The Early Adoption
You refer to a celebrity or show, and most people say, “What? Who?” Later, you either seem cool for being so “with it” or kinda weird for mentioning it at all.
“Who’s Snooki and what kind of music does she make?”
Suddenly everyone’s making the reference. You notice it seems to come up in completely unrelated conversations, but it seems poignant regardless of context. It’s okay to make the reference even if you aren’t familiar with the source material.
“My car guzzles more gas than Snooki does alcohol!”
You make the reference and most people roll their eyes. Fans of the source material are quick to label you as a “poser” if you are making the reference while not also a fan. The reference trickles down from late night TV to the evening news, where it again trickles down from the anchors to the weathermen.
“It’s gonna be humid out tonight folks! If your hair looks like Snooki’s, be careful out there.”
Oversaturation kills the reference temporarily, perhaps months or years, making it safe for you to use again, if used sparingly. It won’t quite receive the response it received during The Rush. It’s now mostly used ironically, except by long-time fans of the source of the reference. These two groups will clash for the rest of the lifetime of the pop culture reference.
“Drunkenly flailing around doesn’t make it a ‘Snooki dance,’ John, it just makes you a fucking idiot.”
A few more years pass. The reference is primarily used in association with a certain decade. Younger people are just confused by it.
“No, dad, I’m not dressing like Snooki. I don’t even know who Snooki is.”
Even more time passes and the reference begins to slip out of pop culture entirely. Older people pretend to remember what the other older people are talking about when it’s brought up.
“Yeah, Snooki. I still have some of her movies on DVD. Remember DVDs?”
Now the reference is mostly relegated to the history books, where it’s completely mangled and passed off as absolute fact.
“A great leader, Snooki, emerged in the capital city of Jersey. She inspired millions of followers with quotes like, ‘I’m not kissing you because you have throw up breath.’”