The short-lived sitcom Sledge Hammer! was filled to bursting with examples of Take That. Series creator and executive producer Alan Spencer had a deep-rooted contempt for other television sitcoms, and frequently expressed it with digs at Mr. Belvedere. Ironically, both programs aired on the same network, ABC.
Nobody on Mr. Belvedere took it lying down, either. While series star Christopher Hewett kept relatively quiet on the matter, co-star Bob Uecker did several Take Thats of his own against Spencer when he guest starred on The Tonight Show.
Another episode featured Sledge's reaction upon meeting a Max Headroom version of himself: "An hour with you would be hell!" (This was another ABC show.)
Sledge is once shown shooting a TV set in response to the announcement of a Miami Vice episode.
In "All Shook Up" (where Sledge goes undercover to find out who's murdering Elvis impersonators), Dori tells him he's going after an impersonator from Dallas and before one from Miami. "Between Dallas and Miami? What a terrible place to be," he comments (all three shows aired on Fridays at 9pm that season).
As well as another jab at Miami Vice, this episode contains another jab at Mr. Belvedere with an exchange between the Japanese janitor and Sledge: the janitor says he wants to get home to watch Mr. Belvedere, to which Sledge replies "I guess somebody has to." Just to ram the point home, the ''Mr. Belvedere'' fan turns out to be the murderer.
In the smart cop drama Homicide: Life on the Street impressionable Detective Bayliss became awed after interviewing an emergency-room doctor about the death of a patient and said, "It's like she was doing God's work," he enthused. "How can we compare?" Not long after, his cynical, veteran partner, Detective Pembleton was sick of it. "You want glory? Go work at ER," he snapped. "Homicide's fine by me." A not so subtle jab at the wildly popular hospital show.
And the producers of Homicide: Life on the Street had good reason to do a take that against ER. Originally, Homicide was supposed to replace L.A. Law on Thursday nights at 10:00 PM in the fall of 1994, which at the time was one of the best time slots on NBC. However, ER tested so well though that NBC Entertainment president Warren Littlefield decided to give that series the prized Thursday slot. The producers of Homicide felt that if they had been given that time slot instead of ER, the show would not have had to constantly deal with ratings struggles which, in their minds, were the prime reasons why original cast members Jon Polito, Ned Beatty, and Daniel Baldwin were ordered dropped from the series so early in the run.
Near the end of Remington Steele, there was an episode with an elderly British spy who said "We in MI5 thought James Bond was a sissy." Pierce Brosnan was in the running to play James Bond when Roger Moore left the role, but had to back out due to commitments to Remington Steele. It all worked out in the end...
The second-to-last episode of Riptide had the team helping out an obvious-but-stupid version of Moonlighting (the show that beat it in the ratings).
Knight Rider had a HUGE one on The Dukes of Hazzard in the episode "Give Me Liberty... Or Give Me Death." In a race with alternative-fuel powered cars, there is one car run on moonshine and driven by Bo and Luke Duke expies - the brothers are even named Prince (a higher rank than a duke) - and while other contestants are threatened, the Prince brothers are the only ones killed. For good measure, their car, which is the General Lee without the Confederate flag (same orange color) is blown up with them in it!
After Product Displacement enforced by General Motors declared the words Pontiac, Trans Am and everything related off limits, the writers responded by having KITT (the lead talking car) praise rival Ford Motor Company's founder's choice of colour.
An episode of Monk, "Mr. Monk and the TV Star," has a a scene where Monk and Sharona are on the set of a CSI: Crime Scene Investigation stand-in called Crime Lab: SF while investigating their lead actor. We later see a summation bit from the show being redubbed. What we see of the scene demonstrates many of CSI's distinctive visual effects where the killer of the episode in question took out his own blood and froze it into a bullet mold, just so that it would melt without a trace later.
Another Take That moment happens in "Mr. Monk and the Really, Really Dead Guy," where Monk outwits the FBI's state-of-the-art computer technology, just to demonstrate that it is actual thinking and thought processing that closes cases, not computers and flashy technology.
On another episode after arresting a wannabe mafioso who did a lousy job covering his tracks, one of the police officers looked at the other and said something to the effect of "It's The Sopranos. Makes them all think they're invincible."
A later episode featured a sinister, scientology-like cult that was portrayed as litigious, greedy, psychologically and possibly physically abusive, kept secret files on their own people, and were strongly suspected of driving the victim to her death however, this particular Take That ended on a rather weird note: not only was the cult not directly responsible for her death, the real killer joined them in order to find peace, and one of the prosecutors quips that he might be involved in the influential cult as well.
The confusion may be resolved by noting that this episode was Ripped from the Headlines inspired by a real-life case. Naturally, a few details were changed to avoid litigation.
The series finale didn't even try to hide the fact that they were ripping from the 4chan/Anonymous headlines, with the main antagonist's online screename literally being "moot". In particular, one of the suspects (trying to be "moot") was stand-in for one of moot's longtime rivals, a pedophile rival message board owner who had a history of trying to destroy 4chan via spam bots flooding 4chan with spam for his rival website.
An early episode had a spoiled, rich, adult man firmly under his mother's thumb. He got sent to Riker's Island for breaking bail (by taking his children to Barbados on vacation). The DA's office decided to send in an informant to very carefully not elicit information as the rich man broke under the unpleasant pressure of prison.
Schiff: Who can we send in?
Stone: We've got an armed robber... a landlord... they're both ripe for deals.
Schiff: Send in the armed robber. The jury will find him more sympathetic than a landlord.
The show was also a fan of doing episodes where they mocked existing shows, ranging from "The Real World" (cast member kills another cast member, manipulated by a corrupt MTV executive), Rescue Me (two episodes were done that criticized that show's take on firefighters), Nip/Tuck (plastic surgeon accidentally kills a patient), and the various TLC shows about families with large numbers of kids.
Law & Order: Criminal Intent features as a recurring character an obnoxious, loudmouthed, blond cable news anchor named "Faith Yancy", no points for guessing who she's an Expy of.
Yet another episode featured a video blogger named WeepingWillow17 who owned a stuffed monkey puppet and got kidnapped, obviously based on Lonelygirl15, a series co-created by one Miles Beckett. The episode in question also featured a scene where an amateur video maker named Miles was criticised for including too many cuts; his show was described as "visual masturbation", with "no depth, no theme, no narrative..." Ouch. Just in case the viewers didn't get it, the videos were then compared directly to WeepingWillow17.
CI somehow managed to deliver a Take That to Tom DeLay on both the show and in real life.
Ironically, on an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation itself, when a reality TV crew was filming the CSIs while they were working, Grissom remarked that there were too many forensic crime shows on TV.
Never mind that William Peterson, TV's Gil Grissom, was against the splintering of the CSI franchise, even refusing to appear in character with anyone from the Miami cast.
The Chuck Lorre written episode "Two And A Half Deaths" was a long "Take That" against Cybill Shepherd, Roseanne Barr, and Brett Butler, all of whom Lorre worked with in the past.
Tom: Well, Entertainment 720 is dead. It's up in company heaven along with Pets.com, Blockbuster, and Ask Jeeves. My company is no better than a company where you ask a fake butler to Google things for you.
In the first two episodes of The Best Years, Dawn was a former teen actress whose never-seen Show Within a Show existed solely to poke fun at Degrassi The Next Generation. In one case, it actually parodied a specific Degrassi episode. When Dawn gets cast as Lady Macbeth in a college play, she can't understand the role at all, and says, "if Lady Macbeth were buying her first bra or discovering the dangers of under-age drinking, I could do this." The producer of The Best Years worked on Degrassi The Next Generation for almost its entire run, and a few of the D:TNG cast has shown up on guest roles — in fact, on The-N's website, Jay from Degrassi was on one of the clips they showed from Dawn's TV role — so this could be more of an Affectionate Parody.
Fandom is divided on whether the episode "Love and Monsters" is an Affectionate Parody and loving tribute to the things that make Doctor Who fandom special, or just a huge Take That to its fans. The truth is it's kind of both; the 'good' fans are presented as being slightly geeky and socially awkward but fundamentally decent and good people who come together, make connections, are inspired creatively and even fall in love as a result of their fandom, whereas the 'bad' fans are humourless jobsworths who treat fandom as a joyless ritual, establishing pecking orders and sucking all the life and creativity out of the whole thing for the sake of their own ego-fulfillment. It might not be coincidental that it is sometimes suggested that the Absorbaloff is based on Ian Levine, a well-known fan who arguably represents more than a few of these negative traits.
Prior actors of the Doctor bicker non-stop whenever they happen to meet each other. Jon Pertwee and Patrick Troughton turned this bickering into an art during convention appearances, and Colin Baker and Peter Davison have traded insults on DVD commentaries.
The third season finale also clearly flipped the bird at the American government when the Doctor manages to turn back time a whole year to avoid a vast majority of the deaths that occurred...and stops just short of saving the US president as well; with the Doctor specifying that "everything is back to normal." This aspect is arguably justified in it being clearly established that the Timey-Wimey Ball effect that allowed him to do this only kicked in after the President was killed — however, said President's depiction as a arrogant, buffoonish jackass who bore a certain resemblance to a certain then-current President definitely belongs here — and vitriolic comparisons made in that vein on the US DVD Commentary fuel the fire even more.
Also, the Series 1 two-parter "Aliens of London"/"World War Three" had aliens take over the British government and contrive a situation so they would be given access to nuclear launch codes under the pretense of stopping nonexistent "massive weapons of destruction."
Let's not overlook this line from The Christmas Invasion:
Harriet Jones, Prime Minister: You may tell the President this, and please use these exact words: He's not my boss and he's certainly not turning this into a war. note That line was also a bit of a shot at Tony Blair who (in the show's canon) had preceded Jones as PM. Blair's critics often accused him of being little more than a lackey for his "boss" George W. Bush. Its a Broken Aesop anyway, since she opens fire and destroys the aliens after the Doctor defuses the situation.
The Series 3 finale also features Martha suggesting the Master could be the Doctor's brother, only for the Doctor to shoot down the idea as silly and suggest she's been "watching too much television". This could be a Take That at the proposed storylines for a potential US Doctor Who series from the early 1990s in which the Master would have been the Doctor's "evil brother".
Finally, there is this classic moment in "The Parting of the Ways," where Russell T Davies expresses his ambivalent and nuanced feelings regarding the TV movie's claim that the Doctor was part human:
Daleks: Do not blaspheme! Do not blaspheme! Do not blaspheme!
During the moment in "The Almost People" where the Doctor's Ganger is going through the memories of previous regenerations, there is this line most likely aimed at the fans still bitter about David Tennant leaving the show.
Ganger: Hello, I'm the Doctor...[pauses] NO, LET IT GO! WE'VE MOVED ON!
Moffat, notably not a fan of Twitter, makes a dig in The Bells of St. John
The Doctor: Just think of it. Thousands of people, trapped in the Wifi, unable to escape, crying for help.
Clara: Isn't that basically Twitter?
Also from "The Bells of St. John", this time aimed at the Tenth Doctor;
Clara: What chapter are you on?
Clara: 11's the best. You'll cry your eyes out.
In-Universe example in Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: in the episode "Authority", Elliot Stabler arrests Merrit Rook for tricking a fast food restaurant worker to tie-up and sexually assault a female co-worker. Rook is found not guilty, then the following day, appears on a talk show about his campaign for people to not be subservient sheep, bring a live sheep on the show named "Elliot".
Babylon 5 was not shy about insulting other works:
The series took a big swing at Star Trek: Deep Space Nine this waynote Deep Space 9 was alleged by some to have been plagiarised from an early B5 pitch, when Ivanova complained about a gift shop on the station: "This isn't some deep-space franchise, this station is about something!" For added humor, the line was written by Peter David, best known as one of the most talented Star Trek tie-in writers, and he was surprised that J. Michael Straczynski was actually going to use it.
Said episode also saw the appearance of the infamous "Ba-bear-lon 5" teddy bear. Later on, David and Straczynski would trade Take Thats over teddy bears.
As well, a TV Guide writer with the last name Jarvis predicted after watching the pilot movie that the show, planned from the beginning as a single story told over five seasons, wouldn't last a month, resulting in the occasional line such as "The Jarvis toilets are acting up again." The fourth season finale, the first episode written after JMS knew for sure that he would get to tell the whole story, takes a far more direct approach: it ends with a simple shot of text on a black background that says, "Dedicated to all the people who predicted that the Babylon Project would fail in its mission. Faith manages."
It's mentioned that San Diego got nuked in a terrorist attack sometime in the past, and a covert governement group has a base in its ruins. Word of God has that JMS picked the city because he had been mugged and almost killed there.
At the start of the second season, Executive Meddling made the creators sex up Ivanova's appearance. She started wearing redder lipstick and had her hair loose instead of pulled back. When Garibaldi came out of his coma and returned to duty, he commented on her 'new look'. Ivanova snapped back "With everything that's been going on around here I'd think you'd have other things on your mind besides my look!" Take That, Executive Meddlers!
During the first battle with The Shadows Delenn says that it is hopeless. Sheridan replies "No offense but I've heard that before." Which is a polite way of saying, "I'm Starkiller and all you Minbari better be grateful for it too."
The character of Harriet is partly a Take That on Kristen Chenoweth, Aaron Sorkin's ex-girlfriend. They devoted an entire episode to recreating Chenoweth's photo shoot for FHM, and having the male senior writers lambast her for it. Sorkin also uses the trope to get the final word on an argument regarding Chenoweth's decision to appear on The 700 Club (which she later regretted) by recreating the scenario with Matt and Harriet, but he stepped it up several notches in the episode '4am Miracle' when Harriet was blamed for Matt's drug problem (which began after she rejected his advances because he was acting like a stalker) and later has a breakdown on a film set out of guilt for how mean she has been to Matt. It is worth noting, however, that Harriet is also portrayed as a balanced, caring woman that Sorkin's alter ego never fell out of love with.
The entire concept of the pilot is a massive Take That towards ABC (which cancelled Sports Night) and NBC (which ran The West Wing, from which Sorkin quit). Matt Albie, the Sorkin self-insert, is an incredibly talented writer. People can't get over how talented he is. He's so talented and classy that they've just got to repeat it over and over again. Sadly, his intelligence and outspokenness are far superior to that of the network, which fires him, after which point his show steadily declines until they are forced to come grovelling back to him. Later, Jordan fights to pick up a pilot for a show written about the UN with striking similarities to The West Wing, gushing over the excellent scripting.
It's also worth noting that pretty much the entire second half of season two of Sports Night is a series of TakeThats against ABC, culminating in the line "Anybody who can't make money off Sports Night should get out of the money-making business." Never mind the fact that ABC had actually stuck with Sports Night for two full seasons and spent a great deal of money advertising and promoting the show, despite the fact that its ratings were consistently poor.
Also at former West Wing writer Rick Cleveland, with whom Sorkin had a public feud over "In Excelsis Deo", an episode which the two co-wrote. Cleveland is written into Studio 60 as Ricky Tahoe. Ricky is time and again characterised as a hack, a nasty little man who publically ostracised Matt over a controversial statement Matt had made. He ultimately leaves the show with a crappily written pilot script, petulantly taking the entire writing staff with him.
A third season episode of Mork and Mindy actually has Mork meetingRobin Williams, but before he actually meets him, Mork spends most of the episode being horrified that people think he looks like Robin, making the first part of this episode Robin doing a Take That at himself.
Mork: Do you know what "Robin" means on Ork? Mindy: What? Mork whispers to Mindy Mindy: That's disgusting! Mork: Don't look at me, I didn't give him that smutty name!
Mork: He looks like he does his hair with a cuisinart! Man, he's got a road map for eyes! You could pack a family in that nose, man! I mean, look at that mouth, "Duuurrr...". They had to airbrush his entire face, are you kidding? I mean, I'm bright and cheery and this guy's got big problems!
The episode "Mork's Mixed Emotions" had a brief Take That against Steve Martin. Mork, after a wild night of overwhelming emotions, bursts into the record store and throws a cardboard cut-out of Steve across the room and yells Steve's trademark "EXCUUUUUUUUUUSE MEEEEEEE!". Perhaps not really intended as a Take That, since Steve and Robin are friends in real life, but it sure comes off as one.
J.D.: I love Grey's Anatomy. It's like they took our lives and put it on TV.
They did another one against House, when Keith mentions seeing a disease on House and Cox goes on a rampage.
But they also did the episode "My House", which definitely falls in the Affectionate Parody category.
In the episode "My Own Worst Enemy," J.D. wins a "Who-Cares-y" award from Doctor Cox, and thinks "Suck on that, Tony Shalhoub". Zach Braff has been nominated for a Best Actor Emmy twice, and lost to Shalhoub both times.
And in "My Jerks" JD delivers a very meta-textual speech at the end in which he says "now, I know we never do great come medical awards season - well, except for Dr. Shalhoub, he wins everything".
A poster for the showings of LOST season 4 on Sky said in big letters ANSWERS ARE COMING and underneath in much smaller letters [Unless you have Virgin Media or Freeview]! To clarify, Sky1, the channel that premiered seasons 3-6 of Lost in the UK, was pulled from Virgin Media between 2007 and 2008 after a dispute between Sky and Virgin.
Stargate SG-1, possibly in retaliation to Dean Devlin and Roland Emmerich expressing their disdain with the series and stressing their uninvolvement with it at every opportunity, pulled a Take That against their next movie Independence Day in the episode "Politics":
Daniel: Senator, we have reason to believe that the Goa'uld are about to launch an attack, in force, in ships. Kinsey: Then I think they'll regret taking on the United States military! O'Neill: Oh, for God's sake... Daniel: Oh, you're right! We'll — we'll just upload a computer virus into the mothership!
In the episode "Family Ties," Jacek expresses his disappointment at the SGC facility to Samantha Carter. What follows sounds like meaningless banter, unless you know that the SG-1 series was in its last season, and had been replaced with the show Eureka by the SyFy network.
Carter: The truth is the Stargate program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge. Jacek: Why not? Dr. Bill Lee: (yells, from the background) Eureka! Dr. Bill Lee: (as they turn to look at him) One down, twelve to go! Jacek: That's too bad because after all your Stargate program has accomplished for this network of planets, I'd think that the decision makers would show it the respect it deserves.
Stargate Atlantis had a deleted scene (filmed, but not included) in "Miller's Crossing" where Sheppard and Ronon are watching TV in a motel when Battlestar Galactica (the version running concurrently with Atlantis in Real Life) comes on. Ronon watches it for a bit, and then tells Sheppard "We need to help those people." Sheppard tells him it is just a TV show and people write TV shows to make life more exciting, then jabs at them by saying their lives are more interesting than those of the Galactica characters.
One of the later episodes of Murder, She Wrote featured a rather savage attack on Friends (the fact that the episode was titled "Murder Among Friends" should have been enough of a hint) in the form of a Show Within a Show called "Buds", among whose cast there was, of course, the requisite murder. And murderer. This was because TPTB were angry that CBS executives had inexplicably moved the show from it's comfortable Sunday-night timeslot where it had been a ratings powerhouse for nearly a decade, to Thursday nights, opposite Friends, where it was now being slaughtered.
There's also the series finale, which could be a very symbolic Take That. The episode involves the murder of a radio station manager who is murdered after deciding to gain younger viewers by firing all employees over a certain age and switching the format from classical music to hard rock (symbolism much?) The title? Death by Demographics (Murder She Wrote was moved to Thursdays and fed to the sharks because it wasn't picking up enough 18-39 viewers.)
There was an obvious spoof of then-rival Cagney & Lacey on Murder, She Wrote — the cops of the week were female partners, one blonde and one dark, both with rather outrageously blue-collar accents, shown as almost constantly on the phone trying to solve personal/family issues.
And another episode took place on the set of Danger Doctor - an obvious Diagnosis: Murder spoof. Jessica became involved because the writers had stolen one of her stories.
Millennium was apparently the subject of so much Executive Meddling from the Broadcast Standards and Practices that series writer Darin Morgin parodied him in the episode "Somehow, Satan Got Behind Me," with a segment about how a demon drives a Broadcast Standards & Practices guy insane. This eventually results in the hilarious line, "You will not get away with this! The final scene is gratuitously violent! Aliens would not carry an Uzi! They are a superior race and they would not carry or utilize automatic weapons! I will not approve this! I am Broadcast Standards and Practices!"
The second series of Extras was largely a Take That towards sitcoms that Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant don't like — primarily catchphrase-based, broad and unnaturalistic shows such as Little Britain.
And the Christmas special series finale was greatly pointed at Big Brother.
Gervais and Merchant have noted, however, they were not attempting to label people who do "broad" comedy as being bad, but that you shouldn't settle for less if you want to aspire to greater things. Granted this does not mean they necessarily like such shows, but it's not quite as venomous as the show would make you think...
Harry Enfield and Paul Whitehouse aimed a Take That at Extras with a bemused couple watching a tv show featuring a Stephen Merchant sound-a-like ranting about how he's good friends with Ben Stiller.
Commander In Chief, the show with Geena Davis as the country's first female president, did this pretty blatantly in one episode. There was an episode where a coastal city was hit by a hurricane. Within hours, the president was there helping oversee the relief effort. Gee, I wonder who that was a swipe at? The president was later shown reading to children when an aide came up and told her something important was happening. She immediately handed the book to one of the kids to continue reading, got up, and walked away.
They actually did work in a shot at The West Wing — they had Geena Davis' president handle an almost-identical situation to Martin Sheen's President Bartlett. The situation was similar enough to be a "Our fictional prez is better than your fictional prez" moment.
In contrast, it's not very hard to find Take Thats in favor of the Bush administration in The Unit:
First Responders: Muslim terrorists hijack a plane full of European businessmen that were looking for US investment in their countries.
Non-Permissive Environment: Spanish authorities ask the Unit to assassinate a terrorist, then call the assassination off because they want to negotiate with him instead, and then try to arrest the team members when they kill him anyway.
The Wall: The French Army is a bunch of asses that prefer to see a war criminal going away instead of cooperating with the Americans.
Many people see the Supernatural episode "Malleus Maleficarum" as a Take That against Charmed, since it includes The Book of Shadows and a group of witches who arguably looked and acted like the Charmed girls.
They do both Take Thats and Executive Meddling with the CW executives, when the horror movie's producers and director all die horribly. Eric Kripke claims that every request that the executive producer made was an actual request that the writing staff received from the CW execs, which included making the show Lighter and Softer, among other things. Gary Cole's character was the first to die—on the film's set in the middle of shooting, no less.
Jensen Ackles, who got his first break on Days of Our Lives, has his character Dean make a few jokes about how terrible daytime TV is.
There are a few examples in the episode "Monster at the End of the Book."
The episode contained a thorough Take That to Sam/Dean shippers. Sam and Dean find a series of books that document their lives exactly. Sam then mentions that there's fan fiction of the series. And we get the following exchange:
Dean: What's a slash fan?
Sam: As in...Sam-slash-Dean. Together.
Long pause as it slowly dawns on Dean what Sam means.
Dean: Like...together together?
Dean: They do know we're brothers, right?
Sam: Doesn't seem to matter.
Dean: Aw, come on. That... That's just SICK!
Sam and Dean want to know how Chuck knows enough about them to be writing these books. At one point Dean demands to know why Chuck wouldn't tell them that he is a Prophet.
Chuck: It was too preposterous, not to mention arrogant. I mean, writing yourself into the story is one thing, but as a prophet? That's like, M Night level douchey-ness.
To show they're not immune to criticism themselves, the writers also took potshots at examples of their own bad writing.
There's the episodes "Ghost Facers" and "Criss Angel is a Douche Bag," the latter of which has a Criss Angel expy with his own reality show.
At the beginning of season five's "Free to Be You and Me," as Dean kills a vampire: "Eat it, Twilight!"
"Changing Channels," the episode where the Trickster throws Sam and Dean into different TV shows, contains Take That to CSI: Miami.
Dean" Calm down? I'm wearing sunglasses at night. You know who does that? No talent douchebags.
The episode also contains a borderline Take That and Affectionate Parody of Grey's Anatomy. (It's established that Dean is an unabashed fan of Dr. Sexy, MD, the Show Within a Show which resembles Grey's Anatomy.) A specific moment of Dr Sexy/Greys involved a plot point about a ghost who was only alive in the eyes of an obviously crazy Doctor. Sam mocked 'Dr Sexy' for being a medical drama with supernatural elements, while a fangirling Dean claimed it was still compelling. There's other instances of Affectionate Parody for the original Knight Rider, Japanese game shows, and old-school sitcoms.
In season 5, Paris Hilton plays a God pretending to be herself. Dean tells her that he is not a fan of Paris Hilton and has never even seen House of Wax (2005), to which Sam gives him an odd look. (Jared Padalecki was actually in House of Wax with Paris Hilton.)
In the season 6 mind bender "The French Mistake", the angel Balthazar transports the characters Sam and Dean to a parallel world where they are mistaken for two actors named Jared and Jensen, who star in a TV series called Supernatural. So, the actors are playing characters who then assume the identities of the actors who are playing them. The big Take That comes though when one of that season's bad guys, Virgil, travels to the parallel world and "kills" actors who are portraying Eric Kripke and Robert Singer, Supernatural's producers, along with Misha Collins, the actor who plays the angel Castiel on the show.
In the last episode, the show managed to pull off the mother of all Take Thats.
Beakman: You wrench 'em, I'll drench 'em, let's Macarena! Everyone in the entire friggin world, including the makers of the song: LET'S NOT!
The "lemonlyman.com" subplot in The West Wing episode "The U.S Poet Laureate" — in which White House Deputy Chief of Staff Josh Lyman stumbles upon a web-forum dedicated to him and posts on it only to be widely mocked and told he doesn't know anything about politics — is considered something a of a Take That to popular online community Television Without Pity, and is reportedly based on West Wing creator Aaron Sorkin's experiences when posting on it. The members of the community are described as "hysterical", and the forum administrator as dictatorial and petty.
The West Wing also pretty savagely attacked Dr. Laura Schlessinger, prominent critic of homosexuality, with their own "Dr. Laura" character in this clip.
Considering the subject matter and political bias of the writer, the West Wing had fewer Take Thats than you would expect. However, Bartlett's reelection opponent is an obvious expy of George W. Bush. However, in the end he's shown to be a gracious decent if dim-witted sort. Aaron Sorkin seems incapable of writing genuinely hostile or immoral antagonists unless they're an expy for someone who's wronged him personally.
While TWW usually avoided direct potshots at government institutions, "Ways and Means" gave CJ a truly hilarious one:
C.J.: Leo, we need to be investigated by someone who wants to kill us just to watch us die. We need someone perceived by the American people to be irresponsible, untrustworthy, partisan, ambitious and thirsty for the limelight. Am I crazy or is this not a job for the U.S. House of Representatives?
Murphy Brown was famous for mocking politician Dan Quayle with attacks ranging from subtle to outright. It got to the point that when the titular character became pregnant and decided to raise her child as a single mother, Quayle took the opportunity to publicly denounce single motherhood. Murphy Brown gave it right back by having Murphy tearfully complain to Frank that Quayle was mocking her lifestyle. Frank, incredulous at Murphy's trauma, responded simply, "Murphy, it's Dan Quayle." In the following episode, Murphy responds in an apparently mature way by having a special edition of FYI focused on several kinds of families... then hires a truck to dump several tons of potatoes on Quayle's front door.
British TV show Spaced did this a few times to Phantom Menace in series two. For example a parody of the end scene of Return of the Jedi, except instead of Anakin's body being burned, it was a set of boxes of Star Wars memorabilia. Ironically, George Lucas's company gave the series leave to use music cues, etc to do this with because of the homages and shout outs in the first series.
Keith Olbermann's Worst Person In The World segment on MSNBC — an, ah, enthusiastic expansion of an old Bob & Ray routine — consisted of nothing but Take Thats. Unsurprisingly, the most frequent "winner" of the title was Olbermann's arch-rival in political commentary shows, Bill O'Reilly of Fox News.
However, Olbermann did "ban" O'Reilly from the lists for two months following the murder of Dr. George Tiller, believing that O'Reilly's show indirectly drove Tiller's murderer to commit the act and, because of that, Billo could no longer be considered "funny." He finally put Bill back on the lists to dispel rumors that MSNBC forced him to stop mentioning O'Reilly.
When Olbermann returned to TV with his self-titled ESPN 2 program, the segment came back as "Worst Persons In The Sports World". Other than a few shots at the staff of WFAN radio in New York (a competitor to ESPN's New York radio station), Olbermann has avoided taking on other media personalities.
The short-lived series The Book of Daniel was basically one long Take That on, well, practically everything, but mostly religion, as it concerned a priest named Daniel Webster who has visions of Jesus. You'd think that would be more than enough, but the show also gives the priest an alcoholic wife and a gay Republican son and a teenage druggie daughter and an adopted Chinese son who's dating a girl whose parents hate Asians and a brother-in-law who runs off with church funds and abandons his family and a lesbian sister-in-law and a female bishop who is sleeping with Daniel's married father anda mother with Alzheimer's disease.
Season four of The Wire features a despicable cop who completely guts the one unit in the department that's actually doing real work. His name is Marrimow, after an editor at the Baltimore Sun who producer David Simon grew to despise during his time there.
Simon then takes it one step further by introducing an unlikeable, two-faced newspaper editor in the fifth season based off of the real Marrimow:
James Whiting: I don't want some amorphous series detailing society's ills.
The police, upon finding out that drug kingpin Stringer Bell is channeling much of the drug proceeds into buying real estate after it's been laundered and become untraceable "Stringer Bell is something worse than a drug dealer. He's a real estate developer."
Diagnosis: Murder once had a Take That against the game show 21, where Dick Van Dyke's character went on a corrupt game show called Thru The Roof, featuring soundproof booths. He noted that it was difficult to breathe in the booths.
Adam Buxton's Sketch Show Mee BOX has a sketch involving an interview with a fictional actor "Famous Guy" which has several Take Thats within. The first and most obvious is a jab at the popularity of actors, as Famous Guy is referred to as a "pretending man" and "the best at pretending". It also parodies the movie industry's constant rehashing of the same ideas with nondescript movie titles like "Horse Chase", "The Exploding Car" and "They Came From Space There". American actors trying to duplicate a British Accent is sent-up with Famous Guy's bad attempt at a Cockney accent. There's a more subtle jab at men's magazines in the first part of the sketch: if you pause at the "Man Magazine" you can read headlines such as "Articles about sex inside here" and "Are all feelings homosexual? Why the answer is yes". This is perhaps aimed at the Daily Sport, which has relaunched itself as being about nothing but "Sports, girls and funny stuff".
The Last Day has Kryten speculate he might have just realised the value of friendship. Lister instructs him to can the Star Trek crap.
In "Back To Reality", when the crew are hallucinating that they've been playing Red Dwarf: The Total Immersion Video Game very badly, we see a brief snatch of the next players, who are supposedly doing "better". Lister is a stereotyped American action hero, Kryten is just a bald human in a mechanoid suit, and Cat and Rimmer simply don't appear very distinctive. Now look at Grant Naylor's criticisms of the failed US pilot...
Brookside: In its final months, the writers had a drug dealer named Jack Michaelson show up and later get lynched in the last ever episode. It was a Take That against Michael "controller of Channel 4, as opposed to the Moonwalk guy" Jackson, who had cancelled the show. The finale ended with the longest-serving character giving a thinly veiled rant about TV and society, before vandalizing the titular "Brookside Close."
30 Rock has also been happy to dance on the corpse of Studio 60, most notably in their parody of the infamous episode which features Timothy Busfield's Director touring the studio with a writer from the "golden age." 30 Rock cast Tim Conway as an aged and irrelevant old hand from 30 Rock's past, being led around by Kenneth the Page, while Conway spouts such lines as "We called that the Jew room!" in reference to the writers' room.
During the second season episode "Rosemary's Baby," 30 Rock also took a shot at the career of former Production Posse recurring guest star Rachel Dratch, whose film Spring Breakdown, about a group of 30-something women who go on spring break and attempt to relive their college experiences, was having trouble finding a distributor at the time. During the episode, a senile former comedy writer (played by Carrie Fisher) pitches a film about... cougars going on spring break. Even for Tina Fey, who's very well-respected but known to be kind of be a bitch, that's just cold.
"Lee Marvin vs. Derek Jeter" delivers a Take That at Liz, which is very shocking given that she's Tina Fey's Author Avatar. Liz seems very flippant when the subject of affirmative action comes up, and states that a black co-worker got his job because of his race while as a white woman, she had no such advantage and had to work hard to find success. At the end she is told that she owes her entire career to programs designed to help women, such as Title 9, a revelation that humiliates her.
The Daily Show hands out Take Thats on a regular basis, most memorably when host Jon Stewart was invited onto the CNN political op-ed show Crossfire, as a really, really ill-judged ratings grab. Stewart announced right off the top that he was no-one's 'monkey', and proceeded to demonstrate by spending the entire hour attacking the hosts, accusing them of irrelevance, partisan hackery, and just generally a complete lack of journalistic integrity. He wound up by calling one of the hosts a 'dick' to his face. Not entirely coincidentally, Crossfire was cancelled a few months later.
Interestingly, on The Colbert Report during the Star Wars portion of the Colbert Green Screen Challenge, Star Wars Scrappy Jar-Jar Binks makes an appearance, asking who would represent democracy, and hopes it's not that annoying boy from the desert wasteland who later joined the empire. He then whispered Darth W Vader. He even goes as far as poking fun at himself in the scene. Now why can't Jar-Jar be more of a Deadpan Snarker in Star Wars?
On his part in getting Crossfire canceled, Stewart said he had no idea that all he had to do to get a show canceled was say that it was hurting America. He then announced that According to Jim was hurting America.
One episode of Big Wolf on Campus featured a Werewolf-Slayer named "Muffy". Three guesses who she's supposed to be poking fun at.
In another episode, they poke fun at The Lost Boys. And, who was the special guest of that episode? None other than Corey Haim.
Monty Python's Flying Circus aimed a few Take Thats at programme planners, who had irritated the team by moving the programme about in the schedules seemingly at random. Among the brickbats include John Cleese's comment in the second series "I'd like to be in programme planning, unfortunately I've got a degree" and an extended sketch in the third series were penguins were discovered to be more intelligent than programme planners.
The Python team also aimed a few Take Thats at former employer David Frost; in one instance parodying him as the narcissistic Timmy Williams whose TV show credits proclaimed him as sole writer, followed by a neverending list of names under "Additional Material".
Don't forget all the Take Thats aimed at British politicians in specific ("Number 26: Margaret Thatcher's brain") and in general ("It was never our intention to imply that politicians are weak-kneed, political time-servers who are concerned more with their personal vendettas and private power struggles than the problems of government...").
A TV movie about the making of Gilligan's Island was narrated by the original show's cast: except for Tina Louise, who was the only surviving cast member to not participate. It's probably not a coincidence that she's portrayed as a bitchy, slutty moron in stark contrast to the downright saintly portrayals of everyone else.
When you blend improv and network-to-network taunting, you get this: For the suggestion "trivial reasons to hold news conferences" in Scenes From A Hat, Wayne Brady said that he would announce UPN's Fall-season lineup.
As opposed to all the times they like flinging it at each other, or the host. Or at the director. A fabled YouTube item shows Wayne and Brad about to sing the theme tune for a sitcom. An audience member suggested 'Cosby and Hitler'. This was rejected. During the actually-used song, Ryan (as Cosby!) throws a Nazi salute and goosestep; Colin shakes his head no.http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJfeTAm65NE
In an episode of Psych, Shawn mentions he would make up for skipping a camping trip with his dad by saying he will go over to his dad's house and "Maybe watch a couple of episodes of The Mentalist." The Mentalist is a blatant rip-off of Psych, albeit more serious and better funded.
Shawn: Right, if I was a fake psychic it would be eerily similar.
Gus: Exactly the same.
Shawn: A virtual carbon copy.
As a possible retaliatory Take That, a character on The Mentalist has an intense dislike of pineapple on his pizza - pineapple being a signature Running Gag of Psych.
Shawn seems to like this trope. A tribute commercial to Monk has Shawn saying that Monk is the second most observant person he knows- well, third, next to the Mentalist.
Shawn and Gus (and sometimes minor characters) also take frequent pot shots at Chad Michael Murray, to the point that it could be considered a Running Gag. The writers definitely have something against himóin "Yang 3 in 2D," Mary goes on a rant about it in his video diaries:
Mary: "What is the deal with One Tree Hill? I donít understand. Itís like aÖitís like a poorly executedDawson's Creek. Why are they doing that? Donít even get me started on Chad Michael Murray. [beat] Too late. Iím going to start in. He had dead eyes."
Medium does this to Ghost Whisperer when Allison investigates what seems to be the spirit of a dead author going into an injured man to reunite with his wife. It turns out the "new" husband is a fraud who found the dead man's unpublished autobiography.
Jim Henson's Dinosaurs delivered one to Unsolved Mysteries, which played in the same timeslot on another network. After being asked how they keep their material so fresh, the host of "Mysteries Which Haven't Been Solved Yet" answers that they have four mysteries that they show over and over again. "Luckily, nobody seems to notice."
Earl: "Why are we even watching this show anyway? I wanna watch the puppet show on the other channel!"
Fran: "That's a kid's show."
Earl: "Not so! They do some very sophisticated juxtapositions of reality!"
Fran: "It'll last a year."
From VH-1's World Series of Pop Culture:
Contestant: I'll take "The Talented Baldwin Brothers"
Host: All questions in this category are about Alec Baldwin.
A moose tried to get on the show, saying his name was "Mickey". Kermit shooed him away, saying that Mickey Moose was a dumb name.
The fourth series of Coupling is maligned formany reasons, not always entirely fairly. But was totally worth it to hear a line that in one fell swoop buried the failed attempt at an American version. Steve to Jane: "Jane, could you stop doing this? Could you stop just wandering through my front door? Because this is not, I repeat NOT, an American sitcom!"
When Heather Locklear debuted as Catlin on Spin City and declares that Mike isn't going to push her around, Mike replies "Let's not get overly dramatic - this is not some cheesy soap opera" - a clear Take That at Locklear's previous show, Melrose Place.
An episode of Bones ended with the characters and suspects describing in detail how useless and unreliable luminol is; luminol is one of the most popular pieces of Forensic Phlebotinum on CSI: Crime Scene Investigation. Pretty funny given the ridiculous stuff the Bones lot occasionally get up to solve a case - their magical computer thingy is legendarily absurd.
Yes, but the magical computer thingy is only used to demonstrate scenarios instead of flashbacks or just talking about it, or use as a just a regular - albeit, expensive and absurd - computer; they never rely on the computer or what it produces as evidence or in any court case, it's always physical evidence. CSI just takes luminol as straight "if it's there, it's a solid nail in the coffin".
More of a loving parody, but the Sesame Street feature "Monsterpiece Theater" parodied Beckett's much celebrated Waiting for Godot, calling it a "play so modern and so brilliant, that it makes absolutely no sense." Even the tree gets fed up with the play by the end of the sketch, and walks off the stage, muttering about how he wanted to be in Oklahoma instead.
They also parodied High School Musical by having muppets hold notes for exceedingly long periods and naming an odd number of sequels.
As much Self-Deprecation as a Take That: On a crossover episode with Picket Fences, Chicago Hope gave a bitter nod to then-ratings powerhouse ER. When Kathy Baker's guest-star character became frustrated at what Chicago Hope's doctors were telling her, she irately declared, "We could have gone to the other one!" The hospital director's reply? "We never mention the other one." Mentioned or not, ER eventually buried its onetime head-to-head Thursday night competitor.
Heh. ER even took a swipe at ITSELF. An episode that had a doctor who worked with a news crew hovering outside the hospital and giving incorrect information to the public had a character commenting, "Ugh. TV doctors."
The Angel episode "Harm's Way" starts off with a video apparently made to introduce new Wolfram & Hart employees to the firm. It lists off three companies that are clients of Wolfram & Hart: Yoyodyne, Weyland-Yutani... and News Corp, parent corporation of FOX, the network that screwedFirefly a year earlier.
They also had a history of doing this to Leonard Maltin. In the episode "Laserblast", Dr. Forrester mentions that Maltin gave this movie 2 and a half stars. Mike and the bots then take out his movie guide and mock him during the credits. In the episode "The Undead", they find out he gave the movie three stars. Mike dressed up as him and apologizes. Maltin actually got back at them by appearing on the show and suggesting that Mrs. Forrester force them to watch Gorgo, which he actually also liked (though he admitted it put two of his book editors in intensive care).
Show creator Joel Hodgson considered fellow prop comic Gallagher something of an arrogant dick after a pre-MST3K encounter, and would regularly drop Take Thats on him.
iCarly has an entire episode setup as a shot at the Disney Channel (transparently disguised in-universe as the "Dingo Channel") for ripping off stuff the creator of iCarly had done, to the point where the characters invade the bowels of the studio, and steal Walt Disney's (or his closest Fictional Counterpart) cryogenically frozen head.
To top it off, the stuff the Dingo Channel creates is said to be completely bland, stale, and devoid of anything even remotely resembling entertainment value.
In case you still have doubts about the reference to Disney: In Europe, "Dingo" is the French name for Goofy.
And then there's "iCarly Saves TV," a subtlety-free Take That to network television's idea of TV for kids.
Another Take That was aimed at the fans (or more specifically, the ones who are constantly nagging about Seddie or Creddie pairings) during the episode "iStart A Fan War", by showing them as crazy losers who don't care about the show itself, only about the Shipping.
Demi Lovato claimed she was a victim of this after Disney made a joke about eating disorders on an episode of Shake It Up. This was only shortly after Demi left Disney, partially due to her struggles with bulimia. Lovato took to Twitter to criticize the channel for it's insensitive choice in humour. Whether it was actually a "take that" to her remains unclear as Disney refused to comment.
The X-Files had one episode where Mulder bought pirated Alien Autopsy footage. Scully believes that it looks hokier than the Fox autopsy. Turns out it's real. Another had them take a shot at then Oscar winning Forrest Gump, when the Smoking Man twists the upbeat "Life is like a box of chocolates..." metaphor into a real downer.
"Life is like a box of chocolates: a cheap, thoughtless perfunctory gift no one ever asked for. Unreturnable because all you get back is another box of chocolates. You're stuck with this undefinable whipped mint crap that you mindlessly wolf down when there's nothing else left to eat. Sure, once in a while there's a peanut butter cup or an English toffee but they're gone too fast and the taste is fleeting. So you end up with nothing but broken bits filled with hardened jelly and teeth shattering nuts. And if you're desperate enough to eat those then all you've got left is an empty box, filled with useless brown paper wrappers."
There was an episode of the Christian superhero show Bibleman where Scott Baio (former co-star of the actor who played Bibleman) is heavily implied to work for Satan.
The first episode of NCIS has Gibbs talking to a security guard when arriving at a crime scene.
Arguably the best one was in "Tabula Rasa" when, upon losing his memories, Spike believes that he is a vampire with a soul, a good guy on a quest for atonement who "helps the helpless". Buffy replies, "A vampire with a soul? How lame is that?"
"The Girl In Question" gives us this:
Angel : "How'd she (Buffy) ever fall for a centuries-old guy with a dark past who may or may not be evil?"
Something bad always happen when the characters drink ("Beer Bad" and "A New Man").
In Season 4 of Buffy, when Giles asks Buffy\Faith who's president she replies they're testing to see if it's really her, not a concussion. Could easily be either of them.
The Season 8 comic series of Buffy started over a year before the success of another franchise that featured a human girl in love with a vampire, so no-one thought much about the Big Bad of the season being named Twilight, with Buffy's only interaction with the villain coming before the other series became well known. But when they come face to face for the first time since then, Buffy points out the she did the whole Human-Girl-In-Love-With-a-Vampire thing first, and her vampire was so much better than the other one.
Spike has his dislike of his rival for Buffy's affections programmed into the Buffybot.
Buffybot: Angel's lame. His hair goes straight up, and he's bloody stupid!
Along with ties to fictional corporations like Weyland-Yutani and Yoyodyne, Wolfram & Hart also works with Newscorp.
Season seven just got petty with this with one of the first potential slayers killed is a girl in Germany wearing black leathers and red hair, ala Sydney Bristow of Alias. That would have been enough but the techno music and spy cutting left utterly no doubt who the show was slamming.
The Narrator: No one was making fun of Andy Griffith. I can't emphasize that enough.
Mock the Week is about 28 minutes of this per half-hour episode, but the August 29, 2009 example takes the prize for being the most...direct. Dara O'Briain, the host, had fluffed his "That's right, the answer is [X]" several times, and announced "Just in case this gets on one of those outtake clip shows, Anne Robinson's a cunt."
An episode of Wonder Showzen had a character played by David Cross say, "Git-r-done" right before being executed. Two other episodes had the show make fun of redneck humor with David Cross' character dressing similar to his real life rival Larry The Cable Guy.
Vengeance Unlimited did the episode "Critical", which, during the course of the episode, pretty much took as many lines from all the critics that bashed it and put them in the characters' mouths. Gina's rant at Chapel? Pretty much lifted straight from newspapers.
An episode of The Mary Tyler Moore Show had Lou Grant stuck babysitting Bess Lindstrom. She wants to watch TV, so he asks about 'The Clancy Clan'. Bess unenthusiastically describes it as a show about a family that has a lot of kids, and they have all these laughs because...they have all these kids. Lou notably did not ask : What's Their Story?
Jeremy Clarkson on Top Gear cannot resist a Take That against Al Gore's movie An Inconvenient Truth (about global warming causing the polar ice to thin) after he and co-presenter James May have successfully driven across the sea ice to the North Pole. But Clarkson is about as un-PC as they come, and it's part of his charm.
On Castle, Nathan Fillion mocks CSI: Miami almost every week. CSI: Miami, of course, is their main timeslot competition.
He also got in a good shot during the 2009 Emmys, during his appearance as Captain Hammer.
An episode of MADtv had Santa Claus (played by Michael McDonald) erasing a kid's memories of himself. Santa remarked that while he was erasing memories, he wanted the audience to forget about a show called Saturday Night Live. In another sketch, Martin Short (who guest starred on MADtv and was a cast member on SNL in the mid-1980s), "Live from New York!" and is told that that's another show.
In an episode cold opening, George W. Bush (played by Will Sasso) calls for a manhunt against Chris Kattan after seeing Corky Romano. And in another episode cold opening, Nicole Parker insults an old man who only came on MADtv because he thought Jimmy Fallon was a cast member on the show.
During a late season episode of The Cosby Show, a young member of the Huxtable family approaches Heathcliff wearing a Bart Simpson mask, and Cliff snaps at her to take it off. At the time, The Cosby Show was losing its ratings battle with The Simpsons, and Bart Simpson was considered a bad role model for young children.
The Simpsons have fired back numerous times, most notably when "Bleeding Gums" Murphy does a cameo on the Cosby show. The children complain that wedging him in as a grandfather makes no sense, and Cosby degenerates into nonsensical ramblings instantly while Bleeding Gums just looks around nervously.
When Fox executives complained that Firefly should have aliens because it was a sci-fi show, Joss gleefully inserted a carnival barker claiming that "aliens are among us!" It turned out to be a mutated cow fetus. Note this was in the last filmed episode of the series.
One episode of Criminal Minds has Prentiss explaining that the poor preservation of a crime scene was due to "the crime scene investigators" who "all want to play cop instead of just being scientists". And where exactly were they working the case? Yes, Las Vegas.
The episode JJ was intended to be JJ's last episode and is a Take That to CBS for trying to get rid of AJ Cook (The actress who plays JJ). They transfer JJ, making it beyond everyone's control. Then the quote at the end spoken by JJ talks about "taking the high road" and "not wanting to be angry" and just about leaving family, like the team (and the cast) so obviously were. Fortunately JJ returned to the show after all.
Gilligan's Island creator Sherwood Schwartz named the Castaways boat The Minnow after Newton Minow made his famous "vast wasteland" speech.
Promos for Monsterquest have shown Bigfoot and a swamp-creature living casually in suburbia, with the caption "If they lived among us, there would be no quest". This may be a Take That against Lost Tapes, a competing cryptid-themed show with the tagline "Do they live among us?"
The poor quality of the promo costumes may also be a Take That, as Lost Tapes monsters are usually pretty fake-looking.
When Ronnie Barker of The Two Ronnies complained that Not the Nine O'Clock News was full of Filth, the NTNOCN team responded with a glorious sketch that showed what a typical Two Ronnies episode would be like if they actually said what they meant, rather than the constant Double Entendres. The best bit? It was written by a disgruntled Two Ronnies scriptwriter. Barker wasn't amused; Ronnie Corbett was.
One segment on the new Conan show is "Alex Trebek Has Gone Insane", which uses Manipulative Editing on clips from Jeopardy! to replace all the answers with utter nonsense. Most of the time, the contestants just stand there in stunned silence and fail to give the question, until 7 segments later, when someone buzzes in with "What is Scientology?" and gets it right.
Though not cocky enough to actually name specific shows, the host of Weird Creatures openly admits that most other nature programs' animal-encounter footage is staged. He occasionally pokes fun at such contrived "lucky chance encounters", as when he introduces a small lizard in extreme close-up, then has the camera pull back to reveal that it's a captive animal kept at a nature reserve (because the wild ones had proven too elusive to film that day).
It's become one of Ferguson's catchphrases. These days, when he feels he's been mean towards someone who didn't deserve it, he'll often inverse this trope, jokingly saying things along the lines of "Take that, nice woman in the audience!", or "Take that, single mothers!".
Good News Week has one of these about every five minutes, besides news stories politics and religion get the worst. It's not uncommon for someone to comment "we're going to have pissed off everyone by the end of the episode" this just results in more Take That's.
Jeff: (sobbing) I hate Glee. I just don't understand the appeal at all.
Modern Warfare: Jeff: Write some original songs!
Jeff and Britta fondly remembered a time when they filled in for Greendale's Glee club, who died in a bus crash. Their version consisted of melodramatically going "sing sing singaling ling ling" for several minutes. For which they apparently won "lots of awards".
Dan Harmon went above and beyond in Season 3, devoting an entire episode to parodying Glee. Though it is surprisingly more subtle than one would expect with emphasis on smaller details (the ascending level of chairs, the never mentioned piano player, Mr. Rad's sweater vests, the clipped dialogue delivery, the constant mash-ups and remixes and an apparently endless supply of costumes and props that come out of nowhere), there are some more blatant moments (Jeff shouting "Not liking Glee club doesn't make us bullies and implying that is reverse bullying", characters constantly talking about regionals, the extreme seriousness with which they take the club).
Ironically, Glee (which never retaliated) wound up being the one to get six seasons and a movie. Laser-Guided Karma, anyone?
Glee itself took a shot at Twilight in the episode "Theatricality", where Principal Figgins informs Tina that she must abandon her Goth look due to the pseudo-vampirism caused by the popularity of the book series.
Also a barrage of Take Thats in "The Sue Sylvester Shuffle" in the top ten losers of the year.
Glee also took shots at Britney Spears and Lindsay Lohan ("You have Britney and her shaved head, Lindsay Lohan looks like something out of lord of the rings" - Emma Pillsbury, season 1, episode 14) before having them both guest star on the show in later seasons!
Even after Britney appeared, they took shots at her in season 4, having a whole episode dedicated to parodying her depression back in 2007.
Some argue the episode was to show how the star bounced back in spite of this depression, however.
It was taken Up to Eleven in the episode "Guilty Pleasures" in which Jake wants to perform a song by Chris Brown, and upon learning this the girls of the Glee Club (even shy girl Marley) corner him to change his mind because of how much they hate him, particularly Tina, who states with a yell "the dude is a psychopath!" (Ironically, they don't have a problem with his doing "My Prerogative" by another singer called Brown known for beating up his partner.)
SCTV's Bob and Doug McKenzie were created as a Take That to the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation. In Canada, the show ran two minutes longer than in the U.S. (due to fewer commercials). The CBC required SCTV to fill these two "extra" minutes with "distinctively Canadian content." The writers and performers mocked this idea: "What do you want us to do? Throw up a map of Canada and sit there wearing tuques and parkas?" They ended up doing exactly that to prove their point of how ridiculous the CBC mandate was... and ended up creating the most popular characters in the show's history.
Executive Meddling led to an example during the first season of WKRP in Cincinnati. CBS wanted more broad, kid-friendly comedy in the show. Producer Hugh Wilson wrote "Fish Story" to give them what they wanted while showing how wrong they were - a broad farce with silly costumes (Herb in the WKRP "carp" costume fighting the WPIG pig), pratfalls, and contrived explanations. Wilson hated the episode, and wrote it under a pseudonym as the last episode in CBS' initial 13-episode order. The Take That backfired, as the episode got great ratings, and has always been one of the fans' favorite episodes.
How I Met Your Mother had an interesting in-universe Take That. Ted finds out that his ex-fiance's ex-boyfriend made a movie called The Wedding Bride, which is a retelling of the whole marital drama between the trio except blatantly skewed in favor of the ex-boyfriend. To Ted's horror, the main antagonist of the film is called "Jed", and is played up to be the biggest, most unsympathetic Jerkass in the history of the world.
There is also a Take That at Friends in an episode where the guys go to a coffee shop.
Ted: So I guess that settles it.
Barney: Hanging out in a coffee shop, not nearly as much fun as hanging out in a bar.
In an episode where Ted imagines what the future will be like, when he imagines a good future he's reading a newspaper with the headline "Al Gore signs new bill into law." Later, when he imagines a horrible future, the headline says "Bush elected for surprise third term".
There's also one aimed at George Lucas:
Marshall: I can't believe you threw up in your Stormtrooper helmet.
Made even more hilarious when you realize that the actor who plays Henry (Kevin Schmidt) is the older brother of Kendall Schmidt, who is one fourth of NICKELODEON'S premier boy band, and one of the stars on the show Big Time Rush—which is, of course, Nick's answer to JONAS.
Veronica Mars was forced by studio execs, early in its run, to include Paris Hilton as a guest star. Later in the same season, they're cracking Paris Hilton jokes. A great Take That at both Hilton and the network.
During the 1990s, the late Jeremy Beadle hosted several popular game shows and comedy programmes on British TV. He was the original presenter of You've Been Framed, a Transatlantic Equivalent to America's Funniest Home Videos. Later, he moved onto a short-lived show called Beadle's Hotshots, where the public would film their own parodies of popular television and send them to him to broadcast. One of the best remembered of these was "You've Fallen Over", a Take That which implied that You've Been Framed consisted mostly of stupid clips of people falling over, and that the "home videos" sent in were all staged.
Misfits has had a couple of pretty overt jabs at Heroes. Very early on there's a scene where all of the characters break down laughing at the idea that they should all start fighting crime and saving the world (although that could just be superhero stories in general). But S2 has a wimpy Soapbox Sadie champagne socialist rich-boy who jumps to the conclusion that he might become the most important of the characters... and instantly gets killed off. And the villain of the S2 Christmas episode is a handsome dark-haired guy who wants to be the most powerful person in the world, collects other people's powers but mostly uses telekenesis... and is an utterly pathetic douchenozzle who dies ludicrously well before the end of the ep through stupidly misusing one of his own powers. Anyone get the idea that the writers don't like a certain trustafarian male nurse or a certain guy named after a watch brand?
On the last episode of the game show Scrabble, Chuck Woolery addressed the show's cancellation and said, "I kept telling 'em, "Look, find somebody else to do it, it'll be a huge hit. Look what happened to Wheel of Fortune!" This is, of course, a reference to Chuck's having left Wheel of Fortune in 1981 over a salary dispute.
Speaking of Wheel of Fortune, host Pat Sajak is fond of Take Thats. Most of them are to the puzzle writers if they come up with something absurd like I LOVE MY PASSPORT PHOTO, or occasionally to the subject of the puzzle (for instance, saying after the puzzle I WANT MY MTV that MTV is a network that used to show music videos. He also hated the short-lived Megaword category, and was quick to let everyone know.
A particularly epic one came April 29, 2013: On an episode taped in New York City, Pat hauled out a giant soft drink cup and took a drink from it, to poke fun at New York mayor Michael Bloomberg's policies against soft drink sizes.
The last episodes of Late Night hosted for David Letterman are full of Take That moments against NBC, but the finale include a subtle one: "The World's Most Dangerous Band", led by Paul Shaffer, played as a musical interlude the song titled We Gotta Get Out Of This Place. The lyrics of this sixties' song say: "We gotta get out of this place / If it's the last thing we ever do / We gotta get out of this place / Girl, there's a better life for me and you".
Morecambe and Wise had a long-running faux feud with Des O'Connor, with Take Thats on almost every show. (In a Julius Caesar sketch:
"The people in the Colosseum are rioting!"
"Des O'Connor wasn't singing, was he?"
"No we'd thrown him to the lions- but they threw him back.")
One episode of Boy Meets World, in which Mr. Feeny starts a lunchtime radio show at school, took some shots at a few then-contemporary musicians:
Mr. Feeny:(over the school intercom) And now, because the halls of our school beat with the lively heart of contemporary youth, here is the happening sounds of Mr. Michael Bolton!
Cory: Make it stop! Make it stop!
Shawn: It's hard to cut the wires with a plastic spoon!
Cory: Just rip the whole speaker down! Later:
Mr. Turner: If you guys are serious about [taking over the radio show], I'll talk to Feeny after lunch.
Mr. Feeny:(over the school intercom) And now for you kiddos, Menudo!
Mr. Turner: I'll talk to him now.
Power Rangers had this happen at various points in the show's history.
On a 1980 episode of Real People, one of NBC's few primetime hits in that era, one of the hosts, John Barbour, joked "If you base a TV show on another TV show, it's called a spinoff. Unless you work for ABC, in which case it's called a ripoff." "Oh, that's incredible!" responded Sarah Purcell, referring to that network's Dueling Show.
During the MTV Awards in 2003, when Gollum of Lord of the Rings accepted his award, he went on a profane-filled rant, ripping apart the entire movie cast, and even ripped into Dobby. Anyone wanna sign Gollum up for his own talk show?
On the episode "Charlie and Kate Battle Over A Patient" of Anger Management, Charlie enters Patrick's workplace wearing a shirt similar to that of Charlie Harper from Two and a Half Men. They insult the shirt, and Charlie ends it by throwing the shirt away, saying how he'll 'chuck it'.
In the JAG episode "Tiger, Tiger", A frigate has been taken over by terrorists and Harm and his girlfriendís ten year old kid is cut off in the hangar.
Josh Pendry: Steven Seagal in Under Siege. He got the Pentagon on a satellite radio from a life boat.
Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb: Well, unfortunately this isn't a movie, Josh. These lifeboats have satellite radios with an emergency beacon and a short-range voice transmitter. We could activate one. The Coast Guard would come, but before we could inform them of our situation, who knows what these terrorists are likely to do.
Josh Pendry: It's so cool in the movie.
Lieutenant Commander Harmon Rabb: Well, I'm sure it was.
Lost in Space also took a potshot at Jeannie in "The Thief From Outer Space". The titular character and Dr. Smith spend most of the episode fighting over a magical genie bottle. At the end, it's revealed to the horror of both men and the Jupiter II crew that the genie is an overweight, shrill woman who is unnervingly creepy about satisfying their desires. The genie is shoved back into her bottle and is promptly forgotten about. The only one who takes any interest in her is The Robot, who proceeds to lean over to the bottle, pick it up...and tell her his life story.
Remote Control, the TV trivia game show that was MTV's first venture out of music videos, took a potshot at similar game show Couch Potatoes shortly after the latter debuted. One of the skits in between episodes of a "best of" marathon featured the new Remote Control hostess thinking she had walked onto the set of Couch Potatoes after host Ken Ober described the rules for her... at which point Ober openly accused Couch Potatoes of ripping them off.
Arrow gets on the "bash Twilight" bandwagon right in the first episode when Oliver and Tommy are eying a girl at a party.
Tommy: She looks like the girl from Twilight.
Oliver: What's Twilight?
Tommy: You're so better off not knowing.
In the second-season premiere of Smash, the characters read the review of the (disastrous) Boston preview of Bombshell. It says that the musical numbers are great but are sabotaged by Julia's writing. Julia is the Mary Sue of former showrunner Theresa Rebeck, whose Control Freak tendencies, particularly in the writing department, were widely considered to have adversely affected the show's first season.
Two different sketches on Laugh-In made fun of the other two networks.
In a quick sketch, we hear the voices of cast members Alan Sues and Henry Gibson as network executives. One has just pitched a show and the other likes it and wants to call it "Laugh-In". The first says it's already taken and suggests they call it "Hee Haw". To ram the point home, the only thing we see is a door labeled "CBS Program Development".
In a little longer sketch, Dan Rowan and Sammy Davis, Jr. are Mexican stag film producers talking about the recent slump in the stag film economy and that they're stuck with their first full-length film. As the sketch ends, Sammy suggests that they sell it to California school boards under the title Leave It to Beaver. Dan quips "Makes no difference. We put it on ABC, nobody gonna watch it, anyway."
In season 3 of Charmed, they seemed to be throwing these toward Shannen Doherty as Prue is Put on a Bus to Hell. In "Sin Francisco", she was possessed by the Deadly Sin of Pride, turning her into a raging egomaniac. "Look Who's Barking" turns her into a literal female dog, and she also was responsible for destroying Piper's wedding in "Just Harried." It seemed like everybody was grateful to see her leave.
The episode "Witch Wars" features a demonic reality game show of the same name, where the objective is to kill witches on television while a demonic audience watches. Naturally there are a few digs at reality shows in general, and Survivor in particular.
"There's a place for fatuous flippant would-be humorous inanities, and that place is on Noels House Party."
"There is a place for smutty innuendo, Constable Kray, and that place is on Birds of a Feather."
Frasier does one to it parents show Cheers. In the parent show Sam and Diane have a vicious argument only for Sam to ask "Are you as turned on as I am?", to which Diane responds "More!", and they kiss. When Frasier tries this when arguing with a coworker, it is met with a horrified "NO!"
In an episode of Dog With A Blog, the eponymous Talking Animal Stan says that he in order to be a celebrity, he will need an agent, sunglasses, and a political cause that he doesn't really understand.