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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!"''
-->-- '''ExpositoryThemeTune''' for ''WesternAnimation/TheItchyAndScratchyShow'', ''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 former Show Within A Show]]. Or [[Film/{{Inception}} Showception]], for short.[[/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. On the other hand, FinaglesLaw dictates that TheShowMustGoWrong, so don't expect to get through it without at least one catastrophe.

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 ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', and ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'' actually ''is'' one by means of a FramingDevice -- and in tragedy (''[[CatchTheConscience The Murder of Gonzago]]'' within ''{{Hamlet}}'').

Supertrope of SchoolPlay and SoapWithinAShow. Sister trope to FictionalDocument. Also compare with WhoWouldWantToWatchUs, FramingDevice, RecursiveFiction, RecursiveReality (of the "nested stories" variety), MutuallyFictional, PushedInFrontOfTheAudience, PostModernism, PlotParallel. If producing the show is important to the plot, see HeyLetsPutOnAShow. If the story baits the audience into thinking the Show Within a Show is the actual show, brace yourself for the ProsceniumReveal. See also FictionalVideoGame, a related Trope. If the Show Within a Show ends up being produced in reality as a SpinOff, see {{Defictionalisation}}.


* ShowWithinAShow/AnimeAndManga
* ShowWithinAShow/ComicBooks
* ShowWithinAShow/FanWorks
* ShowWithinAShow/AnimatedFilms
* ShowWithinAShow/LiveActionFilms
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Literature}}
* ShowWithinAShow/LiveActionTV
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Radio}}
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Theater}}
* ShowWithinAShow/VideoGames
* ShowWithinAShow/WebAnimation
* ShowWithinAShow/WebComics
* ShowWithinAShow/WebOriginal
* ShowWithinAShow/WesternAnimation



[[folder:Model Trains]]
* The smallest-scale model train is in the window of a toy store--[[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222496/Pictured-The-worlds-smallest-working-train-model-thats-tinier-fingernail.html which is in a model village that's part of a model train.]]

* 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.
* Music/SelenaGomez's ''Love You Like A Love Song'' has a video where she is in a karaoke bar, with her singing in and out of the bar's TV.

* ''Pinball/FamilyGuy'' has a miniature working pinball machine on the playfield, which is played by Stewie at key points during the game.
** ''Pinball/{{Shrek}}'', a reskinned version of ''Family Guy,'' has "Donkey's Pinball" instead.
* The VideoMode for ''Pinball/TheaterOfMagic'' is a [[DigitalPinballTables video pinball game.]]
* ''[[Pinball/LightsCameraAction Lights... Camera... Action!]]'' casts the player as a film Director who must finish a blockbuster action film.
* In the bonus rounds of SonicTheHedgehogSpinball, Sonic operataes an actual pinball table. You can see his reflection in the glass, and his eyes even move as you play.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* All the [[TalkShowWithFists Talk Shows With Fists]].
* The comic book from which Thunderbolt and Lightning [[RefugeeFromTvLand originated from]] in Wrestling/{{GLOW}}.
* "Guapos University" and "Fitness con [[Wrestling/SarahStock Dark Angel]]" were among Wrestling/{{CMLL}}'s. Five episodes of the latter were put on Youtube in 2014.
* SHINE Wrestling has "Lucha Family Films(This does not exist)".

[[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!"
* ''Up Late with Miss Piggy'' on ''Series/TheMuppets''.

[[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: Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}''
** ''GURPS Magical Items 3'' includes a brief description of a setting where TheFairFolk battle with {{Magitek}} HumongousMecha in the chapter describing such mecha. The vignette for an earlier chapter on magic toys suggests that this setting is a popular kids' TV show in the world of ''TabletopGame/GURPSTechnomancer'', with its own line of living action figures.
** The opening vignette of ''[[TabletopGame/GURPSTechnomancer Technomancer]]'' has a police mage channel-surfing while on stakeout. What she finds are mostly news and commercials, but there's a trailer for a show where [[Series/TheXFiles FBI agents Cat Morrigan and Dara Skuld]] investigate rumours of TheFairFolk.
* Mention is made of a popular holoseries in ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' called [[ComicBook/JudgeDredd Arbitrator Foreboding]], a member of the Adeptus Arbites who hunts down mutants and heretic with relish and a very big gun.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* The former ''Ride/{{Disaster}}'' attraction at [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal Studios Florida]] was based around the fictitious Disaster Studios, which created "films" such as "Apocageddon", "Das Schurke", "Baboon!", and "300 Knots Landing"; with their upcoming production being "Mutha Nature".