- In Smallville, Reckoning, Chloe notes that Clark and Lana are practically like Ken and Barbie... then as an afterthought, adds that the producers broke them up later.
- In Malcolm in the Middle, when the principal at Francis's Military School is cutting their TV privileges, he tries to rally the others to resist.
Francis: Come on, guys, let's stand up. This will be our Alamo!
[the other guys just look at him]
Francis: Okay, bad example.
- In a Lower Deck Episode of Stargate SG-1, Felger says, "We're kinda like the intellectual Butch and Sundance of the SGC," to which Samantha replies, "Butch and Sundance got cornered and killed by the Bolivian Army."
- In the British Queer as Folk about the homosexual Platonic Life Partners Vince and Stuart:
Hazel: You two are like a married couple these days.
Stuart: Except that we never have sex.
Hazel: Like I said, married couple.
- Joe on NewsRadio insists on making his own components for every device he fixes rather than buy "any of that mass-produced garbage." When an impatient Bill asks Joe to just give up and buy the piece in question, Joe answers, "Did Thomas Edison give up?" Bill points out that "Thomas Edison wasn't trying to invent something that was readily available in a variety of stores near his home."
- On The Daily Show, discussing changing racial demographics in America:
Larry Wilmore: That's what happens when you have a melting pot. The stew gets darker.
Jon Stewart: Unless, of course, you're talking about a Tuscan stew, which uses white beans.
Wilmore: But the stew still gets darker.
Stewart: Unless, and I don't want to split hairs here, but there could be some kind of a cream base-
Wilmore: What's up with you, Emeril? Did you miss lunch?
- Mainstream Republicans showed the Tea Party coalition a clip from The Town to gain their support, which is pretty weird choice in itself, given the pitch: "I need your help. I can't tell you what it is, you can never ask me about it later, and we're going to hurt some people," but Jon then examines the characters' roles in the rest of the film.
"Hey! You know the violent unstable borderline sociopath from The Town, who's useful in a pinch but whose suicidal single-minded mania will ultimately be his downfall? That's you guys. And the guy who's stuck in an uneasy alliance with you but doesn't really like you and ultimately saves himself by walking away from you as you are dying? That's us. So. Do we have your vote?" I'm going to assume that most of the Tea Party coalition has not seen the whole movie.
- In one episode of Mock the Week, Frankie Boyle discusses Sarah Palin's pitbull analogy:
The lesson is, keep the analogy short. "I'm like a pitbull, I'm tenacious." Yeah, that's good. "I'm like a pitbull, if you leave me in the room with a child I'll kill them." NO, PALIN! Keep the analogy short! "Once I get a hold of you you're gonna have to stick a finger up my arse to make me let go." NO, PALIN!
- Of course, if Palin is REALLY like a pit bull, she'll be very friendly with any children if left alone with them, probably going so far as to lick them. Pit bulls are actually friendlier than the average dog.
- In an episode of My Family, Ben learns his daughter was nearly assaulted by a member of royalty she had been set up with on a blind date. He compares the situation with the opera "Don Giovanni" where the titular lecherous noble was impaled with a sword by the father of a girl he tried to rape. However, Susan (who convinced Ben into listening to Don Giovanni in the first place) corrects him, saying it was Don Giovanni who killed the father. Cue Ben having an utterly hilarious look on his face for about a minute.
- A variant from the first episode has a perfectly valid analogy being used by someone who missed the point of it and thus screws it up. Ben's assistant Brigitte criticises him for not making the time to treat his own family, comparing him to the the story of the cobbler's children who had no food. When Ben corrects her, she replies, "That makes no sense, their dad was a cobbler."
- The Brit Com Coupling has done this several times. Usually with Jeff making an analogy and then Patrick translates into something that makes even less sense.
- Dr. House loves to use farfetched metaphors in his practice, so his colleagues frequently try to imitate him, only to usually backfire:
Lisa Cuddy: She's already on a respirator, the machine is breathing for her... I can do whatever I want to her lungs. If you're playing catch in the living room and you break your mother's vase, you might as well keep playing catch. The vase is already broken!
James Wilson: Except, that room can't breathe without that vase.
- In The O.C., Ryan tried to convince his girlfriend Lindsay to patch things up with her estranged father:
Ryan: Alright, look. Luke Skywalker was happy to find his dad, right? Even if he turned out to be Darth Vader.
Lindsay: Ryan, Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader fought each other with lightsabers until one of them died.
- Later, there was this exchange
Kirsten: Well didn't you use that Luke Skywalker/Darth Vader thing?
Ryan: She poked a serious hole in that analogy.
- Considering if Luke didn't make the reconciliation attempt he would have neither been able to redeem his father, and more importantly, not been able to kill the Emperor, maybe that should be an example of a backfire of an analogy backfire.
- In Charmed, "The Seven Year Witch":
Piper: All tragedies, I might add.
- Subverted in Dollhouse, one of Echo's engagements had her as a safe cracker. When asked by her partners why they never heard of her if she's so good, she asks if they've ever heard of Bonnie and Clyde. Thinking she messed up the analogy, they pounce on the 'mistake' — only to have her counter the counter. Bonnie and Clyde didn't try to be the best, they tried to be famous. And they died.
- 3rd Rock from the Sun:
I want ceaseless joy and never-ending passion like Romeo and Juliet. Mary Albright:
They both wound up dead. Dick Solomon:
Antony and Cleopatra. Mary Albright:
Dead. Dick Solomon:
That couple from Wuthering Heights
. Mary Albright:
Insane and dead. Dick Solomon:
F. Scott Fitzgerald and Zelda. Mary Albright: Drunk
, insane and dead. Dick Solomon:
Sigfried and Roy. Mary Albright: (beat)
Okay, that's one.
- The Mighty Boosh: "You cannot make milk into cheese!"
- In The Big Bang Theory, when Leonard and Howard try to pick up girls, but are unsuccessful:
Howard: You're weighing me down! I'm a falcon who hunts better solo.
Leonard: Fine, I'll sit here, you take flight and hunt.
Howard: Don't be ridiculous, you can't just tell a falcon when to hunt!
Leonard: Actually, you can. (beat) There's a whole sport built around it. (beat) Falconry.
- In the season 3 episode The Gothowitz Deviation there's a following exchange:
Leonard: I’m just saying, you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.
: You can catch even more flies with manure. What’s your point?
- In another episode the main four geeks were preparing to survive in the cold. Sheldon made reminded them about how Han Solo saved Luke by cutting open the Taun Taun In Empire Strikes Back. Howard then said Raj and Leonard should hold Sheldon down, while he cut Sheldon open.
- In another episode, after a month-trip to Antarctica as well as Sheldon learning that his friends falsified his report in an attempt to "prove" his theory, the latter being deeply hurt by the action, Penny tried to cheer him up by citing how Kirk, in the Star Trek film, told Spock things he knew weren't true, like that Spock didn't care about his mom dying. This analogy didn't work, and had Sheldon breaking down further because, thanks to that Antarctica trip, he not only missed Comic Con, but also the new Star Trek film.
- In the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Best of Both Worlds", Picard, shortly before being abducted and assimilated by the Borg, has this conversation with Guinan:
Guinan: Trouble sleeping?
Picard: It's something of a tradition, Guinan — Captain touring the ship before a battle.
Guinan: Hmm. Before a hopeless battle, if I remember the tradition correctly.
Picard: Not necessarily. Nelson toured the HMS Victory before Trafalgar.
Picard: No, but the battle was won.
- In the Star Trek: Voyager episode "Year of Hell," Paris comes up with an upgrade for the badly-damaged Voyager which was inspired by the Titanic. Janeway points out the obvious flaw: "As I recall, it sank."
- CSI: on finding an intact brain several metres from the victim's head, Greg remarks "it's hard to crack an egg without breaking the yolk". Greg is either bad at making analogies, or really bad at cracking eggs.
- On the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode Space Mutiny, the hero lambasts his love interest for putting herself in danger to save him from the evil forces who have mounted a nearly-successful takeover of the ship.
Rider: I wish your father could control you as well as he does this ship!
Crow: You mean have a mutiny on me?
- In the Doctor Who story "City of Death", there's this exchange between Romana and a hard-nosed cop Duggan:
Romana: You should go into business with a glazier. You would have a very symbiotic relationship.
Duggan: What's that supposed to mean?
Romana: I merely meant that you tend to leave a lot of broken glass behind.
Duggan: You can't make an omelet without breaking eggs.
Romana: If you made an omelet, I'd expect to find a pile of broken crockery, a cooker in flames, and an unconscious chef!
- In "Voyage of the Damned", the Doctor finds himself on a spaceship called the "Titanic". (Although it turns out that the name might have been intentional.):
The Doctor: Titanic. Um... who... thought of the name?
Host: Information: It was chosen as the most famous vessel of the planet Earth.
The Doctor: ...Did they tell you why it was famous?
- "She was like a candle in the wind...unreliable."
- In Lost in Austen, Bingley, who thinks Amanda is a lesbian, steers his attentions towards Jane. Darcy does not see this as being anything resembling "love" (as Bingley was previously consumed with Amanda), but Bingley remains steadfast:
Bingley: I am invulnerable, like Ajax.
Darcy: Ajax cut his own throat in a fit of pique.
- Bingley eventually becomes rather nervous around Amanda, leading Jane to marry Collins...which drives Bingley to drink.
- That '70s Show:
Man, having no parents would be cool. Like the Lord of the Flies
Kelso, did you ever finish Lord of the Flies
- Analogies often backfire in The Thick of It, and most spectacularly in the Drama Bomb episode where Malcolm gets fired. The script features a running theme of theatre-related metaphors:
Marianne Swift: Malcolm, we get it, you're still the star of the show.
Malcolm Tucker: Warm them up, tell them Olivier's on his way but in the meantime here's An Audience With Peter fuckin' Bowles... what happened, did you get heckled off?
Steve Fleming: The show's over, it's curtains...
- In The Office (US), Michael's analogies almost always backfire, but in one case he backfired (executive) Ryan's when Ryan wanted him to leave designing the ad to the advertising professionals:
Ryan: It's not part of your job. It's like, maybe you can cook, but that doesn't mean you should start a restaurant.
Michael: Well, actually I can't cook and I am starting a restaurant: Mike's Cereal Shack.
- Done excellently in the Boy Meets World episode where Topanga moves to Pittsburgh. Since Cory is reading Romeo and Juliet at the time, he keeps proclaiming that he and Topanga will be fine just like them... until Mr. Feeny tells him to skip ahead to the end.
- In Blackadder Goes Forth, the interrogation of a suspected German spy:
Darling: Look, I'm as British as Queen Victoria!
Blackadder: So your father's German, you're half-German, and you married a German?
- Or from the original series, The Black Adder,
Percy: You know, they do say that the Infanta's eyes are more beautiful than the famous Stone of Galveston.
(Edmund questions Percy minutely regarding what he knows of both, leading to this conclusion:)
Blackadder: So, what you're telling me, Percy, is that something you have never seen is slightly less blue than something else you have never seen.
- The pitch reel for The Muppet Show compares it to Jim Henson's and George Schlatter's respective previous work, such as Sesame Street, Laugh In ... and Turn-On. It went on the promise that the names of the executives would be household words, like "toilet."
- In Breaking Bad, Jesse is somewhat prone to this, since he's smart but not overly educated:
Jesse: What's the point of being an outlaw when you got responsibilities?
Badger: Darth Vader had responsibilities. He was responsible for the Death Star.
Skinny Pete: True dat. Two o' dem bitches.
Badger: ...Just sayin'. Devil's advocate.
- In a Quantum Leap episode, Sam warns a mobster that he could end up like Jimmy Hoffa, but since at the time of the story, Hoffa wasn't famous for being whacked, the mobster replies something like, "You mean become head of the teamsters?" and takes that as a positive goal.
- In the Ellen episode "What's Up, Ex-Doc?", Ellen attempts to explain to Spence's father that Spence no longer wants to be a doctor; using the same elaborate baking analogy that Spence had used with her about leaving out a vital ingredient and having to throw out the entire mixture. However, Spence's father, who is a baker, points out that there is a very simple fix to the situation she describes that would save the mixture.
- In Falling Skies, the protagonist is a former history teacher in a world six months after an Alien Invasion. He is captured by a gang of racist outlaws, and their leader strikes up a conversation with him. The outlaw thinks the protagonist is stupid for thinking the aliens can be defeated (they have already wiped out most of the major cities and much of the population of Earth). The protagonist compares this invasion to many others throughout our history where the locals have managed to repel the invaders, specifically referencing The American Revolution. The outlaw is quick to point out that this analogy is very wrong given the enormous technological and numerical gap between the "skitters" and humans. His analogy is more appropriate, that of Native Americans defending against invading Europeans with a much smaller success rate.
- Spaced: Tim's justification for getting back with his ex-girlfriend by comparing it to Daisy's desire for a holiday meets a snag.
Tim: This is something that I've always wanted! You have things you want — you're always going on about going to Asia and seeing the Taj Mahal.
Daisy: I do want to go to Asia! I do want to see the Taj Mahal! The difference is, the Taj Mahal didn't sleep with its boss behind my back and break my heart!
- In Bottom, when Richie and Eddie are on a camping holiday, and Richie is bemoaning the difficulties they're facing:
Richie: Honestly! Alexander the Great never had this trouble!
Eddie: Yeah well, he wasn't a complete dickhead, was he?
- From According to Jim, when Jim's brother-in-law dates a girl Jim doesn't like, Jim (on separate occasions to his wife and his brother-in-law) makes up a hypothetical scenario of himself dating Osama bin Laden as a comparison. Too bad for him this trope haunts him when his target audiences think differently (his brother-in-law considers the possibility of turning bin Laden in for cash reward, and Jim's wife asks Jim if his relationship with bin Laden is serious).
- Young Blades: When D'Artagnan says that a woman wears his compliments "like silk," Jacqueline points out that silk is spun by worms.
- An exchange between Bernard and Sir Humphrey in Yes, Prime Minister:
Bernard: Well I can’t accept that, Sir Humphrey, no man is an island.
Sir Humphrey: I agree, Bernard, no man is an island, entire of itself, and therefore, never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee, Bernard.
- On The Cosby Show, Cliff once compared himself to Old Yeller, who protected the family. His wife pointed out that Old Yeller was shot.
- Some examples from M*A*S*H:
Major Burns: How come he gets the cowboys, while I'm stuck with the Indians?
Colonel Potter: I'm one-fourth Cherokee.
Major Burns: Oh. How.
- In another example, a patient is claiming to be Jesus Christ. Colonel Flagg shows up, wanting the soldier either in combat or imprisoned for faking.
Colonel Potter: It takes more than a sound body to make a stallion run. It takes a sound heart, and a sound mind.
Colonel Flagg: It also takes a rider who's not afraid to go to the whip!
- In "Five O'Clock Charlie", General Clayton tours an ammo dump near the camp.
Clayton: Oh, it's classic, Henry. The ammo dump, the road. Store material near hospitals so the enemy will leave it alone. Learned it from the Germans.
Hawkeye: Great. Now we're taking lessons from the losers.
- Twice in the same episode of USA High when first Bobby tries to give Lauren a motivational speech and uses Vincent Van Gogh as an example... only to be reminded that he cut his ear off. Ashley then tries with this example.
Ashley: I once fell off a horse and a man came up to me and said 'young lady, you better get right back on'. Of course this horse was on a merry-go-round...
- In one Happy Days episode, Richie suggests escaping from a predicament by disguising themselves in women's clothes. Fonzie balks, arguing that Davy Crockett could have escaped from the Alamo that way but instead stuck it out. However, he concedes the point when Richie points out that Crockett died at the Alamo.
- An extended one in Scrubs season five, when Elliot quickly loses her new job at a different hospital, and refuses help from her friends. Carla maintains the opinion they have to help her. When Turk says Elliot didn't want their help, Carla comes with an analogy about JD refusing help, and Turk immediately finds a reason why JD wouldn't want their help. And it only goes south from there. For the record, Elliot really didn't want help and managed to get her old job back by herself, so Turk's initial point was valid.
Carla: Guys, listen. We really need to help Elliot.
Turk: Baby, she said she didn't want to be helped.
Carla: If JD were drowning and he told you he didn't want you to save him, would you do it?
Turk: That depends: what if there are hot chicks at the pool? Maybe he want one of them to jump in and save him.
Carla: Let's say there's no women.
Turk: There's always women at the pool, baby.
Carla: Fine, he's in a pond.
JD: Oh, I would never swim in a pond. They're infamous for serpents.
Turk: You could swim at the Y[MCA] on tuesdays, men only.
JD: Have you been to the Y on men night? Not me...
Carla: Okay fine! Turk's the one who's drowning!
JD: Why did you have to go there?
Carla: Oh my God!
- This exchange from The Muppet Show between Rowlf and George Burns:
Rowlf: Oh listen, I can play in any key. I'm another Jascha Heifetz.
George Burns: Jascha Heifetz played the violin.note
Rowlf: No one'll know the difference, George.
- A rare deadpan comic turn from George Hearst, Deadwood's resident Big Bad with No Sense of Humor, to a sycophantic associate;
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Anya does this all by herself due to her natural Brutal Honesty, when Dawn thinks she might be a potential superhero.
Dawn: Everything's different for me now.
Anya: That's because you're a part of something larger. Like being swallowed. By something larger.
Xander: Nice job with the "getting swallowed" analogy.
Anya: Well, it is a mixed bag, you know. If she gets to be the Slayer, then her life is short and brutal. And if she doesn't, then it smells of unfulfilled potential. My swallowed analogy looks pretty sweet right now, doesn't it?
- Xander tells the Potentials they're as safe as houses. Everyone looks at the boarded-up window from the last time a demon broke into their house.
- Angel. Doyle is being pursued by Loan Sharks.
Doyle: Well, I don't have the money! You can't get blood from a stone, man.
Angel: They can get blood out of you.
- While going to buy a Tome of Eldritch Lore, Wesley rallies Angel's spirits by telling him that he is special.
Wesley: You're like one of these rare volumes. One of a kind.
[Angel smiles. The proprietor appears carrying three old books.]
Proprietor: I've got three of them.
- Perennial loser Al Bundy of Married... with Children was prone to both this and Metaphorgotten, but possibly the crowning glory for the simplicity of it all:
Al: Just remember. "Al" is the first word in "Alamo". (Cue giant cheers from audience)
Peg: Honey, we lost the Alamo. (Cue equally giant laughs from the audience)
- Combined with Genius Bonus in Arrested Development. In an early scene, Lindsay is defending her anti-circumcision campaign by saying "It's a doberman; let it have its ears!" Dobermans' ears are typically cropped when they're puppies.
- In Game of Thrones, Cersei Lannister tries to explain the impending invasion by Stannis Baratheon to her young son by using a story about a lion being menaced by an evil stag. Tommen is quick to point out that stags aren't evil and only eat grass.
- Used often in a variety of situations by different characters on Frasier.
- When Dana and her boyfriend run away together in the third season of Homeland, one of the characters thinks it's harmless and kind of romantic, comparing them to Romeo and Juliet. Carrie Mathison, played by Claire Danes, points out the obvious fault in that analogy.
- In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Detective Peralta is a pretty clever but Book Dumb guy, and so tends to come out with these. Such as this example:
Why are you being so crazy about this case? Peralta:
Because I wanted to work the toughest case we had! It would feel awesome
to solve it. Because a real man doesn't run from a challenge. I mean, do they run from the bulls in Pamplona? Sgt. Jeffords:
Yeah. That's the whole point of it. Peralta:
Seriously? That seems lame
- The Romeo and Juliet example is lampshaded as well:
Peralta: We can make this work! We're Romeo and Juliet!
Sophia: It didn't work for Romeo and Juliet. That play ends in a tragic double suicide.
Peralta: That's how it ends? Why do people like it so much?
- On Nikita, Birkhoff catches himself:
- Misfits has a rare positive example: Rudy tries to brush away someone's optimism with "That's what they said about the Apollo 13!" The Apollo 13 crew did come out okay!
- Nash Bridges: In "One Flew Over a Cuda's Nest", promising to tutor restless Evan on the upcoming written tests, Harvey offers a comparison: taking those has a formula, like getting a woman in a sack. Evan points out that in that case the tutoring should be the other way around, and Harvey doesn't argue.
- Home and Away: After being introduced to the new Summer Bay High principal Barry Hyde, Jade jokes that he should be named Jekyll. Max launches into what he thinks is an impersonation of Dr. Jekyll, realising too late that Barry is behind him. Barry gives Max another day of detention and tells them to read The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde more carefully. "Dr. Jekyll was the good one. I am Mr. Hyde, the evil one. And I never. Change. Back." Nevertheless, the nickname Jekyll sticks for a long time afterwards.