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Couch Gag
"After seven seasons, we've said all there is to say in this spot."

A trope throughout a series by which a part of the opening or ending credits is interchangeably switched, and the content can be different every show. Some of the same shows also have couch gags at the end as a Credits Gag. Alternatively, this gag may occur at the end of The Teaser, just before the credits start.

Named for one of its most well-known incarnations, the family scrambling to gather on the couch during the opening sequence of The Simpsons.

Note that it need not be a "gag"; TV dramas such as Mission: Impossible and Justice League Unlimited will sometimes have clips from later in the episode.

Compare to Different In Every Episode. Not to be confused with the other type of couch and gag.


Example subpages

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Comic Strips 
  • In many newspaper comics, the title panel of Sunday strips are often different in some way. Some strips, such as Foxtrot, simply have the logo a different color. Others, such as Garfield, have an entirely different piece of artwork for each strip. It is often mandatory to waste the first panel on a couch gag for syndication, so that newspapers can cut them for space.

    Fan Works 
  • Most fan fictions start with a standard disclaimer about not owning the source material. Humorous fan fiction loves to play with this disclaimer.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series
    • Yami Yugi saying something random that usually has nothing to do with the plot, a fly-by of fake cards, and a Cold Opening before the opening credits.
    • It also has The Stinger after every episode that is usually a blank screen with a joke related to the episode or a Spoof Aesop. And there is also a stinger AFTER The Stinger.
  • Naruto The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, also created by LittleKuriboh, has the starting disclaimer read out in a different way each episode. The highlight would be the one sung by Kakashi 'I'm Not David Bowie' Bowie
  • Dragon Ball Abridged: From Episode 17 onward, the "please support official release" message is always done by the character who dies in that episode. (Or, in Episode 25's case, the character who ceases to exist as an individual being in that episode.)

    Music 
  • In a Couch Gag that encompassed the entire work, the band Yes shot 17 versions of their video for 1983's "Leave It". The first featured the five band members standing side by side, singing the song, in black suits. The other 16 each incorporated some variation on this setup, often quite subtle (e.g. one band member wearing a different-colored tie), as a visual Running Gag.
  • The late Wesley Willis, an extremely prolific (and diagnosed schizophrenic) singer-songwriter, ended virtually every song he ever recorded by first saying "Rock over London, rock on Chicago..." after which he would then spout a random commercial jingle or product slogan, which generally had nothing to do with the subject matter of the song.

    New Media 
  • The wiki signs: Wikipedia was signs that tell users a page needs information, lacks it, is not objective, etc. Other wikis take advantage and use their themes in their pages. For example: in the Harry Potter wiki, they have "'Homenum Revelio!' [S]poilers will be present within the article. Please take care when reading this article if you do not wish to be spoiled." for spoiler alert.
  • In versions Microsoft Office from 97 to 2003, the Microsoft Assistant would give a "Tip of the Day" everytime one of the programs opened. Of course, the tip is for the program in question.
  • There is a program by Microsoft called Bing Desktop. Similar to Bing itself, one of the features changes the user's desktop wallpaper everyday (granted that the user has internet access).

    Print Media 
  • For a while, the Australian printing of White Dwarf (Games Workshop's magazine) would finish the list of contributors on the first page with something odd, like "Sean Bean" or "that guy on SOF 2 who did not believe me". Sadly, this appears to have fallen by the wayside.
  • Doctor Who Magazine always incldes a joke or odd statement buried in the print inidicia.
  • Starting around 2001, the Star Trek novels began to include a planet (often one involved in the story) in the list of Simon & Schuster offices on the title page.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • When pro wrestler Bryan Danielson was Ring Of Honor World Heavyweight Champion, he had a Couch Gag of coercing the ring announcer to give him a different flattering title before every match, usually some sort of Cheap Heat relating to his opponent or where he was wrestling. Said titles included "the best wrestler in the entire world, with an emphasis on entire world," "the best wrestler to ever step foot in the ECW Arena," "even better than The Beatles," "the best champion in ROH history," and "really too good to wrestle in front of all these pricks."
  • This was done to an even greater extent earlier on in Ring of Honor, during Steve Corino's run in 2003. Prior to every match he would have personal ring announcer Bobby Cruise announce a ridiculously, painfully long list of something that usually served as a means of mocking his opponents. For example, when facing the notoriously straight-edge CM Punk, Corino's list consisted of famous wrestlers with histories with drugs and alcohol that Corino aspired to be like.
  • The opening sequence to the post-apocalyptic show Jericho always featured a telegraph beeping in the background. If one knew Morse code well enough, one could tell that each episode's plot was given away by the message ("There is a fire" the week half the town burns down, etc.).

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Muppet Show has three of these:
    • What Statler and Waldorf say during the opening sequence. The third season had this intersped with a joke taking place backstage.
    • Gonzo blowing a bugle at the end of the opening. The first season had Gonzo striking the "O" in the show's logo like a gong with humorous results.
    • What Statler and Waldorf say after the end credits.
  • Sometimes, before leaving, a child on Barney & Friends will double back and thank the big purple guy for his help, or just share their love with him. They may find that he has reverted already.
  • The Teletubbies actually begins and ends with the Teletubbies emerging and reentering their dome in a random order, respectively.

    Radio 
  • A Prairie Home Companion has the line "I smell the _____, I look around for you" in its theme song; the blank is filled by an object related to the city they're currently in, such as "cheesesteaks" for Philadelphia.
  • This American Life ends every episode with Ira Glass stating that "Management oversight is provided by our boss, Mr. Torey Malatia, who..." with the elipses filled in by a statement introducing a sound bite from that week's episode taken out of context.
  • Car Talk has the credits that make fun of the various people that work on the show, occasionally changing when a new in-joke or gag presents itself, such as Doug the "Subway Fugitive". He jumped a turnstile.
  • Wait, Wait, Don't Tell Me has Carl Kasell giving a line from the "Who's Carl This Time" game, which sounds completely odd out of context.
  • Each episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a different short, humorous quip stuck onto the end of the credits, occasionally tangentially related to the episode that had just played.


Bait-and-Switch CreditsTitle SequenceCredits Running Sequence
Continuity DriftMeta-ConceptsCould Have Been Messy

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