Gossip Girl had "Manhattan's Elite," Riverdale boasts "The Serpents," and Netflix's Outer Banks has "the Pogues." The word — which is pretty much everyday lingo at this point — is used nonstop onscreen and off thanks to the show’s massive success. But do you actually know where the term comes from? Here are the deets surrounding what “pogue” from Outer Banks means so you can use it knowledgeably — whether or not you’re cruising along the coastline.
By now, you probably know the fictional Outer Banks world — which is set in the barrier islands off the coast of North Carolina — is home to two classes: the Kooks and the Pogues. In Season 1, John B., the suntanned leader of the Pogues, describes the southern side of the island as "the natural habitat of the Pogues," where the working class lives in small homes and "makes [their] living bussing tables, washing yachts, running charters." They don't have much money, but the teens basically live a life of sun-drenched freedom (before getting tangled up in dangerous treasure hunts, of course).
But what are Pogues? Turns out, the term "Pogue" is in reference to the word pogies, which is the nickname for the silver Menhaden fish. This small, smelly creature is generally unremarkable in looks and bad in taste, which is why it's most often used as bait. According to Outdoor Life, however, it's the most important fish in the sea.
The pogies hold the marine ecosystem together by feeding the fish humans consume regularly. This is a nod to the essential work the Pogues of Outer Banks do to keep the town going, despite not receiving much respect.
The other end of the island, "the rich side," John B. explains on the show, is where the Kooks live. The rival of the Pogues, the Kooks are the exact opposite of the scrappy teens. They have money, country club memberships, and yachts, and while this might be enough to make the Pogues not see eye-to-eye with them, it's the attitude of many Kooks that really sparks tension between the classes.
According to GQ, a Kook is "an individual with no understanding of the social and sartorial norms of surfing." In terms of the show, this makes sense: The Pogues' rivals are the types of people who pose with expensive boards but never get their hair wet.
While both slang terms can be used derogatorily, on the show, Pogues and Kooks are pretty proud of their respective identities, for the most part. One thing is certain, though: The fight between the Pogues and the Kooks seems to get more and more dangerous as the series continues. Here’s hoping the two sides can finally come to some sort of understanding if Outer Banks returns for Season 3.
Outer Banks is streaming on Netflix.
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