Stealth Pun: Live-Action TV
- Arrested Development at one point had Henry Winkler walking along a dock, and had to take a bit of a leap to get past a cartilaginous fish that was lying there.
- Babylon 5:
J. Michael Straczynski: And who should come through...but the Three Kings....
- The famous Nantucket limerick shows up in the pilot. Delenn has heard it, and thinks it's a typical example of Earth poetry...
- In the B5 prequel, In The Beginning, one of the few Minbari who advocates giving peace a chance is named Lennon. (Word Of God confirms that this was intentional.)
- There's a customs scene where Zack Allan is explaining customs procedure to a new security recruit. As he mentions that "anything unusual gets flagged", Londo shows up. Shortly followed by Bester. Zack then decides to get out of here before anyone else goes through the customs gate, since for all he knows it could be the Second Coming. After Zack leaves, the next people through the customs gate are...a trio of Elvis Impersonators. According to Word Of God:
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
- Oz is practically a Hurricane of Stealth Puns.
- For several episodes of Season 4 Oz wears a sheepskin jacket. As he's a werewolf, you know what that makes him...
- His real name is Daniel Osbourne. He plays in a rock band. Sound familiar?
- Finally, his band is called "Dingoes Ate My Baby". Dingoes are found in Australia. What's a nickname for Australia? Oz.
- In the episode "Tabula Rasa", Spike is being pursued by a demon he owes money to. The demon has the head of a shark. Which makes him... a loan shark.
- In another episode, Spike and others are gambling with baby cats instead of poker chips. In card games the betting pool is often referred to as "the kitty".
- Oz is practically a Hurricane of Stealth Puns.
- Burn Notice: In the first season, Michael adopts the persona of good ol' boy Homer to repo a boat. He's working for a man named Virgil.
- Cheers: In the episode "Little Carla, Happy at Last", Carla finds out she's pregnant by Eddie LeBec. Worse yet, it's twins. She thinks that's bad news but the father disagrees:
Eddie: Twins means we're twice blessed! I can't believe it! This is the happiest night of my life!
Sam: You know, I had twins once. It was the happiest night of my life too.
- Chuck: The title character's ability to access data on threats to the country is called "flashing". When he temporarily is unable to do so, he tries to practice, and is shown using a series of cards with images of spies on them, which are never actually called "flash cards".
- Until the series' third-to-last episode, "Chuck Vs. The Bullet Train", when the villain Quinn calls the set of special cards he uses to force Sarah's defective Intersect to activate just that.
- Also, the title of the fifth season opener ("Chuck Vs. The Zoom", "zoom" being what Morgan chooses to call a "flash" when he's using the Intersect) is a pun on the DC Comics hero The Flash and his number one enemy, Professor Zoom. The pun also foreshadows the deterioration of Chuck and Morgan's relationship over the first third of the season.
- The Colbert Report has Gorlock, a Signs-esque alien who advises Stephen on various topics. He was first introduced as Stephen's financial advisor and an excuse to make Scientology jokes, but we later find out that he's also Stephen's attorney. Making him... A legal alien.
- Was there ever a mention of him taking a sick day? Which would make him an ILL-legal alien.
- Cold Case: The episode Beautiful Little Fool opens with the 1929 New Year party in a mansion. In the next scene, one of the attendants is dead. It turns out the killer worked as butler in said mansion, meaning The Butler Did It.
- Community: Britta is called a buzzkill by her fellow study group members throughout the series, but it's only in season 5 that she gets to do it (semi-)literally, "killing" Buzz Hickey by pushing him into imaginary lava.
- In the sixth season finale, the group looks back on their six years at Greendale. Abed gives a "cool" for each one and Chang intentionally farts during the one for season four. Season four, which was not overseen by show creator Dan Harmon and is seen as lesser quality, is known as the "gas leak year".
- Daily Show / Colbert Report: This shorter alternative to an epic poem.
- In the Degrassi franchise, nobody ever called Mr. Raditch "Radish" until JT and Liberty in his actor's last episode on the show.
- Dexter: The very name of Dexter Morgan is most likely a Stealth Pun, given that it's Latin for "right." The corresponding term for "left"? Sinister.
- Dick Clark's New Year's Rockin' Eve: Since 2006 ABC's annual New Year's countdown has had a west coast portion that airs after midnight on the east coast hosted by the Black Eyed Peas' frontwoman Fergie. In case you do not understand the pun you are traditionally supposed to eat black eyed peas on New Year’s Day to bring you good luck in the upcoming year.
- Doctor Who:
Doctor: They've got dogs with no noses. Imagine how many times a day you end up telling that joke, and it's still funny!
- "The Macra Terror" features a Crapsaccharine World Stepford Holiday Camp where a theoretically healthy way of life has been subverted from the inside by crabs - a societal cancer, if you will.
- Tom Baker's 'bohemian' Fourth Doctor was conceptualised by Philip Hinchcliffe as a return to Patrick Troughton's Depression-tramp-styled Second Doctor. So, Two is a 'cosmic hobo', and Four is a 'cosmic boho'.
- "The Brain of Morbius" concerns a Mad Scientist trying to steal the head of the Doctor (played, at this time, by a notoriously egotistical actor) because it's large enough to house Morbius's large brain... basically, a whole story about Tom Baker's bigheadedness.
- The story "City of Death" takes place in Paris. Paris is also referred to as "cité de l'amour" (city of love), which is a hononym for "cité de la mort"—city of death.
- In "Attack of the Cybermen" the Sixth Doctor, midway through his allotted regenerations and up a level in Jerkass, repairs his TARDIS's Chameleon Circuit to give it an updated appearance... a giant organ.
- The episode "Aliens of London" features a pig being put into a spaceship and fired at Big Ben in order to create a fake alien invasion which will scare the populace. So the entire plan revolves around a flying pig...
- The Arc Words "Bad Wolf," in one instance. The first time Rose is referred to as "the big bad wolf,", it's in 1895 Cardiff, where she shows up wearing makeup - something only worn at the time by prostitutes. In olden times, "she-wolf" was slang for "prostitute."
- In "The Parting of the Ways", Rose shows up at the last minute to save the day, with new powers that she drew from the omnipotent consciousness at the heart of the TARDIS - a literal deus ex machina. What's more, she's using them to kill the Emperor Dalek, a Little Green Man in a Can which fancies itself as a god.
- And in "The Parting of the Ways", the Doctor mentions the planet Barcelona:
- In "The End of Time" the Master turns the entire Human race into copies of himself, and tells the Doctor that the Human race have now become 'The Master Race'. Although this initially seems like an Incredibly Lame Pun, it becomes a Stealth Pun when you realise that The Master has blonde hair and blue eyes.
- In "The Curse Of The Black Spot", the Siren disappears injured people away to a hospital sickbay. When someone requires medical attention and help is being sent, it's generally heralded by a siren.
- In Peter Davison's parody for the Doctor Who 50th Anniversary, The Five(ish) Doctors Reboot, a security guard suspects "illegal aliens" have broken into the Doctor Who studio. Who actually broke in? Sylvester McCoy, Colin Baker and Peter Davison. Illegal aliens from Gallifrey!
- Dragons: A Fantasy Made Real: In the Forest Dragon part, there's a confrontation between the dragon and a tiger. While the tiger is crouching around, the dragon is hiding in the forest trees. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.
- Farscape has Rygel, a deposed king who has a tendency to release farts similar in effect to helium. Should I really point out that helium is a noble gas?
- Father Ted: The episode "Chirpy Burpy Cheap Sheep" is about a sheep who is being driven neurotic. There's a concealed pun implicit in this concept (and [formerly] revealed in The Other Wiki's relevant episode entry) but it is something of a subversion since neither the pun nor the punchline are actually spoken.
- Firefly: Overlapping with an ILP, in the episode "Safe", River wanders off and starts dancing — and it's stated in her backstory that she was a ballerina (Real Life Writes the Plot, Summer Glau is one). How is this a pun? Her name is River, and she is dancing. River. Dancing. Riverdance.
- In the DVD's scene selection for the episode, this scene is actually called "River Dance."
- Frasier: From "Ham Radio", the actor Mel White, whom Frasier even describes as "Man of a Thousand Voices".
- Glee: The episode, "Furt", revolves around Finn's mother and Kurt's father marrying, making them into a family. Finn gives a speech in which he says that, as they're together, they should have a portmanteau name (no); they are now "Furt". Left unsaid is that, as of their families joining, they're Kin(n).
- On Glue, the title refers to the ties binding the main characters together, but it is also a pun that's never made explicit - glue is what horses end up as.
- Hawaii Five-0: season 5 episode 4 has one as a Brick Joke. It starts of with a man getting killed, said man is a hitman, killed by a hitman. It turns out the first hitman was sent to kill the first hitman and... people the second hitman didn't manage to kill. The reason he didn't manage to kill those people mercilessly as he had done in the past was because he got ill, and had a heart transplant. This was the heart of a nice man. So one could say that the hitman had a 'change of heart'.
- Horrible Histories: The Owain Glyndwr song is a pastiche of "Delilah" by Tom Jones - however, when Owain mentions being given the title of Prince... of Wales, it segues into a pastiche of "Kiss", which was also performed by Jones, but originally by Prince.
- How I Met Your Mother had an episode where Ted was lecturing his class about the work of an architect who had died midway through his work, leaving it unfinished, and repeating the word "unfinished" until the word lost all meaning. The background music? Schubert's Unfinished Symphony. Might double as a Genius Bonus.
- Kitchen Nightmares: In "The Great British Nightmare" special episode, Ramsay's attempts to prove a local restaurant is better than a chain restaurant are accompanied by the instrumental opening of Fleetwood Mac's "The Chain".
- Lost has a ridiculous amount, if you stop to think about it. Locke — a man known for thinking out of the box — used to work at a box company. Naomi in 4th season didn't have a Ruth, making her ruthless. And in 6th season, episode "The Substitute", Sawyer dangles for a while between the devil and the deep blue sea.
- In the 1986 Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, host Pat Sajak introduced the Kermit balloon saying that the other balloons might be jealous of Kermit, because his balloon was the only one at the time to have traveled outside of the Statesnote . As he brought this up, however, Sajak neglected to use the term "green with envy" (which is a real shame, considering that the parade's color commentary has prided itself on incredibly lame puns).
- Malcolm in the Middle: One episode has Dewey being menaced by a girl in his class. Reese offers to help him come up with some barbs to throw at her, and suggests finding something that rhymes with her name. Dewey says she's "Regina Tucker", and Reese says that isn't much to work with, but he's sure they'll think of something.
- Merlin on The BBC features King Uther, who used to keep a dragon penned up in the dungeon.
- Mock the Week: Milton Jones comments that farmers have recently started using heroin but finding the evidence has been difficult. It's like finding a needle in a haystack.
- Monk: Adrian Monk (notice the last name) is an OCD-ridden detective, making him a Creature of Habit.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus: In the fourth-series sketch "A Doctor," a doctor hands a questionnaire to a patient bleeding profusely (where his nurse stabbed him) and gives him failing marks for wrong answers (correct answers include "The Merchant of Venice" and "the Treaty of Versailles"). He never says he's giving his patient an exam.
- Morecambe and Wise had a recurring bit where a former Special Guest would declare "I worked with Morecambe and Wise ... and look what happened to me", before the camera pulled out to reveal they were working in a menial job. Andre Previn turned out to be working on a London bus ... as a conductor.
- On one episode of [adult swim]'s NTSF:SD:SUV::, the villain is a dolphin by the name of Lundgren. Get it...? Dolph Lundgren?
- Pushing Daisies had this gem from the episode "Dummy":
Chuck: But where are the real dummies?
(Emerson starts sniggering)
Narrator: Before Emerson Cod could reply with a clever, if slightly insulting remark, something moving caught his eye.
- Reaper: The Devil gives Sam his phone number. We never see it, but Sam's reaction to the area code makes it pretty obvious it's 666.
- Red Dwarf:
- In one episode, Lister suggests a game of squash with Rimmer's light-bee, a device which flies around and projects his holographic image. Squash is a game played with a small hollow ball. Hollow, holo...
- The name of Red Dwarf 's subship Blue Midget is based on the main ship's name, with Midget being a synonym for Dwarf, and blue being a different colour.
- Revolution: One of the first things Mia talks about is how she was Missing In Action (M.I.A.).
- Saturday Night Live: A famous example from this show's "Celebrity Jeopardy" sketches:
Sean Connery: What's the difference between you and a mallard with a cold? One's a sick duck... I can't remember how it ends, but your mother's a whore.
- Presumably, one is a sick duck, and the other a dick-suck. That is, a Precision F-Strike.
- Scrubs: In this episode an imaginary patient has a kitten in his mouth. Probably he misunderstood the concept of eating pussy. Either that or the cat's got his tongue.
- Seinfeld: After George gets fired from the Yankees, he discovers he will continue to get paid throughout the summer. He uses this as an excuse to spend the summer being as lazy as possible, dubbing it "The Summer of George". His plans come to a crashing end when he falls down the stairs and injures himself. In other words, summer ends with fall.
- The title character of Sherlock does not once excrete onscreen. Or to put it like a caveman (or somebody with grammar of a similar level) would: no shit Sherlock.
- Smallville had one episode all about nightmares. Every single song in the episode is by REM.
- The Sopranos: Phil's men are hiding in Vito's motel room, where they ambush and plan to kill him due to the revelation that he's gay. Phil himself is hiding in a closet, and once Vito has been subdued, Phil reveals himself to Vito by coming out of the closet.
- Stargate SG-1 has the following exchange:
Anis: You may call me Anis. It means "Noble Strength".
Daniel: I am Daniel. It means "God is my judge".
Jack: I'm Jack. It means... what's in the box?
- Parodied in that this is an actual conversation change because he didn't know the meaning of his name....
- So when it comes to names, he doesn't know Jack.
- Parodied in that this is an actual conversation change because he didn't know the meaning of his name....
- Star Trek: The Next Generation has a variant in the episode "The Naked Now". As the Enterprise crew succumb to an inebriation-inducing virus, Data reports picking up numerous disturbances on internal sensors, including a crewman singing a limerick:
Data: There once was a woman from Venus, whose body was shaped like a—
- And speaking of TNG, there's the emotionless android Data and his more human brother Lore. This borders on Fridge Brilliance.
- Star Trek: The Original Series: Kirk claims to be from the island of Noman at one point.
- Another episode sees Kirk, Spock, and McCoy beam into a library and meet a librarian named Mr. Atoz. Which is the name you get if you compress the phrase "A to Z" into a single word.
- Star Trek: Voyager: How about Tuvok, the black Vulcan?
- Supernatural: One episode has a quick scene of the producer of a movie named Jay talking on the phone to a man named Bob. We never hear Bob's side of the conversation.
- Tensou Sentai Goseiger: The ending song has a line which mentions Five Star. That's a possible meaning for Gosei, as used in Gosei Sentai Dairanger.
- Top Gear: There is a joke award for the biggest presenter error called the Golden Cock award (a small figurine of a rooster). In the 2009 Top Gear Awards, the award was given to their "tame racing driver," The Stig, who refused to give it back and got quite violent when Richard Hammond tried to take it away from him. So you could say The Stig really likes the cock.
- Torchwood: In the episode "Dead Man Walking", after learning how much it sucks to be a zombie, Owen (unsuccessfully) attempts to drown his sorrows in beer.
- And then he literally tries to drown himself.
- Veronica Mars: The late Lilly Kane called her younger brother Duncan by the nickname "Donut". One (admittedly cute) fanfic posited that it was because he wanted to be a cop as a kid. Someone clearly missed the pun.
- In one episode, Veronica hides a listening device in a preserved insect. (It's a bug in a bug.)
- Warehouse 13: An artifact-carrying vigilante dresses up as comic book superhero, "The Iron Shadow". According to the comic-loving Lattimer, The Iron Shadow has no powers, he has simply trained himself to near physical perfection. At the end of the episode, briefly-visible text as the artifact is being cataloged reveals it to be Charles Atlas' gym trunks.