Harry Potter is so pervasive in pop culture that it's actually pretty rare to find a movie without a few Harry Potter references. From the Love Actually Prime Minister listing Harry Potter as one of Britain's greatest achievements, to Parks and Rec's Leslie Knope forcing Ann to watch all eight Harry Potter movies, the boy wizard has found his way into countless films and TV shows — you'll even find Harry Potter in rap lyrics. But sometimes it's a little more subtle: in fact, there are some Harry Potter references so hidden that you might never have noticed them before.
Several of your favorite cartoons, movies, and comic strips have referenced or parodied Harry Potter without ever actually mentioning his name. Sure, when you hear a reference to a teenage wizard with a name that rhymes with Harry's, you can usually bet the writers had Hogwarts on the mind — but sometimes it's not quite as obvious as that. The most hardcore Potterheads may have caught a few of these, but I'm willing to bet that most of these hidden Harry Potter references passed you by the first time you watched or read them. Once you know them, though, it becomes obvious. To paraphrase Love Actually's Potter-loving Hugh Grant: if you look for it, I've got a sneaky feeling you'll find that Harry Potter actually is all around.
1. When Homer Read Lisa A Bedtime Story
The basic rule of pop culture is that if something is popular enough, The Simpsons will have parodied it. No exceptions for Harry Potter: in the episode "The Haw-Hawed Couple," Homer reads Lisa a bedtime story called Angelica Button. When he realizes it's all about to get too sad, he changes the ending so that Headmaster Greystash doesn't die. (If only J.K. Rowling had done the same for us. R.I.P. Dumbledore.)
2. When Lisa Was The Only One To Finish The Book
In another Simpsons ep, "Smoke on the Daughter," the family queued up for a midnight release of the final Angelica Button book. In the car on the way home Lisa finished the book and announced that there was a happy ending — or, you could say, that *all was well*.
The rest of the family then cheered and threw their books out the window. Tssk, Muggles.
3. Cindy's Book In 'Scary Movie 2'
In this blink-and-you'll-miss-it moment from Scary Movie 2, Cindy (Anna Faris) was revealed to be reading the very familiar-looking Harry Pothead.
4. Drew Barrymore's Costume In 'Charlie's Angels'
Drew Barrymore is a Harry Potter super-fan and was pretty crushed when her cameo got cut from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone — so to make up for it, she convinced the director of Charlie's Angels to let her dress as Harry for a scene. That's why during the flashbacks to the Angels' previous jobs, you'll see Drew Barrymore wearing wizard robes, a black wig, and Harry's distinctive round glasses.
5. When Arthur The Aardvark Read It
In the TV show Arthur, everyone's favorite book series is Henry Skreever, who attends a school called Pigblisters (geddit?). A few different book titles are mentioned over the course of the TV show, from Henry Skreever and the Cabbage of Mayhem to Henry Skreever and the Knights of the Bouillabaisse.
6. When It Was Charley's Favorite Book
In a Clifford the Big Red Dog episode called "Magic in the Air," Charley became obsessed with a book about a boy wizard named Peter Poundstone — sound familiar?
7. Jimmy Neutron's Home Movie
In one episode of the cartoon Jimmy Neutron, Jimmy and his friends film a movie — and Potterheads who were really paying attention will have noticed that in one scene, Jimmy plays a character called Parry Bladder who attends the school Pigpimples.
8. When The Wizards Of Waverly Place Went To Hogwarts
In the Wizards of Waverly Place episodes "Wizard School Part 1 and 2," Alex and Justin went to a summer school that looked just a tad too recognizable. When Alex noticed that everyone was wearing yellow and black robes with rounded glasses, she said, "You remind me of someone. Terry something...Barry something...Larry something! Oh, forget it."
9. Cubert's Magical Boarding School
In one of the Futurama comics, Cubert visited a magical boarding school — but his insistence that the school could not exist solely based on faith caused it to disappear, along with all the magical creatures within it. If the idea of a magical boarding school wasn't Hogwarts-y enough — it's situated on the planet Rowling VI.
10. This Neville Longbottom Throwback
Emma Watson has come so far since her Harry Potter days — but she'll always be our beloved Hermione Granger in our hearts, and the latest Beauty and the Beast clip has a Harry Potter throwback reference that will remind you of her wizarding days. When Hermione — ahem, I mean Belle — asks Monsieur Jean if he's lost something, he replies "I'm afraid I have; the problem is, I can't remember what!" We've heard that line pretty much word-for-word before — out of the mouth of Neville Longbottom, when his Remembrall turns red but he can't remember what he's forgotten.
11. The 'Fantastic Beasts' Opening Montage
OK, so you were kind of expecting some Harry Potter references in this one as it is set in the same universe — but considering it's a whole new cast, city, and even time period, I bet you didn't notice quite how many little details referenced the Harry Potter world we know and love. In the opening montage that illustrates Grindelwald's rise to power, take a closer look at the newspaper headlines — and you'll see news about Hogwarts increasing their security, quotes from Dumbledore before he was the headmaster, and even a reference to Fleamont Potter's hair potion, which was responsible for Harry Potter's massive inheritance.