American Gothic in popular culture


American Gothic in popular culture

This article addresses notable examples of references to the famous painting American Gothic in popular culture.

* Postcards replacing the couple with sitting US Presidents and Presidential nominees (and their spouses) are often popular products, for instance Ronald and Nancy Reagan or Bill and Hillary Clinton.
* Paul Newman posed in the same way as the man on the labels of Newman's Own, his food product line.
* The movie "Good Fences" starring Whoopi Goldberg also has a parody of the painting on its cover.
* The movie "Beauty and the Beast" has a brief image of the clock Cogsworth and Mrs. Potts holding a broom during the song Human Again.
* In "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", 'Riff-Raff' (Richard O'Brien) and 'Magenta' (Patricia Quinn) pose as the couple in front of the arched church doors during the song "Dammit Janet", after the wedding of Brad and Janet's friends Betty Monroe and Ralph Hapschatt. At the end, when they reveal their alien identities, the pitchfork has turned into a trident-shaped raygun. The painting can also be breifly seen on a wall in the castle.
* The cover of the book "The Art of the Laugh".
* In the satirical on-line game "Kingdom of Loathing", one monster in the Haunted Gallery is "a guy with a pitchfork, and his wife."
* As part of the long running "If Norman Rockwell depicted the 20th century" series, MAD printed a parody of the picture titled "American Gaythic", featuring two men.
* MAD also parodied this on the cover of an issue using X-Files characters Scully & Mulder
* The picture is also parodied in the 1988 slasher film American Gothic film poster starring Yvonne DeCarlo and Rod Steiger.
* In The Music Man, a musical by Meredith Willson, a brief visual reference is made during the "Iowa Stubborn" number as two men moving a large picture frame stop in front of a man and woman, the man holding a pitchfork.
* In the town of Bulls, New Zealand, a mural featuring the couple with the head of a cow and a bull covers a garage door facing a main street. The town's mushroom-shaped water tank is in the background, transplanting the scene to Bulls.
* Lavender Magazine parodied the work for a special gardening issue (April 27, 2007), featuring drag queen Wanda Wisdom and podcast producer Bradley Traynor.
* In the first "Men in Black", a spoof version of the painting can be glimpsed as a cover image on one of the supermarket tabloids K buys whilst investigating the disappearance of Edgar. The man's head is a skull with eyes.
* The traditional first panel of webcomic "San Antonio Rock City" by Mitch Clem.
*At Ohio State Buckeyes football games (usually after a touchdown), the scoreboard will sometimes display the painting, and a few seconds later, the mans eyes bug out and his tongue waves all over the place.
*The Red Robin chain of restaurants has the painting featured on the wall - but with a burger added to the farmer's pitchfork.
*The painting is briefly spoofed by the band Warrant in their music video for Cherry Pie.
*The cover of American alternative rock band Everclear's 2000 album . It shows the band's members holding guitars in front of a house and not smiling.
*The title was borrowed by The Smashing Pumpkins for their 2008 EP "American Gothic".

Television

*On the adult swim show Metalocalypse, Toki Wartooth's parent's resemble the painting, albeit much darker and sinister looking.
* After a resemblance was noted between "Late Night with Conan O'Brien's" host Conan O'Brien and Finland's President Tarja Halonen, occasional gags would pop-up comparing the two — one recurring one would be the two replacing the couple in "American Gothic" occasionally aired before cutting to a commercial, or as they return.
* Paris Hilton and Nicole Richie pose as the couple during the title and opening credits of their TV series "The Simple Life".
* The 1960s sitcom "Green Acres" also had the lead couple pose as the couple in the painting during their opening credits.
* Australian talk show "Rove Live" replaces the couple with Melissa Doyle and David Koch
*In the classic Looney Tunes short "Louvre Come Back To Me!", Pepe LePew and Penelope Pussycat hide in the Louvre's air conditioning, his scent pervades into a gallery above, reaching "American Gothic", and the figures' heads disappear into their costumes.
*In the "SpongeBob SquarePants" episode "Artist Unknown," Squidward Tentacles is revealed to have made a version of the painting, with the two figures drawn in his likeness.
*It is used in a Showcase on a May 2007 episode of the game show "The Price Is Right" with a live-action model replacing the daughter and trying to excite the father with prizes that are in the showcase.
*In the HBO series Oz, Season 4, Episode 7, "A Town Without Pity", likenesses of the two prominent figures of the painting are featured in a narrative of how prisons in the US are mostly located in rural area of the country.
* In one episode of the PBS children's series "Arthur", Arthur and Buster parody the two farmers in the painting in an episode that focused on famous artwork.
* In one episode of "Boy Meets World", Eric dresses as the farmer to try and ambush his brother's girlfriend.
* In the early 1960s, the iconic couple sang "They won't wilt when you pour on milk" as part of a commercial for General Mills Country Corn Flakes.
* In popular American television show Desperate Housewives, the couple appear briefly in the opening credits.
* In The British Science Fiction Program Doctor Who Episode Gridlock, The Couple in the Motorway at the start of the episode are based on the farming couple in the American Gothic, both having identical hairstyles, glasses and fashions.
* In the Simpsons episode "Bart Gets an Elephant", Bart is seen cleaning the wall with a cloth. Without looking, he makes his way across the American Gothic painting, removing the paint to reveal the message: "If you can read this, you scrubbed too hard. Signed, Grant Wood"

Theatre

* Anthony Weigh's play "2,000 Feet Away", which had its London premiere at the Bush Theatre in 2008, is primarily set in Eldon, Iowa. The play opens with a scene featuring the painting at the Art Institute. "American Gothic" is thereafter a key motif throughout the play.


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