One episode has Bart and Milhouse watching an obvious pastiche of South Park. The Kyle-pastiche mentions that they're at a concert with a band consisting of Steve Guttenberg, Calista Flockhart, and Farty the Crippled Robot. Farty farts out OJ Simpson, who declares he's gonna kill everyone and says how he's gonna find the real killer. This is followed by Bart wondering, "How do they keep things so fresh after 43 episodes?" South Park had previously lampooned The Simpsons, noting that the show's extremely long run had made it hard to find new ideas.
The show took occasional jabs at The Ren & Stimpy Show, particularly the long gaps between new episodes. One notable example also mocked their tendency to re-use old animation with newly dubbed voices, with a scene with Bart, Lisa, and Marge doing this and commenting on how Ren and Stimpy do this all the time.
Marge: "Yes, and when was the last time you heard anyone talk about Ren and Stimpy?"
Seems this rivalry is over. John Kricfalusi did the couch gag for an episode in 2011.
The show has ripped into Family Guy and American Dad! a couple of times, though Groening has described his rivalry with Seth MacFarlane as "affectionate", and MacFarlane even contributed the opening song for the last Futurama movie.
In one episode, a wanted police book in Italy cites Peter for "plagiarismo" and Stan for "plagiarismo di plagiarismo".
In "Treehouse of Horror XIII", Peter Griffin can be seen in the middle of a crowd of thousands of cloned versions of Homer.
In "Missionary: Impossible", Betty White hosts a TV pledge drive, urging viewers to call right away "if you don't want to see crude, lowbrow programming disappear from the airwaves." As she says this, she turns off a TV that has the Family Guy logo on it. Notably, this episode first aired at a time when FOX was first threatening to cancel Family Guy and critics have written the show off as a crude Simpsons knock-off with pointless jokes and Black Comedy which softens the Take That a little.
In "The Wandering Juvie", as Bart and a girl from the neighboring female juvenile delinquent facility exchange insults, Gina responds to Bart calling her a psycho and a future skank by calling him a "family guy."
"Black Widower" takes swipe at Dinosaurs: "It's like they saw our lives and put it right up on screen!" In return, Dinosaurs had Earl commenting they've made one big successful show and now others are making cheap rip-offs of it. Baby Sinclair replies, "Don't have a cow, man," a regular catch phrase used by Bart Simpson.
"The Last Temptation of Krust" references the trope itself, when guest star Janeane Garofalo mocks Krusty's TV dinner jokes: "Take that, Swanson's!"
In "They Saved Lisa's Brain", when Mensa makes improvements in Springfield, the city moves up to #299 on the list of America's 300 most livable cities. Comic Book Guy shouts: "Take that, East St. Louis!"
In "Sweets and Sour Marge", Chief Wiggum tosses a few Butterfingers into a candy bonfire only to see them repelled unharmed: "Even the fire doesn't want them." Take That, soon to be ex-endorsement! Earlier in the episode Springfield is declared America's fattest city. Homer shouts, "In your face, Milwaukee!"
Matt Groening must really have something against Arby's:
In one episode, Sherry or Terry states, "I'm so hungry, I could eat at Arby's!" The other children gasp in horror and sympathy.
"People do crazy things in commercials. Like eat at Arby's."
In "Treehouse of Horror XVII" short "Homer the Blob", Homer eats a space-blob of goo that is trying to escape his body. Homer then proceeds to say "If I can keep down Arby's, I can keep down you!" After many ruthless escapes going as far as out his nostrils and ears.
From season 8's "A Milhouse Divided":
Neighbor: "A possum drowned in the pool. You have any garbage bags?"
The Simpsons has also taken a jab or two at Mountain Dew, the most memorable of which being from "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson."
Homer: That khlav kalash was pretty bad, do you have anything to drink to get rid of the taste? Vendor: Mountain Dew or Crab Juice Homer: Blech, ewwww! I'll take the Crab Juice!
In another episode, Homer and Bart were offered a drink. As soon as they started drinking it, the man offering it said it was bear urine, which causes Homer and Bart to pause. The man then says it was really Fresca, wherein Bart and Homer spit it out.
The show has itself been the target of a real-life Take That: George Bush Sr. once held a speech with the phrase "We're going to strengthen the American family to make them more like The Waltons and less like The Simpsons." This was a bad, bad move on the part of the presidential speechwriters, because the show retaliated by having an episode where Bart sees the speech and remarks "Hey, we're just like the Waltons. We're praying for an end to the Depression too." The moral of the story is that you probably shouldn't pick on people who make a living out of comedy...
There's also "Two Bad Neighbors'', where Bush senior moves into a house opposite the Simpsons. He gets to be the butt of nearly every joke.…while somehow providing one of the few sympathetic portrayals of Barbara Bush to be shown in an American sitcom. But only as a pastiche of Mrs. Wilson.
Completely and utterly averted in his first appearance, when after Lisa exposes a corrupt Senator's land deal (taking bribes to allow drilling for oil on top of Mount Rushmore), an emergency expulsion bill is sent to President Bush. He signs it, commenting "This ought to make my bosses happy... all 350 million of them!" note Referring to the American people This is probably the only time in Simpsons history that politics has NOT been used as fodder for a Take That. Of course this scene could be taken as satire, showing such an over-the-top positive view of American politics that it's easier to imagine as yet another Take That after all.
Comic Book Guy: Last night's Itchy & Scratchy was, without a doubt, the worst episode ever. Rest assured, I was on the Internet within minutes, registering my disgust throughout the world. Bart: Hey, I know it wasn't great, but what right do you have to complain? Comic Book Guy: As a loyal viewer, I feel they owe me. Bart: What? They've given you thousands of hours of entertainment for free! What could they possibly owe you? If anything, you owe them! Comic Book Guy:*beat* Worst episode ever.
There's a real good take that in "Homer Badman". If you pause the television when the apologies at the end of the episode are showing you can clearly see "If you're reading this you have no life" and "If you're writing this you really have no life"
In one episode, Homer watches A Prairie Home Companion and starts shaking his TV screaming, "Be more funny!"
In one episode, Lenny and Carl are at a church ring toss game, and Carl remarks, "Ah, it's all a big scam." Lenny asks, "This booth?" Carl replies, "No, religion in general."
Similarly, in The Movie, as Grandpa starts speaking-in-tongues in church:
Marge: Homer, do something!
Homer: (reading a Bible) I'm trying, but this book doesn't have any answers!
MAD magazine seems to come under fire a little as well, with most of the "hilarious" satire being weak and simplistic.
"Treehouse of Horror XV" has Ned, after getting The Dead Zone-esque powers of predicting people's death by touch, commenting upon seeing that Rosie O'Donnell's musical being closed down that he "didn't need special powers to know that was coming!" an obvious take that on the quality of the musical. Also falls into Hilarious in Hindsight (or "Funny Aneurysm" Moment) when Rosie O'Donnel's revived talk show ends up being cancelled without even a series finale.
Similarly to it's cousin Futurama below, the show takes a jab at Brown University, the Dean of Harvard snorting with derision when reassuring Lisa she still get into Brown.
Lisa: Oh no! Not Brown! (echo) Brown, Brown, Brown...
In one episode, the credits were "dedicated to those who died in the Star Wars movies." At one point, this comes up.
In "The Mansion Family", Homer complains that he didn’t win anything at an awards show. When Lisa reminds himhe won a Grammy, Homer says he meant an award worth winning. A disclaimer notes Mr. Simpson's opinions does not reflect those of the producers, who don't consider the Grammy an award at all."
South Park, especially after the first few seasons, has turned its entire concept toward social commentary and Take Thats at celebrities and entertainment.
"Chickenlover" ends with Officer Barbrady learning how to read, only to be turned off of books after reading Atlas Shrugged.
Perhaps its most famous Take Thats came from the show's two-part episode "Cartoon Wars."
Seth MacFarlane has responded that this is pretty much an accurate description of how the show is written. Is a Take That still a Take That when its subject says it's true? He apparently took it back when he was in a talk show replying to the questioned rivalry with "They're on cable TV, who cares?"note He used a snarky tone, possibly implying that his shows are more accessible than South Park
The episodes also attacked its own channel, Comedy Central, for "pussing out" and refusing to allow them to air a cartoon depiction of Muhammed, which the episode argued was necessary to preserve America's freedom of speech.
The show also saved some room for a self-deprecating Take That at itself when one character states that at least Family Guy "doesn't get all preachy and up its own ass with messages…" Which turned out to be a weird sort of "Funny Aneurysm" Moment in light of what came later on Family Guy. But at least Family Guy has managed to keep the avails limited to every other episode or so, as opposed to South Park that's got at least one per episode.
After "Blame Canada" lost the Best Song Oscar to Phil Collins' "You'll Be in My Heart," the episode "Timmy 2000" depicted Collins always clutching his Oscar, using underhanded tactics to break up Timmy and the Lords of the Underworld.
Chef: You've made them so dull and boring that they're actually going to a Phil Collins concert! Doctor:My God. What have we done?
Liane Cartman, is a real-life Take That at Trey Parker's ex-fiance, who cheated on him. Liane Cartman is often described as a "slut" and a "crackwhore." Parker had previously made a similar Take That in Cannibal The Musical by naming an unfaithful horse "Liane."
The show leveled a Take That at the entire concept of celebrity guest appearances, most notably by having George Clooney provide the barks for a gay dog as his only contribution. Clooney apparently took it in good humor and was granted an actual speaking cameo in the film.
While Parker and Stone love to poke fun at religions from Catholicism, Judaism, Mormons etc., you often get a balanced view of idiosyncrasies for that religion offset by practitioners being pretty decent. When it comes to Scientology on the other hand, they tend to up their Take Thats toward the celebrity followers as well as the teachings.
When telling the story of Scientology, they play it entirely straight and the Take That is actually them adding the caption at the bottom that this is what Scientologists actually believe. This led to an often denied rumor that Scientologist cast member Issac Hayes left the show as a result of their parodying of his religion. The rumor is hard to deny when the writers turned Chef into a brainwashed pedophile, using spliced in voice clips of Chef from earlier episodes. Chef is then brutally killed off by a cheetah and a bear in the most gruesome way possible before the people that brainwashed Chef bring him back to life as Darth Chef. Even if Issac Hayes left the production for other reasons, its still pretty clear they were pissed at him.
The episode "Canada On Strike!" is a Take That aimed at The Writer's Guild's strike in attempt to get "all that Internet money." Notably, Parker and Stone are not members of the Guild.
Barbra Streisand used to be their favorite punching bag. In one episode Streisand is the villain and turns into a Kaiju monster much like Mecha-Godzilla. One Halloween episode is presented in "Spooky Vision," which is just letterboxes featuring Streisand's face. In the film, Cartman's most offensive curse is "Barbara Streisand."
Possibly the episode's title, "Roger Ebert Should Lay Off the Fatty Foods", was to make fun of Ebert for giving poor reviews to Orgazmo and BASEketball both starring Stone and Parker. The only reference of Ebert in this episode was the constellation of his face and his thumb down.
Perhaps the show's most scathing attack came against TV psychic John Edward of Crossing Over. The show painstakingly explains how they think Edward's uses cold reading to fool his victims and argues that his show exploits people in mourning. They finish off the episode by dubbing him "The Biggest Douche in the Universe," and play the credits over an actual photograph of his face.
The episode "Whale Whores" is one long Take That at Whale Wars, with Stan joining the anti-whaling activists from that show only to discover they are a bunch of boring, ineffective wimps who never accomplish anything. The show's star, Paul Watson, is horribly killed by a harpoon and later called an "incompetent media whore." Some critics have noted that the past few seasons have featured mostly episodes revolving around daytime TV shows no one really cares about. The Food Network, Ancient Aliens, Cash for Gold, Hunt for Bigfoot, I Shouldn't Be Alive, Nascar, and Professional Wrestling among others.
And in earlier seasons (and the movie), Sheila was Take That incarnate.
"The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs" is a big jab at readers who try to find meaning and symbolism in everything they read, even if the authors never intended it to have them there in the first place.
"You're Getting Old" is a big jab at people who are overly cynical about everything and make no effort to find something they actually like. The next episode, "Ass Burgers," continues the trend and makes fun of people that get themselves drunk in order to escape from their problems.
In the Johnny Test episode "Coming to a Johnny Near You", a television advert for a movie entitled Preschool Parole Officer declares it as "the best movie in the history of the world... ever!". Johnny and Dukey go to see it... and are instantly disappointed at its lack of comedy.
The opening of the Futurama movie Bender's Big Score features a sequence where Planet Express had its delivery license cancelled two years ago by executives from the Box Network, a load of brainless idiots... who were, as a result fired and badly beaten. Several died from their injuries, and they were then ground into a fine powder, putting Planet Express back in business. Just in case some of the viewers couldn't get it, when the Box Network building is shown, the sign is malfunctioning and flickers between reading "Box" and "Fox." Just to rub it in, the rest of the movie cited increasingly unpleasant uses for this "executive powder" as it went on in fake-ads, such as unclogging one's toilet.
In general, "Bender's Game" vacillates between an Affectionate Parody of Dungeons & Dragons, a mild and still affectionate Take That against some of the more egregious tropes of the game (such as the very Gygaxian use of multitudes of random-roll tables) and a flat-out Take That against the anti-D&D hysteria of the '80s (with Bender becoming an over-the-top parody of the "steam-tunnel gamer" urban legend — the gamers who supposedly lost their minds and grip on reality playing D&D). Of course, anyone who's played the game will be able to tell you that their portrayal of the game was hilariously inaccurate, for the sole reason that the players were actually using the d12. Even whatever edition would exist a thousand years from now, the d12 will still have fewer uses than even the d3, which is both nonexistent AND geometrically impossible.
"As Deepak Chopra taught us, quantum mechanics means that anything can happen at any time for no reason."
In one original episode they go down into the sewers. The mutants there can only use what people flush down the toilet. What do they have to read? Only crumpled up porn and copies of Atlas Shrugged.
In the 100th episode, the mutants in the sewers are given scholarships to Brown University (a real world Ivy League school), which is shown to be there in the sewers with them. Leela questions if it is a legitimate university and not just a sewer cleaning service.
A subtle one against Family Guy: in 1999 Pizzeria Panucci has a FG calendar with Brian and Stewie on the cover, which says "One laugh a month!".
Cleverly done in "Silence of the Clamps" as a form of self criticism:
Farmer: The name's Billy West.
Fry: (laughs) Billy West? What kind of dumb made up name is that?
Family Guy has made a few shots in return for all the abuse that it's taken. It's also open for debate whether its frequent skewering of popular culture and society constitutes various forms of Take That, Affectionate Parody, Non-Affectionate reference or some combination thereof.
Cobain:Oh, you remember my wife, Courtney Love? Executive:...who?
In a Naked Gun-style opening sequence, Stewie runs Homer down in the Griffin family garage. Peter walks in and says "Who the hell is that?"
Again with Homer Simpson in "The Juice Is Loose". Adam West is talking to someone off the screen, "We don't want you in our town Simpson. We don't love you like we did back in 1993. . ." We think he was talking to OJ Simpson, but the screen cuts to Homer Simpson yelling "D'oh". Adam's quote references the public's love of OJ before his crime exposure in 1994 and 1993 was considered to be the heyday and peak of The Simpsons.
Made even funnier by the fact it was actually only 20 seconds.
One episode had Peter, Brian, and Peter's stepdad spend a whole three minutes bashing Madonna. In the DVD Commentary, they admit that it was filler.
And another had Quagmire abducting and seducing Marge Simpson, before being discovered by Homer and being forced to kill the entire Simpson family with a shotgun. Matt Groening was pissed off about that episode, to the point where he actually stopped speaking to Seth MacFarlane for a while. MacFarlane realized that he had probably gone too far and ultimately had to apologize. It didn't help that when Fox refused to air the sequence, Seth responded with a long rant on the DVD commentary for the episode where he said The Simpsons was awful and Fox was showing unfair favoritism toward it — which is true, but the real reason Fox refused to air the bit is because it features Quagmire murdering kids (Bart, Lisa, and Maggie).
In "Mother Tucker", Brian accuses Stewie of selling out. Cut to Stewie holding a Butterfinger bar and saying, "Nobody better lay a finger on my Butterfinger... D'oh!" Ironically, Peter Griffin would go on to do advertisements for Subway, and a Stewie parade balloon would appear on a Coke commercial in the 2008 Super Bowl.
Peter: Beat that, Jared!
Note that the rivalry between Family Guy and The Simpsons is a friendly one, and Matt Groening has even told Seth MacFarlane that he likes the show.
And a deleted scene from "Lois Kills Stewie." "There's the guy who watched The Simpsons back in 1994/And won't admit the damn thing isn't funny anymore."
Peter, Brian, and Stewie have an entire song dedicated to how they feel about the FCC (or rather, he, since Seth MacFarlane voices all three). When the FCC reviewed the episode, they actually found it quite hilarious, showing even they can laugh at themselves.
Peter: If you're watching a TV show and you decide to take your values from that... you're an idiot. Maybe you should take responsibility for what values your kids are getting. Maybe you shouldn't be letting your kids watch certain shows in the first place if you have such a big problem with them, instead of blaming the shows themselves. Yeah.
There were a few shots at Entertainment Weekly magazine earlier in the show's run. One scene had the magazine as a suggestion for toilet paper, and another one had a character beat up a reporter from it. This was possibly done in response to the negative reviews that the magazine gave Family Guy in its initial run (even calling it the "fifth worst show of the year" during the second season). They called it the "worst show of the year" in its first season.
Stewie lambasted the comic strip B.C. at one point, leading to a memorable "takes Juan to know Juan" cutaway gag, followed by Stewie sarcastically shouting "Hahahahaha" at the viewer in derision.
In a similar vein to The Simpsons Halloween episode "The Ned Zone," in the episode "Meet The Quagmires" regarding an alternate universe where Quagmire married Lois instead of Peter, Lois mentioned that Osama bin Laden was captured and that he was hiding out among the cast of MADtv, to which Quagmire remarks that MADtv's the "only place that no one would think to look." Doubles as both a Hilarious in Hindsight and a "Funny Aneurysm" Moment, the former obviously because of Bin Ladin's death, and the latter because of MADtv's being cancelled in 2009 without even a finale.
The opening scroll of The Empire Strikes Back parody "Something, Something, Something Dark Side" contained Take Thats to FOX, with the scroll rambling about how stupid the executives were because, collectively, they had so little faith in both Star Wars and Family Guy being successful that they gave George Lucas international merchandising rights for the former, and cancelled the latter twice and didn't pay attention to the fact that the episode spent a ridiculous amount of money to animate a random elephant for no reason other than because they could.
On the DVD commentary, they do give credit to the top execs at Fox for allowing the scroll, especially since it mentioned the stockholders.
The DVD for that episode also includes a bonus feature that pops random facts up on the screen while you watch the show. Most of these are tongue-in-cheek gags related to what's happening on-screen. During the scene where Peter as Han Solo mocks his line "I thought they smelled bad....... on the outside" by breathing heavily for a very long time during the pause, a pop-up appears with the words "Take that, Harrison Ford."
In "Blue Harvest," in the scene where Luke (Chris) finds Aunt Beru and Uncle Owen killed by the Empire, and John Williams and the London Symphony Orchestra burned as well, he also complains that they'll have to listen to Danny Elfman music for the remainder of the movie. Cue Danny Elfman conducting his orchestra through the Desperate Housewives theme - or that of The Simpsons, depending on what version you see - only for Chris to proceed to decapitate him mid-song. (By the way, Elfman doesn't conduct.)
"Foreign Affairs" features a cutaway that is the music video of "Dancing In The Street" featuring David Bowie and Mick Jagger, in it's entirety, followed by Peter saying "That happened, and we all let it happen".
Sam: What could be more embarrassing than WOOHP spies losing all their gadgets and having to hitch a ride from a pop star?
The original title for Animaniacs was Bonkers, but Disney already had a series by that name. Every so often, the characters made unflattering comments about Bonkers, such as Slappy saying that her nephew is dumb from watching it, or one of the items on a scavenger hunt being a funny episode of it.
Animaniacs kind of likes taking potshots at Disney in general. "Jokahontas" takes a few. For starters, a song about how formulaic and unoriginal their heroines are, John Smith has red pants with two yellow buttons and a catch on his helmet to release a pair of round ears. Oh, and John Smith is Mel Gibson. Straight up. Not voiced by him, but it's still hard to miss.
Interestingly, there was only one scenario where this trope was averted with the "Wheel of Morality." The moral was: "Brush your teeth after every meal." Furthermore, Yakko added "This moral brought to you by the American Dental Association."
In the Animaniacs movie, Wakko's Wish, Dot's back story and her big fake death are all a big take that at Disney's versions of classic fairy tales and its killing off of characters in movies such as The Lion King and Bambi. In an interview, one of the writers said they don't have anything against the company, they were just an easy target.
One segment from 1997 had Slappy Squirrel speaking out against the FCC's demands on the three-hours-a-week increase in educational programming. In fact, Slappy would repeatedly badmouth Moral Guardians cracking down on violence, and the watered-down cartoons that resulted from it.
Or the "Please Please Please Get a Life Foundation" sketch, which was a major Take That aimed at a certain subset offans.
In one of the Wheel of Morality segments (itself a sarcastic comment on government meddling in children's programming), the moral of the day is: "You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you can't teachMadonna how to act." Another is: "If you can't say anything nice, you're probably at the Ice Capades."
The episode "Morning Malaise" had an anthropomorphic tern named Howie Tern that was a complete parody of Howard Stern. When Howie told Yakko to go bother Rush Limbaugh, his reply is "We're afraid he might eat us."
"Weekday Afternoon Live", an episode done In The Style OfSaturday Night Live, featured an out-of-freaking-nowhere purple-skinned parody of Bart Simpson called "Blart Simpleton" as the guest host. He took more anvils to the face than this editor can remember. Interestingly enough, he was voiced by Nancy Cartwright, Bart's actual VA. In an episode commentary for one of The Simpsons DVDs Matt Groening mentions that the producers of Tiny Toons requested permission to use The Simpsons theme song in the show and were denied. With that in mind, the bitterness makes more sense.
Tiny Toons was loaded with Take Thats and parodies. Walt Disney, video games, Madonna and even their own fans! The writers must have been REALLY bitter...
The Spring Break special had a scene where the Tiny Toons' bus runs over animal versions of Beavis and Butt-Head. Later, at the end, they run over them again, and this time they also run over a chicken and a beaver who resemble Ren and Stimpy.
"Please take care of Buster, I'm begging you! Otherwise, Tiny Toons will be canceled & we'll all end up on some chipmunk show!"
After the show made the Channel Hop from syndication to FOX in the third season, this happened twice to said network and, questionably, NBCnote According to speculation during the show's departure from syndication, the producers planned to broadcast the third season on said second network. However, when that network closed their animation block months after the second season finished, the executives eventually decided to broadcast it on FOX and there.
Clerks takes a shot at Family Guy in the final episode. Dante and Randal stumble upon the producers discussing ideas for what else to do with them (a la Duck Amuck), and one of them is holding a book labeled "How to Write Cartoons by Seth MacFarlane" and suggests that they put them in a Gilligan's Island spoof with gay jokes, which became Hilarious in Hindsight years later when Family Guy made an episode where Peter and his buddies end up as castaways on a deserted island and make gay jokes. In the commentary for that episode, Kevin Smith drops all pretense and flat-out states that he thinks Family Guy is one of the worst cartoons ever made. Family Guy would retaliate in the episode "Peter's Progress", where Peter's ancestor said he was happy to be away from the films of Kevin Smith.
In one of the Dating Game parodies, the prize is that the couple take a trip to the deserted theme park EuroDizzyland, obviously making fun of the real life park's initial lack of visitors. When the bachelorette, Miss Information, picks him as her suitor, host Nostradamus complains that he doesn't want to go to EuroDizzyland.
The show also featured a fictional WB network exec named Lydia, who served as a mockery of the censors placed on cartoons. She would do things such as interrupt lessons in order to censor works of fine art that happened to depict tasteful nudity, and at one point was even beaten up and then bound and gagged so she couldn't interfere with the plot anymore.
In the same season, the original Pinky and the Brain series itself also provided a Take That directed at One Saturday Morning during its Grand Finale, the "Brainwashed" trilogy - Pinky makes a jab at Disney's ReTooling of Doug by saying that the Schmarskāhnathon will mean "another preemption for Brand Spanking Fresh and Shiny New Doug."
And then there was this:
Brain: One day, Pinky, we shall live in a land where the mouse is king, and it's the humans who are forced into these humiliating diversions. Pinky: You mean Orlando?
PEATB used a similar line in an episode where they visited Duckyland:
Brain: Yes, finally! The Happy Sappy Children of Many Lands ride! Where cheering music will spread the message that a mouse should rule the world! Pinky: Oh no, Brain. Narf! You're thinking of that other park in Orlando.
In the Made-for-TV MovieRe-Animated, Sonny Appleday is supposed to have destroyed the legacy of his father, Milt Appleday, ruined the reputation of his cartoons, and nearly bankrupted his company by trying to do a Totally Radical update of the cartoons using Synchro-Vox. This is attacking Loonatics Unleashed.
Since Milt Appleday is a clear Mr. Alt Disney, Sonny might also have been a dig at Micheal Eisner.
Outrageously Inverted due to the fact the current president of Cartoon Network, Stuart Snyder, triggered Network Decay after making the movie into a live-action cartoon series, Out of Jimmy's Head, which flatlined like no other, and then used it as a jumping-off point for CN Real and the like. Now, it's Self-Deprecation.
Speaking of the Real Ghostbusters... One episode featured TV programmes coming to life, among them zombified space cadets who clearly represented Star Trek: The Original Series characters, and a brutish barbarian from Planet Petunia. The episode "Guess What's Coming To Dinner" had a family of ghosts who looked suspiciously like grotesque versions of The Simpsons invade the GB headquarters. Best of them all, however, was the episode "Spirit of Aunt Lois", where the villain of the week, a phony psychic, was dressed exactly like Jake Kong, the main character of Filmation's Ghostbusters!
Usually Garfield has the last word in the theme song. In one episode, he gives a Take That to Heathcliff. In another episode, he says that his show has what he calls "the Garfield Guarantee", which involves a Take That against both annoying blue people and giant robots at the same time. Other versions include "Maybe not as funny as pro wrestling, but a lot more realistic" and "Don't watch NBC. They don't have cartoons anymore."
Also, in "The Incredibly Stupid Swamp Monster", Roy calls his agent and asks "Isn't Hanna-Barbera casting? What about cable? I hear they're doing a funny version of Ren and Stimpy."
Then there's the episode where "Gramps' Groceries," a mom-and-pop store, is about to get swallowed up by "The Food Monster", a protest against the major chains squeezing out local competitors. The manager of the Food Monster is shown to be a fat crook who deliberately organizes the store so the stuff people want is impossible to find, and price-gouges customers by bombarding them with false promises of coupons, specials and contests, so they don't notice how much more they're paying. Oh, and he wants to buy out the mom-and-pop store so he can bulldoze it and put in more parking spaces. He's finally defeated when Garfield secretly broadcasts one of his evil speeches across the entire store, and the customers get mad and leave.
In another episode from the final season, Aloysius Pig, voiced by comedian Kevin Meaney, says "This is a cartoon show, not Masterpiece Theatre!" upon seeing what Orson's latest idea is.
Christy Marx, the main writer of Jem, did a Take That at her own brother, as two thirds of his name is used to name the series' Big Bad, Eric Raymond.
In the Spider-Man: The Animated Series episode, "I Really, Really Hate Clones", after he heard the Scarlet Spider's story, the main Spider-Man said, "This is starting to sound like a bad comic book plot!" This was a reference to the infamous Clone Saga arc, which ran from 1994 until 1997 due to Executive Meddling.
In Gargoyles, Owen Burnett is explaining to Elisa that the stolen shipment of laser gun prototypes were tested on several Power Ranges. His deadpan tone makes the final word sound like Rangers an obvious dig at the competition. In addition, the villain team The Pack could be seen as this as well.
Megas XLR has a company by the name of PoP TV. The logo shows this is an obvious reference to MTV. If at any point there is something from a company to destroy. The first will be one for PoP TV, usually after hearing a soundbyte from a show parodying one from MTV. This is because the series creators had a show called Downtown on that station, which was cancelled.
Moreover, the studio making both shows, Titmouse, is known for its risque, adult-oriented shows. Megas XLR was made for Cartoon Network, who had a very strict level of censorship, to make shows fit for children to watch. Nor surprisingly, in this case, the main character (Coop) repeatedly mocks and derides children's programming as immature and sugar-coated.
The last episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender before the 4 part finale was a retelling of the entire 3 seasons as a play, and consisted of a long chain of affectionate Take Thats at both their fans and themselves.
In the episode "Sokka's Master", Aang tries on a ridiculously elaborate set of armor, which he's unable to move in and falls backwards while he's still wearing it. The DVD Commentary confirms that this was a swing at the type of ridiculous and impractical choices in character/costume design that the series creators don't exactly agree with.
Specifically, it was Mike and Bryan's response to Nickelodeon asking them to give Aang such a set of armor so they could use it in toys.
"There's no girls in the Avatar universe! Just ask Mattel!" *whip crack*
In an episode of My Dad The Rock Star, Rock Zilla is upset that his never-before-mentioned rival, Max Hype has managed to get a reality show, despite Rock Zilla being a much better performer and singer. In addition to having a reality show, he has long black hair and is completely addled to the point that he apparently frequently gets stuck walking into walls or corners. No points for guessing who he's supposed to be a mean-spirited No Celebrities Were Harmed version of.
In one episode, a citizen of Atlantis states that the diet of his people consists of crabs, starfish and the occasional underwater squirrel. Take a wild guess at which show they're mocking.
The very same episode has the people of Atlantis deciding that Cosmo sinking them was a good thing after viewing Wet Willy, a fictitious movie starring a very thinly veiled Captain Ersatz for Aquaman, who is primarily noted for sucking.
The episode "Shelf Life" gives many stabs to the state of Missouri.
Abracatastrophe starts with several Movie Parody dream sequences. In the middle of the "Luke vs. Vader" recreation, a character with long ears walks out advising them not to fight before devolving Gibberish. He is promptly thrown into the abyss by both. Even better, when Timmy becomes the amazingly unsueable Arachnid Kid, he catches him, solely for the sake of using him as a weapon to smack the villain.
In Transformers Animated, after the Dinobots gain sentience, Megatron turns them against the Autobots. It ultimately results in Grimlock saying "Cars bad. Car Robots worse!" For the uninformed, Transformers: Robots In Disguise was originally called "Car Robots" in Japan.
There's a more direct one in the script-reading "Bee in the City", where Optimus Prime states that waiting in a line for 17 hours "took longer than an InuYashaStory Arc". This is also an Actor Allusion, as Prime has the same voice actor as Sesshomaru, a recurring character.
One episode had a computer being booted up and had the faux loading message "Matrix good — Sequels: not so good", obviously a dig at the Matrix films.
Another episode dealt with a girl named Dora, who Grim said reminded him of something. He went on to say she reminded him of "his favorite program" which Billy describes as "Is it that one about the little girl who wanders around the jungle with no parental supervision, avoiding crises and conversing with the local wildlife with the aid of her foreign language-speaking monkey?" Dora turned out to be Pandora who had an evil plot to trick Mandy into opening her lunchbox and destroying the world.
A "Take That" to their fans via the appropriately titled "City of Clipsville" episode. It starts off as a standard Clip Show then moves onto material obviously never made. Most the supposed segments taking potshots at fanfic writers, including Powerpuff Girls / Rowdy Ruff Boys shippers. It backfired. The shippers loved it.
Craig McCracken was annoyed by people who said that the show promotes animal cruelty due to the girls' treatment of Mojo Jojo. "Save Mojo" would be about an Animal Wrongs Group telling the girls they should protect Mojo and the girls telling them he's a criminal and they should be protecting them from him.
Jenny: Wow! This works so well! *changes to sound of happy children* I can hear the park down the street! *changes to sound of chatting people* I can hear the people in Mezmers! *Changes to woman saying, "Isn't that illegal, sir?"* Wow! I can even hear Air Force One!
Batman: Mask of the Phantasm features a fight between Batman and the Joker in a dilapidated park that strongly resembles a cross between EPCOT and Tomorrowland of Disney World. During the course of their fight, it is completely demolished, finishing off with the huge sphere burning to cinders as it falls to the ground, just before the entire place blows up.
Word of God says that it was directly inspired by the World's Fair, as it tied in well with the show's art deco-inspired style. It looks like Epcot because Epcot itself was also inspired by the 1939 fair.
An episode in the series itself, after the art style change, featured an episode that had a scene where a network TV spokesperson previews a new line up of shows with bad premises and bad actors meant for the "teen/young adult" group. Either a shot at the WB! or at prime time TV in general.
One of the Mr. Freeze episodes of Batman: The Animated Series involved an amusement park magnate who wanted Mr. Freeze to grant him immortality through the process that had made Freeze cold-blooded, so the magnate would have time to implement nefarious long-term plans. This was a subtle dig at Walt Disney, both for the rumors that Disney had himself cryogenically frozen at death, and for the extreme political views Disney is said to have had.
More subtly, Baby Doll's failed version of Macbeth bears a striking resemblance to Roman Polanski's version.
The episode "Mean Seasons" is ripe with this. Donna Day, a bitchy fashion designer kidnapped by Calendar Girl, is based on fashion mogul Carrie Donovan. Day and several other fashion moguls are bound and gagged by Calendar Girl, who then lectures them about how "sick" America's obsession with youth is. Just in case you don't get the jab, Calendar Girl was played by Sela Ward, a former model and actress who famously launched a campaign against ageism in Hollywood after a film director made a remark about her age.
Justice League features a scene in "Injustice for All" where statues of the widely-hated Wonder Twins are violently smashed during a battle.
After ABC was bought out by Disney and dumped ReBoot, the season 2 finale had Megabyte's ships be called "Armored Binome Carriers". "It's the ABCs! They've turned on us!" "Treacherous dogs!"
Emma See, the program censor from Talent Night who lambasts almost every act portrayed was a Take That against a specific BS&P official, called Mary, who was "not happy about it" according to the DVD commentary.
An episode has the show turned into a bad Sitcom by Carl The Evil Cockroach Wizard. It's quite visibly modeled on The Suite Life of Zack and Cody with a lot of more generic elements grafted on, and is titled "The Sweetified World of Yin and Yang."
The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack episode "Panfake" was a poke at a Disney cartoon that was being made (cancelled as soon as Cartoon Network found out), which was a ripoff of the series premise. The creator hoped that the ripoff (called Poopdeck) would air around the premiere of this episode, but it, again, was canceled.
In the episode "Legends of the Dark Mite", Bat-Mite confronts a group of irritated fanboys who are bashing the cartoon for not being dark enough, and explains to them that the show does adhere to Batman's comic book history and is just as valid as the previous, darker Batman cartoons.
In the same episode, Bat-Mite briefly views the rubberized Batsuit from the much-maligned Batman & Robin film, and dismisses it as being "took icky".
"A Bat Divided" features a scene where Batman is split into several clones embodying his various personality traits, and the embodiment of Batman's rage angrily screams out "Batman does not eat nachos!" This could be seen as a dig at the fandom's vitriolic response to the previous Batman cartoon, The Batman, after an early episode had Bruce Wayne asking Alfred to make him some nachos. The scene provoked outraged responses from a number of fans who accused the show of trying too hard to make Bruce seem young and hip.
The final episode of the show features a scene where The Brave and the Bold is cancelled and replaced with a "darker", CGI Batgirl TV series. This greatly upsets Bat-Mite, who dismisses the Batgirl cartoon as a poor substitute. In real life, a darker Batman series called Beware the Batman was launched as a replacement for The Brave and the Bold.
Invader Zim did a HUGE take that at Nickelodeon, as Zim captures a human child and implants an ENORMOUS probe in his skull that forces him to be eternally happy. The child's name? Nick. This is funny because of how Nickelodeon tried to always lighten up the plots and mood of the show, which would eventually lead to them cancelling it. To make the irony more delicious, Nick was voiced by the creator of the show and the primary victim of Nickelodeon's executive annoyance, Jhonen Vasquez.
Freakazoid: The scariest thing in the world... would be if they gave Sinbad another TV show.
Kids: AAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHH!!!! *run into cabin and hide*
Not to mention the episode where he gets teleported back in time and prevents the bombing of Pearl Harbor. He then goes to see what has changed. He finds a theater playing Macbeth with Sharon Stone. He is shocked to find she is good. "She's really good. Sharon Stone can act!" He also sees Rush Limbaugh became a bleeding heart liberal. Then he picks up a paper and also learns Euro Disney is packed, Cold Fusion works, and there are no Chevy Chase movies!
Superman: Doomsday has a scene where Superman destroys a giant robot spider, and a bemused man resembling Kevin Smith remarks that the fight was "lame". In real life, Smith wrote a rejected script for a Superman movie and frequently talks about how producer Jon Peters repeatedly asked him to include a scene where Superman fought a giant robot spider. All the more relevant, as Kevin Smith himself voiced the snarking bystander.
Independent animator Bill Plympton did a scathing parody of abstract animation called Spiral. It was actually controversial within the indie animation community and angered many abstract animators. One of them, Steven Woloshen, did a film rebutting called, well, Rebuttal.
"Tell your father I'll be gone all night. Man, these hours are brutal. No wonder those doctors on Scrubs don't have time to be funny." (with Klaus, the show's equivalent to Meg on Family Guy, pitifully commenting that he likes Scrubs).
Another episode had Steve and Roger talking (metaphorically) about Steve's place in the family. He used to be "first class" now he was back in coach between two fat ladies from Toronto. Roger responds "Blue Jays fans are the worst!" They then go on to make fun of Detroit Tigers and Boston Red Sox fans.
Sierra's main purpose is to show how pathetic and nucking futs Cody's legion of fangirls are. You may think it backfired, but when you realize that there pretty much just demonizing themselves, the Take That is even sweeter.
Hell, the entire first season is a parody of dangerous, dramatic teenage reality shows such as Survivor, and Chris's arrogance and ruthlessness is the most obvious Take That in the season, to the producers of those shows.
In Walt Disney's Dumbo, which was made during the infamous Disney Animators' Strike, there is a straw-man illustration of the striking employees represented by greedy clowns who want to try and ring the circus master for a raise. Not one of Uncle Walt's finest moments, but fortunately too lost on most audiences to be distracting. Also, when the Pink Elephants made an appearance in the show House of Mouse, some of said Pink Elephants can actually be seen drinking out of a honey pot at one point.
One episode had an in-universe example: Buster plans to open his report with a joke, and tests it out on Binky before school starts, only to have Binky tell the joke before his report. Buster spends the rest of the episode holding a grudge against Binky for this, and later at the school talent show, his entire "comedy act" consists of a long screed against Binky. Needless to say, the act bombs... which he proceeds to blame Binky for.
In another episode, Buster creates a self-aggrandizing cartoon based around his own imaginary adventures. Describing the premise to his friends, Arthur notes that the show is supposed to be "edutainment," which causes everyone to recoil in disgust.
Buster: Neither do I, but they don't have to know that.
Arthur was also on the receiving end of a Take That: the first episode of the Disney version of Doug, themed around change, had Doug remembering his old pals Arthur and Buster in Bloatsburg...namely, how annoying they were. To drive the point home, the expies of the characters resembled the real thing very eerily.
Soon after Futurama left [adult swim] for Comedy Central, the show featured one relevant to that point, where Meatwad complains of wanting to watch Futuruma, and Shake tells him to go over to "Carl Central," where they have Futurama on all the time. He bitterly remarks that Carl didn't even like Futurama until the Aqua Teen started watching it, a reference to Comedy Central producing new episodes of Futurama after the show had already been airing in reruns on Adult Swim for several years.
Another episode has Carl's girlfriend telling her kids' babysitter that the children are only allowed to watch animated programs, and therefore "No Cartoon Network". At the time, Cartoon Network was coming under fire for the increasingly large amount of live-action and reality shows being aired on the channel.
Reportedly, they made an episode called "Boston" in response to the 2007 bomb scare caused by a promotional campaign gone wrong, but Turner's legal department won't allow it to air or be released out of fear of further legal action.
Another short from the 90's, "Blooper Bunny" relentlessly made fun of the fuss Warner Bros. made to promote Bugs' 50th anniversary.
A G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero episode has Cobra creating a childrens' cartoon called The Likables which is a blatant Smurfs parody. It involves two green trolls turning a purple troll's color green and saying "when everyone looks, thinks, and acts the same, we can achieve world peace". Followed by Duke turning off the tv and saying "this has got to stop".
In an episode of Good Vibes, Gina asks Mondo if he would like to watch a porno with her. She turns on the TV, and Mondo exclaims "Yuck, it's all shock value and no plot!" Gina then tells him that it's Family Guy, and then puts on the porno.
The Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Don't Touch That Dial" skewers Hanna-Barbera, anime, 80s cartoons in general, and vegetating to "electronic pablum" specifically. Features an affectionate nod to Rocky and Bullwinkle.
Spy Groove features The Marquis, a masochist who enjoys torturing himself. Amongst the things in his personal collection are a pair of pajamas with prickly insides, a half-hammer-half-feather duster, and the Director's Cut of Patch Adams.
When Adam Sandler and Ben Stiller met, both were so used to being the underdog that they could only have a Wimp Fight. Mills Lane told them to fight for real by threatening to bring out the MADtv cast. When the two said they could take them, Mills clarified that he would bring them out not to fight but to perform their sketches live.