A form of Stylistic Suck. Whenever a fictional character not established as being a (passable) writer creates a story, the main character will be a blatant Author AvatarMary Sue. Whatever they want, their character gets. Often, all the other primary characters will have their own fictional counterparts as well, usually with one or two traits exaggerated greatly and generally portrayed in the light that the character sees them. This may include the villain of the story being based on a character the writer doesn't like. Most of the time, these stories will be treated as being pretty bad by the other characters (whether or not they express it depends on how nice they're feeling), and the work will often raise implications about their friend's desires and feelings about the people around him that will raise eyebrows. This is all usually played up for comedy, however the trope could also be used to tell the audience what the character writing the story wants and what he thinks of other characters, etc.
See also Parody Sue for the trope this draws upon and Dream Sue for the prototype. Compare Write Who You Know.
The world was in serious danger! Aliens researching fiction within fiction, who looked a lot like an awful high school chemistry teacher, were threatening to destroy Earth if not presented with information on what tends to happen when fictional characters write stories! Humanity was doomed...
...until suddenly, the great Report Siht arrived! As women all around swooned, he held up a hand towards the aliens, and boldly stated:
"When a fictional character decides to write a story, the main character of the story is extremely likely to be an obvious Mary SueAuthor Avatar."
"Really?" was the stunned aliens' only reply.
"Frequently," Report explained, "the writer won't stop there: other characters will also have suspicious similarities to people the writer knows, and will play roles matching how the writer sees them. The hero's love interest will be based on the writer's crush, the Big Bad and/or the guy who's Too Dumb to Live will be someone the writer dislikes, and so on. There's only about a 50/50 chance that the inspiration for the love interest will pick up on this."
Nearby, a girl suddenly realized how incredibly attractive Report was, and decided she wanted to have his babies ASAP. By an astounding coincidence, she happened to have an identical name, appearance, and personality to a girl Report finds attractive.
Report continued his explanation. "After a while, it can start looking like the real writers are using it as an excuse for an Elseworld. In some cases, these similarities extend to the plot as well, with the Mary Sue facing the same problems as her creator, or ridiculously exaggerated versions."
"But... wouldn't that sometimes be used as a symptom of Stylistic Suck?" said Report Siht's best friend who is a lot like mine.
"Yes, although not always. Does that answer your questions, ugly and clearly unknowledgeable aliens?"
The chemistry aliens were most impressed. "Thank you, Report Siht. We completely misjudged you. You are clearly very intelligent." With that, they left.
As everyone cheered, the President of the United States gave Report a medal. "You saved the world, Report," he said. "We are forever in your debt."
"There was nothing to it," Report said. "After all, this trope is Truth in Television."
In Yami No Matsuei, the Count does this, writing historical romances with himself as the male lead and a Gender Flipped Tsuzuki as the female lead, with a couple of twists: for one thing, the books are magical and write themselves, and for another, the actual Tsuzuki gets sucked into one by accident and meddles with the intended plot, causing his female counterpart to end up paired with the book's version of Tatsumi instead.
Accidentally played in Suzumiya Haruhi. In the culture festival film, the time-travelling future chick Mikuru is a "time-traveling future waitress", the superpowered Sufficiently Advanced Alien Nagato is an "evil superpowered alien", and the mysterious esper Itsuki is a "mysterious esper". It gets significant when you consider that Haruhi effectively guessed their roles.
Or so it would seem to newcomers to the anime; in the light novels, however, the scene where Kyon attempts to spill the beans to Haruhi about their fellow club-members' double acts only to be dismissed as "too obvious", later featured in season 2 of the anime, occurs earlier in the same novel.
A one-time character named Nobuko from the first season of Ojamajo Doremi writes a story starring a boy detective named "Tatekawa Nobuo", his scientist friend Professor Hadzuki, his friend/rival detective from Osaka Aiko Senoo, and Doremi the... friendly dog. Bonus points for the characters being double expies of not only Doremi and her friends, but also various characters from Detective Conan— in that order, Conan Edogawa, Dr. Agasa and Heiji Hattori.
All four seasons featured an episode that focused on a story Nobuko had written, all of them with expies of the main characters.
In Junjou Romantica, Usagi writes Boys Love novels about a very very thinly-disguised version of himself, in which "he" gets to have sex with his long-term crush; later, when he gets into a relationship in real life, he puts a Flanderized version of his boyfriend Misaki into his novels, much to Misaki's disgust. The novels were later written for real, under the series title Junai Romantica.
In The World God Only Knows, Shiori creates an idealized version of herself in her story, which is basically a talkative version of herself with a bit of Keima's ability and attitude mixed in. The story is something of an inverted replay of her capture arc until she gets mad at Keima and drops a bridge on his character while a smiling 'Simone' sees him off.
The comic book Banzai Girl has "Katie's World", a comic strip by a mother featuring her daughter... much to the daughter's chagrin. This, in turn, is a Lampshade Hanging on the comic itself, as Banzai Girlitself is a comic written and drawn by model Jinky Coronado featuring the adventures of model Jinky Coronado and her friends battling tentacle monsters.
The graphic novel Superman: Under A Yellow Sun featured a book-within-a-book written by Clark Kent, about a guy who grew up in the midwest and was a bit of a boy scout. He opposed a bald Villain with Good Publicity, with the aid of a brilliant reporter who was also the love interest and her plucky young photographer. A bit of a subversion, in that the character wasn't a "conventional" Mary Sue (it's hard to write a "more perfect" version of Superman, after all); but was close to being a Jerkass Stu, doing things that Clark was tempted to do, but that went against his self-image(s).
ABC Comics had two superhero/comedy/parody characters, the First American and his sidekick/eye-candy U.S. Angel. In one story, U.S. Angel takes a break from writing Starsky And Hutchslash fanfiction to write a story about her and the First American with herself in the Mary Sue role. Then she takes a break and the First American gets hold of it and writes something completely different. In the end they're writing about each other's humiliating deaths and their own depraved sexual hangups. At the end of the story they make peace and enjoy writing a Starsky And Hutchslash fanfiction together.
Averted in Y: The Last Man. Yorick regrets not writing his story as the Last Man on Earth — the problem is that, despite his English Major degree, he only ever likes writing stuff like space opera and Knight Rider fanfiction.
In the Firefly comic Better Days, the crew tells stories about what they'll do with their cut of the giant pile of cash they've scored. When Jayne tells his story, he's a Bad AssCaptain of a ship that's so powerful it commands the respect and fear of the Alliance, has carved out a section of space all to himself, and is surrounded by an all-female crew who refer to him as "Your Manliness."
A backup strip in Phonogram: The Singles Club summarizes the plot of the earlier mini-series, Rue Britannia, from the point of view of a minor character in that story, the protagonist's best mate. It's mostly a faithful-if-snarky retelling of the events of the earlier story, if more than a little inspired by Hellblazer and containing more than a few clues that the best mate didn't quite know or understand what was going on and is filling in the blanks... right up until the end, when the best mate saves the protagonist by machine-gunning some people and then going and having sex with a couple of beautiful women, something which most definitely did not happen in the earlier tale.
A slight variation: instead of creating a fictional world where he was a hero, Doctor Doom and the Puppet Master once transplanted the Fantastic Four's consciousnesses into tiny robots, altered their memories to have them leading mundane lives in which they had never gotten powers, and stuck them in a miniature model of a town. Doom "wrote" himself into their lives by masquerading as Reed's Jerk Ass boss, who spent all his time bullying Reed mercilessly, docking his pay, forcing him to work overtime, ridiculing his work, and generally making his life miserable. This scenario is probably one of Doom's Top Five Wet Dreams (which all probably revolve around making Reed's life hell), so despite Doom being a villain even in his own story, it fits the entire purpose of a Self-Insert Fic to a tee. Or perhaps he was deluded enough to think that his character was a hero for tormenting that accursed Richards.
In an early issue of The New MutantsRahne writes a story whose main character Allystra is an idealized version of herself, a redhead fairytale princess living in an enchanted forest and able to become a wolf. She goes on a quest to kill an evil whitch to avenge the death of her beloved prince.
Many swweeps ago he wwas betrothed to a beautiful princess, but the flighty broad basically thought she wwas better off wwith some mustardblooded peasantry scum or WWHATEVVER ok wwe’re sorta getting off track here the point is she bailed on him an after a wwhile a mopin the prince decided he’d probably only been in lovve wwith the IDEA of bein in lovve wwith her. I mean if she left him to go frolic wwith some pathetic loser nerd of a— yeah. Anywway. He didn’t havve nobody an he wwas fuckin lonely an sad but still vvery handsome let’s not forget that.
quit hogging the keyboard, sockhead! let me have a go! after the zombies or whatever'd been taken care of, my brother came back! so I said "hey bro", and he said "Eddy! You're so cool and not a pipsqueak! i wanna be just like you, so here's the keys to my new monster truck!" so I said, all cool-like "thanks, but you can keep 'em. cause I've got this rocket car!" and then we went rocketing in the rocket car, so the other kids gave us all their money, and they kissed my feet You keep coming back to that, don't you Eddy? quiet! so we were in the rocket car, when ed said "gravy!" and double dee said "messy messy messy," and i said "shut up and keep flying!" but then we crashlanded because of stupid kevin's ginormus chin, but then he was struck by lightning! along with sarah, jimmy and the kanker sisters! AN WE AL LIVD HAPILY EVAH AVTR, THE ED. No, no, no! This was supposed to be a, a, story! Not some concoction of fantasy and wish fulfillment! Why, if I were a publisher, I'd let's see you do better, dickens.
The play written by Christian (Ewan McGregor) in Moulin Rouge!! features a courtesan who must choose between a poor-but-honest sitar player and a rich, cruel maharaja. Coincidentally, the play is the plot of the movie itself, predicting his love affair with Satine (Nicole Kidman), who is supposed to be the romantic property of The Duke (Richard Roxburgh). Everyone but The Duke knows what's going on, and even he wises up by the end. (Ironically, The Duke also serves as a short-lived but very-influential Author Sue, as his only contribution to the play's story—"And in the end, should someone die?"—is played out with tragic consequences.)
The Adam Sandler film Bedtime Stories has the main character of Skeeter tell his nephew and niece Wish Fulfillment fantasies with him in the starring role. They include such memorable moments as "Skeeticus" in Roman times creating an improvised set of ramps and jumping over a dozen elephants Evel Knieval style on a horse carriage. Althought is trope is Subverted in the first story.
The film Manhattan famously opened with Woody Allen's character writing a novel with himself as the lead.
Isaac Davis: ... "Chapter One. He was as tough and romantic as the city he loved. Beneath his black-rimmed glasses was the coiled sexual power of a jungle cat" - I love this! - "New York was his town, and it always would be..."
Meanwhile, Isaac's lesbian ex-wife Jill (Meryl Streep) is writing a roman à clef of her own, to his great consternation.
Allen's Deconstructing Harry is all about the alienation the title character, another writer, suffers from friends and family as a result of this.
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor opens with Evelyn reading one of the books she wrote based on her experience in the previous two films to a collection of fans. One of them asks if she based the main female character on herself, with Evelyn completely denying it.
Possibly a subtle reference to the fact that Evelyn was played by Rachel Weisz in the first two movies, but by Maria Bello in this one, so from the actress' point of view the main female character during those events WAS somebody else.
Diane Keaton's character in Something's Gotta Give writes a play which is basicallyis a dramatization of everything that had happened in the movie up to that point, except that she has the expy of Jack Nicholson's character die because it's "funnier" that way (they end up together, of course). It plays on Broadway and is lauded as brilliant.
Diane Keaton's character is an established and well-regarded playwright, though.
This is pretty much the whole plot of the film Alex & Emma, where Alex writes out a book in which every character has a real-life counterpart and events are based on of happenings in his life. This turns out to work against him when Emma, his real-world love, encounters the real-life version of the other woman...
The movie was based on a book, and in the movie, the journal got published because her printer was broken and she needed to send her homework to a friend to print out, and she accidentally sent the wrong file.
Kind of a Deconstruction of Mary Sue wish fulfillment as the character she created starts to interfere with her life and is revealed to be a Jerkass. The deconstruction is that, as a wish fufillment character, she did things that the protagonist couldn't really do and still be a good person (kind of how a lot of Mary Sue fics have heavy Protagonist-Centered Morality issues).
The created character's name was Iz, and even from the beginning the audience see her as shallow. She seems to be encouraging the writer to "stand up for herself" but is really having her act petty and vindictive instead of taking the high road and ignoring the bullies. By the end, she is absolutely a Libby herself, who doesn't understand why the writer wants to give up on the fame/money/whatever just so she could have her friends back. She was entirely as shallow as the bullies she was created to "zap away."
In the German film Die Zürcher Verlobung, Lilo Pulver plays a freelance writer who falls in love with a Swiss doctor (Paul Hubschmid) after briefly meeing him and writes a screenplay about a young woman falling in love with a conductor that is based on that meeting and how she wants that romance to continue. The screenplay is accepted by the doctor's friend, a movie director (played by Bernhard Wicki before he became one in real life), who is also represented in the screenplay as the hero's annoying sidekick. As the romantic complications of screenwriter, doctor and director are reflected in the rewrites, both stories move to a conclusion not originally envisaged.
A rare professional example: in Young Adult, Mavis is writing a book based on her perception of the events of the film, neatly demonstrating her lack of Character Development.
Maddy, the heroine of Mari Mancusi's Gamer Girl , creates a manga based on the romance between her online MMORPG avatar ("Allora") and her avatar's love interest ("Sir Leo"), who turns out to actually be her real-life crush.
In Stuff: The Life of a Cool Demented Dude, the main character writes a comic starring the girl he has a crush on as a superhero, where all the characters are thinly veiled fantasy versions of his family and friends.
Gilderoy Lockhart in Harry Potter. Except that he was writing memoirs which were actually about heroic deeds done by other people.
A variation occurs in the YA novel My Angelica.Ordinary High School Student Sage is writing a romance novel, with an enormousMary Sue as the heroine (that, and her story is chock-full of factual inaccuracies...)We see snippets of at least two more novels she's working on, with a Mary Sue based on her friend Cherri in one, possibly a double-whammy Sue-team in her newest idea, based on herself and her Victorious Childhood Friend. Of course, by now her writing and characterization has probably improved a bit, so...
In The Sirens Sang Of Murder by Sarah Caudwell, barristers Julia and Cantrip are working on a pulpy novel called Chancery!, where the protagonists are thinly veiled versions of themselves, except far more competent.
Interestingly, only the mean person ever says her work is bad. Her whole family raves about it, apparently sincerely... even though the snippets we get all indicate that her work is, at most, no better than you'd expect from a ten year old. Hard to tell whether the author intends the readers to work out the truth or not.
Maybe it's just her family being polite because she's ten?
In Andy Griffiths' "Just Disgusting", Andy makes himself one in his short story. He is more intelligent than all the world's top scientists combined and he can make a time machine out of random household objects. He is also extremely handsome, a fast runner, and a qualified field operations commander, among other things. (Keep in mind that he can't be more than twelve.)
In Ellen Conford's The Revenge of the Incredible Dr. Rancid and His Youthful Assistant, Jeffrey whenever title character Jeffrey Childs felt stressed he wrote stories which centered on him and the imaginary "Dr. Rancid" saving his crush from the evil clutches of the school bully, Dewey Belasco.
One episode of The Office US has regional manager Michael Scott out of his office. While innocently searching his desk for something else, the staff finds his screenplay "Threat Level: Midnight" where "FBI Detective Michael Scarn" saves the world while romancing Catherine Zeta-Jones. Everyone in the office helped him film it over the ensuing years, culminating in a triumphant screening.
In The Nanny, Niles wrote a play starring himself, as the butler, and Fran was a secondary character.
In The Single Guy, the main character writes a book about a single guy, mainly himself.
In Cybill, Ira writes a book about his marriage to Cybill, with him as a Mary Sue.
In Friends, Joey writes a play as a transparent ploy to try to make Ross and Chandler make up (and Rachel and Monica make out), in which he was introduced as "a handsome man" and all the other characters have to compliment him. Indeed, he even makes himself the main character of the threesome that he writes for Monica and Rachel.
On Murphy Brown, Jim Dial wrote a spy thriller with a central character based strongly on himself that caused his wife to think he was having an affair with Murphy as, without realizing it, he had based the love interest on Murphy.
Chuck Bartowski's alter ego that he uses on spy missions is "Charles Carmichael," a Mary Sue version of himself. His continued success as a field agent has led to Carmichael becoming a Memetic Badass super-spy.
Star Trek holodeck programs sometimes take this path, since the main character literally is whoever's using the program.
The earliest, and perhaps one of the more extreme versions of someone doing this with the Holodeck, was featured in the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Hollow Pursuits". Lt. Barclay, a shy and socially-backward member of the engineering team, has become addicted to his fantasies to the point of neglecting his real-world duties. When in the Holodeck, he's confident and forceful, playing against versions of the crew that were bumbling and ridiculous fools, including a snide, bratty Wesley, a much-shorter Commander Riker, and a sultry "Goddess of Empathy" bearing the likeness of Troi.
In the Voyager episode "Author, Author", the Doctor tries to publish his novel. He's quite the Marty Stu within it (in particular a Sympathetic Stu), while the rest of the crew are Jerkasses. To teach him a lesson, Paris rewrites it to depict the Doctor as a jerkass who injects the overly-innocent Seven of Nine with a Klingon aphrodisiac. The Doctor gets the general idea.
The Doctor's daydreams in "Tinker, Tailor, Doctor, Spy" cast him as a commanding figure, loved by all the crew (especially the female half) and quite capable of single-handedly saving the ship from the Borg.
Star Trek: Deep Space Nine did interesting things with this in "Our Man Bashir", where what started out as a regular spy story ended up getting Bashir's friends inserted into it due to a computer malfunction.
In the Frasier episode "The Show Where Diane Comes Back", Diane Chambers has written an extremely self-indulgent play (based heavily on her experiences in Cheers) featuring a waitress character called 'Mary-Anne' clearly based on her — who, surprise surprise, is loved and adored by all the male characters, is the smartest person in the bar and who is so wonderful that her ex-fiance "Franklin" doesn't mind that she left him at the altar for another man. Needless to say, upon seeing the play, Frasier — upon whom Franklin is based, right down to the incident at the altar — has some criticisms to raise, and he spews out an all-time funny vitriolic speech:
Actor Franklin: Could we just stop for a second? This whole getting-left-at-the-altar thing, I just don't know what I'm supposed to be feeling.
Frasier:I...may be able to illuminate that for you! What you are feeling is that this woman has REACHED into your chest—PLUCKED out your heart, and—THROWN it to her hellhounds for a CHEW toy! And it's not the last time, either. Because that's what this woman is! SHE IS THE DEVIL! There's no use running away from her, because no matter how far you go, no matter how many years you let pass, you will never be completely out of reach of THOSE BONY FINGERS! So drink hearty, Franklin, and laugh! Because you have made a pact—with BEELZEBUB...AND HER NAME IS MARY ANNE!
In the last episode of Cheers itself, Diane is seen winning a Cable ACE Award for a made-for-TV movie she authored called The Heart Held Hostage, the central character of which is a thinly-veiled version of fellow barmaid Carla Tortelli.
A couple of later episodes revealed that when they were kids, Fraiser and Niles wrote a series of The Hardy Boys-style books called The Crane Boys Mysteries about "two plucky lads who used their keen psychological insights to solve crimes brought home by their detective father".
NCIS has McGee publishing a successful novel. All the characters are based on of himself and his fellow agents. We never get to find out too much about the book, but it doesn't sound like he gave himself the full treatment, instead glorifying his version of Gibbs. He does, however, express his feelings on others in full, such as his suspicion that Ziva likes DiNozzo.
There's a really bizarre inversion of this trope when McGee starts writing his second novel, a sequel to the first. The villain-of-the-week starts stealing his drafts and acting out things in real life based on what McGee was writing in the novel.
There is a hint of Relationship Sue in McGee's character—Agent McGregor—since he was planning on pairing him up with Abby's character. Also, McGee mentions he was playing with the idea of killing McGregor off, but he decided that would have been stupid "because everyone likes him so much."
Probably not, actually; that was the same episode with the guy stealing his drafts (by going through the trash and reading McGee's used typewriter ribbons, of all things). He was all set to murder Abby because her character breaks up with McGregor in the end, and our nutty little fan thought Abby's character was going to kill McGregor. McGee only told him they get married because he didn't want Abby to get shot.
In an Australian television special about NCIS, Micheal Weatherly played himself very Tony-esque, walking around the set. He did a short skit where he played all the characters of the show. 'McGee' was even nerdier and more awkward than normal, Ziva was 'strangely attracted to [Tony], due to [her] Israeli-ness,' and Tony was a suave James Bond clone who slipped off his chair rather stupidly.
The one who really got the short end of the stick in the novel was Palmer (Ducky's assistant), who became a necrophiliac named "Pimmy Jalmer". McGee insists that he named the character after a real person named "Pimmy"...
In Lois and Clark, Lois is perpetually writing a romance novel. In a later season, Jimmy cracks her password ("Superman") and reveals that the main character's love interests are named "Clark" and "Kent". One is reliable and strong (her relationship with Superman), the other is kind but flaky (her relationship with Clark).
Rimmer's diaries in Red Dwarf, which brazenly rewrite real events to portray the cowardly Rimmer as a bold, fearless hero who routinely pulls his cowardly and incompetent crewmate's chestnuts out of the fire. When made into a virtual reality fairground ride (based on Disneyland's "It's a Small World," complete with puppets of Arnold Rimmer singing his praises), the experience culminates in a truly astonishing song, presumably penned by Rimmer himself, exhorting what an amazingly wonderful guy he is. The experience is enough to make Lister — who had recently begun to miss his recently-departed crewmate — swear that he never wants to see the man again in his entire life.
"He's Arnold, Arnold, Arnold Rimmer
Without him life would be much grimmer
He's handsome, trim, and no-one slimmer
He will never need a zimmer"
In Bones, Dr. Brennan is a successful novelist whose books star a fictionalized version of herself named Kathy Reichs... which is also the name of a real-world author who has written a series of books starring a fictionalized version of herself named Temperance Brennan. ("Ow, my brain!" cries the reader.)
However, their characters don't have the same traits as their respective authors. The TV show Temperance Brennan is supposedly more like the real life Kathy Reichs, while Tempe Brennan in the books is more like the fictional version of Kathy Reichs in the books written by the television version of Temperence Brennan. Does your brain hurt more now?
It later turns out that she had massive help from Angela when it came to anything story related that wasn't strictly forensic work; when it was discovered that a sex technique that Hodgins did made it into the book, Brennan revealed that Angela had been helping her with the interpersonal parts of the story for some time, and when confronted that the story was not entirely her work, wrote Angela a sizeable cheaque for backpay. This is in line with Brennan, who always thought that people read her books for the spot-on science and was always flumoxed by the attention given to the "fluff filler" inbetween.
An episode of Married... with Children played with this. Kelly was unsuccessfully auditioning for a show when, at some point during her banter with the show's producer, she told him all about her dysfunctional family and their various antics. Of course she portrayed herself as an intellectual and a shining example of humanity in a sea of idiots. Later on, when she discovers that the producer has actually made a show based on her stories, she is shocked to see that it portrays her (quite accurately) as a brainless slut.
Another episode had Peggy drawing a comic strip about a loser who so greatly resembled Al that people recognized him on the street. Al was rather upset by this, until he found out that he had inadvertently become a sex symbol as a result.
On Top Gear, Richard Hammond likes to narrate stories about fictionalized versions of himself. During the Season 13 "Race to the North," in which he rode a vintage motorcycle, he did most of his segments in the style of a radio drama about a hero named "The Black Shadow." While filming the ill-fated attempt to drive the Vampire rocket dragster, he wore a silvery racing suit and reportedly entertained the crew by darting around as "The Silver Flash."
The first season of The L Word featured a running arc where Jenny writes a story titled "Thus Spoke Sarah Shuster", where the heroine is a thinly-veiled version of herself. She is critiqued on it (and the title) in a second-season episode.
Done in an even bigger way in the later seasons with Jenny writing a book (which gets made into a movie that she gets to cast and direct) featuring thinly-veiled copies of the entire main cast, with her as the Mary Sue.
Indeed. The first episode opener in Season Five is this trope incarnate. Jenny rewrites the party scene from the first season and has it revolve around all the other characters instantly forging a lustful attraction to her and commenting on how amazing Jenny—I mean "Jessie" is. This is also likely a Take That at accusations that Jenny herself is a Mary SueAuthor Avatar of The L Word's, shall it be said, controversial creator.
Then taken to the next level as Jenny beings having sex with "Jessie", her on screen Mary Sue.
Max Hammer, the star of Noah's web comic in Noah And Saskia, is very much an idealized version of Noah as he wishes he really was. The villains tend to be caricatures of his family.
An interesting take on this trope from Gossip Girl - Dan is supposed to be a talented aspiring writer, and yet when the camera catches a page of his most recent novel, it's nothing but a thinly-veiled retelling of recent events from his life in toe-curlingly awful prose. Not to mention he renames "Chuck Bass" as "Charlie Trout" and doesn't intend it to be ironic.
In season five it turns out Dan has written an entire book which is little more than (as Blair puts it) a memoir masquerading as fiction. The few things Dan makes up on his own is a solid example of this trope. Chuck's character committs suicide and it takes days for anyone to find the body (he's just that alone) and Blair's character has sex with Dan's, even though on the show Blair has made it abundantly clear to Dan that she's not interested in him and she will always love Chuck.
The Red Green Show sometimes featured a segment in which Gord, the neurotic forest ranger, would animate short "educational cartoons" about woodlands. Not only was all of the information contained completely wrong, but it also featured Ranger Gord as an ultra-heroic beefcake of a man, surrounded by incompetent woodland animals who just so happened to bear more than a passing resemblance to Red and Harold.
Not quite writing his own story, but in Malcolm in the Middle, Malcolm plays a game called "The Virts" where he can set the stats of the various characters, and he sets his character Intelligence and Attractiveness (if not everything) to 10 while giving more realistic or even spiteful stats to the rest his family. Subverted in that everything he tries to do to make his character better and bring down his family ends up backfiring, making his family rich and successful, while GameMalcolm becomes depressed, hideously fat, and suicidal. Malcolm is obviously distressed over this development.
The short-lived 1995 UPN show Deadly Games would be a perfect example of this trope if it wasn't so obscure. The show is about the main character's video game being brought to life. In the game, he's a hero named "The Cold-Steel Kid", his ex-wife is the love interest, and the villains are all people he knows.
Specifically, the villains are various people he knows and hates, often for very petty reasons. The one based on his ex-boss shot deadly pink slips, his former mother-in-law could freeze things. One based on a jock tormentor from his high school days took damage from water as a reference to the fact that the original never learned to swim - a detail the main character had latched onto to feel a bit superior.
The sci-fi screenplay written by Jeremy Bensham, with its hero Dan Gordon (who looks suspiciously identical to him), in childrens series Welcome To Orty Fou. Complete with his crush Cassie as First Officer Knox, who fawns over him despite his modesty.
The Castle tie-in novel Heat Wave and all subsequent novels in the Nikki Heat series. It's supposed to be the novel Castle is writing in the show. Castle himself is represented by intrepid reporter Jameson Rook, and all the characters in the precinct are based on people Castle knows in the 12th—even some of the minor recurring characters have an equivalent. And not only does Nikki Heat have frequent feelings of lust for "Rook", by chapter 9 of Heat Wave they're actually having sex. Interestingly, aside from the romance angle, Rook is actually less competent than Castle in several key ways; while Castle is a competent investigator in his own right, Rook frequently screws up and fails to spot clues or work out the correct conclusions from them.
Alan tries to write a book several times during an episode of Two and a Half Men called "Baseball Was Better With Steroids". All the attempts seem to go like a Mary Sueish representation of himself.
Also happens in The Big Bang Theory Pilot when Penny tells Leonard and Sheldon she wrote a story about a girl who is basically herself. For bonus laughs, she fails to see the similarities.
Sheldon then revealed that he had written one, but Penny turned it on its head when she asked him to act it out with emotions. He had a breakdown.
On NYPD Blue, former detective, now private investigator Mike Roberts writes some detective stories with an obvious Author Avatar main character and other characters modeled after cops he used to work with. It's actually kind of poignant, as the Author Avatar shares a camaraderie with the other cops that Roberts never had.
Abed on Community makes several short web movies about the gang that actually predict plot points. The movies are actually available to watch and in them Abed has made himself such a Mary Sue that he has magical powers.
There's also Dean Pelton's "Time Desk: The Chronicles of Dean Dangerous."
A recurring thread on Barney Miller involved Harris' writing and eventual publication of a novel based on his experiences with the precinct called Blood on the Badge. One episode had a recurring Ambulance Chaser defense attorney character suing Harris for the thinly-veiled depiction of him in the book.
At one point, Harris is found to be creating a cast list for a film version of his novel. He has cast Charles Nelson Reilly as Dietrich because he's "mad at him".
In the first episode of the story arc, Chano is incensed to discover that Harris has included a real-life incident in which Chano captured a famous criminal in the book...only he's rewritten it so it happened to his own character instead of Chano's.
In the first season of Mad Men, Paul Kinsey is revealed at the 1960 election party to have written a one-act play entitled Death is My Client, about an ad man named Peter Tollifson who is "an animal in the boardroom and in the bedroom" and impossibly brilliant. In a Crowning Moment of Funny for the series, some of the cast actually ends up doing a staged reading of it later that night, with a deathly serious Kinsey himself directing.
In "the Nightman Cometh," the season 4 finale of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Charlie expands the song "Dayman" that he and Dennis wrote in an earlier episode into a full musical. The main character is clearly a Sympathetic Sue version of himself and the plot revolves around his obsessive attachment to the Waitress (whose character sings a song expressing her true feelings of longing for his). Charlie begs her to attend the performance and reserves her a seat front-and-center, hoping that she'll be so moved that she'll finally realize they were meant to be together. Awkward Hilarity Ensues.
One episode of Xena: Warrior Princess had Gabrielle venting her frustration for being the sidekick by writing a wish fulfillment story that began "Xena was away fishing". Hilarity Ensues as one of the gods had imbued Gabrielle with the power to make her writings reality. At the end of the episode after the power was removed, Xena arrives with an enormous cartload of fish, puzzled by the irresistible compulsion she had to fish.
Farscape plays with this trope in an episode where John and Chiana get trapped in a virtual-reality game based on John's life, but programmed by Stark. The only way to leave the game is to kiss the princess - the twist is, while John assumes it will be Aeryn, it turns out to mean Zaan, Stark's princess.
Blackadder The Third episode "Ink and Incapability" has Edmund's epic novel, titled Edmund: A Butler's tale under the pseudonym Gertrude Perkins. We never actually hear any excerpts, but Doctor Samuel Johnsonnote Inventor of the dictionary calls it "a huge rollercoaster of a novel crammed with sizzling gypsies" and is eager to patronize it. Baldrick ends up throwing it on the fire.
In Peep Show, Mark briefly considers writing a play about a "Genius unappreciated in his own time named Mark Borrigan who loves,or maybe hates chips". Subverted in that he grimly claims that it is never going to happen
Happened in an episode of I Love Lucy as well. When Lucy decides to write an autobiography, she makes herself a gorgeous, redheaded Goddess and casts Ethel, Fred, and Ricky as incompetent, unlikeable buffoons. She even fails to do the research on her own friends and gets a number of their personal details wrong (She writes it so Ricky came to America all alone on a boat to Ellis Island, when he arrived on a plane with a number of family members). Naturally, when they read her manuscript, her friends neatly dispose of it, only for Lucy to return home and smugly announce she got a publishing deal. After hearing just how much money she's getting for it, the four are forced to hastily put the book back together before the publisher arrives. When he comes by to pick up the book though, Lucy's ego is given a satisfying blow at long last when he explains he only wants to publish excerpts in their How To Write A Novel series, in particular, the Don't Let This Happen To You chapter.
Randy's story in the My Name Is Earl episode "Creative Writing". It actually stars Randy, and has him with incredible superpowers, a monkey as a driver, he beats up Joy, and it's full of Stylistic Suck dialogue. In this case, Earl actually loves the story, mainly because he's stuck with writer's block.
During John Major's tenure as Prime Minister, a running joke in Private Eye's 'Secret Diary of John Major' was that Jeffrey Archer would constantly send John Major novels in which 'Godfrey Bowman' was so crucial to helping 'James Colonel' that he was awarded a knighthood.
The Trope Namer is an arc called His Code Name Was the Fox, in which Roger Fox wrote a hilariously horrible spy novel featuring himself as a James Bond clone, complete with unflappable calm, hyper-intelligent problem-solving skills and women falling all over him. As expected, his wife (a professional writer) suffered a Heroic BSOD while reading it.
Roger: "I heard retching. Did you get to the part where he gets tortured?"
Andy: "Oh, he gets tortured too?"
Jason does this all the time as well, such as a strip where he wrote a proposal for a new Star Wars Special Edition...with himself slipped in as Jason Skywalker, Luke's younger brother who sides with Vader, becomes Darth Jason, and still manages to escape the second Death Star. Suffice it to say, Lucas's response was negative.
Jason:(reading the reply): "Unfortunately, all editing was finished by the time we received your letter, so we had no choice but to turn down your proposal."
Peter:(looking at the letter): That's not an 'un,' it's a little blob of toner.
What about the one where Paige tries writing, and ends up making a standard fantasy story with herself as the damsel, her imaginary perfect man Pierre as a Knight in Shining Armor named 'Sir Galahunk', and starring Jason as the troll? The knight even briefly struggled with sparing the troll or leaving him for the boars, until real-world Jason showed up with Quincy by his side. Paige's response: "Do you know if they make 'boar whistles'?"
There's also the variation when Jason will make fanfic works (movies, comics, etc.) starring Paige, usually as some sort of horrible abomination. His proposal for Titanic II, for example, starts with a ship twice as good as the original... only to have disaster strike when Paige introduces herself as a passenger.
This also applies to Jason's comic book Slugman, whose arch rival is Paige-O-Tron, an airheaded robot with exploding pimple bullets, an obsession with shopping, and the ability to chatter people into madness. Not to mention his and Marcus' Dungeons & Dragons games tend to feature Paige-themed monsters.
Snoopy from Peanuts frequently imagines himself as a daring action hero in his stories. His manuscripts are always rejected by the publishers in increasingly creative ways. This runs counter to the other Running Gag of his inability to get past "It was a dark and stormy night".
In addition to Snoopy himself as The World War One Flying Ace, his story about "two brothers and their sister meeting in France during World War One" had the other two siblings played by Needles and Belle.
Reference is also made to Spike fighting heroically in the trenches while Snoopy engages in his aerial dogfights.
Rose Is Rose. Rose fantasizes idealized versions of herself, such as a tough, svelte biker chick.
Etna is fond of this on the chapter breaks of Disgaea.
In Suikoden III, there's Erk de Forever from 'Erk's Adventures', penned by 'Hitman Bravo', aka Ace.
There was also the "historical" play, "Imperial Love," written by Milich Oppenheimer. It casts Milich as the hero of the Scarlet Moon War in Suikoden I.
In Paper Mario The Thousand Year Door, Luigi goes on his own adventures over the course of the game that mirror Mario's, including gathering his own team of partners. He tells Mario a series of stories about his travels, which are highly exaggerated and generally portray Luigi in a much more heroic manner than he actually was; his partners will eagerly fill you in on what actually happened.
His Super Luigi books are even more exaggerated, with much of their content being outright lies.
In Paper Mario Sticker Star, the Toad Mario keeps saving during his travels sends some embellished stories back to his house-sitter in Decalburg.
Wario Ware has Wario Man's microgames, which are, at least in Touched starring Wario as the main character in every single one of them. Or barring that, they'll star some random character with Wario's face on them. Or just things like a dog with Wario's moustache.
This is the case for the second Wario stage (including Wario Man and Tiny Wario) in all the games (at least up to Smooth Moves). In Mega Microgame$ and Smooth Moves, the first Wario stage (which is always the first stage of the game) has this as well.
In World of Warcraft, the newest expansion, Cataclysm, is about how Deathwing ravages Azeroth. There are a series of quests where three drunken NPCs tell you how they 'dealt' with him while he was passing by in the most hilarious way possible.
In Deus Ex Human Revolution, hacking Frank Pritchard's computer reveals that he's sent a number of pitches to Picus' entertainment division for a series involving a master hacker that is a blatant Author Avatar. He gets rebuffed every time, and the latest email has the guy he's pitching to replying that the concept just isn't very interesting, compared with a rugged, at-times violent ex-cop like Adam Jensen.
In the Powered By The Cheat toons on Homestar Runner, the Cheat is wildly popular and successful, and given multiple trophies for no reason. "The Cheat is a millionaire! A parade for The Cheat!"
Homestar Runner also has the Strong Bad Email fan club, in which Strong Sad inserts himself into a "SBEmail fan fic" as Twelve-Times-A-Day Man.
After being humiliated in the first part of the first episode of Strong Bad's Cool Game For Attractive People, Homestar monopolizes (among other things, simultaneously) Strong Bad's drawing table as he works on his 23-part graphic novel about a guy who wins the Race to the End of the Race, isn't wanted for public indecency, and dumps Marzipan for a much hotter girl who still likes him. Or he will once he can think of a good name for the main character.
Not to mention Strong Bad's occasional Teen Girl Squad cameo as "Sir Hotbod Handsomeface".
Dangeresque is this and then some, especially in Dangeresque 3: The Criminal Projective, where most of the dialogue and a number of plot elements exist to show how awesome Strong Bad's character is.
Not really a piece of fiction he wrote, but definitely in the same spirit: In Red vs. Blue, when Church enters Caboose's mind, he finds that Caboose is only able to hold onto Flanderizations (and really bad ones) of the actual characters (and Tucker is also constantly putting himself down with child-like insults, because Caboose doesn't like him). Caboose's mental avatar is of course wise, skilled, and cool. (and feared by the Reds)
In the bonus materials of the Order of the Stick book, Don't Split the Party, Belkar retells a wildly inaccurate version of the events of the previous three books that bears a strong resemblance to various works of classic literature and happens to star himself as the dashing protagonist that all of the attractive women in the strip swoon over.
In Homestuck, Vriska's "Flarp" (yeah, sort of like that) character, Marquise Spinneret Mindfang (note the initials), is (from her perspective) "the best character, and you wish you were her. Oh wait, you are her!"
She turns out to be a real historical figure later on.
Shortround in the Insecticomics is writing the ultimate in wish-fulfillment fiction (keep in mind that in reality, he's timid and very panicky). Kickback can't shake the feeling that if the story ever gets out, everyone else in the story is going to be out for Shortround's sundered spark.
Marigold of Questionable Content writes Harry Potter fanfic. Very, very bad Harry Potter fanfic. In her case, less a case of Mary Sue self-insertion as pure awful writing skills. Hilarity Ensues when she shows it to a friendly character with a literature and English background, and asks for her opinion.
Tales of MU has a bonus story, that's a piece of fanfiction written ages ago by the main character. She manages to insert herself into it... after switching the gender, so there can be a romance with a canon character. It manages to show up a few of her issues...
Meanwhile, just down the corridor from her, Sooni the Kitsuyokai is busy churning out a far more extreme fanfic on her favourite anime, Pretty Neko Science Princess, with herself in the title role.
In the animated segments of KateModern, Charlie depicts herself as a badassninja who regularly saves her friends from their enemies.
Amber of Shortpacked! writes a Twilight pastiche (with mummies instead of vampires) which very obviously stars her various co-workers.
The Nostalgia Chick points this out about Pocahontas, how John Smith's awesome was based on "accounts" of the real (portly, brown-haired, not attractive and blonde) John Smith.
She herself has done this with her title card - instead of a pretty Tiny Tyrannical Girl, she's instead tall, curvy, has Tsurime Eyes and wears a lot of purple, men are catering to her whim, and she has a bigger bust and longer legs.
Subverted with Melody Powers, who is an in-universe Parody Sue, but makes a lot of people uncomfortable (on purpose) as they think it's a real one.
Another episode had Daria continually trying to write a story about people she knows in various situations, including one where her parents praised her while treating Quinn as The Unfavorite. The final story wound up being a touching, happy scene from the family's hypothetical future.
The Daria Database, a tie-in book, featured a comic strip called Gothic Nights by Andrea. It featured her as Queen Hecuba, manipulating various other characters based on Lawndale High students and staff.
One episode in particular has Marge write a Regency romance starring a thinly-veiled version of herself, with other Springfieldians as the rest of the cast. At first she writes Homer's character as a loving husband and excellent provider, but after he ticks her off she re-writes him into a boorish Jerkass. Her character ends up having an affair with Ned Flanders' character, which most of the readers assume is Wish Fulfillment on Marge's part, and leads to Homer chasing down Flanders... to ask for advice on how to be a better husband.
It's a little more than an assumption; a couple of them notice that the main character, Temperance, is referred to as 'Marge' for three paragraphs at one point.
Though not an actual book, script, or screenplay, Batgirl has a dream at the beginning of Batman The Animated Series where she saves Batman from Two-Face, Penguin, and Joker single-handedly. Just as they're about to make out, Dick Grayson wakes her from her nap.
The comics adaptation of B:TAS had Harley Quinn, during one of her short stints on the straight and narrow, write an "autobiography" that turned out to be a romance novel between "Punchinello", a female criminal, and "Owlman", a masked crimefighter. The Joker was not amused (which says a lot) even after she assured him that it was completely fictional. When she tried to act out her novel to gain publicity, Batman wasn't amused either (which, well, doesn't say so much)... because it meant he had to read it too.
A possible mild case in "Legends of the Dark Knight," where the Robin depicted in the third story bears not a little resemblance to the storyteller (who's earlier specified that in her version, Robin is a girl).
Actually, the segment in question is based of 'Batman: The Dark Knight Returns', A graphic novel written well before the show was ever aired, which actually had a female Robin. More then likely, the girl was based on the character from the book.
The episode Only A Dream from Justice League has the initial sequence feature a John Dee single-handedly crushing the League and then being congratulated by the whole of the Legion of Doom (mainly by Luthor, the Joker and Grundy). The sequence ends and it's revealed to have been a dream induced by an experimental machine. Later on, John Dee, alias Doctor Destiny, does get his chance to Mind Rape the whole of the Justice League.
In the "Woodland Critter Christmas" episode of South Park, Cartman subverts this trope for almost the entire episode (it isn't revealed the story is one he made up for class until the last few minutes), with Stan as the protagonist and a bunch of animals filling in as villains. . . but near the end brings in Kyle as the ideal candidate to help sire the Antichrist since he's Jewish and hasn't been baptized. Real Kyle gets mad when the Kyle in the story takes over as villain and Santa almost has to shoot him, but decides to let him go on and watches as the climax and falling action actually include him in the happy ending. . . until in the last ten seconds Cartman mentions he died of AIDS two weeks later.
Arthur does this when Fern tries to write a story and publish it under a pen name, giving copies out everywhere around the school. She calls it "Happy Happenings" or something similar, and actually ends up taking the criticism of the story well and changes the story to be less...Sue-like.
Also, in a different episode, DW writes a story about "BW," whose parents let her have a horse in her room, could ride a bike no-wheeled, had the President as a "best friend," had a secret base and access to all kind of technology, could do the balance-beam easily... The parodies of her own character as a Mary Sue go on and on...
Rocket Power had an episode that dealt with this, in which Sam creates a video game starring himself. The video game Sam is cool, smart, handsome, and a beast at every extreme sport the gang does. He also programs flanderized avatars of Twister, Otto, and Reggie into the game, for his own avatar to whip mercilessly. None of them are particularly happy with Sam's portrayal of them (although Reggie snidely points out that Otto frequently acts like his in game self, a preening, narcissistic jerk). Sam eventually realizes the error of his ways and reprograms the game so it more accurately reflects real life, giving himself the power to learn moves from his friends in the game.
The title character of Doug often imagines himself as either Quail-Man (a rather odd Superhero that is basically Doug with a belt on his head, underwear over his pants, and a blanket as a cape) or himself as Smash Adams (a generic Tuxedo and Martini superspy that Doug is a fan of). The actual Imagine Spots don't really give that much story detail, though. A more explicit example is one episode where Doug tries to actually produce a comic for Quail-Man and asks Skeeter for help. Skeeter is more than willing, but also brings his own character (Silver Skeeter) to the equation. Due to Silver Skeeter constantly showing up Quail-Man with New Powers as the Plot Demands, this led to Creative Differences.
In the Futurama episode "Where No Fan Has Gone Before", an alien entity named Melllvar holds the cast of Star Trek: TOS hostage, and forces them to act out a Fanfic he has written in which he is the God Mode Sue:
Shatner: (reading flatly) Alas, my ship, whom I love like a woman, is... disabled. [He slumps back in his chair and rolls his head.] Oh, Lord! Nimoy: (also reading flatly) Fascinating, Captain, and logical too. Yet we need some help. Takei: (reading flatly) Look, Captain, Melllvar will help us. Koenig: (reading flatly) Keptin, I wope he will welp our ... vessel. Melllvar: Wessel! [Koenig shudders.] You're not acting hard enough!
In the episode "My Three Suns", Fry refuses to think ahead because short-sightedness has "gotten him this far." He tries to persuade Leela of his life philosophy with an ancient parable:
Fry: It's just like the story of the grasshopper and the octopus. All year long, the grasshopper kept burying acorns for winter, while the octopus mooched off his girlfriend and watched TV. But then the winter came, and the grasshopper died, and the octopus ate all his acorns. Also he got a race car. Is any of this getting through to you?
In one of the more recent ones, Fry attempts to write a comic book with a superhero version of himself wherein he saves Leela (and the planet) from a space monster. He gets feedback from the crew who call him on the Sueness and edits the comic accordingly, only to wind up with a version of the comic where he's powerless to stop the monster and everyone dies. The new version ends with him weeping.
Parodied in Garfield and Friends in one episode where Garfield decides to try his hand at authoring. The stories themselves show some promise as he builds up some fantastic situation into a full-blown crisis for his Author Avatar main character to face, but each time he reaches the climax, all he can think to have his "hero" do is eat a hearty meal and take a nap.
In Rocko's Modern Life, when he's hired to help write the new cartoonWacky Delly, Filburt creates and voices a simple character, Lester Roquefort, but his creative bickering with Heffer makes him more and more defensive until his character's dialogue is nothing but constantly repeating "I am the Cheese! I am the best character on this show! I am better than both the salami and the bologna combined!"
In the animated shorts included with the Transformers Animated DVDs, there are several "profiles" showing footage of various characters as another character describes their personality and abilities. Starscream voices his own profile, presenting himself as basically the most awesome Decepticon ever and showing a few clips that aren't in the show itself (such as him standing atop a pile of Autobot corpses). It's only until the last clip that it shows a bit of reality—namely, Megatron shooting him in the face.
The Samurai Jack episode 'Aku's Fairy Tales' was this crossed with Revenge Fic; annoyed by children no longer fearing him/aspiring to be like Jack, Aku gathers the youth of an entire city in a vast hall and narrates bowdlerised, self-insert versions of traditional folk tales to them, hoping they'll believe Jack's a violent bum and Aku is a level-headed, powerful hero.
Aku: There was an all-mighty, all-powerful wizard, and there was a pathetic little samurai... and the wizard destrooooyed hiiiiim. THE END!
Of course, the kids retort "Nah, that's not how it would happen!", which leads to a group fanfic where they addincreasinglyexaggeratedideas into a short story, ending with Jack achieving his goal of defeating Aku and returning to his time period (obviously!).
And, sadly, it looks like that "ending" is the only ending that series is going to get.
In the Archer episode "Movie Star," Malory allows an actress to hang around ISIS for a day in exchange for her next script and her agent's contact information. She immediately sets to altering the script...by changing the actress' boss to a woman named "Malory Steele" and shoehorning in a gratuitous romantic subplot.
In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Spike at Your Service", Rainbow Dash reveals she's working on a novel about a pegasus who's a really great flier and who becomes captain of the Wonderbolts.
An episode of Ed Edd N Eddy where the Eds recount a story of how they got stuck in Johnny's wall ended up with each Ed telling part of the story. Needless to say, each member of the group sue-ifies himself to one extent or another. The only consistent elements of the story were that it involved a jawbreaker bank and the Kanker Sisters.
In the Thanksgiving episode of Hey Arnold! Mr Simmons class made a happy Thanks Giving play for the school. The characters are really based on his relatives who in real life are bums who's lives aren't really as happy as his play portrayed them to be.
Attempted by Carl in the Phineas and Ferb episode "Excaliferb", when he tries to insert himself into the story as the ultimate hero. Monogram tells him to stick to what's written.
In the Gravity Falls episode "Bottomless Pit", Dipper, Soos, and Mabel have to tell stories to pass the time while falling down a pit. Stan gets a brief story in called "Grunkle Stan wins the Football Bowl", where Stan scores the winning touchdown, manages to teach football players about the usefulness of old people, and managed to invent a robot, Footbot. Needless to say, Soos, Dipper, and Mabel do not like the story.
In Adventure Time one of the Ice King's Fionna and Cake fanfic is this with him being able to stop the villinous Dr Prince with just a speech and then being wooed over by Fionna and Cake.
Fey: Int. Kodak Theatre - Oscar Night Martin: Two incredible presenters walk out to center stage. Fey: The crowd is amazed by the star power and beauty of the two presenters. [silence] Martin: The audience members are too stunned to leap to their feet. Fey: The crowd is thrilled at seeing the presenters, except for those consumed by bitter jealousy.