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  • Savanna Samson has appeared as a porn star on two TV series where Tina Fey was head writer. In a 2006 episode of Saturday Night Live, she was in the gag commercial for a porno called "101 Fellations". Three years later in the 30 Rock episode titled "Into the Crevasse", she played "Porn Liz" in Tracy's Rule 34 porn video of the show. What’s more, Samson herself is a former porn actress, adding another layer to this casting gag.
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  • One of the Creator Thumbprints on the telenovelas of Brazilian author Manoel Carlos was a protagonist named Helena. The first in 1981 was played by Lilian Lemmertz. Once Carlos decided to retire in 2014, he called for his last Helena Lilian's daughter Julia Lemmertz.

By Series:

  • 18 to Life: Jessie is a gentile, with it being a plot point that she won't convert to Judaism like her husband Tom's parents want. She's played by Stacey Farber, who is actually Jewish, whereas the actors playing Tom and his parents aren't.
  • In the 8 Simple Rules episode "Old Flame", an old boyfriend of Cate (Katey Sagal) shows up, played by Ed O'Neill (who played her husband on Married... with Children.)
  • Christopher Lloyd guest starred in an episode of Time Travel show 12 Monkeys.
  • Alpha House has Janel Maloney playing a senator in the second season. In one episode, she chairs a panel with a senator played Bradley Whitford, who played her character's boss on The West Wing. During the discussion, she repeatedly tells him to shut up — undoubtedly vicarious revenge for the many shouts of "DONNA!" during those seven seasons.
  • American Gods:
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    • 12,000-year-old pagan fertility goddess Ostara of the Dawn who in the present Day is a Stepford Smiler who is secretly furious over the fact that Christianity has co-opted her name and Day of worship as Easter, is played by devout Christian Kristin Chenoweth.
    • In the commentary video for "Lemon Scented You," the producers said they wanted someone "Crispin Glover-esque" for the part of Mr World. Glover arrived at the breakfast meeting in a velvet suit and derby, and the way he greeted them was used for Mr. World's arrival in the interrogation room.
    • Once again in a Bryan Fuller show, Kristin Chenoweth's character interacts with a dark-haired dead girl brought back to life.
  • Arrested Development:
    • After firing lawyer Barry Zuckerkorn (played by Henry Winkler), Bob Loblaw is hired and played by Scott Baio, who starred alongside Winkler on Happy Days. This is specifically mentioned by Loblaw. Gets even better when you remember Ron Howard, who also starred on Happy Days, is running the show.
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    • In an episode called "Family Ties", a woman who Michael believes to be his sister (but ultimately isn't) is played by Justine Bateman, Jason Bateman's actual sister. Also, her most famous role was in Family Ties.
  • Arrow
  • Dirk Benedict, Starbuck in Battlestar Galactica (1978), does a great double-take as Faceman in The A-Team, when a Cylon centurion passes him at the Universal Studios. The moment is preserved in the credit sequence, of course.
  • In The Avengers (1960s) episode "Too Many Christmas Trees", actor Mervyn Johns plays a man obsessed with the works of Charles Dickens. Both Johns and Avengers star Patrick Macnee appeared in the 1951 film adaptation of A Christmas Carol (Johns played Bob Cratchit, and Macnee played the young Jacob Marley).
  • In the new Battlestar Galactica, casting Richard Hatch (who played Captain Apollo in the original series) being cast as terrorist-cum-politician-cum-dictator Tom Zarek. In the episode he first appears on, both Zarek and Apollo turn their heads when someone calls out "Hey, Apollo!"
    • For bonus points, he spends most of his first episode giving breaking speeches to Lee "Apollo" Adama.
    • For bonus-bonus points, the armor-piercing lecture was about what it meant to be the Great Captain Adama's son.
    • This also works well with the setup that the events of BSG happen over and over again with everyone being reincarnated into a different role every time.
  • Batwoman (2019): Rachel Maddow plays an unseen radio host who feels that the first Batwoman telling everyone she's a lesbian is "too political". Maddow is an openly lesbian woman.
  • Better Things: It's probably not coincidental that Duke may or may not be able to see dead people, as she's played by Olivia Edward, whose father John Edward is famous for claiming this ability (he even has a show based on it).
  • The Big Bang Theory:
    • Sara Gilbert played Leonard (Johnny Galecki)'s love interest; Johnny Galecki and Gilbert played a couple on Roseanne.
    • Laurie Metcalf, most famous as Jackie on the previously stated show, plays Sheldon's mother.
    • Katey Sagal, who played Kaley Cuoco's mother on 8 Simple Rules shows up as her mom again in Season 10.
  • Cyndi Lauper played Avalon, a psychic in the Bones episode "Harbingers in the Fountain", as well as the show's 150th episode, "The Ghost In the Machine". In an earlier episode, "The Wannabe In the Weeds", Brennan sang a rousing chorus of Cyndi's biggest hit, "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun". Cyndi Lauper also played a psychic medium in the movie Vibes.
  • The Boys (2019):
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Andre Braugher plays a very sober, serious and imposing police officer which, as any viewer of Homicide: Life on the Street knows, is not the first time he's played that kind of role. The joke is that while Detective Frank Pembleton (who he played in the latter show) operated in a grim and gritty environment of urban social realism and was appropriately down-to-earth and tormented, was an unconventional detective who frequently butted heads with rules-conscious superiors, and was a heterosexual whose partner later came out as bi, Captain Ray Holt (who he plays in the latter) inverts almost all of these qualities. Holt lives in a comedic world populated by goofy eccentrics, is himself a pretty eccentric person, is the rule-conscious superior constantly butting heads with an unconventional detective under his command, and is openly gay.
  • Dub example: the Mexican telenovela Burning Fire has protagonist Alexa, played by Mariana Torres, dubbed in Brazil by Mariana Torres.
  • All over the place on Chuck. Fedak and Schwartz made an effort to squeeze in appearances by as many geek culture icons as was humanly possible over the series's run, and you can expect that there will be an Actor Allusion along the way. Some notable ones:
  • Community:
  • CSI's episode "A Space Oddity" was an extended riff on Star Trek fandom, and featured as a major plot point the reveal of the Darker and Edgier version of the classic sci-fi series, to an avalanche of hatred from fans. The very first person to call out "You suck!" was none other than Ron Moore.
  • CSI: NY had an episode where former tennis star John McEnroe was suspected of murder when it was actually a Celebrity Impersonator. McEnroe was absolutely bewildered anyone could mistake the impersonator for him. Said impersonator was played by McEnroe.
  • Dear White People: Tessa Thompson couldn't return to play Sam as she committed to another project. In the second season however she returns, playing a commentator with basically the opposite views from Sam's (naturally, they clash).
  • The British show Doctors once had a Patient of the Week who was an actor best known for his role as a mysterious time-traveler in a decades-old children's programme. Any plausible deniability that Doctor Who was meant was scotched when they cast Sylvester McCoy, a.k.a. the Seventh Doctor, in the role.
  • Doctor Who:
  • A variant, related not to talent but to class: in the first series of Downton Abbey, Rose Leslie plays the working-class housemaid Gwen Dawson in the giant titular great house. Leslie herself comes from an old Scottish noble family; she was literally raised in a castle, and her parents own another castle. This wouldn't be terribly remarkable if it weren't for the fact that the British class system is practically a character on its own on Downton—and because she is the only true Blue Blood aristocratnote  ever to have been part of the main cast (in a show filled with fictional and not-so-fictional nobs, up to and including the Royal Family).
  • There is an episode of Dragnet where they meet a priest who explains that they are looking for a plaster doll of the baby Jesus that was taken from the church. So they question an old man who runs a religious merchandise store and a hotel clerk. For the color remake, the same actors were used for the priest, store owner, and clerk.
  • In the classic Swedish TV version of Astrid Lindgren's Emil of Lönneberga from 1973, actor Allan Edwall played Emil's choleric, hard-working, teetotaler father. In the later TV version of the same author's Madicken series he played Madicken's easy-going, lazy, alcoholic neighbour Mr. Nilsson.
  • The Flash (2014):
  • Forever cast David Krumholtz as the younger version of Abe in a flashback. Abe is played by Judd Hirsch, who previously played Krumholtz's father in NUMB3RS.
  • Frasier.
    • Dan Butler plays the aggressively heterosexual "Bulldog", though he's actually gay.
    • Beer-guzzling, opera-hating Martin Crane is played by the late John Mahoney, who was a connoisseur of both. He even shared his love of them with David Hyde Pierce, who had little to no interest in both at the start of the show.
    • Daphne's family and its multitude of inconsistent British Accents. Particularly on the part of the Australian playing Simon, who loves Mel Gibson and who Frasier once refers to as a "boomerang."
    • In one episode Frasier and Niles try to help a former Shakespearian actor Jackson Hedley revive his theatrical career by producing him in a one-man version of Hamlet, but they realize to their horror that he's actually a terrible actor, who does a laughably overwrought performance of the play. The gag is that Hedley is played by Derek Jacobi, an acclaimed Shakespearian actor. If that weren't enough, Patrick Macnee, another experienced Shakespearean actor who became known for genre TV shows (The Avengers (1960s), Battlestar Galactica (1978)), plays Jackson's father.
    • In the penultimate episode, "Crock Tales", Rosie Perez guest stars as Lizbeth. Perez was one of the original contenders for the role of Daphne.
    • Niles' O.R. surgeon Dr. Shafer in "Rooms with a View" is played by Daniel Davis, who's best known for being another Niles in a popular 1993 sitcom.
  • In the Friends eighth season episode, "The One With The Rumour", Brad Pitt appeared as one of Ross's old high school friends, who hated Rachel to the point that he was president of an Anti-Rachel club in high school. At the time, it was a comic variant of this trope since Brad Pitt was married to Jennifer Aniston in real life. The joke became a lot less funny after Aniston and Pitt's very, very public divorce.
  • F Troop:
    • Sergeant O'Rourke is played by Forrest Tucker, who once portrayed an "O'Rourke" Cavalry Sergeant on Gunsmoke.
    • Trooper Duffy (Bob Steele) is an elderly cavalryman who claims to be the sole survivor of the Alamo. Steele was previously a 1930s and '40s western star and had once been in a movie about meeting Davy Crockett at the Alamo.
  • On Galavant, Kylie Minogue was cast as the Queen of the Enchanted Forest, which turns out to be a gay pub which she owns. Minogue is famous for having one of the world's biggest LGBT Fanbases and was once voted the biggest gay icon of modern times.
  • Game of Thrones:
    • Since A Song of Ice and Fire is often considered a Spiritual Antithesis to The Lord of the Rings and Time Magazine famously called George R. R. Martin "The American Tolkien", it's quite apropos that Ned Stark be played by The Lord of the Rings alumni Sean Bean.
    • Natalie Dormer as Margaery, a role quite similar to her turn as Anne Boleyn in The Tudors. Both are beautiful and ambitious young noblewomen of dubious virginity who seek to become queen and have a close bond with their gay brother. Coincidentally, the Tyrells' golden rose sigil is a palette swap of the red-and-white Tudor rose.
    • The series' regular audiobook narrator Roy Dotrice was going to play Pycelle, but health concerns forced him into a cameo as Pyromancer Hallyne.
    • Before being cast as Stannis Baratheon's Good Angel, Bad Angel advisors, Liam Cunningham (Davos) and Carice Van Houten (Melisandre) played lovers in the 2011 Dutch film Black Butterflies.
    • Tyrion Lannister is generally agreed to have been inspired (at least in part) by the Historical Domain Character King Richard III, with whom he has quite a few similarities. note  It may or may not be a coincidence that Peter Dinklage previously played Richard in a notable off-Broadway production of Shakespeare's Richard III in 2003.
    • Clive Mantel played Little John in Robin of Sherwood, and so there seems to be this involved here, where he plays Jon Umber, generally known as The Greatjon. Amusingly, in the books at least the Greatjon has a son even bigger than he is who is called Smalljon.
    • James Faulkner appears in Season 6 as a stern, jerkish Lord, who disapproves of his son's girlfriend, because of her heritage - similar to his character in another major television series.
  • Ginny and Georgia: Raymond Ablack plays Joe while his sister Rebecca plays Padma, one of his employees. Padma jokes how he's like an older brother to her with Ginny.
  • Glee:
    • Casting Lea Michele (Rachel) and Jonathan Groff (Jesse) as love interests, considering their past in Spring Awakening.
    • Will had major Ship Tease going on with both Shelby and April, implying a Love Triangle. The two are played by Idina Menzel and Kristin Chenoweth who famously were part of a Love Triangle over Fiyero in Wicked.
    • Barry Bostwick and Meat Loaf, who'd both been part of The Rocky Horror Picture Show movie, both appear in "The Rocky Horror Glee Show," though as conservative strawmen who want Sue to fight a performance of the show.
    • Matt Bomer, known for playing a con man plays a guy who stars in credit report commercials, which are known scams.
    • After many fans noted a resemblance between the character Rachel and the actress Idina Menzel, Menzel was cast as Rachel's mother.
    • Dianna Agron is Jewish, but playing a devout Christian whose faith is often a plot point. Compare this to Lea Michele, who was raised Catholic but plays the very Jewish Rachel.
    • Later on, Matt Bomer is cast as Blaine's older brother. Their real-life sexualities are a direct switch of the characters'; Matt Bomer plays the straight brother and Darren Criss the gay one.
  • In the Dutch soap opera Goede tijden, slechte tijden, one character, played by Ferry Doedens, is currently looking for tickets to go see Wicked. In real life, Ferry plays Fiyero part of the time.
  • Graceland: Aaron Tveit is most famous for playing the role of Enjolras in Les Misérables (2012); in this, his first TV lead role, he's undercover in a tight-knit group in order to stop their leader, doing exactly what Javert does in Les Mis.
  • Gunpowder stars Kit Harington, who is descended from three people related to the plot: Robert Catesby (who he plays), a baron of the Harington family and James I.
  • Hand of God: Pernell, a born again Christian, tells a Jewish man he'll go to hell if he doesn't accept Jesus as his savior. Ron Perlman, playing Pernell, is Jewish himself.
  • Hannibal:
    • Gillian Anderson was cast as Hannibal Lecter's psychiatrist, when The X-Files had some influence from The Silence of the Lambs (including her character, Scully, a Naïve Newcomer like Clarice Starling).
    • It probably counts even more for a Casting Gag when you take into account that Gillian Anderson was considered for the part of Clarice Starling when Jodie Foster declined to reprise the role in the 2001 movie Hannibal. She was not cast due to her X-Files contract, which prohibited her from playing another FBI agent.
    • Also, in a second-season episode, the actress playing a serial killer obsessed with bees and honey is played by Amanda Plummer, an actress best known for playing a character known as HoneyBunny.
  • In an episode of Happy Endings, Brad, played by Damon Wayans Jr., is expecting a visit from his father. When he arrives, he is played by none other than Wayans' father, Damon Wayans, Sr. (In the episode, both Wayans also make reference to the 1990s Bulls. The senior Wayans is close friends with Michael Jordan.)
  • An episode of Hercules: The Legendary Journeys has Hercules at his old academy taking on an arrogant upstart who dismisses him as an "old-timer" and "just let me take over." Playing the role was a then-unknown Ryan Gosling who had played the title role in the short-lived Young Hercules series. The same episode also had Jodie Rimmer, who played the younger version of Hercules' friend Lillith, now playing the grown Lillith's daughter.
  • High Fidelity: Zoë Kravitz is Rob in the series. Her mother, Lisa Bonet, played one of his love interests in the 2000 film version.
  • Hogan's Heroes: Many of the actors who played Nazis were actually Jews. One of them—Robert Clary—was a Holocaust survivor, while Leon Askin and John Banner were held in pre-war concentration camps. When asked if he felt uneasy portraying a prisoner-of-war, Clary stated, "Stalag 13 is not a concentration camp. It's a POW camp, and that's a world of difference," Klemperer didn't mind playing the role of a Nazi officer, as long as his character was presented as an incompetent fool who never succeeded in his plans. Said Jewish cast members also defended their roles as Nazi officers, as they were portraying the Nazi forces in a satirical and parodic light not unlike the later Hitler Rants parodies.
  • Season 2 of The Hollow Crown puts Sherlock and Moriarty on opposite sides of the Wars of the Roses, with Benedict Cumberbatch playing the Yorkist powerhouse Richard, Duke of Gloucester (the future King Richard III) and Andrew Scott playing his family's shifty French ally King Louis XI, who attempts to betray them and support the Lancastrians after Richard's brother Edward refuses a political marriage to Louis' daughter. It definitely makes the crown jewels scene from Sherlock a bit Hilarious in Hindsight
  • Home Movie: The Princess Bride had Elijah Wood and Andy Serkis act opposite each other as Prince Humperdinck and Count Rugen, respectively, making jokes about Frodo turning into an assholish prince and Gollum becoming said assholish prince's right hand inevitable.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Neil Patrick Harris, who plays Barney, is gay. (Although he didn't officially come out as gay until a few years into the show, it was sort of an open secret beforehand). This made Barney's aggressive heterosexuality and his issues with his gay brother James even funnier. There is a whole ordeal with Barney opposing James' marriage, not because it would be a same-sex marriage but he because was opposed to marriage in general (Harris has since married David Burtka).
  • On Insecure, a major part of Molly's character is that she Really Gets Around (in fact at one point one character asks her, "Can you teach me how to ho?") and uses a lot of profanity. The actress that plays her, Yvonne Orji, is, in fact, a devout Christian, who only does clean comedy, and is saving her virginity for marriage.
  • In the Inside No. 9 episode "Last Gasp", one character mistakenly refers to a girl called Tamsin as "Tasmin". He is immediately reprimanded for the mistake by a character played by Tamsin Greig.
  • Interview with the Vampire (2022): Maura Grace Athari plays the lounge singer Antoinette Brown, who gets killed off after four appearances. In Real Life, she's married to Saturday Night Live alum Aristotle Athari, whose most memorable character was the lounge singer Angelo, and who got fired after just one season.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia:
    • Mac is portrayed as an Armored Closet Gay who uses homophobia in a flimsy attempt to deny his own homosexuality. Rob McElhenney's mother is a lesbian and his childhood was split between being raised by his father and his mother and her partner.
    • The character Charlie is a huge Philadelphia Eagles fan while Charlie Day himself is actually a fan of the New England Patriots, making the events of "Charlie's Home Alone" and "The Gang Wins the Big Game" very ironic.
    • Dennis is a sociopathic, vain narcissist whose self-worth outweighs any actual intelligence. Glenn Howerton is a Juilliard graduate who considered a career in Aerospace Engineering before deciding to go into acting.
    • Frank is a greedy, gun-happy, cutthroat Republican businessman. Danny DeVito is a Bernie Sanders-supporting progressive who's consistently endorsed him in all of his runs for public office and has frequently been a campaign surrogate for him, in addition to his philanthropy for small theatres.
    • One character called the Waitress is Charlie's single-minded obsession; he's a Stalker with a Crush who constantly badgers her for dates. The Waitress, in turn, is rude, sarcastic, and dismissive of Charlie, often openly flirting with his friends to get revenge on him or simply treating him like dirt, although he never gets the hint. Charlie Day and Mary Elizabeth Ellis were dating when the show was first concieved, and since 2006 have been Happily Married and had a child together.
    • In a similar vein, Mac (played by Rob McElhenney) frequently bullies Dee (played by Kaitlin Olson), the Butt-Monkey of the Paddy's Pub gang. The two started dating while appearing on the show together and have since gotten married as well.
  • Jam and Jerusalem: Joanna Lumley, an actress known for her posh elegance (she was a Bond Girl in the 60s and only stopped modeling in the 2010s) and her starring role in Jennifer Saunders' Absolutely Fabulous, here plays another character created by Saunders: an extremely old and senile woman whose role is so small it's practically The Cameo. (She's written out of the show completely after the first episode of Series 2.)
  • Peter Wyngarde playing skirt-chaser Jason King (although Wyngarde's homosexuality was not known to the general public at the time, it was common knowledge within acting circles).
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O:
    • Kamen Rider Shinobi, the ninja-themed hero from 2022, was played by Hideya Tawada, who played the Sixth Ranger Star Ninger in the ninja-themed Shuriken Sentai Ninninger. Ironically enough, while Star Ninger was the textbook definition of a McNinja, Shinobi is actually fairly orthodox (or as close as a Henshin Hero can get). This was further referenced in Shinobi's mini-series, where one of his opponents in the Tournament Arc wore a gold costume and a cowboy hat.
    • Kamen Rider Kikai, the robotic future hero from 2121, was played by Jingi Irie, who starred in the 2005 movie Kikaider REBOOT; as such, Kikai is a gigantic Homage to the Kikaider character (which was created by the same person as Kamen Rider). The odd element out is Kikai's use of ice-element attacks, which serves as an Actor Allusion to Irie's role as the villain Zamigo Delma in Kaitou Sentai Lupinranger VS Keisatsu Sentai Patranger.
  • Legends of Tomorrow:
    • Time Master Rip Hunter is played by former Doctor Who companion Arthur Darvill.
    • Hank Heywood, the Time Bureau's primary financial backer, is played by Thomas F. Wilson, best known as Biff Tannen in the Back to the Future movies.
  • Liv and Maddie: The Disney Channel kidcom is noted for having its lead actress, Dove Cameron, play a dual role as the titular identical twin sisters with differing personalities. In the 2015 episode, "Grandma-A-Rooney", Patty Duke guest-stars (in what would be her final TV performance) as Liv and Maddie Rooney's Grandma Janice and Great Aunt Hillary, both of whom are identical twins with differing personalities. This is an allusion to Duke's dual role as identical cousins Patty & Cathy Lane in her 1960s sitcom, which Liv and Maddie continues in the tradition of in many ways.
  • In Loki, Boastful Loki is played by DeObia Oparei, a nod to his role as Loki Hayes in The Santa Clara Diet.
  • The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power:
  • Medici: Perhaps unintentional, but, like in Game of Thrones, Richard Madden's character marries the daughter of David Bradley's character.
  • In The Michael J. Fox Show (Unaired episode) Principal McTavish (played by Christopher Lloyd) the eccentric principal at the high school where Annie (Betsy Brandt) teaches and will go toe-to-toe with Mike (played by Michael J. Fox) another reunion episode from the main cast of Back to the Future.
  • In The Ministry of Time, Jordi Hurtado, famous for being the host of veteran quiz show Saber y Ganar for 18 straight years and appearing to be The Ageless on Memetic Mutation levels, appears As Himself in Episode 8, and "revealing" he uses the Time Doors to be the same age on every broadcast of the show.
  • In Monty Python's Flying Circus, Biggles, played by Graham Chapman, finds out that his friend Algy is a Straight Gay "poof," and shoots him. Chapman was Straight Gay in Real Life.
  • Mrs. America:
  • In My Name Is Earl Burt Reynolds plays the character Big Chubby. His son, Little Chubby, is played by Norm MacDonald: the actor who plays Burt Reynolds in the Saturday Night Live "Celebrity Jeopardy!" skits. In fact, Little Chubby pretty much is the Celebrity Jeopardy version of Burt Reynolds. He even has the same laugh.
  • The Nevers: Anna Devlin, who stands at 5'1", plays 10-foot tall Primrose Chattoway.
  • Noughts & Crosses: Sephy, Jasmine and several other Cross characters are played by black South Africans. Their characters are part of a system which is essentially apartheid in Britain, with a black ruling class over the white indigenous population.
  • Both versions of The Outer Limits did adaptations of Eando Binder's story "I, Robot", and Leonard Nimoy appeared in both, as a reporter in the original and the robot's lawyer in the remake. Similarly, when the new Outer Limits remade "A Feasibility Study" from the original series, they cast David McCallum, who had been in two episodes of the original (though not that one).
  • Parks and Recreation
    • Meghan Mullally, recurs as "Tammy II" Swanson, one of Ron's (Nick Offerman) ex-wives. Mullally and Offerman are married in real life.
    • One episode has Ann setting Leslie (Amy Poehler) up on a disatrous blind date with a man named Chris (not to be confused with Chris Traeger). Chris was played by Will Arnett, Poehler's then-husband.
  • Part of Me: Vanessa Villela played Ángela Donoso, the heroine's daughter back in El cuerpo del deseo, and was cast as Big Bad Elena Serrano in The Remake Part Of Me.
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock: Jewish actress Yael Stone plays fanatical Christian Dora Lumley, who's highly anti-Semitic, calling Jews enemies of God.
  • In the Playhouse 90 episode "The Plot to Kill Stalin," Poskrebyshev suggests targeting Kaganovich for his Judaism. Poskrebyshev is played by Eli Wallach, who was Jewish.
  • Former Power Rangers cast members have come back just to voice a Monster of the Week. The most extreme example is in Power Rangers Samurai, where the Red Ranger's Worthy Opponent is played by Rick Medina, who was himself Red Ranger Cole Evans in Power Rangers Wild Force.
    • Not to mention the irony: The Wild Force Rangers had Zen-Aku, a monster who was sometimes a human due to a curse that made him want to fight the Rangers, but he'd really rather not have. So Medina goes on to play Deker, who's got the same thing going: he's now Samurai's Zen-Aku. (Not that Deker's a total ZA Expy. ZA's a guy bonded with a Duke Org and his memory's not all there; Deker's an immortal Blood Knight who must defeat his Worthy Opponent (or die at his hands) to be freed from it. However, as Deker is a sometimes-human-faced villain who's not all bad, there's more poetry there than if he'd played, say, the voice of Xandred.)
    • Wild Force Milestone Celebration episode "Forever Red" is a big example of this as three of the Machine Empire Generals were voiced by Walter Jones (Zack), Catherine Sutherland (Katherine) and Archie Kao (Kai).
    • Though Nic Sampson, Chip from Power Rangers Mystic Force, gets MOTW duty once, he also voices Power Rangers Operation Overdrive's Sentinel Knight. Chip had once said he hoped to be a knight (which in MF parlance is sort of the rank above Ranger) someday, so he sorta gets to be.
    • Ninpuu Sentai Hurricaneger had the Master of Disguise Shurikenger, who never de-morphed (he sacrificed his human form to get his powers and is only seen unsuited as a silhouette in a flashback to that day) but is always at first in disguise as some random civilian. Every single one is another sentai actor. When changing to Shurikenger, most used the pre-changing poses from their show — and even when that was impossible in one case, due to a lack of a pose, Kenji Ohba (he's both Shiro/Battle Kenya and Daigoro/Denji Blue, but the poses you expect these days didn't exist that early on) did the Space Sheriff Gavan pose instead.
    • In Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger, Engine Machalcon joins the crew to assist in using the Engine Sentai Go-onger ultimate power. As a Japanese Pirate crew, the Gokaigers are often compared to the Straw Hats, so who else should voice Machalcon but Hiroaki Hirata aka Sanji!
    • Tetsu Inada is one of the series' go-to voice actors, and he played Doggie Kruger, the chief of SPD's Earth branch, in Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger. Taking out a Monster of the Week was referred to as "deleting" them that year. So when he played a MOTW in Juken Sentai Gekiranger, he says to the other monster, "Let's delete them!" while doing the SPD salute.
    • Related, but the moon-themed villain Ariake no Kata from Shuriken Sentai Ninninger is voiced by Kotono Mitsuishi, who is best known for voicing the title character in Sailor Moon.
  • In Pretty Little Liars: Original Sin, Minnie "Mouse" Honrada's name stems from her family's obsession with Disney and wanting her to be a little girl forever. Her mother Elodie is played by Lea Salonga, known for being the singing voice of two Disney Princesses and was made a Disney Legend in 2011.
  • Psych had "This Episode Sucks" an episode which paid Homage to vampire movies featured Kristy Swanson of the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer film and Corey Haim from The Lost Boys.
    • Steve Valentine from I'm in the Band also plays a rock star in "100 Clues".
    • "No Country for Two Old Men", the episode that takes place largely in Mexico, features Jeffrey Tambor, who plays George Senior in Arrested Development, which had going to Mexico as a plot point/Running Gag.
    • "Shawn Interrupted" features Brad Dourif as a murder suspect who's supposedly pretending to be crazy, among other references to One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (where his character genuinely was crazy but Insanity Defense was the protagonist's bad idea). Going halfway against type, his character in the episode is still genuinely crazy...but not the murderer.
  • In the 2000 ITV telemovie of The Railway Children, Jenny Agutter played the mother. In the 1970 film, she had played the eldest daughter. This leads to a truly ironic moment when Jemima Rooper, who plays Roberta, asks her mother "Didn't you used to play on railway lines when you were a kid?"
  • Cameo Version: In an episode of Roseanne, Roseanne and Jackie are getting makeovers at a health spa. The makeup artist talks about "less is more" and letting their faces tell their own story. When she turns around, we see for the first time it was Tammy Faye Bakker. For those too young to get the reference, Tammy Faye is the wife of notorious televangelist Jim Bakker. She was known for wearing copious amounts of makeup, on par with Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Appropriately, she also played Mimi's mother in an episode of that show.
  • One episode of Scrubs featured four elderly doctors who had got sick at a medical convention ... played by the four leads from St. Elsewhere.
    • Speaking of, one episode of Grey's Anatomy featured a woman played by Sarah Chalke (Elliot from Scrubs) who brings in her son for treatment, and ends up correctly diagnosing his illness after the doctors couldn't find out what was wrong with him. Ironically, Scrubs previously made fun of the idea of patients self-diagnosing using information from the internet (Wikipedia specifically). Though, this story was actually Ripped from the Headlines.
  • Search: Su-yeong, played by Park Da-yeon, develops a Precocious Crush on Dong-jin, played by Jang Dong-yoon. The exact same happened between their characters in The Tale Of Nokdu a year earlier.
  • Sesame Street had a recurring sketch that parodied Miami Vice as Miami Mice. The American sketches in the German Sesamstrasse were dubbed by the same studio as Miami Vice, so the voice artists who already played Crocket and Tubbs played their rodent equivalents.
  • Smallville: The presence of any actor from a previous Superman series, Christopher Reeve, Dean Cain, etc. There was also Tom Wopat turbing up as an Actor Allusion to John Schneider but the one that takes the biscuit is the (possibly unintentional) casting of Annette O'Toole, Lana Lang in Superman III, as Martha Kent (though the crew didn't actually know about her former role when she was cast). Also especially shocking is the Voice of Jor-El in Smallville is Terence Stamp, previously General Zod in Superman: The Movie and Superman II, whose whole goal was to destroy Jor-El and the "Son of Jor-El".
  • Ray Liotta has been cast in the Sopranos prequel film The Many Saints of Newark. Liotta was the producers' first choice for the role of Tony Soprano in the original show, and he previously played the lead role in the show's Spiritual Predecessor Goodfellas.
  • Sons of Anarchy:
    • Neo-Nazi gang leader Zobelle is played by Jewish actor Adam Arkin.
    • Henry Rollins, a man who frequently speaks out against racism, plays a white supremacist, right down to having 'I kill niggers' tattooed on his chest in large letters.
  • Spin City: Mike's (played by Michael J. Fox) political mentor (played by Christopher Lloyd) comes to City Hall to help on the Millennium project in a episode called "Back to yhe Future 4". They even make fun of the "time travel". This is the first of many reunions of the main cast of Back to the Future.
    Mike: This is like stepping back in time.
    Owen: The past is prologue, Michael. Men like us have to keep looking to the future.
  • In the Stargate SG-1 episode "200", Vala Mal Doran (played by Claudia Black, known for her role as Aeryn Sun in Farscape), when challenged to come up with a more obscure property to rip-off for her movie pitch, launches into a full-blown parody of Farscape, which basically consists of the SG-1 cast as the Farscape crew repeating every single one of Farscape's alien curse words in the shortest span possible. There's also a slight subversion in that Ben Browder, the original Farscape Crichton, doesn't play Crichton in the parody — Michael Shanks does. Browder plays Stark.
  • Stranger Things is essentially an extended tribute to the cinema and pop culture of The '80s, with at least one Shout-Out per episode. The Shout Outs extend to the casting choices. It's definitely not an accident that two of the principal characters are played by Winona Ryder (best known for playing Veronica in Heathers and Lydia Deetz in Beetlejuice) and Matthew Modine (best known for playing Private Joker in Full Metal Jacket). More subtly, several of the actors playing teenage characters seem to have been chosen—in part—for their resemblance to famous teen actors from the '80s; Shannon Purser (Barb) bears a very strong resemblance to a young Molly Ringwald, Joe Keery (Steve) strongly resembles a young Charlie Sheen, and Natalia Dyer (Nancy) looks a lot like a young Mia Sara.
    • In Season 4 Robert Englund plays the part of Victor Creel, a man accused of being a serial killer who murdered his family too, who is the father of the real killer: Henry Creel, AKA Subject 001, AKA Vecna, the Big Bad of the entire series, a blatant Freddy Krueger expy (with a bit of Pinhead, IT/Pennywise and the Crypt Keeper thrown in the mix). What's more, the Nightmare movies exist in the ''Stranger Things'' universe, and the boys point out some similarities, but Creel gets compared to... Michael Myers.
  • George Takei played Rome London on The Suite Life on Deck in an episode that parodies Star Trek. He even played a direct descendant of London and acts very much like a young teenage girl.
    • In "My Best Friend's Wedding" — the Scrubs episode where Turk and Carla get married — Takei is cast as the priest at their wedding. At first, this wouldn't seem to be a casting gag. But then, when Turk gets a call on his cell phone — during the ceremony! — he flips it open like an Original Series communicator. Casting Takei just so they could do that gag may be about the biggest stretch anybody has gone to for a casting gag.
      • Turk actually points out earlier in the episode that the priest looks like Sulu.
  • Supergirl (2015) continues the trend of anything Superman-related needing to have a Casting Gag:
  • Supernatural:
  • In Superstore, America Ferrera plays Amy, and Amy’s father is played by Tony Plana. Plana had previously played Ferrera’s father in the series Ugly Betty.
  • Tehran: Shaun Toub plays Faraz Kamali, a servant of Iran's Islamic regime who is the antagonist to Tamar, an Israeli Jew of Iranian descent. Toub is himself of Iranian Jewish descent, and left Iran like most did (including Tamar's family).
  • Sitcom That Girl, starred Marlo Thomas as Ann Marie, who in one episode meets a talented singer who turns out the be a nun. The Sister was played by Marlo's sister, Terre. For bonus points, in the last scene, Ann accidentally bumps into a priest. The Father was played by Marlo's father, Danny Thomas.
  • That '70s Show: Tanya Roberts, who plays Midge Pinciotti, previously starred as Stacy Sutton in the James Bond film A View to a Kill. In "The First Time", when Bob and Midge renew their wedding vows, Midge's bridesmaids are played by fellow Bond actresses: Maud Adams played Andrea Anders in The Man with the Golden Gun as well as Octopussy in Octopussy, Kristina Wayborn played Magda in Octopussy, and Barbara Carrera played Fatima Blush in the unofficial Bond film Never Say Never Again.
  • In the made-for-TV docudrama Titanic: Sinking the Myths, writer D.E. Bristow (the author of the book that the docudrama was based on) is played by Frances Fisher, best known for her role as Rose's mother in Titanic (1997).
  • Tulsa King has recurring character Bodhi, who acts in every way exactly like Martin Starr's previous character in Silicon Valley, Gilfoyle. In the season 1 finale, after the crew finds out that he's been stealing cryptocurrency all along and asks how he got so good at it, he lets on, "Some friends and I ran a startup for about 6 years back in California"
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In "He's Alive", Paul Mazursky and Howard Caine, who played the neo-Nazi thugs Frank and Nick Bloss, were Jewish in real life.
  • Utopia Falls: Snoop Dogg plays The Archive's voice, a digital library that includes many styles of music (including his own). At one point it recommends his work. Given The Archive, among many other things, stores music from our era, it may be using his voice too.
  • Vida: Eddy is asked if she's non-binary in one episode. She's confused and says "No". The actor portraying her, Ser Anzoategui, is non-binary.
  • WandaVision:
  • In Wednesday, Wednesday Addams' Cool Teacher Marilyn Thornhill (the Big Bad of the show) is played by Christina Ricci, who famously played Wednesday in the Addams Family movies in the 1990s when she was a child. Notably, her performance is generally credited as the reason for the character's breakout status.
  • Speaking of The West Wing, casting noted liberal Alan Alda as Republican presidential candidate Arnold Vinick certainly qualifies as this.
  • Tim Curry once guest-starred in an episode of Will & Grace in which he plays a character with a feminine aspect to him (in this case, it's the character's name, Marion) flirts with several characters, makes a reference to Cross Dressing, and even tries to trick one character's fiance into climbing into bed with him. Sounds pretty similar to a certain Sweet Transvestite, doesn't it?
    • An episode of the short-lived 1997 series Over the Top has Tim Curry dressing in drag. Now, why does that sound so familiar?
    • This is apparently his thing. He and Meatloaf also show up as a pair of conservative straw-men trying to stop Glee's Rocky Horror production.
    • In Fox's live-action remake of RHPS Curry played the Criminologist.
  • Speaking of The Rocky Horror Picture Show, castmember Barry Bostwick plays a suspect in a Cold Case episode involving a murder outside of a theater during a midnight screening of Rocky Horror.
  • Willow: The series reveals that Madmartigan and Sorsha married, then had two children after the events of the film. Similarly, actors Val Kilmer and Joanne Whalley also married after they met on the film set. They had two children, a son and a daughter like their characters, before divorcing.
  • The Witcher (2019)'s Polish dub has an extended Casting Gag: Geralt is voiced by Michał Żebrowski, who played the character in an earlier adaptation, The Hexer.
  • The X-Files:
    • Once a movie is made about Mulder (David Duchovny) and Scully (Gillian Anderson), they are played by Garry Shandling (who in an episode of The Larry Sanders Show had David Duchovny showing sexual feelings for him) and Tea Leoni (Duchovny's then-wife).
    • The show also features what may be the most unsettling example of this trope in Jodie Foster's role in the episode Never Again, in which she plays the voice of a mentally unstable loner's tattoo that eggs him on to kill people, highly reminiscent of John Hinckley taking her as (unwitting) inspiration to shoot Ronald Reagan.
    • Mulder and Scully Meet the Weremonster features a cameo by Richard Newman as the title creature's psychiatrist. One of Newman's most famous roles is also a horned creature that can change form.
  • Yes, Prime Minister: In Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy, the head of MI-6 (one of the suspects who may be the Russian mole) is played by Michael Aldridge. A few years later, one episode of this show had Michael Aldridge as the head of MI-5, bringing Hacker the news that his predecessor had been a Russian mole... Although he wasn't in the former.
  • Yellowjackets: Three of the four future survivors and main characters are all played in their adult iteration by young breakout stars of The '90s (when the flashback sections are set, showing the girls as teenagers), especially those known for villainous roles:
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