More often than not, students arrive to their college composition courses with the still-ingrained habits of prompt-writing and understanding research as gathering information only, only then to be met with confusion when faced with the challenge of analytical writing and forming their own opinions in an academic setting. We have found that bridging this gap between academic research and analysis with what the students know already by using pop culture references in the course material has been dramatically effective in eliminating the confusion and apprehension with deep (and sometimes difficult) topics and skills required in the upper-level writing classrooms. Using pop culture specifically during this introductory period unlocks the potential to engage students while shaping their ability to analyze the world around them rhetorically. This can be succeeded in a number of ways, and both panelists use their own expertise and own individual interests and styles in different composition course sections to do so. We would like to model a few of these techniques by using a classroom demo-style panel in order to illustrate exactly how teachers of both upper level high school and higher education can introduce rhetorical analysis and research writing. Through genres such as television, film and comic, we can reach students in a familiar way—busting through academic anxiety and reshaping habits, allowing students to lift the veil and see Buffy as a feminist icon who has turned gender roles and the male gaze on its head, Stranger Things' popularity as credited to the historically-defined “nostalgia disease,” and even to redefine the analytical essay completely as a Spotify Playlist or comic book strip.