Follow TV Tropes


Subverted Rhyme Every Occasion / Live-Action TV

Go To

Subverted Rhymes in live-action TV.

Award Shows:

  • From the 2013 Academy Awards closing number, "Here's to the Losers":
    Amy Adams, Jacki Weaver, Sally Field, and Helen Hunt.
    Hathaway just took your Oscar. Don't you think that girl's a...dorable?


  • The Victor and Barry (Alan Cumming and Forbes Masson) song "Kelvinside Men" includes the following almost rhyme:
    We're known as trendy thespians,
    Some of our best friends are less well known,
    Than us.


  • 30 Rock has the novelty song,
    Werewolf Bar Mitzvah!
    Spooky! Scary!
    Boys becoming men,
    Men becoming wolves!
  • In one episode of Adventures in Wonderland, the White Rabbit has contracted "rhymitis", which forces him to only speak in rhyme. After he's cured, he sings a song full of these, with each followed by the chorus "And you know what the best part is? It doesn't rhyme!"
  • The Amanda Show had an example of this, when a boy in a classroom full of superpowered kids had the power of super rhyming.
    Teacher: Alright, get out of class!
    Student: Oh no, my dad's gonna kick my—
    Teacher: Be quiet!
  • Magician Mat Franco uses it in his final act for America's Got Talent:
    Howie couldn't walk far, so he stepped towards the bar to tell a joke to a chick.
    But just as before he fell on the floor. She said "What a d-... despicable person!"
  • Advertisement:
  • The limerick version popped up again in Boy Meets World:
    Cory: There once was a boy named Cory.
    Eric: Who now has an interesting story.
    Cory: He learned about kissing.
    Eric: And all he was missing...
    Shawn: When he and Topanga made out!
    Cory: Shawn, can we say "summer school"?
  • In Brooklyn Nine-Nine:
    Holt: Meat. From the street. Sounds like a fun treat. Hah! I'm a poet, and I didn't even know I was rhyming those words. But it happened anyway.
  • From the Musical Episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, "Once More, With Feeling":
    You're the cutest of the Scoobies
    with your lips as red as rubies
    and your firm yet supple...tight embrace!
    • Which is incidentally a callback to an earlier verse in which Xander dodges a crudity without breaking the rhyme:
      She is the one, she's such wonderful fun
      such passion and grace.
      Warm in the night, when I'm right in her tight
      ...embrace. Tight embrace!
    • Also inverted a few times in that same musical episode: there are several instances where a song is interrupted, and then it is always the case that the interruption rhymes, while there seems no obvious way the intended line could have:
      She's just going through the motions,
      faking it somehow.
      She's not even half the girl she...ow!
      • Another example of that:
        Xander: She clings, she's needy,
        She's also really greedy,
        She never—
        Anya: His eyes are beady!
      • And again:
        Buffy: Will I stay this way forever?
        Sleepwalk through my life's endeavors?
        Distressed Dude: How can I repay—
        Buffy: Whatever.
    • Advertisement:
    • Finally, while not used for profanity, the song "Walk Through The Fire" has the first two verses end with a rhyme for "burn" that is left unsaid. The rhyme is finally completed at the very end of the song.
  • In the final episode of Canada's Worst Driver Ever host Andrew has a sort of twisted version of this. He does complete a rhyme, but instead of the rhyme being the end of it, he just sort of meanders off. This happens after Michael recites the oath of the Blue Lantern, which he had been using as a Survival Mantra, though not with much success.
    Andrew: (speaking in hushed voice with gravity) Here at the rehab center, in the dark of night, I think we'll finish this challenge, but not without a fight. They're trying their hardest... come with me. But it will freak you out. I don't know... (normal voice) if he's driving with a gout or if he's got a bad elbow or if he can't see properly, but... jeez he drives like a monkey.
  • A meaningful example occurs in Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: in both "West Covina" and "West Covina (Second Reprise)" Rebecca and Josh get a line that seems like it will end with them declaring their love for the other, only to swap at the last second to praise the titular town instead. In Rebecca's case, this represents her denial, claiming to have moved because she wanted to live here and not to follow Josh; in Josh's case, it represents him being Master of the Mixed Message towards Rebecca.
    Rebecca: My life's about to change - oh my gosh! / 'Cause I'm hopelessly, desperately in love with... West Covina!
    Josh: It's Nirvana, it's Heaven, it's Mecca! / Yeah, I'm hopelessly, desperately in love with... West Covina!
  • CSI had a non-singing one in an early episode that centered on a hockey player.
    Catherine: This guy was about pucks, bucks and...chicks.
  • The Daily Show used to have a segment called "News You Can Utilize".
  • Doctor Who: In "Amy's Choice", the Dream Lord keeps pulling these. The Doctor could really have done without the limerick.
    "Two worlds: Here, in the time machine, and there, in the village that time forgot. One is real, the other's... fake."
  • Galavant: The first-episode song "She'll Be Mine" features this line:
    Galavant is just complete perfection
    Gal would never lose his (beat) temper!
  • From The Gillies Report musical sketch "Maralinga, or Wise After the Event":
    But will we act
    Upon this fact?
    This whole inquiry was a stunt!
    I've never seen a bigger...miscarriage of justice!
  • Girls 5 Eva has this in "Famous 5 Eva", an in-universe hit for the title girl group. The subverted rhyme plays up the irony that this song boasting about how they were always going to be famous ended up making them a One-Hit Wonder:
    Playing with our brand new flip phones
    Talkin' with our friends
    See the new ink on our hip-bones
    That's how our story... begins!
  • Happy Endings: Played with in the episode "The Marry Prankster", Brad is singing a song about himself, but his name doesn't quite fit.
    Who's got a job?
    Bob's got a job
    Bob rhymes with job much better than Brad
    So I switched the name, but you know what I mean
    I got a job, job, a j-o-b!
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    For while the date side of the line's the one we all might guess he's in,
    there'll be no joy in Tedville if our Lisa is a... Yes! We win!note 
  • The Kids in the Hall had a song called Daves I Know, where the final line of almost every verse breaks the rhyme AND meter.
    Some of them are David
    But most of them are Dave
    They all have their own hands
    And they come from different Moms
  • On the last episode of Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, Fallon says that Tariq has made 130 bad rhymes. Tariq responds with
    That's right Jimmy you've got a pretty good point
    Now what do you say we rock this... place?
  • Used dramatically in the "Spooky Song" on LazyTown. "Close your eyes. Rest your head. Time to go to... boo!"
  • In a sketch on The Lenny Henry Show, various pop stars (played by Lenny Henry) criticise his impersonations of them. "Prince", sings the following (to a Suspiciously Similar Song of "When Doves Cry"):
    I was walking in the park with my baby,
    And just as we were starting to kiss,
    Along the road came bloody Lenny Henry,
    And he began, he began to take the...
    This is when I told him to shut it
  • In a skit called "Lady MADtv (a spoof of "Lady Marmalade") on MADtv: "I'm the reason MAD's back for season seven / Disagree, well boo-hoo and tough luck / 'Cause to tell you the truth, I don't give a… huh…"
    • Another sketch presented a musical number about supposed outhouse-cleaning folk hero Honeydipper Dan, where the backing chorus would interrupt every time narrator was about to mention a synonym for feces. For example:
      A mountain of a man, strong and fit
      And he wasn't a-feared of handlin'-
      Honeydipper Dan!
  • On The Muppet Show, during the Loretta Lynn episode, Fozzie, Scooter, Annabelle, and Link Hogthrob sing what's supposedly "The Rhyming Song". As might be expected, none of the lines in the verses rhyme. (They're also disjointed, but that's another story.)
  • MythBusters had one episode where the hosts were testing myths regarding flatulence, and were attempting to keep things tasteful, generally by using the scientific term "flatus" in place of... the common term for such. Rob Lee also avoided using said "common term", generally via Unusual Euphemism (or else via less offensive terms), but there was one time he danced around the word using this very trope:
    Rob Lee: We've all heard it: "Beans, beans, good for your heart, the more you eat, the more you", produce flatus.
  • The Nanny when Niles wrote a play based on his own life:
    But it doesn't matter what I'm paid,
    Because I'm finally getting—
    Six bucks an hour!
    Includes a room and shower!
  • Parks and Recreation: Jean-Ralphio's rapping skills seem stuck on this:
    It's K to the N to the O-P-E,
    She's the dopest little shortee in all Pawnee... Indiana.
    R to the O to the N,
    Swanson got swagger the size of Big Ben... clock.
    Yo B to the O to the double S,
    Do what he say and you'll be success...ful.
  • The Paul Hogan Show did a parody of The Prophecies of Nostradamus where Hoges revealed the prophecies of his ancestor which, like Nostradamus', were also in verse. One of them ran:
    The boy stood on the burning deck,
    His pockets full of crackers.
    A flame shot up his trouser leg
    And blew off both his...sandshoes.
  • Probe's "Computer Logic": The Limerick password to Austin's warehouse doesn't rhyme at the end like limericks are supposed to. This is intentional, as he doesn't want people figuring it out, preferring to keep them away. The lack of a rhyme is foreshadowed within the poem itself, with "botched refrain".
  • QI: On episode J17 "Jolly", the contestants were tasked with writing limericks. This submission by Alan Davies qualifies:
    Appearing one night on QI
    I made up three facts on the fly
    The first was untrue
    The second was too
    And the third was about the size of my ***, and it was no exaggeration, Julia.
    • As does this one by Tim Vine:
      There once was an old man from Limerick
      Who was completely unaware of the short, often humorous, poems that shared the same name as his hometown.
  • The Red Green Show: From one of Red's campfire songs:
    On his way down
    He must've kicked the bucket
    We asked the neighbors for help
    But they just said, "Who cares?"
  • SCTV did a parody of the movie Melvin And Howard, where blue-collar Melvin Dumar picks up scraggly Howard Hughes hitching a ride. They sing "The Name Game", a pop song by Shirley Ellis.
    Howard: Let's do "Chuck"! [singing] Chuck, Chuck, Bo-buck, Banana-Fana-Fo-f— [Melvin swats him in the mouth]
    Melvin: Hey! I'm wise to that.
  • The second verse of "One of These Things Is Not Like The Others" on Sesame Street (not always used)
    Did you guess which thing is not like the others?
    Did you guess which thing just doesn't belong?
    If you guessed this one is not like the others,
    Then you're absolutely... right.
  • One episode of The Slammer opens with Mr Burgess composing a text in which says this week's show contained "wit, grit and sh... surely the best act we've ever had in the history of the show".
  • The second season theme song for Slings & Arrows, where it's The Scottish Trope instead of an obscenity that's being obscured:
    Every soul that plays this role risks injury or death,
    I'd rather sweep the bloody stage than ever do MacYouKnowWho.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The Naked Now", Data hears an alien-virus-ridden crewman saying a limerick which started with "There was a young lady from Venus, whose body was shaped like a—-". Before he can finish the poem, Picard interrupts by calling security.
  • From That '70s Show:
    Michael Kelso: If this van's a rockin'... we're in there doing it!
  • The UK consumer show That's Life once did a major story on fake diet pills made from guar gum, which apart from not working caused illness and flatulence. After the company had recalled the product, the show ended its final report with a big musical number, in which an actress who had appeared in advertisements for the tablets sang "I'm so sorry that I took part, / Guar gum just made me sick!"
  • The Two Ronnies had far too many to list them all.
    • Particularly memorable is one of their Jehosophat and Jones songs:
      Up in the loft where the lamp-light flickers
      I lost my heart and she lost her... parasol.
    • Another one from the "Anti-Shoddy Goods Committee" monologue, about a man sold substandard food in a restaurant:
      He was looking very peaky and was feeling very grotty,
      And he spent all day on Sunday sitting sadly on the potty.
      So he came along to us, the Anti-Shoddy Goods Committee,
      And we told him very plainly why he felt so ruddy sh— shocking.
  • This was a gag about Once per Episode in Up Pompeii where one of the characters, an extremely virginal young man would compose odes to his current crush which would suggest an obviously bawdy rhyme which was invariably subverted.
  • Colin Mochrie, of Whose Line Is It Anyway? fame, is very good at improv—but his talents do not lie in music. Inexplicably, during the American run of the show, Drew Carey's favorite game was Hoedown (his excitement at it visibly irritated Ryan Stiles at times), meaning it was performed very often. Mochrie didn't even try to sing most of the time, rhyming in a sort of chant. However, he gleefully subverted the format several times—in one about the lottery, saying he didn't care anymore, speaking briefly in tongues, running around the studio, and hugging an attractive audience member; another time, in a callback to an earlier gaffe with his microphone's battery, mouthing words but saying nothing, ending in "my battery pack!"; and once ending a hoedown verse about a traumatic event in "I lost the ability to rhyme" (which did not, obviously, rhyme with the previous line).
    • On the other hand, however, many of the other stars on the show, particularly Greg Proops, do this so often and easily that subverting a profane rhyme is called "Pulling a Greg" in the fan community. Example:
      The other day my girlfriend said 'Greg, you wanna thrill'?
      She took me to a bridge at the bottom of a hill.
      She tied the rope to my leg and I ran out of luck.
      For when she pushed me off that bridge, I just yelled out 'wow'."
      • Drew did it at least once: "I hope soon that I get out all my stitches / 'Cause let me tell you, brother, they hurt like sons of guns."
      • Drew also inverted it in the "Children" Hoedown:
        I don't pay alimony, I don't pay child support,
        I don't pay nothing of no kind of that sort,
        I get to keep all the money that I'm paid,
        How can you have any children if you never ever get l(BEEP)—hey!"
      • No less a performer than Robin Williams once used the above cheer in a game of Props.
      • Used by Ryan in an Irish Drinking Song:
        And there I'll open a business,
        And I will get real rich,
        I am so happy
        I'll leave that old...Oh, hidey hidey...
      • Wayne Brady pretends to read a poem from an imaginary book:
        My teacher was beautiful, a beautiful lass.
        But I was embarrassed in front of the class.
        I would sit in the back because I was quite a loner.
        And then I - oh!
    • During an Irish Drinking Song, Colin is set up to say a line that rhymes with trucker, but instead he just smiles and says nothing. Both he and the audience know what he could have said.


  • From the opening of Comic Relief V:
    Robin Williams: (rapping) We wanna raise some money
    we'll work around the clock
    If you don't send enough
    I'm gonna have to show my... Comic Relief T-shirt!
  • The Eurovision 2015 semi-finals featured a song about the history and legacy of the show, which starts with the following tongue-in-cheek lines:
    It's an international competition
    With a collaborative mission,
    Much like the Olympics in a way
    Though slightly less athletic,
    But just as energetic,
    More colorful, and — what's the word? — more... theatrical.
  • Charlie Brooker's 2014 Wipe closed with a song, "Reasons to be Fearful 2014", with lyrics including:
    Telly actors mumbling
    No marks tumbling
    And our social order crumbling — while people snigger
    Sony facing hacking
    M Ps backing fracking
    And Clarkson facing sacking for saying n...aughty words
    • As well as:
      Brookes Newmark with a hard-on
      Boko Haram
      Her continued stardom. Jeremy Hunt
      Russell's Revolution
      Contains no solution
      He's untouched by evolution –- the ape-like... chap


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: