18 Times 'The Flash' Made Brilliant & Hilarious Pop Culture References

The Flash is a show that knows its audience. Not only is each episode peppered with tongue-in-cheek "meta" humor, but The Flash is full of pop culture references as well. And let's not forget, Harrison Wells could be making references from the TV shows and movies of the future and we'd never know. That guy loves to make himself chuckle. The show also tends to reference The Flash and Arrow DC Comics, which could fill a list of their own. Between the crossover episodes and all of the world-building, The Flash knows how to reward fans of the original comics.

When it comes to outside pop culture references, however, you should not be surprised to hear that most come courtesy of Cisco Ramon. On a show full of nerds, he's the nerdiest and savviest when it comes to popular culture. He's also the stand-in for the audience on many supernatural occasions, so it's helpful to have someone put what we don't understand into more recognizable terms.

At its core, The Flash is a geeky show that celebrates geeks in the best possible way. Here are some of the many ways The Flash has paid homage to other fandoms from Star Wars to The Walking Dead to musical theater and everything in between.

What's In A Name?

Could the name Harrison Wells be a reference to H.G. Wells, author of The Time Machine?

All Of Cisco's Awesome T-Shirts

Cisco has worn shirts that reference almost everything, including the video game Astrosmash, Adventure Time, Edgar Allen Poe, Star Wars ("Keep Calm And Han Shot First," pictured above), and the The Big Bang Theory — which is especially adorable considering Sheldon Cooper's well-known love of Barry Allen.

Cisco Watches The Walking Dead

Caitlin does not. It's always interesting to see which shows exist in fictional worlds, isn't it?

"What The Frak"

Cisco utters the expletive, which originated on Battlestar Galactica, in this promo.

"Bees. Why did it have to be bees? ...Ain't nobody got time for bees."

Cisco Ramon once again, referencing both Raiders of the Lost Ark and an internet meme all in one short speech. He really has a gift.


Not only was this a brilliant reference to Brandon Routh's previous role as Superman in Superman Returns in the episode "All Star Team Up," but these characters all do live in the DC Universe where Clark Kent most likely exists. In fact, Harrison Wells smiled to himself after using the term "man of steel" earlier in the season. The phrase "faster than a speeding bullet" has turned up as well.

The Six Million Dollar Man

Ray Palmer says "we have the technology" in reference to the film.

Quantum Leap

runstop10 on YouTube

Barry said "oh boy" upon first arriving in the alternative timeline he now inhabits. That was Scott Bakula's catchphrase on the time travel-based series.

Back To The Future & The Terminator

The two consequences of time travel that Wells lays out in the episode "Fallout" refer to these movies.


In the same episode, Caitlin and Ronnie are compared to "10 seasons of" Ross and Rachel.

"Flame On"

This was a quick reference to The Fantastic Four in the episode "The Nuclear Man."

Game of Thrones

Mason Bridge, former journalist at Central City Picture News, tells Iris that physics looks like Dothraki (a fictional language from the book and television series) to him.


Flash Rahbbit on YouTube

Also known as the best karaoke scene of all time.

The '90s Flash Series

This Trickster costume is straight from the archives, as is Mark Hamill, who reprised his role on the CW show.


James Jesse attaches a bomb to Allen that will go off if he goes under a certain speed just like in the movie, as he himself points out.

"I am your father."

NERD ParadoxHD on YouTube

Giving Hamill a Darth Vader reference was inspired.


I don't think this was an intentional reference, but I found it fitting that Jesse L. Martin's character Joe made sure that Captain Singh's fiancé was able to visit him in the hospital. Martin originated the role of Tom Collins in Rent, and in the second act, he was prevented from visiting his dying boyfriend Angel because of LGBT discrimination.

The Cast Sings The Firefly Theme Song

The Letter Carrier Production on YouTube

This is behind the scenes but — wow! I'm legitimately crying nerd tears, don't judge me.

Images: Cate Cameron, Diyah Pera (3)/The CW; Giphy (5); boniferhasty, queensarrow, justanothercinemaniac/Tumblr; The CW