While the importance of news media to politics is widely acknowledged, it is only relatively recently that entertainment media have received similar recognition. There is now a substantial body of research on the impact of popular culture on various aspects of the political process, from political knowledge to political engagement. This article is intended as a further contribution to this literature. It reports on a study into how young people in the UK use forms of media entertainment (television, music and video games) to reflect upon the wider world of politics and their role within it. It reveals that, while popular culture does act as a source of political knowledge and does serve to motivate feelings about the conduct of politics, it does not do so straightforwardly, but rather by way of the aesthetic and other judgements made by young people of the ‘authenticity’ and ‘realism’ of the sources of their cultural pleasure. This has policy implications for the attempt to re-engage young people in politics by means of popular culture and ‘celebrity politics’.