- In the Pinky and the Brain Spin-Off, the opening song commented on the addition of Elmyra with the lines "It's what the network wants, why bother to complain?" At the end of the song, Brain also says "I deeply resent this," and, given the very real hatred of the idea by the show's own writers, it seems likely enough he was referring to more than just his in-story predicaments with Elmyra. This was itself preceded by the episode Pinky and the Brain and Larry, with an intentionally lame and useless extra character inserted just to show how the show didn't need a third wheel... but it was railroaded through anyway.
The TV viewers you'll delight
- The most notable example would be the episode "You'll Never Eat Food Pellets In This Town Again," which features the titular lab mice as the stars of a hit TV show being heavily meddled with by network executives, who think heavily altering the show's premise will increase ratings.
- In the song "A Meticulous Analysis of History" has one line making a jab at The WB for scheduling the show's brief stint in primetime opposite CBS's 60 Minutes.
Unless the network puts your show on Sunday night
- After being forced to switch from FOX to The WB, practically every episode of Animaniacs used the rotating gag credit at the end to bash their new network: "Be The First Kid on Your Block To Actually Watch The WB!"
Slappy: You mean the WB?
- Also in "The Sunshine Squirrels", Skippy tells Slappy that her agent got her a spot on a network TV special.
Skippy: No, on a real network.
[cut to Wakko doing a rimshot]
- The show also made fun of Warner Brothers in general, which is natural, seeing as a lot of it took place on the Warner movie lot. As early as the first episode, Mr. Plotz, enraged at the siblings' escape, ranted, "I haven't been this upset since we made Don't Tell Mom the Babysitter's Dead!"
- Tiny Toon Adventures took aim at network execs in general in its very first episode (which aired on CBS, ironically):Babs: It takes a group of highly-paid network executives YEARS to come up with a TV show!
Buster: Which means it should take US... about as long as this next commercial break!
Buster: And one guy who does nothing except sign his name on it! *Steven Spielberg falls onto the top of the pile*
- In a segment featuring instructions on how to make your own cartoon, Buster comments after a long list of writers, animators and other personnel.
- Invader Zim had a minor character named "Nick" who was created as a symbol for Nickelodeon. Nick had various disturbing science experiments performed on him by the main character. Also considering that Nick had a giant probe installed in his head to make him perpetually happy, it was obviously a jab at how Nickelodeon disliked the dark stuff Zim was putting out.
- South Park
- In the "Cartoon Wars" episodes the creators had a very public disagreement with Comedy Central over their right to visually portray the Islamic prophet Mohammad in their show, after a French satirical magazine was fire-bombed by terrorists for doing just that. The episode is essentially an extended debate between freedom of speech (in regards to comedy and satire) and censorship in the name of political correctness. During the scene where Mohammad was supposed to appear, the show inserted a neutral title card stating (truthfully) that Comedy Central had ultimately refused to allow Mohammad to be shown. The irony was that the show had featured Mohammad as a character in the episode "Super Best Friends" and had him hidden in the title sequence of the show for the last two seasons. It is worth noting that "Super Best Friends" aired 2 months before 9/11. It was a very different climate then.
- The episode "Funnybot" completely lambasts The Comedy Awards, an event organized by Comedy Central.
- Whenever an evil corporation is mentioned in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, a little neon sign turns on the background saying "An AOL/TimeWarner company."Reducto: No! [pulls out a complicated schematic] There is no government, just a few multi-national corporations that run everything.[The words "An AOL/Time Warner Co." appear on the bar's sign in the background.]
- After the original version of the episode was rejected for not meeting Broadcast Standards and Practices guidelines, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Gee Whiz" was rewritten to be an extended slam of said organization, complete with a filmstrip about network standards that ends by congratulating the viewer for making "a bland show that no one can relate to." A filmstrip that makes its point by showing the incorrect and then the correct way to blow a nun's head off.
- Another example in the one hundredth episode has Shake trying to push the show's merchandise at the Adult Swim Shop, saying they "sell all our stuff for more than you can buy in other places."
- In another example, Shake tells Meatwad that he can no longer watch Futurama because "we're too cheap to get it."
- "The Granite Family" mocks Time-Warner for its overzealous efforts to get music to which they own the copyright off YouTube and other such sites with Time Warner, a network executive who travels through time to warn people about the evils of unauthorized use of others' intellectual property.
- One episode has a mother tell Carl that her children are allowed to watch only cartoons, and that means no Cartoon Network. This is a jab at CN's abundance of live-action shows at the time.
- On Undergrads, one character remarks to Nitz that a concert might not be so bad since Good Charlotte is headlining. Nitz asks what Good Charlotte have done that he should care about. Good Charlotte provided the theme song to the show, which actually plays in the background of the scene to drive the point home.
- Mighty Mouse: The New Adventures:
- The episode "Anatomy of a Milquetoast" had Mighty Mouse on trial for the disappearance of orphan Scrappy, using season 1 footage with the dialogue altered as evidence. A dialogue-changed scene from "It's Scrappy's Birthday" had Scrappy's boxcar companion Slappy Rimshot reuniting with some hobo friends, to which Slappy says "Hey, look. The network boards are here!"
- The ending of "Don't Touch That Dial". After chastising a toddler for vegetating to "electronic pablum," Mighty Mouse turns to the audience and says "But enough of all this lying and hypocrisy. Time for what television's really about." Cut to commercial.
- Looney Tunes
- The beginning of "Tortoise Beats Hare" has Bugs Bunny reading the credits out loud. He blows his top after seeing the cartoon title:Bugs: (angrily) Why dese guys don't know what they're talkin' about, the big buncha joiks! (smugly) I oughta know. I woik for 'em.
- Bob Clampett managed one of these in The Big Snooze, his last cartoon with Warner Bros. through Elmer Fudd, who is frustrated with being outwitted by Bugs one time too many, so he tears up his contract with Warner Brothers, and decides to quit hunting "wabbits" so he can spend time fishing. After pleading with Elmer fails, Bugs goes into Elmer's peaceful dream, and uses Nightmare Fuel in the form of loud, chaotic colors to scare Elmer back into working for Warner Brothers. After a crazy chase scene where Elmer falls off a cliff and wakes up, he re-assembles his contract back together and says in a singsong voice: "Oh, Mr. Warner, I'm ba-ack!" At the time, Clampett's cutting-edge style, which diverged from those of Friz Freleng and Chuck Jones, and Clampett was ready to take on new animation challenges even though his colleagues were trying to dissuade him from leaving Warner Brothers.
- "(blooper) Bunny!" was created as a parody of the hooplah over Bugs Bunny's 50th anniversary, and features Daffy Duck kvetching about his role in the Bugs Bunny 51st ½ anniversary special:Daffy: Who writes this slop?! (Groans) Warner Brothers doesn't have a creative bone in their...
- "Invasion of the Bunny Snatchers", which like "Blooper Bunny" was directed by Greg Ford and Terry Lennon, also pokes fun at Warner Bros. for cutting corners in the animation department and watering down their characters to be less edgy and more wholesome. The plot revolves around Bugs finding his fiercest enemies replaced by friendly, badly-drawn "pale stereotypes".
- The beginning of "Tortoise Beats Hare" has Bugs Bunny reading the credits out loud. He blows his top after seeing the cartoon title:
- Emma See, the Program Censor from the episode "Talent Night", was a parody of the ABC network's censors. According to the DVD commentary she was a direct parody of a specific BS&P official named Mary, who was "not happy about it".
- Another episode had the writers be told by BS&P that Bob couldn't break a window with a rock to jump outside. Their response was to have him tell Glitch to use "BS&P", which had the glass open up around him and reassemble unharmed behind him.
- Another episode had Enzo get his hands on a massive bazooka, which only harmlessly fires a self-inflating rubber life raft. Which is stamped with "BS&P Approved!"
- After the show was dropped by ABC, Megabyte's forces were retroactively dubbed "Armored Binome Carriers. Which leads to the line:Algernon: It's the ABCs, they've turned on us!
Binky: Treacherous dogs.
- Duckman frequently made jabs at the USA Network.
- Eek! The Cat has an episode of Eek visiting his own production studio, to find out that series writers are treated as slaves, being forced to write to the point of getting crazy of it and haven't seen the outside world for a long time and that executives will do anything to get their way, including riding them over with a steamroller.
- The years when Daria was on The N network (now TeenNick)... whose other shows oozed the same dumb popularity-obsessed teen attitude that Daria mocked.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle has been known to poke fun at their producers on occasion. Example:Rocky: Bullwinkle, I'm worried.
Bullwinkle: Ratings down in the show again?
Bullwinkle: That's odd.
Rocky: I'm worried because there have already been two attempts on your life.
Bullwinkle: Oh, don't worry. We will be renewed.
Rocky: I'm not talking about the Bullwinkle Show.
Bullwinkle: You had better; we could use the publicity.
- Another example, as Boris and Natasha look for an A-bomb to blow open a giant trunk:Rocky: They said A-bomb! Do you know what A-bomb means?
Bullwinkle: Certainly! "A bomb" is what some people call our program!
Rocky: (miffed) I didn't think that's so funny.
Bullwinkle: (looking to camera) Neither do they, apparently.
- Another example, as Boris and Natasha look for an A-bomb to blow open a giant trunk:
- An episode of Garfield and Friends, "The Discount of Monte Cristo", predicted the reason the show ended. The episode is all about Aloysius cutting the show's budget. In the episode, Orson hated Aloysius ruining the story by firing the show's staff in order to keep its budget low. The reason for Garfield and Friends' cancellation is that CBS wanted to dice the show's budget, and the show's creators refused to let the show suffer the budget cuts.
- Speaking of Aloysius Pig, there's also this little gem from "Kiddie Korner":"Da Dum! The Network!" note .
- In the same episode, Aloysius is planning "The Fall Schedule" with a dart board.
- Speaking of Aloysius Pig, there's also this little gem from "Kiddie Korner":
- A promotional poster◊ for Gravity Falls, created for San Diego Comic-Con 2013, features a gnome puking a rainbow on the Disney Channel logo.
Mabel: Why aren't they singing about following their dreams? TV taught me that high school was like some sort of musical.Wendy: TV lied, man.
- Likewise, "Boyz Crazy" has Wendy dismissing a boy band as "just a manufactured product of the bloated corporate music industry," an obvious jab at Disney's forays into pop music, particularly The Jonas Brothers.
- In "Northwest Mansion Mystery", Dipper prepares himself for a 48-hour marathon of Ghost Harassers on the Used-to-Be-About-History Channel. Disney actually owns part of the real-life History Channel (through A+E Television Networks).
- Mabel's first glimpse of high school in "Dipper and Mabel vs. the Future" comes across as a huge Take That! to the channel's most iconic franchise, High School Musical.
- Fish Hooks features the Hamster Channel, airing programs that parody Disney Channel live-action sitcoms.
- The episode "Reptar 2010" of Rugrats shows Reptar rampaging through a city and destroying a skyscraper with Viacom's name on it. Viacom being owner of Nickelodeon (and its sister networks).
- One episode of Freakazoid! was interrupted by a "special report" from The WB network. The anchorman is Freakazoid, who repeatedly asks what "The WB" even means. "The Water Bucket? The Wimpy Boy? The Wet Bananas?! I don't know!! What, the Weird Butt?! What? I'm asking!!" Cue a beat, then a cut back to the "special report" title card, while the announcer says "This has been a special report from the Weird Butt network."
- Adam Reed (creator of Frisky Dingo and Archer) has made a Running Gag of making sponsorship deals with Car Companies and mocking them in his shows with comically blatant Product Placement.Killface: Shut up! There's a clear line between entertainment and advertising, and you've bloody well crossed it. Those 18-34's that you're so keen on detest being pitched to, and when I destroy the world, they won't have much use for the new Scion TC's 17-inch alloy wheels! Turn that off there. Stop it! I won't be your pitchman, you hear me! I hate this country.
- In the Steven Universe episode "Know Your Fusion", Sardonyx puts on a mock-Show Within a Show in order to learn more about Smoky Quartz, the fusion of Steven and Amethyst, and provides some clips from previous episodes, taking the time to poke fun at Cartoon Network's habit of pulling the plug on shows that don't sell enough merchandise.Sardonyx: Don't those cartoon characters make you wanna buy those products? I sure hope so, or else I'll be off air.
- BoJack Horseman:
- Season 3 contains a b-plot that seems to be mocking the Netflix original series Fuller House. Bradley, the actor who played Ethan in Show Within a Show 90s horse-raises-three-human-orphans sitcom Horsin' Around, wants to do a reboot series called Ethan Around about his grownup character raising three horses.
- "The BoJack Horseman Show" has a gag where Mr Peanutbutter is doing a "Blockbuster Original Series" where you go to the video store and rent one DVD of a series at a time...
- Season 5 has BoJack join Philbert, a drama series aired on a streaming service. While this mostly targets Netflix competitors like Amazon who were not originally streaming services (the website on which Philbert is streamed was originally a site for telling time), a few jokes also function as jabs against Netflix shows. For example, the time card used during the premiere informs us that the pilot episode is "a tight hour and eighteen minutes."
- Mission Hill got some, although because WB booted it from the schedule after two episodes to summer backburner and then to Adult Swim, it wasn't quite effective.Female executive: How would you like to be on The Real World?Andy French: What, me? Come on. I'm not MTV material. Hell, I'm barely WB material.
- In "Stories of Hope and Forgiveness (or Day of the Jackass)", every major network is covering the supposed crisis in live news broadcast...except WB, who's showing happy-happy-joy-joy cartoon.
- In the Captain Sturdy pilot Captain Sturdy: Back in Action, which originally aired on Cartoon Network's What A Cartoon! Show, Moid's death ray can be seen obliterating a Cartoon Network satellite.
- In The Loud House episode "Really Loud Music", Luna gets turned into a cutesy pop-star by the judges of America's Next Hitmaker, as an In-Universe example of Executive Meddling. This could be a Take That! to the teen pop stars that Nickelodeon also loves promoting, especially JoJo Siwa.
- In an episode of Arthur, Buster claims that a program that he's making is going to be "edutainment." The characters respond to this with an "ew." The chapter-book adaptation of that episode goes even further, with Brain stating that edutainment is supposed to be a blend of education and entertainment, but often ends up being the worst of both. Mind you, Arthur IS an Edutainment Show.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Code", Mr. Robinson's browser has an enormous number of "stupid toolbars" sucking up his bandwidth, and, as the Wattersons use his wi-fi instead of their own, they are unable to use the internet. One of those toolbars has a Cartoon Network logo.
- 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:
- Big Mouth has No Fourth Wall and frequently makes fun of Netflix and its viewers. One example in Season 2 (which was even used in the on-site trailer) has Nick tell Gina to get a Netflix account, and offers to just share his password so she doesn't have to pay, resulting in the joke being "censored".
Biting The Hand Humor / Western Animation