Follow TV Tropes


Talking To Himself / Live-Action TV

Go To

  • This happens in Sanctuary any time Bigfoot and John Druitt/Jack the Ripper share a scene. Both characters are physically portrayed by actor Chris Heyerdahl, although when he is Bigfoot, he has quite a bit of make-up and prostheses on.
  • Gene Roddenberry's Andromeda: there was a three-way conversation between the ship's computer, a hologram generated by the ship's computer, and the robotic version of the ship's computer (all played by the same actress, of course).
  • Advertisement:
  • In a segment of Beakman's World, Mark Ritts as Harry Pitts converses with Mark Ritts as Lester the Rat.
  • Beetleborgs did this in the episode "Buggin Out" where Flabber slowly turns into Kombat Gnat. Naturally, Kombat Gnat's voice is provided by Billy Forester who played Flabber.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer
    • One episode was dubbed into French with one single male actor and one single female actor. They didn't even try to disguise it.
    • The episode "Doppelgangland" had Willow meeting her Lesbian Vampire counterpart from an alternate universe. This resulted in Alyson Hannigan not only talking to herself, but licking her own neck.
    • Several episodes had Buffy interacting with a robotic duplicate of herself.
    • Season seven's Big Bad was The First Evil, who can only take the form of people who have died, which leads to Buffy and Spike both having conversations with "themselves".
    • Advertisement:
    • Oddly enough, the season five episode where Xander is split into two people is a subversion. The actor, Nicholas Brendon, has an identical twin, Kelly Donovan. Their conversations and interactions are done completely without special effects, though through using multiple takes, and editing Nicholas Brendon still did nearly all of the dialog for both Xanders.
  • In the Angel episode "Orpheus", Angelus and Faith share a dream/vision where they watch Angel's tormented past. At the end, the memory of Angel becomes an active participant and physically fights Angelus (both played by David Boreanaz).
  • Doctor Who has several:
    • Nicholas Briggs voices both the Daleks and the Cybermen in Doctor Who, leading to a rather memorable scene in the second-series finale "Doomsday" where the two races get into a pissing match. This also means any conversation between Daleks is Briggs Talking to Himself.
    • Advertisement:
    • This also happened quite a few times in the original series. While they usually managed at least two actors to voice the various Daleks and Cybermen (and in the 70s and 80s the actors in the Cybermen costumes did the voice themselves), there were several times that Peter Hawkins, Roy Skelton or Michael Wisher had to do all the voices solo. (And even when there were two actors, several scenes had more than two Daleks speaking.)
    • In "Rise of the Cybermen" / "The Age of Steel", the Doctor, Rose, and Mickey accidentally travel to Pete's World, an alternate universe where Rose's dad never died and became a millionaire, where zeppelins traverse the skies, and Mickey is instead named Ricky and runs with a gang called the Preachers. In series 1, there was a running gag where the Doctor would call him Ricky instead of Mickey. Both Ricky and Mickey are played by Noel Clarke.
    • In a minisode of the new Doctor Who, the TARDIS materialises inside itself, meaning that when a character left the TARDIS, they re-entered the TARDIS. This resulted in actors Matt Smith, Karen Gillan and Arthur Darvill all interacting with themselves, including Gillan flirting with herself.
    • In the original Doctor Who, the 3rd Doctor (Jon Pertwee) has a brief conversation with himself (his attempt to get his TARDIS working causes his and his companion's future selves to appear for a minute). Tom Baker had conversations with himself in "The Android Invasion" and "Meglos" (The Doctor and an evil doppelganger, in both). The first Romana had a short conversation with her Identical Stranger. The 5th Doctor had a conversation with Omega, who had copied his body, but it may not count, as it was Peter Davison's body with Omega's previous voice.
    • In "Journey's End", David Tennant plays both the Tenth Doctor and his half-human metacrisis clone.
    • "The Rebel Flesh" and "The Almost People" feature a Flesh-version of the Eleventh Doctor, with Matt Smith playing both the real Doctor and the copy.
  • In Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles episode "Allison From Palmdale," Cameron has several lengthy and creepy conversations with Allison, the girl who her physical appearance was copied from, and at the end breaks Allison's neck. Naturally, both of them are played by Summer Glau.
  • Chuck (ventriloquist) and Bob (dummy) regularly had conversations with each other on Soap. (Also see below)
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation
    • Majel Barrett once played both sides of an argument between Lwaxana Troi and the Enterprise's computer.
    • In "Brothers", there's a scene between Data, Lore and Dr. Soong — all played by Brent Spiner.
    • Another episode has younger Riker circling older Riker, in a seconds long sequence which kept director Levar Burton up for days trying to work out.
      • Not to mention "Second Chances" where there are two same aged Rikers.
    • In "Time Squared", future Picard and present Picard talk with each other.
  • Stargate SG-1
    • Michael Shanks plays both Daniel Jackson and the Asgard character Thor. (Asgard look so different from humans that they get only voice actors, although this is a live-action show). Teryl Rothery, who plays Janet Fraiser, also does the voice of an Asgard named Heindall, but these two characters never interact or even meet.
    • In the film Stargate Continuum, Ben Browder played both Cameron Mitchell and Mitchell's unnamed grandpa.
    • Another Michael Shanks example — in the episode "Holiday", he plays both Daniel and an alien character, Ma'chello, under heavy makeup. Ma'chello uses a machine to swap bodies with Daniel, leading to an interesting scene where Michael Shanks, as Ma'chello in Daniel's body, argues with Michael Shanks, as Daniel in Ma'chello's body!
  • In one episode of Mork & Mindy, Mork met Robin Williams and discussed clothing tastes.
  • In-universe example: On one episode of Remember WENN, after Jeff Singer leaves and before Scott Sherwood is hired as an actor, Mackie Bloom is forced to voice every single character himself, until he forgets what his own voice sounds like.
  • Subverted in The 7:30 Report, an Australian current affairs programme that has a weekly political satire sketch of a fake current affairs interview, starring Bryan Dawe (usually the interviewer) and John Clarke (the interviewee — a different character each episode but usually portraying an actual person. Often it's a politician). On rare occasions there will be multiple interviewees, with John playing each one. The most confusing aspect of it is that John makes no attempt to imitate who he's impersonating (i.e. they all look and sound like John Clarke in real life, as well as having a habit for dodging Bryan's questions) so at times it looks as though he really is talking to himself.
  • On Mystery Science Theater 3000, at least one of the "Mads" played one of the 'bots at all times. (Dr. Forrester/Crow, Dr. Erhardt/Tom Servo, Brain Guy/Crow, Bobo/Tom Servo)
  • In Mortal Kombat: Conquest Jeffrey Meek played both Raiden and Shao Kahn, who shared a number of onscreen conversation, and even fought each other in the finale.
  • A weird non-example from Dollhouse is worth mentioning. Topher implants Victor with his own personality. The two Tophers (played by different actors) have an amusing phone conversation.
  • Phoebe and her Evil Twin Ursula on Friends, (both played by Lisa Kudrow) sometimes interacted with each other.
  • An Australian talkshow had a pre-recorded interview with Rolf Harris. However, apparently when Harris arrives the host wasn't there, so Rolf interviewed himself.
  • On Hogan's Heroes, Richard Dawson provided the voice of their London contact over the shortwave. In at least one instance, his character Newkirk was the one receiving the message.
  • The intro for one "Smartest Inventions" episode of World's Dumbest... had Kevin McCaffrey interact with an infomercial version of himself after dealing with commercials for the inventions featured in said episode.
  • The Benny Hill Show once made a parody of Juke Box Jury (Soap Box Jury) in which Benny did all the characters. The sketch ends with the four commentators in the same shot, which was an important technical feat for videotape at the time (1961).
  • Smallville
    • When Bizarro appeared, Tom Welling was both the hero and villain.
    • That wasn't the first time that Tom Welling fought himself on the show. He did so as early as Season 1 in an episode when the Freak of the Week was a shapeshifter who disguised herself as Clark during her fight against the real Clark.
    • It also occurred when Clark's Mirror Universe counterpart, Ultraman, showed up in Season 10.
    • Smallville even had one Freak of the Week whose meteor ability was to literally clone himself. Predictably, the original guy and the clone appeared on-screen together being played by the same actor.
  • In The Peter Serafinowicz Show, the titular comedian plays all four of The Beatles in the same sketch. It's quite impressive.
  • In on episode of Frasier, the title character tricks Niles into doing this for a radio play.
  • Supernatural
    • In the teaser for the episode "Caged Heat," Mark Sheppard plays both Crowley and the Alpha Skinwalker. You can tell that Sheppard has a lot of fun with this.
    • Jensen got to play two Deans in "Dream a Little Dream of Me" and "The End". The former was a demonic version of Dean, the latter Dean's future self in a Crapsack World.
    • Jared Padalecki plays three different versions of Sam in "The Man Who Knew Too Much", and while only two of them are ever onscreen at the same time, it still veers into this trope a couple of times.
    • In "Swan Song", Padalecki plays both Lucifer while he's possessing Sam's body, and Sam himself. The two hold a conversation through a mirror.
  • The nonexistent budget ensured that PJ Katie from PJ Katie's Farm did the voices for every character on the show.
  • In multiple episodes of Fringe, Anna Torv plays two version of Olivia Dunham — one from "our" universe and one from another universe. While the two characters are usually seen separately, in the season two finale "Over There", our Olivia and alternate Olivia engage in hand-on-hand combat — meaning Torv is fighting herself.
  • Happens in any episode of Farscape in which Crais (played by Lani Tupu) and Pilot (voiced by Lani Tupu) interact.
  • Peter Tuddenham did the voices of the various talking computers in Blake's 7. On one occasion Slave and Orac get into a brief tiff; Tuddenham was asked if he wanted to record one of the voices first but he did them both live.
    Slave: Uh, I don't wish to interrupt, Master...
    Orac: Then kindly don't.
    Slave: I wasn't talking to you.
    Orac: You were attempting to override a superior system. Be silent!
    • Unfortunately, Slave was trying to warn the crew about an impending attack on the ship. Way to go, Orac.
  • In Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, Fred Rogers voiced several characters in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe puppet segments - including King Friday XIII, Queen Sara Saturday, Cornflake S. Pecially, Henrietta Pussycat, X the Owl, Lady Elaine Fairchild, and Daniel Striped Tiger - many of whom had conversations with each other in which Rogers supplied all of the relevant voices.
  • Dee Bradley Baker was both The Announcer and the voice of Olmec on Legends of the Hidden Temple.
  • While no talking was involved, an in-universe example in Ned's Declassified School Survival Guide has an instance where the gym teacher made a video on the rules of dodgeball where she played four characters.
  • In SCTV, there's a sketch in which Rick Moranis as Dick Cavett interviews himself. Yes, there are two Dick Cavetts on screen both played by Moranis.
  • On an episode of The All-New Let's Make a Deal in 1985, host Monty Hall let then-announcer Dean Goss host two deals as part of a test run. During said deals, Goss was both hosting and announcing, but according to Word of God, his announcing was pre-taped so that he could do this. (The episode was a "test run" of sorts, as Monty had planned to pass the show on for Goss to host, should it be renewed for a third season. It wasn't.)
  • On Orphan Black:
    • Tatiana Maslany plays, by the end of the first season, seven different characters who spend a good deal of the show's time interacting with one another. In the third season, one of them gets a scorpion Spirit Advisor, also voiced by Maslany.
    • The second season finale introduces another line of clones, all played by Ari Millen.
  • The Mighty Boosh: Due to the two stars playing a variety of different characters, this trope is inevitable sometimes, such as when the Hitcher interacts with Vince in the last episode of series one.
  • Christmas on Vesterbro has Anders Matthesen play no less than 14 on screen characters (including a cameo As Himself), as well two voice-only characters.
  • The Goodies episode "Chubby Chumps" has Graeme Garden berating Terry Wogan (as voiced by Garden) over the phone for what he perceives as the discriminatory nature of beauty contests always awarding the top prize to "pretty girls".
  • The 1960s Batman had an amusing in-universe example in the episode "Ice Spy". The Commissioner and Chief O'Hara call Batman and Bruce Wayne on the phone at the same time (from two different phones). They then put the phones together so that Bruce Wayne and Batman can talk, requiring Bruce Wayne as Bruce Wayne and Bruce Wayne as Batman to have a conversation while the other two men listen.
  • Power Rangers has a few examples:
    • In Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers, there's an episode in which Tommy, who at that point has the White Ranger powers, faces a clone of himself who wields the Green Ranger powers. Both are of course played by Jason David Frank.
    • Power Rangers Lost Galaxy casts Melody Perkins as Karone as the second Pink Ranger after Kendrix's death when she previously was the Big Bad Astronema in Power Rangers in Space. There's an episode where she has to face her inner demons by battling an illusion of Astronema.
    • In Power Rangers Time Force, Red Rangers Wes and Alex are both played by Jason Faunt, though they only share scenes in a few of the last episodes of the series, when Alex comes from the future. This is carried over from the Mirai Sentai Timeranger counterparts.
  • The Vampire Diaries:
    • Nina Dobrev plays both Elena, the show's main character, and Katharine, the 500-year old vampire who is one of the major villains in the show's early seasons, who naturally appear onscreen together in the same scene numerous times. In this case, their identical appearances is a major plot point as Katharine is a direct ancestor of Elena and they are identified as Doppelgangers, members of a bloodline that is magically cursed to produce identical descendants every few generations.
  • Fargo season 3 has Ewan McGregor play both of the Stussy brothers, Emmitt and Ray. The two brothers are not twins however, as Emmitt is two years older than Ray. For Ray, McGregor had to put on makeup to go from conventionally attractive (like Emmitt) to paunchy, balding, windburned, strangely sticky-looking Ray.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: