On Two and a Half Men, Charlie Harper is watching Glee, and notes that the "woman in the red jumpsuit freaks him out". Jane Lynch, who plays the jumpsuit-wearing cheerleader coach Sue Sylvester on Glee, also plays Charlie's psychologist.
In one episode, Dick (played by John Lithgow) gets himself and Mary thrown off a plane when he looks out the window and breaks down screaming, "There's something on the wing!" (It's then explained to him that that's just the engine.) In a later episode, the human form of the Big Giant Head (played by William Shatner) complains that during his flight in, there was something on the wing, to which Dick muses, "The same thing happened to me!" William Shatner was in The Twilight Zone episode "Nightmare at 20,000 Feet", in which his character has the same reaction to a gremlin on the wing; in Twilight Zone: The Movie, John Lithgow played the same role.
In another episode, Dick launches into a tirade about how much he hates rock and roll music, which toward the end is copied almost word-for-word from one of the speeches made by Lithgow in Footloose.
Another blink-and-you-miss-it moment came when Mary (played by Jane Curtin) gave a long, lingering look at some people cosplaying as Coneheads at a convention. Curtin had played Prymaat Conehead in "The Coneheads" series of sketches on Saturday Night Live, as well as other media (including the 1993 film).
At the beginning of American Horror Story: Asylum, Sister Jude (Jessica Lange) runs the insane asylum. By the end, she's a patient there, who's been wrongly institutionalized for years. Lange received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of a wrongly institutionalized woman in the 1982 film Frances.
What's even funnier about that scene is that there is this heroic music swell as he pulls out the sword, then it abruptly cuts out and he says something akin to "it's a long story", sets it aside and pulls out the force lances.
At the end of the same episode, Buffy advises Kendra not to watch the in-flight movie if it has dogs or Chevy Chase in it. This is probably a reference to the Chevy Chase film, Funny Farm in which Sarah Michelle Gellar had an uncredited cameo.
The first full episode featuring Dawn starts with her writing in her diary, much like Harriet the Spy (the film of which starred Michelle Trachtenberg, aka Dawn).
On an episode of The A-Team, Lt. Templeton "Faceman" Peck reacts to a full-costumed Cylon(from Battlestar Galactica) walking by at a movie studio. The actor who portrayed Face, Dirk Benedict, played Starbuck on Galactica. (This shot was used in the Title Sequence montage for two and a half seasons.)
In one episode the team uses a book written by a Dr. Dwight Pepper. Two of the main cast were Dwight Schultz and George Peppard.
One episode from the last season featured Stockwell (Robert Vaughan) being captured by an old friend-turned-traitor played by David McCallum. The two starred together on The Man From U.N.C.L.E.
Said episode was appropriately called "The Say Uncle Affair", a nod to the show and its tendency to title all their episodes "The ________ Affair".
In The Avengers episode "Too Many Christmas Trees", Steed receives a Christmas card from old partner-in-crimebusting Cathy Gale. He notes with surprise that the card has been sent from Fort Knox. (Honor Blackman, who played Cathy, left the series to appear as Pussy Galore in the James Bond movie Goldfinger, in which Fort Knox featured prominently.)
In an episode of the 1994-95 revival of Burkes Law entitled "Who Killed the Movie Mogul?", Amos Burke and his partner/son Peter go to a movie memorabilia shop to question the owner, the daughter of this episode's murder victim. While they're waiting for her, Amos notices a movie poster for the 1953 version of "The War of the Worlds". He mentions it's one of his favorite movies and adds "Whatever happened to the fellow who starred in that?" and the camera cuts to the lower portion of the poster which reads 'Starring Gene Barry'.
In the pilot episode of Crossing Jordan, the leader of the anger management group asks Jordan what she's angry at. She replies "...and then of course, there's all the crap I see in my line of work: people killed by drunk drivers, psychos who murder innocent people for no reason, injustice." Jordan was, of course, portrayed by Jill Hennessy, whose character, Claire Kincaid, was previously killed off Law & Order when her car was hit by a drunk driver.
On an episode of Frasier, Niles briefly plays a part of the finale to Schubert's A major sonata D.959, also known as the theme song to Wings, on the piano. Wings was another Angell, Casey and Lee production that Kelsey Grammer once guest-starred on as, surprise, Frasier Crane. Niles and Daphne's son David was named as a tribute to the late David Angell, who was killed in the September 11 attacks.
In one 2004 episode Frasier's ex-wife, the children's entertainer Nanny G, asks him if he has any idea what it's like playing the same character for twenty years. Of course, Kelsey Grammer knows exactly what it's like, having played Frasier since 1984.
Though possibly coincidental, in GleeLea Michele's character is shown singing "On My Own" from Les Misérables. Michele has often discussed being offered the role of Eponine (who sings that song) in the Les Mis revival but turning it down in favor of Spring Awakening. She got her start in musical theatre by playing the role of young Eponine on Broadway as a child.
In fact, she's singing "On My Own" because it's the song she sang for her audition in Glee.
Many fans talked about the resemblance between Lea Michele and Idina Menzel. It was revealed during second-half of season 1 that Idina Menzel's character is Lea Michele's character biological mother. They both sing another song from Les Miserables.
When Victor Garber takes a break from his usually cool, hard-hitting persona to play Will's dad, he expresses his regret at never going to law school and at the end of the episode decides to apply. This is a shout-out to Victor Garber's portrayals of lawyers in many movies and TV shows (Legally Blonde, Eli Stone, etc...)
Victor Garber is also known for his work in Broadway musicals (e.g., Assassins), thus his appearance in a show all about music and musicals is another Lampshade Hanging in an already overly-meta show.
In the pilot episode, when Sandy sees Will at the linen store, his reaction is identical to that of Ned Ryerson every time he sees Phil in the street. Sandy's last name is Ryerson too (though Word of God says that the name "Sandy Ryerson" was scripted before the actor was cast).
In the second episode, when Terri flicks the kitchen lighter with a very smug attitude (as opposed to her needy, slightly hysterical character) it could be an allusion to Jessalyn Gilsig's role in Heroes as Meredith Gordon, the smug and self-confident woman with the power to control fire and create a small flame from her hand.
The online recap of "The Rhodes Not Taken," the episode in which Kristin Chenoweth guest-starred, shows Kristin's character hitting one of Chenoweth's famous "Cheno Notes." The narrator Finn comments with admiration, "Wicked." Rhodes also mentions her dream of making it to Broadway. In her second appearance, Kristin says that she's going to create the first all-white rendition of "The Wiz", and she sings the solo for "Home" from the same musical.
Also, Will and Terri are in a tiny Pie Shop when he thinks of Chenoweth's character.
Terri's sister asks if her baby will be black, a reference to Jessalyn Gilsig's character (Gina Russo) in Nip/Tuck.
In Sectionals, Mercedes sings a song from Dreamgirls; Amber Riley auditioned for Dreamgirls.
In episode 4, Kurt performs Beyoncé's "Single Ladies" in his basement along with Tina and Brittany (Played by Heather Morris), who is one of Sue's Cheerios and not friends with him. She would have no in-universe reason for this, the real purpose being a Shout-Out to Heather Morris' role as one of Beyoncé's backup dancers in Single Ladies. Heather Morris actually started out in Glee as only being there to teach them that dance, and then later got the role as Brittany when it turned out they still needed a third cheerleader.
In Never Been Kissed, Blaine, played by Darren Criss, the lead actor and songwriter for A Very Potter Musical, tells Karofsky that he's "Not Alone," the title of a recurring track from the musical.
In an episode of Goodnight Sweetheart, a drunken Gary, played by Nicholas Lyndhurst, nearly falls through a bar flap when it's raised, but catches himself just in time. Nicholas Lyndhurst played Rodney in Only Fools and Horses, whose brother Del Boy, played by David Jason, once famously fell through a bar flap when he didn't realise it was raised and tried to lean against it.
Del Boy was also originally supposed to catch himself just in time, but Jason argued that it wouldn't be funny enough unless he fell through instead. Judging by the number of times the clip has been repeated it seems he was right.
Also, Rusty's ex-girlfriend Jen K. says living with her roommate is like "living with lonelygirl15." Jen K is played by Jessica Rose, aka... lonelygirl15.
And another: "...which is why I think Ferris Bueller is our generation's Gatsby," says Ashleigh to Dean Bowman (played by Alan Ruck, who played Cameron in Ferris Bueller's Day Off). And in a later episode the dean drives a red Ferrari with a date named Sloane...
And a really, really obscure one: Lizzi's gushing over Great Expectations: "Little orphans are so cute!" Senta Moses, who played Lizzi, played Molly in an original touring production of Annie. ...don't look at me like that, she is old enough...
In a later episode, the Beta Zeta's are putting on a skit based on The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. Someone remarks on the attractiveness of the actor who played Kostas. Casey doesn't seem to agree. Michael Rady, who played Kostas, plays Max, Casey's boyfriend at the time.
Grounded For Life had one, where a couple of ex-NFL players were watching the Super Bowl at the Finnertys' house. One of them said something to the effect of "I love watching it here! It's like I'm actually there on the field!"
In a late season 2 episode of the Hawaii Five-0 remake, Max (Masi Oka) confronts a serial killer he's been hoping to help put away for some time. He does exactly the same thing — except in a more improvisational way — that Oka's character Hiro Nakamura did to Sylar, his serial killer nemesis, in the season 1 finale of Heroes.
In It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia Frank, in an effort to become well again in a short period of time, takes an unsafe amount of prescription drugs and is institutionalised after wandering the streets of Philadelphia. While in the mental ward, a series of events plays out very similarly to those of One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest in which Danny DeVito played the minor role of Martini. Most notable similarities include a nurse garbed much like Nurse Ratched, and a deaf, dumb and blind Indian, whom Frank tries to convince to throw a drinking fountain through a window.
In an episode of Happy Endings, Brad, played by Damon Wayans Jr., mentions that before they were married, his wife used a picture of "one of the guys from In Living Color!" as a placeholder for him. In Living Color was created by and starred Damon Wayans Sr. as well as his brothers and sister.
A retroactive example,Happy Endings, Wayans was in the pilot of New Girl. When he left, his character was replaced by Winston, who had just returned from playing basketball in Europe. In the pilot of Happy Endings, his friends describe Brad's smoothie as smelling "like a European basketball player".
In one episode, Penny and Alex (played by Elisha Cuthbert)are discussing hypothetical situations. One of them is "Maybe your dad is the head of some elite counter-terrorist unit and you only have 24 hours to... I don't know!" This is a reference to Cuthbert's role as Jack Bauer's daughter on the show 24.
Before this they also mention THAT Kim Bauer plot
Penny: What if you were, like, stuck in a trap, in the woods and like, a cougar was trying to eat you. Would you date then?
Alex: That's insane! Why would that even happen?!
On an episode of Lois and Clark, Sonny Bono appeared in the teaser as the mayor of Metropolis, holding a press conference. His dialogue consisted largely of references to old Sonny & Cher hit singles.
He was also mayor of Palm Springs from 1988 to 1992.
On another episode Jimmy remarks how much Clark and Superman look alike. Perry White counters with "People say I look like Richard Nixon but I've never been to the White House". Lane Smith (who plays Perry) played Richard Nixon in the tv movie "The Final Days".
In Monarch of the Glen, Donald Macdonald makes his first entry wearing a long floppy scarf. In a later episode, he's driving a go-cart with the number "4" while wearing a vivid blue jumpsuit...
In Monk, the title character (played by Tony Shalhoub) meets Tim Daly, who co-starred with Shalhoub in Wings. His assistant Sharona recognizes him and points him out to Monk, who replies, "I never saw that show. Was it good?" Sharona answers, "Well, he was."
Another episode features Stanley Tucci; he and Shaloub played the protagonist brothers in the film Big Night. They end up fighting each other and rolling around on the floor, just like in the film. It's a shame they couldn't get Tucci in a scene with Dr. Kroger, played by Stanley Kamel, for a Murder One reunion.
This happened often on The Nanny: Toward the end of Sunday in the Park with Fran, Fran asks about a repairman "Who You Gonna Call??", to which a repairman played by Dan Aykroyd walks in, introducing himself as "Frost Busters!". What's better, the scene continues in the style of a 1978 Nerds sketch on SNL.
Another episode had Matthew becoming obsessed with the Dilbert comic strip, until another character hires an actor to pretend to be Dilbert creator Scott Adams. The real Scott Adams has a one-line cameo.
In the short lived series, Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation, Gary Chalk plays a character named Silvermane, who is a villainous gangster Ape. Gary Chalk also voiced Optimus Primal in Beast Wars, the heroic leader of the Maximals and who transformed into a Gorilla.
At the end of an episode of NUMB3RS, the Eppes men settle down to watch some classic TV. Heard from the TV is Bob James' "Angela," which is better known as the theme to Taxi. Judd Hirsch, who plays the Eppes patriarch, also starred as Alex Rieger in Taxi.
An episode had a character make a veiled threat to have Don reassigned to Alaska. His reaction: "Never been there."
In the Psych episode "Sixty Five Million Years Off", Shawn and Gus are walking down a field covered with holes. They have a conversation of what movie it reminds them of (it's Holes), with Gus making guesses that get even more off-base with each one. Guess what movie he had a role in?
The episode "Earth, Wind, and... Wait for It" featured former Law & Order detective Milena Govich as a guest star. Shawn: "Which is kind of hard to distinguish from your "I thought this was gonna be a new episode of Law & Order, but turns out it's a repeat" face." Milena Govich's character, Nina Cassady, can only be seen on reruns.
In the episode, "True Grits," when a witness tries to dismiss Shawn and Gus, Shawn replies, "You think this is Law & Order? You don't get to decide when the interview's over." Anthony Anderson, who had previously played Detective Bernard on Law & Order, was also in that scene.
Anderson's character states in another scene that he wants to join the police academy and becoming a detective, an idea his lawyer promptly dismisses.
In the episode "She Loves Me, She Loves Me Not" Teryl Rothery plays one of Shawn's dates while they are speed dating to find a killer. She mentions having a pet goat named Cassie. In her long-running role as Dr. Janet Frasier on StargateSG1, Rothery's character had an adopted daughter named Cassie.
In the episode "Dead Man's Curveball", Danny Glover says "I'm too old for this crap", a shout out to his character in Lethal Weapon
Truly epic one in "The Santabarbarian Candidate". While walking through City Hall, Gus says he could have made it all the way the White House, as an aide. Shawn then tells Gus to say "Yes, Mr. President" which Gus repeats with relish. The scene is topped off by Shawn saying "Sorry, Charlie" to Gus. Dule Hill's breakout role was Charlie Young in The West Wing.
Later in the same ep, they make another reference to Dule Hill's role in Holes when Gus says "I can fix that" about helping Shawn throw the race for Mayor.
St. Elsewhere practically made this a regular part of the show. William Daniels sang a few lines from the movie 1776 (in which he played John Adams) when his character, Dr. Craig, visited Philadelphia. Many actors from The Steve Allen Show reprised characters and situations. Howie Mandel criticised what is obviously his own comedy act. Byron Stewart wears the sweater of a character he played in The White Shadow, and is mistaken for that character. Betty White is mistaken for the character she played in The Mary Tyler Moore Show. There must be dozens of examples.
Another nod to William Daniels' role as John Adams was the fact that the high school that he taught at in Boy Meets World was John Adams High.
In the episode where Eric decides he wants to be a teacher, the immigrants recite the Declaration of Independence in the final scene. The term "inalienable rights" was replaced with "unalienable rights," the term that John Adams fights to be replaced in a memorable scene in 1776.
Additionally, all four of the doctors from St. Elsewhere showed up on an episode of Scrubs... as a group of doctors who were at a medical convention together, got sick at the same time, and shared a hospital room.
In a fourth season episode of Sister Sister, the character Diavian reacts to Roger's claiming to know the lead singer of a hot R&B group by saying, "Yeah, and my sister is TV's Tootie". Diavian is played by Alexis Fields, whose sister is Kim Fields... aka Tootie from The Facts of Life. Oh, and Roger just happens to be played by Marques Houston, a member of the then-hot R&B group Immature... who just happens to drop by during that episode, because he is the lead singer of said R&B group that Roger claims to know. Naturally, an Identical Stranger plot ensues.
Later, Michael J. Fox's last episode of the series opens with him complaining on the phone to his absent therapist that he's developed an almost father-son relationship with him, that he couldn't possibly reproduce with a substitute. He then hangs up when his replacement therapist enters the room, played by Michael Gross, who had played his character's father for years on Family Ties.
Meredith Baxter appears in several episodes playing Macy Flaherty, Mike's mother. Baxter also had played Fox' mother on Family Ties.
Fox's last lines on that show have him describing his new job at the US Capitol. He ends by saying, "Junior Senator Alex P. Keaton is going to be hard to work with", referencing his own hardnosed conservative character from Family Ties.
Gus: Hey, didja guys in the underground lab ever do some tests on time travel? Lloyd:(exasperated eye roll)
An episode of That '70s Show had the guys go back stage to meet wrestler Rocky Johnson. Johnson in this episode is played by The Rock, AKA Dwayne Johnson — Rocky Johnson's son. Rocky Johnson's father-in-law, High Chief Peter Maivia, is played by the real Rocky Johnson, too.
In another episode, a gay couple mentions that one time, they had to say that they're brothers. One of them comments: "Who would ever believe that the two of us could be brothers?!" They're played by Barry Williams and Christopher Knight, who played brothers in The Brady Bunch.
Mary Tyler Moore plays morning show host Christine St. George and references the scene in the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" when she is hired by Lou Grant, a scene in which Lou Grant tells Mary, "You got spunk!" When Christine St. George hires Jackie, she says, "I like you. You've got sss...spirit. No, m-moxie, yes mo... Wait, no, it's... it's gumption. Oh, there's a word for it and I can't think what it is!" At the end of that same episode, Moore tosses Jackie's new beret and the screen freezes just like the opening of the "Mary Tyler Moore Show" (all be it angrily this time).
In another (Season 6) episode, Donna and Eric go to see a pastor for some relationship counseling. Donna mentions that one of their problems is Eric's love of Star Wars, and the pastor voices his similar opinion on the subject, and later uses Star Wars metaphors in his sermon. The pastor? Billy Dee Williams, who would play Lando later in the trilogy (which neatly avoids Celebrity Paradox as well.)
Two different episodes of Smallville have made references to The Dukes of Hazzard, a nod to John Schneider (who plays Jonathan Kent) having played Bo Duke. In the episode "Nicodemus," Jonathan Kent is listening to Waylon Jennings' "The Good Ol' Boys" (the theme song of The Dukes of Hazzard) while driving in his truck. In "Exposed," Tom Wopat (who played Luke Duke) guest stars as Jake Jennings, an old friend of Jonathan's who arrives in a Dodge Charger similar to the General Lee, kicking off a number of homages to The Dukes of Hazzard throughout the episode.
Also, it is probably not a coincidence that in one season 10 episode, a character played by Michael Shanks ends up in Egypt.
In the episode that introduced the show's version of the Justice League, Lex Luthor captures Bart Allen (the future Flash). Michael Rosenbaum (Lex's actor) voiced the Flash on the Justice League cartoon and voiced him in Lex Luthor's body in an episode.
Brainiac (played by James Marsters) tells Clark in one episode that vampires don't really exist.
In one episode of Diagnosis: Murder, Dick Van Dyke as Doctor Sloan is walking through the corridors of the hospital. As he turns a corner, he passes an internal window through which we see, not a medical procedure in progress, but a broadcast booth in black and white. It's a clip from his mostly forgotten show Good Morning World. He walks on without seeming to notice.
This show was fond of stunt casting. For instance, one episode featured guest stars from the movie and TV versions of M*A*S*H. The plotline involved a murder mystery in the middle of casualties pouring in from a multi-car accident, similar to marathon operating room sessions that figured prominently in M*A*S*H.
Victoria Rowell co-starred on All My Children for much of the same time she played Dr. Amanda Bentley on Diagnosis: Murder. In one episode, Dr. Bentley won a walk-on role on AMC in a contest. Several members of the soap-opera's cast were taken aback at how much she resembled Victoria...
In the Stargate SG-1 pilot "Children of the Gods", Captain Samantha Carter explains to Colonel Jack O'Neill (played by Richard Dean Anderson — the actor who played MacGyver) that "It took us fifteen years and three supercomputers to MacGyver a way to power the gate." Interestingly, Amanda Tapping, the actress who plays Carter, actually ad-libbed this line during her audition. This is what actually got her secured for the role.
A sneakier MacGyver reference: Colonel O'Neill has never seen Alf. Alf was on opposite MacGyver.
Conversely, in the 10th season of SG-1 there were a few references to Ben Browder and Claudia Black being imports from Farscape. Probably the most blatant was in 200 (itself full of in-jokes), where Black's character Vala proposes a remarkably Farscape-like show with herself in the role analogous to Black's Farscape role, Aeryn Sun. Oddly enough, the role of Crichton was played by Michael Shanks, instead of Ben Browder. This was actually on request of the actors; originally, Browder was going to be Crichton. (It was apparently inspired by them noting how people thought they looked similar.)
The first time Vala meets Mitchell, she does a bit of a double take, and then says "I know we haven't met. That I'm sure I would remember."
As a subtle one, Black managed to get the same introduction in both shows. In the pilot of Farscape when Aeryn Sun is introduced she's in a full Peacekeeper commando pilot suit (basically a jumpsuit and motorcycle helmet). Upon meeting Crichton she deftly knocks him on his back and pins him in a sort of straddling position. When Vala is first introduced in Stargate SG-1 she is disguised as an Anubis warrior (basically full body armour jumpsuit and a helmet not unlike a motorcycle helmet). Upon meeting Daniel Jackson she deftly knocks him on his back and pins him in a sort of straddling position. The only difference between the two motions is that Aeryn removes her helmet before pinning Crichton while Vala keeps hers on as she pins Jackson. That was only really done to provide an excellent wtf moment when the "Anubis Warrior" claims to find Daniel attractive.
One more: In late season 9, an incredibly pregnant Vala resurfaces to give the team some valuable intel on the Ori...and to tell them she's pregnant. Mitchell asks who the father is; Vala says she doesn't know. Season 4 of Farscape revolved largely around the mystery of who fathered Aeryn's unborn child.
Similarly, in the Stargate Atlantis episode "Vegas", an alternate-universe McKay quips that a stranded Wraith might want to take up a job as a Klingon at The Star Trek Experience attraction in Vegas. The alternate Woolsey sadly comments that the attraction has closed down. Actor Robert Picardo, who plays Woolsey, reprised his Star Trek: Voyager role as the Emergency Medical Hologram in the attraction.
According to The Other Wiki's now-deleted article on the episode, Picardo actually requested that this line be added since it had only recently closed. There is also another moment in a season 5 episode where Woolsey discusses founding an alliance, which is immediately compared to the Federation of Planets.
In the SG-1 episode Avenger 2.0, Dr. Felger is seen putting a roll of duct tape into a backpack. The actor who played him, Patrick McKenna, also played Harold on The Red Green Show.
In one episode, Valla asks Daniel Jackson how he can tell the Asgard apart, noting the physical similarity between Thor and another Asgard. Daniel Jackson replies "It's the voice." Michael Shanks, who plays Jackson, also does the voice of Thor.
In another episode, Teal'c mentions having played Def Jam Vendetta. His actor, Christopher Judge, was a voice actor in that game.
At one point in Atlantis, Mitch Pileggi (as Colonel Caldwell) is revealed to be possessed by a Goa'uld. During this exchange, his eyes flare a yellow-ish color and he (almost) sets events in motion that could've killed many major characters. Years later, on Supernatural, Mitch Pileggi (as Mary's father) is revealed to be possessed by a demon. During this exchange, his eyes flare a yellow-ish color (as the demon possessing him was season 1 & 2 Big Bad Azazel) and he sets events in motion that lead to Mary's death.
Another Star Trek reference; during one of HBO's then-annual broadcasts of a benefit comedy concert for the charity "Comic Relief"(no relation to the British Comic Relief charity), the Star Trek: The Next Generation cast produced a clip where the Enterprise crew discussed the history of this 20th-century charitable foundation. Data at one point displayed a picture of the charity's founders, comedians Robin Williams, Billy Crystal and Whoopi Goldberg (which he pronounced Who-Pie). Dr. Crusher then commented, "Wait a minute, doesn't this Who-Pie Goldberg look a lot like Guinan? You don't think..." After a beat the whole crew shook their heads and said, "Nah."
Sanctuary: The season 3 episode "Firewall" had a rather blatant example. In a somewhat frenzied state Will is under surveillance from Big Guy (played by Christopher Heyerdahl). After he pours a substance on him called "Twilight", Will asks him what he thinks of "those movies". The latter's response? That he liked Marcus, the very role he played in New Moon (and who was actually a very minor character in that film).
The First Doctor companion, Ian Chesterton, was played by William Russell, famous as the lead of the 1950s swashbuckling series The Adventures Of Sir Lancelot. In The Crusade, he gets knighted and the Doctor jokes that he could always have imagined him as a knight.
And much earlier, Colony in Space had the Brigadier tell the Doctor he'd nearly arrested the Spanish ambassador, mistaking him for the Master. The actor who played the Master, Roger Delgado, had previously played Mendoza, the Spanish envoy to the court of Elizabeth I in Sir Francis Drake.
Tom Baker had previously worn a big floppy fedora and a long scarf to hide his mutations from the outside world while playing The Igor in The Mutations (released in the US as The Freakmaker). Interviews with Tom Baker and the costume designer James Acheson reveal that it was an inspiration.
Valentine Dyall, who played the Black Guardian during seasons 16 and 20, had previously been well-known as the BBC's radio Horror Host "The Man in Black".
For a little while (until the series revival), the canonical Ninth Doctor was Richard E. Grant who played an Ink-Suit Actor version of him in the animation "Scream of the Shalka". The Eighth Doctor had been played by Paul McGann - basically, he had regenerated into the other half of Withnail & I.
The Christmas Invasion included a scene of the Tenth Doctor (played by David Tennant) choosing his new costume in the TARDIS wardrobe. In addition to the Continuity Nod of past Doctors' costumes being present, there was also a vivid red "Regency" shirt resembling one Tennant had worn in Casanova, and a Hogwarts uniform, referencing his role as Barty Crouch Jr. in Goblet of Fire.
School Reunion featured Anthony Stewart Head as the villain, Mr. Finch. When confronted by a laser equipped K9, he told his followers to "Forget the Shooty-dog thing."
The Satan Pit - Rose and Mr Jefferson are discussing escape plans, and Jefferson mentions the ducts used by maintenance robots that run under the base. Rose assumes they're ventilation shafts, which gets Jefferson to say "I appreciate the reference". His actor was in the third Aliens movie.
The special Time Crash as a whole is an especially poignant one. Peter Davison reprises his role as the Fifth Doctor opposite Ten, who tells him how much he loved his time as Five and finally getting to be young and nice. He then breaks the fourth wall entirely with the line "You were my Doctor;" fans typically use "my Doctor" to refer to the actor who they grew up with and love in the role, and Davison was that Doctor for Tennant, so much that he became an actor solely so that he might get to play the role himself one day.
In The Doctor's Daughter, Jenny is played by Georgia Moffett, who actually is the daughter of Fifth Doctor Peter Davison. And her mother is Sandra Dickinson (Trillian from the The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy). When Jenny appears for the first time, a bit of the theme music from the Hitchhiker Series can be heard.
In The End of Time, The Doctor is told that "the universe will sing you to your rest", which may reference a line from Hamlet, a production which David Tennant had played the title role in.
In The Lodger, the Doctor played soccer. His actor, Matt Smith, played soccer before becoming an actor.
In The Girl Who Waited, Amy mentioned how Rory pretended to be in a band. Rory's actor, Arthur Darvill, is in a band in real life.
In Deep Breath, the Twelfth Doctor asks a random hobo (thinking he's Clara) if he's seen the Doctor's new face before. The Doctor gets the feeling that he has seen this face at some point. Peter Capaldi played Caecilius in the Tenth Doctor's adventures in The Fires of Pompeii, where he and Tennant interacted quite a bit with each other. In a semi-related note, Karen Gillian (Amy Pond) appeared in this serial as well, before going on to play Eleven's companion.
In "Dark Water", a character is horrified to see the Twelfth Doctor's identity card - "Another government inspection? So soon? Why is there all this swearing?"
In the series Chicago Hope, Dr. Geiger is treating a patient who thinks she's Eva Peron. The patient goes up to him and slyly says, "I know who you are." Dr. Geiger was played by Mandy Patinkin, who was better known at that time for his work as a Broadway actor, and won a Tony Award playing Che in the Broadway production of the musical Evita.
In the second season, when Geiger's ex-wife Laurie is getting married to a fellow mental patient, the 'hymn' for the wedding was "Don't Cry For Me, Argentina".
In the episode "The Russian House" of Foyle's War, Tom Goodman-Hill plays the estranged son of a murdered man, and remarks that the details of his father's murder are "like something out of an Agatha Christie novel." This is two years after he appeared in the Doctor Who episode "The Unicorn and the Wasp" in which he plays the title wasp when the Doctor meets Agatha Chrstie.
At Comic-Con, John Barrowman and Naoko Mori explain how the Torchwood episode "Exit Wounds" had one for them. In the episode, Tosh dies in Jack's arms. Previously, the pair had played Chris and Kim opposite each other in Miss Saigon, in which Kim dies in Chris's arms.
In another Torchwood example, the episode "Ghost Machine" featured a character named Ed Morgan, played by Gareth Thomas. Morgan's suicide at the end of the episode was deliberately staged to recall the death of Blake, the character who Thomas played in Blake's 7. Additionally, immediately after leaving Blake's 7, Thomas had played the lead role in a series called Morgan's Boy, in which he also played a character named Morgan who killed himself at the end of the story.
It's worth noting the significance of the name he gave. Claude Raines was The Invisible Man in the movie of that name.
Also in Heroes - although the show is already rife with Star Trek references, several are centered around the character of Kaito Nakamura, portrayed by George Takei. Of special note - the licence plate of his limo reads NCC-1701.
In an episode of NCIS, Kate curiously asks what Ducky (played by David McCallum) looked like when he was younger. Gibbs replies, "Illya Kuryakin," which isn't surprising, as McCallum played that role on The Man From UNCLE forty years prior.
Another from NCIS, Tony comments on the difficulty of something by saying he had a better chance of sleeping with Jessica Alba. Michael Weatherly, the actor who plays Tony, was at some time engaged to Jessica Alba.
Also, in the show's second episode Kate tells Abby that she wanted to be a lawyer, but made it though a year of law school and dropped out. Sasha Alexander had guest-starred on CSI as a district attorney two years before.
There was another reference to Dark Angel in the 10th episode of Season 5. About half way through the episode, Tony and Gibbs go to interview a woman named Karen Sutherland. During the course of the interview, Sutherland mentions that her company makes exo-skeleton. Weatherly character on Dark Angel used an exo-skeleton in Season 2 in order to walk.
Subverted on an episode where Tony said that the victim of the week reminded him of the guy from the movie DOA, he was played by Matthew Marsden who also played Christie's boyfriend in DOA: Dead or Alive. However, Tony was referring to the 1950 Edmond O'Brien classic which had a similar plot to that episode, the opening dialogue were a man reports his own murder was even taken from that film.
In a Season 6 episode of NCIS: Los Angeles, Deeks while sparring with Kensi claims that she's a terrible dancer. Daniela Ruah won the first season of Portugal's version of Strictly Come Dancing.
Zuckercorn ends a scene on a pier where characters discuss the dead shark lying at their feet by jumping over it on his way back to his car.
The lawyer Bob Loblaw remarks "Look, this is not the first time I've been brought in to replace Barry Zuckerkorn. I think I can do for you everything he did. Plus, skew younger. With juries and so forth." Loblaw was played by Scott Baio, who was cast as Chachi on Happy Days when producers worried the Fonz was getting to old to maintain the show's youthful demographic.
Michael (Jason Bateman) jokingly asks Nelly, a prostitute, to marry him before adding, "That's wrong on so many levels." Nelly is portrayed by Justine Bateman, Jason Bateman's real-life sister.
Lucille Two becomes exasperated hearing the song "New York, New York", saying, "everyone thinks they're Frank Sinatra." Lucille Two is played by Liza Minelli, the singer who first recorded the classic.
When a lawyer is needed to defend George Sr., the family considers hiring Andy Griffith to emulate his role as TV lawyer Matlock. He cancels, causing the narrator to point out that they would never dream of making fun of Andy Griffith. Arrested Development's narrator is Ron Howard, whose first role was Opie on The Andy Griffith Show.
In another episode, Jessie, an image consultant, derides George Michael by calling him "Opie". The narrator cuts in at this point, saying "Jessie had gone too far, and had best watch her mouth." (Howard was also an executive producer on the show).
In a third season story arc, Michael falls in love with Rita (played by Charlize Theron). After breaking up with her, someone mentions how bad she looked before her plastic surgery. A picture of Charlize Theron from her role in Monster is displayed onscreen.
In a deleted scene, Michael searches for an actress he knows, Marta, on the Internet Movie Database. Her picture is the default "no picture" graphic. This is because the role of Marta was played by three different actresses through the show's run.
In one episode, Michael sarcastically praises George Sr.'s lying ability, saying "Yeah, Dad, you're a real Brad Garrett." This episode was originally preceded by the Emmy Awards, in which Jeffrey Tambor (who plays George Sr.) lost the Best Supporting Actor award to Brad Garrett.
Buster accidentally gets his hook stuck in the stair car's dashboard while doing the robot to Styx's Mr. Roboto; a reference to a commercial Tony Hale, who plays Buster, had appeared in in which he does the same dance to the same song.
In an episode of Mad About You, Richard Kind says to Paul Reiser, "I feel like there's something in my chest, bursting to get out... did you ever see that movie, Illegal Alien [sic]?" Reiser is quick to reply, "Just the first one." Paul Reiser starred in Aliens as the Corrupt Corporate Executive who gets attacked by an alien.
On Sanford and Son, Fred Sanford (played by Redd Foxx) once entered a Redd Foxx lookalike contest.
In the Will and Grace episode "Von Trapped" the gang goes to an audience participation showing of "The Sound of Music." When they get in trouble, Rosario shows up to bail them out, dressed in a nun's habit — virtually the same outfit Shelley Morrison wore on The Flying Nun in fact.
Eric McCormack (Will) actually cracks Gene Wilder up with one of these during an outtake.
McCormack: "Say 'I am Stein.'" Wilder: "I am Stein." McCormack: "Louder! I am Stein!" Wilder: "Louder! I am Stein!" McCormack: "Like you mean it! I am Stein!" Wilder: "I am Stein!" McCormack: "YOUR NAME IS FRANKENSTEIN!!" (Wilder loses it)
The best example is when Matt Damon guest-starred as a gay man who was actually straight and just wanted to get into a gay men's chorus to advance his career who said that he had a long-term boyfriend named Ben. Which he does.
Nick, on the other hand, thinks it looks like the guy from Newhart.
In an episode of Blossom, Blossom blinds a prowler (actually her brother) by blowing talcum powder into his face. When her best friend Six asks her where she learnt to do that, Blossom replies "MacGyver". Blossom's actress Mayim Bialik previously played Recurring Character Lisa Woodman on MacGyver.
The Sonny With A Chance episode "Battle of the Network Stars" features almost as many allusions as scenes. When Sonny (Demi Lovato) says "nobody knows me the way that I know me", immediately followed by guest star Selena Gomez (the actress' real-life best friend) entering; Selena says she was in 'Camp Hip Hop' (a play on Camp Rock, starring Demi Lovato), Sonny accuses Selena of acting like a wizard (Selena Gomez stars in another Disney show called Wizards of Waverly Place) and at the end there's a 'Camp Hip Hop' trailer featuring three boys who look a lot like The Jonas Brothers (who were in Camp Rock). Also, Chad tells Sonny if she thinks she'll ever be BFF with Selena Gomez, to which she replies "it could happen".
In the Supernatural episode "Hollywood Babylon", Sam and Dean Winchester are taking a tour of a movie and TV studio. When the tour guide mentions that they're passing the set of Gilmore Girls and might see some of the stars, Sam looks uncomfortable and leaves the tour. Sam is played by Jared Padalecki, who was also on Gilmore Girls, whose star was by then his ex-girlfriend.
In an earlier episode, "Shadow," someone mentions meeting "Something Michael Murray," in a bar, to which Sam replies "Who?" Chad Michael Murray was also in Gilmore Girls.
At the end of the episode "No Exit" Dean makes a joke about Katie Holmes to which Sam replies "That's funny... and for you, so bitchy." Dean is played by Jensen Ackles, who was also in Dawson's Creek with Katie Holmes.
At the end of the episode "The Usual Suspects", Dean comments that a police officer who helped them seemed fairly familiar, and commented that he had a hunkering for pea soup. The officer was played by Linda Blair.
In season five's "Fallen Idols," an ancient god (who kills its worshippers to feed on their blood) is disguised as Paris Hilton. Dean claims that she can't kill him, because "I'm not a Paris Hilton BFF. I've never even seen House of Wax." At this, Sam gives Dean a pointed look. Jared Padalecki costarred with Hilton in the 2005 movie.
The episode in which Famine is introduced, titled My Bloody Valentine, (No, notthat) is a direct Shout-Out to Jensen Ackles's star role in the Slasher Movie remake My Bloody Valentine 3D. Though the name is justified by the fact that two innocents on their first date eat each other to death.
Season 7 episode 3, "The Girl Next Door" manages to fit two in about as many minutes. Dean is passed out on the couch with the tv still on when a commercial for My Bloody Valentine 3D comes on (which Jensen Ackles starred in). And then in pretty much the next scene he talks to a store clerk wearing a Batman: Under the Red Hood t-shirt. Which, again, starred Ackles as a voice actor.
A Comic Relief sketch showed Lauren Cooper (Catherine Tate) interacting with her English teacher (David Tennant) and mocking him by making references to Doctor Who. Eventually he does turn out to be The Doctor and uses a Sonic Screwdriver to turn her into a Rose action figure. (She had earlier made reference to Billie Piper.) Tate had previously appeared as Donna Noble on a Who Christmas special and would later reprise the role as a regular during the fourth series.
On Leverage, Nate Ford's(played by Timothy Hutton) dad is named Jim, which is also Timothy Hutton's father's name.
In The Ten Li'l Grifters Job, wherein all the characters have to dress up as various detectives to infiltrate a costume party, Nate dresses as Ellery Queen. Tim Hutton's father played Queen on the TV show.
In a fourth-season episode of 24, the Speaker of the House comments that then-Acting President Charles Logan is "in good hands" with David Palmer, a reference to Palmer actor Dennis Haysbert's Allstate commercials.
There were other, more subtle references on the show: for example, when the name "Flatpoint High" was mentioned in a list of high school (it's the name of the school in Strangers with Candy), when Wilford Brimley called him (it's a running joke that dates back to before Strangers with Candy) or when Stephen took out a stuffed squirrel from under his desk (probably a reference to an Exit 57 skit that's very popular among fans because it consists of him making out with Paul Dinello - repeatedly).
Another episode has Frank talking about how he turned down advances by Ray's cleaning woman, though he still stayed to watch her for a bit. When this is pointed out, he says "Well, I'm not a monk." Boyle had briefly studied to be a monk before turning to acting.
One episode had J.G. Hertzler play an old book author who, while rambling on at a bookstore, causes Ray to fall asleep. He happens to be missing an eye...
And in an earlier episode of the show, Booth orders a search of the area surrounding the Hyperion Hotel, which, on Boreanaz's previous show, Angel, is the name of his character's home/base of operations.
In the "Death of the Queen Bee" a suspect is described by Sweets as being "creepy, very Freddy". Take a wild guess as to the Actor playing him.
In Home Improvement, Tim is having a tea party with his nieces. He does all the voices of their stuffed animals, but they complain that he didn't voice the lion right. Tim mentions that he doesn't know what it's like to be a lion. Randy (played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who voiced the young Simba in The Lion King) mentions that it was tough. Later in the same episode, Tim is playing with the girls' Buzz Lightyear, and argues with it by claiming "I am Buzz Lightyear...No, I am Buzz Lightyear...No, I am Buzz Lightyear...I come in peace" Tim then presses the button on the toy, causing it to say "I am Buzz Lightyear. I come in peace" in the exact same voice.
Another episode of Home Improvement had Tim arguing with his brother. When it descended into "Is too times 100!", "Is not times a thousand!", Tim capped "to infinity!" with "to infinity and beyond!", the Catch Phrase of Buzz Lightyear in Toy Story.
Yet ANOTHER Home Improvement episode, a Halloween one, had Randy at the Taylors' front door handing out candy. When two kids show up, one as Buzz Lightyear and another as Simba, Randy gave extra candy to the "cute little lion."
Of course, all three of these occurred after ABC was acquired by Disney.
The "Network Neutrality" segment on The Daily Show had Jon Stewart trying to make a reluctant John Hodgman say "I'm a PC" in reference to the latter's Apple ads.
In the season 2 episode ...There's Fire, when it is suggested that Denny move to Hawaii, he responds, "What am I supposed to do? Beam myself to Boston every day?"
In an earlier season's episode, when Denny Crane talks to the press when walking through the courthouse, he often spouts out non sequiturs. One of them was, "I was once a captain of a space shuttle!"
When Alan and Denny go fishing, Alan is reading a book about salmon farms and remarks that salmon lice are sometimes called "cling-ons". Denny: "Did you say... Klingons?"
Alan certainly seems to know what he wants in a secretary.
The Office had an unusual variation in an episode where a subplot involved a bat getting into the office, and Jim pretending to turn into a vampire. That episode's guest director? Joss Whedon. (The show's producers insist it was a coincidence, and when Whedon found out about the episode's story he was reluctant to do it. The fans are divided on what to believe.)
There are also several for the character Creed Bratton — the first of course being that the character has the same name as the actor who plays him. A deleted scene reveals that Creed was a member of '60s rock band The Grass Roots, which is also true of the actor. Creed also sings "Spinnin' n' Reelin'" at karaoke, a song by Creed Bratton. When Creed gets in debt, he dumps it on phony identity "William Charles Schneider," which is the actor's real name.
An Only Fools and Horses skit for Comic Relief featured Uncle Albert reminiscing about the war, and wishing he could get back there. Rodney sarcastically asked if he expected to walk down an alleyway and find himself back in the forties, and Del added that he might not be a Detective Inspector, but even he knew better than that. Nicholas Lyndhurst, as mentioned above, played Gary Sparrow in Goodnight Sweetheart, about a man who walked down an alleyway and found himself back in the forties, and David Jason plays DI Jack Frost in A Touch of Frost.
The fifth-season premiere of Corner Gas has the cast discussing Canadian television shows. As soon as Street Legal is mentioned, Oscar yells out "Street Legal sucked!". Oscar's actor, Eric Peterson, had a role on the series as Leon.
The series finale dealt with Brent trying out stand-up comedy. Which is of course what Brent Butt does when not starring in his own sitcom.
In the first season Monkees episode "The Monkees At The Circus," Mickey Dolenz incessantly sings a song from "some old TV show" as the group gets acquainted with the big top. The song is the theme tune from Circus Boy, which he starred in as a child actor.
The Wire includes several instances due to its penchant for having Baltimore political figures appear in cameo roles. In one instance, the mayor is discussing with several staffers the unauthorized creation of a decriminalized drug zone. One staffer says that if news gets out, people will call the mayor "the most dangerous man in America." The line is uttered by former Real Life Baltimore mayor Kurt Schmoke, who had been called the most dangerous man in America (by Congressman Charles Rangel) when Schmoke suggested debating the decriminalization of drugs.
When Mayor Carcetti goes to beg for funding from the unnamed, unseen Republican governor clearly based on then Real Life governor of Maryland Robert Ehrlich, Ehrlich appears as a security guard at the governor's office.
Similarly, the show's co-creator David Simon appears in Season 5 as a Baltimore Sun reporter. Simon was a Sun reporter, and his experience writing the crime section led to the book Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets, later adapted into the TV series Homicide: Life on the Street.
Even more confusingly, a character by the name "Jay Landsman" appears on the show, but the real Jay Landsman plays Lt. Mello.
Musician Steve Earle, who performs the theme song for Season 5, has a role as Walon, a recovering heroin addict. Steve Earle himself is a recovering heroin addict in Real Life. Additionally, Walon can be seen wearing a jacket with the art from Steve Earle's Copperhead Road album, as well as a tattoo of said art on his bicep.
In one episode of Growing Pains, Jason asks Mike if he's seen Maggie. Mike replies, "Tall blonde, looks like Donna De Varona?" Olympic swimmer Donna De Varona is the sister of Joanna Kerns, who played Maggie. Later in the episode, Maggie asks if Mike has seen Jason. Mike replies, "Tall man, looks like a talk show host?" Alan Thicke, who played Jason, had previously had his own talk show.
In another episode, Maggie's parents come for a visit in an RV. Maggie's father, Ed, is telling Jason how popular this particular model of RV is, and says that all the Hollywood types have them, even Loni Anderson. Jason later says he could be happy with it, "Forget Loni Anderson!" Ed replies "I can't!" and pulls open a cabinet door to reveal a poster of her. Ed Malone was played by Gordon Jump, who played Arthur Carlson on WKRP in Cincinnati, co-starring Loni Anderson as his secretary.
Saturday Night Live featured a cold opening in which most of the cast is playing a group of Republican members of Congress who plan to hijack President Obama's health care speech by yelling "You lie!". They decide to rehearse it and one claims that they need someone to act as Obama. Rep. Eric Cantor, played by Fred Armisen, offers to do it, claiming that he does a good impression of the president. This is a reference to the fact that Armisen is the one who usually portrays Obama in sketches involving the president.
Another case is during the 2010 Anne Hathaway/Florence And The Machine episode, Anne, playing future Princess Kate Middleton alongside Prince William, meets the Queen of England and her assistant, who threaten and bully Kate while speaking in working-class accents. At one time, the Queen mentions, "This isn't The Princess Diaries." The Queen's assistant calls the movie "crap", and "Kate" says, "well it has its moments".
Another sketch had Sarah Palin (played by Tina Fey) and Hillary Clinton (played by Amy Poehler) make a joint announcement on sexism. At one point Clinton refers to Palin's "Tina Fey glasses".
The Cold Case episode "Creatures of the Night" involves a serial killer, played in the present day by Barry Bostwick, beginning his crimes in the 1970s after his religious sensibilities were disgusted by the portrayals of perversion and bisexuality in The Rocky Horror Picture Show, in which the young Bostwick played Brad Majors.
One episode of L.A. Law featured a character who dressed up in a Homer Simpson suit, who spoke in Homer's voice when he had the Homer headpiece on. He was played by Dan Castellaneta, the voice of Homer.
In another episode, the lawyer played by A Martinez was asked where he'd been living the previous few months. He says "Santa Barbara" — not a surprise when you know that's the title of the soap opera Martiniez had once appeared on.
A very subtle one: the title of one episode is "Clash of the Tritons," a play on the title of the film Clash of the Titans. That film's star, Harry Hamlin, had a recurring role on the show.
Enrico Colantoni's character dates a character played by Laura San Giacomo for a few episodes. The two previously played amorous co-workers in Just Shoot Me!.
There's also the scene in season 2 where Trina and Kendall, aka. Willow and Cordelia, get to snark at each other. Later, Logan says to Kendall: "I thought you couldn't come out during daylight hours."
One episode of Scrubs had JD trying to find out why the Janitor was simultaneously pretending to be three different people. Later on in the episode, he watches The Fugitive which Neil Flynn was in. Janitor even confirms that he is an actor at the end of the episode (granted, he is a compulsive liar).
A newer episode where Carla tries to trick the Janitor into forgetting something embarrassing references this incident. When the Janitor stops trusting his memory, he says, "Maybe I really wasn't in The Fugitive..."
Neil Flynn also played the plumber/mechanic/etc. in the first three Ratchet & Clank games (and Secret Agent Clank).
Scrubs: "Alright, Dr. Cox...ridiculous name, by the way..." -Dr. Taylor Maddox, played by Courtney Cox.
In another episode Jordan (Christa Miller) refers to both herself and Dr Maddox as cougars.
There was an incident in which Dr. Cox addressed Elliot as "Becky," Sarah Chalke's sometimes character on Roseanne.
The episode My Mirror Image featured three patients who were meant to provide a mirror, contrast, or both to the current situations of JD, Dr. Cox and the Janitor and were each played by the actor of the main character they mirrored. JD's patient was called Mrs. Zeebee, referencing Zach Braff's initials, the patient Janitor talked to was called Mr. O'Neil, referencing Neil Flynn, and Dr. Cox's patient was called Mr. Slydell, referencing John C. McGinley's character in Office Space.
In the episode My White Whale Cox attempts to intimidate a puppet-collecting pediatrician, played by Chris Meloni, by sending him a puppet hand. Chris Meloni also had a recurring role on Oz in which his on-screen sometimes-boyfriend Tobias Beecher was targeted by the prison's white supremacists, who had an associate cut off his son's hand and mail it to him.
The same skit has the captain disputing that he's a space pirate because the entire idea is just silly. Cleese snaps back, "What else would I be, a management consultant?" which is either a riff on Fawlty Towers where he played an inept hotel manager, or a reference to his company Video Arts that made company training videos.
An episode of Chuck uses a rather extreme version that really stretches suspension of disbelief. The film Die Hard exists in the series, but in this episode Reginald Vel Johnson guest stars as the cousin of regular character Big Mike: a Twinkie eating cop named Al Powell who gets involved in a hostage standoff. Later, Mike (one of the hostages) and Al even get to talk on the phone and share dialogue quite reminiscent of the film.
Scott Bakula shows up as Chuck and Ellie's father, and after Ellie's first words to him are a blunt reminder of the night he abandoned them he replies "Oh boy," Bakula's catchphrase from Quantum Leap.
In an earlier episode, Casey (played by Adam Baldwin) scoffs at the threat posed by a young genius opponent: "What, is he gonna hurt me with his mind?" This is similar to a threat issued towards Baldwin's character by another young genius on Firefly: "Also, I can kill you with my brain."
The season four premiere has Dolph Lundgren saying "I must break you," with the exact same delivery he used in Rocky IV.
Chuck at one point described Agent Daniel Shaw as "kinda Superman-y". Three guesses for which superhero Brandon Routh has played as.
Works on two levels. Chuck's coworker comments on how attractive Agent Shaw is. Chuck responds "Yeah, if you're into that whole Superman thing." Said coworker is played by Kristin Kreuk.
In "Chuck Versus The Fear Of Death" Casey confronts Greta, telling her he doesn't care "what crew you were on," a low-key reference to both Adam Baldwin and Summer Glau's respective roles in Firefly.
Even further, Bakula half-jokingly suggested that Jonathan Archer's middle name was Beckett. Whether an actor's word can be Word of God is up to debate.
In a mix of Shout-Out, Celebrity Paradox, and this, the characters of the soap Los Amores de Anita Pe? had an extrange Time Traveling experience (don't ask), and going further and further in the past, they ended in many previous works of the cast, including the famed soap Por Estas Calles. To further more the joke, the characters of Anita Pe? met the ones interpreted by the same actors in Por estas Calles, which set up for hilarious situations, like dimwitted Anita Pe?eeting no-nonsense Broken Bird Euridice Brice?both interpreted by Maria Alejandra Mart?, and the later meeting of Anita with Por Estas Calles 's Kavorka Man Eudomar Santos, whose actor Franklin Virguez interpreted Anita's Love Interest and his Evil Twin, both of them also irrupting in the scene (this has the Reality Subtext of Mr Virguez being accused by several critics of repeating his famous "Eudomar" role, only because he moved from interpreting a Hot-Blooded, Catch Phrase spouting barrio man with dubious ethics, to interpret a couple of twins of humble origins, one of them a Ambulance Chaser lawyer with dubious ethics).
Roberto Lamarca was cast in Anita Pe? as a Deadpan SnarkerGenre Savvyghost whose looks and past was an obvious Shout-Out to famous late doctor and beloved proto-saint Jose Gregorio Hern?ez, a comparison who was constantly loathed by the character. If you watched Por Estas Calles, you could remember Mr. Lamarca as Affably EvilJerkass MD Dr. Valerio, the only character which an internal voice, and a snarky one to boot. After having been Dr. Valerio for about 700 soapie chapters and being constantly confused with him, Mr Lamarca was ostensibly and publicly tired of the role, and obviously took the Ghost role in the hopes to scape Type Casting. In a bout of irony, the role only pigeonholed him more.
In a more meta level, each chapter of Por Estas calles ended with a related aphorism or famous quote read in Voice Over by character actor (and James Earl Jones Venezuelan equivalent) Tom Henriquez; the same resource was used in Anita Pe?, but instead used bad jokes and other related nonsense. Guess who reprises the narrator role!
In the A&E documentary series Dinosaur!, hosted and narrated by Walter Cronkite, his last line of narration is "...and that's the way it is." Referencing his famous newscast sign-off.
One great example is the Nash Bridges episode, "Wild Card," where Cheech Marin is reunited with his former Cheech And Chong partner, Tommy Chong, while Don Johnson is reunited with his former Miami Vice partner, Philip Michael Thomas. In the episode there are several references made to the former works. Tommy Chong's character is even named Barry Chen, a play on his real name with a reference to his half-Asian parentage.
Barry Chen: I can probably get him to set you up. Joe Dominguez: Actually, I stopped smoking pot years ago. Barry Chen: Oh no? What's your drug of choice now, man? Joe Dominguez: Uh, Rogaine. Barry Chen: Rogaine? What's that? Do you snort it?
One episode of has Jack Donaghy, played by Alec Baldwin, confessing his seemingly endless sins to a priest. One was "I once shouted 'I am God' during a deposition", which is exactly what Baldwin's character did in the movie Malice (while still being in-character for Donaghy).
Baldwin gets scads of these. On multiple occasions he's encouraged himself by muttering "Always Be [X]," where X is a c-word - a shout-out to his scene in Glengarry Glen Ross. In a later episode when Tracy wanted to derail his successful dramatic film career, Baldwin's character encouraged him to "just go back to TV. Nobody will mistake you for a serious actor ever again."
Another episode sees Liz Lemon meet her idol, a legendary comedy writer played by Carrie Fisher. After Liz discovers that Fisher is actually a flaky weirdo, Liz flees from the room, with Fisher calling out after her, "Help me, Liz Lemon! You're my only hope!"
In "Jackie Jormp-Jomp", Jenna fakes her own death. At the memorial service, an actual commercial Jane Krakowski (Jenna's actress) starred in as a child is played.
In "Kidnapped by Danger", Lance asks Mary Steenburgen's character if she is a time traveler. She is best known for her role as Clara Clayton in Back to the Future.
In the season 3 finale, TV comedy star Tracy Jordan invents a story about dropping out of school because a drug dealer wanted him to cut up a snitch named Baby. However, he eventually tearfully confesses that he left school because he was too chicken to dissect a frog in science class. A character played by Alan Alda then wanders in from another plot thread and says, "A guy crying about a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy show!" This is a reference to the famous series finale of M*A*S*H, not to mention a lighthearted jab at the series' turn towards drama.
After Matt Damon finished out his guest-arc as Liz's boyfriend, there was a line where Liz talked about Invictus (which Damon starred in with Morgan Freeman) and asked "Who was the white guy in that?"
In the finale of Newhart , Vermont innkeeper Dick Loudon (Newhart) gets conked in the head with a golf ball and blacks out, then wakes up in bed as Chicago psychologist Bob Hartley (Newhart's character from his first sitcom, The Bob Newhart Show), turns to awaken his wife Emily (Suzanne Pleshette, also from the earlier show), and explains that he had been dreaming he was the owner of a hotel.
An earlier episode had Dick visiting a psychiatrist running into a character who acted like he recognized him from somewhere. The character was played by Jack Riley, who had been Mr. Carlin on the earlier show. (After Dick mentions this to the psychiatrist, he's told that the man in question was deeply unbalanced and had never recovered from the damage that had been done to him by "some quack in Chicago".)
Another episode had Dick watching television, with the theme music from The Bob Newhart Show heard coming from the set.
Still another episode had the Loudons getting a new next-door neighbor, played by Bill Daily (who'd been the Hartley's neighbor Howard Borden in the earlier show).
Yet another episode had Dick talking with Michael about old TV shows, and in particular the old Saturday night lineup on CBS (All in the Family, M*A*S*H*, The Mary Tyler Moore Show). Michael: "Yeah, and what was that one with the shrink who stuttered?" Dick: "He didn't stutter, Michael, he...he...he stammered."
The short-lived Bob Newhart/Judd Hirsch sitcom George and Leo had an episode which featured a ton of cameo appearances from people who had co-starred on both men's earlier shows.
Corey Feldman makes a guest appearance on Sliders in which he exchanges a handshake with Jerry O'Connell that references their roles in Stand by Me.
In the last season of Sex and the City, Mikhail Baryshnikov played Carrie's boyfriend Alexandr Petrovsky. In his first episode, he has to run to catch the cab Carrie left her purse in, performing impressive ballet-like leaps and footwork. In the commentary, the series creator acknowledged that they couldn't not have at least one scene showing his dancing abilities.
In the "Protecting the Ego-System" episode of Dharma and Greg, actor Ed Begley Jr., a noted green environmental activist, guest stars as "Actor Ed Begley Jr.". He is always referenced by this full name whenever anyone speaks to him or about him. The episode revolves around a protest at an environmentally sensitive wetland being converted into a golf course.
In one episode of Lizzie McGuire, a kung-fu master is invited by Sam McGuire to teach his son, Matt, the ways of the grasshopper. The master is David Carradine, of Kung Fu fame. When the master leaves, Sam is asked how he knew the master, responding, "Him? He's like a brother to me." Sam is portrayed by Robert Carradine, Dave's real-life (half-)brother.
Reaper episode "Underbelly" has the Devil (played by Ray Wise) say, "Him and his perfect town. Just like a David Lynch movie." Ray Wise played Laura Palmer's father in Twin Peaks and its prequel movie.
In Spaced, Tim is shown to have been heartbroken by Star Wars Episode I: The Phantom Menace, and the film is continually mocked throughout the series. Peter Serafinowicz, who voices Darth Maul in The Phantom Menace, plays Duane, who stole Tim's girlfriend at the beginning of the series. After a confrontation in a London bar, Duane notices that Tim has left his keys on the table, and mutters "At last I will emerge as the victor. At last I will have revenge."
Then there's the wonderful moment in another episode that has star Hugh Laurie, on a phone call, using an English accent...not his real one, but the "Upper Class Twit" one he used on Blackadder and A Bit of Fry and Laurie.
Later, House appeared at an "80s party" dressed in a similar period costume to the sort he wore in Blackadder. The in-show rationale was that he got the wrong 80s (they didn't specify which century), while the audience's immediate reaction was "that's what Hugh Laurie was wearing in the 80s".
Once Amber Tamblyn was cast it was just a matter of time; in the episode "Fall From Grace" (7x17) Chris Marquette, who played Adam on Joan of Arcadia, plays the Patient of the Week. Near the end of the episode, he confesses to Tamblyn's character that he's a bad guy, and seeks God's forgiveness, which she promises him he has. It was quite a touching moment.
This might be going out on a limb, but when Ron Livingston appeared as a doctor in Africa, he hands out candy from his "friend in Hershey, Pennsylvania." On Band of Brothers, his character's best friend was from Hershey, Pennsylvania.
The Battlestar Galactica episode "Bastille Day" had a field day with this, with a long debate between Lee "Apollo" Adama and Tom Zarek, played by Richard "Old Apollo" Hatch.
The orphan boy's costume in "The Plan" is an exact copy of that worn by Dean Stockwell in his 1948 movie "The Boy with Green Hair".
A rather bizarre self-Allusion came from Steve Valentine, the host of Estate of Panic. A contestant named Jordan is last out of a room. Valentine goes "I guess we'll be...Crossing Jordan off the list."
In an episode of Boy Meets World, Eric tries to impress a girl with a stream of lies ending with "and I'm Batman." Eric is played by Will Friedle, voice of the future Batman in Batman Beyond.
In one episode of Happy Days Marian drags Howard to see The Music Man repeatedly, because there's a little boy in it who looks just like Richie did as a child (Winthrop Paroo was played by Ron Howard, who went on to play Richie). Howard doesn't see it.
In an episode in which Robin Williams guest stars as Mork, one scene opens with him watching The Andy Griffith Show on the Cunnigham's TV (while Richie is upstairs packing), and remarking, "I like that Opie boy. Funny how he has a Martian name." (Ron Howard). (A slightly anachronistic reference, as Happy Days takes place in the 50's, and The Andy Griffith Show didn't premiere until 1960.)
In Demons, Philip Glenister's dialogue is littered with Gene Huntisms, including barking "Gladys!" at Gladiolus.
In the fifth season finale of NUMB3RS, James Callis, fresh from his role as Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica, plays an insane cult leader with a harem of women eager to serve his every need. He is, however, computer illiterate.
In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "The Q and the Grey" a female Q remarks, "I've always liked Klingon females. You've got such... spunk." The Q was played by Suzie Plakson, who had previously played the spunky Klingon female K'Ehleyr.
The What I Like About You episode "Dangerous Liasons" double-doses the Actor Allusions for both of its leads: Via a flashback and an old VHS tape, we see a standup routine Holly (Amanda Bynes) did when she was little; it's actually the routine that got Bynes hired for her first TV job. She remarks at the end, "That kid should have her own show". Meanwhile, Val (Jennie Garth) has a flashback about her and a guest character; the guest is played by Luke Perry, and the flashback is a direct lift of a Beverly Hills 90210 episode.
Less notable are the other guest appearances from 90210 alumni, only one of whom even offered a You Look Familiar to Val. And appearances by All That and Popular cast members went entirely unnoted within the show.
The Full House two-parter set at Walt Disney World has a subplot in which D.J., pining for her absent boyfriend Steve (Scott Wienger), sees him as various performers through her point-of-view, only for her to find on second glance that they aren't him after all. One of the mistaken cases is Aladdin — Weinger is the speaking voice of that character.
At the Emmys one year, Alan Arkin and Adam Arkin (who was a regular on the ER competitor Chicago Hope) presented together. The elder Arkin says to the younger one, "I loved you as Batman."
In one episode of Wishbone, the eponymous dog stars in a commercial. The actor who provides the voice of Wishbone in the commercial (seen onscreen) is in fact the same actor who voices Wishbone on the show in general.
In the Popular arc focused on Harrison's struggle against leukemia, he meets a fellow patient named Clarence who dies but then returns when Harrison is about to commit suicide claiming to have become his guardian angel then takes him on (of course) a Wonderful Life journey. Clarence was played by Mike Damus, who earlier in his career was the star of Teen Angel, a series about a guy who dies and becomes his best friend's guardian angel.
Oh, that's nothing. There were two episodes of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys showing that Hercules was still alive in the present day under the secret identity of... Kevin Sorbo.
He's only doing that so he can be in television, and so close enough to keep an eye on Ares (revealed in an episode of Xena: Warrior Princess to be alive and working as a TV producer...who gets the idea for Xena pitched to him).
In the Ghost Whisperer episode "Horror Show," the ghost made short movies based on people's worst fears. When Rick and Melinda are looking at the movie list, Rick reads out one called "I know what you did last summer," pauses and looks at Melinda (who is played by Jennifer Love Hewitt, who of course was in "I know what you did last summer").
Another GW episode ("Love still won't die", S 02 E 02) has Lacey Chabert as a guest (both her and Jennifer Love Hewitt were on Party of Five). In the scene where they meet they both act for a moment as if they recognize each other.
In one episode, Malcolm-Jamal Warner appears as Shirley's ex-husband and he's wearing a funky sweater. When Jeff comments on it, he says "my dad gave it to me."
We meet Jeff's half-brother, Willy Jr., in Season 4's Thanksgiving episode. Willy Jr. (played by Adam DeVine) nearly vomits from anxiety when first meeting Jeff, and claims that this is a frequent problem for him. DeVine had a major role in the musical comedy Pitch Perfect, which had another main character suffer from the same thing (in spectacular CGI, no less).
In "Basic Lupine Urology", Troy dresses up as a comically "old-timey" college student in order to catch a thief. The same basic gag (but with coke dealers instead of a thief) was used in Mystery Team, the cult indie comedy Donald Glover starred in a few years before he got cast as Troy.
In "A Fistful of Paintballs", Abed describes Josh Holloway's character as "Really good-looking. Like, network telelvision good-looking".
In Comparative Religion, Pierce says "I know guys like this Mike. He used to be a nerd, now he's a meathead". Mike is played by Anthony Michael Hall, who became famous in the '80s for portraying nerds in movies like "The Breakfast Club", "Sixteen Candles" and "Weird Science".
Keith David guest-stars as the narrator in the Season 3 episode "Pillows and Blankets", and at the very end, Jeff asks him if he was in The Cape (which is also a Call Back, as Abed was shown to be obsessed with the show in earlier episodes).
In "Physical Education," Abed attempts to seduce Annie (played by Alison Brie), Don Draper-style. Don Draper, of course, is the main character on Mad Men, on which Alison Brie recurs as Pete Campbell's ex-wife, Trudy.
In the final episode of Sue Thomas, F.B.Eye, Sue (played by Deanne Bray) is waiting in a hospital waiting room, where she meets an older Deaf woman. The two talk about what they do/did for a living, each expressing that they'd once had thoughts of doing the other's job (FBI agent and actress, respectively). The woman, rightly played by the real-life Sue Thomas, was named Deanne.
In Dollhouse, Summer Glau plays a sadistic brain surgeon very similar to the ones she was victimized by on Firefly. She even references having to toy around with someone's amygdala with a cheery "Fun time for me!"
When flipping through Bennett's academic achievements, Caroline says "Bet she could kill you with her brain."
In "Stage Fright," Echo throws a perceived threat, revealed afterward to be merely paparazzi, over a balcony in a "punch first, ask questions later" move reminiscent of Faith:
Sierra: That was so cool.
Echo(shrugging sheepishly): I'm from Southie.
In the last season of Las Vegas, Tom Selleck plays the billionaire new owner of the casino. One episode includes an annual poker game with his billionaire friends, who are played by Roger E. Mosley and Larry Mannetti, his co-stars from Magnum, P.I. Both were said to have made their fortunes in the same fields as their Magnum characters. Also, a reference was made to a British billionaire who couldn't make it that year, a reference to John Hillerman's character, Higgins.
Season one of Prey, which starred Adam Storke and Vincent Ventresca, ended on a cliffhanger with Adam Storke's character captured and imprisoned. The series was then canceled and the cliffhanger was never resolved. Until, that is, when Vincent Ventresca was starring in a completely unrelated series years later called The Invisible Man. In the episode entitled "Exposed", Vincent's character (the eponymous invisible man) opened a locked door in a research facility and an unnamed prisoner played by Adam Storke who was inside the room thanked him and ran off (presumably to freedom).
Jodie Foster voiced a sentient tattoo that drove its owner to murder. It's not hard to find parallels to John Hinckley's obsession with her that led him to try to assassinate Ronald Reagan, though given Foster's famous refusal to discuss the incident it probably wasn't intentional.
In "Never Again", the tattoo's hatred (voiced by Jodie Foster) of Scully is possibly a reference to Scully being initially based on Clarice Starling from The Silence of the Lambs, played by... Jodie Foster.
From Agent Doggett in later seasons: "What are you saying? Ray Pearce has become some kind of metal man? Because that only happens in the movies, Agent Scully." What, as in Terminator 2? (Dogget's actor, of course, appeared on Terminator 2: Judgment Day.)
In Power Rangers Mystic Force, the Mystic Mother is said to have been called Rita during the "Dark Times". Rita Repulsa and the Mystic Mother were both "played by" Machiko Soga's footage from their series' original Super Sentai sourcematerial, dubbed over in English. Machiko Soga died after filming her part in Magiranger, making the Power Rangers reference a tribute. PR fans aren't sure whether or not to take that literally (we last saw Rita played by a different actress, Carla Perez, with an onscreen explanation, and the Mystic Mother's VA sounded nothing like Rita.)
One episode of LOST had one character refer to Dominic Monaghan's character as a "Munchkin," possibly in reference to his previous role as Merry in The Lord of the Rings.
And while being kidnapped, Charlie covertly drops his finger tape behind as a trail, prompting a few comments that he'd been paying attention to Pippin when he dropped an elf broach on the trail he and Merry were being taken down.
Marty:Call it what you want, Abe, but that sure as hell sounds like some superhero Captain Tightpants bullshit to me, man.
The Star Trek: The Original Series episode "Spectre of the Gun" plopped the main cast into an extremely realistic illusion that required them to play out the infamous Gunfight at the OK Corral. DeForest Kelley - aka Dr. McCoy - had played Morgan Earp in the 1957 film Gunfight at the OK Corral.
In the Red Dwarf series Back to Earth, Rimmer (played by Chris Barrie) plans to get his own sitcom.
In Pete, Lister and Rimmer are accused by Captain Hollister (Mac McDonald) of using truth serum on a character, the result being that the character admitted having an affair with an officer's wife while dressed like Batman. Mac McDonald played a henchman in the 1989 Batman film.
Also in Back To Earth, Rimmer has suddenly acquired an interest in classic cars. As viewers of Chris Barrie's Massive Engines and Petrolheads will be aware, this is something he shares with Chris Barrie.
Daniel Fredrickson played Tess' husband in Blue Heelers, who turned out to be gay when he left the show, marrying her for convenience. When he joined the Stingers crew as Leo Flynn fellow Heelers guest star Neil Pigot plays a drug dealer in one episode, calling him a faggot.
In the first season finale of Drrt, Lucy (played by Courteney Cox) gets a visit from an old friend, played by who else but Jennifer Aniston.
In the first season of War of the Worlds, Harrison Blackwood carries a tuning fork with him, the sound of which helps him to meditate. Jared Martin, who played Blackwood, had previously played a twenty-third century man who wielded a tuning fork-shaped weapon in the short-lived 1970s series The Fantastic Journey.
In an episode of Cougar Town, Jules' son looks through his mother's photo album and asks, "wow, did you really dance with Bruce Springsteen?" Jules proudly says yes. Jules is played by Courteney Cox, whose first big acting role was in Springsteen's 1984 "Dancing In The Dark" music video as an audience member he pulls on stage to dance with him.
In the season 2 finale, Sam Lloyd guests stars. He says he moved to Hawaii because he was broken up with by a girl named Gooch, who ran off with a man named Hooch. Gooch was a character he had a brief romance with on the show Scrubs, played by Kate Micucci. Also on the show there was a background charecter named Hooch, played by Phil Lewis.
At one point in QI, Stephen asks the panel, "Where would you find the world's biggest drip?" to the accompaniment of a picture of Hugh Laurie as Bertie Wooster.
Another episode features a question about Oscar Wilde. Much to Stephen's embarrassment, the picture is of himself as the title character in Wilde.
On Sports Night, Dana is telling Isaac about how much she loved The Lion King on Broadway, and describes the opening, when Rafiki calls the animals- "And they come!" Isaac is amused- possibly because he's played by Robert Guillaume.
In "Dear Louise", it's revealed that if character Dana Whitaker drinks, she would dance too wildly; the cast are thrown out of a bar when Dana dances on the table to the music of "Boogie Shoes". In Desperate Housewives, when Lynette wants her boss to stop inviting her to bars in "They Asked Me Why I Believe in You", she dances provocatively with all the guys to the sound of "Boogie Shoes"... both characters are played by Felicity Huffman.
In an episode of Royal Pains, Paul Wight, known for being the WWE wrestler The Big Show, cameos and entertains at a children's party as the character "The Trasher". The party hostess introduces him with the line "Okay, kids, are you ready for the big show?"
Armando Iannucci has said one of the reasons he cast Tom Hollander as Cal 'The Fucker' Richards, a bossy and feared PR man, in The Thick of It is as a joke for anyone who saw the spin-off In the Loop, where he plays an extremely wet and cowardly minister.
In the TV adaptation of the Discworld novel Hogfather, after Albert implies Death is deliberately following the Rules in a way that means Susan will break them, Death, voiced by Ian Richardson replies I couldn't possibly comment, the Catch Phrase of Richardson's character in House of Cards.
An indirect one from Sons of Anarchy. Jax, whose ex-wife was played by Drea de Matteo (best known as Adrianna on The Sopranos) in the previous season, confronts a woman who thinks he's about to kill her. He reassures her with: "You think I brought you here to Adrianna you?"
In another episode, Tig suggests Gemma (played by Katey Sagal) to "go redhead for a while."
A very glamorously made up Walton Goggins makes an appearance as a transgender woman by the name of Venus Van Dam in a recent episode. The name bears a remarkable similarity to Cletus Van Damme, the alias Goggins' character Shane uses in The Shield.
Reba tossed in a nod or two to star Reba McEntire's other career as a Country Music superstar, the most famous being, in a discussion of how your dreams don't always come true, Reba Hart cracking, "I always wanted to be a professional singer."
Rizzoli & Isles has Bruce McGill as Detective Vince Korsak, who at one point was asked where he went to college. He responded by saying that he never did, but that he had watched Animal House several times. McGill played Daniel Simpson Day (D-Day) in that movie.
The fourth episode of She Spies has a scene where the character played by Natasha Henstridge, star of Species, gets rid of kids by telling them "Hey, guys, Species is on cable!"
Season four of Eureka has been having a blast with guest star James Callis, formerly the delightfully nutty Gaius Baltar on Battlestar Galactica. In addition to the numerous "fraks" uttered by the other castmembers throughout the season so far, 4x08 also references his character hallucinating a "leggy blonde in a slinky red dress." This same episode also makes a reference to Ed Quinn as a vampire. Quinn's first role after his original Eureka run was as exactly that on a few episodes of True Blood.
In a Christmas episode of the show Amen, the characters are debating which carol to perform for an upcoming competition. When someone suggests "Mary's Boy Child", Rolly Forbes scoffs, "I never cared for that one". That's too bad, considering that Forbes' portrayer, Jester Harrison, wrote the song.
In the pilot of Cops L.A.C., Detective Sam Cooper makes a mildly cynical comment about the foster care system and is called on it by another officer who grew up in the system and turned out fine. The joke is that Sam is played by Kate Ritchie, famous for her role as foster child Sally Fletcher
In the All in the Family episode "We're Still Having a Heat Wave", Edith tells her neighbor, Irene Lorenzo: "I know you're not a movie star or nothin', but I think I'm gettin' to be a fan of yours!" Betty Garrett, who plays Irene was actually a movie star in the '40s, appearing in several MGM musicals.
A Law & Order one that may have been accidental: Briscoe and Greene were working a case, and made some joke about cowboys and westerns. Briscoe remarked that he'd barely made it through the novel Shane. Years before L&O came out, Orbach had voiced the hero character in an obscure Space Western. "Shane" was the name of the show's Lancer. (Yes, the Lancer's name was a Shout-Out to the book)
In the Law & Order: Criminal Intent episode "Cruise to Nowhere," Detective Goren (Vincent D'Onofrio) tells Joey Frost (guest star Lou Taylor Pucci) not to bite his nails. In the movie Thumbsucker, D'Onofrio plays a man who tries to get his son not to suck his thumbs. The son is played by - you guessed it - Lou Taylor Pucci.
CSI: NY had an episode where the suspect of the week is a really passionate actor trying out for the part of George in a play of Of Mice and Men. As he's rehearsing his lines, Mac comes up to him and says something along the lines of. "Looks like you might beat me to the part." One of Gary Sinise's (Mac's Actor) early roles was actually playing George in and directing a movie adaptation of Of Mice And Men.
Detective Mac Taylor also shares last names with Sinise's most famous role, Lieutenant Dan Taylor of Forrest Gump. His first name is said to be Mc Canna, though it's only shown up in scripts. This is after Gary Sinise's son.
There's also the ep where Mac is shown to play bass in a jazz band. This is an allusion to Gary Sinise's work with his Lt.Dan Band.
CMT's Working Class stars Melissa Peterman as a divorcee who moves to an upscale neighborhood with her three kids. One episode features her former husband...now married to a woman played by Reba McIntire...the exact opposite of what happened on Reba.
Just Shoot Me! character Jack Gallo discovered he had a black son in one episode. This is the plot of the George Segal movie Carbon Copy.
In the fourth season premiere of Primeval, Abby plays the song "Don't Stop Moving" by S Club 7 to scare a dinosaur. Abby is played by Hannah Spearritt, famous for being in S Club 7.
One episode of The Flying Nun had Sister Bertrille show home movies of her life before becoming a nun. The "movies" were clips from Sally Field's previous series Gidget.
Friends: On "The One with the Football," Phoebe wears a That Girl T-shirt. Marlo Thomas, the star of that show, played Rachel's mother.
There's even one for animal actors. In "The One After the Superbowl," Ross learns Marcel the monkey is now filming the fictional sequel to Outbreak. The monkey actually was the monkey in the film.
For one episode in the opening credits, Courtney Cox gets first billing and is now billed as Courtney Cox-Arquette (due to her marriage to David Arquette). The rest of the cast also have Arquette hyphened onto the end of their names in the credits for that episode. The end of the episode has a little dedication saying "For Courtney and David, who did get married".
In the first season finale of Harry's Law, Josh Peyton (played by Paul McCrane) sings the song "Is it Okay If I Call You Mine?" at a lawyer gala. The song was written and performed by McCrane originally in Fame.
Also with the added touch "I usually sing this in the privacy of my own home," which is exactly how his character in Fame had sung it.
In one episode of Herman's Head, Louise angrily snaps "I do not!" into the phone, slams the receiver back into the cradle, and then asks, "Herman, I don't sound like Lisa Simpson, do I?" Louise, of course, was played by Yeardley Smith, the voice of Lisa Simpson.
And conversely, a Simpsons episode has Lisa chuckling. When Marge asks her why she is laughing, Lisa replies "Oh, just remembering a joke I saw on Herman's Head."
Skins had Anwar reciting a list of Hugh Grant films in order to stave off orgasm during sex: "I never get as far as About A Boy." About A Boy being a film in which Skins actor Nicholas Hoult played a leading role.
In an episode of Criminal Minds the two suspects were played by Chris Marquette and Michael Welch. They were questioned by Joe Mantegna as David Rossi. Mantegna played Will Girardi on Joan of Arcadia. Welch played his son and Marquette played his daughter's boyfriend.
In the episode "The Trial" of Californication the main character, Hank (portrayed by David Duchovny), while getting dressed in a suit comments that "I look like a f*ckin' FBI agent" and then winks in the mirror in reference to Duchovny's character in The X-Files, who happens to be an FBI agent.
In iCarly, it is revealed that Carly (played by Miranda Cosgrove) has never pulled a practical joke. After being pressured by Sam and Freddie, she unsuccessfully attempts to prank Gibby. Later in the show, she's shown watching TV, and you can hear the scene of the Drake & Josh episode Megan's Revenge when Megan (who is well-known for her pranking), also played by Miranda Cosgrove, causes an explosion that makes the floor under Drake and Josh collapse. Carly sighs, saying "How come that little girl is so good at pranking?"
In the same episode, Spencer (played by Jerry Trainor) is watching the scene of the Drake & Josh episode "The Storm" where Crazy Steve (also played by Jerry Trainor) is yelling at the TV while watching Dora the Explorer. Lampshaded by Carly after she turns off the TV:
In one episode of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air, when Uncle Phil and his parents are having an argument, and Will is trying to help, Uncle Phil tells him "Sometimes, parents just don't understand." An allusion to Will Smith's rap career is made again when Uncle Phil says of his wife's gullibility, "Oh please, Vivian. You'd believe that boy if he told you that he was a big rap star whose album just went platinum!" The audience immediately laughs because at the time, in real life, Will Smith's album "Parents Just Don't Understand" had gone platinum.
Sue Thomas: F.B.Eye: In the episode "Elvis is In the Building," Bobby goes undercover as an Elvis Impersonator. His actor, Rick Peters, played the role of Elvis in the movie Elvis Meets Nixon, in which Elvis wants to become a federal agent. The characters directly reference the movie, saying that the guy who played Elvis was "not as good as you, Bobby."
On Fringe, while looking over William Bell's books, Nina a finds one written by Dr. Spock, clearly no relation to the character played by Leonard Nimoy (who, naturally, also played William Bell).
The first season episode "The Road Not Taken" contained a ton of Star Trek references, including a man named Emmanuel Grayson (Spock's mother's last name) who truly believed he was Spock. He referenced The Wrath of Khan by name and then warned the agents that a war would soon be started by "renegade Romulans from the future, here to change the timeline" (the plot of the 2009 Star Trek movie). In the very next episode, Leonard Nimoy made his first guest appearance.
There is actually a real Dr. Benjamin Spock who wrote a famous best-selling book about childcare. Many a Star Trek fan was disappointed when he purchased a copy.
The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret has Todd seemingly yelling at someone over the phone. Will Arnett's character notices him, and Todd shouts something about a "banana stand!" Both David Cross, who plays Todd Margaret, and Will Arnett played main characters in Arrested Development, which had a banana stand at which two of the characters worked.
One episode of Tracker featured Cole using a katana to escape a museum vault. Adrian Paul, who played Cole, was well known for playing the katana-wielding Duncan MacLeod on Highlander: The Series.
Highlander itself had one when Geraint Wyn Davies guest started in one ep. The character he played had a girlfriend named Jeanette, an allusion to his character's girlfriend on his series, Forever Knight, which aired at the same time Highlander was.
In one episode of Stay Tooned! a documentary series about classic cartoons hosted by Tony (Baldrick) Robinson, Tony describes how Porky Pig's Characterization Marched On, and says the same thing happens with live action characters. Cue clip from The Black Adder, with Prince Edmund announcing he would be known as "The Black Vegetable".
Tony Robinson: But then they decided they didn't want a Blackadder who was an idiot and kept doing stupid things. They could get someone else to do that.
The description of the plot of the movie Miley Stewart is offered in the series finale of Hannah Montana resembles the upcoming (as of Jan. 2012) Miley Cyrus movie So Undercover, which she completed filming at the time.
At the end of the final episode of Hustle, Danny proposes that now there are seven of them, they should form a new gang called "the Magnificent Seven". Albert (Robert Vaughn) thinks it's "a hell of an idea", and there's a quick burst of the theme from The Magnificent Seven.
In another episode, Jodie Prenger plays a friend of the gang who winds up in hospital after using a dodgy diet product sold by that episode's marks. Before her acting career took off, Prenger won the UK version of The Biggest Loser and subsequently worked as a writer on diet issues
Set to happen in episode 8 of Shirato, a Japanese TV series starring Yudai Chiba, who portrays Honey in Ouran High School Host Club, as the title character. And given the fact that his Ouran castmates make a group cameo as their respective characters from Ouran, as well as what's been confirmed to happen during the cameo scene (i.e. the Host Club will mistake Shirato for Honey, and he'll be carrying a stuffed rabbit resembling Bun-Bun), it's quite possible that this may be deliberate.
The victim in Body of Proof episode "Love Thy Neighbor" lived in a cul-de-sac with lots of beautiful people and lots of goings on. When first arriving Dana Delany's character mentions she used to live in a cul-de-sac like this, and several times throughout the episode she quips that there's more to the place than meets the eye. In the ending moments she tells a co-worker he couldn't handle a desperate housewife. Delany had a role on Desperate Housewives which centres on an action-packed cul-de-sac filled with beautiful people.
In an episode of The Lucy Show, veteran character actor William Frawley makes his final TV appearance. After his scene, Lucy says, "He reminds me of someone I once knew," referring to his role as Fred Mertz on I Love Lucy.
The very first episode starts with Jessica Fletcher watching the rehearsal of a murder mystery play and calmly pointing out who did it by the end of the first act. Angela Lansbury did much the same thing at the beginning of The Mirror Crack'd, in the role of Miss Marple.
Army Wives: Roxie and Trevor's twin boys are called Drew (Trevor is played by Drew Fuller) and Wyatt (The older brother to Drew Fuller's character of Chris on Charmed)
During an '80s PBS pledge drive featuring a crossover between Sesame Street and The MacNeil-Lehrer NewsHour, news anchor Robert MacNeil covered an alleged cookie theft called Cookiegate. Over a decade earlier, MacNeil and his business partner and NewsHour co-anchor Jim Lehrer got their start covering the original Watergate scandal.
On the Grand Finale episode of The Larry Sanders Show, Sean Penn mentions the cast of a movie he just finished, which includes Garry Shandling. (He then goes on to whisper to Larry how Garry was the worst actor on the set.)
In the Sabrina the Teenage Witch TV film, "Sabrina Goes to Rome", Sabrina's witch friend Gwen owns a mouse voiced by Richard Horvitz. Sabrina's cat, Salem, is voiced by Nick Bakay. Both voice actors voiced Norbert and Dagget on The Angry Beavers.
In the episode "A Girl and her Cat", a little boy takes Salem in when he finds him on the street. The boy's dad is played by Joe O'Connor, who played the dad of Melissa Joan Hart's (Sabrina) other character, Clarissa Darling.
One episode of Becker was comprised of flashbacks as Becker related the events of his day to a bartender. The bartender was played by George Wendt - Norm from Cheers - so for the actors, this was a reversal of a familiar scenario.
The Vice President on The West Wing is a recovering alcoholic. A third season episode revealed that he stopped drinking when he was twenty-two because he had a family history of alcoholism and "some experiences in college." This has to be a reference to Tim Matheson's part in Animal House.
As one Television Without Pity poster stated re Nashville's Juliette Barnes, "first there was the older man thing and then the football player thing. It almost feels like they're copying (Hayden Panettiere)'s real life love life." No prizes for guessing who she plays on the show.
In season two's "Don't Open That Door," Juliette is signed to a deal with Neutrogena, something the actress who plays her has had plenty of experience with. And "She's Got You" has Juliette discover that the wife of the man she's sleeping with is hot for her. Miss Panettiere's had some experience with that as well.
In one "Blockblister" segment of The Amanda Show, Josh Peck comes in and complains that he had wanted to rent Snow Day and they had instead given him "Snowy Day." Peck played a leading role in that film.
In Gossip Girl's "It's Really Complicated," when Blair finds out that Serena's ex Steven wants to reunite with her, Miss Waldorf says "Ooh, you must be in seventh heaven!" Steven is played by Barry Watson, alias Matt Camden from another show that used to be onThe CW.
Another one is back in season 3 when Blair calls Georgina a vampire; Michelle Trachtenberg's first big role was as Buffy the Vampire Slayer 's younger sister Dawn.
There's also the episode titles, which are always plays or puns of movie titles, some of which star the main cast acting in them as well; prominent examples include episodes "Easy J" (from Easy A, starring Penn Badgley), " The Townie" (from The Town, starring Blake Lively) and "New York, I Love You XOXO" (from New York, I Love You, starring Blake Lively again), among others.
In the "Independence Day" episode of Suburgatory, a worried George is consulting with Mr. Wolfe, the school guidance councilor, about his daughter. Mr. Wolfe says "I'll also lean on Malik for information. If there's one thing everyone knows about him, is that he's a snitch". Malik is played by Maestro Harrell, who also played Randy, on The Wire.
Jiminy Cricket calms Henry down by telling him "giving into one's dark side never solves anything." Raphael Sbarge used to play the self-appointed conscience of an amnesiac Sith Lord.
In the Season 4 episode "Breaking Glass", Snow White is worried that Belle won't be able to reach her and Charming while she (Belle) is babysitting their child. Charming grabs a walkie-talkie to give to Belle and assures Snow that it will allow Belle to reach them "even if we fall through a portal to Asgard." Josh Dallas, who plays Charming, played Asgardian Fandral the Dashing in Thor.
In Last Man Standing, oldest daughter Kristin is complaining about being the oldest when the youngest is the favorite and the middle child is a breakout superstar. An old co-worker shows up to defend the middle child—played by Jonathan Taylor Thomas, who played the middle son on Tim Allen's last sitcom, Home Improvement. Later that same episode, he meets Tim Allen's character, who says he looks familiar. JTT's character offers up the fact that he used to work with Kristin, but Allen's character insists that that's not it.
An episode of Falling Skies has resistance fighter Margaret teaching Anne, the 2nd Mass's doctor, how to shoot. When Anne fires off several wild shots, Margaret tells her, "Slow down honey - you're not the Terminator!" Moon Bloodgood, who plays Anne, played a resistance fighter pilot in Terminator Salvation.
Vicious, the British 2013 sitcom, starring Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi as two retired gay actors, is practically made of this trope.
From Monday Mornings: Ioan Gruffudd is fondly remembered for portraying sailor Horatio Hornblower from Hornblower miniseries. He guest-starred in the episode "Truth or Consequences" as Dr. Delany. When Dr. Hooten fries him on the stage of dishonour during their "screw-up meeting", he refers to him several times as "the Captain of his ship".
Dexter: Michael C. Hall previously played a funeral home director on Six Feet Under. So when Dexter goes to a funeral home in the season 5 première, and the roles are reversed, the show makes the most of it, from a set that looks like the Fisher funeral home to the funeral director offering tissues.
In the Warehouse 13 episode "The Living and the Dead", James Marsters plays an immortal with an English accent, who's quite offended at the suggestion he might be a vampire. He ends up being killed by getting stabbed through the heart.
One episode of Seinfeld had an upstart comedienne (who Jerry insulted in a previous episode) perform a shtick about comparing Jerry to Satan that becomes a big hit. She was played by Kathy Griffin, who is primarily known for her insult humor.
The Hawaii Five-0 episode "The Truth Within" has Jorge Garcia appear as a conspiracy theorist. He has a chat with Daniel Dae Kim's character where they reminisce about a past camping trip, which the two of them liken to being "stuck on a deserted island".
Saul is a horrendous typist. That could be Mandy Patinkin's fault or it could be an allusion to a similar scene in Dead Like Me.
In the Season 3 episode "The Yoga Play", the agent who has been listening in on Dana and Leo's conversations tells Carrie that it's just "Romeo and Juliet". Carrie replies "you do know how Romeo and Juliet ends, do you?" Of course, Claire Danes does know how it ends.
In another episode, Robin William's character dates an author played by Pam Dawber, his co-star from Mork and Mindy (and who, tired of his manic nature, quips "You're like an alien!")
Only Fools and Horses: In a Comic Relief episode Rodney says how stupid the idea of walking through a portal to the 1940's would be after Uncle Albert starts talking about the war followed by Raquel saying she's going to bed only for Del to reply "Goodnight Sweetheart." followed by a shocked look from Rodney. Del goes on to say that he is not a chief inspector.
This was also done the other way around—in Goodnight Sweetheart Gary (played by Nicholas Lyndhurst) is about to lean back and fall through an open bar door like Del Boy famously did, but notices in time and gives an Aside Glance wink to the audience—accompanied by uproarious laughter that must seem inexplicable and random to anyone unfamiliar with the Only Fools scene in question.
In the White Collar episode "At What Cost", Neal makes a metaphorical Deal with the Devil by agreeing to do a favor for Curtis Hagen in exchange for help in keeping Peter from being wrongfully charged with murder. Hagen is played by Mark Sheppard, who plays Crowley the literal King of Hell on Supernatural.
In Ground Floor we get Jesse becoming a favorite of Dr Cox for beating up Turk. Then the revelation that Jesse and Aubrey dated in college. Stacie, now their coworker, disapproves.
In the Sherlock episode "The Empty Hearse" one of John's patients is a Dirty Old Man with an Eastern European accent who owns a shop and tries to sell him some porn. Mark Gatiss who writes and stars in Sherlock (and wrote the episode in question) also wrote and starred in The League of Gentlemen which features an almost identical character called Pop.
In the opening scene of the Birds of a Feather episode "Tattoo You", Tracey and Sharon are watching a murder mystery show on TV where a body is discovered on a beach next to a burning boat. Pauline Quirke, who plays Sharon, appeared in Broadchurch, an 8-part television series that aired in the UK, about the murder of a young boy whose body was discovered on a beach near a boat that had been set on fire.
Ryan is under psychiatric care, speaking with a bearded psychiatrist played by Robin Williams. When said psychiatrist says, "It's not your fault" Ryan catches the reference and eventually realizes that he's in a dream sequence.
As he is played by Elijah Wood, Ryan himself has been the subject of some Lord of the Rings references. For instance, when he's asked to participate in Jenna's wedding: "Dude, you're a ringbearer now!"
In The Middle episode "Life Skills", Brick's school therapist, played by Dave Foley, asks if Brick has seen "the kids in the hall".
In Spanish TV series Isabel, Gonzalo Fernández de Córdoba, played by Sergio Peris Mencheta, meets Cardinal Cesar Borgia as the Pope wishes to ask for his help in freeing the port of Ostia. Sergio Peris Mencheta played Cesar Borgia in the Spanish film Los Borgia.
On The Good Wife Starring Julianna Margulies, Margulies' character Alicia Florrick is being interviewed by TV commentator Frank Prady (played by David Hyde Pierce) about her run for state's attorney. When asked how she balances her work at her law firm, her personal/family life, and her campaign for state's attorney, Alicia says that she "triages" each area, figuring out which one takes highest priority at that moment. This is perhaps a reference to ER, where Margulies previously played an emergency room nurse, a job which required her (or more accurately, her character) to "triage" patients to determine their level of priority. Pretty hilarious if you make the connection. Unclear as to whether this was intentional on the part of the writers, or if it was merely a coincidence of phrasing.
Whodunnit? (UK): In "A Time to Dye", one of the suspects mentions that she won a trip to London to see Irene in the West End starring "him what's on the telly on Monday night". At the time, host Jon Pertwee was appearing in the West End run of Irene playing 'Madame Lucy'.
The French series Bref has an episode where the main character lists his pet peeves, such as people showing up to a costume party without a disguise. Cut to the costumeless guy grabbing a paper crown and declaring himself disguised as a king, while his buddy stuffs his face. The two individuals in question are better known as Arthur and Big Eater Karadoc on Kaamelott. Other allusions are a guy explaining why coffee goes up the sugar cube (one of the characters from the science show Cest Pas Sorcier) or a guy nerding out over the history of Parisian streets (Lorant Deutsch, an amateur historian and actor who's flanderized as such in his TV appearances).