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Actor Allusion

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"The movie makes a sly reference to a famous earlier role by Irons. When Simba tells him, 'You're so weird,' he replies 'You have no idea,' in exactly the tone he used in Reversal of Fortune."

An Actor Allusion is the deliberate, yet typically rather isolated, throw-away reference to previous works/roles of an actor in a work, say a joke or mannerism. The reference is unlikely to have much plot relevance and is unlikely to be anything but a deliberate nod to the actor's previous work. Also note that it is for allusions to roles, not the actor themselves, with the equivalent being an Actor-Shared Background.

The exact nature of the allusion can vary but tends to be either blink-and-you'll-miss-it or fairly blatant. To illustrate, say Alice played Nurse Beth in B Ward before going on to play Officer Cathy in C Division. A more subtle example of an Actor Allusion might be having "Officer Cathy" mention that she once had to stay in the hospital that "Nurse Beth" worked at in the earlier show; in this case, viewers familiar with the earlier show and Alice's role in it will get the reference, but anyone unfamiliar with it likely won't notice that there's even been a reference at all. A more blatant example, however, might be having "Officer Cathy" have to dress up as a nurse to go undercover, only for her to show up dressed exactly like "Nurse Beth", to the point of even repeating catchphrases and lines of dialogue from the earlier show. In this case, even viewers unfamiliar with the previous show will likely twig that something is being referenced, even if they don't know the full details.

Casting two or more actors who not only appeared together in a previous production but spent a great deal of time onscreen together (especially alone) really reinforces the reference, as the page image demonstrates. For added irony value, it often tends to pan out that two characters who famously played friends or lovers will end up playing exes or enemies.

Related to the Shout-Out, and is sometimes triggered by I Want You to Meet an Old Friend of Mine or a Casting Gag, but while a Casting Gag relies upon casting an actor in a role that inherently has many comparisons to their previous roles or real life, an Actor Allusion uses only small details of only a previous plot or role for the actor. In either case, though, if the role being referenced was on a previous version of the show, it's a Remake Cameo.

Contrast with Celebrity Paradox and Meta Casting where the actor themselves is the subject of reference. This is show business' In-Universe way of acknowledging Role Association.

Try to be sure a reference is blatant, specific, or otherwise confirmed by Word of God before committing yourself. Oftentimes, entries are written that merely involve an actor playing the same profession and/or character archetype, which are less likely to be intentional. If, for example, actress Alice plays a cynical Dr. Beth in Work B, and then goes on to play a cynical Dr. Cathy in Work C, that alone is not necessarily this trope. What would be an example is if Alice, as Dr. Cathy, offhandedly uses Dr. Beth's Character Catchphrase, or strikes an iconic pose that Dr. Beth is known for.

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  • Random Assault: In the Halloween Episode, after Slabflapper talks for the first time, the other hosts tell Mitch to shut up, then he defends himself, having not actually said anything. Slabflapper in reality is voiced by Mitch.

  • Dino Attack RPG: More of an Author Allusion, but Sam Throramebi drew comparisons between Evil Ogel and Makuta Teridax, two of Greg Farshtey's favorite villains to write.
    • Kurt MacReady was the one sent to catch Snake, and the two of them subsequently got into a brawl. They were inspired by R.J. MacReady and Snake Plissken, respectively, both of whom were played by Kurt Russel, and served as the lead to John Carpenter movies released a year apart from each other.
    • Hauk and Angel Eyes, both of whom are inspired by characters portrayed by Lee Van Cleef, are revealed to be cousins.
    • In celebration of LEGO Island' 15th Anniversary, the Brickster referred to himself as "Thumper" and quoted a number of lines from Smartass, the lead weasel of Who Framed Roger Rabbit's Toon Patrol. David L. Lander, the original voice actor of the Brickster in LEGO Island, also voiced Thumper in A Bug's Life and Smartass in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

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  • Kajetokun is the author, actor, and editor of several famous YouTube Poops. A Day in Dracula's Life has the lord of evil panicking over the arrival of longtime rival. He accidentally calls Belmont "Ballmont". Kajetokun is also the author of the "Over Nine Thousand" meme.
  • Red vs. Blue: Shannon McCormick, the portrayer of Agent Washington, wrote two episodes where voiced Agent Iowa, his home state (who is friends with Ohio and Idaho, the two states it is often confused with), and once Idaho complains about Wash, Iowa replies "Well, I still think that guy's pretty cool".
  • RWBY:
    • During a Traintop Battle, Dr. Oobleck yells out to decouple the caboose since it could kill them all. Joel Heyman also Caboose in Red vs. Blue, where there was a Running Gag about the amount of teammate kills he was responsible for.
    • Scarlet David is on the receiving end of a Groin Attack like his voice actor Gavin Free frequently is in other Rooster Teeth productions.
    • At the end of Volume 4, Qrow refers to Oscar as a "pipsqueak". This is a deliberate reference to Fullmetal Alchemist, where Vic Mignogna (Qrow) and Aaron Dismuke (Oscar) voiced Edward and Alphonse Elric, respectively.
  • RWBY Chibi: In "Road Trip", Jaune sings the theme for Camp Camp, which was written and performed by his voice actor Miles Luna.
  • In The Super Pony Power Hour, Pinkie Pie makes the face of Andrea Libman, triggering the Inception sound.

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Alternative Title(s): Actress Allusion


SpongeBot SquareBolts

When Abner Doubledeal tells Leela that her show "Rumbledy Hump" was a hit, he mentions that its gonna be bigger than SpongeBot SquareBolts, an expy of SpongeBob SquarePants. Tom Kenny, who voiced Abner, also voiced the titular character in that show.

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Main / ActorAllusion

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