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Kung Fu/Cultural References

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This series was noted for bringing western viewers a glimpse of eastern culture. Until this series premiered, many people in the United States would not have known what "Kung Fu" meant (Creator Ed Spielman himself admitted in an interview on the first season DVD that he thought it was some sort of Chinese food).

The show's flashbacks to the Shaolin temple were very popular among viewers. There were many memes and quotes started on this show that are often spoken by others today. Many people, when doing impressions of a martial arts master or even just someone asian, will often prefix it by saying "Grasshopper.." (in a reference to Master Po's nickname for the young Kwai Chang Caine). Of course, quite a few of them do not know where the phrase originated.

Master Kan's now-famous quote in the introductory title sequence ("Snatch the pebble from my hand") was intended to be a test of worthiness for the young Caine; when he snatched the pebble he would be prepared to leave the temple. Today the quote is widely repeated, again, often without the speaker knowing its origin.

Mike Judge, best known as the creator of the television series Beavis and Butt-Head and King of the Hill, often included homages to Kung Fu in his various works. For instance, one particular episode of Beavis and Butt-head shows Beavis dreaming about a temple scene reminiscent of Kung Fu. In it, the young Beavis is bald, clad in orange robes and surrounded by candles (apparently he is taking the role of young Caine) and speaks to someone who looks very similar to Master Po. He asks "does not your scrotum need kicking?" and proceeds to kick "Po" in the groin. Additionally, many skits on Beavis and Butt-Head end with the two walking into the sunset, not unlike some scenes in Kung Fu.

The cult movie Office Space, also created by Mike Judge, seems to have homages to Kung Fu as well. In one scene, Peter meets Joanna and says "First I'm gonna take you out to dinner, and then I'm gonna go back to my apartment and watch Kung Fu. Do you ever watch Kung Fu?". A faint oriental-style music is heard in the background, and she replies, "I love Kung Fu". Though it is not entirely clear whether they are speaking of Kung Fu in the general sense or referring specifically to the television program, it seems reasonable to assume they speak of the TV show, given Judge's references to it in Beavis and Butt-Head.