Old School Pop Culture References That Will Go Right Over Your Teen’s Head


“Don’t touch that dial!” joked the weatherman on the morning news.

I chuckled and looked at my teenage daughter sitting beside me.


“Why did you laugh?” she asked her face serious.

“Oh, because of what he said about the dial,” I answered.

Blank stare.

“You know how we used to have dials on our TV, but now we don’t? So I couldn’t touch the dial even if I wanted to,” I continued.

Another blank stare.

Oh, boy. My daughter doesn’t remember when TVs had dials. How could she, or her teenage brother for that matter?

These two can’t remember life before cell phones and YouTube.

But I remember the dial. Plus, lots of other references from the 70s and 80s that I sprinkle in my conversations, much to my kids’ consternation.

Here are the latest pop culture gems I have used that have gone over their heads:

It’s got a good beat and you can dance to it.

I whip out this classic from the “Rate-a-Record” segment on American Bandstand anytime we’re in the car listening to music.

Songs by Lil Nas X or Khalid?

“Hey, kids, it’s got a good beat and you can dance to it!” I say.

If my kids weren’t glued to their phones, I’m sure they would agree with me.

Jim never has seconds of my coffee.

My husband and I like to say this phrase from the Yuban coffee commercials whenever we pour ourselves a second cup of coffee. Then we giggle at our hilarity.

The kids just tune us out, bless them.

Take the Nestea plunge.

Growing up in the 70s and 80s, who didn’t take the Nestea plunge into a backyard pool?

However, when I proposed that my teenage son take the Nestea plunge at a friend’s pool this summer, he just shook his head and jumped in like a regular person. Where is the fun in that?

I feel the need. The need for speed.

Over the years, anytime I punch it on a freeway on-ramp, I drop this line from Top Gun.

Then my son starting using this phrase when he was learning how to drive.

Whoops, maybe it wasn’t the best idea to quote Maverick and Goose all those years!

You take the good, you take the bad, you take them both and there you have the Facts of Life.

I may or may not have full out sung this ditty when giving both of my kids “The Talk” when they were younger.

At least this Facts of Life theme song distracted me from an awkward task.

Mrs. Garrett would be proud.

So would Blair, Jo, Natalie and Tootie.

Bouncin’ and behavin.

While hanging out with my daughter recently, I flipped my hair out of my face. This prompted me to say “It’s bouncin’ and behavin hair!” ala the Pert commercials.

She just stared at me.

If you don’t look good, we don’t look good, we take pride in you. Vidal Sassoon.

So after the Bouncin’ and behavin conversation fell flat (just like my hair), I followed up by quoting the timeless Vidal Sassoon ditty.

That’s when my daughter physically left the room. She may have muttered, “So embarrassing” on the way out.

We can rebuild him. We have the technology.

Remember this from the Six Million Dollar Man? I like to say it whenever something goes haywire in the house.

I mean, if they can make a bionic man in the 70s, then we should be able to fix the Wi-Fi when it crashes nowadays.

Side note: it is also fun to make the dun-nuh-nuh-nuh-nuh running noise from Six Million Dollar Man while you pretend to run in slow motion. Teens just love that!

Teens today have their own secret language, but so do adults. Here are some fun 70's and 80's pop culture references to totally annoy your teens. #teenagers #teens #VSCO #oldschool #eighties

What would you do for a Klondike bar?

You know what? This phrase still works just fine today, even if it first burst onto the scene in the 80s.

Okay, now I want a Klondike bar. And I’ll do pretty much anything. Except round up all the empty cups from my son’s room. Or watch that YouTuber my daughter likes.

Parents, may your old school pop culture references bring you pleasure and joy, even as your teens struggle to keep up.

Remember, one day in the not-so-distant future they’ll be doing Fortnite dances, talking about VSCO girls, or singing Taylor Swift songs and their own teens will reward them with blank stares.


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