Pencil 2.O Wikia

Here is the first quarter of the four-part list of references to popular culture in Fake TPOT. For the other parts, please click on one of the links below:

Pre-modern entertainment[]

Your mileage may vary, but I define "pre-modern entertainment" as the various ways people kept themselves entertained before cinema, television, music-to-go etc. (basically everything from the "olden days").

Visual art[]

  • Mona Lisa (1503–1506) - As The Strongest Team on Earth's "Artistest", Bell somehow paints this famous image onto her team's rod within seconds. [TPOT 9] [TPOT 11] (mentioned in this episode)

Literature and poetry[]


  • The Aeneid (19 BCE) - Golf Ball's passage for the oratory competition, of which three lines can be heard. She asks Pen to translate the title of a book of Aeneid-related mnemonics into English, which she can work on memorizing the prologue with. [TPOT 11]
  • Arithmetica (3rd century CE) - Tennis Ball "advertises" this ancient book of mathematics by Diophantus while competing on Two's Special Seventeenth Skirmish Show. [TPOT 18b]
  • Don Quixote (1605) - Basketball was considering reading the first lines from this famous piece of Spanish literature, but she decided against it after hearing herself say the word lanza. [TPOT 11]
  • Caoineadh Airt Uí Laoghaire (1773) - Lightning's passage for the oratory competition, of which seven lines can be heard. He mentions that there are hundreds of lines in this great eighteenth-century Irish classic, and he's memorized all of them (mostly out of passion). [TPOT 11]
  • The Tale of Kieu (Truyện Kiều) (1820) - Pin's passage for the oratory competition, of which the first two lines can be heard. She tells her team (then the team8s) that where she comes from, this well-known Vietnamese epic poem, written by Nguyễn Du, wouldn't be so hard to find. [TPOT 11]
  • The Three Musketeers (1844) - Apparently, Blocky, Pen and Eraser have dressed up as the title characters of this Alexandre Dumas novel; they are even depicted on a postcard (which is itself a reference to the pictographic postcards of the early twentieth century). [TPOT 12a]
  • Éditions Larousse (1852) - Cloudy tells Nickel to get out the old Larousse after he chooses Puffball for their new team: They both speak French to each other. [TPOT 20a]
  • A Tale of Two Cities (1859) - The first part of the first sentence from Charles Dickens' novel is "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times." Coiny describes being on W.O.A.H. Bunch without Donut as "the most ambiguous of times". [TPOT 12a]
  • I Am a Cat (吾輩は猫である) (1906) - Naily reads the Japanese title of this Natsume Sōseki-written book (Wagahai wa neko de aru) for the oratory competition. Unlike the others, she only reads the title—not anything from the book itself—thus getting her team up for elimination. [TPOT 11] [TPOT 12a] (mentioned in this episode)


  • "Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep" (1700s) - Marker says the first line of this old English Christian prayer as he is about to fall asleep from competing too hard. [TPOT 19]
  • "Jabberwocky" (1871) - Pillow raps the word "jabberwocky" in this episode's Cake at Stake song. The phrase originates in this nonsensical poem. [TPOT 4]

Music and theatre[]

Performed music[]

Includes patriotic music and worship songs.

  • "Oh Happy Day" (1755) - As soon as he receives his "cake", Black Hole quietly says the title of this hymn by Philip Doddridge, which was most famously arranged by the gospel choir leader Edwin Hawkins in 1968. [TPOT 9]
  • "Auld Lang Syne" (1799) - This Scottish folk song is how Nickel greets Balloony on New Year's Eve. It actually means "long, long ago" instead of "Happy New Year", which Balloony greets him back as "Haud Hogmanay". [TPOT 24d]
  • "The Star-Spangled Banner" (1814) - Lightning has a high opinion of American guys: he calls them "star-spangled studs", an allusion to the national anthem of the United States. [TPOT 12b]
  • Unfinished Symphony (1822) - Industrious One tells Death PACT Again that it doesn't matter if their work is unfinished, citing this composition that they say is by Johann Computer Mauss (objectized version of Johann Strauss). They stand corrected by Tree, who says it was Franz Sherbert (Schubert) who composed it. [TPOT 13]
  • "Fight the Good Fight" (1863) - Fries's new catchphrase (which he only uttered twice) is surprisingly the title of a 19th-century Christian hymn by John S. B. Monsell. [TPOT 2] [TPOT 6]
  • "Shave and a Haircut" (c. late 1800s) - Naily and Bomby knock this motif on the door to Balloony's room in the Filing Cabinet. [TPOT 31]
  • "Ten in the Bed" (early 1900s) - This nursery rhyme of vague origins is sung by Naily as there are ten people left on the balance. [TPOT 26]
  • "Scotland the Brave" (1950) - Sigune calls Balloony "Mr. Scotland-the-Brave" after nine months in the Filing Cabinet. [TPOT 13]


  • William Shakespeare (1589–1613)
    • Two indirectly mentions the most famous English-language dramatist in history (as his object version, Shaking Spear) as a poet that Snowball would more likely recite than Ice Cube saying a new line. [TPOT 8]
    • Julius Caesar (1599)
      • Cloudy utters the line Et tu, Nicolaë after seeing that Nickel has also ditched this episode's contest. [TPOT 17]
      • Two says "Objects, TPOTers, contestants, lend me your hearing apparatuses", a parody of Mark Antony's line from this play. [TPOT 20b]
    • All's Well That Ends Well (1623) - Gaty quotes the title of this play as she celebrates the end of the episode she hosted. [TPOT 14]
    • As You Like It (1623) - The structure Two creates and destroys in this episode, "The Seven Stages", is a play on "the seven ages" of a man's life, as catalogued in this play. [TPOT 29]
  • Gilbert and Sullivan (1871–1896) - Gaty and Saw talk about whether Gilbert and Sullivan's operas are considered public domain in front of the other contestants. [TPOT 14]
    • Trial by Jury (1875) - Gaty calls the challenge she hosts "Trial by Jury", like the name of the first Gilbert and Sullivan operetta. The similarity in names is even "lampshaded" by Saw. [TPOT 14]
    • Patience (1881) - Naily says that a game show is an opportunity "that may not occur again", a direct quote from this operetta's first act finale. [TPOT 18a]
    • Iolanthe (1882)
      • Stapy, Pencil and Match quote from this as they lament Liy's absence in the EXIT. Iolanthe itself is mentioned by name, as Pencil and Match were both in a production of it. [TPOT 4]
      • Pencil tells Match that she sees "no objection to fantasizing, in moderation". This is a word-for-word copy of the Fairy Queen's line from Act I, except the Fairy Queen is talking about stoutness. [TPOT 19]
      • Two has written "No-no! Ho-ho!" repeatedly and for twenty lines in their letter to the contestants explaining why they are absent. This is a part of the exchange between Strephon and the Peers in the Act I finale of this opera. [TPOT 14]
      • One of the people that voted for Aresko in TPOT 20 goes by the name of "Perola Svensson". Perola was the name Gilbert and Sullivan used for Iolanthe before it premiered. [TPOT 21]
    • Princess Ida (1884) - Pencil tells Bracelety, Liy and Leafy that their situation (being in an all-female learning environment) is very similar to this operetta that she had taken part in after BFDIA. She and her fellow EXITers even sing a modified-for-objects version of "Towards the empyrean heights", the second-act opener from this semi-feminist opera. [TPOT 24a]
    • The Mikado (1885)
      • Blocky tells Pen, once his girlfriend is eliminated in BFB 2, that "there's lots of good fish in the sea", a direct quote from the first act finale of this operetta. [TPOT 24a]
      • Naily mentions the title of a song from the second act, "Here's a how-de-do", when her team is about to lose. [TPOT 4]
    • Ruddigore (1887)
      • The legend song that Fanny sings at the beginning of the episode is essentially Dame Hannah's song from this operetta, "Sir Rupert Murgatroyd", explaining the curse of the Murgatroyds to the Professional Bridesmaids. [TPOT 8]
      • Golf Ball's personal anthem at the beginning of the episode, "The National Anthem of the Reformed Golf Ball", sounds almost exactly like the song "There grew a little flower" (again sung by Dame Hannah) from this opera's second act, only more upbeat and anthem-y. [TPOT 16]
      • Gaty says that "it really doesn't matter", repeating the last word five times, when Barf Bag asks if it's okay if her team name is changed to "W.O.A.H. Bunch". This repetition comes directly from the song "My eyes are fully open", which not only comes from Ruddigore, but from the new version of The Pirates of Penzance as well. [TPOT 11]
    • The Gondoliers (1889)
      • Out of nowhere, Snowball yells "My papa, he keeps three horses!" while blindfolded. He doesn't mean it literally; this line comes from a scene from this operetta in which blindfolds are involved. [TPOT 24c]
      • The "begs/desires/demands" sequence of interruptions is a reference to this scene. In TPOT 15, the Duke of Plaza Toro's rôle is taken by Saw, Casilda by Winner and the Duchess of Plaza Toro by Clock. [TPOT 15a]
  • The Chocolate Soldier (1908) - This German-language Oscar Straus operetta, which was based on a work by George Bernard Shaw, is the basis for the title of this episode. Incidentally, the term refers to a soldier who not so much a good fighter as good-looking (in other words, Pen from P2O). [TPOT 25b]

Anime and manga[]

  • Heidi, Girl of the Alps (アルプスの少女ハイジ) (1974) - I'll admit this, but the beginning of the Fake TPOT intro during Act VI is somewhat based on the German intro of this anime series, based on the Swiss novel Heidi. [TPOT 31] to [TPOT 36b]
  • Death Note (2003) - Leek briefly mentions this manga series when his new team stumbles upon the last thing Nickel wrote before he was cannibalized. [TPOT 4]
  • Danganronpa (ダンガンロンパ 希望の学園と絶望の高校生) (2013) - One of Two's various laughing sounds is "Upupupupupu", which is the exact same laugh as that of Monokuma, the antagonist of this video game-turned anime. Interestingly enough, the Danganronpa franchise and BFDI have teamed up more than once through the power of fan fiction. [TPOT 22]

Other anime-related stuff[]

  • Two comes out of Fries's body with "anime eyes", a blanket term for the most typical varieties of eye used in Japanese animation. [TPOT 21]
    • Remote gives herself a kawaii appearance as she convinces Tree that she is good for giving relationship advice. Her face (complimented on by Tree) was supposedly added in by a guest animator. [TPOT 26]
  • Naily asks Two if they and Five were reading manga. [TPOT 30a]
  • One of Aresko's voters is called "Yandere_fever. [TPOT 21]


  • After Basketball is the first contestant out in the definitions bee challenge, Nickel references the Who's on First? routine, made famous by Abbott and Costello. [TPOT 23]
  • "Your mom / Yo mama / Yo momma / Yer mum" jokes
    • Coiny tells a "your mawm" joke to Gaty, who does not appreciate it because she does not like him. [TPOT 24c]
    • Five attempts to tell a joke while Two processes The Alefs' votes. He only says "Your mom!", which absolutely no one finds funny. [TPOT 29]

Modern art[]

  • One of the characters from Pencil's angst-filled fanfic is called Prisma, named after Prismacolor. [TPOT 24a] [TPOT 24b]

Specific artists[]

  • Jackson Pollock - Industrious One is surprised by the abstract expressionism Just Not used for their sand art and says that one of the team members must be this artist (objectized as "Flaxen Pollock"). [TPOT 13]
  • Norman Rockwell - Apparently, the scene of the contestants crowding around the asteroid that crash-landed onto Earth is reminiscent of a scene by this American artist of the twentieth century. [TPOT 30b]

Modern literature[]

Specific genres[]

  • References to fanfiction
    • A number of references are made about fruit alien Rough Lemon and his name being similar to "lemon fanfiction", about which Tree blushes if it's brought up. In the fanfiction community, "lemon" is a nice word for not-so-nice, not-safe-for-work kinds of works. [TPOT 15a] [TPOT 15b]
      • Its synonym, smut, is also name-dropped in a few episodes, all of which involve an EXITer misunderstanding Four's assignment. [TPOT 18a] [TPOT 24a]
    • The common trope of the OTP ("one true pairing") is invoked by one of the commenters during Cake at Stake in reference to Coiny and Pin. The latter takes it to heart the most; she embraces the title for herself and her her husband. [TPOT 31]
  • Bok mentions a number of genres that Two and Five could have possibly been reading, namely magic realism and Scandi noir. [TPOT 30a]

Specific authors[]

  • Jorge Luis Borges - Two's personal library (situated behind the sky) is called the "Library of Borgress", a portmanteau of this Argentine author's name and "Library of Congress". The original name was going to be "Library of El Aleph", a reference to Borges's 1945 short story. [TPOT 11]
  • Agatha Christie - Book getting arrested at the end of this episode is something Gaty considers a "Bag-atha Christie twist". [TPOT 25b]

Literary devices[]

  • Tennis Ball says that Golf Ball has always been a fan of retroactive continuity, or the "retcon", which is why she claims that she has always supported Basketball's sense of innovation. [TPOT 19] [TPOT 29]

Literary works[]

  • The Great Gatsby (1925) - Pen has a habit of calling people "old sport" as a part of his long list of pet names for other people—this phrase is hardly used these days, the author's first having heard of it from this 1920s novel. In later episodes, Tree originally finds it annoying, but he learn to accept it along with his comparative maturity. [TPOT 10b] (and many episodes afterwards)
  • Winnie-the-Pooh (1926) - Gaty thought that Pooh (not "poo" as Saw said) was yellow and wore a red shirt. Of course, she is talking about the title character from this A. A. Milne novel turned Disney character, not anything else. [TPOT 22]
  • The Call of Cthulhu (1928) - The title of this short story by the famous horror writer H. P. Lovecraft sort of inspired the title of this episode, "The Call of Wagtayatli".[1] [TPOT 31]
  • Nineteen Eighty-Four (1949) - In the script, the way that the non-contestants watch the show on the big screen is compared to the giant telescreens of the Thought Police in George Orwell's dystopian novel. I trust it's not as intense as it sounds. [TPOT 9] -
  • Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1961) - The giant dictionary that Tennis Ball carries with him to the competition area is called Ball's Third, a reference to this very large reference work. It appears that Tennis Ball has written it himself. [TPOT 23]
  • The Stepford Wives (1972) - Tree compares Taco to the women in this Ira Levin-penned satirical novel after he sees that she and Blocky now have a family. The rest of his team disagree when they see what she has accomplished after competing in BFB. [TPOT 12b]
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (1979) - Naily incorrectly guesses that BFDI has been on for forty-two years, the number being a reference to the "Answer to the Ultimate Question of Life, the Universe, and Everything" from this famous Douglas Adams science fiction radio show-turned-novel. [TPOT 26]
  • The World Almanac and Book of Facts (1868–present, in particular 1981) - Winner picks up a copy of the 1982 version of this yearly American reference work, and Clock believes it to be proof that the contestants are in a different year.[2] This is one of the rare instances of product placement in the show (brought unto by the contestants' being in an alternate reality). [TPOT 27]
  • Harry Potter (1997–2007) - The first word Snowball says in Act VI is "Graupius", which sounds like part of the name of the ancient battle, but it's in fact the Latin name for one of Snowball's famous remarks (in another universe where he's actually said it): "Grawp"... which happens to be the name of Hagrid's half-brother. [TPOT 31]
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid (2007) - Eraser interjects the words "zoo-wee mama" in shock because he had been sleeping for two years. [TPOT 30a]
  • The Hunger Games (2008) - Basketball tells Eggy that she volunteers as tribute (to talk to Snowball) before Eggy calls on her to do so. This happens to be one of the more iconic lines from this book-turned-film series by Suzanne Collins. [TPOT 12b]

Modern theatre[]

Theatre in general[]

  • Leafy corrects Liy: Her life is like a Broadway musical, not a West End one. The West End is to British theatre as Broadway is to American theater. [TPOT 24a]
    • Broadway is again mentioned by Puffball, who wonders why Ilta isn't singing there instead of harassing object show hosts. [TPOT 30b]
  • As she waits for Liy to turn her photograph into lettuce, Pencil calls Pen a bland boy toy with the face of a matinée idol. That's an old term (from the days of black-and-white cinema!), referring to a handsome male actor. It is still used in Asia. [TPOT 24b]

Specific theatrical works[]

  • Oklahoma! (1943) - When Barf Bag goes outside to check on Saw and Gaty's belongings, she exclaims to herself (in a sing-song voice), "Oh, what a beautiful mornin'!" That is the opening song to this musical. The song is best heard here, from the film released in 1955. [TPOT 10b]
  • The Glass Menagerie (1944) - Tennessee Williams' biographical play is alluded to; Winner has brought a literal "glass menagerie" (a collection of animal-shaped trinkets made of glass) with them to the competition. [TPOT 18a] [TPOT 29] (mentioned in this episode)
  • A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum (1962) - Pen almost drops the entire title of this Ancient Roman-themed musical when he hesitates to tell Golf Ball that the team lost while she was dead. Instead of saying "the forum", he says "our flashback to the last episode". [TPOT 10b]
  • Flora the Red Menace (1965) - One of the bystanders calls Pin the title of this play after she sees Coiny embrace her. [TPOT 17]
  • Hair (1967) - When Stapy wakes up from hibernating between the events of BFB 16 and TPOT 1, he groggily sings "Good morning, starshine", a song from this hippie musical. [TPOT 24b]
  • The Pirates of Penzance (1980–1981) - This Joseph Papp-adapted version of the Gilbert and Sullivan classic, which eventually made its way to Broadway, is mentioned by Two (who has become rather enlightened on objects' media) as a punishment that real-life pirates must undergo. [TPOT 27]



  • Anyone who mentions how new and fashionable disco music is (to say nothing of how it will never die) will inevitably date this episode to the middle of the 1970s. [TPOT 8] [TPOT 16]
    • Eraser mentions in a 1980 episode that disco has been dead for over a year (a reference to the Disco Demolition Night of 12 July 1979). Two still believes it's a popular genre with the likes of country, schlager and "that new wave everybody's talking about". [TPOT 23]
    • Snowball reiterates this in a 1982 episode. [TPOT 28]
  • Discy says that hip-hop music is the in thing these days (as of 1979, when this episode was filmed). [TPOT 20b]
    • The Alefs' contribution to this episode's challenge is a rap, courtesy of Coiny (who calls himself "C-Dawg"). Puffball provides the main beat through her use of beatboxing, which she had learnt from Gelatin when they were on BFB together. [TPOT 29] [TPOT 31] (mentioned in this episode)
  • As he zaps Snowball, Lightning calls him a punk, but he takes it back—he's a fan of the genre. [TPOT 13]
  • Wooden drums, the only instrument necessary for the traditional ʻōteʻa dance, can be heard as Two and Five wiggle their hips. In fact, they were participants at a Tahitian dance recital for algebraliens in 1982. [TPOT 29]

Specific singing styles[]

  • Robot Flower begins to engage in some Tuvan throat-singing to get the attention of her team. Only Bottle seems to notice; she calls her sounds wonderful. [TPOT 10b] [TPOT 11] (mentioned in this episode)
  • At the end of the episode, Liy (now Yıldız Xenophonia Māhealanisdóttir) proclaims in her song that she is now part-yodelling cowgirl. She even lets an "odel-odel-aydee-hee" for a line or two. [TPOT 6]

Specific musical artists[]

  • ABBA
    • The entire second half of TPOT 24 is basically a tribute to this Swedish pop band. [TPOT 24c] [TPOT 24d]
      • One reference seems to have escaped to the first half: Liy tells Pencil that Pen begged her to lay all her love on him. [TPOT 24b]
      • The instrumental versions of their songs play as background music during a few scenes in this episode. For example, "Me and I" plays at the very beginning, "The Piper" plays right after Cake at Stake and "Summer Night City" can be heard while Fries shows off his new wiggly dance move.
      • The first word spoken in this half is the title of their more-famous-in-Spanish song "Chiquitita"—that's how Tree greets Pen when he wakes up. He claims that it is Greek for "Good morning". (It's not.)
      • Two whistles the melody of "Super Trouper" after calling someone on the phone.
      • Price Tag blames "money, money, money" for making TV and Robot Flower take so long to call Basketball from the Filing Cabinet.
      • Aresko and Pin being the biggest ABBA fans of all the TPOT contestants is a reference to how the band were/are extremely popular in the countries they come from, Australia and Vietnam, respectively.
      • Fries tells Taggy that ABBA sang about his country, (Goikyan) Belgium, in their song about the battle in that municipality, Waterloo. He sarcastically tells Nickel that he's actually from "The Kingdom of Angeleyes".
      • Aresko says that Two can't kick the band out too early; he wants to be the dancing queen.
      • In a bit of an anachronism, Björn implores Two not to shut them down yet... That's the title of their newest song released in 2021.
      • Benny tells the TPOT contestants that they have toured Japan (and they did, in 1978 and 1980) and it's still not as strange as performing in front of a bunch of talking objects.
      • Finally, the members of ABBA themselves show up at the New Year's party, singing "Happy New Year" and "On and On and On" to Two and the crowd of TPOT contestants.
    • Bok and Two miss ABBA not only as performers in the latter's Party Huis, but as a musical group in general; they suspect that they will break up soon. (When this episode aired in mid-1982, the band had just released their last album in decades and would break up sometime before the end of the year.) [TPOT 27] (mentioned in this episode)
  • Anita Bryant - A triple reference! [TPOT 15a] [TPOT 15b]
    • Anita Bryant had a very popular song on the radio in 1960, "Paper Roses". This is alluded to by Golf Ball, who tells her team that she used to sing "OJ Lilies" in the bucket (i.e., the shower) all the time.
      • That her song in this universe is called "OJ Lilies" is in itself a reference to the fact that she was a major advertiser for Florida orange juice in the last century.
    • She was also very homophobic and campaigned to "save our children" from the alleged dangers of gay people. She'd eventually have to face the consequences for her actions and attitudes, so on 14 October 1977, she was hit in the face with a pie during a press conference. This was parodied in TPOT 15, where a news report showed a former singer called "I Need A Pie Aunt" being hit with a pie for saying that people who love each other shouldn't exist.
  • Another Bad Creation - This is what Gaty calls her team's Nonexisty Cage, which could have been a coincidence had Camera not said that he loved that group. Even the episode was going to be called either the same name as them or a lyric from their most famous song "Iesha". [TPOT 4]
  • Bucks Fizz - Gaty sarcastically says that what most people do with teapots is put "Buck's Fizz" in it. Human viewers might recognize this as the name of an alcoholic drink, but because this is kid-vaguely-friendly BFDI, she's actually talking about this early '80s British pop ensemble. [TPOT 28]
  • Creedence Clearwater Revival - When Balloony says that he wants to get C[ake], C[loudy] and R[ocky] back, Nickel thinks he's talking about "C-reed-fence Clean-water Revival", this popular rock band of the counterculture era that broke up in 1972. [TPOT 24a]
  • Destiny Chukunyere - One of Aresko's voters is called デスティニー・チュクニェレ (Desutinī Chukunyere), the Japanese name of this young Maltese Eurovision singer. [TPOT 21]
  • Donna Summer - Donna Summer's name is finally dropped in this episode, whose object version ("Object Donna Summer") is cited as the inspiration for One to become a country singer. [TPOT 23]
  • Elvis Presley - After Black Hole sings while playing his guitar, he says to Death P.A.C.T. "Thank you, thank you very much", which may be the most famous quote from the King of Rock 'n' Roll (in his later days). Ilta says the same catchphrase in a later episode. [TPOT 5a] [TPOT 30b]
  • The Everly Brothers - Two sarcastically remarks that the contestant who received the fewest votes at Cake at Stake will join a revival of "The Severally Brothers", the objectized version of this popular duo of brothers, which, as Golf Ball said, broke up long ago. Ironically, they would get back together later in the same year this episode came out, in 1983. [TPOT 30a]
  • Freddy Cannon - Well, his object version, Freddy the Cannon. Golf Ball compares Pen to this "Tallahassee Lassie" singer because he shouted "Whoo!" after she recited from the Aeneid. (He is known for that stuff.) A short, high-pitched shout of "Whoo!" would become one of Pen's few catchphrases in later episodes. [TPOT 11]
  • Karen Carpenter - Naily praises Gaty for her reference to the song "Close to You". She even calls her "Ka-ty", a combination of Gaty and the first name of her idol (as of this episode). [TPOT 10a]
  • The Lennon Sisters - This American family singing group of The Lawrence Welk Show is invoked by Battery (kind of): She exclaims "For the love of the Lenin sisters" when Eraser shoves her for a second time. [TPOT 22]
  • Nana Mouskouri
    • Pencil complains that Pen's new glasses make him look like he should be singing the classic song "The White Rose of Athens", better known as "Weiße Rosen aus Athen". With Pen's new-found Greek identity in mind, Pencil can only be talking about the bespectacled Cretan singer Ιωάννα Μούσχουρη. [TPOT 19]
    • Black Hole jokingly sings the first line of that song to Tree that song after Pen enters the room. [TPOT 20a]
  • Neil Sedaka - Liy says that she's heard enough "Heel Sedaka" to know what dating is—the exact concept doesn't exist where and when she comes from, viz. 1960s Sweden. Neil Sedaka is known for his songs about love. [TPOT 29]
  • The Nolans - Also known as "The Nolan Sisters", this Irish girl group is parodied as "The Snow-lans". Lightning is a fan of them, as is Aresko. [TPOT 24c]
  • Pat Boone - Puffball brings up the name of this American singer's object version—Hat Boone—as someone who does covers and forgets that the originals still exist. Pat Boone is notorious for covering songs by Black Americans during the age of Jim Crow segregation. [TPOT 10b]
  • Patrice Rushen - In her usual sarcastic tone, Stem Kastje tells Puffball that it is the objectized version of this jazz singer, Hat-rice Rushen, that is the popular contestant who is frequently voted for in this episode's Cake at Stake. [TPOT 28]
  • Pink Lady - Naily gives the name of this Japanese duo as a good example of J-pop; they were also popular outside Japan. They were going to be referenced in TPOT 24 by Nickel, who would have invoked their American variety show, Pink Lady and Jeff. [TPOT 26]
  • The Police - Balloony says "the police" are more than just a band, referring to this British group. They were also mentioned by name by Coiny, years before they were formed. [TPOT 7] [TPOT 24a]
  • Roberta Flack - It was mentioned in the notes, but the new Cake at Stake song sounds very similar to the musical stylings of this American soul singer—her "Killing Me Softly with His Song" inspired several covers in different languages. [TPOT 8] to [TPOT 12a]
  • Rudy Vallée - Blocky has to pretend that he likes listening to the sounds of an unspecified 1930s crooner (as Pen and Eraser's dad does). Attentive viewers will probably recognize the singer's voice as very similar to this teen idol from the decade. [TPOT 12b]
  • The Seekers - This Australian group is mentioned in the title of the episode. It could also refer to the contestants, whose challenge is to look for their fellow contestants in Two's hotel. [TPOT 6]
  • The Shaggs - Five reacts with horror when Liy (as "Exix") tells them that she had to sing the national anthem in the style of "The Shagg Carpets", the objectized version of this band that was apparently meant to be bad. As the last time Liy was exposed to popular culture was in the late 1960s, this is more timely than it seems. (The episode was produced in 1982.) [TPOT 28]
  • Sonny Bono - Lightning tries to greet Pen with "buongiorno", i.e. "good day"... he says "Sonny Bono gorno" instead. [TPOT 15b]
  • Van Halen - Pin jokes that Coiny, who has recently taken up the guitar, is too scared to play any song by "Can Halen" (the object version of this rock band) because their music is too complicated. [TPOT 31]
  • The Village People - This disco group, known for their hypermasculine stage costumes and the song "YMCA", are invoked twice in this episode (as the Hamlet People): first by Book (who doesn't understand why Tree has a police uniform) and second by Taggy. Both believe the band is no longer together, although when this episode aired in 1981, they had released a few songs. [TPOT 24b]
  • Vitas - The team jingle of the new team "Vitas" includes an operatic solo that startles everyone in the team. This is a reference to this Russian singer with the same name, known for his vocal stylings. [TPOT 20]
  • Wilson Phillips - Firey Jr. mentions that Leafy is a big fan of this band and that Stapy is sounding a lot like her at their concerts. This suggests that they exist in this universe. [TPOT 6]


YouTube videos are good.

  • "I've Told Every Little Star" (1932, 1961) - In a previously deleted line from the episode, Black Hole tells his team that while he was up in space, he's told something to every little star, just like the popular song of the 1930s and early 1960s. [TPOT 8]
  • "It's a Big Wide Wonderful World" (1940–1949) - Golf Ball calls the world of biological literature "big, wide [and] wonderful", a quote from this song popular throughout the decade. [TPOT 7]
  • "Zip-a-Dee-Doo-Dah" (1946) - This Disney-related song, originally from the banned film Song of the South, is quietly referenced in Two's saying "Yep-a-dee-doo-dah". [TPOT 24c]
  • "'A' You're Adorable" (1949) - The unknown singer who spells the word "cake" at the beginning of the Cake at Stake song sounds very similar to Perry Como when he sang this song. All together, the specific musical genre of this CaS theme is big band swing, the style for which Frank Sinatra was most famous from the 1940s to the early 1950s. [TPOT 2]
  • "Botch-a-Me" (1952) - In the script, Tree telling Pen to kiss him in Italian is written phonetically (the actual word is baciami). This is actually an attested spelling, which comes a popular English translation of a 1940 song by Alberto Rabagliati called "Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccina". [TPOT 12b]
  • "Happy Trails" (1952) - Two and Pie directly quote the Roy Rogers and Dale Evans song when the latter is eliminated. [TPOT 2]
  • "Green Door" (1956, 1981) - Saw sarcastically (for the first time!) tells Gaty that the door she's talking about is the green one that's keeping all the secrets. This is a reference to this rock 'n' roll song by Jim Lowe that would be revived in popularity by a cover by Shakin' Stevens three decades later. [TPOT 27]
  • "Jingle Bell Rock" (1957, 2020) - At the end of the episode, Two and the entire cast sing this rock 'n' roll Christmas song to celebrate the 1978 holiday season. A double reference here: there's a reason Pen and Cloudy say that they like this song too. [TPOT 18b]
  • "Hava Nagila" / "Dance, Everyone, Dance" (c. 1958 to 1961) - Yellow Face sings a part of the English version of this Jewish folk song, most famously recorded by Harry Belafonte (the version I was thinking of while writing), Rika Zaraï and the Barry Sisters. [TPOT 3]
  • "Shout" (1959) - Just before Two sneezes out the dead contestants, they give a hint of what they feel like doing. Bottle suggests that Two is going to shout: "It makes me want to shout!" [TPOT 10a]
  • "It Was a Very Good Year" (1961) - The title of this episode is directly taken from this ballad by The Kingston Trio, later to be recorded by Frank Sinatra. It is an allusion to both the first half of the episode (which deals with Pen's many relationships) and the second half of it (the arrival of the new year). [TPOT 24]
  • "Ring-a-Ding Girl" (1962) - Barf Bag ends the challenge by singing "Ring-dinga-dinga-ding, ding-ding!" to the same tune of this song by Ronnie Carroll. (It's also the title of an episode of The Twilight Zone.) [TPOT 8]
  • "Swingin' Together" (1962) - Pen sings that he and Aresko are "swingin' together", a reference to this obscure fifties-styled song by Cameo-Parkway favourites Chubby Checker and Bobby Rydell. [TPOT 26]
  • "Two Lovers" (1962) - This Mary Wells song is the second most popular clue on the board when the audience was surveyed on the most common phrase beginning with "two". [TPOT 18b]
  • "She Loves You" (1963) - Tree clarifies for Lightning that Fanny loves him. Before he faints, Lightning replies with "yeah, yeah, yeah", as in this early Beatles hit. [TPOT 16]
  • "Laisser tomber les filles" (1964) - The title of this episode, literally translated to "Let the balls fall", comes from this song of the yé-yé genre by teenager France Gall. [TPOT 19]
  • "Mr. Tambourine Man" (1965) - Before this episode's Cake at Stake, Two plays the tambourine to get everyone's attention. Eraser looks out the window and calls them the "Tambourine Term", telling them to "play a song" for him... just as songwriter Bob Dylan had intended, I suppose. [TPOT 15a]
  • "Georgy Girl" (1966) - It's apparently custom for Tree to greet his daughter by singing this Seekers song from which she got her nickname. Though she doesn't appear on screen in this episode, one can tell that she rolls her eyes whenever she hears him, but she sings along anyway. [TPOT 19]
  • "Monday, Monday" (1966) - Naily sings "Ba-da ba-da-da-da" and Price Tag continues with "So good to me" after Clock and Basketball tell Two what day it actually is. This allusion to the hippie sixties was made in 1980, but it's still relevant... Guess what day it is. [TPOT 22]
  • "Words of Love" (1966) - During the new team-picking process, Two complains that the contestants should be saying "words of love" to each other instead of "words of hate". Eraser invokes this Mamas and Papas song by giving examples of such words, like "soft" and "tender". [TPOT 20a]
  • "Reach Out of the Darkness" (1967) - After The Strongest Team on Earth hear a rustling sound from the bushes, Eggy tells Needle (the "stealthy" one) to reach out in the darkness. Robot Flower reminds her that if she does so, then she may find a friend... as in this psychedelic song by the Friend and Lover. [TPOT 15a]
  • "Peace, Brother, Peace" (1968) - Price Tag greets Cake goodbye with this late-sixties song that has been covered by a number of artists. [TPOT 17]
  • "(They Long to Be) Close to You" (1970) - In a bout of sarcasm, Gaty says that all the contestants want to know why birds suddenly appear (instead of the challenge). This is the first line from that Bacharach–David song from the sixties, most famously covered by The Carpenters. [TPOT 10a]
  • "Knock, Knock Who's There?" (1970) - The S! quote Mary Hopkin's Eurovision song as they attempt to knock on every door in the hotel. [TPOT 6]
  • "United We Stand" (1970) - In a flashback to BFB 4, Lollipop says that their team must follow the philosophy of "United we stand, or some chiz like that". She's either referencing this Brotherhood of Man song or a much older quote. [TPOT 24a]
  • "The Nickel Song" (1971) - Price Tag self-corrects when they tell Naily that when she gets eliminated, she's going to see "the Nickel Song" (really Nickel, the eliminated contestant), the song by Melanie. Two tells them that this isn't the early seventies any more. [TPOT 30a]
  • "I Can See Clearly Now" (1972) - This Jimmy Cliff song is invoked by Saw, who says the exact title when she receives her pair of googly eyes at Cake at Stake. [TPOT 24c]
  • "It's a Sunshine Day" (1973) - The automated voice on the pay phone sings "It's an algebralien day!" to the tune of this song by and from The Brady Bunch. [TPOT 26]
  • "Hooked on a Feeling" (1974) - Lightning and Snowball have a whole scene based on the lyrics of this song, more specifically the version made famous by Swedish band Blåblus/Blue Swede[3]: The song begins with the words "Ooga, chaka..." (which Snowball chants while digging), and the chorus goes, "I'm hooked on a feeling" (which Lightning means literally—Snowball is gripping him tightly as he is being used as a shovel). [TPOT 9]
  • "Laughter in the Rain" (1974) - The title of this episode, "Canned Laughter in the Rain", is an allusion to this Neil Sedaka song. [TPOT 7]
  • "Mamma Mia" (1975) - Lightning mentions this ABBA song as one of the "Goikyan-Swedish" things that are in right now (as of '76). Eraser, being a fan of that kind of music—but not wanting to admit it—pretends to assume that Lightning's talking about his mother. (Mamma mia is Italian for "my mother".) [TPOT 10a]
  • "Calling Occupants of Interplanetary Craft" (1976) - Golf Ball mentions this Klaatu song, later to be covered by the Carpenters, when she sees the asteroid-shaped spacecraft that has landed on Earth. [TPOT 30b]
  • "More, More, More" (1976) - The Cake at Stake theme for Act III is a parody of this song by the Andrea True Connection. Golf Ball does not like it because it is disco, a popular music genre. [TPOT 13] to [TPOT 19]
  • "We'll Live It All Again" (1976) - Tree teases Pen by saying he'll beg him to do all the things he wrote about in his hiatus journal. He compares the potential experience to that in this romantic bilingual Italian–English song, by Al Bano and Romina Power (objectized as "Vol Cano and Romina Flower"). [TPOT 29]
  • "Why Did It Have to Be Me?" (1976) - Tree mutters "Why did it have to be me?"—the title of this ABBA song—when he finds out that the voters want him and Pen to in a team together. [TPOT 31]
  • "I Feel Love" (1977) - The first "radio song" that plays in a BFDI episode, not once but twice.
    • It is sung by Two (who lip-syncs to the actual record by Donna Summer) as they dance out of the Equation Playground infirmary to explain how they feel after learning how to combine into one digit. [TPOT 14]
    • It is played at the party in AYO's hotel room at the end of TPOT 15. [TPOT 15b]
  • "Rock Bottom" (1977) - The title of this episode is taken from two lines from this Eurovision song, sung by Lynsey de Paul and Mike Moran. [TPOT 15a] [TPOT 15b]
  • "Stayin' Alive" (1977) - Aresko says "staying alive", and Puffball asks if he made a reference to this Bee Gees song. [TPOT 30b]
  • "We Will Rock You" (1977) - Stapy sings a bit of this song as X rhythmically knocks on the door outside the EXIT. Pencil tells him to shut up before he can sing "rock you". [TPOT 18a]
  • "Clash City Rockers" (1978) - The title of this episode, "Block City Rockers", comes from this song, not so surprisingly by the punk rock band The Clash. [TPOT 17]
  • "Macho Man" (1978) - Remote calls Tree a "dude-bro-macho-man" as she tries to brief him on the latest American slang—he said jeek instead of jock. The "macho man" part comes from this disco song by the Village People. [TPOT 22]
  • "Rivers of Babylon" (1978) - A song that sounds similar to this very popular cover version of The Melodians' 1970 hit (by Boney M) is heard playing in the background of the Freezer Fair as the contestants exit Two's limousine. [TPOT 17]
  • Two for the Show (1978) - Tree suggests this as a possible clue for "Two blank". Two thinks he's talking about a 1940 musical before being informed that it's also the name of a recently released album by the band Kansas. [TPOT 18b]
  • "Y.M.C.A." (1978) - Pen starts to sing the beginning of this outdated-as-of-the-early-eighties disco song by The Village People in a failed attempt to get Snowball to be lighten up. Snowball uses him as a golf club as a result of this. [TPOT 28]
  • "You're the Greatest Lover" (1978) - PDA sings a parody of this song in her episode 20 audition so that people vote for her to join TPOT. [TPOT 20b]
  • "Don't Stop Me Now" (1979) - Two tells Winner not to stop them if they've had too much apple juice. [TPOT 24d]
  • "Gimme! Gimme! Gimme! (A Man After Midnight)" (1979) - The new Cake at Stake song is a parody of this ABBA disco hit. Even the non-native English grammar is parodied (and highly exaggerated) in this. [TPOT 20a] to [TPOT 24c]
  • "Video Killed the Radio Star" (1979) - A parody of this new wave song is what Two listens to on their headphones as they party alone in their Party Huis. Two considers it weird and makes new lyrics to it. [TPOT 25a]
  • "I'm Coming Out" (1980) - Near the start of the episode, all the contestants are dancing to a disco song that's highly reminiscent of this Diana Ross hit, which has become an anthem for the object show LGBTQ community. [TPOT 23]
  • "Just nu!" (1980) - Björn tells the contestants that "just nu" is how "right now" is said where he and the other members of ABBA come from, Sweden. Why he'd mention it? This was the title of their Eurovision song from the year this episode aired. [TPOT 24d]
  • "Think" (1980) - This Aretha Franklin song, originally from 1968, has been remade for the comedy film The Blues Brothers, which Saw calls The Greens Brothers. [TPOT 23]
  • "What I Like About You" (1980) - Pen sings Tree a line from this rock song by The Romantics when he praises his "go for it" attitude. [TPOT 29]
  • "Down Under" (1981) - Two calls Tree a "comer from down under", a reference to this very, very Australian song. [TPOT 27]
  • "Humanahum" (1981) - Meta: Any references to the humanized versions of the object characters are indicated with "In humanaho", a (pseudo-)Latin remark meaning "in the Land of Men". Humanahum is a word taken from this futuristic-themed song by French Polynesian singer Jean Gabilou. [TPOT 24]
  • "Jessie's Girl" (1981) - Two, who has been listening to the object-Earth version of MTV, whistles this Rick Springfield song as they skip over to turn the biggest lake in the continent into piranha poison. [TPOT 26]
  • "Physical" (1981) - This song by Olivia Newton John is invoked by her fellow compatriot Naily, who thinks about getting physical so she doesn't drown in the largest lake on the continent. [TPOT 27]
  • "Super Freak" (1981) - In an innuendo-filled moment, Price Tag thinks the next line in the "There were ten in the bed and the little one said" nursery rhyme is "She's a super freak", the title of this Rick James song. [TPOT 26]
  • "Come On Eileen" (1982) - One of Five's weird screams when they realize who is inside the asteroid is just a repetition of "Comma Nylene", a shout-out to this very popular Dexys Midnight Runners song. [TPOT 30b]
  • "Ebony and Ivory" (1982) - Tree sarcastically tells Pen that he's talking about this Stevie Wonder and Paul McCartney song (which was extremely popular when this episode was made) instead of the more obvious one that befit his description. [TPOT 29]
  • "Great Southern Land" (1982) - A slightly obscure reference: Taggy says even they do the thumbs-up gesture (which is offensive in their culture) when they're in "the Great Southern Land", an epithet of the country they live in from the song by Icehouse. [TPOT 30a]
  • "On the Wings of Love" (1982) - Ilta indirectly proves that he has been living on Earth by mentioning this Jeffrey Osborne ballad in his introduction. [TPOT 30b]
  • "Storie di tutti i giorni" (1982) - Probably a coincidence, but Pen celebrating his team finally winning and being the best team in "the histories of all the days" is a reference to this Italian song by Riccardo Fogli. [TPOT 27]
  • "Valley Girl" (1982) - Price Tag says "Gag me with a spoon!" Where they live (Australia), that phrase was probably not as heard in real life as it was on the radio, on which Frank Zappa and his daughter, Moon Unit, can be heard singing this novelty song about Los Angeles youth. [TPOT 28]
  • "Dolce Vita" (1983) - Pen tells his friends that he and Snowball were enjoying the dolce vita while in Rome together. This phrase is not that different from having a "gay ol' time"—it was popularized in English by the Italian (not French) singer Ryan Paris. [TPOT 31]
  • "Sunglasses at Night" (1983) - Pen sings "So I can, so I can" to Tree after he asks him why he's wearing sunglasses at night and inside the hotel lobby. He's quoting from this Corey Hart song. [TPOT 31]

Future songs[]

  • "Rock and Roll All Nite" (1975) - Bottle speaks the lyrics of this KISS song's chorus when she hears the music in Ruby's hotel room. Yellow Face points out that she is singing it wrong, but she gave it a good go. [TPOT 6]
  • "Joddlarkärlek" (1978) - The song Yıldız Xenophonia Māhealanisdóttir sings at the very end of the episode is a very thinly-disguised parody of this bouncy country song, originally known as the "Cowboy Yodel Song". It was originally sung by Wanda Jackson in 1969 but covered in Swedish by Kikki Danielsson. (That is the arrangement that Yil's song is heavily based on). [TPOT 6]
  • "Don't Stand So Close to Me" (1980) - While waiting in the queue to enter Two's hotel, Nickel warns Coiny not to stand so close to him (because bad things happen if they should ever be close together), to which Coiny replies, "What are you, the police?" That's the name of the band that made this song, which was popular in the very early 1980s... and the very early 2020s. [TPOT 7]
  • "Hit Me with Your Best Shot" (1980) - Though this song came out a year after this episode was released, Bomby utters the first line of its chorus as he does the rejoining contest. [TPOT 19]
  • Shadows and Light (1980) - The title of this episode, "Shadows... in the Light" is an allusion to this jazz album by Joni Mitchell, which actually came out a few months after this episode was released. When I was thinking of titles, I associated it with the Pat Benatar song "Shadows of the Night", which was released in the future, i.e. 1982.
  • "Smooth Operator" (1984) - Price Tag calls Naily a "smooth operator", the title of this song by the English singer/band Sade, when she hangs up the phone on Nickel. [TPOT 29]
  • We Come in Peace with a Message of Love (1985) - Puffball mentions this Curtis Mayfield album when she and Taggy try to communicate with the asteroid that landed on the Earth. [TPOT 30b]
  • "Never Gonna Give You Up" (1987) - Dora says "You know the rules and so do I", a reference to this Rick Astley song, whose lyrics many, many people have unintentionally memorized. [TPOT 23]
  • "Hold On" (1990) - After Nickel confidently tells Two that the armless members of his team will hold on, Naily sings "for one more day", as in this classic by Wilson Phillips (who were mentioned in TPOT 6). [TPOT 12a]
  • "Little Child" (1992) - After Rocky vomits on the hotel lobby carpet, Hop Bell directly quotes this Maltese song, which got third place in this year's Eurovision Song Contest when it was sung by Mary Spiteri.[TPOT 7]
  • "Wannabe" (1996) - Pillow's quote "zig-a-zig ah", during her rap bit in this episode's Cake at Stake theme, is a meaningless phrase from this song by the Spice Girls. Eraser even mentions that the ones who made that phrase a thing are queens. [TPOT 4]
  • "Hypnotize" (1997) - Bottle tells Clock that it's not such a "biggie, biggie, biggie, can't you see" (a direct quote from this song by the Notorious B.I.G.) if she dies, since she's done it before. [TPOT 12a]
  • "MMMBop" (1997) - The title of this catchy '90s song is also apparently Snowball's "war chant", uttered as he throws Grassy to the ground for no other reason than his being excited. [TPOT 12a]
  • "Strong Enough" (1999) - Naily continues the lyrics to this Cher disco hit after Cake says that Book is strong enough to pull the tug of war rope by herself. [TPOT 12a]
  • "Independent Women Part I" (2000) - Grassy proudly announces that his team (without Snowball) consists of "Grassies and ladies liberated". The reference to this Destiny's Child song suddenly becomes clear after Eggy calls him "Grass-yoncé", the name of one of the members (and now celebrated solo artist) Beyoncé Knowles. [TPOT 9]
  • "Whenever, Wherever" (2001) - According to the script, Eraser is secretly a big fan of Colombian singer-songwriter Shakira. He even quotes the English version of her song "Suerte", which was given the title above.[4] [TPOT 3]
  • "Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It)" (2008) - When Liy makes obvious nose-breathing sounds in a flashback to BFB, Stapy calls her out on this; he tells her that if she likes it, then she should put a ring on it (even though none of the characters have noses to begin with). This is a direct quote from this hit Beyoncé song. [TPOT 24b]
  • Some People Have Real Problems (2008) - Cloudy, like his teammates Gaty and Saw, doesn't blame Two for wanting to have a drink after every competition. He drops the title of this obscure album from the Australian singer Sia. [TPOT 10b]
  • "Warrior" (2015) - The Georgian entry to the Eurovision Song Contest, sung by Nina Sublatti, includes the word "oximated"—that refers to a chemical reaction. Two says this word when describing U's presentation, and Five lampshades the fact that this word not well-known at all. [TPOT 29]
  • "Singularity" (2018) - When Tree asks Black Hole how he's going to clean the Death P.A.C.T. Again Cabin with his singularity, BH sarcastically brings up "Goikyan K-pop". This can only be a reference to this BTS song. [TPOT 10a]

Other musical things[]

  • Eurovision Song Contest (1956–present) - Two says that with an infinite number of people watching their Special Seventeenth Skirmish Show, they can finally beat the extremely popular (in the Equation Playground) Numbervision Song Contest. [TPOT 18a]
    • During Cake at Stake, Book flatly tells Tree (the first contestant declared safe) that she doesn't have a prize for him after looking for one. This is a subtle allusion to an incident from this year's contest, in which the Yugoslav spokeswoman tells the host "I don't have it" as she asks for the country's votes. [TPOT 24b]
    • When it's time for the contestants to vote for whom they want saved, Lightning proudly proclaims "Snowball, six points", as though he is a spokesperson during the voting part of the contest. [TPOT 26]


  1. An alternative title, "The Call of the Wagtayatli", was meant to be a reference to the Jack London novel The Call of the Wild.
  2. Not necessarily: The World Almanac is published at the end of the year before the one on its title.
  3. It's originally from 1966! Who'd have thought that?
  4. it's better in spanish imo