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->''"They fight! And bite!\\
They fight and bite and fight!\\
Fight, fight, fight!\\
Bite, bite, bite!\\
The Itchy and Scratchy Show!"''
-->-- '''OpeningNarration''' for ''[[https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a76cFdO1btk The Itchy and Scratchy Show]]'', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' [[note]]''The Itchy and Scratchy Show'' is actually a segment on ''The Krusty the Klown Show''. ''The Simpsons'' was once a segment on ''The Tracy Ullman Show''. So, technically, that makes it a [[UpToEleven Show Within A Show Within A Show Within A Show Within A Show]].[[/note]]

A fictional show that takes place within an actual show; or, occasionally, a fictional installment or incarnation of an actual show.

Shows-within-a-show are [[StylisticSuck usually of low quality]]. This is intentional: the low quality of the show is part of the joke or the misery of the characters involved. As a general rule, the more central the Show Within A Show is to the actual show, the better -- or at least higher-gloss -- it will be.

Many comedies have short one-off gags where they parody existing shows. Most of the following examples are recurring and they come in up to four varieties (which can be overlapping):

# The characters are involved in the production of the show.
# The characters are fans of the show, or only see it occasionally.
# The show-within-a-show is a plot point.
# The internal show, in either variety, [[PlotParallel is eerily similar to the real show.]]

Sometimes these shows can be shown as SeparateSceneStorytelling.

For the pre-television history of this trope, [[ZerothLawOfTropeExamples once again]] we must go back to Creator/WilliamShakespeare, who featured plays within plays both in comedy -- ''The Most Lamentable Comedy, and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe'' within ''AMidsummerNightsDream'', and ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'' actually ''is'' one by means of a FramingDevice -- and in tragedy (''The Murder of Gonzago'' within ''{{Hamlet}}'').

Compare with SchoolPlay, SoapWithinAShow, WhoWouldWantToWatchUs, FictionalDocument, FramingDevice, RecursiveFiction, RecursiveReality (of the "nested stories" variety), MutuallyFictional, PushedInFrontOfTheAudience, PostModernism, PlotParallel.

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!'''Examples:'''

[[index]]
* ShowWithinAShow/AnimeAndManga
* ShowWithinAShow/ComicBooks
* ShowWithinAShow/FanWorks
* ShowWithinAShow/AnimatedFilms
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Live-Action Films}}
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Literature}}
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Live-Action TV}}
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Radio}}
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Theater}}
* ShowWithinAShow/VideoGames
* ShowWithinAShow/WebAnimation
* ShowWithinAShow/WebComics
* ShowWithinAShow/WebOriginal
* ShowWithinAShow/WesternAnimation
[[/index]]

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[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder:Music]]
* The song [[http://www.thefump.com/fump.php?id=1744 "Movie in a Movie"]] by Tony Goldmark is about a ridiculously big set of nested movies.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Dog City'' (the cartoon) in ''WesternAnimation/DogCity''.
* ''The Muppet Show'' on ''Series/TheMuppetShow''.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Dinosaurs}}'' (the early '90's animatronic puppet show), Earl watches a sock-puppet show where a woman refers to some skanky-looking characters as "cheap hose/ho's." (See {{Parental Bonus}}.) He says something close to, "I love this show. It's got one meaning that's funny for grown-ups, and one that's funny for kids!"
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Stand-Up Comedy]]
* "If you ever find out what you're watching is a show within a show, sit back and hang on for the ride of your life." -- [[Series/SaturdayNightLive Jack Handey]]
[[/folder]]

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