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Shows Within Shows in live-action TV.


Examples of type 1 (characters involved in production)

In general:

  • Some shows are set in a radio station, and have multiple shows on the schedule.
    • WKRP in Cincinnati — It's a music station, so all the "shows" are DJ patter.
      • Although two actual shows air, Reverend "Little Ed" Pembrook's Church of the Mighty Struggle and Sparky Anderson's short-lived sports talk show.
      • Herb Tarlek and family also appear in an episode of Real Families.
    • NewsRadio — Various news segments.
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    • Frasier — Frasier's call-in psychiatric show, and more rarely, Bulldog's sports and Gil's food criticism. And a variety of one-timers. One episode even has a Ten Little Murder Victims murder mystery, "Nighmare Inn", which members of the station are performing in. However Frasier's over-directing and changing of the script turns it into a farce, especially when Niles gets sick of it and kills of most of the characters and him, leaving Frasier the only one left.
    • Chris in the Morning and Maurice's show in Northern Exposure.
    • Martin's show in Martin (and his Word on the Street TV program in later seasons).
    • Larry's show on Hello Larry.

Individual series:

  • Spanish sitcom 7 Vidas had Diana Freire (Anabel Alonso's character) starring in amusingly bad teen-oriented soap opera Aulas vacías, corazones llenos ("Empty classrooms, full hearts").
  • TGS with Tracy Jordan (originally The Girlie Show) within 30 Rock.
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    • Also from 30 Rock, the episode and reality show 'MILF Island' provides an example of all 4 types - Jack is the executive producer, the TGS staff are all huge fans, it's a major plot point as Jack attempts to coerce Liz into writing the pilot for the show's breakout star Deborah, and parallels between Liz and Deborah are made throughout the show, much to Liz's dismay.
  • There was a short-lived American sitcom named All Is Forgiven, which was about the writers and actors of a soap opera. The soap opera was also named All Is Forgiven.
  • The Bluth family takes part in a mock trial during the aptly named Mock Trial with J. Reinhold in Arrested Development.
    • There's also Scandalmakers, a shoddily narrated and acted programme which does a hilariously bad episode about the Bluth family.
  • Baywatch has the episode "Rescue Bay" in its 4th season. A writer/producer is inspired by watching lifeguards on the beach saving people and decides to shoot a tacky Pilot sequence with characters based on the in-verse characters.
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  • GSN (formerly Game Show Network) briefly had a series called Burt Luddin's Love Buffet which was a real relationship game show (much like The Newlywed Game) which after each segment, would go backstage to show host Luddin (played by John Cervenka) talking to his jaded, often highly sarcastic staff...it didn't last too long.
  • In Community, super-meta Abed writes and directs a campus TV show called The Community College Chronicles with characters based on his study group. Abed's so well-versed in TV Tropes that he can use the show to predict what's going to happen to the study group next, down to Shirley being chased through the library by a werewolf - also making this a type 4.
    • "Troy and Abed in the Morning" is an example, and subversion of, Type 1 in that it doesn't actually exist.
    • Abed talked about appearing as an extra on real life show-within-a-show Cougar Town.
  • Curb Your Enthusiasm. They have a season where they're producing a reunion show for Seinfeld, which used to be a real show. Another season has Larry David star in The Producers, which, as mentioned below, has a show within a show (Springtime for Hitler), and Mel Brooks is secretly trying to make The Producers a flop in itself. Furthermore, the second season deals with Larry trying to get a show off the ground (first starring Jason Alexander and later Julia Louis-Dreyfus) that would revolve around the star playing a version of themselves trying to find success after the end of Seinfeld.
  • Robbin' Hood in Curtains.
  • Dead Set is a miniseries in which the entire plot is about zombies attacking the real Big Brother house while the show is being filmed. All the survivors are contestants or employees of Big Brother.
  • An episode of Diagnosis: Murder has Amanda win a chance to be on the soap opera The Young and the Restless and the rest of the cast end up there when someone tries to kill the cast of the TV show. A running gag involved the cast of the soap commenting on how Amanda looks like their co-star Victoria Rowell(Rowell played both Drucilla on YR and Amanda on Diagnosis).
    • In another episode, a TV show is being filmed in the hospital.
    • Another episode involved the murder of the "Masked Magician" on the set of his reality-TV show where he revealed how stage magicians perform their tricks.
  • The Alan Brady Show within The Dick Van Dyke Show.
  • Simon Brimmer's radio program The Casebook of Simon Brimmer features prominently in several episodes of Ellery Queen.
  • When The Whistle Blows, Andy Millman's sitcom in series 2 of Extras.
  • Silverstone within The Famous Jett Jackson. Gets weird in the wrap-up TV movie where a freak accident causes Jett and Silverstone to swap places, revealing that Silverstone's reality exists but is dependent on the show in Jett's world (i.e. a teen actor is trying to be a superspy, while a superspy who never had a childhood is trying to be a regular teenager). And the producers of the show have just decided to kill off the star character in the Grand Finale.
  • The first series of French and Saunders followed the (fictional) unbelievably low-budget cringey 'French & Saunders Show' that consisted of frequent epic fails.
  • A real show-within-a-show: Friends' Joey Tribbiani was a cast member on the soap opera Days of Our Lives.
    • Along with several less real examples (like Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E. and Freud!).
  • Wake Up, San Francisco within Full House.
  • Garth Marenghis Darkplace is a strange sort-of inverted example. The focus of the show is on the eponymous TV show Darkplace, while occasionally cutting away to commentary from the (equally fictional) Garth Marenghi and the actors playing the characters.
  • Glass Mask is a series about acting, so naturally includes a large number of these, some real plays, some created for the story (and one created for the story which was later turned into a Noh play of its own). Also includes a performance of A Midsummer's Night Dream, so technically includes an example of a show within a show within a show.
  • Glee has three televisual examples of this - the recurring but not regularly-featured 'Sue's Corner', which is part of a local late-night news show, Britney's web talk show 'Fondue for Two' in which she talks with various of her classmates, and the one-off 'Glee Holiday Spectacular' from Episode 3x09 ('Extraordinary Merry Christmas'), in which Artie, with the help of New Directions, stages an homage to both the Judy Garland Christmas Special and the Star Wars Christmas Special for a local TV station (though in this case, despite how it sounds, Stylistic Suck really does not apply except when Finn is expected to act, and it's all utterly charming). The show also has several theatrical examples in the musicals the students produce (or attempt to produce) each year - in order, Cabaret, The Rocky Horror Picture Show and West Side Story.
  • Grosse Pointe has show-within-a-show as its central premise, and advertised it as "Grosse Pointe is a comedy about a drama called Grosse Pointe" or something to that effect.
  • The Hawaii Five-0 episode "Imi loko ka 'uhane" is presented as an episode of an Oprah Winfrey-esque program known as The Savannah Walker Show filming on-location in Hawaii, in which Walker (Aisha Tyler) presents a behind-the-scenes look at Five-0 that gets sidetracked by a murder investigation.
  • Tool Time within Home Improvement.
  • How I Met Your Mother had Lily's terrible terrible play with allegorical characters such as Greed. Apparently this play somehow then became a Show Within A Show itself.
    • Also The Wedding Bride in another episode. This was made by Tony the ex-husband of Ted's ex-fiancée, Stella. This is also an example of 2 and 3 as the other characters in the show are a fan of the movie and it is a plot point.
      • Since it's a twisted version of what actually happened to Ted, it's also an example of type 4!
    • Robin works on/anchors assorted news programs throughout the series, which are semi-frequently shown—Metro News One, the Japanese news show, and now Come On, Get Up New York! are all in-universe shows.
    • As a teenager Robin was on the kids' show Space Teens, which had Innocent Innuendo turned Up to Eleven.
  • iCarly — Friends Carly, Sam and Freddie run their own webshow.
  • Ricky Ricardo's band stage shows in I Love Lucy.
  • Reality Show example: The eponymous show of I Survived A Japanese Game Show is given its own title, Hai! Majide, just for effect.
  • In season 4’s "War Stories" of JAG, Admiral Chegwidden while on leave gets persuaded by a Hollywood producer to act as technical advisor on the movie “Fields of Gold” which is a navy-themed action adventure with a court-martial. Chegwidden is a Fish out of Water as the “real navy” differs quite a lot from the “reel navy”, and Hilarity Ensues.
  • Justice has American Crime, which seems like it's half America's Most Wanted and half celebrity gossip show.
  • The eponymous Larry Sanders Show.
  • Lateline was another example where the show and the show within the show have the same title. The show within the show was a nighttime news program similar to Dateline, only less professionally done.
  • The WJM Six O'Clock News (and also The Happy Homemaker) within The Mary Tyler Moore Show.
  • A slightly odd version of this trope was the short-lived British show Moving Wallpaper. It was set in the production offices of a show entitled Echo Beach. What sets this one apart is that Echo Beach was actually shot as well, and an Echo Beach episode would air after the Moving Wallpaper episode concerned with the production of that episode. Moving Wallpaper actually outlived Echo Beach, being the only one of the two to get a second series, which centred around the making of a "zombie show" called Renaissance. Renaissance was also broadcast in its own right, but only as a single half-hour pilot.
  • The Muppets have had multiple shows about the production of a show, with backstage disasters being the focus of what was shown. And while there isn't a "Puppet show" category, they do have live action guest stars.
  • FYI within Murphy Brown.
    • And Murphy In the Morning in the 2018 revival.
  • My Name Is Earl had Estrada Or Nada, a game show where contestants could challenge Erik Estrada to any talent. Knife-throwing, ventriloquism, and "bendy singing" are just a few. Overlaps with Type 3.
    • Don't forget several appearances of the characters on in-universe episodes of C.O.P.S..
  • Vermont Today within Newhart.
  • On The New Normal Bryan is co-creator and showrunner of a teen show called Sing, which is implied to be very similar to Glee.
  • News Night with Will McAvoy and TMI on The Newsroom.
  • The newscast on Ken Finkleman's The Newsroom, implied to be the CBC's Toronto supper-hour newscast.
  • Another David Lynch/Mark Frost show, On the Air, revolved around the production of the fictional The Lester Guy Show.
  • The Outer Limits (1995):
    • In "A Special Edition", the journalist Donald Rivers presents a news magazine show called The Whole Truth.
    • In "Judgment Day", the titular Immoral Reality Show airs on the Justice Channel and features the relatives of murder victims being given 24 hours to hunt their loved one's killer. Declan McMahon, who was framed for murder by the producer Jack Parson, described it as "voyeuristic" and a "moral outrage".
  • The play written by the Marquis de Sade and performed by the asylum inmates in Quills.
  • The Red Green Show is framed as a men's advice and magazine show, with the men of Possum Lodge offering "helpful" advice, only to usually end up with disastrous results.
  • SCTV, a.k.a. Second City Television, an early-1980s sketch-comedy series set in a low-budget TV station that mainly produced and showed rip-offs or spoofs of real TV shows and films — such as High-Q, Chariots of Eggs, The Days of the Week, Mel's Rock Pile, Monster Chiller Horror Theatre, etc.
  • Season 4 of Seinfeld had Jerry and George writing a sitcom pilot called Jerry, in a parody of the creation of Seinfeld itself by Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David, which starred (fictional) Jerry as (even more fictional) himself. The season finale showed a variety of main and supporting characters watching the pilot.
  • Slings & Arrows is about the actors and production personnel at a Canadian Shakespeare festival. Each season they put on a different play (Hamlet, Macbeth, and King Lear), and the themes of the play relate back to the main backstage plots.
  • This is the whole point of the NBC show Smash, which is about the behind-the-scenes aspects of writing, producing, and performing a new Broadway musical. Naturally scenes from said musical make it into the show.
  • So Random! and Mackenzie Falls within Sonny with a Chance. After the actual show's 2nd season So Random overtook it with Sonny having left and Chad taking her place.
  • The Sopranos: Christopher Moltesanti aspires to be a writer. He eventually completes Cleaver, a supernatural horror / mafia movie, with Little Carmine as executive producer. The mobsters attend the premiere in season 6. However, this gets Christopher in trouble when Tony realizes that the film, in which the protagonist graphically splits his Boss' head in two, is Christopher's revenge fantasy for Tony and Adriana almost having had an affair.
  • Sports Night within Sports Night.
  • A recurring character in Stargate SG-1 who knows about the Stargate Program creates a campy science fiction series called Wormhole X-Treme!, based on SG-1, which the US Air Force decides to allow because it creates Plausible Deniability in the event of a security leak. As the real show is centered around SG-1, the "fake" show is eerily similar to the real one, and this allows the show to poke fun at itself and at the television industry in general. It also includes numerous cameo performances from the crew.
  • Aaron Sorkin's one-season drama Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip is about the lives of the producers of a Saturday Night Live-style Sketch Show.
  • In Supernatural they got caught up in another group of ghost hunters show "Ghostfacers".
    • There was also that time they got Trapped in TV Land by the Trickster and were sent through a number of different shows, many of which were obvious digs at real shows, such as Knight Rider and Grey's Anatomy.
    • 6.15 "The French Mistake", in which Sam and Dean get sent into an alternate universe where they are actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who subsequently play the characters Sam and Dean in Supernatural. Their castmate is Misha Collins, their bosses are Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble, their director is Bob Singer...
  • A short-lived semi-documentary UK Saturday Morning Kids' Show on the subject of TV production, Tele Gantic Mega Vision, featured its obligatory gameshow section as if it was an independent production for the channel TGMV, and not a segment within the main programme.
  • Twin Peaks has Invitation To Love which was created as a place where the soapier aspects that ABC wanted included in the show could be contained.
  • UnREAL: They produce on a dating reality show called Everlasting that is obviously inspired by The Bachelor.
  • Wild Palms: The Church Windows show Codie plays in.
  • You Can't Do That on Television has a show-within-a-show that shares the same title.


Examples of type 2 (characters are fans)

  • In the Angel episode "Birthday", Cordelia is shown an Alternate Timeline where she didn't meet Angel and has her own TV show, the Friends-a-like Cordy!
    • Also, the kids' puppet show Smile Time in the episode of the same name.
  • Soap opera La despechada had fans in both La sopa boba and Aquí no hay quien viva.
  • Rebo and Zooty and ISN News on Babylon 5.
  • The residents of Brookside would often watch The Magic Rabbits.
  • Community: Inspector Spacetime, an affectionate Doctor Who parody - and Cougarton Abbey, a fictional British progenitor of Cougar Town in the style of Downton Abbey were mentioned on the season 3 premiere.
    • Word of God has stated that Doctor Who exists in the Community universe, but is an inferior rip off of Inspector Spacetime.
    • Community also has the notoriously terrible Kickpuncher movies.
  • Dear White People has Defamation, a parody of Scandal, and Prince O'Palities, a parody of Empire.
  • Doctor Who has a superhero called the Karkus, from the hourly Telepress in Zoe's home era, the 21st century. He appears in the Land of Fiction.
  • House: Greg House is a fan of the medical soap opera Prescription Passion.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, The Wedding Bride. The other characters in the show (other than Ted) are fans of the movie. This is also an example of Type 1 and 3 as it was made by a character in the show and it is a plot point.
    • Since it's a twisted version of what actually happened to Ted, it's also an example of type 4!
  • Each season of Insecure has a new fake show, with the first season having a reality show about prison. The second season has the Soap Within a Show Due North, which appeared to be Scandal during slavery, and the third season technically has two, with Kev'yn (a parody of 90s black sitcoms such as Martin) and its reboot.
  • iZombie features zombie medical examiner, Liv Moore, as a major fangirl of the supernatural teen drama Zombie High ever since becoming a zombie herself.
  • A mixture of the two first types, plus meta-references, has occurred on Lost: Nikki turns out to be an actress who has just completed an arc on a show called Exposé. The show is about a duo of strippers/detectives who fight crime with the help of their club-owner/mentor (played by Billy Dee Williams) who is actually The Cobra, the show's Big Bad. Hurley is a fan of the show, and it plays on TV sets in a Locke flashback (that aired before the episode fully introducing it), briefly in a Sun flashforward, and was watched by Hurley's dad in the real-time action of "The Lie". In the Lost episode "Exposé", Nikki's Exposé character is killed off in a flashback — and then Nikki is killed off in Lost.
    • It's mentioned that she's a guest star and "we all know what happens to guest stars". Strangely, this meta joke falls flat, because while they were originally planned to be guest stars the actors who played Nikki and Paulo were instead billed as main cast until their characters died.
    • Hurley describes the show and mentions a villain whose "identity has been shrouded in mystery for four seasons," who turned out to be someone the audience thought was a good guy. This inspired fans of Lost to hypothesize that an original Lostie will turn out to be the Big Bad.
    • Which is, in a way, what happened.
  • The The Man in the High Castle has Resistance Radio, which is the voice of the resistance, broadcasting an alternate viewpoint to that of the Nazi and Japanese propaganda. Fans can listen to it at the Resistance Radio website.
  • Married... with Children:
    • Al Bundy is a big fan of Psycho Dad, and went so far as to travel to Washington D.C. to complain to Congress when Marcy had it cancelled.
    • Peggy Bundy is seen watching Psycho Mom in a later episode.
  • The Valley within The O.C..
  • On OZ, the prisoners are often shown watching Miss Sally's Schoolyard and lusting after the buxom children's show host. Also a type 3 in that stalking the buxom show host is why Busmalis gets caught and returned to Oz after an escape attempt.
  • Young Sam Beckett who grew up to travel through time on Quantum Leap watched Time Patrol as a boy, and in fact got his idea of the string theory of time travel from its star, Captain Galaxy. (Also counts as types 1 and 3.)
  • Red Dwarf had Androids, a soap opera about robots which Kryten was addicted to, and Mugs Murphy, a cartoon about a gangster gorilla which Lister enjoyed, including having a T-shirt with a picture of Mugs and his Catchphrase "D-D-Don't shoot!"
  • Various fake movies are mentioned in Seinfeld the most memetic being Rochelle, Rochelle ("a young girl's strange, erotic journey from Milan to Minsk") and the thriller Chunnel ("EVERYONE OUT OF THE CHUNNEL!").
  • Tides of the Heart was a soap opera that was originally just watched by the characters on Shortland Street, at least until it was revealed that a character who had previously been Put on a Bus was now the star of the show. The aforementioned character's best friend eventually received a gig on the show as a writer, though this all occurred offscreen.
  • In Smallville, several characters, including Lex Luthor, are fans of a superhero comic called Warrior Angel. In the episode "Action", Clark Kent allows a film crew working on a live-action adaptation of Warrior Angel to film on location on his farm, but then has to save the day when a disgruntled fan tries to murder the female lead. In the episode "Warrior", a young fan gets transformed into Warrior Angel himself thanks to an enchanted comic.
  • Dean Winchester of Supernatural is a big (though secret) fan of the medical show Dr. Sexy, MD which is somewhat like Grey's Anatomy or House.
  • Train Man 2004 featured a TV show called Getsumen to Heiki Mina, which eventually became its own anime series.
  • Twin Peaks provides an example of this in its "Invitation to Love" soap opera that is seen in many of the earlier episodes. It also serves as an example of type 4, as Lynch used the soap opera to comment on the larger storyline.
  • Every episode of Twitch City was titled after that episode's subject of The Rex Reilly Show, a Take That! on Jerry Springer that shows up at least in a short promotional.
  • The soap opera watched by the Suarez family in Ugly Betty.
  • Donshine, an in-universe Tokusatsu show in Ultraman Geed, which Geed's human form Riku Asakura happens to be an avid viewer of. He even borrowed his Catchphrase from it!
  • Zyuden Sentai Kyoryuger invokes this with a manga instead, Love Touch, with the Pink ranger and two non-human characters following it. And one's a villain, which leads to a Heel Realisation (where will your manga come from after you Take Over the World?) Also dips into Type 1 when the manga artist makes a one-shot appearance.


Examples of type 3 (SWAS is plot point)

  • ISN News from Babylon 5 will be a Type 3 from time to time, typically when the news centers around the station itself, or in season 4, To show how EarthGov was spinning the news to villanize Babylon 5 as much as possible after they seceded from the Earth Alliance. Also in the finale, "Sleeping in Light", where it is implied that the episode, and by extension the entire series, was an ISN documentary.
  • Baywatch has the episode "Rescue Bay" in its 4th season. A writer/producer is inspired by watching lifeguards on the beach saving people and decides to shoot a tacky Pilot sequence with characters based on the in-verse characters.
  • The first season of Channel Zero is built around the mystery of the puppet show Candle Cove, which is only visible to children.
  • Doctor Who:
  • An early Happy Days episode had Richie appearing on a TV quiz show where, reflecting the Quiz Show Scandals of the time, he is fed answers. As his contest progresses, when he comes to the pivotal moment of victory, he throws the game. (This is probably a nod to Kristen Falke, a 16-year-old contestant on Tic Tac Dough who was fed answers. She deliberately lost the game and told a Congressional hearing she was fed answers and was told to lie about it.)
  • In the Haven episode "Shot in the Dark", the host and cameraman of a Ghost Hunters-type show called Darkside Seekers enter Haven, Maine and try to investigate it, completely unprepared for Haven's very real supernatural dangers and almost get killed. The heroes find them annoying (especially since they often film people without asking for their permission), but they pull their weight and actually help defeat the Monster of the Week. They return in the episode "Exposure" and help out when people start being turned into ghosts.
  • On How I Met Your Mother, The Wedding Bride. An episode revolves around Ted seeing the movie with his newest girlfriend. This is also an example of 1 and 2 as a character in the show wrote the movie and the other characters are fans of the movie.
    • Since it's a twisted version of what actually happened to Ted, it's also an example of type 4!
    • Robin considers becoming a "Currency Rotation Specialist" on Million Dollar Heads or Tails, hosted at various times by Regis Philbin and Alex Trebek.
  • I Love Lucy was a fan of this: Ricky's nightclub performances were frequently discussed...and Lucy was always trying to get to perform in the acts.
  • In The Mighty Boosh episode "The Nighmare of Milky Joe", Vince and Howard become stranded on a desert island while on their way to perform on The Pieface Showcase. This intention, combined with Milky Joe's later appearance, also make it a Type 1.
  • Our Miss Brooks: In "Here Is Your Past", Miss Brooks is unwittingly made a contestant of the titular show.
  • Schitt's Creek has multiple references to Moira's various tv, film and theatre appearences, but she's involved in two productions during the run of the show:
    • Moira stars as Dr. Beatrice Mandrake in the Bosnian-made The Crows Have Eyes III: The Crowening and she throws herself into the part, including making rewrites to the script.
    • Moira directs a community theatre production of Cabaret starring Patrick, Stevie, Alexis, and Twyla.
  • Wormhole X-Treme! within Stargate SG-1. It's designed to look as cheap, campy and tacky as possible.
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • The Adventures of Captain Proton also has a bit of the first variety in it as well. Mostly Captain Proton was Type II, but became Type III in the episode where extradimensional aliens mistook it for reality because in THEIR dimension life is photonic.
    • Likewise Insurrection Alpha had I, II and III. It started as a program created by Tuvok to train security officers against a Maquis mutiny, but got Cut Short when the Maquis became Fire-Forged Friends. The crew then discover the program and mistake it for a holonovel which becomes widely popular, so Tuvok and Tom Paris are ordered to finish writing it for entertainment purposes. On entering the program however, they discover an old enemy has turned Insurrection Alpha into a Deadly Game, and the rest of the crew have to get them out.
    • Captain Janeway's relaxation program with Leonardo da Vinci abruptly turns to this when he ends up wandering on his own in The Doctor's holoemitter. A major element of the story is her attempts to retrieve him and how his inventions are essential to their mutual escape.
    • A Briefing With Neelix in "Investigations" was used to investigate who was the spy on board Voyager.
    • Captain Janeway finds characters from her Gothic Romance holonovel (designated as "Janeway Lambda One") are appearing outside the holodeck in "Persistence of Vision". Although appearing in two more episodes, the holonovel became an Aborted Arc due to fan disinterest — The Captain pretending to be a Magical Nanny just didn't seem relevant to their plight of being stranded in the Delta Quadrant.
  • In one episode of UFO, Cmdr. Straker was under the influence of an alien crystal and hallucinated that he was actually the head of a movie studio (his cover in the show's "real life"), and stepped out of the set and onto the real-world sound stage where UFO was filmed, addressed the series actors by their real names, etc.


Examples of type 4 (Plot Parallel)

  • In Absolutely Fabulous, Saffron writes an autobiographical play entitled The Self-Raising Flower, which uses actual dialogue from previous episodes.
  • In one episode of Black Books, Bernard reads an advertisement for a film called Blue Tunes, which is basically Black Books set in a record shop instead of a bookshop. The main characters all agree it sounds terrible.
  • Rosie — C.H.I.M.P. on Blossom (well, it started out similar, before the Executive Meddling).
  • Abed's college film series on Community which is both based on the other members of the study group and also predicts what will happen to them with such spooky accuracy that Shirley calls Abed a "Middle Eastern Magic 8-Ball".
  • Doctor Who: "Remembrance of the Daleks" almost breaks the Fourth Wall with one (unseen) show-within-a-show. There is a scene with a television in the background, on which a continuity announcer can be heard saying "This is BBC television, the time is quarter past five, and Saturday viewing continues with an adventure in the new science fiction series Doc-" at which point the scene ends.
    • The Expanded Universe novels claim this series was called Professor X. The similarities between the Professor (who travels through time and space in a pillar box, and battles Cybertrons) and the Doctor have never been explained, and are rarely noticed by the characters, even when they're fans.
  • Drake & Josh has Drew And Jerry, which was Drake and Josh's life being put into a TV show. As an aside, it also opens up the potential for a universe busting aversion of Celebrity Paradox, by making Drake & Josh, iCarly, Victorious, Zoey 101, and Sam & Cat all 'real' and existing in the same 'universe' as the actors who play all the characters. For example, this means in that universe, there are four versions of Miranda Cosgrove.
  • Father Ben is pretty popular with Father Ted and Father Dougal on Father Ted.
  • Diane's play in Frasier.
    • Though in this case, it's eerily similar to Cheers rather than Frasier itself.
  • The Bloody Hand, the play Arya goes to see in Braavos during two episodes in Season 6 of Game of Thrones. It's a humorous exaggeration of the events of Seasons 1–4.
    • Also qualifies as a Type 3 since Arya is supposed to kill one of the actors.
  • Similarly, there was an episode of the TV show Nowhere Man that featured a cheaply produced, poorly acted cable-TV-esque version of the main events of the series, which included the events of the episode itself.
  • The Valley, Summer's favourite show on The O.C., had suspicious similarities to The O.C. itself. This was really played up when the characters got to meet the "actors". Seth and Summer found out that two of them were dating (as Adam Brody and Rachel Bilson were at the time), and Ryan was amazed that the male lead could still "play high school" at his age (Ben McKenzie was ten years older than his character).
  • The final season of Parks and Recreation features Andy Dwyer as the star of The Johnny Karate Super Awesome Musical Explosion Show.
  • Masked Rider has been retconned to be a show-within-a-show when Nadira in Power Rangers Time Force was shown watching it.
  • One episode of Queer as Folk features the rather farcical Gay as Blazes, which sarcastically parodies common criticisms of the show.
  • The second-season Christmas episode of Raising Hope has Jimmy inadvertently signing away the rights to their story, enabling a movie called "The Chances of Natesville" to be made, which grotesquely sends up the entire family as morbidly too stupid to be alive. Not surprisingly, the family is mortified when the trailer runs at their night out at the movies, triggering drunken regret and It's a Wonderful Plot for Jimmy.
  • Jerry: The Sitcom within Seinfeld.
  • The Sifl and Olly Show: Sifl and Olly were big fans of the show Peto & Flek, which seems to be a complete distillation of the concept: two faces in a void, screeching to a phantom audience. Peto was the "straight man" while Flek only ever said "Guh-guh-guh-guh!"
  • Wormhole X-Treme! within Stargate SG-1.
  • Ghostfacers within Supernatural.
    • But much more so with the book-within-a-show. The book series Supernatural introduced in the episode actually is the first few seasons of the show, and its Take Thats at the fans are exquisite. Turns out the series was written by the prophet Chuck, chronicling what will eventually become the Winchester Gospel. That title is incredibly ambiguous as to whether it will feature one or both of them.
    • Even more so with 6.15 'The French Mistake', in which Sam and Dean get sent into an alternate universe where they are actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles, who subsequently play the characters Sam and Dean in Supernatural. Their castmate is Misha Collins, their bosses are Eric Kripke and Sera Gamble, their director is Bob Singer...
    • And there's the 200th episode special "Supernatural:The Musical", where a group of Ghostfacer fans at an all-girls school put on a play. One of the characters says "I hate the meta-episodes". When Sam and Dean walk into the show's rehearsal, they pull out their fake FBI badges, and the actresses playing Sam and Dean then do the same.
  • In the Switch (1975) episode "The Late Show Murders", Pete occasionally reads aloud from a detective novel called The Saracen Horse. The events of the novel match up suspiciously well with whatever the villain, a corrupt private eye, happens to be doing at the moment.
  • Invitation to Love within Twin Peaks.
  • The Adventures of FATMAN, the show-within-a-show in The Weird Al Show, tells of a man who can change into a fat man with the power to lift heavy objects, withstand scalding liquids, and fly, though slower than cars. Harvey the hamster can stand and talk in this show, and is generally cleverer than "Weird Al" Yankovic.
    Announcer: Due to a rare GLANDULAR PROBLEM, an ordinary, jelly-filled, glazed donut turns mild-mannered Donut World employee AL YANKOVIC into the crime-fighting superhero known as FATMAN.
  • Apparently, a TV movie featuring two characters who look and act suspiciously like bad copies of Mulder and Scully exists within The X-Files and Millennium universe. In the X-Files episode "Hollywood A.D." (s07e18), Mulder and Scully meet their "actor" counterparts on the set (Those would be Garry Shandling and Tea Leoni.) A scene of what looks like this fake X-Files movie is running on a TV screen in the background during one Millennium episode. In both cases, the show-within-the-show was made to be deliberately cheap-looking and campy.


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