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Taped-Over Turmoil

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"I'm leaving with the kids to help Springfield, and we're never coming back. And to prove to myself that this is the end... I taped this over our wedding video. Goodbye, Homie."
Marge Simpson, The Simpsons Movie

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.


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    Comic Strips 
  • FoxTrot:
    • 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.
  • One “Cuddles and Dimples” story in The Dandy begins when Dad records his adult comedy over the boys’ kids show, thinking it to be blank.

    Films — Animated 
  • 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 (quoted above). The message is followed by Marge and Homer's first dance at their reception, which leads to Homer having a Jerkass Realization.

    Films — Live Action 

  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down: After a bunch of mishaps trying to film a No Budget indie horror film, Greg, Rowley, and Greg's parents find out they had taped over Manny's first steps.
  • 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".

    Live-Action TV 
  • 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.
  • Full House:
    • In "Tanner Vs. Gibbler"; D.J. gets into a feud with Kimmy. Uncle Jesse tries to get D.J. to make up with Kimmy, saying that he didn't want to end his friendship with Joey just because the latter accidentally taped an episode of Pee-wee's Playhouse over his Elvis tape last week.
      Jesse: How would you like to be watching, when suddenly, (imitating Elvis) "You ain't nothin' but a hound dog" (imitating Pee-Wee) "I know you are, but what am I?"
    • "Fogged In" 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.
    • In "Terror in Tanner Town", one of the many pranks that Rusty pulls on the Tanner family is taping a video of himself over a tape of Joey's best impressions.
  • 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.

    Stand-up Comedy 
  • 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."

    Video Games 
  • 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.

  • In an Arthur, King of Time and Space set in the fairy tale arc, Arthur wants to know why they no longer have a bard who knows the final part of an epic poem. Guenevere reminds him that he turfed that particular bard out so that they could accommodate another bard who knew a newer epic poem.

    Web Original 
  • 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.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons:
  • South Park: In "Something You Can Do With Your Finger", Cartman records a video of him and his Boy Band (Stan, Kyle, Kenny and Wendy) being adored by Bebe, Red, Annie and Millie (who were payed for it) and plans on showing it to the mall manager to convince him to let them sing at the mall. What Cartman didn't know is that he recorded the video over a tape of his mother Liane and Mr. Mackey, the school's guidance counselor, engaging in BDSM activities. Needless to say, the mall's manager is much more impressed by the tape of Cartman's mother and Mr. Mackey than Cartman's video.
  • 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. Especially because she sent a copy to her great aunt.
    • 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.
  • In the Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends episode "One False Movie", Eduardo tapes over the end of the movie that Bloo and his friends made with an episode of his favorite show, an expy of Dora the Explorer. This happened at the wrap party for said film (the tape was lying in plain sight), which was due to be shown at a film festival later on.
  • 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.
  • MAD: In "Cliffordfield", the cast of iCarly throw Zack and Cody a Bon Voyage party, which Freddie films, and they also invite Kermit the Frog as a guest because Miss Piggy dumped him. As Freddie films the party, Kermit asks him if he's taping over his American Idol audition tape. Freddie tells Kermit, "Of course not. What do you think I am, stupid?", and the following scene shows Kermit singing a modified version of "Single Ladies" by Beyoncé.
  • In the The Incredible Dennis the Menace episode, "Dennis the Genius", Mr. Wilson is relieved when Dennis starts going back to school, and to celebrate, he plans to watch a videotape about bass fishing. To his horror, when he puts it in the VCR, he finds out that Dennis taped over it with a home video of himself.
  • In The Great North Season 1 "Tusk in the Wind Adventure", when Judy, Ham, Moon, and Honeybee are about to watch another episode of Dynasty that was recorded on a VHS tape, the episode immediately cuts to a documentary about freight trains that Beef forgot having recorded, leaving the others unamused. To make it up to them, Beef buys a DVD set for season six through nine.


Video Example(s):


Strong Bad's Eulogy

Strong Bad plans to pre-record the eulogy to his own funeral, but there may be a few snags in doing that.

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