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Talk Show Appearance

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"I'm so f***ing embarsssed!"

Talk shows exist both in and out of universe as a genre to entertain, inform, exploit, or just plain point and laugh. Oftentimes, a character may decide to go on a talk show to settle some single episode or plot-mandated strife, they may have gained some kind of fame and go on the talk show to promote the project or they may have gained a talk show themselves. Cue hilarity.

Needless to say, whatever success or resolution the protagonist or protagonists are trying to achieve will fail for a variety of reasons. It could be because one character could be trying to use it as a vehicle for themselves or paint themselves as the victim and the other characters as the villains. It could also be because the show and/or its (usually obnoxious) host manipulate the characters to how it wishes them to look like for ratings, drama, or even revenge. It could also be that in spite of gaining a talk show, chances are it may not be successful since they have no idea how to run a show or what interests the public. Whatever it is, it's going to make for good television, for better or worse and quite possibly have other characters watching at home and either being outraged by what they see and hear or simply enjoying the spectacle.

Keep in mind that this trope can be flexible. The time on the talk show doesn't have to last the entire 20-something minutes of the episode or major plot point of a film; it could last half the episode or even last for just one memorable scene. Also, although talk show implies a national or local program, it can also mean public access television (usually in the hopes of it becoming more famous).

Closely related to The Show Goes Hollywood, although here the show is usually broadcast or just happens to be in the city the protagonists are located in, especially if it's New York, Los Angeles or Chicago. Game Show Appearance is its game show equivalent. While it may end up with actual fistfights occurring, it has little to do with Talk Show with Fists. Compare "We're Live" Realization. Contrast Leno Device, where a talk show is used to show how an in-universe event has become a subject of discussion amongst the general public.


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     Asian Animation 
  • BoBoiBoy: One Season 2 episode has the antagonists Adu Du and Probe host a talk show in an attempt to defame BoBoiBoy. Adu Du faked injuries he claimed to have received from the Kid Hero to paint himself as a victim, while Probe remarked on the occasions he misused his powers as a Mundane Utility. They even promised to pay his teacher to invite him to discuss the matter but pulled him away before he could remark in BoBoiBoy's defense. However, the time of the broadcast was 4:30 a.m., and only 4.5 people watched, the half-person being a cat.

     Fan Works 
  • In the Rom-Com Pok√©mon: The Series Fic X and Y: The Kalos Chronicles, the main cast ends up in a strange pseudo-studio by means of teleportation by a Jirachi-owned by the author and his sister.

     Films — Animated 

     Films — Live-Action 
  • Madea's Big Happy Family: Madea eventually goes on Maury to learn if Mr. Brown is her adult daughter, Cora's, father. He is not, and Madea freaks out like any other disappointed mother all while Joe happily watches at home and makes fun of her.
  • Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me: Dr. Evil and Scott go on Jerry Springer as a subject of dysfunctional fathers. He eventually incites a riot by getting into a fight with a Klansman and removes his hood.
  • To Die For: While the film has a good portion of it told through a documentary and flashbacks, another portion has both Suzanne and Larry's parents being interviewed on a national talk show and their varying viewpoints of their children's lives, their marriage, and the tragedy.
  • Casino sees mob frontman Ace Rothstein hosting his own Vegas talk show, in a bid to ingratiate himself into the community.
  • Joker (2019) sees the title character invited on a popular Gotham talk show, ostensibly to defend his actions. The host antagonizes him to the point where the Joker pulls a gun and executes him.
  • In The Dark Knight, Coleman Reese goes on a Gotham talk show to reveal Batman's true identity because he wants the chaos caused by the Joker to end, with the Joker having promised to end it all once Batman is unmasked. The Joker, however, reverses course when Reese is about to spill the beans, calling into the live broadcast show and threatening to blow up a hospital unless Reese is killed by citizens of Gotham.
  • In the final act of Ocean's Thirteen, Terry Benedict gets a very karmic Humiliation Conga as a result of trying to backstab Ocean's Eleven, with his cut of the theft given away to a homeless children's camp and him being forced to appear on The Oprah Winfrey Show to explain his "decision".
  • The Sandra Bullock film Hope Floats opens with the main character, Birdie, being invited to appear on The Ricki Lake Show with her best friend. She thinks she's there for a makeover. They're really there so the best friend can confess that she's been having an affair with Birdie's husband Bill, who is then brought out and admits that it's true. To make matters worse, Bill and Birdie's eight-year-old daughter is in the front row of the audience.

  • In Ace by Dick King-Smith, farmer Ted Tubbs and his pig Ace appear on a talk show after Ted discovers that Ace has learned to communicate with humans. The appearance goes badly, nobody believes Ted, and Ted and Ace return to obscurity (with Ted concluding on reflection that this is a better outcome than if he had been believed).
  • Animorphs: "The Reaction". Rachel goes on a talk show, the Barry and Cindy Sue Show, after accidentally morphing elephant and having her house collapse, while reacting to crocodile DNA she's allergic to. It doesn't go well because she begins experiencing her body's rejection of the croc DNA, which means 'burping up' an actual crocodile. Cassie morphs her and takes her place, while Marco morphs a llama from an animal handler who's also appearing. The crocodile causes chaos, and Cassie has to think fast so her secret isn't revealed when someone calls her an Andalite.
    Cassie: Yeah, a light would be good, too.
  • Harry Hole: In The Snowman, Harry goes on Norway's most popular talk show to try and reassure the public about the Snowman killer. He finds out that the host had an affair with one of the victims and fathered a child with her, which causes him to be a suspect. It's eventually revealed that the affair was the motive for the murder, but he wasn't the killer.
  • The Dresden Files: Death Masks opens with Harry Dresden meeting a contact by appearing on a talk show about magic. While there, he's approached by a vampire who, while not overtly threatening, still rattles Harry enough that the spell he's doing to protect the camera equipment fails, causing a building-wide blackout that ends the show and gets him sued.

     Live-Action TV 
  • Martin:
    • In the beloved two-parter "Hollywood Swinging", Martin and his friends go to Hollywood so he could appear on The Varnell Hill Show so he could get his big break and become as rich as he is. Unfortunately, Varnell is a complete egotistical joke thief who lied about having him on, leading to him interrupting a performance by Jodeci in revenge.
    • Although the latter half of the series had Martin with his own public access talk show, he still had to audition for a spot. In turn, he and his friends all submitted a tape of him hosting a mock talk show and shoehorning in the usual fares, including painting Gina as a shoplifter, Tommy as a pervert and Pam as a witchcraft-practicing man.
  • Living Single episode "Talk Showdown" had the girls going on a talk show named Delia where they are portrayed as "The Roommates From Heaven". Eventually, petty arguments, secrets, and other embarrassing facts spill out that culminates in Regine and Khadijah falling out and the former briefly moving out.
  • Married... with Children:
    • The first episode that featured Al's famous "No Ma'am" group had them hijack The Jerry Springer Show due to him being known as "The Masculine Feminist". The irony is not lost on reruns of that episode.
    • "Peggy Turns 300": Al, who lost his mind after Peg bested his bowling score, fantasizes he's watching a news report where he saved a family of ten and their dog Winky from a house fire and a sports talk show with Roy Firestone where he's a popular football player in addition to being a bullfighter, a race car driver, an aviator and inventor of something called the seven-day underwear.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air:
    • In the episode "A Night at the Oprah" has the family going on The Oprah Winfrey Show, where Uncle Phil hopes it could be a boost to his campaign for Supreme Court Judge, save for a jealous Will who didn't receive a ticket due to not being an immediate family member. Their dirty laundry makes it onto the air after Will is let on by a sympathetic Oprah and devolves into the family squabbling including screaming matches, an on-camera breakdown from Hilary and Will fighting an audience member who insulted his mother, ultimately resulting in hurting Phil's campaign chances.
    • In "Will's Up the Dirt Road", Will gets a job as a journalist and hopes he can make a book called "Celebrities' Houses... At Night", where he takes pictures of celebrities houses at night. But the publisher takes one of his photos and spins it where it appears Jay Leno is polluting the water with oil, with Leno suing Will. Will sneaks onto Leno's show and clears up the mess.
  • Seinfeld: In "The Opposite", Kramer appears on Live with Regis and Kathie Lee to promote his coffee table book about coffee tables. He kisses Kathie Lee Gifford on the lips. When the three of them share a drink of coffee, Kramer burns his mouth on the coffee, making him spit all over Kathie Lee's dress.
  • In the season three finale of Drake & Josh, Megan is fed up with the titular characters fighting and arranges for them to go on the "Dr. Phyllis Show" to work out their issues—which ends with the host attacking Drake herself.note 
  • iCarly: The second blooper episode is framed as a talk show with "Christopher Cane", where he interviews the cast members and then shows a blooper reel for each of them.
  • Victorious: "Blooptorious" is a talk-show-formatted episode where the Rex puppet, this time as an actor named Christopher Cane, is interviewing the rest of the cast while showing blooper reels.
  • In a second season episode of Castle, "The Late Shaft", the title character appears on a talk show to promote his upcoming book. The host later tells him of receiving death threats. Not an uncommon occurrence in show business, but then the host is murdered.
  • The Golden Girls: In the episode "Goodbye, Mr. Gordon," Rose, who is now working as associate producer at a TV station, gets Blanche and Dorothy a spot on a morning talk show. However, Rose misunderstood what the show meant when it wanted "women who live and sleep together," so Blanche and Dorothy end up as part of a segment on lesbian lovers in Miami. This doesn't go well for Dorothy, who was rekindling a relationship with her high school teacher, but Blanche plays into it pretty well, and somehow it even scores her a man.
  • The first season of Cruel Summer opens and closes with one of the characters going on a talk show. In the pilot, it's Kate Wallis, who speaks out about her kidnapping and accuses Jeannette Harris of being complicit. In the finale, it's Jeannette, gloating about how she dispelled Kate's accusations in court while magnanimously forgiving Kate for all the harassment her accusations caused.
  • Quantum Leap episode "Roberto!" has Sam leaping into the body of a 1980s talk show host, whose confrontational style makes it difficult to get people to listen to him about the dangers of a local pesticides plant and expose their unseemly motives.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers: "Lights, Camera, Action" had the Rangers go onto a talk show to promote education, inspiring Lord Zedd to create the Showbiz Monster. They also talk about their battle with Pudgy Pig and teach the host to do a jump kick.
    • Power Rangers Operation Overdrive: In "Behind the Scenes", the team are invited to a talk show hosted by Andrew Hartford's old friend. The villains take advantage of this by having Miratrix pretend to be a representative of the mayor and give the Rangers medals made out of a material which is toxic to the alien biology of their Sixth Ranger, thereby taking him out of action.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Steel: In "The Poisey Show", Sledge captures most of the team and forces them to be part of his wife Poisandra's new talk show. The Rangers use this against him by talking about past romantic events in their lives, reminding Poisandra of what a terrible husband Sledge is. This leads to an argument between the two that gives Preston a chance to free his teammates.
  • Atlanta: In "B.A.N.," Alfred goes on a late-night talk show called Montague to promote his mixtape and defend an apparently transphobic tweet he made (he was just responding to someone that he didn't have to have sex with Caitlin Jenner). He is very irritated to find out he won't be paid for the appearance.
  • California Dreams: One episode has the members of The Dreams making their own talk shows for public access television as a part of a school project. The most popular of the shows are Sly and Tony's show, The Goo-Goo-Ga-Moo Guys, a Wayne's World-inspired series. While they gain a larger audience and potential to go even further, their combined egos destroy the show and momentarily wrecks their friendship.
  • In Saved by the Bell episode "Screech's Spaghetti Sauce", the gang hosts a Today Show type morning program as a school project. While anchorpersons Zack and Lisa do a decent job, weathergirl Kelly gets doused with a bucket of water on the air, chef Screech (with Slater assisting him chopping the onions) makes a delicious sauce that ends up infringing on a brand name sauce and investigative reporter Jessie ambushes Mr. Belding over some missing petty cash, even accusing him of using the funds to buy himself a new car.
  • The Falcon and the Winter Soldier: In the second episode, John Walker appears on Good Morning, America to discuss his past life as a U.S. Marine and his new role as Steve's successor.
  • A Family Matters episode had Urkel, Laura, Myra, Eddie, and Myrtle go on a talk show to work out their differences. After it eventually disintegrated into screaming matches, Waldo (who was in the audience) was the one to help them resolve their differences.
  • In the Home Improvement season 7 finale "From Top to Bottom", Jill is invited on a daytime talk show called Talk to Me to discuss "Women on Top", where she makes comments that make Tim look bad.
  • On an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Sabrina, Hilda and Zelda appear on the The Jerry Springer Show along with Sabrina's vice principal Mr. Kraft and invite his ex-wife Lucy in order to get him out of their house. It's revealed that Lucy is also is a witch.
  • The first season finale of Sonny with a Chance, Sonny and Tawni get the chance to appear on a talk show called "Gotcha with Gilroy." Sonny admits to Tawni that she's nervous about being on a talk show—Tawni initially makes it seem like she's not nervous and that she's been on numerous talk shows before, but when Sonny asks Tawni, "How many talk shows have you been on?," Tawni admits that she's never been on a talk show and that she's just as nervous as Sonny is (if not more nervous).
  • Several characters in Ugly Betty go on talk shows like The View, though the hosts are usually more interested in celebrity gossip involving their guests than the magazine they're trying to promote.
  • Hannah Montana: The Clip Show episode "Can You See the Real Me?" has Miley being interviewed by Robin Roberts on Good Morning America after publicly revealing herself as Hannah Montana in the previous episode.
  • Life With Lucy: In one episode, Curtis and Lucy appear on a local talk show for the "Mr. Fix-It" segment. They end up gluing themselves to each other and to the hosts.
  • Friends: Chandler learns his mother, a famous romance novelist, is coming to town to visit him when she announces it during an appearance on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.
    Chandler: See, this is how I find out. Most moms would use the phone.

  • R.E.M.'s song "New Test Leper" is about a gay man with AIDS who goes on a talk show in the 1980s in the hope of creating empathy, and is humiliated by the homophobic host and channel executives. According to Michael Stipe, the lyrics were inspired by a real talk show he saw where a similar series of events happened to a trans woman on live TV.
  • One scene from Eminem's video "Without Me" spoofs his younger half-brother and his estranged mother appearance on Sally where they come on a show called Sally Messy Raphael. Whereas his brother and even Sally are portrayed normally, his mother is played by a garish drag queen and Eminem himself is in the audience and shouts, "Fuck you, Debbie!"


     Western Animation 
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog: In "Lifestyles of the Sick and Twisted", after being outraged at Sonic appearing on Lifestyles of the Very Good, hosted by Throbbin Screech, Dr. Robotnik captures Screech's niece so he can take total control of the show, making him the star and renaming it Lifestyles of the Sick and Twisted.
  • American Dad!: In "National Treasure 4: Baby Franny: She's Doing Well: The Hole Story", Hayley and Steve finds out that Francine made headlines years ago when she fell down a well as a little girl, something she doesn't like to talk about. To get her to open up, they trick her into appearing on Greg and Terry's show Morning Glory, where she's confronted with the fact that a fireman apparently died while saving her and suffers an on-air nervous breakdown.
  • BB3B: At one point in "Chart Attack", the twins are invited on to the fictional talk show "The Way Past Bedtime Show" to discuss their hit single. The twins use this opportunity to try to explain that they think an alien invasion is due to occur and are kicked out as a result.
  • BoJack Horseman: Since the main character is a famous actor, as are several of his contemporaries, characters often go on talk shows and make fools of themselves.
    • BoJack's Establishing Character Moment has him go on Charlie Rose's show and talk about Horsin' Around while acting drunk and unprofessional.
    • BoJack and Gina go on Biscuits Braxby's talk show in the Season 5 finale to discuss BoJack strangling Gina on the set of Philbert. At Gina's insistence, they both act like the incident was nothing.
    • In "Xerox of a Xerox," BoJack goes on Biscuits' show twice to do an interview about his role in Sarah Lynn's death. The first interview is very professional and calm, and everybody commends BoJack for talking about his addictions, so BoJack cockily decides to do a second interview despite Princess Carolyn's hesitance. Unfortunately, the second interview is a disaster — Biscuits, having learned some damning facts in the meantime, calls out all of BoJack's flaws, particularly his treatment of women, and he only makes himself look worse, especially when he admits to waiting seventeen minutes to call Sarah Lynn an ambulance, which could have saved her life had he not been so selfish.
  • In The Casagrandes episode "Grandparent Trap", Ronnie Anne watches a romance talk show, which says that signs of an unstable marriage include bickering, "passive-aggressive vacuuming", and sleeping on the couch. Just then, her grandparents walk in arguing, Rosa (the grandmother) vacuums up crumbs left by Hector (the grandfather) and has him sleep on the couch. Ronnie Anne fears that this means her grandparents are getting a divorce, so she and her cousins set up a date for them, and when that doesn't work, Ronnie Anne tricks her grandparents into appearing on the show. She is eventually forced to confess, and they laugh, saying that they'll never divorce— they only bicker to blow off steam, Rosa's vacuuming wasn't meant to be passive-aggressive, and Hector likes sleeping on the couch as it's near the kitchen.
  • Family Guy:
    • "Fifteen Minutes of Shame" has Meg tricking the family into appearing on Diane Simmons' talk show to expose their dysfunctional ways. Ultimately, this is parlayed into them getting their own reality show about their lives that ends with them being replaced by celebrity versions of themselves.
    • "Brian Writes a Bestseller" has Brian writing a shameless cash grab that leads to success and to treat his fans and especially Stewie like crap. However, once he appears on Real Time with Bill Maher, he and his guests criticize his book and humiliate him to the point that he wets himself.
    • Another episode has Peter and his friends attempting to make a six second talk show (even bringing in some big names, including then-Vice President Joe Biden). It goes as well as you think.
  • Fantastic Four: The Animated Series: The Four discuss their origins at a fund-raiser held by Dick Clark in the two-part premiere "The Origin of the Fantastic Four".
  • Garfield and Friends:
    • The season two episode "The Big Talker" has Jon go on a Morton Downey, Jr.-esque talk show to defend Garfield after the host blasted cats as useless and challenged anyone to come on and prove him wrong. After Jon is unsuccessful in making his argument and they both wind up being humiliated, Garfield gets revenge after learning that the host is superstitious, especially about black cats.
    • The episode "Newsworthy Wade" has Wade go on the show Seven Minutes to talk about himself to the program's host, Dick Drake.
  • Phineas and Ferb: In the episode "It's About Time!", Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenshmirtz go on a talk show hosted by a man named Dr. Feelbetter to settle their differences after Perry caught Doofenshmirtz fighting another nemesis. This is subverted when Doofenshmirtz reveals that he used the opportunity to bring all of the O.W.C.A.'s agents together so that he could freeze them into statues.
  • Robot Chicken: One of the Star Wars specials had Late Night with Zuckuss, a parody of Late Night with Conan O'Brien with Conan voicing Zuckuss. The show even has Conan's bits including an interview with "The Emperor" and a mini-Darth Vader. The sketch ends when the Death Star fires on the studio.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: In "Speaking Terms," a bad fight leaves Rocko and Heffer unwilling to speak to each other, so they go on the talk show Nosey! to give their sides of the story.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Happens twice in the episode "Homer Badman." After Homer is publicly accused of sexual harassment a TV tabloid program called "Rock Bottom" invites him on their show by promising him a chance to tell his side of the story. When the segment airs on TV they blatantly edit and manipulate the interview footage to make him seem like a pervert (and that he loses his temper and attacks the host), which only makes his situation worse. Later he tries to tell his side of the story again on a public access talk show, but since it airs in a graveyard timeslot no one sees it... except Groundskeeper Willie, who shows up to the Simpsons' home with evidence exonerating Homer.
    • In the "Treehouse of Horror IX" story "Starship Poopers", after Kang and Homer get into an argument after learning that the former is Maggie's real father, Bart suggests that they settle their differences on Jerry Springer. The appearance ends with Kang vaporizing everyone in the audience and killing Jerry himself.
    • In "Jaws Wired Shut", both Marge and a newly sensitive and calm Homer appear on Afternoon Yak, a talk show modeled after The View. Aside from his previously embarrassing behavior being discussed, the View expies and the audience are entertained by his personality change.
    • After her female-oriented gym gains success in "Husbands and Knives", Marge goes on Opal due to the national attention it brings.
  • South Park:
    • One early episode had the boys and their parents go on the usually calm Jesus n' Pals which due to the interference of an executive producer was now modeled after Jerry Springer, complete with a Too Hot For TV tape offer. Fortunately, Jesus was not only able to settle the misunderstandings of the families, but also sent the producer in question to Hell.
    • "Freak Strike" had Butters go on Maury due to him being called to appear on a "freak special" with people with legitimate ailments and disorders (his "freakiness" was having fake balls taped to his chin). Once the other guests realize that he was faking, they attack him.
    • "Le Petit Tourette" had Cartman, who was faking having Tourette's Syndrome to get away with saying offensive things, especially towards Jewish people, be invited onto Dateline. Upon his personality becoming unwilling unfiltered and blurting out embarrassing secrets about himself, he tries to back out only for Chris Hansen to threaten him. When Kyle and a boy who legitimately has the disorder try to lure in pedophiles in order to expose Cartman, the men freak out upon encountering Hansen, leading to them committing suicide en masse.
    • In "Human CentiPad", Cartman appears on Dr. Phil claiming that his mom is literally having sex with him after being denied an iPad, as a result Dr. Phil and his staff along with Apple arrange for Cartman to be gifted with his own iPad to compensate for the "pain" he had endured. It blows up when Kyle's dad agrees with Apple's strict terms and conditions that results in Cartman's "iPad" being rescinded.
  • Steven Universe: "Know Your Fusion" mainly takes place in the room belonging to the fusion Sardonyx, which looks like a talk show. She pretty much shows fellow fusion Smoky Quartz how it feels to be on a talk show, and acts like a talk show host herself.