can reference pretty much anything — another person, another work of fiction, even another episode of the same show
. One very popular target is to call back to the show's own opening sequence. Because a show's opening is well-known to the viewers, the joke requires zero setup. It's an instant punchline. For another thing, it nods towards the fact
that the show is, in fact, a show
, and that certain things are always the same, without fully breaking stride
When done with the show's theme song, it's a Theme Tune Cameo
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Anime and Manga
- A later episode of Ergo Proxy incorporated its opening into a cold open. The characters unexpectedly find themselves taking part in a game show. Vincent is rapidly asked several trivia questions, culminating in "What is the title of this song?" - upon which we cut to the opening. And Vincent apparently knew the answer to that.
- The Futari wa Pretty Cure opening features a shot in which Honoka is sitting on her porch, looking up at the night sky. One episode ended with a shot that was almost identical, except she was curled up and crying. (In a borderline case, there's also a specific scene of Cure Black and Cure White leaping that ended up being used as a piece of stock animation.)
- Futari Wa Pretty Cure Splash Star's opening momentarily shows Mai, Flappi and Choppi at the beach, with Flappi being pinched by a crab. Naturally, this ended up actually happening to him when they actually went to the beach.
- Yes! Pretty Cure 5 GoGo used a brief clip of Urara's mother onstage that's very similar to the one of Urara herself from the first season's opening.
- The aforementioned stock animation piece of Cure Black and White leaping was used in the opening for the first All-Stars movie... and during the scene which it happens, the camera pans to all the other Cures (or at least the ones that everyone knew about when the movie was released) leaping with them.
- The scene is done again in All-Stars DX 3, expanding the number of leaping Cures to 21.
- The opening for HeartCatch Pretty Cure! shows Tsubomi and Erika walking to school and talking. They actually use that scene - at the very end of the series.
- The Movie for Smile Pretty Cure! will give away a card featuring Miyuki in the exact same Cinderella dress she imagines herself in during the opening.
- Also, episode 39 through 43 will show the stances we see the characters during the opening after the title is shown.
- Pretty Cure All Stars New Stage has one scene where Cure Peace is bowing profusely to Cure Melody. It's a nod to Smile's ending credits where Peace does that towards March for landing on her. The movie's ending also has the Fresh, Heartcatch and Suite teams performing the last little bit of their first credits dance, even if they didn't do it in the original.
- Lucky Star had the main cast performing a dance routine to the theme song in the last episode.
- In Macross Frontier's final battle, sequences from both opening credits are used in the fight sequence. This crosses over with Theme Tune Cameo courtesy of Sheryl and Ranka singing a medley of their songs in support, which starts and ends with the previously-unused second OP.
- The misleading opening of Magical Pokaan turns out to be the opening of another anime show the girls used to watch when young.
- The end of the OP of Nagasarete Airantou shows a bird's eye view of the island while Ikuto is visibly seen being chased by the firls on the island. The end of the anime also features this exact same scene.
- The 12th opening of One Piece ends with a shot of some of the notable Impel Down Escapees- namely, Buggy, Mr. 3, Mr. 1, Crocodile, Jinbe, Ivankov and Luffy- plummeting down from the sky as they enter Marinford. When that happens in anime episode 465, they show it exactly the same way.
- Pani Poni Dash!: The weird-colored fuses in the "Yellow Vacation" opening are shown briefly in one episode.
- In an episode of Planetes, Hachimaki gets "space sickness" and starts losing his mind. One of his hallucinations is of him riding a bike, as he does in the ending theme.
- Actually a serious example: Wolf's Rain visually references the opening credits in the final scene of the anime - as if that one moment is what the show built up to/was about all along. The opening song starts playing near the end as well.
- In one episode of Dragon Ball Z when Goku is fighting Cell, while powering up he goes on to make the exact same movements he does during the anime's first opening theme song, with the key difference being that here he's in Super Saiyan form.
- In the end of the final episode of Overman King Gainer, Anna decides that a song should be written about the main hero. She proceeds to start doing the monkey dance, something she infact does do in the opening. She also starts singing the opening song.
- In the final seconds of Kill la Kill's last episode, Ryuko looks towards the camera in the middle of a busy crowd like in the first ending (which is playing in the last scene). This time though, she smiles as she turns away.
- In the last Non-Distant Finale of Dawson's Creek, Pacey dug up some old tapes that Dawson had made and lo and behold, it was the opening credits of the first season (sans music and credits).
- In Flight of the Conchords, when Jemaine gets a girlfriend, the montage of them together shows her timing him on his exercise bike, which Bret had done for him in the opening. Then a lonely Bret is shown timing nobody.
- One episode of Remington Steele repeats the entire Opening Narration describing the premise of the show.
- The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air (a fan of all forms of Breaking the Fourth Wall):
- There's an episode where Will goes back to Philly, where he fights an old bully who he describes as the "dude who be spinnin' me over his head in the opening credits."
- In a more subtle example, the show's pilot begins exactly where the opening credits end, with Will first at the doorstep of his aunt and uncle.
- In the second-season finale, we see the title character go through almost the exact same morning routine as is shown in the opening credits.
- Subverted on the fourth season premiere. Dexter does several of the same actions from the opening, but after losing much sleep from raising his son, his usual routine is "off."
- In the finale of Life On Mars, Sam Tyler repeats the show's opening dialogue almost exactly, but in a completely different context.
- In the last episode of Arrested Development, Michael comments on how they'll have to try having "no choice but to keep them all together" without him.
- Xena: Warrior Princess:
- The scene with Poseidon in the opening eventually resulted in an episode getting made specifically to feature it.
- In the episode "The Greater Good", Xena is incapacitated and Gabrielle has to take her place. She pulls on Xena's armour in the same way Xena does in the opening titles, complete with title music.
- At the beginning of an episode of Veronica Mars, Veronica describes another girl with, "We used to be friends, a long time ago." This segues immediately into the opening credits, which begin with the Dandy Warhols singing, "A long time ago, we used to be friends ..."
- The Nanny:
- Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, as the 35th anniversary of Super Sentai, does Opening and Ending Shout Outs to other series.
- After four seasons of Farscape had culminated in a TV movie, Crichton spends one of his first scenes in that movie addressing some suspicious aliens by quoting his Opening Narration: "My name is John Crichton, astronaut..." He also prefaces by saying "For the 89th time!" There had been 88 episodes up to that point.
- Weeds: In one episode, when Shane complains about having to go to a new school, Nancy tells him "You're going to go to school and become a doctor or a lawyer or a business executive," a Shout-Out to the show's former Real Song Theme Tune, "Little Boxes."
- On The Dick Van Dyke Show, Laura once tells Rob that she can't even count the amount of times he's tripped over the ottoman while walking in the front door - exactly as he did in the iconic opening credits.
- In Madan Senki Ryukendo's Time Travel-slash-Recap Episode, Kenji is explaining to Fudou about the exploits that he has yet to do, having somehow traveled into the past. Fudou briefly imagines a title sequence to a show about him, complete with title card. Kenji quickly corrects him, leading into the eyecatch.
- In Covert Affairs episode "Suffragette City" Annie is dreaming in a hospital bed after being shot. In the dream, she dances and then swipes a key card to open a door while smirking at the camera - just like in the opening sequence.
- Burn Notice: In the first-season finale "Loose Ends", a drug dealer that Michael is threatening wants to know who he is; Michael, in no mood for a cover ID, simply quotes his opening narration: "I'm Michael Westen. I used to be a spy." It gets a Call Back four seasons later in "Enemy of My Enemy," when the dealer shows up again; one of his henchmen demands to know who the hell Michael is, and the dealer repeats the line.
- The final scene of As the World Turns ends with the globe on Dr. Bob Hughes's desk spinning quietly in the dark of his office, alluding to the rotating Earth present in all of the soap's various opening sequences.
- The Babylon 5 episode "There All The Honor Lies", Ivanova is frustrated over having to oversee the new Babylon 5 gift shop, which she sees as a cheap moneygrab. In the same quote, the writers also get a dig in at another show B5 was competing against...
Susan Ivanova: Welcome to Babylon 5, the last, best hope for a quick buck!
Captain John Sheridan: Commander -
: Oh, this is demeaning! I mean, we're not some - some deep space franchise
, this station is about
- The Doctor Who episode "Time Heist" opens with a glimpse of the opening credits, which usually don't air until after the teaser...and is immediately revealed to come from the Doctor looking into Clara's tumble dryer.
- Upon defeating Galactica Knight and clearing Meta Knightmare Ultra in Kirby Super Star Ultra, you'll unlock a hidden video, "Fly! Meta Knight." It is, in its entirety, the KSSU opening video - except that, instead of Kirby, Meta Knight flies through Dream Land.
- Also, if the last mode you played before shutting off the game was Meta Knightmare Ultra, the regular opening video will be replaced by this upon turning it on again.
- One of the secret levels of Super Mario World is modeled after the opening sequence.
- In Sonic Generations the opening cutscene to the fight against Shadow is a clear nod to the opening of Sonic Adventure 2
- Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series once did a flashback to the opening.
- From The Angry Video Game Nerd, of which the theme tune begins with "He's gonna take you back to the past To play the shitty games that suck ass":
AVGN: Ghost, why do you come to me?
Stuttering Craig: Why, to take you back to the past!
AVGN: To play the shitty games that suck ass? No thanks.
- An episode featuring Kyle Justin (who wrote and performs the theme) has him singing it at the very end, with the Nerd commenting "You bet your ass!" The episode also implies that the song was written because Justin was living behind the Nerd's couch since the start of the series, and overheard some of his reviews, incorporating them into the lyrics.
- Upon seeing that the Gunslinger had a magic gun as well, Linkara asks him "A magic gun, where'd you puchase that!?"
- Dragon Ball Z Abridged makes a nod to "Cha-la Head Cha-la" that doubles as a Brick Joke, when Goku tells a bird to "teach a dinosaur to ride a ball" in the first Cooler movie.
- When The Simpsons go into the witness protection program mid-show, a new opening for "The Thompsons" is run, styled after the normal opening.
- Done again in "The Hurricane" when a hurricane hits Springfield. This one lacked the Couch Gag, though.
- Done again where Ms. Krabappel tries to make Bart go home (It's complicated. Maggie has gotten addicted to an annoying children's show. Okay, maybe not that complicated). Bart is so terrified of it that he begs her to make him write some convoluted standard on the blackboard; she responds with "People got tired of that chalkboard gag years ago!"
- And that is referenced in a chalkboard. "Nobody reads these anymore."
- Done again when Bart is overweight after the school installs candy machines. Instead of writing lines, he's feeding the machine, then the bell rings, there's the usual quick pan to the main doors... and we wait because he's so much slower now.
- One Futurama episode points out Leela's propensity for crashing into billboards (even though the only time she does it in-show is when they point it out) — which happens during the opening sequence.
- Done again in the sixth season when an extended Da Vinci Code parody takes the crew to Rome. Their arrival in "Future-Roma" is a brief homage to their own credit sequence, including an ecclesiastical version of the show's theme.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic: The picture of the Mane Six that Spike sends to Celestia in the opening is also located above Twilight's fireplace in the season 3 finale.
- In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Oil on Candace," the boys help a friend paint a giant painting on a sand dune while an instrumental version of the theme song plays. One of the tools they use are the giant helicopter-mounted paint rollers used during the "painting a continent" part of the title sequence.
- In the episode of Dave the Barbarian where the Dark Lord Chuckles the Silly Piggy usurps control of the show by enslaving the Lemony Narrator, halfway through we are treated to new rendition of the show's opening credits and theme song, now celebrating Chuckles as the central character.
- The Fairly Oddparents
- The movie Abra-Catastrophe had this when the whole world was wished to be ruled by monkeys, not humans.
- In the third part of the crossover with Jimmy Neutron:
Villain: You guys think you're so special, but you'll just be average kids that no one understands!
Cosmo: Someone should write a song about that!
- In the middle of the Recess episode "Lawson and his Crew," a version of the theme song plays with Lawson's crew replacing the regular main characters.
- Bounty Hamster, episode "Twin Cheeks": The first appearance of Cassie's Mirror Universe counterpart is accompanied by a Mirror Universe version of the series's Opening Narration.
- One episode of Rocky and Bullwinkle has Rocky do the flying trick shown in the opening titles.
- One of the more bizarre examples occurs in Super Robot Monkey Team Hyper Force Go where Gyrus Krinkle imagines himself in Chiro's position from the show's opening narration, while wearing a foam head bearing Chiro's likeness.
- A hilarious example in Rocko's Modern Life. Filbert, cursed with bad luck, decides to go on with playing on the game show he was chosen for. Naturally, when he spins the wheel, it goes off its hinges and starts to go on a rolling rampage of destruction, running over various scenes including the last part of the opening sequence (where everybody's chasing Rocko), and cutting off the theme song as it does so.
- Also parodied in the end of "Heff in a Handbasket" where Peaches is starring in a cartoon show "Peaches' Modern Life."
- In "Boob Tubed", a small snippet of the theme song is played while Heffer is channel surfing.
- The South Park episode "Chef Aid" features guest appearances by many artists and bands, including Primus, the band that composed and performed the theme song. It is Les Claypool's only appearance in the show... apart from being seen in the intro for the first four seasons, and being heard singing the theme song in every season, that is.
- The Powerpuff Girls: In the episode "Oops, I Did It Again," after the Professor tiredly accepts his fate as the "accidental professor," the beginning of the subsequent Dream Sequence is like the opening of the show, except there's no accidental injection of Chemical X, and the girls turn out to be the "Run of the Mill Girls," who "dedicate their lives to just hanging around and doing nothing extraordinary." Unlike most of the examples here, this one is a more complete replicate of the opening, even including a "Created by the Professor" credit in place of Craig McCracken.
- In the final episode of The Replacements, Todd and Riley quote the theme song when revealing their secret to Tasumi and Jacopo.
- Happens in the My Gym Partner's A Monkey episode "The Notorious Windsor Gorilla" with the credits re-done as My Gym Partner's a Gorilla and featuring Windsor instead of Jake.
- When asked on The Cleveland Show if he ever wondered if the world would be better without him, Cleveland imagines Quagmire in the opening.
- A Cafepress design featuring The Garfield Show contains a possible shout out to the very first theme song of Garfield and Friends, with the phrase "Friends are there when you need them," refrencing the line "Friends are there when you need them, they're even there when you don't!"
- When the title character of Where on Earth Is Carmen Sandiego? got put on trial for stealing the Magna Carta, Zack and Ivy recall that on the day the document was apparently stolen, Carmen was busy trying to steal the Statue of Liberty. They use a clip of the intro to recap the event.
- The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: In "Two Old Men and A Lock Box", when Richard and Michard start to explain how they came to be in their current predicament, we are treated to new version of the opening credits and theme song that identifies Richard and Michard as the K'nuckles and Flapjack of their generation.
- In the Family Guy episode "Vestigial Peter", Peter is outraged when his vestigial twin brother Chip joins the family in singing the theme song.
- In another episode, in one of his drunken stupors, Peter makes a nod to the controversy regarding the lyric being heard as "laugh and cry" as "f-ing cry".
- In the first episode of Metalocalypse, the first meeting of The Tribunal features Senator Stampsington describing the band using the show's Theme Tune Roll Call:
"Skwisgaar Skwigelf, taller than a tree. Toki Wartooth, not a bumblebee. William Murderface, Murderface, Murderface. Pickles the Drummer, doodily doo, ding dong, doodily doodily doo. Nathan Explosion."
- In the Futurama episode "The Problem with Popplers", the Planet Express ship crashes into an electronic billboard just like in the opening. Fry then tells Leela that it was the second time she'd crashed into a billboard this week.