Outer Banks is the latest Netflix craze. The fictional teen drama tells the tale of John B (Chase Stokes), a Pogue boy from the poor side of the island who falls in love with a Kook girl from the wealthy side of the island, Sarah Cameron (Madelyn Cline).
Kooks and Pogues may be two completely different social classes, but they actually do have one thing in common.
The Pogues of the Cut
During the very first episode, John B explained the societal structure in the Outer Banks. He is considered a Pogue — a term derived from the pogue fish used to attract larger fish. “Pogues, pogies, the throwaway fish. Lowest member of the food chain,” John B explained. Pogues call the south side of the island, or “the Cut,” home.
Regardless of their status at the bottom of the food chain, John B considers Pogues to be the lucky ones. “The downside is that we’re ignored and neglected. And the upside that we’re ignored and neglected.” To John B, the life of a Pogue is one off the radar, which proves to be a blessing and a curse throughout season 1.
The Kooks of Figure Eight
Outer Banks uses the term Kook to describe the well-to-do members of society. “This is Figure Eight, the rich side of the island. Home of the Kooks.” Kooks are “rich trustafarian posers,” per John B.
GQ described Kooks as people “with no understanding of the social and sartorial norms of surfing.” The term is likely used in Outer Banks because the affluent locals won’t ever truly fit into the laid back vibe in the community — the kind that comes from having little to no money, at least in this fictional world.
There’s a rivalry between Kooks and Pogues
No teen drama is complete without a bit of rivalry. Throughout the first season of Outer Banks, there’s a clear divide between the social classes. The wealthy Kooks often look down upon the Pogues, who have to take on jobs like boat repairs to make ends meet. Unlike the Kooks, who are born into wealth and graced with privilege, the Pogues strive to find a way to make their lives better.
For the most part, Pogues do their best to stay out of the Kooks way, but when challenged, a Pogue will stand their ground.
Kooks and Pogues have one thing in common
The fictional Outer Banks would have you believe that Kooks and Pogues are polar opposites, but they do share one commonality — Outer Banks locals don’t use either term to describe anyone.
Local surfer Brent Nultemeier spoke with Esquire about whether or not there’s any truth to certain aspects of the Netflix series. According to Nultemeier, “It’s just Hollywood. It’s all make-believe.”
Nultemeier explained how Pogue isn’t used to describe people in the Outer Banks. “That’s a full-on Hollywood thing,” he said. Similarly, Kook is old surfer slang used to describe “somebody that doesn’t know what they’re doing, who bought a surfboard and wants to portray this image of being a surfer when they’re entirely not,” per Nultemeier. “But over the years, I’m sure that term has been widely used elsewhere. I mean, anybody could be a kook at this point,” he added, implying that the term Kook isn’t something used by Outer Banks natives, either.
Of course, Outer Banks is a fictionalized tale designed to entertain. Showrunners took liberties in creating the faux society depicted in the Netflix series, but the use of the terms Kooks and Pogues isn’t rooted in actuality.