bros., Donkey Kong or Tetris due to their being familiar territory. And that is what makes Regular Show's reference to Excitebike pretty out there since the only people who would know about it are either those who owned a Nintendo Entertainment System around 1985 or are videogame history enthusiasts. Taking the form of Broken Bonez, the writers managed to capture not only the overall spirit of the original game but also the nasty spill your 8-bit cyclist takes when you fail to stick that landing after speeding off a ramp like a maniac. Save for the implausibility of the character hopping back on his bike with zero injury. Broken Bonez remedies that by making sure the cyclist does indeed hobble away with broken bones, although walking about with crutches or being bound to a wheelchair doesn't stop him from doing a victory dance. ("High Score" - Season 2, Episode 19)
10) Pee Wee's Big Adventure
Pee Wee's Big Adventure is that kind of movie where if you bring it up in casual conversation or quote it when not in the company of fellow nerds, you're lucky if at least one person in the room feigns laughter over your forced passing reference to the Alamo being devoid of a basement. However, you would be in very good company hanging around with the creative staff of Regular Show since it's apparent they appreciate the offbeat cinematic gem and the famous "Paging Mr. Herman" scene. The fact that the bellhop is practically an animated version of Paul Reubens and the lobby mirrors the design of the one seen in the film (within the film), it can't be coincidence. ("Do Me a Solid" - S2, Ep. 20)
9) DeLorean DMC-12
The DeLorean DMC-12 may be the universal symbol for automotive engineering and design of the '80s, but that's never the reason a show would make a reference to it. A majority of the time, it's alway meant to pay homage to the sci-fi comedy epic Back to the Future. And the reference actually makes sense given that the episode focuses on the character Skips and his friend Techmo -- immortals who have been around for centuries. ("Skips Vs. Technology" - S3, Ep. 55)
8) Double Dragon
It didn't pioneer beat 'em up videogames, but Double Dragon set the standard for all subsequent entries in the genre and has gone down in the gaming industry's history as a timeless classic. So it stands to reason that Regular Show would be there to parody the game in some capacity. The Karate Duo are dead ringers for Billy and Jimmy Lee and even wear blue and red, respectively. And the Big Pink Monster pretty much represents every mandatory fat guy thug that has to appear in a beat 'em up. And as an added nerd culture reference, the game's unbeatable blue-skinned final boss, dubbed "The Hammer," bears a striking resemblance to Andore from Capcom's own beat 'em up series Final Fight. Although Andore, unlike The Hammer, didn't have an odd weakness to being struck by furniture. ("Rage Against the TV" - S2, Ep. 20)
7) Power Glove
Regular Show absolutely hit the nail on the head when they tore apart the shameful legacy of one of the worst videogame peripherals ever released: the Power Glove. Taking a jab at Mattel and Nintendo's grossly misleading marketing campaign -- and both the exaggerated demonstration of the glove in The Wizard and Jackey Vinson's acting in his portrayal of gaming prodigy Lucas Barton -- it's readily apparent that those who work on Regular Show were the victims of inconsolable Power Glove-induced disappointment. Especially in the end when main characters Mordecai and Rigby discover that each individual game requires the tedious input of an exclusive Power Glove code to set up the control scheme. ("Video Game Wizards" - S3, Ep. 59)
6) Sega Master System
More often than not, each episode of Regular Show opens up with Mordecai and Rigby playing old school videogames. Their mutual game system of choice? The Sega Master System (where else do you expect to play Dig Champs or The Hammer?). It didn't share the same level of success as the rival Nintendo Entertainment System, but that's not to say that it wasn't popular among gamers. After all, it must have had some impact on the show's creator since it merited a place on Mordecai and Rigby's living room table and has basically become the entire room's centerpiece. An actual Sega Master System even appeared on the table at the reproduction of the Regular Show living room during San Diego Comic-Con 2012! ("Death Punchies" - S1, Ep. 4)
5) Darth Vader Unmasked
When Mordecai and Rigby try to one-up The Master Prank Caller -- an anthropomorphic '80s era cell phone -- with their own feeble prank phone calls, the two, along with pretty much the rest of the Regular Show cast, end up incurring his wrath and are sent back in time to 1982 (it's a long story, best watch the episode for yourself). They all manage to overpower The Master Prank Caller by hitting his off switch and return to the present, but not before discovering that beneath the phone is a wizened and pasty geriatric in poor physical health... voiced by Tim Curry. It isn't exactly overt, but you can see the comparison between The Master Prank Caller's true face and the scene in Return of the Jedi when Luke removes Darth Vader's mask, revealing the frail old man beneath the armor. ("Prank Callers" - S1, Ep. 9)
4) Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
As far as Indiana Jones parodies go, most writers have the tendency to parody the opening from Raiders of the Lost Ark when Indy is running away from the boulder, as comedically hackneyed as it is. Like the old school Nintendo games mentioned in the eleventh entry of this list, it's familiar territory. But it takes a real nerd to find humor in the last scene of The Last Crusade when Indy must choose and drink from the true Holy Grail. In the episode "Eggscellent," Mordecai tries to win an "I'm Eggscellent" trucker cap for Rigby by competing in an egg-eating challenge after his friend spirals into an egg allergy-induced coma. Despite the protests of the restaurant's staff, Mordecai manages to finish his meal and ends up in the same chamber as the one seen in The Last Crusade, surrounded by gilded caps and face-to-face with the Eggscellent Knight. Not like all the effort mattered since the knight had an entire closet full of trucker caps, anyway.
3) Dungeons & Dragons
We've all been there when we first purchased Dungeons & Dragons. Sold entirely on the epic and nerdy majesty of the box art, we all ran home fueled by the prospect of cleaving orcs and dragons in half as an axe-wielding barbarian. That is until we learn that the game, like any other, requires rules... complex rules. Rules that are stupid and not worth our time solely on the grounds that we have a stubborn refusal to study and appreciate them. The episode "But I Have a Receipt" captured this moment perfectly when Mordecai and Rigby purchased The Realm of Darthon, even though they learn in the end that the rules, in combination with an overactive imagination, make for a pretty good gaming experience. ("But I Have a Receipt" - S2, Ep. 24)
2) Evil Dead
When you're a cartoon series that thrives on referencing and taking jabs at nerd culture, you can bet good money that there will always be that obligatory episode where the characters fight the undead. Instead of airing a paint-by-numbers zombie episode, Regular Show took this opportunity to salute one of the greatest horror trilogies of all time: the Evil Dead series. A movie night in the graveyard goes from bad to worse when the Zetamax 3D projector used to play Zombocalypse (3D) inadvertently awakens hordes of the dead from their graves. The film's unnamed hero is, despite minor tweaks, Ash Williams for sure; he even carries around his boomstick (although, for obvious reasons, he never uses it) and dispense as many one-liners as feasibly possible. And naturally, a part of the movie takes place in a cabin -- the infamous setting for both The Evil Dead and Evil Dead II. ("Grave Sights" - S2, Ep. 31)
1) Judge Dredd
You don't draw that style of armor and choose that color palette entirely by accident. Small changes aside, that is definitely Judge Dredd we're looking at. In the episode "Trashboat," Rigby legally changes his name to, well, Trashboat when he's inspired to do so after learning that the British rock star "The Urge" had changed his name and, as a result, changed his life for the better. But instead of the expected recognition and fortune, Rigby's new moniker only serves to make him a laughing stock, until he has an encounter with an obese and bitter The Urge from the future -- on a mission to exterminate Trashboat before he steals his popularity and ruins his music career. The fact that The Urge is British and is hellbent on eradicating Rigby without giving him a chance to apologize or explain himself all add credence to the possibility that the writers of Regular Show were referencing Judge Dredd as he is a famous UK comic book character that shoots first and asks questions later. That and someone on the creative staff has excellent taste in comics. ("Trashboat" - S3, Ep. 63)