Culture

Jokes And References That Went Over Your Head In 'Zootopia' 

Jordan Breeding
Updated November 12, 2019 3.7k votes 808 voters 48.2k views 7 items

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The animal denizens of Disney's cinematic metropolis Zootopia provide plenty of grown-up humor to go along with kid-friendly antics. Zootopia's creators liberally distribute adult jokes throughout the movie, but never in an overt or tasteless way. Many scenes refer to famous moments in pop culture, such as the wedding in The Godfather or the lab from Breaking Bad. Others make fun of real-world politics or economic events.

The filmmakers masterfully inserted these jokes into the movie, so you might have missed a few.

1
Judy Could Be Named After A Character In '21 Jump Street'
Judy Could Be Named Afte... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Jokes And References That Went Over Your Head In 'Zootopia'
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Although the name Judy Hopps refers to the fact she's a rabbit, the name might also recall Judy Hoffs from the 1980s police series 21 Jump Street. On the show, Judy, played by Holly Robinson Peete, is the most intelligent member of the team as well as the only woman. She has a lot to prove, but handles her business well and is the only team member to achieve the rank of detective.

It sounds a lot like what Hopps goes through, even if co-director Byron Howard said the name was just a coincidence.

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2
The Lemming Brothers Bank References The Lehman Brothers
The Lemming Brothers Ban... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Jokes And References That Went Over Your Head In 'Zootopia'
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

When the Zootopia writers came up with the Lemming Brothers Bank, they likely had two references in mind. The name of the bank probably refers to the ill-fated Lehman Brothers investment company, which filed for the largest bankruptcy of all time in 2008.

According to a common notion that has been dispelled as a myth, meanwhile, lemmings follow each other so blindly that if one walks off a cliff, all others in the herd will do the same.

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3
Judy Likes Animal-Themed Disney Songs And Bands
Judy Likes Animal-Themed... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Jokes And References That Went Over Your Head In 'Zootopia'
Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Judy has playlists of animal-based Disney songs. Tunes on her iPod include "Let it Goat" ("Let it Go" from Frozen), "Part of Your Wool" ("Part of Your World" from The Little Mermaid), and "Ara-Bunny Nights" ("Arabian Nights" from Aladdin).

Zootopia is also full of animal-centric twists on modern musical artists. Judy apparently loves some heavy metal and listens to Black Sable and Guns N' Rodents, which are clear references to Black Sabbath and Guns N' Roses, respectively. Other music acts mentioned in the film include Gazelle (Adele), Catty Perry (Katy Perry), Ewe 2 (U2), and Justin Beaver (Justin Bieber). 

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4
Virtually Every Store Name In 'Zootopia' Is An Animal Pun Of A Real Business
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Photo: Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Puns on numerous real-world businesses appear throughout Zootopia.

A few notable Zootopian enterprises include eBray (eBay), Zuber (Uber), Mousey's (Macy's), Targoat (Target), DNKY (DKNY), Calvin Swine (Calvin Klein), Trader Doe's (Trader Joe's), and Hayseed Penny (J.C. Penny).

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