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We Should Get Another Tape

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"We really should get another tape. I mean, they're not expensive."
George Michael, Arrested Development

Reuse of a tape that was previously recorded over, without recording over the entire thing, will leave the surrounding footage, and will continue on to it after the newly recorded footage runs out.

And sometimes this is used in a joke, to show somebody (generally the person who owns and then plays the tape) doing something hideously embarrassing. The guy involved gasps and stops the tape but it's too late - about a dozen of his closest friends have seen him singing, dancing or performing a sex act on tape and they're never going to forget it.

It doesn't work quite so well with CDs due to their differing format... but since there's still a lot of VHS players and tapes going around, it'll be used for quite a while yet.

Sometimes this trope can be played with where the guy involved accidentally hits fast-forward on the remote instead of stop or eject, and the tape fast-forwards to an even more humiliating scene, but usually it's played straight.

Compare and Contrast Taped-Over Turmoil.


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  • A car advert (German, possibly Volkswagen) demonstrated their engineers' fixation with making their cars the best they could with an amateur video from one of the engineers taking geeky delight in the function of door locks, the design of the rear light cluster and so forth. At the end is footage of his wedding.

  • The Simpsons' Big Damn Movie had Marge videotape her "Dear John" Letter to Homer over their wedding footage intentionally, so Homer would know just how badly he'd screwed up and how seriously she was taking leaving him. After seeing the tearful farewell from Marge, there was a little wedding footage left. He doesn't want to stop watching.

    Film—Live Action 
  • Cloverfield: Hud is recording the movie over a home video of the main couple's trip to Coney Island while they were still together. Whenever Hud stops recording, we get a few moments of the footage he's recording over. Some artistic license is involved, because this would require Hud to be advancing the tape a few seconds before resuming each time rather than just starting at the same spot he left off.
  • Mr. Woodcock features John Farley, a motivational speaker and writer conspiring to break up his mother's relationship with his abrasive and caustic former gym teacher. Farley's friend Nedderman tries to help by faking an extremely crude and laughably transparent tape depicting Woodcock's supposed cruelty, which they play in front of Woodcock and Mrs. Farley. Unfortunately, the tape goes on to show Nedderman delivering a spirited rant about how Woodcock doesn't deserve Farley's "hot mom", and goes into great detail about Mrs. Farley's "big ol' titties" and what he'd love to do to them. Needless to say, this does not go over well with anyone present.
  • In Australiens, one character has a lump on his scrotum, which he is afraid might be prostate cancer. He borrows his sister's friend's camera to take a look at it, but she takes it back as aliens descend on Brisbane. At the end of the film, it's shown that his experiment prefaces the documentary of the invasion. It's shown on national TV.

  • Lawrence Block's Matthew Scudder private eye novel A Dance at the Slaughterhouse begins with an innocent third-party getting hold of a videotape of The Dirty Dozen that also includes scenes of a pair of serial killers torturing and killing a victim. The killers also killed the guy who made the tape, but didn't expect him to have a copy hidden in a commercial cassette (which was subsequently sold to a video rental place).

    Live-Action TV 
  • The Trope Namer is George Michael Bluth's eventual comment on a Running Gag on Arrested Development where, every time something is taped, it runs on to present footage George Michael shot of himself imitating scenes from The Phantom Menace in his garage (in the vein of Star Wars Kid).
    George Michael: They're not expensive.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia uses this as a Running Gag. Whenever the gang presents something they've filmed, it will ultimately end in a series of snippets they recorded in previous episodes. It begins with a callback to "Frank Sets Sweet Dee On Fire" in the episode "Paddy's Pub: Home Of The Original Kitten Mittens". Later episodes even include brief cuts of Charlie and Mac's Fight Milk Ad, Mac's Project Badass stunts, Dee's Irish Leprechaun impression, and Dennis's Election ad.
  • Lost used a tape of the 2004 World Series as a plot point. Later, the same tape is used to show a different revelation by Ben; although the footage does not run on, there's a bit of confusion over the label:
    Locke: Red Sox?
    Ben: I taped over the game.
  • On Friends:
    • In "The One Where Ross Can't Flirt", Joey's grandmother joins him and the gang to watch his part in an episode of Law & Order but his scene was cut out, so Joey quickly tapes a new one in his apartment and passes it off as his original scene just before the episode ends. Immediately after Joey's homemade scene ends, the tape switched to Chandler singing "Space Oddity" by David Bowie.
    • In "The One With The Prom Video", the aforementioned tape of Monica and Rachel getting ready for their prom abruptly becomes Jack and Judy Geller's sex tape.
    • Richard has a tape marked "Monica" on which he's taped a baseball game over a sex tape with a woman who isn't Monica. When Monica realises that the tape is now of someone else she complains about it.
      Monica: It's just so insulting! I mean, spring for a new blank tape, doctor!
    • When Ross is collecting some of his things from Carol and Susan, he finds his tape of half the Grand Finale of M*A*S*H and half of the Iranian hostages being released had become Carol and Susan's vacation and half of the Iranian hostages being released.
  • One episode of Everybody Loves Raymond revolves around Ray's taping a football game over his wedding video.
  • An episode of Ellen centred around Ellen taping an episode of thirtysomething over a friend's birth video.
  • In one episode of The Thin Blue Line, Inspector Fowler attempts to record Inspector Grim confessing to planting evidence, but when he triumphantly plays back the cassette, all they hear is his girlfriend's workout routine. Boyle, Grim's crony, points out that Fowler needed to push down "play" and "record" for it to work. At the end of the episode, as Patricia does her workout, she hears what was recorded afterwards: the mayoress apparently propositioning Fowler.
  • On an episode of M*A*S*H, Henry's wife sends him a filmstrip of his daughter's birthday party and everyone gathers in his office to watch. Tacked onto the end is an old clip of Henry goofing around with his next door neighbors, to Henry's chagrin and Hawkeye and Trapper's delight.
  • In Veronica Mars the first episode has a cop showing a tape of a robbery in court, but instead of showing the correct footage, it cuts to the cop in question hiring a prostitute.
  • On Law & Order, the cops come across a videotape of an apparent murder. The crime lab guy helps narrow down the source of the tape by finding footage of a bar mitzvah elsewhere on the tape
  • The Armstrong and Miller Show: a family video message from Australian friends turns out to have been recorded over a kinky sex session. See it here.
  • In one episode of Col'n Carpenter, Col'n's flatmate receives some home movies that have been transferred to Betamax. Col'n then accidentally uses the tape to record A Very Brady Easter. At the end of the episode, it turns out the company had sent her the wrong tape and these were actually someone else's home movies.
  • CSI: In "Let the Seller Beware", the CSIs view a tape where a Trophy Wife had recorded a real estate sales pitch for her house. After the pitch ends, the tape continues and reveals a sex tape she had made showing she was sleeping with her stepson.

    Video Games 
  • The end of Manhunt has a bit of "video fuzz" before cutting to a weird, alien chef, implying the villain was using old tapes to record his Snuff Film.

    Western Animation 
  • In the The Simpsons episode when Maude Flanders dies, Homer tries to make Ned a dating video...not fully taped over a recording of Marge giving birth to Maggie.
    • Yet another Simpsons example: In "Mother Simpson", Mr. Burns plays an audio cassette recording of Ride of the Valkyries as he storms the Simpsons' household... and the tape quickly cuts to Abba's Waterloo, which Smithers admits he recorded over the original music.
  • In the South Park episode "Something You Can Do With Your Finger," Cartman shows a tape of his Boy Band to the mall manager, which continues on to a videotaped BDSM scene of his slut of a mother and Mr. Mackey.
  • The Family Guy episode, "I Am Peter, Hear Me Roar," had a scene in which Peter admitted to Lois that he taped over Lois and Peter exchanging their wedding vows with a soft-core women in prison porno (not all of it; the porno cuts back to the wedding ending before anything explicit can be shown) and Lois realizes that she made a copy of the video (not knowing that Peter taped over the vow exchange) and sent it to her great-aunt who lives in a nursing home. Lois's great-aunt comments that the wedding is hot and an old man punches at his crotch to get his penis to "wake up."
  • In Stōked!, Johnny is supposed to video the opposing team for a tandem surf competition so Reef and Broseph can study their technique for weaknesses. Instead, he ends up shooting nothing but footage of his crush Emma surfing. The end of the tape shows him pretending the camera is Emma and kissing it; much to Reef and Broseph's amusement.
  • 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. Hilarity Ensues as 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.

    Real Life 
  • In the early days of pre-recorded home video, some companies allegedly re-used old porno tapes for kids' movies, which was fine until the kids' movies finished and the end of the porno movies was revealed...
  • A man was arrested for bestiality after he loaned his video camera to his neighbours to tape their wedding. When they played back the tape in the camera, it showed him having sex with a dog.