Back in the day (and even to this day, thanks to programs like TiVo and Video On Demand), one could record a favorite show, film or song via a VCR or a tape recorder to the radio. It was a great way to preserve that airing that would always last...unless someone taped over the recording itself with one of their own. Obviously, this is quite a quandary since the first, lost recording is now considered irretrievable.
Although this is usually an accident, it could also be done intentionally due to the original owner of the tape doing the re-recording due to running out of room for a new program and being pressed for time and the like to find another place for it.
Because Technology Marches On, this has the potential to become a Forgotten Trope to future audiences, unless you count the digital equivalent of deleting a file to free up enough memory for another file.
This would be considered the in-universe version of a Missing Episode. Compare and Contrast We Should Get Another Tape, which is oftentimes deliberately done and which focuses on the result of a recorded over tape instead of the reaction. Obviously Truth in Television, so listing real-life examples would be redundant.
- In an arc where the family returns from vacation, Paige is horrified to find that the TV didn't record the shows she wanted. At first she assumes it was a mistake, until she notices that everything it recorded was Batman cartoons. Her little brother, Jason, tries to delay her wrath with: "It's worth pointing out I just went to the dentist."
- In a Sunday comic, Roger appears to be lecturing Jason for pulling this. "Did you or did you not tape over your mom's Sweatin' to the Oldies workout video with Rocky and Bullwinkle reruns?" "I'm sorry." But the final panel flips the whole scene on its head: The workout video is intact, and Roger grumbles as Andy forces him to exercise along with her. The implication is that Roger paid Jason to tape over the video and make it look like an accident, but Jason forgot to uphold his end of the deal.
- In The Simpsons Movie, Homer has refused to return to save Springfield from being blown up, so Marge leaves with the kids while he's away. He returns to find a video of Marge explaining why she left. "And to prove to myself that it's really over, I've taped this message over our wedding video." The message is followed by Marge and Homer's first dance at their reception, which leads to Homer having a Heel Realization.
- Occurs at one point in Microserfs; the journal entry states:
Michael is furious at Todd for taping over a VHS cassette of Oop! graphic animation that Michael had done as a demo for potential investors. Todd replaced it with "The Best of Hockey Fights III".
- An episode of Living Single has an annoyed Regine talking about the time Synclaire had taped over her copy of The Thorn Birds with The Richard Bey Show.
- Coronation Street: One episode has Claire learning that she had accidentally taped over a recording of Ashley's first, slain wife, Maxine, and him at a party with a tape of Joshua playing on a ride along toy. Although initially upset by the turn of events, he soon forgives her, realizing that it wasn't intentional and viewed it as a sign to move on with his life.
- Saved By The Bell The College Years: When the guys are trying to motivate Mike into training for a football team tryout by angering him, he then is inspired to do so by the fact that Screech taped over his only collection of football achievements with Ren and Stimpy.
- A Full House episode had D.J. and Kimmy goofing around with Jesse's recording equipment, accidentally taping over an important jingle for a national commercial that he had composed earlier. This angered him so much that he grounds the former.
- Deliberately invoked (in a sense) in Doctor Who Revival Series 2 episode "The Idiot's Lantern" in which, after defeating an electricity elemental known as the Wire by trapping it within a video cassette recording, he plans to prevent it from ever resurfacing by recording something else over it.
- The Big Bang Theory: Sheldon had left a message to himself as a child in case he ever needed encouragement. Unfortunately, his father taped a football game over it just as younger Sheldon was about to give his advice. The tape also had a pep talk from Sheldon's father to the high school team, which is where Sheldon finally gets encouragement from.
- Young Sheldon: Sheldon is furious when an episode of Star Trek that he hasn't yet seen is taped over by brother Georgie with an episode of Baywatch.
- Everybody Loves Raymond: Debra explodes with rage when she discovers Raymond has taped over their wedding video with a football game. Even Ray's mother, Marie, normally not Debra's natural ally and My Beloved Smother to her son, is appalled and takes Debra's side, considering Ray has really crossed a line here and behaved thoughtlessly.
- This happens with audiotape too. Frasier is proud of the fact he has kept an audiotape recording of every radio show he has presented for KACL. Until he discovers that Daphne has inadvertently destroyed one tape when she tried to play it in her new boom box, and has replaced it with a Hall & Oates cassette in the hope that Frasier will not notice.
- One Saturday Night Live sketch features an ad for two injury attorneys, one of whom is very competent, the other being incredibly inept. The inept lawyer's client angrily recalls presenting his own evidence, a video recording of the entire accident, only to learn his lawyer had taped over it with an audition for Naked and Afraid.
- An episode of My Wife and Kids focuses on Michael's attempt to recreate video of Kady's first steps after he taped over the footage by accident.
- A husband saying that he taped a fishing program using the wedding video gets listed as one of Tim Hawkins' "Things You Don't Say to Your Wife."
- In Moving Out, starting a new game immediately cuts to some poor-quality footage of a wedding, before transitioning to the company training video. The "overwrote my wedding tape to make the training video" bit is an Establishing Character Moment for the moving company itself, making it clear exactly how they operate.
- Played for subtle horror in Marble Hornets. One of Jay's tapes is footage of Alex recording himself sleeping, until a random cut after a period of black screen brings up Alex staring at the camera, his head bleeding. According to some cryptic hints in a Totheark video, Alex didn't forget to record what happened; he purposefully erased and taped over it, adding to his mysterious nature at this point in the series.
- The Simpsons:
- In "Homer's Triple Bypass", Dr. Nick is horrified to learn that an instructional video on how to perform a triple bypass he found at the library has been recorded over by a tabloid talk show about people who resemble ordinary items.
- In "Day of the Jackanapes", Krusty announces his retirement due to interference from network executives and the growing popularity of the game show Me Wantee. During an interview with Kent Brockman preceding the farewell show, Krusty reveals that he taped episodes of Judge Judy over all of the episodes of The Krusty the Clown Show featuring Sideshow Bob to save money on blank VHS tapes. Unfortunately for him, Bob was watching the interview as Krusty made his confession, which lead him to scheming to hypnotize Bart to blow up Krusty live on the air.
Bob: You've erased my past, now I'll erase your future!
- In "Make Room For Lisa", Homer is forced to convert Lisa's room into a cellular phone tower to pay off damages done to the Bill of Rights at the local Smithsonian. When Lisa is forced to share a room with Bart, Homer asks Lisa what her favorite movie is. Lisa laments that her favorite movie was The Little Mermaid (1989) until Homer taped episodes of The Odd Couple over her VHS of it.
- In "Alone Again, Natura-Diddily", Homer tapes over Maggie's birth video to create a dating service profile for Ned Flanders. Due to the shoddy editing, the part where Maggie is actually born shows up at the end of the profile (to Ned's discomfort).
- Discussed in "Black Widower" with Selma sending the family a tape of her and Sideshow Bob's honeymoon spot and pointing out the cheap 30-minute VHS tape that Homer bought them.note To this, Homer then gleefully says that after watching the video, they can record over it.
- Family Guy:
- In "I Am Peter, Here Me Roar", Lois is furious to learn that Peter taped over their wedding with girl-on-girl prison porn.
- In the first episode, Peter brings a porno named Assablanca to a friend's stag party only for the men to be horrified that it was partially recorded over by a documentary about The Statue of Liberty.
- In the Futurama episode "A Clone Of My Own", Bender has plenty of sarcastic remarks during Professor Farnsworth's video will/confession... until the professor mocks Bender's attitude and reveals that the video was made by taping over Bender's recorded Soap Operas.
Professor Farnsworth: (on holo-recorder) I know you're all very upset, especially Bender.
Bender: Well, life goes on. Except for you! (laughs)
Professor Farmsworth: I'm sure that Bender has just made a cutting remark, but he doesn't know I taped over his soap operas to record this message.
Bender: YOU BASTARD!!!
- The Fairly OddParents: When Timmy tries to get his parents to fire Vicky, she records her torturing him and gets his parents to watch the tape. They're completely oblivious to the fact that he and Vicky aren't just having fun together, but still fire her...because they discovered she taped over one of their favorite shows.
- The Amazing World of Gumball: In "The Club", Richard confesses to Nicole that he taped a wrestling match over their wedding video, causing her to rip a locked door right off the wall in pure rage.