"We really should get another tape. I mean, they're not expensive."Reuse of a tape that was previously recorded over, without recording over the entire thing, will leave the surrounding footage, and will continue on to it after the newly recorded footage runs out. And sometimes this is used in a joke, to show somebody (generally the person who owns and then plays the tape) doing something hideously embarrassing. The guy involved gasps and stops the tape but it's too late - about a dozen of his closest friends have seen him singing, dancing or performing a sex act on tape and they're never going to forget it. It doesn't work quite so well with CDs due to their differing format... but since there's still a lot of VHS players and tapes going around, it'll be used for quite a while yet. Sometimes this trope can be played with where the guy involved accidentally hits fast-forward on the remote instead of stop or eject, and the tape fast-forwards to an even more humiliating scene, but usually it's played straight.
— George Michael lampshades this trope.
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- A car advert (German, possibly Volkswagen) demonstrated their engineers' fixation with making their cars the best they could with an amateur video from one of the engineers taking geeky delight in the function of door locks, the design of the rear light cluster and so forth. At the end is footage of his wedding.
- Cloverfield does this, as it is ostensibly recorded on a hand-held camera belonging to one of the characters.
- The parody on MAD (the Cartoon Network sketch show based on the magazine of the same name) had the attack taped on Kermit the Frog's American Idol audition video.
- Oddly enough, some text briefly flashed on the screen at the beginning says that the video was retrieved from a memory card. Since memory cards don't store things sequentially like a tape, this shouldn't have happened. It would have just recorded the incident into a new file and there wouldn't be any of the old video showing up in the new one. If it were on digital tape, which is still in wide enough use, it would've made much more sense.
- And really there shouldn't be such long sections of Coney Island throughout the film even if it was a tape, given that all Hud was doing was stopping and starting the recording. The only part that belonged was the part at the very end, when the tape ran out.
- The Simpsons' Big Damn Movie had Marge videotape her "Dear John" Letter to Homer over their wedding footage intentionally, so Homer would know just how badly he'd screwed up and how seriously she was taking leaving him. After seeing the tearful farewell from Marge, there was a little wedding footage left. He doesn't want to stop watching.
- In Austrailiens, one character has a lump on his scrotum, which he is afraid might be prostate cancer. He borrows his sister's friends camera to take a look at it, but she takes it back as aliens descend on Brisbane. At the end of the film, it's shown that his experiment prefaces the documentary of the invasion. It's shown on national TV.
- Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder private eye novel A Dance at the Slaughterhouse begins with an innocent third-party getting hold of a video tape of The Dirty Dozen that also includes scenes of a pair of serial killers torturing and killing a victim. The killers also killed the guy who made the tape, but didn't expect him to have a copy hidden in a commercial cassette (which was subsequently sold to a video rental place).
Live Action TV
- Trope Namer is George Michael Bluth's eventual comment on a Running Gag on Arrested Development where, every time something is taped, it runs on to present footage George Michael shot of himself imitating scenes from The Phantom Menace in his garage (in the vein of Star Wars Kid).
George Michael: They're not expensive.
- Used as a Continuity Nod to "Frank Sets Sweet Dee On Fire" in the It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia episode "Paddy's Pub: Home Of The Original Kitten Mittens".
- Lost used a tape of the 2004 World Series as a plot point. Later, the same tape is used to show a different revelation by Ben; although the footage does not run on, there's a bit of confusion over the label:
Locke: Red Sox?Ben: I taped over the game.
- On Friends:
- In "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt", Joey's grandmother joins him and the gang to watch his part in an episode of Law & Order but his scene was cut out, so Joey quickly tapes a new one in his apartment and passes it off as his original scene just before the episode ends. Immediately after Joey's homemade scene ends, the tape switched to Chandler singing "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.
- In "The One With The Prom Video", the aforementioned tape of Monica and Rachel getting ready for their prom abruptly becomes Jack and Judy Geller's sex tape.
- Richard has a tape marked "Monica" on which he's taped a baseball game over a sex tape with a woman who isn't Monica. Whether he taped that over Monica isn't clear.
- When Ross is collecting some of his things from Carol and Susan, he finds his tape of half the Grand Finale of M*A*S*H and half of the Iranian hostages being released had become Carol and Susan's vacation and half of the Iranian hostages being released.
- One episode of Everybody Loves Raymond revolves around Ray's taping a football game over his wedding video.
- An episode of Ellen centred around Ellen taping an episode of Thirtysomething over a friend's birth video.
- In one episode of The Thin Blue Line, Inspector Fowler attempts to record Inspector Grim confessing to planting evidence, but when he triumphantly plays back the cassette, all they hear is his girlfriend's workout routine. Boyle, Grim's crony, points out that Fowler needed to push down "play" and "record" for it to work. At the end of the episode, as Patricia does her workout, she hears what was recorded afterwards: the mayoress apparently propositioning Fowler.
- On an episode of M*A*S*H, Henry's wife sends him a filmstrip of his daughter's birthday party and everyone gathers in his office to watch. Tacked onto the end is an old clip of Henry goofing around with his next door neighbors, to Henry's chagrin and Hawkeye and Trapper's delight.
- In Veronica Mars the first episode has a cop showing a tape of a robbery in court, but instead of showing the correct footage, it cuts to the cop in question hiring a prostitute.
- On Law & Order, the cops come across a videotape of a apparent murder. The crime lab guy helps narrow down the source of the tape by finding footage of a bar mitzvah elsewhere on the tape
- The Armstrong and Miller Show: a family video message from Australian friends turns out to have been recorded over a kinky sex session. See it here.
- In one episode of Col'n Carpenter, Col'n's flatmate recieves some home movies that have been transferred to betamax. Col'n then accidentally uses the tape to record A Very Brady Easter. At the end of the episode, it turns out the company had sent her the wrong tape and these were actually someone else's home movies.
- In the The Simpsons episode when Maude Flanders dies, Homer tries to make Ned a dating video...not fully taped over a recording of Marge giving birth to Maggie.
- In the South Park episode "Something You Can Do With Your Finger," Cartman shows a tape of his Boy Band to the mall manager, which continues on to a videotaped BDSM scene of his slut of a mother and Mr. Mackey.
- The Family Guy episode, "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar," had a scene in which Peter admitted to Lois that he taped over Lois and Peter exchanging their wedding vows with a soft-core women in prison porno (not all of it; the porno cuts back to the wedding ending before anything explicit can be shown) and Lois realizes that she made a copy of the video (not knowing that Peter taped over the vow exchange) and sent it to her great-aunt who lives in a nursing home. Lois's great-aunt comments that the wedding is hot and an old man punches at his crotch to get his penis to "wake up."
- In Stoked!, Johnny is supposed to video the opposing team for a tandem surf competition so Reef and Broseph can study their technique for weaknesses. Instead, he ends up shooting nothing but footage of his crush Emma surfing. The end of the tape shows him pretending the camera is Emma and kissing it; much to Reef and Broseph's amusement.
- In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "One False Movie", Eduardo tapes over the end of the movie that Bloo and his friends made with an episode of his favorite show, an expy of Dora the Explorer. Hilarity Ensues as this happened at the wrap party for said film (the tape was lying in plain sight), which was due to be shown at a film festival later on.
- In the early days of pre-recorded home video, some companies allegedly re-used old porno tapes for kids' movies, which was fine until the kids' movies finished and the end of the porno movies was revealed...
- A man was arrested for bestiality after he loaned his video camera to his neighbours to tape their wedding. When they played back the tape in the camera, it showed him having sex with a dog.
- Strangely, some rewritable DVDs can suffer from this. If a DVD+RW (not tested with -RW) is quick-erased (marked for overwriting) and new content incorrectly recorded, the video recorded over the old content will play to the end, then the player playing the disc will freeze as it tries to make head or tail of the abrupt transition between the end of the new content and the middle of the old content. Then any parts of the old content that haven't been overwritten will play (if the new video takes up less space on the disc than the old one), usually with glitchy video or sound.
- A real problem for storage devices, being overwritten doesn't always mean being erased. Harddrives leave faint traces of the original data that special equipment can read. Flash drives are designed to avoid overwriting existing data whenever possible (too many writes to the same address eventually wears it out), thus leaving the original data completely intact.