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Tuesday, December 7, 2021

What Are Pogues and Kooks in Netflix’s ‘Outer Banks’?

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If you’re a fan of Outer Banks, then you’re already aware of the two diverse groups that make up the characters. Netflix’s popular teen drama makes a point to depict the differences between the Kooks and Pogues living in the idyllic North Carolina town. Depending on what group you grew up in, your life could differ greatly.

In the beginning of the series, John B., the show’s protagonist, discusses what life is like in the Outer Banks and exactly how classes are divided. “It’s the sort of place where you either have two jobs or two houses,” he says. “Two tribes. One island.” The Kooks are the elite with parents having money. The Pogues are desperate to move up the social ladder to become new versions of themselves and establish new beginnings.

But there’s a question that remains—what exactly are Kooks and Pogues? It turns out, there’s a lot of info to sink our teeth into while wondering whether the show will come back for a second season.

What is a Pogue?

In short—if you’re a Pogue, you live on the south side of the island, also known as The Cut. The Pogues are the working class people, waitering, cleaning boats, running charters for the rich. It essentially functions as the slums of the island—some inherently look down upon its residents based on their living there.

John B. makes a point to express in the pilot that the name for the group actually derives from a specific fish. As the protagonist says, “Pogues, pogies, the throwaway fish. [They’re the] lowest member of the food chain.” From the looks of things, it seems that the pogies are used for bait in the fishing industry.

What is a Kook?

In the series, Kooks are the people who live on the North Side of the island, a.k.a. the Figure 8. The word Kook could actually mean two completely different things. The first one is pretty common in the English language—it’s someone who is a little bit off-kilter. But on an interesting note, the word actually can be used in surfing terms.

According to an article in GQ, a kook means “an individual with no understanding of the social and sartorial norms of surfing.” What does that mean exactly? Urban Dictionary explains it in layman’s terms:

  • They don’t live in beachfront towns.
  • They don’t have lower-class jobs, like working in construction or driving pickup trucks.
  • They are surfing amateurs, pretending that they know what they’re doing in the water, when in reality, they have no idea.
  • Don’t follow the rules of the surfing area.

    For anyone who’s ever watched the Nickelodeon cartoon Rocket Power, a Kook is basically…a shoobie. It’s very possible the upper class in the series received that name because of their elite status, being born and raised with money.

    Although the terms mean very different things in the common vernacular, it’s clear that any definition used leads to both sides never truly seeing eye to eye. As John B. laments about his hometown, “The island was like America on steroids. The have and have nots of any place, but magnified and multiplied.”

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