Pop culture

From 'Simpsons' to 'SNL,' pop culture loves 'Fifty Shades of Grey'

July 24, 2014 at 9:29 AM ET

IMAGE: "Fifty Shades of Grey"
AFP-Getty Images file
"Fifty Shades of Grey" has found its way into pop culture.

"Fifty Shades of Grey" sent pulses aflutter when the erotic novel was published in 2011, and every bit of news from the coming film adaptation has grabbed headlines, too.

While fans wait to see just how naughty the movie gets (here's a first look at the trailer), there are plenty of "Fifty Shades" pop-culture tidbits to fill the time till the Feb. 13, 2015, release date.

Ellen reads the audiobook
Back in 2012, talk-show host Ellen DeGeneres pretended she'd been chosen to record the "Fifty Shades" audiobook, and released a video of the process. It's fifty shades of hilarious. "Oh my God, I'm not going to say that!" she gasps as she reads. She replaces words for certain body parts with "my secret garden" and "his ball-peen hammer." She tries to provide her own sound effects using handcuffs, a chain, a child's paddle-ball toy, and for some reason, a birdcage. And she even provides her own form of DeGeneres-style commentary, at one point declaring, "Well, I don't think you should use a spatula for that!"

'Fifty Shades of Blue'
It's blue, not grey, that colors Selena Gomez's world in this Funny or Die parody video. When a slovenly housepainter (comedian Nick Kroll) stops by to paint a room, snorting and coughing away, Gomez has just finished reading "Fifty Shades" and can only see him through a Christian Grey-tinged haze of love. "Why was he putting sheets on the floor?" her inner goddess wonders breathlessly as he obliviously spreads a dropcloth. Gomez chews sensually on paint-swatch cards as a confused Kroll explains, "My dog sleeps with those things." It's like she's donned beer goggles, only they're book goggles.

Raise a glass, tie a wrist
Of course, there are products tied to "Fifty Shades," and they're exactly what you'd expect. There's a "Pleasure Collection" of adult toys that includes restraints, wrist ties, blindfolds and more bedroom gadgets inspired by the book. And there's even a wine label offering both "Red Satin" and "White Silk" wines, bottled with a classy grey-accented label. "I hope all of you curl up with a glass to savor the romance and the passion," author E.L. James writes on the wine website. But be careful: the site also quotes Christian Grey warning Anastasia, "If you spill the wine, I will punish you, Miss Steele." 

Fifty shades of d'oh
"The Simpsons" meets "Fifty Shades"? It really happened. In a 2013 episode of the animated hit, bartender Moe advises that Homer can win Marge back with some exciting "Fifty Shades" style playtime. As you can guess, it doesn't really work out. The Simpsons decide to work on their marriage in other ways and end up setting their new adult purchases on fire. That's ... hot?

'Saturday Night Live' audition skit
Dakota Johnson and Jamie Dornan play Anastasia and Christian in the upcoming movie, but a 2013 "SNL" skit had some fun with the idea that other, more famous faces auditioned for the roles. There's an edge of sadness to the skit now, as the late Philip Seymour Hoffman is depicted in one audition — as is Tracy Morgan, who was seriously injured in a car accident on June 7. But many of the pairings remain sharp and funny. Seth Rogen whines to a whip-wielding Emma Stone, "You hit me in my Jonah Hill!" Jane Lynch snarls after a squeaky Jon Cryer, "Was that the half-man from 'Two and a Half Men'?" Scarlett Johansson and Christoph Waltz ask if they can do the audition nude, and Steve Harvey wanders badly off-script with Rebel Wilson, complaining, "Well, the script don't make no sense!"

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