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Pokémon: An international cultural phenomenon

1 byte added, 08:37, 8 May 2013
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No series can gain such a massive amount of popularity without being referenced or parodied in the mainstream media; and despite the fact it is clearly a series aimed at young children, many of these cultural references can be found in series that are unequivocally aimed at an older audience. Take "{{wp|List of Everybody Loves Raymond episodes|Hakidu}}", the seventeenth episode of the fourth series of ''{{wp|Everybody Loves Raymond}}'', which was first broadcast in 1999. A spoof of the trading card game, it depicts the titular character’s daughter trading away a very rare card for one much less valuable, the wizard Hakidu. Raymond discovers the value of the card after the fact and does everything in his power to reclaim it, even going so far as to enter a card shop to purchase a new one when all his other attempts fail, only to find out to his horror that the price of the card is close to $100. This scenario is a clear parody of everybody's favourite TCG obsession: obtaining that {{bp|Charizard (Base Set 4)|incredibly powerful Charizard}} which just destroyed every other card. The episode also mocks the rumours surrounding trades (my personal favourite was the kid who traded his Charizard for a {{bp|Weedle (Base Set 69)|Weedle}}), and the lengths parents would go to get one; individual Charizard cards often went for more than $40, with some prices reaching over $150 for the 1st edition. Other appearances in television at the time included a parody in ''{{wp|The Norm Show}}'' (Season 2, episode 3: "Artie Comes to Town"), which looked at every kid's secret ambitions to be a Pokémon Master and stop the evil Team Rocket.
[[File:AshontheSimpsons.jpg|180px|thumb|left|Pokémon remains popular in 2010, much to Bart's bemusement.]]
[[File:SwellowSimpsonsTheSimpsonsMovie.jpgpng|180px|thumb|A flock of Swellow make a surprise cameo in ''The Simpsons Movie''.]]
One might argue that the vast majority of these took place when the franchise was younger and still considered to be a fad by children and schoolyards, taking over the reins of the "most popular thing" from Pogs and Yo-Yos. But in actuality, Pokémon's influence can still be found today. The 2006 ''{{wp|Robot Chicken}}'' episode "{{wp|List of Robot Chicken episodes|Cracked China}}" humourously examined the secrets of the ''Pokémon'' anime. The franchise has also been referenced numerous times in the iconic comedy series ''{{wp|The Simpsons}}''. Pikachu has been shown numerous times in passing, including a hallucination by Bart on one occassion (in "{{wp|Bart vs. Lisa vs. The Third Grade}}"), while Maggie has been portrayed as a Pikachu twice during the couch gags. As recently as March 2010, in the same week that {{game|HeartGold and SoulSilver|s}} were released in North America, Pikachu and Ash made a cameo in the beginning of the episode "{{wp|Postcards From the Wedge}}", distracting Bart from his homework and leading him to muse over the franchise's ability to stay fresh over the years. One could even make a case that {{bp|Swellow (Pokémon)|Swellow}} made a cameo appearance in ''{{wp|The Simpsons Movie}}''; at the conclusion of a newscast, Kent Brockman states "It's the time of year when the Swellow's return to Springfield", and a number of birds resembling the Pokémon crash into the dome surrounding the city and begin to slowly slide down to the hungry cats waiting below. What makes this brief appearance even more surprising is that while Pikachu and Charizard are somewhat familiar to the general public, Swellow is not.