Characters appear on a real or fictitious Game Show
, but typically they won't win
any significant amount of money. Often, two or more characters will be pitted against each other, despite the unlikelihood of two people who know each other being competitors on a real game show.
If a group of people love a game show with one holdout pointing out the show's silliness, chances are the holdout will be the one who becomes a contestant and/or gets obsessed
Typically, using a real game show will involve the genuine set, props, and staff.
open/close all folders
- September 18, 1992: In a particularly unrealistic example, the Family Matters episode "Surely You Joust" had Carl Winslow and Steve Urkel squaring off against each other on the show.
- May 21, 1993: A spoof of the show is used in Hot Shots! Part Deux, as Ramada and Michelle compete for Topper's love.
- November 22, 1994: An episode of Taz Mania had Taz and his mom on "Tasmanian Gladiators".
- March 1, 1995: Ellen De Generes once appeared on the show in the Ellen episode "Gladiators".
Beat The Clock
- November 20, 1954: One of the so-called "lost" episodes of The Honeymooners had Ralph Kramden and his wife Alice on the show (and Bud Collyer, naturally, playing himself). After completing the $100 Clock and time running out during the $200 Clock, the two practice the stunt for the next week. Alice becomes unable to participate due to her sister having twins, and Ed Norton is brought in as her substitute. He and Ralph complete the $200 Clock, after which Norton wins the Jackpot Clock and TV set. Collyer then gives Ralph a pair of strollers that were to be used in a later stunt for the newborn twins.
- October 20, 2003: In the Yes, Dear episode "Big Brother-in-Law", Jimmy becomes a contestant to get money so he and Christine can get their own place. Jimmy quickly becomes well-liked by the others due to his wit and storytelling skills, and all signs clearly point to him winning the $500,000...until Greg, wanting to see Jimmy win, breaks in to warn of a blindsiding which was actually a joke.
- June 11, 2005: An episode of Doctor Who ("Bad Wolf") had the Ninth Doctor ending up on a future version of the show (although it's only one of several dozen simultaneous "houses") where the evicted contestants die.
- December 27, 2007: Done tragically in the Grand Finale of Extras, the show representing the lowest point in Gervais' character's career. Culminates in an incredible Moment Of Awesome.
- September 30, 2010: In the 30 Rock episode "When it Rains, it Pours", Tracy Jordan manages to get sidetracked somehow and needs to get to the hospital to witness the birth of his wife's new child (he missed it the last two times). However, when he hails a taxi, he ends up getting a cab driven by none other than Ben Bailey. Tracy answers every question correctly, and arrives at the hospital in time to witness the birth of his third child.
- July 2, 2010: In "The Final Countdown," an episode of The IT Crowd, Moss shatters all the records on Countdown, and is invited to join the "8+ Club," an exclusive club for the Countdown elite. His success rankles the former Countdown king, who challenges Moss to an intense match of "Street Countdown."
The Dating Game
Deal Or No Deal
- March 16, 2007: Comic Relief had Catherine Tate, as her filthy-grandmother character "Nan", appear on the British version. Played straight throughout, with Nan proceeding to remove the Power Five in the first round. The subsequent offer of £199 is taken, as Nan had already looked inside her box and saw that it contained £50. Only a few actors were used aside from Tate (those holding the boxes Nan picks), with the audience and other contestants held over from an actual taping; based on their reactions, they either A) weren't told this "taping" was for Red Nose Day or B) have some really good acting skills.
- September 16, 2007: Kim and Sharon went on the Australian version in an episode of Kath And Kim. Faced with either $100,000 or 50¢, Sharon says "No Deal" and wins the $100,000.
- September 23, 2007: In the first part of the Family Guy Star Wars parody Blue Harvest, Princess Leia (Lois) hides the plans to the Death Star in "one of these 28 suitcases".
- Top Gear series 19 episode 1 had Jeremy Clarkson inventing a new car then driving it to an "important business meeting" which turned out to be an appearance on Dragons Den where he pitched his new car. He receives exactly one offer... £1 for 1%.
The Gong Show
The Hollywood Squares
- 1993-94: "East Hollywood Squares", a recurring sketch during the final season of In Living Color!, featured Peter Marshall hosting once again. Gary Coleman appeared as himself in one skit, while Fred Berry did the same in another.
- November 11, 1993: In the episode of Frasier entitled "Selling Out", Dr. Joyce Brothers appears and inspires a short discussion between Martin and Frasier about the classic version (specifically, the placement of regulars Charley Weaver, Wally Cox, and Rose Marie). Note that this was still during the period where the entire 1966-81 era was believed to be gone.
- November 18, 1998: In an episode of The Nanny, Maxwell Sheffield was invited to be a celebrity guest on the Tom Bergeron version when Andrew Lloyd Webber couldn't make it. Bergeron, Whoopi Goldberg, and Bruce Vilanch all appeared as themselves.
- February 9, 2003: At the end of the King of the Hill episode "Vision Quest", Bobby dreams of himself appearing on Bergeron's version....as a panda (Makes sense in context). Bergeron does a voice cameo, while a cartoon version of Vilanch is shown in his square.
- The Simpsons has "Springfield Squares", a local version hosted by Kent Brockman and featuring a Charlie Weaver Expy.
I've Got A Secret
- July 14, 1959: In It Happened To Jane, the title character appears on the original version. Garry Moore and the panel (Bill Cullen, Jayne Meadows, Henry Morgan, and Betsy Palmer) appeared as themselves in the only surviving color footage of the 1952-67 era. Also in the film were Robert Paige (on The Big Payoff, shortly before its demise and which is also pretty rare) and an uncredited Gene Rayburn (as himself, a WTIC reporter).
- October 23, 1976: A memorable Saturday Night Live sketch was Jeopardy! 1999, complete with clues like "Comedian whose career fizzled after leaving NBC's Saturday Night" (which was lampshaded with none of the contestants even ringing-in, including the one played by Chevy Chase). The game board and wager cards were eerily accurate to the end of the original series (complete with bad punctuation and shortened wording to fit on the former's cards), giving the impression that they had been sitting around at NBC for over a year...and the sketch even used the actual board reveal sound and think music! note
- December 10, 1982: In Airplane II: The Sequel, one character remarks to another that "You're putting the passengers in JEOPARDY!" Cut to the passengers playing Jeopardy! on the plane with Art Fleming. (Interestingly, the board is based on the 1978 version with the 1975 dollar values; also, trilons.)
- 1984: "Weird Al" Yankovic's parody song "I Lost On Jeopardy", set during the classic Art Fleming era. The song featured Don Pardo, while the music video (filmed on May 24 and 25) featured Pardo and Fleming. Notably, while Fleming doesn't speak, he still manages to go way Out of Character by giving Al a "raspberry" just before the "Complete Loser" is taken from his podium.
- February 13, 1988: In a Mama's Family episode, Thelma Harper (aka "Mama") appears on the show and takes second place — a trip for four to Hawaii, leading into the subsequent two-parter. Here's the full episode, and this is only the relevant portions (from a more recent TBS repeat than the other).
- February 27, 1989: During the TV special What's Alan Watching?, the main character channel surfs and eventually stops on a Jeopardy! episode with the categories of Geography, Literature, History, Alan's Family, Jewish Presidents, and State Capitals...and it is here that Alan learns about his father's World War II affair with a Samoan nurse. Incredulous, Alan turns the TV off right after the Daily Double sound plays when "Jewish Presidents for $100" is picked.
- Late 1980s: A Cold Opening for an episode of DC Follies featured Sam Donaldson hosting "Political Jeopardy!" with contestants Ted Kennedy, Lee Iacocca, and NYC Mayor Ed Koch.
- January 18, 1990: Cliff Clavin of Cheers appeared on the show) and had enough going into Final Jeopardy! (nearly $18,000 more than his opponents combined thanks to a "dream board" for the Jeopardy! Round) to easily secure a large payday, but bet everything and got it wrong. *
- Alex Trebek, who appeared as himself, refers to this on actual Jeopardy! shows as "pulling a Clavin".
- "Who are three people who have never been in my kitchen?" was used on the actual show on June 6, 2000 as a contestant's response to the Daily Double of "Hedda Tesman, Helen Alving, Knut Brovik". The category was "Who Created 'Em?", which made his response even more incorrect than Clavin's a decade earlier. (Henrik Ibsen was the correct response.)
- On May 10, 2005 the Double Jeopardy! categories were from Cliff's "dream board".
- February 8, 1992: Dorothy of The Golden Girls tried out for the show and, while not making it, played against Rose and Charlie in a Dream Sequence. Alex Trebek, Johnny Gilbert, and Merv Griffin all appeared as themselves.
- March 27, 1992: In White Men Can't Jump, Gloria was a contestant and won handily. The bit is also notable for showing the 1991-96 set through some unusual camera angles, and that "Foods That Begin With The Letter Q" did end up getting used on the actual show (October 1, 1997).
- 1992: An episode of Late Night with David Letterman had "Rude Jeopardy!" during, you guessed it, a "Viewer Mail" segment.
- October 11, 1993: An Animaniacs short had the Warners' teacher quizzing them on social studies through the familiar set-up. Wakko got a Daily Double and was tasked to name all 50 states and their capitals, which he did (in song, no less)...but was ruled wrong because he didn't phrase his response in the form of a question.
- The short implied that all "ordinary" methods to teach the siblings just didn't work. Since the Warners love having fun, not to mention sprinkling pop-culture references around...
- September 18, 1995: An episode of The Nanny had Fran going on the show and, to everyone's amazement, wins a measly $200 when she's the only one to get Final Jeopardy! correct.
- December 7, 1996-May 16, 2009: The "Celebrity Jeopardy!" sketches with Will Ferrell as Alex Trebek.
- December 21, 1997: In The Simpsons episode "Miracle on Evergreen Terrace", Marge goes on the show to try and win money to pay back the neighbors after Bart scams them on Christmas Day. She somehow ends up owing the show $5,200.
- This scene has two versions. In both, Alex and two hulking people he refers to as "The Judges" try to bully Marge into paying back the money. After Marge gets away, one of the "Judges" originally said to Alex "We'll break her signaling finger". For reruns, this was redubbed as "She ain't getting the home version!".
- An episode of Pinky And The Brain (originally aired on Animaniacs, then on January 9, 2000 as a stand-alone with another short) had the Brain go on "Gyp-parody", sweep the board, then bet it all on the final clue — and lose because he hadn't paid attention to Pinky's comments earlier in the episode.
- Another Jeopardy spoof appeared in the Tiny Toon Adventures episode "K-ACME TV", also titled "Gyp-parody". Buster hosts this, and his tolerance is tested against the contestants — Dizzy Devil was only interested in eating his podium, Calamity Coyote's buzzer was broken, and Elmyra could only answer "A bunny." When the final question asked what animal was commonly associated with Easter, she answers "George Washington" (which was the answer to the first question), causing Buster to finally snap.
- Ellen went on the show in a Dream Sequence where she played against Albert Einstein and her old roommate as part of Epcot's Universe Of Energy ride. She only won when her neighbor, Bill Nye the Science Guy, spirited her away during the commercial break to teach her all about energy conservation.
- 2005-06: WDJT (aka CBS-58)'s promo for their "10 At 10" newscast.
- March 12, 2006: In the Family Guy episode "I Take Thee Quagmire", in one of the many brief cutaway clips that are often the best part of the show, Mayor Adam West appears on the show with a secret agenda — he's not there to compete, but rather send Alex Trebek "back to the Fifth Dimension where he belongs!" He does this by writing Trebek's name backwards as his Final Jeopardy! response.
- On June 15, 2007 the same trick was tried on the actual show. It didn't work, though some fans claimed this was because Alex pronounced "Kebert Xela" wrong.
- Late '00s/Early '10s: Larry of Pearls Before Swine appears on Jeopardy! and performs exceptionally well given his usual status as The Ditz. He bets it all on Final Jeopardy! and loses because he spells "zebra" in his Funetik Aksent ("zeeba").
Let's Make A Deal
- February 23, 1973: A famous episode of The Odd Couple, helpfully titled "Let's Make A Deal", had Felix and Oscar playing on a New York-based version...dressed as an ass. Monty Hall, naturally, played himself.
- November 20, 1973: An episode of the animated sitcom Wait Till Your Father Gets Home featured Ink Suit Actor Monty Hall, as Erma attempts to win money for her upcoming anniversary and ends up with both Monty's and her fingers stuck in a bowling ball.
- An episode of The Nanny showed Sylvia yelling "Don't take the curtain!" at her TV. The camera then shows a bit of what she's watching — a tape of herself on Deal trading a trip to Paris for what's behind the curtain...which turned out to be a Zonk. Amusingly, Wayne Brady brought the current version to Fran Drescher's talk show.
- April 15, 1990: The very first skit on In Living Color! had Jim Carrey playing Chuck Woolery. A later skit (February 24, 1991) was more of the same, with recurring character Andrea Dice Clay.
- February 18, 1996: An episode of Martin had Sheneneh on "The Love Jones Connection", with a pretty similar set. She ends up winning a date with a guy played by Chris Rock, which...doesn't go too well.
- February 3, 1994: The Simpsons had a rather interesting example in "Bart Gets Famous", where Bart dreams he's a panelist on Match Game 2034. He ends up knocking over, and breaking, Kitty Carlisle's head-in-a-jar.
- September 5, 2001: The Family Guy episode "Mr. Saturday Knight" did a brief parody of the 1973-78 era◊ where Rayburn◊ asks "Forgetful Freddy was so forgetful-" HOW FORGETFUL WAS HE?! "He's so forgetful that when he couldn't remember someone's name, he drew a BLANK." Cue stares◊ from the panel, including Somers (who Word Of God admits got seated incorrectly), Reilly, and Dawson.
- 2003: Comic Relief presented a "lost" Terry Wogan episode of Blankety Blank, with a rather accurate set and Peter Serafinowicz as Wogan.
Name That Tune
- March 3, 1997: A famous episode of Cybill, helpfully titled "Name That Tune", has the title character becoming a vocalist on The New Name That Tune (hosted by Tom Kennedy with the 1950s logo). Thanks to an overly-knowledgeable female contestant (the male player is an imbecile), Cybill can barely get more than two words out at a time and resorts to stealing the female player's buzzer so she can finally sing; she gets carted off by security.
- June 14, 2011: Conan O'Brien's Basic Cable Name That Tune, using a nice recreation of the 1979-81 logo with "Basic Cable" in the same font. He explained that, unlike the network show, TBS can't afford the licencing fees for real songs. To work around this, the band plays the intro only followed by a song "that sorta sounds like the original". For example, instead of Born in the USA they sing a parody called C-Section in America. Conan also offered the audience members Bid-A-Note style clues like "If we were to play the real version of this Stadium classic chant, Queen's lawyers would undoubtedly say, 'We will, we will, sue you'".
The Newlywed Game
- March 20, 1981: An episode of The Brady Brides (helpfully titled "The Newlywed Game") featured Jan, Marsha, and their husbands competing on the show. No points for guessing who played the host.
- 1987: An episode of Late Night with David Letterman went over here during a "Viewer Mail" letter.
- 1994-95: A cutaway clip on The Critic showed Jay Sherman and his then-wife on the show...winning.
- September 1998: The Nanny did a "new season" promo with Fran and Maxwell on the show, with Eubanks as host and the three-couple version of the 1998-99 set. And yes, they made reference to the urban legend.
- August 8, 1999: Kenan & Kel go on "The Honeymoon's Over" (a Newlywed Expy with a very similar set, Eubanks hosting, and a grand prize of a house) as Kenan and Kelly, who had been instructed to answer with girly answers. When the final, tiebreaker question was "What is Kelly's favorite soft drink?", Kenan ecstatically ran around the studio celebrating his win with the answer "orange soda"...only to find out that Kel had answered "root beer", which he thought was more girly.
- Circa 2002-03: This Comcast promo with Eubanks, Todd Newton, and Kennedy spoofing the show; the GSN announcer even talks about Comcast's offer!
- January/February 2007: A promo for CBS' Rules Of Engagement featured the three main couples on the show with Bob Eubanks (who else?) appearing as host. Eubanks' question, to the surprise of nobody, was the urban legend.
The Price Is Right
The $64, 000 Question
- September 18, 1955: The Season 6 premiere of The Colgate Comedy Hour opened with The $64,000,000 Question, hosted by Hal April (Dean Martin) and sponsored by Colgate-Palmolive (naturally). Returning champ Morty M.M. Morton (Jerry Lewis) is forced to go for $32,000,000 and manages to survive...then is submerged underwater for the long-winded final question, leading to many ad-libs by Lewis.
- September 25, 1956: On an episode of The Phil Silvers Show, conman Sgt. Bilko tries to cheat on the show. Cue Hilarious in Hindsight several years later, when the quiz show scandals proved The $64,000 Question was actively cheating to help contestants it wanted to win and force contestants it didn't like to fail.
- October 26, 1958: In the teaser for the Alfred Hitchcock Presents episode "The Crooked Road", Hitchcock is placed in the game show's Sound Proof Booth and told to identify "What the following person just ate, drank, or drove." Hitchcock pauses, then says "Ah yes...the answer is..." and the shot fades out to commercial.
To Tell The Truth
The Weakest Link
- An episode of My Family centered around Michael getting the entire family onto the show. He thought he was sure to win since he was the Teen Genius of the bunch, but lost to Alfie in the last round.
- June 11, 2005: The Doctor Who episode "Bad Wolf" had Rose Tyler ending up on a future version of the show, hosted by the "Anne-Droid" (Anne Robinson). And the losers die. Amusingly, the Anne-Droid reappeared for a 2007 special of the actual show with Who cast members playing for charity.
What's My Line?
Wheel Of Fortune
- February 16, 1984: Nell and Addy of Gimme A Break played on a special "Friends Day" episode of the daytime version.
- January 14, 1986: An episode of The A-Team (helpfully titled "Wheel Of Fortune") had Murdock going on the daytime show and winning a trip to Hawaii interrupted by kidnappers. Pat, Vanna, and then-announcer Jack Clark all played themselves.
- 1986: The Dr. Dave song "Vanna, Pick Me a Letter" is about appearing on the show during the shopping era.
- October 4, 1986: An episode of 227 had Mary and Sandra playing on the syndicated version for what Clark called "a special Neighbors version". This is also a good example of why you should call a consonant you know is in the puzzle, so you don't get overconfident and mis-solve.
- May 12, 1988: An episode of Santa Barbara had Gina Lockbridge solving the rather appropriate bonus puzzle BLACKMAIL.
- November 29, 1990: An episode of L.A. Law ("Vowel Play") picked up after the "previously on" trailer as a Bob Goen episode, with no hint that it was anything but (well, minus the $1,250 space already out). "But wait", you say, "daytime Wheel was on CBS and L.A. Law on NBC!" Yes, and on January 14, 1991 Wheel Channel Hopped to the Peacock.
- May 2, 1999: The Family Guy "A Hero Sits Next Door" has Peter and Chris watching the game show on TV and the puzzle on the board reads GO _UCK YOURSELF. The contestant on the show correctly solves the puzzle as GO TUCK YOURSELF IN, which stumps Peter (who mentions how he missed the phrase MY HAIRY AUNT, which could go a couple of ways...).
- February 26, 2001: A brief dream sequence on The King of Queens had Doug playing against Carrie and Arthur.
- 2005-06: WDJT (CBS-58)'s promo for their "10 At 10" newscast, using the 1997 "Changing Keys" theme.
- March 12, 2006: The Family Guy episode "I Take Thee Quagmire" began with Peter winning the Bonus Round with no letters showing (thanks in large part to his picks of Z, 4, Q, another Q, a third Q, and a Batman symbol). He then goes shopping and buys, among other things (including a $600 ceramic Dalmatian), a week of maid service, setting up the plot.
Peter: How much is the fat guy in the circle, I don't see a price tag on that.
Pat: That's you.
Peter: Oh-oh, embarrassing. Well, in that case I'll just have the rest on a gift certificate.
- March 7, 2007: The South Park episode "With Apologies to Jesse Jackson" starts with Stan's dad, Randy Marsh, at the Bonus Round. With the category "People Who Annoy You", the puzzleboard reading N_GGERS, and $30,000 on the line, Randy ends up embarrassing himself on national television (and kicking off the plot) by blurting out a certain racial epithet instead of the right answer (NAGGERS)...although in his defense, he was very reluctant to say it.
- Early 2008: A Lexus commercial had the H's disappear from Wheel...although the contestant actually got buzzed for trying to solve after spinning, which pretty much defeats the concept.
- 2011: The debut sketch of So Random! was "All-Star Wheel of Fortune" with Fred, Taylor Swift, and Willow Smith competing. But their antics (Fred being obnoxious, Taylor singing about everything, and Willow whipping her hair) prevent the game from getting anywhere. (This can also be seen as an Homage to the "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skits on Saturday Night Live.)
- January 26, 2012: Playing off a story in which Sajak recalled doing Wheel after "kicking back a few margaritas with Vanna" in the 1980s, Conan O'Brien showed a clip of Pat and Vanna talking during a credit crawl, slowed down to make him sound drunk. After that, Conan mentioned he also did drugs during the show, then showed a clip of a contestant asking for a T, followed by the board being bathed in odd lights and a dancing brain appearing, followed by Pat blinking and saying "Oh, hi, there."
Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?
You Bet Your Life
- In an episode of Cromartie High School, after hearing that someone at school won the All-Japan Kingpin Tournament, Noboru Yamaguchi goes there to challenge the title...only to wind up in a game show hosted by the Kingpin Tournament winner (Takashi Kamiyama) himself. Using his rules of comedy, Noboru Yamaguchi wins the title by accident.
- In Ergo Proxy, main character Vincent inexplicably finds himself in a game show. The episode literally starts in the game, with no connection to past episodes or the plot. Eventually, it's revealed that the game show is actually a metaphorical fight against a proxy. Considering Vincent's usual fights are actual...well, fights...the entire episode throws the viewer for a loop.
- In Gravitation, the band Bad Luck's first TV appearance is as a guest contestant on "Quiz de Pon". They win, but since Shuichi asked to forfeit the 1,000,000-Yen prize for a song live on TV if they won, what they get is an impromptu concert with a TV audience. This turns out to be a smart tactical move.
- In the Disney Ducks Comic Universe story "The Crazy Quiz Show" (by Carl Barks), Donald Duck (having gone through an intense book study in preparation), Huey, Dewey and Louie become contestants on a radio quiz show named "You Say — We Pay". The quiz itself is a massive Refuge in Audacity, giving the nephews questions that take little to no effort to answer correctly, while giving Donald rediculously impossible questions just because he looks like a professional prize-grabber. They also prevent Donald from coaching the nephews into choosing money over bicycles. Donald answers the last question successfully, but the mental effort taken to answer the question ("How many drops of water pass over Niagara Falls in a week?") was so exhaustive that Donald ends up choosing a trike instead of a barrel of money.
- National Lampoon's European Vacation begins with the Griswalds winning the titular vacation on "Pig in a Poke".
- The kids-versus-adults quiz show "What Do Kids Know?" from the movie Magnolia.
- The Horrid Henry film has Henry competing in "2Cool4School".
- The novel Q & A by Vikas Swarup, which Slumdog Millionaire was an adaptation of, had the fictional game show Who Will Win A Billion?
- One of George MacDonald Fraser's McAuslan stories focuses on an inter-regimental quiz show between the Gordons and Fusiliers... which, despite MacNeill's incredible command of useless trivia, is ultimately won by McAuslan.