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 class 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. It’s like Gossip Girl but island style.
The class differences in Outer Banks was demonstrated pretty early in the first season, specifically the first episode. Topper, Sarah’s then-boyfriend, jumped John B. and his best friend JJ at a beach for the fun of it. Because he could. Because no one was going to stop him. And, this scene is only one that demonstrates the power Kooks have over Pogues.
Read on to learn the differences—class and power wise—between the haves and the haves not. Now that season 2 has premiered, there’s a lot of info to sink our teeth in.
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. Essentially, they are the slums of the island—some inherently look down upon its residents based on their living there. Though it’s a bit more complicated than that—you don’t have to be lower-class to be a Pogue.
Kie, for example, lives on the Figure 8 (where the Kooks reside). But her spunky personality and no-shit attitude make her an enemy to her fellow rich neighbors. Also, Sarah, formerly known as the Princesses of Kooks, rejected her royalty title in season one after realizing just how vengeful and murderous her family was.
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 are also assholes, though that’s not a official category. Since they’re the “elite,” the Kooks treat the Pogues pretty badly. Not only do they repeatedly get away with murder, stealing, and other heinous crimes, but they’re only goal is make the lower-class people life a living hell.
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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