It's pop culture Panda-monium!

By Dan Heching
March 16, 2017 at 03:11 PM EDT
Credit: DreamWorks

Panda bears have long been the source of endless fascination, not to mention the cause of a major desire to cuddle. Naturally, there’s a special day to honor these fuzzy black and white creatures, and National Panda Day is today!

In honor and reverence, we put together this furry little gallery of the best panda moments in pop culture.

1. Panda Watch in Anchorman

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Paul Rudd does some of his best “reporting” when faced with a story about an escaped panda in the cult comedy, and he nearly loses his game face in the process. This was back when the idea of “fake news” was still amusing.

2. Hashtag the Panda on The Tonight Show

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Hashtag the Panda is an overactive, nutso character on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, who shined most brightly the night Kate Hudson appeared to talk about her role in Kung Fu Panda 3. After sitting on Kate’s lap, poor Hashtag dances up a storm until he reaches total exhaustion.

3. Kung Fu Panda

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Jack Black has given us a lovable Chinese martial arts master, who also happens to be a gluttonous panda bear, three times now, so, obviously, this list wouldn’t be complete without him.

4. Sexual Harassment Panda on South Park

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In typically irreverent fashion, the creators of South Park took on — and made a mockery of — sexual harassment and educational videos all in one with their Sexual Harassment Panda. It is worth noting that this character can be credited with birthing the phrase “sad panda” (according to Urban Dictionary: “For extra sadness, the “a” in sad is drawn out”).

5. Tugg Speedman in Tropic Thunder

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Ben Stiller’s panda-killing “badass” Tugg Speedman is a study in snarky satire. After mistakenly killing a cuddly panda, which he believes is a fierce jungle creature, Tugg totally loses it on the phone to his agent (a slippery Matthew McConaughey), and utters things like, “I am the set!” and “I’m way beyond TeVo.”

6. Never Say No to Panda

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Other than being (perhaps) the best gif on this page, this ad campaign from Arab Dairy (for a feta cheese) became an online sensation, depicting pandas as vindictive and crazy characters who terrorize unsuspecting individuals who decline the offer to eat a product known as Panda Cheese. The ads are compulsively watchable; try upgrading from the above gif to this Youtube vid.

7. “Panda” by Desiigner


This 2016 hip-hop track was nominated for a Grammy for Best Rap Performance, and the panda reference comes from the rapper being inspired by the black and white BMW model X6 cars. See a real live panda (okay, it’s a man with a panda head on) break it down with Desiigner on stage above.