Randy: Network executives, they sure take the cake.When on a comedy the characters make jokes at the expense of the studio or network funding their movie or TV show. In the U.S., the favorite target out of the Big Four Networks seems to be FOX, although all networks are Acceptable Targets at some point or another (NBC has seemed to encourage it since about 2006, right around when it became the Butt Monkey of the four major networks). This trope would also fit those moments when an embittered author, or one cynical of the morality of the publishing industry, inserts into his work a thinly disguised slap to the face of the publishing house that is keeping him in work, albeit for not entirely satisfactory royalties or advance payments. A sister trope to Take That and Writer Revolt. Related to Take That, Audience!. Often overlaps with Self-Deprecation (unless the author is even more correct than he believes about his employers being flawed.) Remembering who wears the pants can combine this with End of Series Awareness.
Joy: Plus, they don't let people cuss anymore on TV until a certain time at night. (checks watch) Douchebags.
Joy: Plus, they don't let people cuss anymore on TV until a certain time at night. (checks watch) Douchebags.
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Anime and Manga
- One arc of Digimon Adventure ends with a climactic battle in the Fuji TV station, which broadcast the show in Japan. It's mercilessly destroyed, although part of the architecture is used to destroy the Big Bad. The English dub just refers to "the TV station," which is a shame—the dub aired on Fox and everything!
- Speaking of the Fuji TV station, it also occurred in several Kochikame TV specials which the building was destroyed during the climaxes. One time, its architecture was used as a wrecking ball to knock a few stories off a skyscraper.
- The first episode of the OVA Dangaioh had the AIC building (Dangaioh's production company) destroyed by the invading bad guys.
- With Tiger & Bunny, Sunrise figured out that the best way to make use of blatant Product Placement was to make fun of blatant Product Placement.
Jackson: You know who made you a hero, right?Kotetsu: Our sponsors, sir!Jackson: Good!
- A dub example. If you play a scene in episode 130 of Pokémon backwards, you will hear James say "Leo Burnett and 4Kids are the devil! Leo Burnett!" 4Kids Entertainment is the company that dubbed the series. Eric Stuart said that he included this line on purpose, due to 4Kids not paying him for commercials.
- In-universe example in Kannagi. Akiba brings a taped show for the main character Jin, because Jin accidentally taped over a show that Nagi hadn't watched yet on a VHS tape. He first hands out a Blu-ray, then when Jin mentions not having a Blu-ray player, he pulls out a tape. Nagi asks what it is, and turns out it's a Betamax tape, which Jin also doesn't have a player for. Cue the characters looking at Akiba.
Akiba: It's a Sony!
- Said show was produced by Aniplex, so it's sponsored by Sony.
- "Daily Lives of High School Boys was lazily brought to you by these sponsors..." (Since this anime was aired in Otaku O'Clock, the "sponsors" was actually the manga's publisher Square Enix.)
- "Daily Lives of High School Boys was intermittently brought to you by these sponsors..."
- "Daily Lives of High School Boys should have been brought to you by these sponsors..."
- "The last episode of Daily Lives Of High School Boys was lazily brought to you by these sponsors..."
- When toy sales for Magical Princess Minky Momo dropped, the toy company that sponsored the series pulled their support. In episode 46 of the first series, which could have been the final episode, Momo is killed by a toy delivery truck.
- Episode 53 of the second series is a scathing satire of the anime industry. Momo visits an anime production company where animators frequently work themselves into comas in the hopes they'll eventually be able to make anime with their own Original Characters. The character of the week Momo needs to help is such an overworked animator. He dies at the end.
- Chairman Mashita in Gundam Build Fighters is rumored to be based on a certain Bandai executive who doesn't care for Gundam and prefers Tokusatsu properties.
- In the animated adaptation of Excel Saga, Lord Ilpalazzo gives Excel a speech about the evils of manga, and demonstrates by tossing a handful of Excel Saga manga volumes into a giant paper shredder, and sends her out on a mission to kill Koshi Rikdo, the series' artist and writer.
- Francisco de Goya's portrait of King Carlos IV and his family are an almost Grotesque Gallery where they appear as pudgy, unattractive people. The Queen is standing in the center of the painting, a subtle hint towards the general consensus at the time that she was the one holding the strings in the palace.
- In the first Great Lakes Avengers, Squirrel Girl and Grasshopper appear in an offstage prologue. Grasshopper says "The only people reading comics now are overweight thirty-year-olds living in their mother's basement." Squirrel Girl's sidekick replies in an inset: "Hey, fanboys, don't take that lying down! Write angry letters to Marvel today!"
- Avengers Academy:
- Hazmat in issue #10: "Today's gonna suck as much as all the others... but just a little bit harder. Because it's One More Day... with no end in sight."
- In another issue, a couple of the kids Lean On The Fourth Wall and complain about how the latest Crisis Crossover involving the Avengers and X-Men has been dragging on for too damn long.
- In Marvel Adventures: Avengers, Doc Samson's "Needs a wife" assessment of Spider-Man when the Avengers go in for therapy.
- The first printing of Universe X: Spidey #1 contains a Take That hidden message on a bookshelf: "Bob Harras. Ha, Ha. He's gone! Good riddance to bad rubbish. He was a nasty S.O.B."
- When Ed Brubaker did a two-issue story on Tom Strong, he produced a Deconstructive Parody of Miracleman, by Tom Strong's creator Alan Moore, arguing that Miracleman was not so much "realistic", as pointlessly nasty and depressing for the sake of it.
- In one issue of Young Justice, Arrowette and Wonder Girl are complaining at length about Warner Bros. until one of them whispers something to the other. It's not explicit, but strongly implied that she had to be reminded not to make fun of the corporate parent of DC Comics. In another issue, in a scene also involving the two girls, Arrowette complains about how much she hates Internet service providers (ISPs) when their connection dies. Wonder Girl then nervously replies, "No you don't! You LOVE! ISPs! Especially the biggest one!" And to that end, Arrowette decides to shut up. At the time the comic was released, that "biggest one", America Online, had just completed a merger with Time Warner, the parent company of Warner Bros. and therefore DC, to form AOL Time Warner.
- New 52 Harley Quinn #8 features Dan DiDio suggesting a new DC relaunch, with all the heroes turned into antelopes and wildebeests by magic, which they'll call the Gnu 52. The DC offices promptly get hit with bags of pet poop catapulted from Harley's building. note
- In an in-universe example, in the essay-fic, Equestria: A History Revealed, the narrator directly belittles her professor who is currently marking her work, and curses at him a couple of times in-text.
Films — Animated
- In The Lion King, Zazu starts to sing "It's A Small World." Scar freaks out and demands him to sing anything else but that. The stage musical uses "Be Our Guest". It doubles as a Mythology Gag, since "Be Our Guest" was from the first Disney animated film that became a musical and paved the way for Lion King to come on Broadway. When Beauty and the Beast closed, it got replaced with "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious." In later runs, it was replaced with "Let It Go".
- The LEGO Movie criticizes the Lego Company's themed sets several times, and the villain has minions called "micro-managers" and a device called the "think tank" (presumably both jabs at Executive Meddling).
- Barbie: A Fashion Fairytale: Sort of, in the overture scene. This movie was one of the first Barbie movies with modern setting and themes, and no inspiration from fairy tales anymore. Because, certainly, it was required from Mattel. Judging from Barbie's argument with the movie director, the writers were not too happy about it. Thus the obnoxious director distort the story of a fairy tale because of "fashionable" elements and refuse dialogue to the point of firing Barbie, while the latter tries in vain to calmly explain that the really cool tale is going to be lost.
Films — Live-Action
- Deconstructed in universe in V for Vendetta. Turns out this is a really bad idea when your sponsor and overseer is a totalitarian regime.
- Jay and Silent Bob Strike Back was full of these jokes. Case in point...
- Wayne's World actually had this as a plot point, with the boys making fun of their show's sponsor. And in the sequel, their trip to London is shown via second-unit footage with incredibly bad stand-ins while they marvel in voice-over how nice of Paramount it was to send them to London for real.
- Idiocracy made a point to savage the hand of every piece of Product Placement appearing in the film. Fuddruckers' name slowly mutates into 'Buttfuckers'. Carl Jr's slogan becomes 'Fuck you, I'm eating!'. Opinions divide on the motives behind this move.
- In a similar way, Fight Club mocks most of its product placement (though one was intentional, as Edward Norton hates the New Beetle and intended to have a scene hitting it).
- In Impromptu, a group of struggling artists put on a theater production for their wealthy patrons that insult said patrons. The artists give "true art is offensive" as their justification.
- After Robocop has been reprogrammed in RoboCop 2, one of his directives is to "avoid Orion meetings."
- Pee-wee's Big Adventure does this in the climax: Pee-Wee Herman sneaks into the Warner Bros. studio to find his stolen bike and escapes on it, but ends up being chased by studio security guards.
- Although more of an In-Joke (as the film was by Paramount, not Disney), the near destruction of Pixar in Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol (director Brad Bird made two Oscar winners there), as seen in the trailer.
- At the end of Holy Flying Circus, God tells Michael Palin that he's having a dream that will probably be used as the ending for a heavy-handed BBC4 comedy/drama.
- Michael: Gosh, there's a BBC4 in the future? They must be doing well.
- Subtle example in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990), where Raphael leaves a movie theater after watching Critters and exclaims, "Where do they come up with this stuff?" (Critters was also produced by New Line Cinema.)
- In-universe: In A Face in the Crowd, when Lonesome Rhodes' show picks up its first commercial sponsor, a mattress company, he goes off script in the Enforced Plugs to bash its product. The company predictably pulls its sponsorship, despite the surprising fact that its sales went up by 55 percent since they hired him.
- The "merchandising" gag in Spaceballs was this. George Lucas gave his blessings to loan out some of the more distinct special effects for this parody on the proviso that there be no real licensed merchandise, and the gag was Brooks' way of tweaking his nose about it.
- In Deadpool, the humorous opening credits has the line "Produced By ASSHATS".
- Showing that this sort of thing is Older Than They Think, many sinners depicted in Hell by Dante in The Divine Comedy were still living folks with more authority than he'd have liked. The Eight Circle of Hell contained three Popes who were alive during Dante's time, including the current one, and numerous other government officials and nobles. (Fortunately for Dante, Pope Boniface VIII was said to have something of a sense of humor, and when one such official complained that "Dante has put me in Hell", he supposedly chuckled a little and said, "sorry, I can't help you, I'm not in charge of Hell". However, this opposition to the Vatican only lasted as long as the White Guelphs - who shared his ideas - held power in Rome, which they only did until 1301. Even so, Boniface would have allowed Dante to remain in Rome, but he left on his own accord.)
- In Maskerade, Terry Pratchett manages a dig at the publishing industry and the morality of book publishers by having Nanny Ogg bilked over a publishing deal, in which her payment for a best-seller is the usual gratis author's copy of the book and nothing else. Granny Weatherwax plays catch-up on her friend's behalf and demonstrates that a publisher's worst nightmare is a cheated witch. They leave the offices with an advance payment of five thousand dollars.
- Sci-fi author Philip José Farmer, in his Riverworld series where all the Earth's population is resurrected into a wholly unexpected afterlife, has the character who is his Marty Stu in the book (legitimate, as we are all characters on the Riverworld) meet a publisher who once cheated him. Near-lethal vengeance is administered. The publisher is given the name Sharko.
- Alfred Hitchcock used to do this to the advertisers sponsoring his shows a lot. For instance, in one episode he came on before the film to give a brief lecture about how pagans used to try to tell the future by looking at the internal organs of various animals. Then, looking at a modern X-ray of an animal, he predicted that we viewers were in for a "very gloomy" next minute or so. Cue the commercial break...
- Mystery Science Theater 3000
Youth is better, in every situation! Youth is better, old is stupid!
- A throwaway joke in Santa Claus (1959) where, in response to kids writing letters to Santa, they quipped that writing to these Comedy Central contests was useless.
- Also in Godzilla vs. Megalon when the radar dish-like Maser cannons are being deployed: "Man, all this and they still can't get the Comedy Channel!"
- Mentos was famous for juvenile ads and running them multiple times on every CC show. This video shows an actual Mentos ad, and then a parody that the crew of MST3K showed during one host segment. The amount of Mentos ads during 'MST3K'' mercifully declined quickly after that point.
- Married... with Children had an episode in which the cast assumed "Fox viewing positions," which involved grabbing onto the rabbit ears, standing on one foot, balancing pots on their heads, etc. For you youngsters who've always had cable, the Fox network originally used mostly UHF stations, which were sometimes hard to tune in depending on weather, etc. This was just one of many, many pokes at Fox's programming reputation.
- Several episodes had a family member watching TV and hearing/listening to the promo for some utterly awful-sounding show, like "Psycho Dad" or "Psycho Mom." The promo would always conclude with the phrase, "On Fox!" to which the family member would reply, "Naturally."
- In another episode, a few characters visited the Fox studios, and an executive showed them a calendar of the new Fall line up they were excited about. Every timeslot either had a question mark or "crap," with the exception of The X-Files and The Simpsons.
- The show's production studio, Columbia Pictures, wasn't immune to this trope either. The season 7 episode "The Movie Show" ended with the Bundys watching an unnamed Columbia movie, and when their logo came up, the family booed it. (Naturally, in the original airing, this lead right into the Columbia Pictures Television Vanity Plate at the end of the show.)
- In the Season 8, episode 13 Christmas episode titled "The Worst Noel", Al, just before the commercial break, breaks the fourth wall, turns to the audience, and says "And I really hate this commercial!" The scene remains in the DVD releases.
- Seinfeld did this trope as well, by having Jerry and George pitch a Show Within a Show to NBC. The pitch — a show about nothing — was the real life pitch for the real life Seinfeld. According to Larry David, the meeting really played a lot like the episode.
- True Blood does this with one of their sponsors: Nintendo. There have been at least two episodes where characters were shown playing the Nintendo Wii and having a good, wholesome time. Finally, near the very end of season two they had a clearly deranged stay-at-home mom flailing the Wii remote around as she killed in psychopathic glee...suddenly those previous scenes don't seem so wholesome. Then season three started: No Wii.
- On July 21, 1969, Johnny Carson announced that he was due for a raise because his contract with NBC said that he'd get a raise when men walked on the moon.
- This is one of David Letterman's favorite types of gag.
- Letterman used to poke fun at Westinghouse when it owned CBS, through on-stage use of its industrial products.
- Before CSI made a killing for CBS, Letterman's Top 10 lists made the occasional joke or two about how little watched CBS was at the time. An example: "CBS: More powerful than The Weather Channel."
- CBS' Late Show site actually archives every single CBS list, so you can check for yourself.
- Before he changed networks, Letterman did plenty of digs at NBC and their parent company, General Electric.
- The final segment of the last episode Letterman's ill-fated 1980 morning show was a hilariously mean Take That to NBC and the game show that took over his timeslot.
- Jay Leno of The Tonight Show makes a lot of jokes at NBC's expense, too. He even makes jokes about how bad his jokes are.
The NHL canceled their season. The ENTIRE season. CANCELED. Didn't know The NHL was on NBC.
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson: CBS cares.
- 30 Rock also can't seem to stop making fun of NBC and General Electric.
Jack: Oh I get it. The whole self-referential thing; Letterman hates the suits, Stern yells at his boss, Nixon’s "sock it to me" on Laugh In... Hippie humor.
- In the very first episode, they included a bit in which Jack Donaghy sings the over-the-top praises of the Trivection Oven; actual GE had to take commercial time during the episode to assure the viewing public that yes, the Trivection Oven was a real thing.
- 30 Rock once devoted its entire B Plot to mocking the real-life sale of NBC from GE to Philadelphia-based Comcast by switching it to Philadelphia-based Kabletown. With a K.
- The episode Khonani has Jack trying to deal with the scheduling conflict he caused between two janitors, Khonani and Lennon. He even attempted an innovative schedule in which the 2 would split the shift. In the end Lennon stayed on the shift.
- Jack himself is a walking example of it: 30 Rock's over the top parody of an NBC executive, and he explains the whole concept quite well in "Jack-Tor."
- A number of British Series knock their own channel.
- For example, Monty Python's Flying Circus constantly made fun of The BBC.
- The Goon Show made fun of the BBC too many times to count.
- As does Dead Ringers.
- Look Around You, anyone? Particularly the fake BBC promos in the second series.
- Top Gear, and all The BBC's Panel Games, frequently comment about the number of times they'll be repeated on Dave in the near future
- Many comedy shows on The ABC (the Australian one) make fun of the network's usually low budget. The Chaser's War on Everything also mocked the ABC's left-wing stance, and after Maxine McKew, an ABC News reporter, began running as a candidate for the Labor party, it had one sketch where Australia's parliament gave out Labor seats to ABC personalities.
"Yes, videogames are going through a renaissance, and you should not miss out - like you are now, by choosing to watch TV instead, like some kind of medieval throwback farmhand fuck."
- Because it's his job to make fun of everything on television, Charlie Brooker makes fun of the Beeb on his BBC Four show just as much as anyone else. While he does make light jabs at BBC Four's pretentiousness with fake shows like Harpsichord Challenge and The History of Corners, and BBC Three's pandering to the base with Sick on a Widow, he also gives well deserved criticism at BBC recommendations relating to the Credits Pushback.
- At least one jab was aimed at the viewers, in a piece about computer games:
- Also, he often lays into Endemol produced shows such as Big Brother, while Brooker's production company is itself a subsidiary of Endemol. At one point this is lampshaded, by immediately following a particularly vitriolic attack on Endemol with the Zeppotron/Endemol Vanity Plate from the end of the show.
- Brooker's Dead Set, in which Big Brother contestants face a Zombie Apocalypse, was also made by Zeppotron and was broadcast on E4.
- Although not a comedy, The Bill had a moment where two character were checking a hotel's CCTV cameras during an undercover operation. They were making comments related to the order of channels on the TV set. BBC2 was gardening, ITV (the show's own channel, before it became ITV1) was adverts and the final conclusion to the joke was that Channel 4 (not named) was sex, as they discovered Dave and Polly kissing in a hotel room. Taking the joke further, Channel Five equals porn (although, not as much... these days.)
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?
- In one skit, Colin Mochrie screamed at Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady: "You're not human! You're less than human! You're network executives!" However, after the game, Drew Carey went to great lengths to point out that Colin wasn't talking about ABC (the American one).
- In one episode, they attempt to do an improv of a theme song for a sitcom featuring Bill Cosby and Adolf Hitler, but the executives (mid-skit nonetheless) bring the hammer down and stop them from using Hitler in the skit. For the entire rest of the episode, almost every single bit of improv became a Take That towards the executives, calling them prudes, taking every single opportunity to bring up the Führer, etc.
- There was one episode where Ryan had to play a weatherman who discovered the portal to hell was behind his green screen. He takes jabs at Friends and Michael Bolton, then looks at Drew. "This is how you got two shows!" Everyone (but especially Ryan) rags on Drew, either for his weight or his job as the show's desk monkey. They also do frequent riffs on Colin's baldness, but these tend to have a more affectionate nuance to them.
- In an episode of Millennium, a demon causes a member of an unspecified network's Broadcast Standards and Practices department to go crazy, culminating in a shooting rampage that results in the deaths of two actors dressed as aliens. The demon then remarks that, as a result of this one action, he damned millions of people, as not every network has such strict Broadcast Standards and Practices. Cut to grainy video of the shooting, now repackaged as the latest FOX network special: "When Humans Attack!"
- The X-Files had two jokes on their station: one in Season 3's episode "Nisei" regarding the infamous alien autopsy ("Mulder, this is even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network."), and one in Season 9 where Fox is the only station interested in a not-Jackass stunt Gone Horribly Wrong.
- Saturday Night Live has had plenty of jokes/skits about NBC over the years. They went wild with them in Seasons 4 and 5 (covering 1978-1980) when super-executive Fred Silverman, who had worked ratings wonders for CBS and ABC, ran NBC into the ground over 1978-1981. Examples:
- The Kate Jackson episode has a running gag revealing that Silverman (played by John Belushi) was sent to NBC by Charlie to ruin the network.
- The 1979 Christmas show has a running gag of promos hyping Gary Coleman appearances on every other NBC show and special, since Diff'rent Strokes was one of the network's only hits at the time, along with SNL.
- The "Limo for the Lame-O" affair: Al Franken encouraged viewers to send letters to NBC asking that Franken get the use of a company limo — since Silverman had one despite all the flops he'd launched, and Franken was on a hit show. This did not go over well with Silverman, and it led to him nixing Lorne Michaels' request that Franken succeed him as executive producer of SNL.
- Then there was the "Conspiracy Theory Rock" short from the 1998 season, which is about major corporations like General Electric controlling the media. It also took a stab at the firing of Norm MacDonald. It was banned from re-airing, but would appear on a TV Funhouse "Best Of" DVD. Oddly enough, Word of God claimed it was pulled not because of this trope, but because the creators simply thought it wasn't funny and needed room for commercials in re-airings.
- In an installment of Weekend Update:
Seth Meyers: You have TV in Hell?
The Devil: Well, just NBC.
- Towards the end of his run on The Tonight Show, Conan got absolutely vicious with these.
"NBC is like a Goat that Eats Money and Shits Trouble."
- He mentioned that his rating were up 50% (due to the controversy), and continued that he was on the wrong network. He also introduced new one-shot characters for no reason other than to be really expensive, such as the mouse made out of a Bugatti Veyron, with the backing track of the original studio recording version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction." As he pointed out, both the broadcast rights and the syndication rights to the song were "crazy expensive," bringing the price tag of the character, who appeared for all of two minutes, to 1.5 million dollars. "What're they gonna do, fire me?"
- And then, when word got out that the network was banning him from saying bad things about them, he got around it by SINGING insults.
- And then, when that didn't work, he said them in Spanish (complete with subtitles):
- Not only that, Conan would often bash NBC and promote other networks, simply while conversing with guests and not making a bit out of it. It's likely Conan was saying these things simply because he really felt that way (hosting the Tonight Show was a life-long dream of his) and mostly got laughs because they were very cathartic.
- Conan actually had done this back on Late Night as well. Mainly poking fun at NBC's fourth place status.
- The Daily Show and The Colbert Report do this frequently.
- One toss between the two shows had a jealous Colbert mocking fellow Daily Show alumnus Ed Helms for not having a nightly show. When reminded that his own show was on Comedy Central, Colbert broke down sobbing: "I know! God, it's horrible! I wish I was on the Food Network!"
- An episode of The Daily Show once showed a clip of Barack Obama being asked if he had ever seen the Comedy Central show 'Lil' Bush, to which he replied "I heard of it, but I've never seen it." Cut to Stewart saying "Join the club."
- Stewart also had a little fun at the network's expense during his feud with Jim Cramer. Cramer made appearances on every NBC network/show he could (his home channel of CNBC, NBC's Today, MSNBC, etc). Stewart responded by going on a "Viacom tour." Cut to Jon appearing on ''Dora the Explorer'' (Nick Jr) and ''The Hills'' (MTV), unleashing the awesome power of his employer's multimedia empire.
- An example of another network getting its hand bit on The Daily Show: In 1997 Keith Olbermann, a SportsCenter anchor at the time, appeared as a guest on the The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn (himself a SportsCenter anchor before becoming host of The Daily Show) without permission from his bosses at ESPN, as required by that network's rules. During the interview Olbermann was asked (as part of the now-retired Five Questions segment) "What's the most god-forsaken place on the East Coast?" and answered "Bristol, Connecticut." Bristol happens to be the headquarters of ESPN. He got a two-week suspension, grief and editorials against him in the local paper, and the incident partially led to his departure from ESPN that year.
- When The Colbert Report debuted it was followed by a short-lived talk show called Too Late With Adam Carolla. One night Stephen closed his show by saying, "Stay tuned for Adam Carolla. His guest tonight? Comedy."
- The 16 July 2012 episode of The Daily Show devoted the second segment to the ongoing brouhaha regarding the contract dispute between Viacom and DirecTV (the episode aired the night after DTV dropped all of Viacom's networks). Stewart (with the assistance of John Oliver) proceeds to not only call out Viacom on its bullshit, but also ridicule the entire medium of television.
Jon Stewart: You've got ads blaming each other for taking the shows away, telling people to "rise up and demand it" like it's some kinda basic-cable Arab Spring.
- Jon Stewart also tore a strip off Viacom when Viacom ordered YouTube to purge Daily Show clips.
- One of the commercial bumps during their Election 04 coverage was "And now a word from corporations who have a much bigger impact on this election's outcome than you."
- Advertisers beware: getting Stephen to personally advertise your product will make you ripe for mockery. Of particular note is the company who sent out its memo detailing exactly how its product was supposed to be portrayed... and Stephen read it on-air. Although not specifying clearly enough can sometimes be just as risky, as T-Mobile found out when Stephen recommended its phones be used as vibrating constipation pills.
- There's also the now infamous episode where Viacom prevented Daft Punk from appearing on the show. Stephen's response was GLORIOUS.
- A sneaky example: starting in early 2013 it became a Running Gag on The Daily Show to insult the fast-food restaurant Arby's at any opportunity. While Arby's sponsorship for The Daily Show doesn't go beyond random commercials that may happen to air between breaks, they are the official sponsor of The Colbert Report, even appearing on-screen right after the title card.
- When Koch Industries aired image ads on TDS shortly before the 2014 midterm election, Stewart dedicated a whole segment on the 10/29/14 show to making fun of them and their image-polishing ad (and also got off a snip at Arby's!)
- Colbert continued with this on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert, promising in the first episode that "we will try to honor [Letterman's] achievement by doing the best show we can and occasionally making the network very mad at us."
- Strangers with Candy bit the hand hard in their final episode. Two property developers show up at Flatpoint High and repeatedly deny that they're tearing it down and building a strip mall, even as classrooms are demolished and food outlets built in their place. At the end of the episode, the teachers and students go on a rampage of destruction and burn down the school, with one teacher gloating "They'll never turn it into a strip mall now!" The Reality Subtext: the property developers were based on two Comedy Central network execs. Strangers with Candy was being cancelled, and replaced with a show called Strip Mall.
- During the 2006 Emmy Awards on NBC:
Yeah, we got trouble, right here at NBCWith a capital "T" and that rhymes with "G" as in "Gee, we're screwed!"Yeah, we got trouble, right here at NBCI hate to disrespect, but my lawyer checked and I can't be sued!
- Host Conan O'Brien, whose show is also on NBC, puts it delicately:
So NBC asked the host of Late Night to come to LA and host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?
- There was also a hilarious crack about how since the ceremony was on NBC, it would probably be cancelled halfway through.
- In early 2010, Conan was once again taking shots at NBC, although this is less "Biting the hand that feeds" and more "Mauling the arm that hit you."
- This all came full circle with Jimmy Fallon hosting the 2010 Emmys
- Harry Hill's TV Burp makes fun of all channels about equally and does not spare its parent ITV. For example:
- X-Play would occasionally jab at G4 after its Network Decay, with specific references to being on the same channel as The Man Show.
- The series finale of Attack of the Show! ended with Leo and Patrick from The Screen Savers bashing G4 in so many ways that they still go to work at a tower bearing the Tech TV logo. A shame that the TechTV/G4 merger wasn't All Just a Dream that Leo had.
- Dirty Jobs:
- In one episode there was an incident in a salt mine where one of the camera men narrowly avoided getting hit on the head by a large rock. One of the mine workers joked that when someone is injured to 'go for the wallet first.' Cue Mike Rowe's reply "He's a camera man. For the Discovery Channel. There's nothing in his wallet."
- Also, this fun exchange:
Dairy Farmer: Yeah, you just want to bend over right there.Mike: Just bend over and get ready for it?Dairy Famer: Yup. That's not a problem?Mike: Sir, I've been in television so long, I'm a pro at bending over and taking it.
- Something similar happened on Destination Truth. Josh Gates is browsing through a marketplace in Turkey (I believe) and sees a beautiful rug. The shop owner tells him the price and Josh looks surprised. They then cut to him looking at much smaller rugs, roughly the size of a sheet of paper (the shop owner suggests using them under a telephone,) and Josh says "I work on cable, my friend, this is all I can afford." He never explicitly mentions Syfy, but the implication is there.
- While presenting the Best Animated Feature nominees at the 2009 Academy Awards, Jack Black explains to co-presenter Jennifer Aniston his secret to success when it comes to making money at voice acting: "Each year I do one DreamWorks project, then I take all the money to the Oscars and bet it on Pixar." The winner turned out to be WALL•E, to which Black jumped and cheered. One of the people who laughed hardest when he made this joke was... Jeffrey Katzenberg.
- While we're on the topic of the Oscars, after the 2008 show played a montage of movies addressing the social issues of their time (in a very "look how awesome we are for doing this" tone):
Jon Stewart: And none of those issues were ever a problem again.
- John Oliver's segment on the 78th academy awards where he says they managed to move past the dark clouds of failure from the previous year (the one Jon Stewart hosted).
- In the Spike Milligan series Q6 (1975), the first episode features several digs at the BBC's security guards, the "crummy wardrobe department" and the high prices in the canteen.
- The Goodies contains numerous swipes at the BBC:
- Most notably in the episodes "Alternative Roots" and "The End," during which a service announcement warns of "cutbacks of a hundred percent" - and the screen immediately goes black!
- And in the "Gender Education" episode they blew up the BBC Television centre! The rest of that one they spent taking the mickey out of Mary Whitehouse
- Every episode of This American Life (both on radio and TV) ends with Ira Glass attributing some quote from the show, taken out of context, to the general manager of WBEZ, the show's home radio station, when the show was launched.
- On one episode of Kingdom: Is there an ITV4?
- In his show No Reservations, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain frequently pokes fun at his producers and The Travel Network.
- The Soup takes sooooooooo many jabs at E They even have a segment dedicated to mocking E! shows called "Let's take some E!"
- Also a staple of Chelsea Lately. Chelsea Handler frequently ridiculed the network president, even while she was dating him.
- In Talkin' 'bout Your Generation, host Shaun Micallef makes unkind remarks about the Ten network a few times; once, he lampshaded this by miming biting his hand afterwards.
- When he was a panelist on Match Game, Richard Dawson used to quip that his Family Feud was the most popular show in Guam.
- The game show Clash (Ha!/Comedy Central) had Billy Kimball addressing a discrepancy "because if we don't, we're going to get a letter from our viewer."
- A 1971 episode of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour featured an opera version of All in the Family with a completely different cast playing the Bunkers and Stivics, with the plotline having the CBS censor being invited for dinner. The CBS censor was played by Carroll O'Connor.
- Satirical BBC panel game Have I Got News for You does this a lot. One of the most notable occasions was in the late 1990s when the BBC director-general John Birt banned BBC programs from discussing rumours that politician Peter Mandelson (a close friend of Birt) was gay; this act by Birt was widely regarded as an abuse of Birt's position and clear bias towards a friend who was otherwise an obvious target for satirists. Viewers eagerly awaited the first show after this became public, to see if the show would break the BBC's rules. Early on, guest Jackie Mason made a reference about Mandelson, and soon everyone else was at it, so the entire show became an attack on Mandelson's hypocrisy and Birt's attempt to get the BBC to cover for his friend. (Special mention must go to Ian Hislops delivery of "Peter Mandelson is a ... friend of John Birt", which made it sound like an Unusual Euphemism.)
- Eric Idle's post-Monty Python sketch show Rutland Weekend Television was un-necessarily crippled by a miniscule budget granted by a parsimonious BBC. Idle, Innes, Woolf and Batley ended the first series on a bitter spoof song about the mean and miserly attitude of the BBC, where the male characters sat naked on a row of stools in a bare studio, with only minimal modesty-saving towels (Gwen Taylor was absent for this one).
Hello, I bet you're wondering why we're here/Sitting on our bums, without a stitch of gear/For as it happens, the budget has expired/And everything's gone back to the place from whence it's hired...
- An episode of The Mighty Boosh (made by the BBC) has Howard watching a bland, seven-hour documentary about an obscure film director and his incomprehensible works... on BBC Four. They got to use the real BBC Four logo.
- Boy Meets World delivered a really big Take That at ABC for moving the show's timeslot. It happens in the episode where Cory and Topanga are babysitting a kid and are discussing his bedtime:
Kid: At least let me watch my favorite show. It's on right now!
Topanga: But it's 9:30, I know you don't stay up past nine.
Kid: It used to be on at 8:30 but this year they moved it to 9:30, those idiots.
Cory: Wait a minute they moved that show to 9:30, why?
Kid: No one knows!
Cory: Well was it doing badly at 8:30?
Cory: Well why didn't they leave it alone?
Kid: There're trying to kill it! There're trying to kill it!
Cory: Those are bad bad people.
- ABC took notice and changed the timeslot back not long after this.
- One of the reasons The Dana Carvey Show was cancelled was because Dana mocked his sponsors so much that they stopped backing his show.
- Psych, which airs on USA (an NBC affiliate) had this gem:
Director of show in show: They better make great TV, okay? Because I sold this to NBC. NBC! They make classics like Friends and...uh...um...uh...
- The made-for-tv movie Special Bulletin, which aired on NBC, featured a terrorist remarking "NBC would kill its mother for this footage!"
- Babylon 5: At the start of season 2, Executive Meddling made the creators sex up Ivanova's appearance. She started wearing redder lipstick and had her hair loose instead of pulled back. When Garibaldi came out of his coma and returned to duty, he commented on her 'new look'. Ivanova snapped back "With everything that's been going on around here I'd think you'd have other things on your mind besides my look!" Take That, Executive Meddlers!
- An unusual case: ABC has been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1995, and in the Tom Bergeron era of America's Funniest Home Videos (which started at the Turn of the Millennium), the grand prizes each season are usually related to the Disney Theme Parks or the company's other vacation ventures. The show usually sends Bergeron to the venues in question to spend chunks of his host segments shilling them. Aside from those special episodes, however, Disney hasn't stopped the show from airing home videos that cast the parks in a less-than-ideal light (costumed characters falling off of parade floats or scaring toddlers, kids and adults being unpleasantly surprised by Epcot's famous "leapfrog fountains," etc.), and in one 2005 finale Bergeron joked that when his daughters are at Disney World, the three things they're most eager to see are "Mickey, Minnie, and Daddy's Wallet."
- Supernatural: "Hollywood Babylon" features a Meddling Executive who makes a lot of dumb suggestions and is killed horribly early in the episode. All of his ideas were based on real (though exaggerated) suggestions the crew had received for Supernatural, including making the show Lighter and Softer.
- The hosts and guests on Fox News' Red Eye With Greg Gutfeld will occasionally take shots at the network or its personalities, though the latter are much more light-hearted.
- The second season of Heroes had a few digs at the thus far conspicuous Product Placement by Nissan: in one episode, Noah gives Claire a brand new Nissan Rogue for her birthday despite the fact that they're in hiding and Noah is working as a copy jockey, meaning this would raise a lot of eyebrows. Claire even refers to the car as "the Rogue" as opposed to "the car" The very next episode...the car is stolen. And in a later episode it's seen smuggling illegal immigrants from Mexico to the U.S.
- The iCarly episode "iGo Nuclear" was an episode-long jab and executives forcing Dan Schneider to make an environmentally-minded episode of the show. The plot is about Carly's efforts to go green bringing her and her friends nothing but trouble.
- After Community: This ending credits scene mocking NBC's penchant for shows with epunymous titles. This was the end of the fifth season finale, the last episode to air on NBC. Basically, it was a snarky way of implying "What mediocre crap are you going to replace us with?"
- Jono and Ben at Ten is a New Zealand comedy series broadcast on TV3. One of the presenters' favourite targets for their jokes is The Block NZ, a reality series also broadcast on TV3. The hosts also like to make jokes at the expense of other TV3 series such as 7 Days (a comedy news program that airs just before Jono and Ben), New Zealand's Got Talent, and even themselves.
- In an episode of Key & Peele, Jordan Peele tracks down his Disappeared Dad, who welcomes his son with open arms after learning that he has a TV show. When Peele casually mentions that the show is on Comedy Central, his dad does a complete 180 and angrily screams "Get the fuck out of my house!"
- After discovering they had been canceled right after finishing their two-hundredth episode, the writers of Stargate SG-1 devoted the large sections of the episode "Family Ties" to making fun of the network.
Carter: The Stargate program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge.
Jacek: That's too bad because after all your Stargate program has accomplished for this network... of planets, I'd think that the decision makers would show it the respect it deserves.
- One conversation in My Name Is Earl, discussing network executives:
Joy: Plus, they won't let anyone cuss on TV until a certain time at night. (checks her watch, waits a couple seconds) Douchebags.
- The BBC Christmas Special Victoria Wood With All The Trimmings is set in a BBC rehearsal space, as Victoria Wood tries to prepare her new show in the face of Executive Meddling. Much fun is made about BBC bosses as a mess of contradictory focus groups and "lateral promotions" which ensure no-one knows what's going on, and the then-new channels BBC Choice and BBC Knowledge (now BBC Three and BBC Four) are parodied as BBC Lowbrow and BBC Highbrow, with Victoria explaining how much better things were when everyone watched the same programmes in an egalitarian manner. It ends with Twinkle from Dinnerladies being put in charge of the entire BBC, and The Stinger has one of the execs (Hugh Laurie) explaining how excited he is about his new opportunity, which turns out to be in the cafeteria:
Bob Monkhouse: Could I please have a cup of tea?
Exec: Do you have a BBC loyalty card?
Monkhouse: Does anyone?
- After the announcement of Star Trek: Discovery, The Big Bang Theory, which features numerous Trekkies among cast, crew, and viewership, used one of its Vanity Plates to show their opinion of CBS' decision to make Discovery exclusive to their streaming service CBS All Access:
"RIP Network Television 1948-2015. CBS recently announced that it was bringing back the series Star Trek, but not for the CBS network, for a streaming video on demand system called CBS All Access. In lieu of flowers, CBS has requested that mourners send them six bucks a month."
- The Middle: In "The Wonderful World of Hecks", Brick doesn't want to go on "those 'ride' things" at Walt Disney World, as he believes the park is all about buying merchandise...this coming from a show on Disney-owned ABC.
- Pink Floyd's song "Have a Cigar" from Wish You Were Here is a clear mockery of record companies and producers who want hit singles instead of artistic freedom.
- The Dead Kennedys turned this into a Crowning Moment of Awesome with their legendary performance of "Pull My Strings" at the Bay Area Music Awards in 1980.
- The back cover of The Replacements' Let It Be is a picture of graffiti the band members had written on a door, including "Twin/Tone eats slotty crap" (or possibly "...sloth crap"). The Replacements were signed to the label Twin/Tone at the time, and what makes it even funnier is that the Twin/Tone logo is positioned directly beneath that message.
- The rarity "Lookin' For Ya" (which they would re-work into "Love Lines") ends with Paul Westerberg ad-libbing "Keep your riches, give me a Budweiser!" This is because it was originally recorded for Trackin' Up The North, a compilation put together as part of a "Rags To Riches" battle of the bands co-sponsored by Miller High Life.
- Mr. Bungle were apparently doubtful as to whether or not their major label debut would even be released: In one line of "Carousel" they ask "Will Warner Brothers put this record on the shelf?" (although, possibly as a way of Getting Crap Past the Radar, the liner notes make the blatantly false claim that the lyric is "look at me I'm Sandra Dee)."
- Devo was also known to mock Warner Bros. Records, and the music industry in general. Their promotional videos included characters that embodied every record executive stereotype: Rod Rooter, a pimply manager who didn't get Devo ("I can forgive you guys for being artists, but I can't forgive you for being stupid!" "Look at the airplay charts! No, no Devo!") and Daddy-Know-It-All, the boss of Big Entertainment who orders Rod to keep Devo in line.
- In Don Giovanni, during the dinner scene, when the stage band starts to play 'Non più andrai' from The Marriage of Figaro—and Leporello insists that he is sick of hearing that tune all the time.
- Soul Coughing's "The Bug" from the Batman & Robin soundtrack includes a hidden (and probably tongue-in-cheek) dig at one of the film's stars - if you listen carefully to the end of the song you can hear a quiet loop of Mike Doughty intoning "George Clooney is Satan".
- Rage Against the Machine's contribution to the soundtrack of the 1998 remake of Godzilla was the song "No Shelter", a four-minute Protest Song about how Hollywood supports the spread of consumerist values and American hegemony worldwide. It includes a direct Take That at the film it's supposed to be promoting, in the form of the line "Godzilla, pure motherfucking filler, to keep ya eyes off the real killer". And just to drive the point home, the video makes reference to, among other things, the Hiroshima bombing — the event that the original film was a commentary on (commentary that was, of course, scrubbed from the remake).
- Sara Bareilles' "Love Song" is directed squarely at her recording company - it concerns her refusal to obey the company's request to put a love song on her album.
- "Money For Nothing" by Dire Straits from their album Brothers in Arms criticized MTV, while at the same time having a music video that got a lot of airplay on the channel.
- Similar to the Dire Straits example, Queen's "Radio Gaga" bemoans the fall of radio and the rise of MTV, sounding leery about "all this video". Meanwhile the Metropolis-inspired video was irresistible to MTV.
- Elvis Costello does a self-demonstrating version in "Radio Radio" from This Year's Model.
I wanna bite the hand that feeds me.
I wanna bite that hand so badly.
I want to make them wish they'd never seen me.
- Around the same time of the Saturday Night Live example above, various employees at NBC got together with the production group who did their "We're Proud!" jingle to make a parody called "We're Loud!" which expressed their frustration at how bad NBC was doing at the time. Then, Don Imus made the mistake of airing it on live radio and pissing off then-head Fred Silverman.
- Pulp's "Bad Cover Version" ended up doing this by accident. They took a pop at, among other things, "the second side of Til The Band Comes In" - and later on had Til The Band Comes In's performer, Scott Walker, brought on as producer for the parent album. He took it in stride.
- The autographs of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart's horn concertos, apparently all intended for Joseph Leutgeb, a horn player 23 years Mozart's senior, include various insulting remarks directed at the performer. Most notoriously, the Rondo of K. 412 includes a mocking running commentary in Italian that begins with the incorrect tempo marking "Adagio."
- When Korn's label and management wanted them to record a hit single, they recorded the song 'Y'all Want a Single' which ran for a length of 3:19 (the average length of hit singles). The song and video were highly critical of the music industry and featured 89 instances of the F-word.
- A variation occurred in Pearls Before Swine: Stephan Pastis has often credited Dilbert creator Scott Adams with getting him into the syndicated cartooning world. That didn't stop him from making a storyline where Adams is portrayed as an Elvis caricature that ends up dying of a drug overdose in a toilet off-panel.
- Pastis has mocked his syndicate several times as well.
- To say nothing of the many In-Universe examples where Pastis' own characters (particularly Rat) have insulted him and the comic itself.
- Gary Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, has slapped at his employer several times for making him submit strips six weeks in advance, with characters saying things along the lines of "even though the election happened last week, we don't know who won because this strip was submitted six weeks ago."
- Bill Waterson did this subtly a few times during his long fight to keep his syndicate from licensing Calvin and Hobbes, something that he did not want, unlike most cartoonists. For example, in one strip, the first panel has Calvin screaming, "I stand firm in my belief of what's right! I refuse to compromise my principles!" In the second panel, his angry mother is coming after him; in the last, he's in the bathtub, and says, "I don't need to compromise my principles, because they don't have the slightest bearing on what happens to me anyway."
- Berkley Breathed, creator of Bloom County, loved this Trope:
- One arc had Milo having nightmares about being a syndicated cartoonist, where he was forced to draw cartoons in a dungeon where a sadistic editor-slash-torturer whipped and racked him for grammar mistakes and drawing cartoons that weren't funny. (As a Mythology Gag, Gary Trudeau - whose strip was on hiatus - was in the dungeon as well.)
- Also numerous highly-unflattering depictions of newspaper operators. The editor of the Bloom Picayune was offended that Milo would even consider bumping his Jack Kemp adultery rumor story to page two in order to cover an oncoming Alien Invasion.
- Breathed went so far as to introduce a character into to serve this purpose, W. A. Thornhump III, the fictional CEO of Bloom County Industries. Thornhump was a Corrupt Corporate Executive who represented not only the perceived hypocrisy of money-grubbing corporate America, but also the unreasonable demands of the cartoon syndicate bosses. One example of this hypocrisy occurs in a Sunday strip that showed the results of drug tests of employees of the cartoons and even Breathed himself, who Thornhump thinks should be executed because the drug test revealed that he ate "one marijuana brownie six years ago." Thornhump's own test reveals that he is a serious alcoholic (driven home when Opus appears with his six-martini lunch) but declares him to be "drug free." He also used whatever "gimmicks" he could put into the strip to make a quick buck or increase ratings, regardless of legal, moral, or ethical issues, even going so low as to schedule a field trip to the "Acme Stewardess Academy" during a "Nudeness Week" in the strip.
- When ODB declared herself the best wrestler in the Ohio Valley and created her own OVW Women's title belt, she claimed to have won it during an event in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. This was a Take That to Buddy Rogers "winning" the World Wrestling Federation heavyweight title in an imaginary tournament supposedly held in Brazil. What set this apart from every other company who mocked WWF/E for this was that WWF/E covered 30% of OVW's operating expenses and was using the company as a developmental program.
- The Absolute Power episodes "Radio 3" and "The BBC"(on Radio 4) was full of digs at The BBC. The episode "English Sporting Success" included the line "In the BBC ratings are like sex; of course they're not important, just as long as you're getting some!"
- Absolute Power's parent show, In The Red and sequels were made of this trope; BBC radio comedy dramas about an inept BBC radio journalist and his unpleasant BBC bosses.
- In Season One of Old Harry's Game, Thomas persuades Gary to lead a rebellion of the demons. Two demons keep insisting they need mission statements and brightly-coloured charts.
Thomas: Who are those two?
Gary: They're the demons in charge of torturing former BBC executives.
Thomas: I think they've gone native.
- I'm Sorry I Haven't A Clue often made fun of the BBC. In particular Tim and Graeme spent the early 2000s taking potshots at the Controller of BBC2, Jane "The Goodies will be repeated over my dead body" Root. After all, she started it.
- The News Quiz and The Now Show, because sometimes The BBC is the news.
- The Goon Show started off a lot of their shows with digs at the BBC.
- Car Talk has an inversion via Self-Deprecation: the stinger for the show is inevitably something to the effect of "And even though [something indicating deep disapproval/disappointment happens] every time we say it, this is NPR, National Public Radio." In other words, they compliment their network by calling themselves unworthy of it.
- Radio 4's statistics programme More Or Less, reporting that one of their regular mathematician guests was appearing on BBC One's Winter Wipeout:
Tim Hartford: I hadn't previously seen the show myself, but I now realise it's a bit like Its A Knockout, but without the high philosophical concepts. After watching it, I had one question for David: Why?
- Wait Wait... Don't Tell Me!:
- During the time period when Terry Wogan hosted the BBC Radio 2 breakfast show program "Wake Up to Wogan", he would make delicate jabs at the program, including referencing "the other listener" when responding to listeners' e-mails or the like. He would also poke fun at the BBC, from pointing out how many buildings they tend to purchase to their moving certain headquarters from London to Manchester to "the decided lack of provender [food]" available at times to the BBC's "Health and Safety" boffins and so on.
Religion and Mythology
- In the Gospel of John, when Philip asks Nathaniel to meet Jesus for the first time, Nathaniel cynically asks if anything good can come from Nazareth, but comes with Philip anyway. When Nathaniel arrives, Jesus says, "Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!"note
- An overlap with Shameless Self-Promotion and Self-Deprecation in The Simpsons Ride at Universal parks. At one point, the ride train crashes through a billboard reading "SEND MONEY TO UNIVERSAL STUDIOS."
- The team of snarkers at the Disney Theme Parks' Jungle Cruise, when not poking fun at themselves and their ride, will occasionally take shots at the rest of the park.
Off to the right of the boat, you can see what we call the Indiana Jones Adventure and the Temple of the Four-Hour Line.I wonder where this cave comes out... well, we're in Disney World, so probably a gift shop.
TV Tropes Wiki
- We tend to do this a lot with The Advertisement Server.
- In the Los Angeles mission of the Japanese Campaign in Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3, the player can (and is actively encouraged with rewards) blow up the EA-Los Angeles building. Upon its destruction, a Japanese soldier will yell "Your ill-begotten products shall taint the shelves no more!"
- The Simpsons Game was filled with jokes directed at Electronic Arts.
- The first thing one saw upon booting up Conker's Bad Fur Day for the N64 was the typical N64 logo...which is immediately ripped apart by Conker with a chainsaw, to be replaced by the Rareware logo. This is probably a good first indicator of what someone seduced by the game's disarming appearances is actually in for...
- Reggie Fils-Aime of Nintendo considers the blur commercial, a Take That at Mario Kart, to be this on the basis that the game's publisher Activision is also doing the GoldenEye Wii game exclusively for Nintendo.
- On a similar note, Blur was developed by Bizarre Creations, who developed a few Disney games back in the day. When Blur failed to meet sales expectations, Bizarre went defunct and most of their employees went to SUMO Digital, and helped them develop, wait for it...Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed. A company that made fun of the kart-racer genre in a commercial, then went on to developing a kart-racer.
- Overlapping with Self-Deprecation, Dragon Age: Origins has the Human Noble origin: "Giant rats? It's like the start of every bad adventure tale my grandfather used to tell."
- Strong Bad does this quite often towards Telltale Games in Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People and its making-of mockumentary Behind The Bad (and eventually carried over in Poker Night at the Inventory), usually complaining about how they never follow his idea of the "perfect" Strong Bad video game. This, however, is subverted near the end of "8-Bit Is Enough" when the developers finally made an albeit lo-res polygon render of a concept sketch from Strong Bad for the episode's final battle, and Strong Bad couldn't be more happy about it.
- Nitrome did this and a bit of Self-Deprecation with their 100th game, Nitrome Must Die. Example: in one level, the whiteboard in the background shows ideas for a new game... with a deadline of 8 hours.
- Crossing over with Take That, Audience!, Valve Software pokes fun at a specific type of Team Fortress 2 modders (*cough*pony*cough*) in this page. This was after it was discovered that Valve CEO Gabe Newell watches the show.
- Ultima: In Ultima V, "ELECTRONIC ARTS" is found in the profanity filter file. In Ultima VI, the pirates are named after Electronic Arts employees Trip Hawkins, Bing Gordon, Stewart Bonn and Joe Ybarra. In Ultima VII, Elizabeth and Abraham form the initials EA, and the cube, sphere and tetrahedron generators match the square, circle and triangle of the EA logo. The cube, sphere and tetrahedron appear in the morphing object in Ultima VIII.
- Paper Mario: Sticker Star falls victim to the You All Look Familiar trope heavily — almost every generic NPC is a Toad, with the only rare distinguishing characteristics being different-colored spots on their mushroom caps. In a sub-franchise renowned for its creative and engaging characters, this... did not go over well with the fanbase.. Judging from a throw-away line in the follow-up Paper Mario: Color Splash, though, it seems the American English localizers aren't any happier about it:
Rescue V Member: Mario, sir! I'm a huge fan! Thanks for taking the time to talk to a normal Toad like me with no unique traits or discernable characteristics!
- Web Comic example: Most of the jokes in The Order of the Stick, especially in the first 200 or so comics, are at the expense of Dungeons & Dragons or its publisher, Wizards of the Coast. Rich Burlew, the author, is a freelance game designer who mostly works for Wizards on D&D-related projects. An early strip based on Wizards' slightly bizarre copyright policy is actually titled Biting the Hand That Feeds Me.
- The OOTS strip in the last three issues of Dragon magazine had the Order discover the dragon from the cover of issue 1, whose subsequent career mirrored that of the magazine itself. The second of these strips was titled Claw/Claw/Bite The Hand That Feeds Me (that being how a dragon's mundane attacks are listed in the first two or three editions of the game, for those who don't happen to know).
- The Bugle podcast is put out by the London Times, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corporation. They've had a couple of digs at Murdoch media products, including "The Sun is, of course, a cousin of the Bugle - not that we all get on with all our relatives."
- This episode of David Mitchell's Soap Box. (Originally the video went out as a podcast sponsored by Bulldog Natural Grooming.)
- Later episodes have a Running Gag that David can't remember the name of the company that is sponsoring his podcasts. Eventually Bulldog got in on the joke by announcing "Robert Webb's Soapbox."
- Psycomedia hosts Tim and Ben both attended Oxford University but many episodes focus on the bizarre research of their teachers and other faculty members. Lovingly. And not libellously.
- According to Todd in the Shadows, Lady Gaga's "Telephone" has more advertisements than That Guy with the Glasses.com. And "I've realised something about my new workplace. YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF NERDS! NERDS! NERDS!"
- Continues in Linkara's review of KISS comics. When asking Todd if he'd like to co-review after giving the history of KISS, he just laughs at the thought of him reviewing a comic. "I forget how nerdy this site is." Linkara didn't look pleased.
- In "The Sexual Awakening Of The Human Nerd" by The Nostalgia Chick's supporting cast, Dr. Tease interviews the other reviewers, describing them as "These creatures - I mean, humans - I mean, nerds."
- Welshy and Sad Panda take every opportunity they can to make fun of their employers. (Whenever they're not taking jabs at each other.)
- The Nostalgia Critic himself engaged in this during his "Rise of the Commercials" video:
Those are good and all, but every once in a while you come across a commercial that's so ridiculous and so stupid you swear they're not even trying - like this one. *review stops and YouTube advertisement loads*
- Yahtzee has an infrequent habit of calling the Escapist out on having him play and review games he'd rather not. Its not exactly surprising, considering he insults basically everyone else.
- Mr. Mendo ended an episode with a surprise guest to lead into the Blip ad. Her only line? "And the award for the Worst Commercial Ever goes to..."
- Game Trailers program "The Final Bosman," starring analyst Kyle Bosman, has an episode called "So Long Last Gen" in which Bosman makes fun of Game Trailer's "next gen" stance on the Wii U system (where GT keeps saying the Wii U is "not next gen," something Bosman highly disagrees with), and makes fun of the fact GT gave The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker HD only a 7.8 out of 10.
- Defied in Grantland's preview of the Summer 2014 movies, where after the weird concept for Guardians of the Galaxy is given there is:
(Full disclosure: Guardians of the Galaxy is a product of Marvel Studios, which is owned by the Walt Disney Company, which is the corporate entity that allows me to buy food.)note
Such an occasion calls for a pregame ceremony of some sort, and we’re in luck, because the Mighty Ducks are owned by the Walt Disney Company, one of the world’s most successful producers of family-friendly entertainment. This is going to be good! (Full disclosure: Disney owns ESPN and pays my salary, which means it is wonderful.)
- Grantland writers have a tendency for this, such as this NHL article.
- Random Assault: The hosts tend to badmouth the few active listeners they have. For example, Alex calling Pipgirl fucking weird for eating toast with ketchup and that 510BrotherPanda talks like Randy Newman.
- Epic Rap Battles of History: Jim Henson vs. Stan Lee ends with a final verse by Walt Disney, depicting him as a tyrant, despite the fact that, as he points out, the Battles are produced by a Disney subsidiary.
- Jello Apocalypse's Welcome to YouTube takes consistent jabs at YouTube, its policies, and its community. And yet it's hosted on YouTube.
Jello: In fact, the only thing you'll use on the main page is Subscriptions, which aren't even on the main page anymore. They're off to the side and you have to click on them, and there's no way to set them as your default. Don't worry though, they'll probably change it in the next update. I bet there won't even be subscriptions anymore!
- Matthew Santoro uploads all of his videos on YouTube. In his video "Catching Up: With Matt! (#1)," he says that he'll take questions posted from his fans on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. He then says that he was gonna take questions from Google +, the social network that is associated with YouTube, but since nobody uses Google +, he didn't bother.
- In the Pinky and the Brain Spin-Off, the opening song commented on the addition of Elmyra with the lines "It's what the network wants, why bother to complain?" At the end of the song, Brain also says "I deeply resent this," and, given the very real hatred of the idea by the show's own writers, it seems likely enough he was referring to more than just his in-story predicaments with Elmyra. This was itself preceded by the episode Pinky and the Brain and Larry, with an intentionally lame and useless extra character inserted just to show how the show didn't need a third wheel... but it was railroaded through anyway.
The TV viewers you'll delightUnless the network puts your show on Sunday night
- The most notable example would be the episode "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets In This Town Again," which features the titular lab mice as the stars of a hit TV show being heavily meddled with by network executives, who think heavily altering the show's premise will increase ratings.
- In the song "A Meticulous Analysis of History" has one line making a jab at The WB for scheduling the show's brief stint in primetime opposite CBS's 60 Minutes.
- After being forced to switch from FOX to The WB, practically every episode of Animaniacs used the rotating gag credit at the end to bash their new network: "Be The First Kid on Your Block To Actually Watch The WB!"
Slappy: You mean the WB?Skippy: No, on a real network.(cut to Wakko doing a rimshot)
- Also in "The Sunshine Squirrels", Skippy tells Slappy that her agent got her a spot on a network TV special.
- The show also made fun of Warner Brothers in general, which is natural, seeing as a lot of it took place on the Warner movie lot. As early as the first episode, Mr. Plotz, enraged at the siblings' escape, ranted, "I haven't been this upset since we made Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead!" (That movie actually got mixed reviews from critics.)
- Tiny Toon Adventures took aim at network execs in general in its very first episode (which aired on CBS, ironically):
Babs: "It takes a group of highly-paid network executives YEARS to come up with a TV show!"Buster: "Which means it should take US... about as long as this next commercial break!"
Buster: And one guy who does nothing except sign his name on it! [Steven Spielberg falls onto the top of the pile.]
- In a segment featuring instructions on how to make your own cartoon, Buster comments after a long list of writers, animators and other personnel.
- Invader Zim had a minor character named "Nick" who was created as a symbol for Nickelodeon. Nick had various disturbing science experiments performed on him by the main character. Also considering that Nick had a giant probe installed in his head to make him perpetually happy, it was obviously a jab at how Nickelodeon disliked the dark stuff Zim was putting out.
- South Park
- In the "Cartoon Wars" episodes the creators had a very public disagreement with Comedy Central over their right to visually portray the Islamic prophet Mohammad in their show, after a French satirical magazine was fire-bombed by terrorists for doing just that. The episode is essentially an extended debate between freedom of speech (in regards to comedy and satire) and censorship in the name of political correctness. During the scene where Mohammad was supposed to appear, the show inserted a neutral title card stating (truthfully) that Comedy Central had ultimately refused to allow Mohammad to be shown. The irony was that the show had featured Mohammad as a character in the episode "Super Best Friends" and had him hidden in the title sequence of the show for the last two seasons. It is worth noting that "Super Best Friends" aired 2 months before 9/11. It was a very different climate then.
- The episode "Funnybot" completely lambasts The Comedy Awards, an event organized by Comedy Central.
- Whenever an evil corporation is mentioned in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, a little neon sign turns on the background saying "An AOL/TimeWarner company."
Reducto: No! [pulls out a complicated schematic] There is no government, just a few multi-national corporations that run everything.[The words "An AOL/Time Warner Co." appear on the bar's sign in the background.]
- After the original version of the episode was rejected for not meeting Broadcast Standards and Practices guidelines, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Gee Whiz" was rewritten to be an extended slam of said organization, complete with a filmstrip about network standards that ends by congratulating the viewer for making "a bland show that no one can relate to." A filmstrip that makes its point by showing the incorrect and then the correct way to blow a nun's head off.
- Another example in the one hundredth episode has Shake trying to push the show's merchandise at the Adult Swim Shop, saying they "sell all our stuff for more than you can buy in other places."
- In another example, Shake tells Meatwad that he can no longer watch Futurama because "we're too cheap to get it."
- "The Granite Family" mocks Time-Warner for its overzealous efforts to get music to which they own the copyright off YouTube and other such sites with Time Warner, a network executive who travels through time to warn people about the evils of unauthorized use of others' intellectual property.
- One episode has a mother tell Carl that her children are allowed to watch only cartoons, and that means no Cartoon Network. This is a jab at CN's abundance of live-action shows at the time.
- On Undergrads, one character remarks to Nitz that a concert might not be so bad since Good Charlotte is headlining. Nitz asks what Good Charlotte have done that he should care about. Good Charlotte provided the theme song to the show, which actually plays in the background of the scene to drive the point home.
- The 1988 Mighty Mouse episode "Anatomy of a Milquetoast" had Mighty Mouse on trial for the disappearance of orphan Scrappy, using season 1 footage with the dialogue altered as evidence. A dialogue-changed scene from "It's Scrappy's Birthday" had Scrappy's boxcar companion Slappy Rimshot reuniting with some hobo friends, to which Slappy says "Hey, look. The network boards are here!"
- The ending of "Don't Touch That Dial" is probably the show's biggest Moment of Awesome. After chastizing a toddler for vegetating to "electronic pablum," Mighty Mouse turns to us and says "But enough of all this lying and hypocrisy. Time for what television's really about." Cut to commercial.
- Looney Tunes
Daffy: Who writes this slop?! (Groans) Warner Brothers doesn't have a creative bone in their...
- The beginning of "Tortoise Beats Hare" has Bugs Bunny reading the credits out loud. He blows his top after seeing the cartoon title:
Bugs: (angrily) Why dese guys don't know what they're talkin' about, the big buncha joiks! (smugly) I oughta know. I woik for 'em.
- "Blooper Bunny" has Daffy Duck kvetching about his role in the Bugs Bunny 51st ½ anniversary special:
- The beginning of "Tortoise Beats Hare" has Bugs Bunny reading the credits out loud. He blows his top after seeing the cartoon title:
- After ReBoot was dropped by ABC, the show retroactively dubbed Megabyte's forces "Armored Binome Carriers. Which leads to the line:
Algernon: It's the ABCs, they've turned on us!
Binky: Treacherous dogs.
- Emma See, the Program Censor from the episode "Talent Night", was this against the ABC network's censors. According to the DVD commentary she was a direct parody of a specific BS&P official named Mary, who was "not happy about it".
- Duckman frequently made jabs at the USA Network.
- Eek! The Cat has an episode of Eek visiting his own production studio, to find out that series writers are treated as slaves, being forced to write to the point of getting crazy of it and haven't seen the outside world for a long time and that executives will do anything to get their way, including riding them over with a steamroller.
- The years when Daria was on The N network (now TeenNick)... whose other shows oozed the same dumb popularity-obsessed teen attitude that Daria mocked.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle has been known to poke fun at their producers on occasion. Example:
Rocky: Bullwinkle, I'm worried.
Bullwinkle: Ratings down in the show again?
Bullwinkle: That's odd.
Rocky: I'm worried because there have already been two attempts on your life.
Bullwinkle: Oh, don't worry. We will be renewed.
Rocky: I'm not talking about the Bullwinkle Show.
Bullwinkle: You had better; we could use the publicity.
Rocky: They said A-bomb! Do you know what that means, Bullwinkle?
- Another example, as Boris and Natasha look for an A-bomb to blow open a giant trunk:
Bullwinkle: Sure. "A bomb" is what some people call our show!
Rocky: (miffed) I didn't think that was very funny.
Bullwinkle: (looking to camera) Neither did they, apparently.
- Similar to the Minky Momo example above, an episode of Garfield and Friends, "The Discount of Monte Cristo", predicted the reason the show ended. The episode is all about Aloysius cutting the show's budget. In the episode, Orson hated Aloysius ruining the story by firing people who made the show in order to keep the show's budget low. The reason for Garfield and Friends' cancellation is that CBS wanted budget cuts for the show, and the show's creators refused to let the show suffer the budget cuts.
- Speaking of Aloysius Pig, there's also this little gem from "Kiddie Korner":
"Da Dum! The Network!" note .
- In the same episode, Aloysius is planning "The Fall Schedule" with a dart board.
- Speaking of Aloysius Pig, there's also this little gem from "Kiddie Korner":
- A promotional poster◊ for Gravity Falls, created for San Diego Comic-Con 2013, features a gnome puking a rainbow on the Disney Channel logo.
Mabel: Why aren't they singing about following their dreams? TV taught me that high school was like some sort of musical.Wendy: TV lied, man.
- Likewise, "Boyz Crazy" has Wendy dismissing a boy band as "just a manufactured product of the bloated corporate music industry," an obvious jab at Disney's forays into pop music, particularly The Jonas Brothers.
- Mabel's first glimpse of high school in "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future" comes across as a huge Take That to the channel's most iconic franchise, High School Musical.
- In "Northwest Mansion Mystery", Dipper prepares himself for a 48-hour marathon of Ghost Harassers on the Used-to-Be-About-History Channel. Disney actually owns part of the real-life History Channel (through A+E Television Networks).
- Fish Hooks features the Hamster Channel, airing programs that parody Disney Channel live-action sitcoms.
- The episode "Reptar 2010" of Rugrats shows Reptar rampaging through a city and destroying a skyscraper with Viacom's name on it. Viacom being owner of Nickelodeon (and its sister networks).
- One episode of Freakazoid! was interrupted by a "special report" from The WB network. The anchorman is Freakazoid, who repeatedly asks what "The WB" even means. "The Water Bucket? The Wimpy Boy? The Wet Bananas?! I don't know!! What, the Weird Butt?! What? I'm asking!!" Cue a beat, then a cut back to the "special report" title card, while the announcer says "This has been a special report from the Weird Butt network."
- Adam Reed has made a Running Gag of making sponsorship deals with Car Companies and mocking them in his shows with comically blatant Product Placement.
Killface: Shut up! There's a clear line between entertainment and advertising, and you've bloody well crossed it. Those 18-34's that you're so keen on detest being pitched to, and when I destroy the world, they won't have much use for the new Scion TC's 17-inch alloy wheels! Turn that off there. Stop it! I won't be your pitchman, you hear me! I hate this country.
- In the Steven Universe episode "Know Your Fusion", Sardonyx puts on a mock-Show Within a Show in order to learn more about Smoky Quartz, the fusion of Steven and Amethyst, and provides some clips from previous episodes, taking the time to poke fun at Cartoon Network's habit of pulling the plug on shows that don't sell enough merchandise.
Sardonyx: Don't those cartoon characters make you wanna buy those products? I sure hope so, or else I'll be off air.
- BoJack Horseman:
- Season 3 contains a b-plot that seems to be mocking Netflix Original's Fuller House. Eddie, the actor who played Ethan in Show Within a Show 90s horse-raises-three-human-orphans sitcom Horsin' Around, wants to do a reboot series called Ethan Around about his grownup character raising three horses.
- "The BoJack Horseman Show" has a gag where Mr Peanutbutter is going to be on a "Blockbuster Original Series" where you go to the video store and rent one DVD of a series at a time...
Oh look, another "witty" self-demonstrating stinger to show that TV Tropes is dumber—more informal!— than The Other Wiki. Whoopty dingle fucking Doo.