The unique structure of the Fox Entertainment Group, the core asset of the former 21st Century Fox (both now owned by and merged with Disney), along with Fox having a notoriously laxer standards and practices board compared to other networks, has allowed a large number of cartoons airing on the network to get away with insulting the network itself, its parent, associated individuals or even its sister networks and properties (especially the Fox News Channelnote ). This extends to cartoons produced by 20th Century Fox themselves. However, Disney owns the company and their pre-2019 animated series and removing "Fox" from all the acquired companies with "Fox" in the title to prevent confusion with the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox Corporation, which owns the Fox Broadcasting Company and Fox News, although Disney will still continue to air and produce new shows for Fox. This page covers examples of such insults.
- The Simpsons: According to many of the commentaries on the DVDs (Sunday, Cruddy Sunday in particular), the directors and writers quite appreciate the leeway Fox gives them, noting they wouldn't be able to get away with it on any other network.
- The Simpsons reached a disturbing one in the episode "MoneyBART", its Couch Gag (storyboarded by subversive street artist Banksy) depicting the production of Simpsons episodes and merchandise taking place in a toxic sweat shop within a building shaped like the 20th Century Fox Vanity Plate. This BBC report claims the sequence "led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department."
- In "The Springfield Files" Homer and Bart make plans to videotape an apparent alien visitor (and take a swipe at Fox's "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction" broadcast), commenting that if they fail to find an actual alien, they can just produce a fake recording and sell it to the Fox network.Bart: (Chuckling) They'll buy anything!
Homer: Now son, they do a lot of quality programming too.
(Pause, followed by both of them laughing.)
- At the beginning of "Cape Feare", Bart & Lisa watch a talk show with Rainier Wolfcastle as McBain. He makes a comment about his band leader looking like a homosexual, causing the audience to boo. In response, he calls them homosexuals too. Bart calls the show horrible and Lisa states the Fox network has sunk to a new low.
- "Sweet Seymour Skinner's Badass Song": The 100th episode's Couch Gag had the Fox logo bug appearing in the corner of the screen only for Homer to rip it off and the whole family stomps on it.
- "HOMЯ" had Homer calling an automated stock price hotline, which worked by having the person calling saying the name of the company and the computer replying with the stock's respective value. When Homer asks "What is this crap?", the service replies "Fox Broadcasting: down 8 [points]", followed by him smiling.
- "Thirty Minutes Over Tokyo" had Homer investing in "something called News Corp.", followed by Lisa telling him that was Fox and Homer screaming "AHH! UNDO! UNDO!"
- One of the earliest and more subtle ones may be in the Season 4 episode "Mr. Plow". When a TV commercial starring the family airs on late at night on an obscure cable channel, Homer exclaims, "It may be on a crappy network, but the Simpsons are on TV."
- In "Bart Gets an Elephant", Lisa asks one "Mr. Blackheart" if he is an ivory dealer, with the reply "Well, little girl, I've had lots of jobs in my day: whale-hunter, seal-clubber, president of the Fox network. And yes, like most people, I've dealt a little ivory."
- An even better example was in the movie: During one of the scenes, a Commercial Popup crawler advertising the new Fox show Are You Smarter than a Celebrity? starts moving across the bottom of the screen, ending with "That's right, we even advertise shows during movies now."
- Also there was Krusty bemoaning his good-for-nothing half-brother Luke Perry:Lisa: But he's a big star!
Krusty: Yeah... (With disgust) on Fox.
- "Missionary: Impossible" begins with Betty White hosting a PBS pledge drive. At the end of the episode, she pops up again, this time hosting a pledge drive for Fox. She urges viewers not to let "crude, lowbrow programming disappear from the airwaves." A Family Guy logo appears on the TV set she's standing next to. Ironically, the episode aired during a time where Family Guy was struggling in the ratings and was cancelled twice because of it.Betty White: Sure, Fox makes a fortune from advertising but it's still not enough.
Rupert Murdoch: Not nearly enough!
- That particular example is more of a swipe at Family Guy than at Fox, though Matt Groening and Seth MacFarlane are on good terms in real life.
- In that same episode at the end, someone calls in pledging $10,000, and Rupert Murdoch says "You've saved my network!" Bart, on the other end of the line, says "Wouldn't be the first time."
- In the flash-forward episode "Lisa's Wedding", set in 2010, we find out that all the programs on FOX have become porn. This happened so gradually that Marge hadn't noticed until that point in time.
- "Marge Simpson in: Screaming Yellow Honkers": The family promotes NBC for its quality programming, ending with "How do we know if there's something good on now? Just change the channel!", followed by Homer reading out a forced statement over the episode's credits that NBC sucks and Fox rules, under gunpoint, ending with him saying, "CBS: great", and being shot.
- "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" has Homer and company tangling with Rupert Murdoch, who refers to himself as "the billionaire tyrant". (Murdoch was actually playing himself.)
- Another example is when a promo for Joe Millionaire goes across the top of the screen. Homer eats a part of it, but disgustedly spits out the Fox logo.
- In "Marge in Chains", the Flanders kids have been infected with the "Osaka Flu" going around town. Ned then asks himself why God has "forsaken" them only to have a flashback to the one time they watched Married... with Children (complete with sinister lightning).Ned: Oh Maude, the network slogan was true! "Watch FOX and be damned for all eternity!"
- In "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", the family criticizes Lisa's recent activism:Homer: And we can't watch Fox because they own those chemical weapon plants in Syria.
- In "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", you may remember Troy McClure from such Fox network specials as Alien Nose Job and Five Fabulous Weeks of "The Chevy Chase Show".
- In "Treehouse of Horror IX", Ed McMahon would like to remind you that the FOX special World's Deadliest Executions is brought to you by the producers of When Skirts Fall Off and Secrets of National Security Revealed.
- In "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase", Troy McClure says that FOX approached the writers of The Simpsons to create "35 new shows" to fill a "few holes" in the schedule. Cue a poster of the FOX schedule: A slot each for The Simpsons, The X-Files, and Melrose Place, All other slots are question marks.note
- In "Simple Simpson", the family watches Promiscuous Idiots Island on FOX, the home of promiscuous idiots.
- And then there's a scene in "Sideshow Bob's Last Gleaming" where Rupert Murdoch himself (speaking with a bad Australian accent, saying that he owns 60% of the Krusty-showing network Bob was disparaging) was in jail with Bob. They actually had to ask for and got permission from Murdoch himself for that one. His response was apparently "I would be honored to be in jail in The Simpsons."
- Later in that same episode, after overhearing some lines of a raunchy TV comedy followed by the FOX fanfare, Bob laments, "TV's bottomless chum-bucket has claimed Vanessa Redgrave!"
- In "Scuse Me While I Miss the Sky", Lisa, seeking to have Springfield's lights turned off so she can see an upcoming meteor shower, complains that the only thing she can see in her telescope is the FOX satellite. The screen then cuts to a broken, falling apart satellite that's only being held up by regular party balloons.
- And in "Homer Simpson, This is Your Wife", FOX is described as the home of the world's worst sitcoms, before Lisa points out that the show Mother Flippers (i.e. Trading Spouses) is a rip-off of an existing show. She is bribed with a FOX sweatshirt, but when she points out it's actually an ABC sweatshirt, they throw her in the American Idol holding pen.
- "Behind the Laughter": We know it's off-canon, but the only reason that The Simpsons got picked up as a show was because Marge's hairdresser was also president of the Fox network.
- In the couch gag for "Elementary School Musical", the 22nd-season premiere, a Fox executive appears giving the Simpsons a cupcake with a candle on it to celebrate the beginning of the season. After Maggie blows out the candle, the executive takes the cupcake and eats it himself.
- Subverted in "She Used to Be My Girl"; when a media circus hits town, the Fox News van is very large and rolls into view while "We Are the Champions" plays, presumably in celebration of George W. Bush's re-election.
- In-universe example in "'Round Springfield". Krusty bad-mouths Percodan while being taped, then mentions "a word from our sponsor," who also happens to be ...Percodan, the very company he just criticized. Cue Oh, Crap! moment for him.
- In "Sideshow Bob Roberts", Larry King is moderating in a mayoral debate. Before the debate, he addresses the audience.King: I'm your moderator, Larry King. Now, a word to our audience: even though we're being broadcast on... Fox, there's no need for obnoxious hooting and hollering.
(Cue obnoxious hooting and hollering.)
- Inverted with the 2010 Treehouse of Horror special by way of whacking one of its biggest fans at the end of the Twilight parody sketch.
- Not to mention "The Fool Monty," for which the premise is that Fox needs to boost its ratings, and the execs decide that a new, terrifying disease would stir up the populace. However, it would be immoral to lie about the existence of such a disease. Their decision? "Let's release a real deadly disease, then blame it on something!"
- In another episode, Homer has a very absurd idea and decides to sell it to Fox for a new TV show. The Fox network automated machine says (paraphrasing) "Your absurd ideas are all we have".
- "You Kent Always Say What You Want": When Homer tries to explain to Lisa at the end of the episode what Fox is up to, both his and Lisa's dialogue is overdubbed by a man promoting Fox. When Homer gets up to tell the viewers the truth, he's immediately cut off by the 20th Century Fox Television logo. He then appears again after that on a plain white background, trying to tell the viewers the truth, albeit more quietly, and he's immediately shushed by the Gracie Films logo.
- In the episode "Cue Detective", Principal Skinner shows the students of Springfield Elementary a movie. When they see the 20th Century Fox logo, they start booing.
- In the "Treehouse of Horror XXV" segment "The Others", right before nine sets of alternate Simpsons show up, Lisa says, "I just had a worrisome thought. If there could be two incarnations of the Simpsons, why couldn't some evil marketing entity produce millions of others?"
- In "Whistler's Father", when a vulture is about to bite Grampa during a visit to the zoo to teach Maggie some whistling methods, he tells it, "Go ahead, but my blood's turned to bile from watching Fox News."
- As talks about Disney's buyout of 21st Century Fox began, James L. Brooks shared a drawing on Twitter of Homer choking Mickey Mouse as Bart tells him, "Welcome to the family, man!"
- In an inversion of this trope, when it was announced that Disney+ would have exclusive streaming rights to the first 30 seasons of the show, the Simpsons wasted no time in welcoming their new corporate overlords. How'd they do it? With balloons having the Fox logo crossed out of them and tossing a portrait of Rupert Murdoch in the trash! Despite that, it can be seen as a straight example against Disney as well, since Homer's excitement seems deliberately phoned in and the family is reluctant to embrace their Disney identity until Homer pushes them (and the Mickey ears can't even fit over Marge's hair). A month before the launch of Disney+, a special trailer was created featuring the Simpsons wearing costumes for each Disney acquisition.note
- In the Summer of 2019, special Simpsons merch was sold exclusively at D23. The most notable is a fan showing Bart Simpson wearing Mickey ears blowing a raspberry while giving the viewer a disapproved look. Matt Groening also drew a special illustration of the Simpsons family◊, with Bart Simpson preparing to shoot Tinker Bell with his slingshot.
- They even did one at the Simpsons Take the Bowl live shows at the Hollywood Bowl in 2014. Yeardley Smith begins introducing what seems to be an In Memoriam montage, to honor "those who have left us during our 25 years—I'm talking about the FOX presidents who've lost their jobs during that time," followed by a video scroll of almost a dozen names of actual FOX presidents, some of whom only lasted a year on the job, set to Sarah McLachlan's "I Will Remember You". According to the final listing in the scroll, Ralph Wiggum will become the president of FOX in 2021.
- This article published a week before the premiere of "Life On The Fast Lane" has Lisa believe that the only purpose of ALF, which was in its final season, was to push merchandise. Marge then comments that her comment feels too close to home, lampshading how heavily The Simpsons was merchandised back in the early days of the show.
- "Marge the Lumberjill" has a scene performed at the Springfield Elementary pageant at the start reenacting a typical reveal from The Masked Singer, basically serving as a Take That! at the show (with the judges pretending to recognize the unmasked celebrity.)
- Family Guy:
- One episode ends with Peter insulting the network for what it chooses to air. When Lois says he shouldn't do that, he Tempts Fate by asking "What are they gonna do? Cut our budget?" He then leaves to get a beer, and his "walking" is suddenly shown as a still drawing of him crudely wobbling back and forth.
- Probably the most striking example was the first scene in the first episode of Family Guy's fourth (i.e. first post-cancellation) season, where Peter recites the Long List of twenty-nine prime-time shows that Fox cancelled between Family Guy's own cancellation in 2002 and return in 2005 - most of which were started within that same period as well.Peter: Everybody, I got bad news - we've been cancelled.
Lois: Oh no! Peter, how could they do that?
Peter: Well, unfortunately, Lois, there's just no more room on the schedule. We've just got to accept the fact that Fox has to make room for terrific shows like Dark Angel, Titus, Undeclared, Action, That '80s Show, Wonderfalls, Fastlane, Andy Richter Controls the Universe, Skin, Girl's Club, Cracking Up, The Pitts, Firefly, Get Real, FreakyLinks, Wanda at Large, Costello, The Lone Gunmen, A Minute with Stan Hooper, Normal, Ohio, Pasadena, Harsh Realm, Keen Eddie, The Street, American Embassy, Cedric the Entertainer, The Tick, Louie, and Greg the Bunny.
Lois: Is there no hope?
Peter: Well, I suppose if all those shows go down the tubes, we might have a shot.
- Revisited in the seventh-season episode "Family Gay". At a horse race, the announcer rattles off the list of entrants, all of them named for then-recently-cancelled FOX shows, including MacFarlane's own failed attempt at a live-action sitcom The Winner.
- They also inverted this trope, in the episode "Death Is a Bitch." Assigned by Death with the task of killing the cast of Dawson's Creek, Peter demurs:Peter: I'm not gonna kill those kids. If they die, I'll have nothing to watch on Wednesdays. [Glancing at the camera, and breaking out in a nervous grin] Other than the fine programs on FOX.
- In "Meet the Quagmires" we get this exchange:Molly: Hey did you guys hear on the news how President Gore hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden with his bare hands?
Lois: Yeah, who woulda thought that bin Laden was hiding out in the cast of MADtv?
Quagmire: Man, the perfect hiding spot. The one place no one would look!
- Also an Actor Allusion, as Alex Borstein, who voices Lois, had a recurring role on MadTV.
- Then there was the episode where they took one potshot after another at FOX News when Lois went to work for them.
- In "Something Something Something Dark Side" the opening scrawl turns into a ramble about how FOX thought so little of the Star Wars franchise that it did not bother to retain merchandising rights, handing those off to Lucas. It then goes on to point out precisely how valuable those merchandising rights turned out to be and questions the sanity of FOX stockholders for sticking with a company that makes such unbelievably stupid choices about money.
- That same scroll also features a CGI elephant skipping across the screen, which the scrawl says it cost $58,000 to animate and render, and served no other purpose than to prove their point.
- The opening crawl for "It's A Trap!" is about how Seth MacFarlane had to allow this episode to be made despite the exhaustion of the writers in order for him to be allowed to take an absence in order to make Ted. "Fox suddenly had dollar signs in their eyes."
- In "Big Man on Hippocampus," there was what appeared to be the trademark black with white lettering panels from [adult swim] questioning why anyone would watch the show on FOX since it is much funnier on Adult Swim, because they don't censor all the good jokes. At the same time, it took a jab at Adult Swim, claiming that even if the viewer is watching it there, they're actually watching it on Fox. When the episode premiered on Adult Swim, the meta ramped up with this promo right after the aforementioned scene.
- Peter closes the episode "Three Kings" with "Now stay tuned for whatever Fox is limping to the barn with."note
- They've even made fun of TBS in "Hell Comes to Quahog":
- Towards the end of "The Simpsons Guy", Homer and Peter agree to stay a half-hour away and with a "pile of garbage" in between from each other which is a reference to The Simpsons airing from 8-8:30pm and Family Guy airing from 9-9:30pm. It is also a reference to Fox usually switching the shows out of the 8:30pm slot, most of them end up failing.
- From "Excellence in Broadcasting," courtesy of the Family Guy wiki: After Brian said that he was moving in with Rush Limbaugh, after Stewie says "Ooh, this is a bad idea. But I guess that FOX has bad ideas, huh?", a promotional bumper for Sons of Tucson shows up and Stewie says to the viewers, pointing at the bumper, "Let's all just sit here for a moment and remember that this was a thing." note
- In "Married... with Cancer", when Brian's new wife Jess passes out after choking at a restaurant, he calls for 911 and a network bumper for 9-1-1 comes up. Brian says that it's not a good time for Fox to focus on expanding their media empire, and a bumper for Empire comes up in response. When Brian flatly namedrops the then-recently cancelled Son of Zorn, a Windows XP-style error message reading "File Not Found" comes up.
- In the episode "Stewie's First Word", Peter asks his Magic 8 ball if the Fox network is sustainable in an era where streaming has become the norm. The Magic 8 ball explodes in response.
- In the American Dad! episode "Less Money, Mo' Problems" the end credits has a preview for the fictional show Shoe Police (a Call-Back to a joke earlier in the episode) that is reviewed as "A new low for FOX".
- In an Animaniacs Wheel of Morality segment, Wakko's response to Yakko's "It's that time again!" is "[Time] to make the FOX censors cry?"
- Their treatment of the network censors in "Valuable Lesson"...
- From the Thanksgiving episode, arguing over a turkey:Pilgrim: Begone, pests, and give me the bird!
Yakko: We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it.
- Tiny Toon Adventures has a segment where Fox, having picked up the show, is represented by a duo of ravenous foxes, the "network executives", who are on the trail of Babs and Buster.
- The King of the Hill episode "Enrique-ciliable Differences" shows Hank locking out the FOX network (except during football season) and generally disparaging the quality of programming on it.
- Another rare Fox Kids example occurred from J. Jonah Jameson on Spider-Man: The Animated Series in its third episode, "The Spider Slayer": "The networks are laughing at me, Brock! Even Fox! Can you imagine the humiliation?"
- The intro to the first Futurama movie is a long string of jokes where the cancellation of the show is compared to Planet Express' flight license being canceled by the "Box Network," which is in turn an unending string of attacks on Fox for canceling the show in the first place.
- The Couch Gag tagline for that movie is "It just won't stay dead!"
- In the first string of lampshade jokes that opens the movie, the Professor mentions that the executives responsible for their cancellation had been fired, then beaten up, badly mauled and finally ground into a fine powder that was then packaged and sold as "'Torgo's Executive Powder,' a product with a million and one uses", which the Professor uses to powder his crotch.
- Fox is repeatedly the target of jabs during the series. Such as this exchange from a flashback to start off "When Aliens Attack":Fry: Wow, so this is a real TV station, huh?
Technician: Well, it's a Fox affiliate.
- Fry then spills his drink on the control console, knocking the station off the air. The technician panics, but Fry is confident that nobody will notice.Technician: Oh my God. You knocked FOX off the air!
Fry: Pfft, like anyone on Earth cares.
- Fry then spills his drink on the control console, knocking the station off the air. The technician panics, but Fry is confident that nobody will notice.
- "Mars University" ends with Gunther the monkey becoming getting an MBA and becoming CEO of FOX, after getting his super-intelligence hat damaged to the point where it only radiates about-average human intelligence.
- The trope strikes again in the very first Comedy Central episode, which opens with a still of the Hypnotoad while a voiceover by Bender tells the viewer, on the count of three, to forget the show was ever cancelled by idiots and revived by... bigger idiots.
- Back when they were on Fox, the crew go on a tour of Hollywood, where the tour guide says the 30th Century Fox logo spotlights are used to blind pilots so that they can film the resulting plane crashes. The joke being that Fox makes pilots crash and burn.
- The show continued to poke fun at Fox during the Comedy Central run, with Amy complaining in "Mobius Dick" that Leela, who's having a bout of Sanity Slippage, has "gone from crazy like a fox to crazy like Fox News."
- The Critic during its Fox run:
- One of Jay's voiceovers during the show's Eye Catch:"You're watching Fox. Shame on you!"
- In the episode "A Song For Margo":Margo: Johnny is just like you, Jay. He's not afraid of anything. Not even the TV networks.
Jay: Well, they're all pretty crummy. (Turns to the camera when the FOX logo appears) Except for FOX. The last bastion of quality programming. (Does a salute) God bless you, little logo.
- In the episode "All The Duke's Men":"It's a giant horse's ass! (Turns to the camera) You're watching FOX. Give us 10 minutes, we'll give you an ass."
- And from another bumper:"You're watching Fox, where we can say the word 'boobies'!"
- From the episode "From Chunk To Hunk":"Ah yes. Sweet, non-judgmental Fox Network, where coming in third is a triumph!"
- One of Jay's voiceovers during the show's Eye Catch: