The show is way more pretentious than this photo would have you believe. (via HBO)

If you haven't been watching HBO's True Detective on Sunday nights, that's a shame, because you're not only missing out on one of the best shows on TV right now, you're missing out on some great opportunities to make yourself sound really smart in front of friends and co-workers. Somehow, what looks to be an above-average police procedural is actually a bubbling cauldron of quantum physics gobbledygook, canibus-foggy philosophy and nightmarish inter-dimensional horror. And I mean that in the very best possible way. So, watch the show, and then come back here and memorize these bits of guaranteed-to-impress commentary:

1. "Obviously, you can't truly appreciate 'True Detective' if you're not familiar with Robert W. Chambers' 'The King in Yellow.'"

The King in Yellow is a collection of weird horror stories—concerning an eponymous play that drives to insanity all those who dare to watch or read its dialogue—which 99% of us never heard of before reading Michael M. Hughes' "The One Literary Reference You Must Know to Appreciate ​True Detective" on io9 last week. Miraculously, every blowhard with an HBO Go subscription, like myself, is suddenly an expert in the "legendary city of Carcosa" and the significance of "black stars," especially in so far as they are vaguely referenced by redneck prophet Reggie Ledoux. So, make sure you throw that card out early in any True Detective conversation, or you might have to cede the alpha pretension position.

Sources: io9 | Wall Street Journal