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Running Gag / Live-Action TV Q-Z

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Running Gags in live-action TV, titles Q-Z.

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  • In QI, tons of stuff involving Alan Davies: his constantly setting off the klaxons and coming last (although he's started to actually play the game more seriously lately, and thus that's been happening less frequently), his buzzer noises always being ridiculous and his repeatedly giving the blue whale as an answer and it always being wrong except for the one time when it was the right answer, but he didn't get it because the question was asked in French.
  • Queer as Folk:
    Michael/Justin/Brian (depending on which season it is): "Hey, Todd! How's it going?"
    Todd: "Fiiine!"
    • Which is made even funnier (and stranger) by the fact that those are the only times Todd ever appears. They obviously know his name, but don't seem to ever hang out with him.

  • From Reba: Reba telling one of her offspring: "Have I told you you're my favorite?"
  • Rebelde Way. Second season. Francisco kissing Laura. Again and again, on improbable circumstances. Notable on that it has actual running and actual gag.
    • On the first season, it's the boys drooling and going crazy over a pretty, older girl they meet, usually a teacher or a date they get.
  • Red Dwarf has two. One begins with Rimmer invoking a specific paragraph or section of the Space Corps. Directive by number. Kryten would then explain the instruction (often something sex-related or otherwise strange) and how he fails to understand its relevance to the events. Rimmer would then cite the correct one - one section or paragraph different. The other one again involved Kryten correcting someone; Cat would propose an unusually intelligent solution to a problem. Kryten would then point out the two flaws in that particular plan, smallest first.
    • Red Dwarf also has one where Kryten will give an incredibly long and complex explanation of or solution to a problem, starting "So, basically..." and ending ", is that clear?" Cat will then say "I was with you right up to 'basically'!"
    • There is also the running gag of Kryten being not-quite able to call Rimmer a "smeghead," resulting in him haltingly calling Rimmer a "Smu! Smee!"
  • The 90's blooper show Roggin's Heroes featured the Gallery's guard, Officer Feldman. No matter what happened, no matter what he did, he kept absolutely silent with a straight face, and usually staring straight at the camera (though he may occasionally mime or have a voiceover).
  • Round the Twist, during one episode in which Bronson found himself with a "whirly willy" (It Makes Sense in Context):
    Character Just Learning About This: He's got a whirly what?
    Other Characters: Exactly.

  • Sam & Cat has the inability of the latter to remember the former's last name (and the one time Cat does get it right, she's using Sam's name to replace her own - long story).
  • Scrubs: Hooch is crazy.
    • *nose tap* Look here, Nancy, why don't ya just go ahead and drop the Running Gags before Gandhi leaves you for another woman? Now, heh, I know it was probably really cute in your old sorority, but this is the real world, newbie, and the real world doesn't run on jokes.
      • That was awesome! [noun, verb, adjective or long phrase] five!
    • Sex buddies. *FANFARE*
    • Hey! [Girl's name!]
    • Frick! Frick frick frick, frick on a stick!
    • Turk and JD (especially JD) are big fans of the movie Judge Dredd and occasional references are made to their viewing habits and the absurd number of times they have watched it; in "My Déjà Vu My Déjà Vu," for example, Turk invites JD to watch the movie at his place, at which point they both loudly proclaim, "NINETY-NINTH VIEWING," before they high-five each other.
      • At the conclusion of "His Story II", JD is initially more interested in the movie than Elliot's sexual advances.
        JD: What is she doing?! It's the Judge!
    • They watch Red Dawn on a regular basis, too. "Wolverines!" *lifts cups* * Seinfeld
    • Kramer's mentions of his unseen friend Bob Sacamano
    • The re-use of the name Art Vandelay as a false name or, in the finale, as the name of a judge.
    • There is a reference to Superman, a Superman model/action figure in the back of the shot, or a reference to the Superman 'verse in absolutely every episode, in one way or another.
    • Also in every episode, there is either a mention of food or a scene where the characters are eating. There is also usually some attention paid to an article of clothing, either with a character mentioning it or making a point of touching another character's clothing.
    • George's childhood ambition to become an architect and, later, a marine biologist.
    • Individual episodes often had their own running gags of the same phrase or idea being repeated by different characters (see protégés and mentors in "The Fatigues" episode).
    • This:
      "Hello, Jerry."
      "... Hellooo, Newman."
  • In A Series of Unfortunate Events, any word that the audience may not know (and some others) is explained by whoever said it, either with the obvious explanation or one which only applies in this specific situation as shown in this review: There are major spoilers, a word which here means click away if you don't dare to know what happens, almost always followed by whoever it was said to following up with 'We Know what X means'.
  • Sherlock Holmes and John Watson constantly being Mistaken for Gay.
    John: "I'm not his date!"
  • Sketch History depicts several historical people (such as Julius Caesar or a musician aboard the RMS Titanic) as very obvious ancestors of Klaus Kinski.
  • In Sons of Anarchy, people walking in on Half-Sack with his pants down.
  • Stargate-verse:
    • One character explaining how they have to do something really complicated to solve a problem, and another character pulling a gun or a grenade and shooting the problem. It becomes a Discussed Trope in "Wormhole X-Treme!", when a network exec vetoes the part of the script where Col. Danforth becomes weightless. Martin Lloyd asks how Danforth is supposed to get past a Giant Mook without being weightless. Jack suggests Danforth Just Shoot Him.
    • Being beamed without warning. The Asgard don't feel the need to establish communications before beaming someone up to their ship. Amusingly, when humans get beaming technology they copy this foible.
      Jack: Normally I am a man of very few words. [vanishes]
      Daniel: There is no magic. [Vanishes, to the astonishment of medieval villagers. Twice.] Boy, my timing's off today!
    • Stargate SG-1:
      • As a result of the original film, Daniel begins the show married to a woman from another planet. Throughout the early series, women they encountered on other planets would often be attracted to him. Eventually, Jack declares in exasperation that Daniel's going to have a woman on every planet.
      • O'Neill always using "magnets" as a catch-all explanation for how advanced technology works.
      • Frequent references to either The Wizard of Oz or The Simpsons.
      • Teal'c saying "Indeed" all the time. It even becomes the final joke of the series, where every character but Teal'c says "Indeed!" in unison.
      • Usually treated seriously (the team cares about him a lot, after all), but Daniel coming back from seeming death all the time eventually reached these proportions, complete with plenty of lampshading.
      • Is it true they blew up a sun?
      • The phrase "Jaffa! Kree!", which is said all the time by Goa'uld in a variety of different situations, making it rather unclear what exactly it means. The best translation fans have come up with is "Respond to this situation in the manner you have been trained!"
      • Episodes involving the Unas consistently begin with an Unas POV shot followed by a person throwing up their arms and being dragged through a forest by one leg.
    • Stargate Atlantis:
      • The need for the SGA-1 team to be the first to name something newly discovered, to the point where they'd pause in the middle of fights or life-threatening situations to argue about it, culminating in Sheppard usually breaking it up with either "We can name it later!" or "You don't get to name it!". Sheppard would also assign the first human name that popped into his head to every single Wraith they captured or had to deal with over an extended period of time (Bob, Steve, Michael, Todd, Kenny, etc.). The naming gag extends to the Ancients - when the team discover what the giant whale-like fish in the ocean is called, they agree the Ancients were terrible at naming things.
      • Rodney's citrus allergy, and his hypochondria more generally. Also, his physical fitness tended to be the butt of a joke.
      • In one episode, Rodney was shot with an arrow in the "gluteus maximus". He never did live it down.
      • Rodney will never live down the fact that he blew up a solar system.
        It was uninhabited, and it was only five-sixths of a solar system!
      • Zalenka ranting in Czech. Usually because of something Rodney's said or done. In fact, Zalenka and Rodney winding each other up becomes its own running joke.
        Zalenka: I'm trying, doprdele!
  • Even Star Trek has some running gags. Chekov would often comment on a device or discovery and say it was invented by the Russians. (This is a topical joke; in the 60's the Soviets were "known" for taking credit for new discoveries.)
    • "I'm a doctor, not a troper."
      • And occasionally another character will reverse it with, "I'm a troper, not a doctor."
    • "He's Dead, Jim."
    • Kirk threatening to fire Scotty in a tongue-in-cheek manner.
    • Scotty's drinking.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation has Data over-explaining things and just generally talking too much.
    • Lampshaded in "The Naked Now", where even the ship's computer becomes annoyed with him.
    • LaForge's ineptitude with romance.
    • Picard's almost pathological discomfort around children.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
    • Self-sealing stem bolts. Nobody quite knows what they do, but they certainly pop up everywhere.
      • And related to this are reverse-ratcheting routers. No-one really knows what they are either, but they always crop up, and most of the time, it ties into self-sealing stem bolts in some way.
    • Cardassian Yamok Sauce and how disgusting it is to non-Cardassians will come up when characters discuss food.
    • Non-Federation species disliking Root beer. In one episode it's even used as a metaphor for the Federation itself:
      Quark: What do you think?
      Garak: It's vile.
      Quark: I know. It's so bubbly and cloying and happy.
      Garak: Just like the Federation.
      Quark: And you know what's really frightening? If you drink enough of it, you begin to like it.
      Garak: It's insidious.
      Quark: Just like the Federation.
    • Plain and simple Garak.
    • Garak's delight/praise whenever he discovers someone (especially Bashir) doesn't trust him. (The Running Gag is lampshaded later on in the show when he's deeply unnerved to discover that everyone's started to trust him.)
    Garak: To think, after all this time, all our lunches together, you still don't trust me. (smiles) There's hope for you yet, Doctor.
    • O'Brien's complete lack of a green thumb.
    • O'Brien's shoulder and its habit of dislocating. This, along with the green thumb issue, is an example of a Running Gag that crosses shows. It first started on Star Trek: The Next Generation and carried over into Star Trek: Deep Space Nine when the characters of O'Brien and his family transferred from one show to the other.
    • O'Brien and Bashir's close relationship.
    • How uncomfortable Starfleet personnel find Cardassian beds.
    • The Cardassian fascination with Odo's "Cardassian neck trick". Also a tease, because the show never does reveal what this trick actually is.
    • Other characters remarking that Morn said something very interesting and/or hilarious, yet he never says a word on-camera.
  • Star Trek: Voyager
    • Neelix's creative cuisine, especially when it comes to tha thousand uses of leola root. Justified since Voyager is lost in an unhospitable quadrant of space: tasty ingredients and replicator energy are a luxury there.
    • Captain Janeway's replicator keeps giving her almost, but not quite, entirely unlike wathever she asked for.
    • Janeway's coffee addiction. She'll go staight into an unknown nebula to get a cup of coffee.
    • Janeway burning pot roast. No matter how she cooks it, even in a replicator, it comes out a smoking, inedible ruin.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • One Running Gag was originally a plot point. The Andorian Commander Shran apparently cannot stand owing someone a debt, so he went out of his way to help Archer after Archer had helped him. Later, as the two formed a friendship, Shran began to keep track of who owed who a favor. In one Season Four episode, he hailed the Enterprise in the middle of a heated battle with the Vulcans, just to tell Trip the following message:
      Shran: Tell Archer, that's two he owes me!
    • Also, everywhere they go, these Terrans meeting new species for the first time are constantly having those aliens asking them what species they are and what's their planet of origin. Inevitably, when told about these "humans" from this "Earth" place, the aliens who asked these questions in the first place will say some variant of "Never heard of it/you."
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip: Writer/creator Aaron Sorkin loves to incorporate throw-away running gags, often with each instance rephrasing the joke from a different angle. In "The Option Period", off-camera guest-host (and real-life Malaproper) Jessica Simpson supposedly had to fill in extra airtime at the end of the fictional show's live broadcast, as described by Cal:
    Cal: Nice girl, nice performer... don't want her to extemporize on our air. She had time to thank her pets, and then she asked us all to pray for peace in the Midwest.note 
    The regulars continue wisecracking about this as the (real) show continues.
    Matt: Indiana, Illinois, Missouri... are rebel forces gathering?
    Danny: No.
    Matt: Then why are we praying for peace in the Midwest?
    Danny: Girl's nice to look at.
    ...and finally...
    Jordan: Good show! ... I saw the end, and I think we should all take a moment to consider the suffering in Des Moines.
  • Supernatural has Dean with the magic fingers and his massive appetite.
    • There's also a Running Gag with two names of fictitious porn publications/video titles/websites: Casa Erotica and (seen in the Season 4 premiere as a print magazine labeled "Busty Asian Beauties").
    • "Busty Asian Beauties" is seen as late as Season 8 in the form of a mid-1900s porn magazine called "Voluptuous Oriental Lovelies".
    • "Bitch." "Jerk."
    • Dean and Sam getting mistaken for a gay couple at least once every season.
    • The fifth season has the continuing battle between Castiel and the mysterious "voice" on his cell phone.
    • There's also the guys using ridiculously well-known names when disguised as detectives/FBI/homeland security/etc. Even going so far as to have "Agent Bachman" and "Agent Turner".
      • And "Agent Lennon" and "Agent McCartney"
      • Early in season one Dean uses "Agent Ford" and "Agent Hamill", referencing Star Wars.
      • At one point Sam is "Special Agent Han Solo"
      • They've also been Agents Stark and Banner.
      • When the Leviathans have infiltrated the government and are using its resources to track the Winchesters, they go to a guy who can help them disappear more thoroughly than usual, and one of the first things he says is to stop using aliases like the above.
    • Another running gag is that Dean never gets his pie.
  • Super Store: Amy is seen wearing a different name tag every episode.

  • In season one of Talkin' 'bout Your Generation, the trophy each week was something different. It may have been a soccer trophy, a "World's Best Lover" coffee mug, or the Nobel Prize for Chemistry, according to Shaun Micallef.
    • The mysterious ways in which the End Game envelope will make it to Shaun Micallef; it may involve ninjas, monks, pandas or — frequently — Shaun's pet lady-hawk Isabeau.
    • As is typical for a quiz show, the host has a phone next to him which the producers can ring him on to allow for corrections. Unlike in most, Shaun Micallef invariably hangs up the phone without answering whenever it rings.
      • This invariably happens after Shaun has made a particularly-bad pun.
    • ''That means anybody could win!''
    • Enya
  • Teen Wolf: Stiles' increasingly desperate attempts to find out if gay guys find him attractive and his seemingly sincere worry that they might not. This leads to him being very irritated when he and Scott end up at a gay bar and someone buys Scott a drink.
    Scott: *smug smirk*
    Stiles: Oh, shut up!
    Scott: I didn't say anything.
    Stiles: Yeah, well, your face did!
    • Also, coach Finstock's dislike of Greenberg, despite the fact that Greenberg himself has as of season 2 yet to appear on-screen.
    • The Baseball Bat and the almost hitting of Stiles with it by members of the McCall family. Stiles's reaction is always to question why they have baseball bats if no one in the house plays baseball.
  • That '70s Show had Kelso falling off of the water tower nearly every time the gang climbs it. One episode featured a minor character dying this way, much to gang's amazement.
    • Every time Kelso and Hyde fight Kelso injures his eye.
    • Laurie's promiscuity is a running gag.
    • Red's recurring threat of putting his foot in someone's ass or making them wear their ass as a hat, and calling people Dumbasses.
  • In That's So Raven, the episode "Clothes Minded" had a running gag where Raven kept accidentally making her visions happen by asking people if what she saw in her vision was what they intended to do about what was currently being discussed, to which the characters reveal they had a different plan in mind, but that they like her idea better.
  • When Johnny Carson hosted The Tonight Show, one of his recurring skits was the all-knowing "Carnac the Magnificent", who would "predict" the answers to questions in sealed envelopes. There were several running gags:
    • Carnac tripping over the edge of the stage when entering.
    • "I hold in my hand the envelopes. As you can see, they are hermetically sealed. They have been kept in a mayonnaise jar on Funk & Wagnalls' back porch since noon today ..."
    • Carnac getting annoyed with Ed McMahon and throwing out a topical insult, such as "May Kareem Abdul-Jabbar slam-dunk your sister."
    • "I hold in my hand ... the last envelope," followed by thunderous applause.
    • In Jimmy Fallon's run, former host Jay Leno murdering (House of Cue Cards) or wanting to murder (Joking Bad) Jimmy's character at the end of a parody film.
  • The British motorhead show Top Gear (UK) has at least five running gags:
    • In almost every episode, presenter Jeremy Clarkson introduces the Power Lap segment of the show by introducing the show's "tame racing driver", The Stig, with a stylized humorous introduction. For example: "Some say that he once lost a canoe on a beach in the north-east, and that he once did some time in a prison in Canterbury, because his teddy is called The Baby Jesus. All we know is, he's called The Stig."
      • Two other gags have developed from this; the first is whenever they are in another country (usually during, although not restricted to the specials)they begin the "tame racing driver" introduction as above, "But it's not the's his *insert nationality here* cousin!". The second has appeared after episode 3 in series 15, in which Formula One driver Rubens Barrichello reached the top of the Formula One stars in a reasonably priced car board-including the Stig. In subsequent episodes, half of the Stig's "Some say..." introduction refers in some way to his apparent hatred for Barrichello...
      • The original Stig was introduced with "Unleash [insert national/national sounding definite article of choice] Stig".
    • The Stig - most prominently, since his introduction was changed to the "Some say..." format - also listens to different music inside the car he is driving around the test track each season. That is, if the car in question has a stereo:
      • Series 8: "Teach Yourself <Language>" CDs.
      • Series 9: Romantic fiction audiobooks.
      • Series 10: Self-help/motivation CDs.
      • Series 11: Elton John music (primarily the song "Daniel").
      • Series 12: Morse code messages.
      • Series 13: Bagpipe music.
      • Series 14: "Cockney London" music (Chas 'N Dave, etc.)
      • Series 15: Vuvuzelas. Lots of them.
    • ...and so on.
    • Presenter James May is affectionately ridiculed by his co-presenters Jeremy Clarkson and Richard Hammond for his generally unaggressive and leisurely driving style; often Clarkson and Hammond will refer to him as "Captain Slow" or similarly. The gag was inverted in the 9th season episode where May was given the chance to drive the Bugatti Veyron on Volkswagen's maximum security European test track. May took the Veyron to its top speed of 253.45 mph/407.90 km/h (about Mach 0.333333)—quite possibly the fastest anyone has driven a production automobile.
      • Clarkson lampshaded this when May topped his previous record in a new version of the Veyron in Series 15, reaching 417km/h/259 mph.
    • It's not just May. Much amusement is also had from Hammond's size, Clarkson's bad back, and love of POWER and SPEED etc etc. They all affectionately ridicule each other.
    • The presenters have a distinct hatred of caravans (trailers), and often use challenges as excuses to destroy them.
    • Ditto for the Morris Marina. Five have appeared on the show so far, and of those one was set on fire and three had pianos dropped on them. Richard Hammond attempted to protect their latest Marina from falling pianos by pre-positioning a piano on its roof. It didn't work. The fifth one was dropped onto another terrible car in a special.
      • In addition to the destruction of the cars, the presenters would always claim they got heat from the Morris Marina Owners Club and were trying to be accommodating by treating the cars well. The three piano incidents were also blamed on "Careless Airways".
    • Quite possibly a Catchphrase, whenever the Top Gear (UK) presenters are given a challenge for the program (e.g., purchase a used vehicle, modify it to be amphibious, and then sail it across the English Channel), Jeremy Clarkson often jumps into the task with the enthusiastic rhetorical question, "How hard can it be?" Usually, very hard (e.g., the two times the Top Gear presenters were told to convert vehicles into amphibious vehicles, Richard Hammond's conversion sank. Both times).
      Hammond: Oh, how I've missed the pang of dread I feel whenever you mention the words, "how hard can it be"!
    • Whenever something doesn't quite go according to plan, Clarkson optimistically notes: "Still, could be worse." It gets worse.
    • They always present their challenges with "where we would be given a series of challenges." After so many of their experiences going wrong, they can hardly say the phrase "a series of challenges" without cracking up.
    • Related to this is Top Gear's Running Gag/Catchphrase that all of their challenges/projects (usually involving modifying second hand cars, such as the convertible people carrier, the limos etc) are 'ambitious but rubbish'.
    • Clarkson's inability to use any tool except a hammer. There's one challenge where all three of them open large toolboxes: Hammond's and May's are full of an assortment of spanners, etc, but Clarkson's box just has an assortment of different sized hammers.
    • Inverted with their trip to the Bonneville Salt Flats, which Clarkson declared as "Ambitious and for the first time, successful!"
    • Series 11's running gag: "I went on the Internet... and I found this..."
    • Don't wanna know what "this" is? Then don't go HERE. (horribly, horribly NSFW)
    • In series 12 "Are you wearing that for a bet?" "Of course."
    • GREAT NEWS! The Dacia Sandero is in that video!
    • "I have not gotten my teeth done!!"
    • Jeremy Clarkson's love for Will Young
    • And on that bombshell, let's end the Top Gear (UK) examples.
  • In Two and a Half Men the brand of coffee seen in the kitchen is different in every episode.

  • Victoria manages to establish a running joke despite being a biographical drama, in this case the queen's repeated - and sometimes ridiculous - attempts at visiting incognito, which inevitably results in someone pointing out that she was fooling no one.
  • On Vivasion, at least during its later years, whenever a guest said they were fluent in some foreign language, Stefan Raab would instantly ask them to translate the term "arch support" (in the original German: Senkfußeinlage).

  • Whose Line Is It Anyway? had a Running Gag that actually was a running gag: in practically every game of Sound Effects, Ryan (providing the sounds) would make whatever animal Colin (who acted in response to the sounds) was riding run away, forcing him to catch up; he even managed to do this in the Star Wars-themed game with Jedi Colin's spaceship. Similarly, Ryan would often play someone providing music (a Roman coliseum trumpeter, an Old West pianist, etc) whom Colin would grow annoyed with and eventually kill.
    • How about members of the cast somehow managing to work in Colin's baldness into a sketch? Or Drew Carey's supposed inability to get a date?
    • Wayne Brady being black and going to UPN where he wouldn't be on a show to begin with or get cancelled pretty quickly.
      • And in great moment of irony, the show was revived on the CW, the merger of the WB and UPN, with Brady as an executive producer.
    • Ryan's shoes.
    • Ryan's height.
    • Gepetto. Great film that was.
    • "Everything's made up and the points don't matter. That's right, the points are like notability on TV Tropes."
    • Colin's Baldness.
    • "Meow!
    • Colin's variations on CRAP! in every Hollywood Director
    • All the bouts of Riverdance.
    • Whenever one of the performers comes up with a particularly hilarious line during a game, expect it to be repeated (regardless of the context) in some form in every other game throughout the remainder of that episode.
    • Colin always being chosen to be the woman.
    • For whatever reason, Ryan was always the go-to guy for Carol Channing impressions. Game of Party Quirks calls for Carol in some way? Ryan's got it covered. Carol Channing one of the Multiple Personalities? Ryan usually started the game holding her item. The other cast members would even find ways to make him preform a Carol Channing impression when it wasn't specifically called for during a game.
  • On Win Ben Stein's Money, Jimmy Kimmel would tell the contestant in the booth during the Best of Ten Test Of Knowledge that "as host I must remain impartial, but since Ben is under the headphones and can't hear me...smoke him like a cheap cigar!"
    • Jimmy Kimmel is all out of time, apologies to Matt Damon.
  • The Wire:
    • Jimmy McNulty being called out on some crazy/stupid thing that he's pulling by one of his partners. Of particular note is his partner in the Homicide department, Bunk, who says "You happy now, bitch?" to Jimmy at least four times during the first season alone in response to Jimmy's antics blowing up in their faces.
    • Bunk being unable to hold his liquor, and usually winding up sloppily drunk or puking in front of others as a result.
    • Omar's constant attempts and perennial failure to get Honey Nut Cheerios.
    • Someone will talk about Lester Freamon being reassigned to the Pawn Shop unit for 13 years, and Lester will add "And 4 months" in a way that makes it clear that he begrudges every single day he spent there. This one goes all the way from the first season to the very last episode in Season 5, when Lester is jokingly called "Mr. 13 years" and Lester's lover Shardene adds "And four months."
    • Stringer Bell giving his dimwitted criminal underlings business lectures complete with fancy terminology about their failings. It gets to the point where just before Stringer gets rolling they start shooting each other looks that clearly say things like and This Is Gonna Suck, and Oh, No... Not Again!
    • Herc's issues with surveillance, including his tendency to get expensive surveillance equipment lost or broken.
    • Clay Davis' way of saying sheeeeeeeeeeit. This became such a big meme that the actor actually did a kickstarter to make a bobblehead doll that would say the line. And it got about 8 times the funding that it needed.
    • A cop presents some vital piece of information which more or less just fell into their lap. Another cop is startled, and asks how the hell they got it. The answer is inevitably "Police work" rather than "I got really lucky and someone walked up to me with it."
    • In season 2, Jimmy apparently being the only person in Baltimore who knows absolutely nothing about boats, (even Bunk, who practically has a phobia about boats due to his inability to swim, corrects him on terminology at one point) and especially McNulty's inability to tie up a boat properly, which is mocked by several people you wouldn't expect to know the first thing about it.
      Jimmy: Here, Bubs, tie this to that thing, will ya?
      Bubbles: The cleat? Ain't you know nothing? [ties it off perfectly, then looks at McNulty's knot on the other cleat in disgust] What the hell is that?
      Jimmy: [Dismissive hand wave] Baltimore knot.
      Bubbles: Baltimore knot? What the hell is a Baltimore knot?
      Jimmy: I don't know, but it's never the same thing twice.
    • When a homicide detective is caught sleeping on duty, he gets his necktie cut and pinned to a board.
    • The fact that no one in the police can properly type or even spell is a recurring joke throughout the series. Here's one of the more memorable examples.
    • Poot's inability to keep it in his pants leading to his many trips to a clinic for treatment of venereal diseases.
    • Donut (a middle school kid who has nearly a physical compulsion to steal cars) making intermittent, and frequently hilarious, appearances in various high-priced SUVs. Especially that time that when Chris Partlow and Snoop are trying to intimidate Bodie and making an Implied Death Threat to Bodie, and Donut rolling past in an SUV briefly provokes A Truce While We Gawk.
  • In Wizards of Waverly Place
    • Almost every function seems to be occupied by the same female slacker character who speaks in a very dull and slow voice.
    • Justin forcefully grabbing Alex's arm and dragging her after him to tell her something in private, or pull her away from a certain situation. The same for Alex, who usually snatches him to complain about her problems. Lampshaded in "Delinquent Justin".
    • The lamp on the bookshelf in the living room goes through a never-ending cycle of being broken, usually because of some use of magic, and replaced by a similar lamp.
      • Which became a wonderful point of Continuity Porn in The Wizards Return, when she and her Evil Twin battle through the living room, blowing things up - but when they simultaneously zap the lamp nothing happens.
        Alex: That's weird, right?
        Evil Alex: Really weird.
      • They then both push the lamp over to break it.
  • On Would I Lie to You?, a panel shows where two teams of celebrities must figure out whether or not statements made by each panellist are true or false, it has become a running gag for regular team captain Lee Mack to be landed with claims that are totally absurd and obviously untrue (the panellists read the claim off a card they have never seen before, so they don't know the lies ahead of time). In later series this has developed into a specific subsection of ludicrous claims where he has to claim he can instantly perform some kind of talent (perhaps the most memorable of which was his claim that he was able to smell if there is a dead fly in the room).

  • The X-Files:
    • Mulder's habit of dropping or otherwise losing his gun, dictated also by Rule of Drama. Eventually, he starts carrying an extra in an ankle holster and lampshades it.
    • Scully's healthy eating habits, eventually Flanderized into Scully eating some pretty bizarre health foods, including bee pollen stirred into yogurt and "non-fat tofutti rice dreamsicles." There's a blink-and-you'll-miss-it funny moment in season 8, where a pregnant Scully has apparently given up her healthy eating habits because she's craving pizza.
    • Frohike's ongoing crush on Scully.
    • Mulder's porn stash.
    • The fact that Mulder doesn't even own a bed until season 7, much less sleep in one.
    • No matter how crazy Mulder's theory is or how sound Scully's scientific research to debunk it, Mulder is almost always right.

  • You Can't Do That on Television built itself on running gags. For instance, any time someone on the show says "Water", they get water dumped all over them. Any time someone says "I don't know", they get covered in green slime (sometimes different colors).
    • Each episode is "filling in" for some popular show of the time due to some silly reason. A few times, the show is replacing itself.
    • The locker room jokes.note 
    • The "Opposite" skits (where all the norms are reversed for extra laughs).
    • Barth the Cook: IIIIII heard that!
      • The punchline "What do you think's in the burgers?" followed by the kids throwing up and Barth saving it in a bucket.
      • Barth hitting assistant cook Zilch on the head with a frying pan with a loud CLANG.
    • Dad: Don't encourage your mother! (and sometimes, it's the other way with the Mom going, "Don't encourage your father.")
    • Principal: For your detention, I want you to copy [insert page range here] from this dictionary. (Sometimes followed up by the kid getting out of it somehow and commenting, "Sometimes it's so easy, I'm ashamed of myself.")
    • El Capitan: Ready...Aim...! (Also, he tends to get himself shot and says as he falls, "That is one...sneaky kid.")
    • Here's one more to wrap this all up: all of them (and several others like the Teacher, the Doctor, and Blip the Arkaid owner) played by Les Lye, who also played Ross the Stage Boss.


Example of: