Inspiration comes from all over, and it’s no surprise that many television creators have been inspired by The Legend of Zelda. The franchise serves as a base for many fantasy elements, helping writers and artists to build their own worlds and stories or even just providing a fun distraction when the times get tough. Many of these creators show their love for the series through their own work and have included Easter eggs in their series for fellow fans to search for. Here are some Zelda references in the world of television.

Princess Zelda’s Study is a series where we examine the history of The Legend of Zelda to bring you some fascinating (or just plain weird) trivia. In our studies, we’ll explore each game’s development, curiosities within the rich lore of the franchise, and the impact it has had on our culture. From time to time, we’ll also look at Nintendo’s past to unearth some facts about our favorite company.

The Amazing World of Gumball

The Amazing World of Gumball is loaded with references from every corner of media and is no stranger to creating Nintendo-like content. In fact, one of Gumball and Darwin’s favorite game series is titled “The Legend of Zelmoore”, complete with a sword in its logo. The name is dropped in a few episodes, but one in particular focuses on this series and places a reference that every Zelda fan is sure to notice. Upon getting the newest Zelmoore game in “The Promise”, Gumball slowly opens the case (mimicking the music of opening up a chest as he does so) before raising up the game above his head, singing the famous “Get Item” tune we all know so well.

Some of the more fun episodes to pull references from are the Halloween specials, where the entire Gumball cast get dressed up in their Halloween garbs. While all of the costumes are spot-on references to movies, games, and other media, Sarah has her face painted just like the moon in Majora’s Mask. Props to her, she even got contacts and everything!

Gravity Falls

Gravity Falls, a series gone too soon, had many references to video games — in fact, it had many episodes centered around them, including “Fight Fighters” and “Soos and the Real Girl”. Of course, our focus here are the Zelda references, and ever since episode one we’ve been getting them. In said episode, Mabel picks up a grappling hook and holds it above her head directed towards the screen. Sounds like a certain green-clad hero that we know, doesn’t it? Well, I don’t know about you, but ever since then, whenever I use the grappling hook in Wind Waker it’s become a habit of mine to let out my best Mabel impression of her shouting “GRAPPLING HOOK!” 

There’s also another reference worth mentioning, which is one of my personal favorites. Many fans love to poke fun at Navi and her infamous catchphrases, and the creators of Gravity Falls are no exception. In the episode “Dungeons, Dungeons, & More Dungeons”, which is chock-full of fantasy references in itself, Stan swats a fairy as he, Mabel, and Grenda search for Ford and Dipper.  The fairy then weakly mutters, “Hey! Look! Listen!” before the story continues. I’ve heard that before — far too often, in fact.

The Powerpuff Girls

In the season three episode “Child Fearing”, we can find The Mayor of Townsville playing what appears to be Ocarina of Time, though he’s not very good at it. As this is a good, long cameo, we get to see The Mayor play for a while and lose several lives running into walls. While we know this is not how the health system works in the actual game, one inclusion Nintendo might want to take into consideration is how you could kill your own fairy. Though The Mayor did it by accident, let’s admit it, we all wanted to do it on purpose at one point or another.

The Big Bang Theory

It’s no surprise that if anyone would be fans of The Legend of Zelda, it would be the men of The Big Bang Theory. In the episode “The Bozeman Reaction”, Sheldon goes into great detail of every item that was stolen during a burglary, including all of their video games. In his long list of missing games, Sheldon reveals that he and Leonard own (or rather owned) Twilight Princess, Ocarina of Time, and the SNES classic Legend of Zelda.

Teen Titans Go!

Alright, I know this show is a bit controversial, but love it or hate it they did make a Legend of Zelda reference. In the episode “Video Game References” (yes, that’s really what it’s called), several games are, well, referenced. Each Titan has their own game to explore and Starfire’s is based on the original Legend of Zelda. However, instead of taking the weapon from the old man, she invites him on her journey as he turns out to be very lonely sitting about in that cave all the time. It may be dangerous to go alone, but Starfire recruits every enemy she encounters to join her with a few dances and plays the game in an entirely new way. Unfortunately, the evil wizard (parodying Ganon) has taken over the world while she lallygagged about.

Steven Universe

It’s clear throughout the series that the Crewniverse has a love for Nintendo. With many systems referenced in this show, we see that Steven himself is a GameCube owner and among his game collection is The Wind Waker (alongside Animal Crossing).

Then there’s a certain enemy who appears that feels awfully familiar. In “Lion 2: The Movie”, Connie and Steven enter one of Rose’s many secret hideaways and unleash a monster that seems like it came straight out of a Zelda game. It is a mechanical, floating head that shoots out balls of fire, ice, and electricity. To me, its design definitely gave off a Gohdan vibe, though there are many different bosses it could be referencing throughout Nintendo. However, the thing that makes this a definite Zelda reference is how it’s destroyed. Together, the two friends defeat it a la Ganondorf and parry its energy bolts back at it with Rose Quartz’s sword.

The Goldbergs

Taking place in the ’80s, the original Zelda title makes its way into this comedy series and makes the gamer in all of us rage. In the episode “Shopping”, Adam has been playing The Legend of Zelda, working his way through the game and is just about ready to defeat Ganon after six long months. He leaves the room to grab his video camera to record the moment that he has long awaited, only to return to find out that his brother had completed the game while he was away. With this, we can only be thankful that games nowadays have a fixed save system.

These are but a few of the many television shout-outs to our favorite series and we hope that there are more to come. We can never get enough Zelda, and it’s fun to see it represented in our favorite shows. It’s always nice to know that you and the creators of your favorite shows might not be so different after all.