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The Television Talks Back

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I shoot you with my Splash of Color!

"The weather man can hear them through the TV? Can the Care Bears hear everything? (leans in) Are you watching me, Care Bears?"
Linkara, Atop the Fourth Wall, "Care Bears #13"

It turns out that the people in the television can see and hear you, too, and talk back when you insult them. Usually Played for Laughs, but sometimes used for pure Paranoia Fuel.

A variant is when somebody just pretends to be this, or the television turns out to be fake and the other person is in the same room. The prerecorded form of this is The Tape Knew You Would Say That. When children's television tries to do this, it's Fake Interactivity. This trope can sometimes coincide with Kent Brockman News if it occurs during a news broadcast. There may be some overlap with The Fourth Wall Will Not Protect You and Sean Connery Is About to Shoot You.


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  • An old BUPA advert had a sports presenter telling a man in a pub that he could get treatment from BUPA for his medical condition.
  • A Canadian Concerned Children's Advertisers PSA from around the 1990s had a computer-animated TV was talking about how people watch him all day or something like that, and that they should go outside and play. The TV was also annoyed at the end because a cat was sleeping on him. It also got annoyed because someone was flipping through the channels on the TV and it showed a news channel, a nature show and even ReBoot. (The ad was made by Mainframe Entertainment.)
  • One commercial had a woman urging her husband to use a particular medicine, but him brushing it off. Cue the commercial-within-a-commercial talking about the medicine, and adding the man's name, Raymond, as an appositive.
    Wife: Told you.
  • A South African ad for spice had a certain woman's cooking smelling so delicious, that the news anchor on TV started to sniff, went to the camera, and then told said woman he liked that smell. He even went "No, don't" when the woman changed the channel while freaking out. Later on, she started to talk about it to her friends while they were eating the food she made.
  • An ad for the Dish Network uses this. Three men are in their kitchen watching a news broadcast on the tablet they got when they signed up for the "Hopper" plan and the newscaster asks "Is your kitchen dangerous?" followed by the men moving to a treehouse and the newscaster announcing the danger of treehouses, then they're under the bed and the newscaster says they're not safe under the bed either.
  • A series of ads for Bounty paper towels take place in a World of Ham where everyone lets out a Big "NO!" when something spills. In "Lottery", even the person on TV announcing the lottery numbers reacts in this fashion to a spilled drink.
  • A Wilkins Coffee advertisement has Wontkins trying to rag on the Wilkins commercials, but Wilkins, who is in an advertisement himself, won't let him get a word in.
    Wontkins: Those Wilkins Coffee commercials!
    Wilkins: (from inside the television) You don't like 'em?
    Wontkins: No!
    Wilkins: Then, let me fix your set. (ducks down; television explodes)
    Wontkins: Ya' can't win...

    Anime & Manga 
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • Stardust Crusaders: Joseph uses his Hermit Purple on a TV to find any knowledge that would help the team. However, after receiving a message that there's an enemy among them, DIO appears on the monitor revealing he's aware Joseph is watching him and blasts the TV.
    • Diamond is Unbreakable: While heading to bed, the television in Josuke's house suddenly turns on, and as Josuke tries to shut it off, it suddenly refers to Josuke and Jotaro by name moments before Chili Pepper reveals himself.
  • In Kinnikuman, there's an instance when the television fights back; Kinnikuman sees a TV report on the new Japanese Choujin, the sumo wrestler Wolfman. Some jabs at Kin are made, and when the Idiot Hero makes an angry dive at the set, Wolfman knocks him away with a sumo slap that goes right through the screen.
  • In Magical Girl Apocalypse, Himeji, the Big Bad, is mute. At one point he uses this with really creepy effect, using the voice of the woman giving the weather forecast.
  • In My Hero Academia, Izuku has dreams where he sees the confrontation between the first holder of One For All and his older brother All For One, which is followed by said first holder suddenly talking to Izuku, even though he's been dead for at least several decades.
  • In the first episode of Shugo Chara!, TV psychic Nobuko Saeki says that "guardian spirits are everywhere". Amu, watching the TV program with her younger sister Ami, doesn't believe it. The psychic immediately says that "anyone who thinks it's stupid will die". Amu wonders if the psychic was specifically addressing her, to which she says, "That's because I am!"
  • Urusei Yatsura features a story where the TV announcer tells the viewers that there'll be a party at Mendo's place. He yells at the television that he didn't say anything about a party, and the woman on TV cheerfully replies that "Televisions can't talk back to you, fool!"
  • One of Satou's paranoid visions in Welcome to the NHK includes talking with his TV set.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes: In Season 5 episode 15, Smart S. asks why the news channel is replaying a story from earlier. Miss Peach reacts from within the screen, saying that they're low on more news and intend to replay that story for a full day.

    Comic Books 

    Comic Strips 
  • Bloom County had Opus watching a TV ad, and firmly determined to resist its irresistible offer. The ad talks back to him as he vocally refuses. He gives in when the ad adds a discount, and orders a huge number. Another strip had him napping in front of the TV, and waking up just in time to hear the newscaster announce, "...are the three things which have been found to cause massive, fatal nose warts in penguins." When he panics and tries to find out what they were, the newscaster chides him for not paying attention.
  • Spy vs. Spy: In one strip, White Spy climbs into Black Spy's television to shoot him through it. Turns out Black Spy's remote holds a machine gun. In another, the White Spy set up a camera to see if the Black Spy would show up. He appeared to be on his front door, but he was actually inside the TV.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Used in the B-Movie Attack of the 50-Foot Woman as a sign of the title character's insanity. A newsreader begins taunting her about her husband's infidelity.
  • In Better Off Dead, after Lane comes home from a rather horrible day at school, during which his math teacher asked for his permission to date his ex-girlfriend Beth, he walks past the TV, which is showing an episode of The Flintstones. Cue the camera focusing on the TV and Barney Rubble asking, "Hey there, Lane... I was just wondering how you'd feel if I took out Beth."
  • One of the Wham Line in Captain America: The Winter Soldier had one of these.
    Arnim Zola: I am not a recording, fraulein.
  • Casino Royale (1967) has a very surrealist example: Le Chiffre is watching two hit men on a security monitor. One of them marches up until he's filling the screen, then smashes his arm through the monitor and shoots Le Chiffre in the head.
  • City Hunter: After Ryo imitated Bruce Lee's moves from Game of Death which happens to be playing in the theater where he fought and defeated a Giant Mook, Ryo playfully thanks Bruce, who unexpectedly thank him back, prompting Ryo to run away from the theater.
  • Demons 2 follows the same concept as The Video Dead: whereas Demons had characters in an inescapable movie theater where the onscreen events came to life, its sequel was set in an inescapable high-rise apartment building, with demons crawling out of the televisions. The two films are similar in nature to zombie movies, as any character who is scratched, bitten, or killed by the demons will transform into one, and Gorn is emphasized.
  • In The Game (1997), this is how Nicholas van Orton learns that his game has started: a doll in his room hides a camera, while a news broadcast — that was partially pre-recorded — gives him the facts.
  • Used in both Home Alone movies. After watching an old black and white gangster film in an earlier scene, Kevin (Macaulay Culkin) uses the knowledge of the film's dialog to his advantage to scare away people who come to his door and can hear the audio. Probably the funniest scenes in the movies which don't involve Booby Traps.
  • This happened in The Kentucky Fried Movie. A couple is watching a newscast. They start making out, and the newsman on the TV notices what they're doing. He calls over other people in the studio to watch, and by the end they're all cheering on the couple.
  • Mood Indigo: Part of the bizarre surrealism. Nicolas is watching a cooking show with a "Chef Gouffe". Chef Gouffe not only talks back to Nicolas, he hands him ingredients through the screen.
  • The Osterman Weekend: A Coincidental Broadcast (actually a video feed) on the illicit use of Swiss bank accounts appears on television as part of the Gaslighting tactics being used against an alleged ring of traitors. At one point the CIA agent in charge uses the video feed to speak directly to the protagonist (who is working for him), only to have an Oh, Crap! moment when the link won't turn off when someone else enters the room. The CIA then pretends he's reading a boring news report. Later on when the CIA man turns out to be the villain of the piece, he uses the television to taunt the protagonist, speaking to him and broadcasting live video of his friends deaths.
  • The Pink Panther (2006) has the inspector looking straight at the camera and going, "And I will find you, killer!"
  • In Return of the Killer Tomatoes!, our hero can't figure out where the heroine is being held. He's watching a black-and-white Mad Scientist film, and the Show Within a Show villain says, "I'll just keep her in the lab downtown." Then the villain says, "Like I said, I'll just keep her in the lab downtown." Our hero keeps staring, and the Mad Scientist in the TV turns to face him and snaps, "Are you listening? I said I'll keep her in the lab downtown!" Cue very belated "Eureka!" Moment.
  • Not so much 'talking back', but a similar theme of television sentience: In The Ring, Naomi Watts' character walks up to the television whilst there's footage of a fly on screen. She's able to pick the fly up in her hands.
  • The Signal (2007) had a version of this that's different enough that it might not be the same trope: a mind-control signal broadcast over television causes viewers to go Ax-Crazy. Although viewers don't report receiving actual messages from the television, they stare at its static for hours at a time, as though hypnotized.
  • Stage Struck: Used as a gag a couple of times in the numbers performed by The Yacht Club Boys. In one, the radio commentator mentions "the floor of the Senate," which prompts the Yacht Club Boys to ask "the door of the Senate?", only for the radio guy to answer back "No, the floor of the Senate!"
  • Superman II has a futuristic television. It generates holograms, and uses crystals instead of DVDs or videocassettes. The answers to Superman's questions and comments are all prerecorded, but for Superman, it's as if the person is talking with him. On the other hand, the responses have no connection with anything Lex Luthor says.
  • The Protagonist of Teddy Bear is idly watching while thinking out loud, trying to figure out The Plan. "Wujek Dobra Rada", a glurgy children show, is on, with the titular character giving the kids advice. The Protagonist snarks at him, and suddenly, Wujek Dobra Rada turns to the screen and gives him some advice.
  • The basis of the low-budget horror film The Video Dead, as it involves a cursed television set that unleashes zombies into the real world. One of the heroes also encounters a succubus-like enemy who tries to tempt him into the television set, followed by a monster hunter who defeats her and then warns the boy through the screen about the zombies who've already escaped from it.
  • Debbie Harry's character disappears when going to check out Videodrome, then appears to Max in his TV, and asks for a kiss. He does...and then things start to get really bizarre. Brian O'Blivion also starts to converse with Max in this way later on. As with many events in the film, it's difficult to tell if/when this is actually happening.
  • Done in Xanadu (1980) when Kira tries to prove she really is a Muse and uses her power to make a gangster on a tv show ask Sonny if he should off his captive or not.

  • The most famous non-comic example is the Telescreens from Nineteen Eighty-Four, which serve as giant video phones. In every home, you must obey the Telescreen, and they can see if you're obeying. And you can't turn them off.
  • In American Gods, Shadow gets into conversations with several TV sets. Justified in that one of the "new" Gods is "Media". And she is really petty.
  • Happens in Evil Star. Matt's weird-ass aunt starts taking orders from the host of Wheel of Fortune or something, eventually leading her to drive a truck full of kerosene into Matt's happy-wappy little school.
  • Played straight in Fahrenheit 451, where Montag's wife has a wallscreen TV set up so the announcer appears to address her by name. Actually the TV inserts her name in deliberate pauses made by the announcer, while distorting the vision around his mouth so his lip movements match.
  • Semi-utilized in Piers Anthony's Incarnations of Immortality series. The television in Purgatory don't actually talk to anyone, but they do have a news program which is specifically related to whoever watches it.
  • Played straight in a Photon tie-in novel, In Search of MOM. The Master Programmer is playing a "video" for the Photon Guardians, to let them know how she and the two super-computers for each side of the conflict, came to be while she tracks down what happened to M.O.M. There comes a point where the "recording" mentions the two super-computers and how she named them (Multiple Operations Matrix/Diverse Activities Database, or "M.O.M. and D.A.D.") Parcival mutters to himself about what stupid names they are. The Programmer on-screen looks right at him and asks "Do you think you could do better, four-eyes?"

    Live-Action TV 
  • In the Angel episode "Smile Time", there were demonic puppets sucking the life force out of children. They'd talk to children through a TV show and tell them to put their hands on the TV, and then the children would fall into comas.
  • Being Human: Saul keeps getting mysterious messages through newspapers and the TV prodding him to ask Annie out, which turns out to be part of a long-term plot to pull Annie into the afterlife.
  • The Benny Hill Show features a sketch in which Benny Hill plays a news anchor who first gets distracted by the beautiful woman watching the news, then does a live report of her getting robbed in her apartment, and finally is injured when the robber fires at the TV.
  • The French version of Candid Camera did it once to a prank victim watching Questions pour un champion (the French version of Going for Gold): right as the guy found the answer to a question about a show where people are pranked on tape.
  • On Charmed (1998), Cole used a TV psychic to communicate with Phoebe.
  • The Daily Show: Jon Stewart is fond of claiming that he can see us too (and usually reminds us to "put some pants on"). In one example, after Jon Stewart learned that Anthony Wiener talked about having sex while watching his show, he wondered if his audience were having sex right then and there. He then asks someone off stage to "hit the button that lets me see them" and is shocked at what he sees.
  • Doctor Who:
    • In part 3 of The Happiness Patrol, Priscilla P has Daisy K locked up on charges of being a killjoy, when Helen A appears on a screen. While Priscilla dismisses this as the recording that plays for prisoners, Helen states that “It’s not a recording” and demands Daisy K’s release.
    • In "The Girl in the Fireplace", the fireplace talks back!
    • "The Idiot's Lantern": The Wire is an Energy Being that, when not stealing people's faces and brainwaves, "inhabits" televisions, and is perfectly capable of interacting with people while doing so.
    • "Blink": The Doctor, in 1969, has a conversation with Sally Sparrow, in 2007, through a television and someone sitting next to Sally, writing the script, which is given to the Doctor later.
    • "Silence in the Library": The Doctor is messing around with some tech, trying to figure out how it works, and ends up on the little girl's television screen. They talk briefly before the connection cuts out.
    • "The End of Time": When he sits down to watch the Queen's Christmas message, Wilf instead sees the mysterious Woman in White on his TV, and she gives him a message about the Doctor.
    • "The Impossible Astronaut": The Doctor appears as an extra in a Laurel and Hardy film playing on Amy and Rory's television set as they discuss how the Doctor appears to be trying to communicate with them through time. Neither of them notice the Doctor stepping from his place in a dance number to wave at them.
    • In "The Bells of Saint John", various people are "brain-hacked" by the villains to deliver a message to the Doctor, including a newsreader on television who then provides this trope.
  • Happens in Eli Stone. Granted, that was a message from God, and therefore perfectly reasonable.
  • Feral TV: A one-off gag had a real-life Australian newsreader make a cameo appearance delivering a news story from one of the screens around the Ferals' TV station. When Rattus expresses disbelief, the newsreader tells him that it's definitely true, "rat features". It was never done again and most of the remaining antics within the show are entirely focused on the Ferals and the few other characters unfortunate enough to be at the station with them.
  • Forever Knight. In "Curiouser and Curiouser", various surreal things start happening to Nick Knight, such as seeing his vampire 'father' LaCroix on the television quoting from "The Walrus and the Carpenter" by Lewis Carroll, his face following Nick as he walks across the room.
  • Guillermo del Toro's Cabinet of Curiosities: In "The Outside", the blond man in the AloGlo commercial has multiple conversations with Stacey.
  • The Haunting Hour episode "Sick" is about a kid who's having a fever dream (maybe) and believes that he's being menaced by a terrifying monster that's taken up residence in his house. As he's barricading himself in his room, the talk-show host on the TV flawlessly switches from discussing a random topic to speaking directly to the kid and warning him not to seal himself in. The talk-show host is the good guy, but the result still ends up being pretty creepy.
  • In the I Love Lucy episode "Lucy Does a TV Commercial", Ricky returns home to find that Lucy is on TV, in a Phillip Morris commercial. And she can apparently see and hear him. That's when he realizes that she's literally in the television — she tore out the guts of the TV and is now standing inside it.
  • One of the ways God communicates with Joan of Arcadia is via a television newscaster who speaks directly to her.
  • The Test Card Girl from Life on Mars (2006), and several other TV hosts, including the narrator from Camberwick Green.
  • Max Headroom does this regularly — unsurprisingly, given that televisions contain cameras in that 'verse.
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus:
    • A man (who has been previously mistaken for someone named Michael Ellis) is watching a TV documentary about ants.
      Chris: I didn't know ants had six legs, Marcus!
      Ant Expert: [speaking from TV] Well I can assure you they do, Mr Ellis.
    • This also happens in the penguin sketch:
      Newsreader: [on TV] It's just gone eight o'clock, and time for the penguin on top of your television set to explode.
      [said penguin explodes]
      First Pepperpot: [watching the TV] How did he know that was going to happen?
      Newsreader: It was an inspired guess.
  • In Oz Augustus Hill never interacts with the other characters while speaking as Character Narrator, except for one occasion when Simon Adebisi is in the computer room high on drugs, and is dumbfounded to see Augustus on his monitor discussing the events of the episode.
  • In the Pee-wee's Playhouse Christmas Special, this is how Joan Rivers makes her guest appearance.note 
  • Sherlock. In "The Reichenbach Fall", Sherlock is watching a news report on the TV in the back of a cab, when Moriarty appears on the monitor to drop a hint about his Evil Plan for destroying Sherlock's reputation. Sherlock gets out of the cab, runs to the driver's window... and sees Moriarty, who quips "No charge" and drives off.
  • Stargate SG-1 pulled this in Thor's introductory episode. The planet Cimmeria is invaded by the Goa'uld due to something SG-1 was forced to do in an earlier episode to save Teal'c, with their only chance at saving the planet being going through a series of trials to retrieve whatever weapons the Asgard left on the planet for such an occasion. Except when they finish the last trial, the hologram of a bearded Viking type Thor appeared as fades away to reveal a Grey who explains that the trials were actually meant to test whether the Cimmerians have reached a high enough level of development for first contact. The Cimmerian who happens to be on site promptly points at SG-1 as the ones who solved the trials, not her...
    Carter: It's a hologram, it was probably recorded a thousand years ago. It can't hear you.
    Thor's hologram: On the contrary. [cue Flat "What" Double Take from Carter] My image is a living transmission.
  • A prank in Surprise Sur Prise had a TV show demonstrating video calls through TV. The subject was first primed by having two actors surprised about being contacted by TV, before being contacted through the phone-through-TV. The prank finishes with a commercial that reacts to the subject not paying attention.
  • In the TV miniseries of The Tommyknockers, the host and contestants of a game show Becka is watching on TV start directly talking to her, correctly informing her that her husband is cheating on hernote . Becka, already very emotionally distraught and long-suspecting of such an infidelity, sees absolutely nothing weird about this and casually discusses with them what she can do. The framing of this makes it vague as to whether it is literally something supernatural causing the projection or if it's just her own delusion, but once she ends up taking on the offer to murder him, the same program makes suspiciously apropos commentary as she does the deed.
  • Total Recall 2070: After Olivia Hume witnessess a powerful businessman committing a murder, the company tampers with the Hume's vidscreen broadcast so that Olivia sees people on the television talking to her. As she's already dealing with having her memory tampered with at the time, she thinks it's a hallucination at first.
  • The Young Ones
    • When a murderous young woman wanders into the house, this trope gets used with a radio. The newscaster at first announces that a dangerous murderess is on the loose, but as the boys all ignore his warning, he starts yelling at them specifically: "I've been trying to tell you for the last five minutes, that girl over there with her hands over Mike's ears is a murderer!" The radio eventually gets broken when it's used as a weapon in a Vyvyan/Rik squabble, and none of the lads ever notice its warnings.
    • In an earlier episode, the television makes an announcement telling the viewers not forget to unplug their sets. Vyvyan asks why, and the television responds, "Because it'll blow up, you silly boy". Vyv waits in anticipation for a few seconds before deciding to play murder in the dark instead.
    • And in another episode, when the guys turn on the TV to find it's already closing down for the night:
      Rick: Shut up, you fascist Tories! No one tells me what time to go to bed!
      Royal Guardsman: [Appearing on TV screen] Go to bed, spotty.
      Rick: Blimey!

  • In this Israeli music video a Wild Teen Party leads to a television being thrown into a swimming pool. The news anchorman then steps out of the swimming pool and continues to deliver the news.

  • Older Than Television: The Jack Benny Program used this a few times as a gag.
  • In The Men from the Ministry staff of General Assistance Department is listening a horse race from the radio when all the sudden the speaker informs that horse My Wotsit (which everyone thought was going to lose) starts to moving up. Mr. Lamb protests that they said that My Wotsit didn't have a chance, which the speaker replies that he was wrong in his earlier statement about My Wotsit's chances.

    Stand-Up Comedy 
  • Ron White jokes about something like this happening once when he's sitting naked in a beanbag chair eating Cheetos and watching televangelist Robert Tilton on TV.
    Tilton: Are you lonely?
    Ron: Yeah.
    Tilton: Have you wasted half your life in bars pursuing sins of the flesh?
    Ron: This guy's good.
    Tilton: Are you sittin' in a beanbag chair naked eatin' Cheetos?
    Ron: (eyes go wide) YES, SIR!
    Tilton: Do you feel the urge to get up and send me a thousand dollars?
    Ron: Close! I thought he was talkin' about me for a minute. Apparently, I ain't the only cat on the block who digs Cheetos.

    Video Games 
  • The Television contact in City of Villains plays this straight, with your character getting missions from Bart Simpson, The X-Files, and other TV characters.
  • The Darkside Detective:
    • At one point, McQueen turns on the radio just in time to hear Dick Brickman present a breaking news report about the case he's currently working.
      McQueen: That's genuinely eerie.
      Brickman: Thank you.
    • In the Christmas Episode, a television in the window of the electronics store is showing Dick Brickman presenting a retrospective of the year's news.
      Dooley: I wonder if we'll get a mention.
      Brickman: You do not.
      Dooley: Aw, no fair.
  • In Hitman 3, Grey wants to confront the Partners directly and let them know why he's destroyed them and their empire. You can set up a fake meeting for the two Partners in the Sheik's panic room; you can then activate the panic room and lock the two of them inside, at which point Grey will appear on the giant television screen in the center of the room and give the Partners a short "The Reason You Suck" Speech before 47 kills them.
  • The Neverhood: Not only does Willie talks directly to Klaymen through his disc recordings, he also becomes a literal subject to this by giving him the key to Klogg's lair right through the screen.
  • There was a level in Parappa The Rapper like this. Although it's a subverted as the TV host was right next to Parappa. (This fact is only revealed when you're doing badly, when you're in Cool Mode and at the end of the level (for which Parappa lampshades by pointing out how she managed to get out of his TV).)
  • In Spider-Man: Shattered Dimensions, Deadpool's also able to break the inner Fourth Wall:
    Deadpool: Next episode, we'll welcome a very special guest!
    Spider-Man: [to himself] Who?
    Deadpool: You, Spider-Man!
    Spider-Man: Wait, what?!
  • There's an entertaining version when playing as a Malkavian in Vampire: The Masquerade - Bloodlines. The news anchor that comments on plot-relevant events will sometimes address the player character; early on in the game, the anchor describes the scene of a horrible massacre and follows it with, "And we know that it was you that did it" while staring directly into the camera. Later events in the game produce similar broadcasts; after reporting Johansen being kidnapped, the news anchor will dryly remark, in his usual smarmy monotone, "Police officials have gone on record as saying 'Don't worry, that crazy bastard will save him.'" A Malk can even have a full blown conversation with the television in his safe house. The anchor tells you a joke.

    Web Animation 
  • Played for Drama in Angel Hare. When the adult protagonists compares commercial tapes of the titular children's show to the tapes he watched as a child, he learns his copies are very different; Namingly, the protagonist spoke directly to him, in ways he took for granted as a child.
  • In the Eddsworld episode, Fun Dead, Edd brings up a commercial for an amusement park. He responds to each of the commercials statements with lack of enthusiasm until it angrily tells him to stop interrupting it right to his face.

    Web Original 
  • This is the primary form of supernatural occurrence in Angel Hare. Jonah's VCR recordings indicate that, while he watched Angel Hare as a child, Angel Gabby was able to interact with him and perceive happenings on his side of the screen. Eventually, Jonah realizes that the effect only works during live broadcasts, so if he livestreams the show online, he can talk to Gabby again. In season 2, Francis (who could only follow the show's script during season 1), as well as Zag, also have this ability.
  • In GEOWeasel:
    And later… people talking to their TVs and expecting answers. Tonight at eleven.
  • The Loading Ready Run video Prepared Interview has someone give a taped interview as part of their job application. They talk to the interviewer.
  • SCP Foundation:
    • SCP-263 is a TV that plays a Deadly Game game show with whoever turns it on.
    • SCP-2835 is a video tape with a cartoon character that directly threatens the viewer if they didn't enjoy the show.
  • Zero Punctuation: "And you know who I blame for all this? You. Yes, you, ADRIAN. (That probably isn't your name, but it was worth it to freak out all the Adrians in the world.)"

    Western Animation 
  • On the animated version of ALF, people on the Shumway's TV often talk to the family as well as reach out and grab them from time to time. In another instance, baby sister Augie flings a glob of food at the screen during a news broadcast, landing splat in the anchor's face.
  • Used in The Angry Beavers, where the host of a show explains how Bears can eat beavers and will be driven to do so at the slightest taste of them. Beary questions if they actually believe that he's going to eat them, and everything he tries to do is then mentioned on the TV show as a sign that a bear is going to eat you, culminating in the host of the show appearing in person at their house insisting that he's right.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force: In "The Cloning", after being cloned too many times, the house TV starts displaying an uncanny channel depicting the Aqua Teens are radically different people. Shake's copy quickly says "I'm in your house" before giving him the idea to clone money while Meatwad is horrified seeing Frylock as a psychopath just as he's told from the television to shut up.
  • Happens in Darkwing Duck. When NegaDuck marches into a theater to watch an action movie, he gets annoyed when he realizes it's a Sickeningly Sweet animated film about talking rabbits (one wonders how he missed the giant sign outside stating just that). He gets into an argument with the rabbits on the screen before dispersing them and the audience with a rifle. Then he proceeds to jump into the screen and roll out in a tank.
  • This example involves a radio, but it's the same principle. In The Fairly OddParents!, this happens in the episode "Boys in the Band" (Chip Skylark's first appearance) when Chet Ubetcha broadcasts on Timmy's radio.
  • Family Guy
    • In "The King is Dead", the Griffins are watching the evening news and hear that the head of Quahog's theater troupe has died. Lois gets a phone call, asking if she'd be willing to take over his job. Everyone looks at her expectantly, even the news anchors. As soon as she says yes, they announce that Lois has taken the job — complete with an inset of her talking on the phone that very minute.
    • In a more straight playing of the trope, one episode had Peter have an argument with a character in the show True Blood. Lampshaded when the scene cuts to Bruce, watching the same episode at home.
    Bruce: This is a strange episode.
  • The Flintstone Kids: In the Captain Caveman segments. The narrator responded to Wilma's protests when The Captain Caveman Show wouldn't be broadcast in favor of a game, and Cavey himself would talk to some viewers. (Examples: Freddy's mom when she thanked Cavey for teaching Freddy An Aesop about greed; and Rocky when Freddy and his friends had no way to watch an episode other than watching it at Rocky's. Rocky would only allow Wilma, but Cavey threatened not to broadcast his show unless he allowed all of them).
  • The Gandy Goose cartoon "The Exterminator" has Sourpuss listening to a radio commercial for P.D.Q. Exterminators (operated by Gandy himself):
    Radio: Is your home free of mice?
    Sourpuss: Why, sointenly!
    Radio: Oh, yeah? Well, just look around, bub. (Sourpuss sees a mouse on top of the lamp)
  • In Garfield Goes Hollywood, the titular cat, Jon and Odie find out about Pet Search watching it on TV. This trope happens twice: one when they learn about the U$1000 prize ("One thousand dollars?" "That's right, one thousand dollars!") and again when they learn about the trip to Hollywood ("I can't believe it!" "Well, believe it.").
  • In the Gravity Falls episode "The Hand that Rocks the Mabel", Mabel is appropriately puzzled when a TV ad for L'il Gideon apparently answers her question.
    Mabel: What makes him so special?
    Announcer: He's a psychic!
    Mabel: Aroo?
  • A strange variation happens in The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy, when the Boogie Man possesses the TV and tells Billy that he wants to talk to Grim.
    Billy: Oh, Grim, the TV wants to talk to you.
    Grim: TV?
    TV!Boogie: (sitting on the couch holding a martini) Hello, Grim.
    Grim: (perplexed) ...Hello, TV.
  • This from the Heckle and Jeckle cartoon "The Rainmakers" when a TV reporter covers the drought precipitated when Jeckle wished it would stop raining forever:
    Jeckle: I you think I was the cause of all this?
    Reporter: (coming out of the TV at Jeckle) Yes! And what are you going to do about it??!
  • Happens frequently on The Jetsons, as well, as one of many fantastical space-age advances.
  • Happens on Jimmy Two-Shoes, often on one of the several Frank's 2000-Inch TVs that are all over Miseryville.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • It's used with a police radio in the 1936 short I Love to Singa.
      Mama Owl: I wonder if they found my little boy...
      Police Radio: No we haven't, lady.
    • In the short Cinderella Meets Fella, Cinderella's fairy godmother is late, so she calls the police. An APB is broadcast for the fairy godmother on the radio:
      Cinderella: I do hope they find her.
      Radio officer: Don't worry, lady. We'll search every beer joint in town until we do!
    • In Dog Collared, when Porky finally escapes the big dog that's been pestering him throughout the picture, he turns on his TV set and hears a news report about that very dog:
      Announcer: Ladies and gentlemen, this is a picture of a missing dog. Anyone returning him to 980 Chestnut Street will collect a reward of $5,000.
      Porky: A thousand b-b-b-b-bucks?!
      Announcer: No, five-thousand b-b-b-b-bucks!
    • In Duck Dodgers in the 24˝th Century, Dodgers is surveiling his adversary, Marvin the Martian, through a television set, only for Marvin to pull out a blaster and shoot him through the screen.
    • In the Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner cartoon Roadrunner A-Go-Go (half of the proposed pilot The Adventures Of The Road Runner), Wile E. Coyote stops to talk to two boys who were watching the show and explains exactly why he wants to eat the Road Runner.
  • Zig-zagged in the Mighty Mouse cartoon "Cat Alarm." In a ruse the cats have conjured up to lure the mice out of Cheeseville, a cat with a mouse reporter puppet goes into Mighty Mouse's TV and issues an emergency:
    Cat/Mouse reporter: We interrupt Mighty Mouse's vacation to bring him this urgent news flash. The Cheeseville Dam has burst!
    Mighty Mouse: The Cheeseville Dam?
    Cat/Mouse reporter: Yes, the Cheeseville Dam has burst, and millions of gallons of water are rushing towards the doomed city!
  • My Gym Partner's a Monkey: In "Leaf of Absence", when scripting their dialogue for their news interview, Adam and Jake apparently predicted what Pixiefrog would say, as they wrote responses to his inevitable questions into the dialogue.
    Adam: This kind of thing never happened when Principal Pixiefrog was in charge. He would know what to do.
    Pixiefrog: He would?
    Adam: Yes, he would.
  • Pac-Man features an instance of this with a radio in "A Bad Case of the Chomps":
    Radio announcer: We interrupt this broadcast to bring you this special bulletin!
    Inky: Hey! We weren't listening to no broadcast!
    Radio announcer: In that case, I'm interrupting you, so shut up!
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero: Intercom example in "Trading Faces". Rippen sighs at an announcement Principal Larry made via intercom and Larry asks if Rippen sighed and stared at the intercom with disdain. Rippen protests it's none of Larry's business and Sashi points out Larry can't hear him. Larry says he doesn't have to.
  • One episode of Phineas and Ferb has Major Monogram contact Perry the Platypus through the Flynn-Fletcher family's TV set. However, just after Agent P leaves, Lawrence comes in to wonder who Monogram is, forcing the Major to bluff that the 'show' is a telethon for finding the cure for Antidisestablishmentarianism. (And yes, the Fridge Logic is lampshaded) Not once does Lawrence wonder why the TV is talking back to him.
  • Popeye:
    • Happens in the short "Spinach Packin' Popeye", when Olive hears the results of Popeye's boxing match on the radio.
    Announcer: What an upset, ladies and gentlemen! Popeye the Sailor knocked out!
    Olive: HUH!?
    Announcer: I said Popeye the Sailor was knocked out!
    • In "Cartoons Ain't Human," Popeye's nephews hiss the villain in their uncle's homemade cartoon. The villain then turns and hisses right back at them.
  • Scooby-Doo
  • Spongebob Squarepants:
    • In "Procrastination", a newscaster not only does a report on SpongeBob trying to avoid writing an essay, but also sticks his head out of SpongeBob's TV to confront him, causing a panicked SpongeBob to chop it in half. Thankfully, it turns out to be All Just a Dream.
    • In "Squidville", Squidward interacts with an ad for a planned community that just happened to come on his TV.
      Announcer: Hi there! Is this the final straw? Do you want to move so far away that you can brag about it? Would you rather tear out your brain stem, walk into the middle of the nearest three-way—
      Squidward: Four-way.
      Announcer: —Four-way intersection and skip rope with it than go on living where you do now?
    • In "Tunnel of Glove", while watching a report on the disaster at Glove World, Patrick repeatedly says stuff is bad...only to say something that's food-related. The news reporter yells at Patrick after this happens twice.
      Reporter: Dude, your best friend is in danger!
  • Taz-Mania: In "Ticket Taker Taz", Molly's radio appears to be directly answering the questions she puts to it.
  • In Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987) at one point April winks after thanking her saviors. The Turtles argue which of them she was winking at, when she clarifies that she was winking at Splinter.
    • She winks at Splinter again in "Turtles Turtles Everywhere", after Splinter thanks her for inspiring them to clean up the lair.
    Splinter: I must stop having those late-night sushi snacks.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "Kill the Alligator and Run", Homer begins worrying about his mortality and becomes a nervous wreck. At one point, he watches an episode of Inside the Actors Studio with James Lipton interviewing Robert Evans, and he hallucinates that both are threatening to kill him.
    • In "Monty Can't Buy Me Love", as Lisa watches The Postman with Kevin Costner's director's commentary on, she says "Poor Kevin Costner, he tries so hard...", which prompts the response of "Aw, thanks, you're sweet to say that.", revealing that he was standing in the TV the whole time, also asking if she can get him a sandwich (no crust).
    • In "Radioactive Man", Principal Skinner announces the Radioactive Man movie is being filmed in Springfield and are taking auditions from Springfield's youth for the role of Fallout Boy.
      Skinner: (on PA) Students, I have an announcement. One of your favorite comic book heroes, Radio Man—
      Nelson: Radioactive Man, stupid!
      Skinner: (in office) Strange, I shouldn't have been able to hear that.
  • From VeggieTales in the House:
    Bob: I'm gonna see what else is on.
    Announcer: Don't see what else is on! There is nothing else on!
  • In the X-Men: The Animated Series episode "Mojovision," Scott and Jean are at the mall trying to buy a new TV. Mojo then appears in one of the TVs, warning them not to change the channel. When the store manager attempts to do so:
    Mojo: Hey, I warned you! (zaps him)

  • One of Penn & Teller's magic shows included a setup for this. They told how to force a card on the mark. Then Penn did a fake news video meant to be recorded and played back after the trick "fails". Penn stopped in the middle of the news, held the playing card to the camera and asked, "Is ''that'' your card?"


Video Example(s):


Sick of Minuscule Profits?

While calculating the egg profit yield and seeing the full results, Mrs. Tweedy snaps about her chickens and declares she's sick and tired of making minuscule profits. A magazine advertising the pie machine catches her eye, as if a solution to her problems has arrived.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (9 votes)

Example of:

Main / CoincidentalBroadcast

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