Just watching the 1980s cartoon series of G.I. Joe.
In episode three, as they are waiting to deep sea dive for their mission and the diver Joe known as Torpedo is coming in some kind of submarine vehicle, one of the Joes says:
"If that's Moby Dick, I'm checking out!"
Again, it's definitely a kid's show. Boys are the target audience, usually pre-teen.The reference is out there.
Understandably, Moby Dick is supposed to be an adventure story. Shouldn't boys be reading adventure stories? But at that age?
I was pretty much forced to try reading it in seventh grade by my teacher, Mrs. Connolly. I had chosen novels that she considered too short for our classic independent book reports. She basically said I needed a longer book and Moby Dick is an adventure book, to try that.