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When events on a Show Within a Show mirror events in the "real world" of the show. This is often used by the writers to comment on the show indirectly.

Unlike Coincidental Broadcast, this broadcast is not providing any plot-relevant information to the cast and those watching the show will generally not see how this relates to their situation. Compare Self-Parody.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • In Genshiken, the characters are at their graduation ceremony discussing what direction the manga will take now that the club president is graduating. Just when you think they've broken the Fourth Wall, it turns out that in fact they're just talking about recent events in Kujibiki♡Unbalance.
  • In episode 4 of Gourmet Girl Graffiti, Ryou texts Kirin and Shiina since neither girl is able to spend time with her that weekend. She then starts getting paranoid thinking about if she should be expecting instant replies back from them and decides to watch TV instead. The talk show she watches ends up with two guests teasing each other about that exact scenario she was thinking about, prompting her to turn it off.
  • In Haruka Nogizaka's Secret, somehow, the Show Within a Show Nocture Girls' School Lacrosse Club knows what's going on with Haruka and Yuuto.
  • Happens all the time on Martian Successor Nadesico. For instance, the first time a character in Gekiganger 3 is shown to die, Gai Daigouji is shot at the end of that same episode, and dies at the beginning of the next. Gekiganger 3 has finished airing by the events of Nadesico, and it is simply the order the characters themselves watch the episodes from recordings.
  • In episode 8 of Oreshura, the movie Ai, Eita, and Chiwa are watching in the theater strongly correlates to what's going on with them. Chiwa encourages the childhood friend to get the hero, while Ai backs up the other girl in the movie. Masuzu hilariously mocks the hero for his indecision, then lets out Eita's name, which he manages to overhear.
  • Similarly, the momentary fragments of Super Robot show Garban that Yamada watches, which are glimpsed in between the main action in Sister Princess.

    Comic Books 
  • One of the main conceits of Watchmen:
    • "Tales of the Black Freighter", a pirate comic book about a shipwrecked man turning savage as he attempts to survive by any means necessary. It parallels both the impending threat of nuclear war and Adrian's ultimate plan.
    • The clips of Ozymandias doing gymnastics which plays during the sex scene (complete with suggestive commentary about "mounting the bar").
    • As well as the direct parallel between Jon's interview and Dan and Laurie fighting a group of muggers.

    Fan Works 
  • Tales of Karmic Lies Aftermath: Adrien attempts to distract himself from his situation by watching TV, only to turn on a segment about anime villains spotlighting Gendo Ikari, reminding him of his father's terroristic ambitions. The next channel features Clara Nightingale covering 'Karma Chameleon', and the last is just starting a discussion about the concept of black cats bringing bad luck.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Justified in Amélie, where the heroine is probably imagining that the black-and-white mad scientist is talking about her, and her relationships, by name. Probably.
  • The film version of Being There may be the grand master of this trope. Why? Well, with the exceptions of the clips of the film's President of the United States and Chance's appearance on a talk show, every single show or commercial seen on a television in the film — and there are many because television watching is Chance's only pastime besides gardening — not only somehow comments on the proceedings or just Chance's character (or becomes part of his actions), but is a clip of a real show, commercial, or film. You'll often need to think for a moment to figure out the connection of a clip and the action.
  • In New Jack City, the drug lord Nino Brown is seen watching the classic crime film Scarface (1983) in every other scene. And like Tony Montana, Nino Brown would rise to the top selling drugs, eventually kill his best friend and get killed in the end.
  • Justified in The Truman Show, where he's thinking about leaving, turns on the TV and there's a song about not leaving, because everything around Truman is controlled by a TV executive.
  • Many events in the film Were the World Mine mirror those in the school play A Midsummer Night's Dream; this is lampshaded extensively in the relevant quotations from the play uttered by characters under the influence of Timothy's magic flower.

  • In Blackbird (1986), the teenagers are producing a gay version of Romeo and Juliet, and the balcony scene and the double suicide are re-enacted in Todd and Leslie's lives.
  • In Light Thickens by Ngaio Marsh, Macbeth's hallucinations and his bloody murders come to frightening life for the theatre cast, who are shaken by the unexpected appearances of severed heads on the stage during their rehearsals, and ultimately by the decapitation of the lead actor during a performance.
  • Aldous Huxley's Point Counter Point does this with Philip Quarles, a young author who constantly takes events from his real life and thinks of how to creatively twist them into fiction. Since he's Huxley's Author Avatar, this gives the reader a good idea of how things are supposed to come across. (At one point, Huxley steps out of the 3rd person and starts narrating as himself, pointing out how convenient it is to have a writer as a character.)

    Live-Action TV 
  • In Friends, Joey is acting in a stage play when his lover comes and tells him that she's leaving for Los Angeles. Joey's heartbroken, but returns to the play... which is about an alien visitor leaving his lover to return to their home world. His rehearsals on the play, and developing relationship with his costar, had been recurring for several episodes at this point but his climbing onto the ladder of the spaceship (which lowers dramatically and with lots mist into the middle of the living room set) is the first and only indicator that the play is anything other than a serious piece about two people struggling with the decision to split up.
    Joey: But, you've got things you have to do now, and so do I. And so, I'm gonna get on this spaceship, and I'm gonna go to Blargon 7 in search of alternative fuels.
  • Justified in Life on Mars because Sam is just hallucinating the whole thing anyway.

  • Dawn of a New Age: Oldport Blues has this as a major plot point. An author in-universe has written a book that happens to detail a situation incredibly similar to the event that gave the main characters their superpowers. This leads some of them to track down said author for questioning.

  • The titular characters in Hamlet invokes this with The Murder of Gonzago. He specifically chooses a play that involves the poisoning of a man by his brother (and alters it to more fit the real incident) in order to gauge the reaction of his Evil Uncle whom he believes guilty of the very same crime.
  • In Pagliacci, Canio and his wife Nedda are scheduled to perform in a comedy about a clown whose wife is cheating on him. This works out very badly, as Canio has just discovered that Nedda is being unfaithful to him in real life. Dramatic Irony (and double homicide) ensues.

    Video Games 
  • Fallen London has the forbidden play The Seventh Letter, which describes how the Bazaar hired the Masters, and the events leading up to its exile to the Neath, and the Order Serpentine, which shows in somewhat more literal terms the Fingerkings getting the devils to make them prisoner's honey.
  • Many of the TV shows in Max Payne, especially Address Unknown.

    Visual Novels 
  • Apollo Justice: Ace Attorney: Subverted in the third case. A murder occurs during a band's performance of a song, and it seems to follow the lyrics of the first few verses. This was actually a coincidence, and the killer set up events re-creating the later verses as a Red Herring once they realized this.

  • In Octopus Pie, immediately after being forced to watch trailers for tacky Spring Break softcore, Eve sees a number of girls casually discussing their drunk partying and promiscuity, prompting Eve to comment:
    Eve: Jesus, did they follow us out of the TV? It's like The Ring except I don't get to die.

    Western Animation 
  • The Brown Hornet cartoon on Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids always mirrors the main show's lesson du jour.
  • The Itchy & Scratchy Show cartoons on The Simpsons frequently does this. For example, just before being sent into space, Homer watches an I&S about space flight, and while Bart is home from school sick, he watches an episode where Itchy goes to the doctor.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic: In the episode "A Hearth's Warming Tail", Snowfall Frost's story is essentially a condensed, holiday-themed version of Starlight Glimmer's character arc from the previous season: from blowing the notion of something out of proportion thanks to a past trauma, to creating something she hopes will "fix" it that will only cause more damage to the point of apocalyptic levels, and finally some friends who show her the error of her ways and help her reform.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man: The second season has a background plot about a performance of A Midsummer Night's Dream being held at Peter's high school. The play mirrors the season's overarching plots in a number of ways, most notably in that a mischievous goblin is behind everything — Puck in the play, Green Goblin in the real world.
  • Steven Universe:
    • Many episodes have a corresponding post on the Character Blog, Keep Beach City Weird, which is related to the episode even if it's a complete coincidence. For instance, "On the Run" had a fictional book series that was important to the plot; at the same time, Ronaldo posts a review for the graphic novel adaptation Steven mentioned in the episode.
    • In the episode "Cry For Help", we oversee part of a Crying Breakfast Friends episode showing a spoon asking a pear why the pear lied, which foreshadows that in the real world, Pearl lied to Garnet to have an excuse to fuse. Pear ends up Easily Forgiven, unlike Pearl.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2012) has the turtles' favorite shows mirror what's going on in the episode or predict what is going to happen later on. Mikey comments on this, only to be told he's imagining it by the others.