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[[quoteright:350:[[Film/HomeAlone2 http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/tumblr_lwrqkd2tgg1qzvqzfo1_500.png]]]]

->''"They fight! And bite!\\
They fight and bite and fight!\\
Fight, fight, fight!\\
Bite, bite, bite!\\
The Itchy and Scratchy Show!"''
-->-- '''ExpositoryThemeTune''' for ''WesternAnimation/TheItchyAndScratchyShow'', ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'' [[note]]''The Itchy and Scratchy Show'' is actually a segment on ''The Krusty the Klown Show''. ''The Simpsons'' was once a segment on ''Series/TheTraceyUllmanShow''. So, technically, that makes it a [[UpToEleven Show Within A Show, within a former Show Within A Show]]. Or [[Film/{{Inception}} Showception]], for short.[[/note]]

A fictional show that takes place within an actual show; or, occasionally, a fictional installment or incarnation of an actual show.

Shows-within-a-show are [[StylisticSuck usually of low quality]]. This is intentional: the low quality of the show is part of the joke or the misery of the characters involved. As a general rule, the more central the Show Within A Show is to the actual show, the better -- or at least higher-gloss -- it will be. On the other hand, FinaglesLaw dictates that TheShowMustGoWrong, so don't expect to get through it without at least one catastrophe.

Many comedies have short one-off gags where they parody existing shows. Most of the following examples are recurring and they come in up to four varieties (which can be overlapping):

# The characters are involved in the production of the show.
# The characters are fans of the show, or only see it occasionally.
# The show-within-a-show is a plot point.
# The internal show, in either variety, [[PlotParallel is eerily similar to the real show.]]

Sometimes these shows can be shown as SeparateSceneStorytelling.

For the pre-television history of this trope, [[JustForFun/ZerothLawOfTropeExamples once again]] we must go back to Creator/WilliamShakespeare, who featured plays within plays both in comedy -- ''The Most Lamentable Comedy, and Most Cruel Death of Pyramus and Thisbe'' within ''Theatre/AMidsummerNightsDream'', and ''Theatre/TheTamingOfTheShrew'' actually ''is'' one by means of a FramingDevice -- and in tragedy (''[[CatchTheConscience The Murder of Gonzago]]'' within ''{{Hamlet}}'').

If producing the show is important to the plot, see HeyLetsPutOnAShow. If the story baits the audience into thinking the Show Within a Show is the actual show, brace yourself for the ProsceniumReveal. If the Show Within a Show ends up being produced in reality as a SpinOff, see {{Defictionalisation}}.

SuperTrope to SchoolPlay and SoapWithinAShow. SisterTrope with FictionalDocument and FictionalVideoGame. Overlaps with SetBehindTheScenes.

Compare with FramingDevice, MutuallyFictional, PlotParallel, PostModernism, PushedInFrontOfTheAudience, RecursiveFiction, RecursiveReality (of the "nested stories" variety), and WhoWouldWantToWatchUs.


* ShowWithinAShow/AnimeAndManga
* ShowWithinAShow/ComicBooks
* ShowWithinAShow/FanWorks
* ShowWithinAShow/AnimatedFilms
* ShowWithinAShow/LiveActionFilms
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Literature}}
* ShowWithinAShow/LiveActionTV
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Radio}}
* ShowWithinAShow/{{Theater}}
* ShowWithinAShow/VideoGames
* ShowWithinAShow/WebAnimation
* ShowWithinAShow/WebComics
* ShowWithinAShow/WebOriginal
* ShowWithinAShow/WesternAnimation



[[folder:Model Trains]]
* The smallest-scale model train is in the window of a toy store--[[http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1222496/Pictured-The-worlds-smallest-working-train-model-thats-tinier-fingernail.html which is in a model village that's part of a model train.]]

* The song [[http://www.thefump.com/fump.php?id=1744 "Movie in a Movie"]] by Tony Goldmark is about a ridiculously big set of nested movies.
* Music/SelenaGomez's ''Love You Like A Love Song'' has a video where she is in a karaoke bar, with her singing in and out of the bar's TV.

* ''Pinball/FamilyGuy'' has a miniature working pinball machine on the playfield, which is played by Stewie at key points during the game.
** ''Pinball/{{Shrek}}'', a reskinned version of ''Family Guy,'' has "Donkey's Pinball" instead.
* The VideoMode for ''Pinball/TheaterOfMagic'' is a [[DigitalPinballTables video pinball game.]]
* ''[[Pinball/LightsCameraAction Lights... Camera... Action!]]'' casts the player as a film Director who must finish a blockbuster action film.
* In the bonus rounds of SonicTheHedgehogSpinball, Sonic operataes an actual pinball table. You can see his reflection in the glass, and his eyes even move as you play.

[[folder:Professional Wrestling]]
* All the [[TalkShowWithFists Talk Shows With Fists]].
* The comic book from which Thunderbolt and Lightning [[RefugeeFromTvLand originated from]] in Wrestling/{{GLOW}}.
* "Guapos University" and "Fitness con [[Wrestling/SarahStock Dark Angel]]" were among Wrestling/{{CMLL}}'s. Five episodes of the latter were put on Youtube in 2014.
* Wrestling/RingOfHonor has had ''Things That Piss [[Wrestling/TheWorldsGreatestTagTeam Charlie Haas]] Off'', ''Public Silas Announcement'', and ''Story Time With Wrestling/AdamCole'', among others.
* SHINE Wrestling has "Lucha Family Films(This does not exist)".

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Dog City'' (the cartoon) in ''WesternAnimation/DogCity''.
* ''Series/TheMrPotatoHeadShow'': This is actually the basic premise: the main cast films episodes of a TV show (not all of which we get to see) for a pair of network executives. However, what this show is or even its genre is different in every episode.
* ''The Muppet Show'' on ''Series/TheMuppetShow''.
* In an episode of ''Series/{{Dinosaurs}}'' (the early '90's animatronic puppet show), Earl watches a sock-puppet show where a woman refers to some skanky-looking characters as "cheap hose/ho's." (See {{Parental Bonus}}.) He says something close to, "I love this show. It's got one meaning that's funny for grown-ups, and one that's funny for kids!"
* ''Up Late with Miss Piggy'' on ''Series/TheMuppets''.

[[folder:Stand-Up Comedy]]
* "If you ever find out what you're watching is a show within a show, sit back and hang on for the ride of your life." -- [[Series/SaturdayNightLive Jack Handey]]

[[folder:Tabletop Games]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{GURPS}}''
** ''GURPS Magical Items 3'' includes a brief description of a setting where TheFairFolk battle with {{Magitek}} HumongousMecha in the chapter describing such mecha. The vignette for an earlier chapter on magic toys suggests that this setting is a popular kids' TV show in the world of ''TabletopGame/GURPSTechnomancer'', with its own line of living action figures.
** The opening vignette of ''[[TabletopGame/GURPSTechnomancer Technomancer]]'' has a police mage channel-surfing while on stakeout. What she finds are mostly news and commercials, but there's a trailer for a show where [[Series/TheXFiles FBI agents Cat Morrigan and Dara Skuld]] investigate rumours of TheFairFolk.
* Mention is made of a popular holoseries in ''TabletopGame/Warhammer40000'' called [[ComicBook/JudgeDredd Arbitrator Foreboding]], a member of the Adeptus Arbites who hunts down mutants and heretic with relish and a very big gun.

[[folder:Theme Parks]]
* The former ''Ride/{{Disaster}}'' attraction at [[Ride/UniversalStudios Universal Studios Florida]] was based around the fictitious Disaster Studios, which created "films" such as "Apocageddon", "Das Schurke", "Baboon!", and "300 Knots Landing"; with their upcoming production being "Mutha Nature".