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Troubled Production / Fictional Examples

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Fictional examples of troubled productions.

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  • A 2011 commercial for the Citi card is told from the perspective of a makeup artist working on a film. This trope seems to be in play if the lead's cell phone going off, rain delay, and demand for a bigger explosion are any indication. Funnily enough, the makeup artist in the commercial is played by Patricia Ja Lee, who has actually dealt with troubled productions in the past during her tenure on Power Rangers.
    "I thought we'd be on location for three days. It's been three weeks."
  • The classic Alka-Seltzer "That's a spicy meatball!" commercial where an actor needs to do dozens of takes for his single line on a commercial shoot because he keeps messing up. In the end, he says the line right...only for a door on the set behind him fall off, resulting in yet another take.

    Anime & Manga 
  • In a Detective Conan filler case, the cast befriends the young leader of a drama troupe that seems to have serious problems. The script writer is a bitter Jerkass, said troupe leader is a sweetie but he's overwhelmed due to his lack of experience, the treasurer had embezzled quite a sum of money, two troupe members die... Oh dear.
  • Parodied in Haruhi Suzumiya when the cast tries to make a movie, and everyone's favorite Reality Warper starts causing...problems. Mikuru nearly kills Kyon with her spontaneously developed Eye Beams, a cat gains advanced intellect and the ability to speak, extinct birds appear out of nowhere, and so on. Also, Haruhi is even more of a jerk than usual.
  • Masago's movie in Jewelpet Sunshine. Since he favors his lead actress Garnet excessively, it leads to complaints on part of the rest of the cast, which are rebuffed by Masago in true Prima Donna Director style. This causes both cast and crew to walk off until he realizes that making a movie is worthless if no one's having fun, apologizes to everyone and starts accepting suggestions. After this, another problem arises; lead actor Jasper can't get a pivotal scene right and collapses from exhaustion, so Masago takes it upon himself to replace him.
  • (Darkly) parodied in Episode 10 of Paranoia Agent. It's hard to produce an anime series when your production staff just can't seem to get along. It's even harder when the crew starts getting killed off one by one.
  • An episode of Yes! Pretty Cure 5 had Urara's first show, an outdoor stage show, go completely off the rails. The actress playing the main character falls ill during rehearsals, leading Nozomi, who was kicked out of the Drama Club after just two days, to decide to take over. Then, there was trying to get Nozomi to get through the show without klutzing out. Then, during the show, Girinma shows up and summons the Monster of the Week, forcing the girls to figure out a way to transform and fight the thing. And it is a hit! However, when Urara's manager asks her if she could pull that off again, she's left speechless and the other four vocalize what she wants to say: "No way!"

    Comic Strips 
  • After Rebecca from For Better or for Worse becomes a pop star, she decides to hold a Halloween concert at her high school with her former band 4Evah as an opening act. While preparing for the concert, 4Evah's April Patterson recruits her uncle Phil after he tells her about the trumpet and how it works. 4Evah puts on a surprisingly good show as a result, then everything goes wrong for Rebecca. The sound system cuts out, one of her band members shows up drunk, and another is stoned. Rebecca ends up running offstage crying and April goes to comfort her.

  • Tropic Thunder parodies this phenomenon, with specific jabs at Apocalypse Now. Funnily enough, a minor example of this happened during production. During the opening scene, Ben Stiller's character is supposed to say "alright, can we cut now?" after a scene in the Film Within a Film goes wrong. Problem was, Stiller also directed the film, so when his character said "cut", the crew mistook that for their director ordering them to cut.
  • A fictional example can be found in Werner Herzog's Incident At Loch Ness. To give any details would be ruining it. As the Live Action Film page shows, it is inspired by Herzog's actual career.
  • Living in Oblivion is a nineties independent flick in which Steve Buscemi plays the role of a director in a nineties independent flick where everything goes wrong. The movie itself is supposedly based on the director's experience while working on a Brad Pitt movie called Johnny Suede.
  • The film within the film for Singin' in the Rain (The Dueling Cavalier) experiences a severely troubled production due to the transition from silent to talkie pictures; the cast and crew's inexperience with sound recording (and the leading lady's paint-peeling voice) causes numerous difficulties, leading the film to be laughed off by audiences at its first screening. It's salvaged by a hasty Retool into a campy musical and the redubbing of all the film's dialogue via studio recording, complete with another actress dubbing the leading lady's lines.
  • At one point in Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, Dewey Cox (under the influence of a number of drugs) attempts to create his bizarre masterpiece "Black Sheep" (a clear parody of the Brian Wilson song "Smile"), which leads to the band and his wife to break up with him and his inevitable drug fueled rampage through the city in nothing but his underwear.
    "I need ten thousand didgeridoos!"
  • Shadow of the Vampire fictionalizes the production of Nosferatu highlighting the disagreements between stars and producers, director and crew, and an actual vampire.
  • A subplot in Irreconcilable Differences is Ryan O'Neal's hilariously overblown Gone with the Wind musical ripoff spinning out of control.
  • The film-within-a-film of Scream 3, based on the 'real-life' Woodsboro murders, is quickly shut down when Ghostface starts targetting the cast.
  • Who Framed Roger Rabbit starts off with a film-within-a-film that has gone over schedule and budget due to Roger not seeing stars when the fridge is dropped on his head.
  • In François Truffaut's 1973 film Day for Night, the film-within-a-film Meet Pamela runs into all sorts of problems. A power failure at the processing lab ruins footage of a key scene, the lead actress is emotionally fragile after a nervous breakdown (and nearly has a second one during filming), the actor playing her husband is having serious relationship issues and nearly walks off the film, the actress playing his mother is so drunk she can't remember her lines, a cat involved in a cutaway scene keeps running away from its mark, and the middle-aged lead actor is killed in a car accident and the insurance agency won't cover the cost of reshooting his scenes with another actor.
  • State and Main shows examples of a lot of the production troubles of location shooting, especially the interpersonal variety; in-fighting, ego-clashes, irresponsible talent and/or management, Executive Meddling, etc.
  • And God Spoke is a mockumentary about an attempt to create a biblical epic that goes downhill as the production goes on, resulting in a film that looks nothing like the filmmakers' vision, but does end up as a So Bad, It's Good cult classic.
  • This is Spın̈al Tap depicts a tour as snakebitten as the Victory Tour (see Music for details) would be that year in real life.
  • Return to Cabin by the Lake is about a Ripped from the Headlines production based on the exploits of the horror writer serial killer from the first film. It first attracts protestors because of its exploitation of a real tragedy. Then the original killer, upset about the film's unfaithfulness, murders and impersonates one of the producers and starts to target the rest of the cast and crew.
  • Found Footage 3D is one part Exactly What It Says on the Tin, and one part a mockumentary about the production of a 3D found footage horror film. It's clear from the start that production on the Film Within a Film Spectre of Death 3D was a disaster in the making: the makers of the film went with the 3D angle simply as a gimmick without considering all of the implications, the film's writers and stars Steve and Amy were in a crumbling relationship and outright hated each other by the time production began, Steve's ego leads to a bad case of Wag the Director, and the sound guy Carl is convinced that the cabin they're shooting in is haunted and walks out of the production halfway through. By the time Scott Weinberg of FEARnet shows up to interview the cast and crew, it's clear that things have gone horribly Off the Rails and that he'll be returning home to write an article about a film production Gone Horribly Wrong. All this comes before it turns out that Carl was right and that the house really is haunted...
  • The Bad and the Beautiful is a bitter condemnation of the increasingly ruthless Hollywood system of the 1940s and '50s, personified in producer Jonathan Shields. The son of a producer so hated in the industry that his funeral was mostly attended by paid studio extras, Shields flounders in B-movie hell until he creates a surprise hit by utilizing the concept of Nothing Is Scarier rather than show ridiculous "cat men" costumes. But he continually finds himself in various binds that cause him to betray his collaborators, and his effort to direct a film himself after driving the studio director to quit is a self-admitted disaster. The film's framing device is that he's in yet more trouble and has to come crawling back to three of the people he screwed over, arguing that they were all able to channel the emotions he stirred up into far greater success than they likely would have otherwise.
  • The stage adaptation of Raymond Carver's "What We Talk About When We Talk About Love" at the center of Birdman is in serious trouble. At the beginning of the movie, Ralph, a key supporting actor, is injured shortly before previews; Riggan, the writer, director and star of the play, who may even have arranged the accident, takes advantage of his injury to recast the part because he was dissatisfied with Ralph's performance. He is replaced by Mike Shiner, a talented method actor who is also a Jerkass on the verge of breaking up with his girlfriend... who plays his wife in the play. At previews, Mike breaks character to harshly criticize Riggan's adaptation of the story and complains that they aren't using real gin onstage; later, he gets caught with an erection visible through his underwear during the play's climax. We also learn that the play's finances are shaky; Riggan is considering taking out another mortgage on his beach house in Los Angeles to tide it over. An influential New York Times critic tells Riggan she's going to pan his play regardless of how it turns out because she resents Hollywood actors like him taking up valuable space on Broadway. Oh, and Ralph files a lawsuit against the production over his accident. The play's fortunes are reversed only when Riggan concludes opening night by attempting suicide on stage, which turns the play into a media sensation and earns it praise from the critic for its "super-realism".

  • "Coppola's Dracula" by Kim Newman, which is basically Hearts of Darkness ... In "Anno Dracula" Transylvania!
  • Patrick Quentin's Puzzle for players consists entirely of this. At one point, the desperate Broadway producer explicitly writes down a list of "13 reasons why Troubled Waters cannot possibly see the light of day".
  • Blown Away, the Discworld version of Gone with the Wind in Moving Pictures. The dwarfs object to being stereotyped as miners, the leading lady objects to the Romantic False Lead being a troll, the troll objects to that objection, and C.M.O.T. Dibbler is trying desperately to recoup his losses by sticking Product Placement wherever he can (he'd accidentally discovered Subliminal Advertising, and figured if one frame of an ad worked, a full minute in the middle of the climax would work even better). At one point someone asks why all Dibbler's moving pictures are set "in a world gone mad", and gets the reply "Because Mr Dibbler is a very observant person."
  • Nathanael West's The Day of the Locust (and its film adaptation) features a troubled production as part of its Horrible Hollywood setting. The Napoleonic costume drama on which protagonist Tod Hackett is working as a set designer is running behind schedule, and the crew therefore rush into shooting the climactic Battle of Waterloo action sequence on a soundstage that is still actively under construction. The structurally unsound "battlefield" soon collapses under the weight of hundreds of extras and crew members, causing numerous injuries (the extras thus injured are not too upset, though, as they know they can look forward to generous financial compensation).
  • The Technicolor Time Machine by Harry Harrison is about a struggling studio's attempt to shoot a historical epic about Vikings using a time machine.
  • Stephen King's Misery has Paul Sheldon, creator of the titular trashy pulp romance series that he can't stand, try to definitively end it by killing off the main character. Unfortunately, he then breaks his legs in a car accident and ends up in the care of Loony Fan Annie Wilkes, who goes off the deep end upon finishing the new book and uses various tortures to force him to write a new one that undoes Misery's death. Paul is quite surprised to find that the end result may just be the best thing he's ever written, and has it published after he escapes, where the story behind it naturally gets it even more attention.

    Live Action TV 
  • Slings & Arrows has one of these every year. The first two turn out well; the third one ends with the lead actor dying and everyone else involved in the production being fired.
  • Part one of the Young Indiana Jones movie The Hollywood Follies revolves around Indy engaging in a battle of wits with Real Life primadonna director Erich von Stroheim over Foolish Wives.
  • Pretty much any of Vincent Chase's movies on Entourage (Smokejumpers, Aquaman, Medellin... pretty much all except Gatsby) fall victim to this trope.
  • The Community episode "Documentary Filmmaking: Redux" depicts the Dean trying to film a 30-second ad for the college and slowly driving himself and all the other characters to madness. The episode is shot as Abed's documentary, which explicitly described as the Hearts of Darkness to the Dean's Apocalypse Now.
  • The Late Late Show with James Corden invokes this in its occasional "Celebrity Noses" sketch, which they never seem to ever get right.
  • Supernatural has used this trope a few times. Most notably, the season 2 episode "Hollywood Babylon" has the Winchesters getting involved in a horror film production that's being progressively sabotaged by evil spirits that are being summoned by a spiteful screenwriter. The season 6 ep "The French Mistake" also qualifies: the brothers find themselves dropped in place of actors Jared Padalecki and Jensen Ackles on the set of a TV series called Supernatural, and rapidly escalating pandemonium ensues culminating in the bloody deaths of the cast, crew, and even departed creator Eric Kripke.
    "Robert Singer": At least they're talking.
  • A sketch from The Benny Hill Show has Benny as a French avant garde director who deflates the pretensions of an interviewer by revealing that all the supposed brilliant touches of his latest film were the result of problems during filming. Changing from color to black and white as the heroine's fantasy world is shattered? They just happened to run out of color film at that point and didn't have money for more. Using a documentary style with handheld cameras? Two crew members got in a fight and broke the tripod. Having the heroine lisp? She was played by the producer's girlfriend, who really had a lisp. A woman saying a profound statement to a waiter? She was supposed to just be ordering soup and blew her line. The dog running across in the final shot? A complete accident from a dog that had been pestering them throughout the entire shoot.
  • Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt has the musical Spidermen Too: 2 Many Spidermen, parodying Spiderman Turn Off The Dark as well as The Clone Saga. Titus auditions for the role of Spiderman #12 after the entire cast has to quit due to injuries.
  • The first two episodes of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip detail this with the season premiere of the eponymous Show Within a Show. First, a controversial sketch is cut due to Executive Meddling prompting an on-air rant from the showrunner. This gets him fired and replaced by the main characters Matt and Danny. note  Now, they have to put on the premiere with the events of the failed premiere hanging over their heads. Not helping is that cast member Harriet used to date Matt and their past does come up. Additionally, the writers struggle to come up with sketches and the musical guest (The White Stripes) pulls out for medical reasons. Finally, they have a Eureka Moment from an offhand comment and open the show with the cast singing a promise to behave themselves. The rest of the series seems to avoid this.
  • GLOW (2017) is a heavily fictionalized retelling of the 1980s "Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling" promotion. The show is helmed by a notorious schlockmeister whose past work is barely above porn, and the women are hired for their looks first and foremost with hardly any having actual wrestling skills. Then their funding is abruptly cut off due to the producer's mother getting wind of the kind of money her son has been throwing around on it. Plus, the real life animosity between two of them after one slept with the other's husband gets them cast as the headlining face and heel, which the one who was cheated on naturally causes some issues over. By the time the pilot is actually made, the crew is outright comparing themselves to Andy Hardy characters and hoping they can also use sheer pluck to put on a good show against all odds.
  • The Frasier episode "Ham Radio" had the station put on a murder mystery radio show with Frasier directing. The whole thing goes Off the Rails. The cast includes Roz, Bulldog, Bulldog's girlfriend, Gil, and a veteran voice actor who's handling six different roles. The veteran gets into an argument with Frasier and quits, so Frasier replaces him with Niles. Niles, however, has to handle those same six roles without a chance to read the script beforehand. Roz has a root canal before the show (however, this helps her performance as her character is German and her garbled speech comes across as an accent). Bulldog comes down with a serious case of stage fright and his character ends up mute. His girlfriend only has one line ("Look out, he's got a gun!") which gets screwed up by her dyslexia ("Look out, he's got a nug!") And after his Final Speech is cut for time, Gil is determined to deliver it no matter how hard Frasier tries to stop him. Finally, Niles gets fed up with Frasier's direction, goes off script, and kills the entire cast of characters.

  • The Producers, when they weren't troubling their own production, were overjoyed with the 'bad luck' that struck it, until the worst disaster: audiences loved "Springtime for Hitler".
  • The play being performed in Curtains! is one big screwed-up mess, thanks to a lot of back-stage drama, an entire number being badly-choreographed, the lead actress giving a terrible performance, and a whole lot of murders happening. Fortunately, the detective investigating said murders is a Promoted Fanboy who puts just as much time into improving the quality of the play.
  • The Play That Goes Wrong and its sequels Peter Pan Goes Wrong and A Christmas Carol Goes Wrong cover the travails of the Cornley Polytechnic Drama Society, an amateur theater troupe who are suddenly thrust into some major productions which are embarrassingly out of their league and dissolve into a slapstick chaos of prop failures, blown cues, and the personal issues between the actors.

    Theme Parks 
  • In the former Disaster! attraction at Universal Studios Florida, the fictitious Disaster Studios runs into trouble with the production of its latest movie, Mutha Nature, due to the filming falling behind schedule and all of its actors being sent to rehab. Director Frank Kincaid, the owner of Disaster Studios, has sunk "every last cent" into the film, which will likely be a Creator Killer if it fails. As a result, they had to cast people from a studio tour (i.e. the people visiting the attraction) in major supporting roles.

    Video Games 
  • Nekyia Corridor, a VR movie in the Mass Effect universe, was hit badly by this and is famous in-universe for how much trouble it caused for the cast and crew as well as a terrorist attack. It was so bad that it formed a Story Arc on Mass Effect's Cerberus Daily News spin-off but it was a financial and critical success nonetheless.
    • Lightning struck Nathan Gold, the leading man, while strapped to the surface of a spaceship in the upper atmosphere of a gas giant which fried his suit's electronics and required him to get more oxygen.
    • Kate First, the leading lady, walked off the set with phone footage of her having a tantrum hit the extranet. Her tantrums had caused some of the movie to be rewritten.
    • The day after principal photography finished on the movie, the turian city Vallum of the planet Taetrus was obliterated after a ship crashed into the capital at near-FTL speeds which later turned out to be a terrorist attacknote . Unfortunately, there was a scene in which a lovelorn pilot crashed a ship into a city at FTL speeds. The scene is in the final production, only it cuts to black just before the disastrous impact.
  • In Dead Rising 4, newspaper articles found throughout the Willamette Memorial Megaplex reveal that the process of rebuilding the town's mall after the events of the first game went like this. Four workers died in the space of four months during construction, leading to people claiming that the place was cursed and forcing the developers to create a scholarship fund for the dead workers' children as compensation. Plans to build a "Zombietopia" amusement park as a future expansion to the mall, which would've featured animatronics of actual victims of the first outbreak (including Homeland Security agents Brad Garrison and Jessica McCarney) as well as a "Frank West Experience" roller coaster (even though West was a wanted criminal at the time), were met with howls of protest. All of this is before a second zombie outbreak hits Willamette, Colorado on the mall's opening day (Black Friday, no less).
  • In Fallout 4, exploring the Hubris Comics building reveals that the staff there were trying to produce a TV adaptation of the popular radio serial The Silver Shroud. If The End of the World as We Know It hadn't stopped production, all the infighting, arguments over casting, and other drama detailed in the Apocalyptic Logs you find in the building probably would have.
  • In Shining Song Starnova, Mika stars in a TV adaptation of the popular manga series Black Opera during her route. It quickly becomes apparent that the production is beset by multiple problems: a shoestring budget, a rushed production schedule (they need to shoot and post-produce five episodes in two months), a disinterested director who can’t be bothered to keep the main heroine’s name straight, a distinct lack of the gory fight scenes the series was known for, and the forced inclusion of borderline pornographic fan service scenes which led the original lead actress (whom Mika is replacing) to quit in disgust and leave everyone else involved deeply uncomfortable. Mika and Mr. Producer try to rework the show into something more faithful to the source material, even rekindling the director’s passion and inspiring everyone to work round the clock to get it done on time, but their efforts only make things worse in the long run and the show ends up looking like crap.
  • Occurs in the Meta Game _iCEY._; if you go to the Marionette Theater, you'll come across emails of various employees frustrated with the various shortcomings of developing the game beneath a Pointy-Haired Boss (the narrator). Examples include being given unrealistic tasks like "Make this level more fun/more beautiful", completing 80% of the theater level only for it to be dropped (and thus wasting the coder's time) and plonking down more requirements for the testers above the ones they have to do, not to mention one of the devs accusing their boss of having an affair with an intern. Depending on how things go out, the entire scenario ends with either the narrator's wife finding out about the affair and killing him or the narrator managing to against all odds secure further funding for the game via a sponsorship.
  • Just Cause 4 has Garland King's movie. Shooting in the middle of a war zone will do that. It says a lot that your first mission for her has you faking her death. Also, her final mission has the film getting confiscated by the Black Hand and you have to recover it in time for the premiere.

    Web Original 
  • The crappy student film Marble Hornets was called off due to "unworkable conditions," with the director getting increasingly hysterical and paranoid. Later analysis would reveal that in this case, "unworkable conditions" means "driven to near-insanity by the constant presence of a creepy guy with no face."
  • Tween Fest by Funny or Die and the Upright Citizens Brigade is a web show about the titular social media festival, a parody of YouTube culture. The festival's creator, Todd Crawford, organized it for his daughter Maddisyn, a teenage internet celebrity famous for her pimple-popping videos. Things go awry almost immediately, and they only get worse from there.
  • The sixteenth season of Red vs. Blue has Jax Jonez doing a film reenactment of the previous season that goes awry in all ways possible (helped by Jax himself growing too much of an ego and abusing its crew) - for starters, the very introduction in the show has Sarge killing an actor mistaking him for Season 15's villain. Still, Jax believes that due to tortured film productions resulting in great movies he's on the right path... though once he decides to use time machines to bring some past actors to the cast, the studio eventually gives up and cuts the funding.

    Western Animation 
  • The Simpsons episode "Radioactive Man" focuses on one of these. The naive producers of a movie adaptation of the popular comic book character decide to shoot their film in Springfield based solely on the town's misspelled Variety ad, and chaos ensues.
    • Local businesses promptly milk the cast and crew for all they're worth by jacking up prices at stores, restaurants, etc.
    • Not that the locals don't get some karmic payback; the Simpsons' own house was used for a location set and Homer is paid only a few thousand dollars for the resultant damage done to it to set up lights, etc.
    • Leading man Rainier Wolfcastle proves consistently unable to say Radioactive Man's catchphrase "Up and atom!" as anything but "Up and at them!"
    • Milhouse van Houten is picked from the local kids to play Sidekick Fallout Boy (because the best child that auditions, Bart Simpson, is not quite tall enough). The boy does not take well to the rigors of movie production and eventually flees the set, which results in the ruination of an expensive, one-take-only action setpiece. From there, an attempt is made to finish the movie with only previously shot footage of Milhouse, which gets the editor fired ("And with good cause!") Milhouse is tracked down to Bart's treehouse but even a pep talk from Mickey Rooney can't convince him to return to the set. The filmmakers try recasting the role with Rooney, but it's no more successful, and having run out of money thanks to the aforementioned gouging return to Hollywood, where they're warmly welcomed back by the locals to a town that will complete the film properly — and that just treats people right.
  • The Animaniacs episode "Hearts of Twilight", yet another Apocalypse Now spoof, has the Warners sent to track down an overbearing director (played by Jerry Lewis impersonation Mr. Director) and convince him to wrap up his big movie.
  • Metalocalypse: Every single in-universe album during the show's run. The first is done underwater in an attempt to sound as "analog" as possible, deafening the producer. But the biggest example of this trope is the second album: the band procrastinated big time getting it out, causing mass panic. When they finally got to it, Nathan demanded to perform in a suit of armor that made recording difficult, Pickles was starved while everyone else ate, Toki and Murderface produced their own song which, due to how bizarre it was, failed to even make it on the album and to top it all off, Guitarist Skwisgaar Skwigelf was forced by feedback to do his guitar parts skydiving, and thanks to Toki deleting the parts, they did it twice. And then when they did release the album, an anti-Dethklok terrorist group attacked Mordhaus, leaving said Mordhaus burned to the ground and their manager believed dead.
    • The best part? They experimented by recording the music ON water (It Makes Sense in Context), and then they all used the water they recorded the music on for mundane purposes.
    • The album after that: well, recording itself seemed to have gone fine, but Dethklok then faced accusations of racism, and their attempts to rectify that misconception just made them look worse, then when the album was shipped, a freak storm sank the ships with all the copies of the album, and Nathan destroyed the master copy after believing that the sinking was a sign the album shouldn't exist. This caused the economy to plummet. Their first attempt to rebuilt the economy, the Dethfairs, didn't go so well. Then their usual producer, Dick Knubbler, is fired and replaced with Abigail Remeltindrinc, causing tension between Nathan and Pickles, who both want in her pants. When Nathan succeeds, Pickles, furious that Nathan destroyed the album and got the girl, quits the band. At what's supposed to be their final concert, it's attacked by Mr. Selatcia, the president of their company is murdered, and Ofdensen is forced to reveal the truth about the prophecy surrounding Dethklok to them. There is a Hope Spot when Nathan apologizes for causing Dethklok's breakup, but then the Revengencers attack, and both Toki and Abigail are injured and captured. The fourth season ends with Ofdensen saying that they need to save them if they're going to finish the album that will prevent the Metalocalypse.
    • It's not like their live concerts were walks in the park either. Death and mutilation are commonplace, to the point that attendees must sign pain waivers absolving Dethklok of any responsibility for their injuries. (That fans happily sign them says something about their devotion.) In the very first concert we see an errant rocket launched their chef into helicopter blades. There's the concert where they end up brawling on stage. There's also the concert they didn't even perform because they had the blues. And of course the only reason they ended up saving Toki in the end was because they got busted using a hologram of Toki and the fans nearly rioted. And then there's what happened when they allowed Get Thee Hence to be their opening band: the fans got offended that they weren't Dethklok and attacked them.
    • Special note to their Dethwater concert, which Nathan didn't even want to perform because it technically wasn't for human listeners. General Crozier decided to go over the Tribunal's head and attack Dethklok at the concert, sending an entire army and an assassin to kill them. While the band lived, they lost a significant portion of their Klokateers and the fact that they nearly died drove them into seclusion.
    • But if we bring up live concerts, then there's the two Snakes 'n' Barrels concerts seen. The first one ended abruptly when everyone except Pickles overdosed on Totally Awesome Sweet Alabama Liquid Snake. The second one had the light show trigger a lingering side effect, causing hallucinations and bioluminescent snakes to shoot out of their orifices (yes, all of them), Pickles beat up Rikki Kixx, who usurped the band from him, and Dr. Rockso fell off the wagon. The best part is this was supposed to be a Straight Edge concert, and all the disasters caused everyone to drink and do drugs.
    • Nathan had an entire monologue on how troubled a Zazz Blammymatazz reunion was. The first time Rockso took acid and sprayed a woman with a hose, the second time he od'ed on cocaine he was trying to smuggle in the country, and the third time he was shot trying to steal cocaine from a cartel. Toki tries to make this current attempt succeed, but it nearly fails too when a reporter uncovered that Rockso was an Ephebophile who had been busted having sex with a 14 year old. They finally got the reunion to happen, but then Toki got freaked out by a bicentenial quarter and burned the building down.
  • An episode of What's New, Scooby-Doo? revolved around director Vincent Wong's attempt to make a re-make of a cheesy spy movie Spy Me A River. Besides the lead actor quitting halfway through, no one reading the script, Mystery Inc. being used as stunt doubles, and a Classically Trained Extra with eyes on the lead role, the production was haunted by the Faceless Phantom who turned out to be the director who wanted to sabotage the film after realising how awful it was.
  • The Looney Tunes short "(Blooper) Bunny" showcases every last mistake and pratfall performed by Bugs, Daffy, Elmer and Yosemite Sam. For a 20-second short for Bugs' 51 ½th Birthday.
  • The three-part "Starbright" storyline in Jem. Rival band The Misfits take over the studio and cause so much trouble for Jem and the Holograms that everybody involved quits. When The Misfits retool the film for themselves, they go massively overbudget and receive a dozen lawsuits from various unions. Jem and the Holograms decide to make their own movie, with theirs being a massive success while The Misfits' movie flops hard.
  • Rugrats had an episode where Phil and Lil were hired as actors for a diaper commercial. The director was a massive prima donna, Phil refused to even do a simple action (possibly stage fright) and Lil ended up causing chaos chasing down a toy car. The director gets so fed up, he kicks the twins out, with Betty all too happy to take them out. However, when the commercial proves to be a hit, the director attempts to crawl back and win them back. Betty isn't having any of it and the twins, along with Tommy (who was told this story) just walk away.
  • The Miraculous Ladybug episode "Horrificator" has Marinette's class trying to film a horror movie at their school which suffers from such problems as the lead actress being too frightened by the monster costume used to even do one scene, constant in-fighting amongst the crew, and the aforementioned lead actress being turned into an actual monster and terrorizing the other students.
  • The South Park episode "Cartmanland" documents Cartman's turbulent experience with running an amusement park of his own — from beginning to end.
    • Cartman inherits one million dollars from his deceased grandmother note . He selfishly refuses to give any of the money to his friends, and doesn't listen to advice from adults on what to do with it. Instead, Cartman uses his earned funds on fulfilling his lifelong dream: owning the local amusement park, North Park Funland. The previous owner, Frank Fun, is hesitant to sell the park because it was such a financial failure, but gives in when Cartman states he won't intend to run it as a business; the park would just be open for only him and him only.
    • The glee and excitement of having a theme park, rechristened Cartmanland, all to himself becomes short-lived for Cartman; he launches a TV ad campaign solely to gloat that nobody — "Especially [my friends] Stan and Kyle!" — can come to the park (except himself). This triggers Stan and Kyle to attempt sneaking inside the park. In response, Cartman sends them away and hires a security guard to keep out any further trespassers. However, upon realizing that Cartman had already spent every last penny inherited on opening the park, the guard refuses to work without a paid salary. Turning down Cartman's desperate and weak offer of paying him with free rides, the guard suggests that Cartman allow two people per day into the park, with the admission charges going toward his salary. Cartman reluctantly does so.
    • The rising costs for security, food, maintenance, and utilities cause Cartman to begrudgingly let more and more people into his park, and thus the attendance becomes well in the thousands, making the park a smash success. Business experts mistake Cartman's "You can't come" technique as an ingenious marketing ploy to turn around the once-struggling park. By this point, Cartman is utterly livid, since now he won't have the park to himself anymore and will subsequently have to deal with long lines (which he loathes, as established earlier in the episode). When Frank Fun visits the park and congratulates him on his success, Cartman angrily demands his money back, ultimately selling the park back to him for a profit...
    • ...but just when he thinks that he's out of the woods, Cartman is hit with one hell of a Humiliation Conga: his refunded money is quickly taken away to pay off the IRS and a lawsuit by his friend Kenny's parents (he had died on the rollercoaster), leaving him with all of his one million dollars down the toilet and $13,000 in debt owed to the IRS. And when Cartman frantically tries buying the park back — seeing that this would be his only chance to pay off his debt — the park owner refuses because of how successful it now is. To put a cherry on top of it: the episode ends with Cartman sulking off to throw rocks at the park, only to be pepper-sprayed by his former security guard!
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic episode "Made in Manehattan", Coco Pommel didn't have the time or budget for as big of a play as she imagined. Not helping is the fact that the Midsummer Theater Revival was abandoned for such a long time that the area was grown over. No one pony could restore the stage, and when the original stage collapsed, it seemed hopeless to Coco.
    • In the episode "Horse Play", Twilight's attempt to produce a play falls apart rapidly. The first sign of trouble is her decision to cast Princess Celestia as herself, only for it to be revealed that Celestia cannot act to save her life. After Celestia causes an on-set accident that destroys the prop sun that was supposed to be used, Pinkie Pie's attempts to replace it (with a balloon, a burning marshmallow, and a huge ball of fireworks she bought from Trixie in a back alley at midnight) end up destroying the sets. Fortunately, at the end of the episode, Celestia is able to quickly come up with a plan to fix the performance.
  • In Bojack Horseman:
    • The second season revolves around the production on the Secretariat biopic and how the film is set back both by Bojack's personal issues and studio interference:
      • The first day of shooting was a complete disaster. Bojack couldn't get into character and kept delivering his somber lines in an overly jovial manner. A tragic accident involving an assistant tripping over a cable leaves her face disfigured and destroys the entire set.
      • Production is delayed after co-star Corduroy Jackson-Jackson dies while performing autoerotic asphyxiation.
      • The studio cuts an emotionally crucial scene about Secretariat's decision to send his brother to Vietnam because test audiences thought it was too sad. This leads to Bojack convincing director Kelsey Jannings to assemble a skeleton crew and break into the Nixon Presidential Library and Museum to shoot the scene guerilla-style. Because of her insubordination, Kelsey is kicked off the project.
      • Abe D'Catfish is brought onboard to fill in the director's chair, and his leniency towards the studios demands turns the film into a shallow crowd-pleaser. This causes Bojack to lose his passion for the project and when he reveals to Abe that he thinks the film's becoming "a piece of shit", Abe loses it and forces Bojack to do repetitive takes just to get back at him.
      • With only a few months left in production, Bojack leaves Hollywoo to catch up with an old friend in New Mexico. With their lead completely off the grid, the studio is forced to reshoot the entire movie and put Bojack back in post using a CGI duplicate. By the time production has wrapped, none of Bojack's original scenes have made it in and he's been completely replaced by his digital double.
    • In Season 5, Bojack's would-be comeback vehicle Philbert takes it Up to Eleven.
      • The show's creator Flip McVicker is a pretentious hack whose sole guiding principle is True Art Is Incomprehensible, and the show is only made because it happens to have the same name that Princess Carolyn was planning to give her child, which she takes as a sign she should do it. And she's only able to get it greenlit as a web original series for, which is literally just a clock up to this point.
      • The website owners start doing especially ridiculous Executive Meddling, as they naturally don't want the show to have any reminders that there are lots of other ways people can find out what time it is, taking out all references to clocks et al.
      • Vance Waggoner, essentially every major celebrity social offense scandal of the previous 20 years, is hired to play Bojack's cop partner, and doesn't take long to piss off enough people that they conspire to get him kicked off the show with yet another scandal. He's then replaced with the highly unsuitable Mr. Peanutbutter, bringing up Bojack's long-standing antipathy for him on the set.
      • Mr. Peanutbutter's insistence on doing his own stunts leads Bojack to demand the same, not realizing just how dangerous the next one is. This results in him driving a motorcycle off a five story building, badly injuring his back and delaying the production while also getting started on painkillers, despite his previous addictions.
      • Flip's writing gets increasingly out of control, with no one else on the crew being able to understand a thing. Ultimately, a halfway-typed logline for a scene in a subway results in an expensive submarine set being built since it makes just as much sense as anything else, and they then have to figure out a way to work it in.
      • Flip was also ripping off corny jokes from Popsicle sticks for his one-liners, and once the show goes public one of the joke writers comes calling and threatening a copyright lawsuit. Princess Carolyn has to take several bizarre meetings with both him and his former partner to defuse it.
      • Against all odds the show is a smash success and renewed for a second season. Unfortunately, Flip puts it into production right away, at the same time that Bojack has collapsed into a full-blown painkiller addiction which has serious effects on his mental health. Thanks to the main set being an exact copy of his real house, he becomes increasingly confused between the show and reality, and ends up genuinely strangling his co-star Gina and needing to be pulled off before he kills her.
      • It ends up all being for naught when the website is destroyed by a sexual harassment scandal and no one else will pick the show up. Princess Carolyn then unceremoniously dumps Flip as a client, leaving him unable to get work anywhere and having completely lost his mind.
  • In the SpongeBob SquarePants episode Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy VI: The Motion Picture, Spongebob and Patrick set out to make a Mermaid Man and Barnacle Boy movie with the superheroes themselves after finding out a big-budget studio version will be using...
  • In the Ducktales 2017 episode "The Duck Knight Returns!", Scrooge is having his movie studio create a big-budget remake of the Show Within a Show version of Darkwing Duck. It seems to have been doing fine for the most part...up until the episode's events, where things quickly go to Hell.
    • The director, Alistair Boorswan, is very much in the mindset that True Art Is Angsty, and has turned the hero into an unrecognizable Darker and Edgier version of himself. Scrooge also notes that he's been going over-budget.
    • Executive Meddling does a number on the plot. Scrooge's demands are initially fairly simple, as he hasn't been to a movie in a long time (make it in color and give the villain a mustache to twirl); then, upon realizing that the movie won't appeal to the younger demographic, he gives his nephew Dewey free reign over the final scenes, which leads to stuff like chainsaw jugglers and elaborate dance numbers being brought in, ultimately clashing in tone with the rest of the movie.
    • No one bothered to tell the original Darkwing Duck, Jim Starling, that the movie was being made. As a result, Jim attempts to crash the production so he can take the new Darkwing's place in the final scenes...which ultimately ends with him destroying the set in a fit of insanity and (seemingly) dying in an explosion.
    • The last straw comes when Boorswan, hoping to use footage of the two Darkwing Ducks fighting in his movie, discovers that Dewey ended up taping over the entire thing with a video of him dancing. Scrooge promptly cancels the movie's production.
  • The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius had the episode "Lights! Camera! Danger!" where Jimmy and his friends win a contest to make their own movie. However, the director changes up Jimmy's script and has them film in more risky locations, such as having them jump off a rooftop with wires or do a romance scene on a broken rollercoaster. It's revealed that the director is secretly Professor Calamitous, who is invoking all this danger to try and kill Jimmy and his friends, even replacing props with killer robots.


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