10 Punk Rock References on Popular TV Shows

Believe it or not, there are some punk fans out there who work on the un-punk television shows you may or may not watch at home. If you pay close attention sometimes you’ll witness evidence of the fact inserted into dialogue or subtly hidden in the background.

We thought it would be fun to compile a list of ten instances of punk rock popping up in the most un-punk television. This list isn’t definitive, of course, so you’re more than welcome to list any that may have been forgotten or overlooked.  Check it out here.

10. The Simpsons – Green Day
Okay, so this appearance happened post-American Idiot so the “punk” aspect might be questionable. And also this is from the movie and technically shouldn’t be on the list. But it’s still one of the better things that both The Simpsons and Green Day has done in the last decade.

09. The OC – The Cramps  / Stiff Little Fingers / The Clash / Sex Pistols
No video for this one, because apparently OC fans haven’t deemed it essential enough to put on YouTube. But here’s the dialogue taken from IMDB:

: What kind of music do you listen to? 
Marissa: Right now, punk.
Seth: Yeah, I am sorry, but Avril Lavigne doesn’t count as punk.
Marissa: Oh yeah? Well, what about the Cramps? Stiff Little Fingers? The Clash? Sex Pistols?
Seth: I listen to the same music as Marissa Cooper? I think I have to kill myself.

It’s just too bad that the writers decided to take a different direction with the character’s musical choices and started plugging Death Cab for Cutie and Rooney just one episodes later.

08. One Tree Hill – NOFX’s “Linoleum”
Despite the fact that that actor Chad Michael Murray doesn’t make it very believable props to the writers for actually including lyrics in the dialogue instead of just namedropping bands like The OC did.

07. Scrubs – Buzzcocks’ “Ever Fallen in Love”
Everyone might have gone bananas over the soundtrack to Zach Braff’s the Garden State, but this is where the clear winner is.

06. The Simpsons – NOFX

Sadly no video for this one. But in a 2002 episode of the Simpsons, when Bart and Lisa Simpson are presumed dead after going missing on a school trip, their names are added to a wall of students from Springfield Elementary who have been lost over the years. Who else appears on the wall? None other than NOFX’s Fat Mike and El Hefe (here spelled “El Jefe”).

05. The Daily Show – Michale Graves (Misfits) and Brendan Kelly (The Lawrence Arms) on the Clash
Okay, so I think we’ve all heard about this segment. In fact, I’m sure most of you have seen it already. But it’s still always a fun watch, and definitely worthy of being included on the list.

04. SNL – Black Flag/Husker Du/Suicidal Tendencies/80’s hardcore in general

While there isn’t a single specific band referenced in this sketch, it’s a must watch for punk fans who like to catch tiny references. From the “Cadena-Norton” families being brought together, to the nods to 80’s hardcore raging against Reagan, the SNL writers showed that they’re not completely clueless about punk rock. SNL cast member Fred Armisen has also been involved with the punk scene for a number of years, so the quality of the writing may just be all thanks to him.

03. Freaks and Geeks – Black Flag’s “Rise Above”
Daniel Desario (James Franco) learns how to quietly deal with his anger and depression by listening to some good old Black Flag.

02. Futurama – Black Flag’s “TV Party”
Matt Groening loves his punk rock, it seems.  Even in the year 3000.

01. The Simpsons – Ramones sing Happy Birthday
Okay, so I guess the Simpsons don’t actually kill off every punk to appear on the show, if only because Mr. Burns doesn’t know the difference between the Rolling Stones and Ramones.

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