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Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk), is a struggling actor whose last big role was as pilot Cash Wayne on the Sci-Fi show Spectrum, before it was cancelled in the middle of its first season. Many years later, Spectrum still has fans, and Wray's costar, Jack Moore (Nathan Fillion), who played Captain James Raaker, lives the life Wray wishes he had. Wray now spends his time attending at sci-fi conventions panels, hating Spectrum more each day. Bobbie (Mindy Sterling), his booking agent, attempts to squeeze every penny she can from Wray, making his life that much worse.

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Tropes include:

  • Accidental Unfortunate Gesture: Wray's action figure is either slamming his fist down, or.. I'll Be in My Bunk.
  • The Ace: Jack Moore
    Jack (Over the phone): Poker til the sun came up. And then somehow it turned into a quinceanera.
    Wray (At fan convention): I like your life so much better than mine.
  • invokedActor-Shared Background: Wray had a role in "the Abraham Lincoln movie with vampires". Alan Tudyk played Stephen A. Douglas in that movie.
  • invokedAdaptation Displacement: The Ambivalence film trilogy largely displaced the books.
    Janet Carney: I love post-apocalyptic adventures. Have you read the books?
    Rico Java: No!
    Janet Carney: Me neither. So good.
    Rico Java: Right! My favourite one was probably maybe two.
  • Ambiguous Disorder: Invoked with Spastic Seasonal Percoutasis.
  • Animated Credits Opening: The show Spectrum gets these.
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  • Australian Wildlife: Girth Hemsworth survived the outback by eating wild butterflies, which he states are "wicked poisonous". (He later describes a cut on his forehead as stinging like a butterfly bite.)
  • Baby-Doll Baby: An entire doll convention is taking place at the same hotel as the scifi convention. Tricia Helfer treats her doll as her child, helping her cope with the trauma of her first baby doll dying in a fire.
  • Berserk Button: Do not insinuate that Tricia Helfer's porcelain doll is anything but a real child.
    • Do not do an ape imitation in Jerry Lansing Mo-Cap classes. Apes are the domain of that hack, Andy Serkis.
  • Blatant Lies: Wray's claim that he would choose a Spectrum movie over Clint Eastwood movie.
  • Blackface: Wray previously voiced Rigamarole in Wassup, Bitch?, which is described as Vocal Blackface by Casey.
  • Blood Oath: When Wray makes Bobbie his agent, she is too old-fashioned to have him sign a contract. Instead, she simply offers her hand,... then when he goes to shake, she grabs his wrist, stabs his palm with a meat fork, and spreads his blood on a contract.
    Bobbie (holding up contract to the heavens): Through this blood, we are bound. (Dramatic Thunder)
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  • Brutal Honesty: Jack's agent Susan is this. When Jack has a meeting with his other three agents in person, she teleconferences in. She is the one that tells Liam Hemsworth has replaced Jack in his Flagship Franchise, and another (fictional) Hemsworth has replaced him in another franchise. After Jack leaves, she enters from the next room.
    Susan Wake up, your film career is over.
  • The Cameo:
  • Camp Gay: Leslie Jordan's character uses both this and Sassy Gay Friend as a ruse to get close to older conservative women before convincing them that they have turned him straight in order to have sex with them. Can also be seen as Camp Straight.
  • Catchphrase: Cash Wayne apparently routinely yelled "I will see you in hell!" on Spectrum, while slamming his fist on a table, if Wray's fan interactions are anything to go by.
  • Celebrity Paradox:
    • Sean Maher appears and talks about his time as Simon Tam from Firefly. This brings into question who played Captain Malcolm Reynolds and Hoban Washburne in this universe.
    • Tangentially related to that, during Wray's panel there is a person cosplaying as Captain Hammer, bringing into question who played Captain Hammer and Penny.
    • When trying to describe Louise (played by Tricia Helfer), Wray describes her as looking like one of the cylons from Battlestar Galactica (2003)
  • Chekhov's Gag: Karen is introduced exiting a bathroom, having some digestive distress, from eating another fan's bourbon balls. At the Platinum Party, a fan tires to give a drunk Wray some bourbon balls, though Karen stops him from eating (he just orders some bourbon instead). After his disastrous panel, Wray meets Sean Astin, and Wray gives him the bourbon balls in revenge for Astin encouraging the use of "retarding".
  • Chewing the Scenery: Bobbi, when she tries to help Wray rehearse the audition script for an Eastwood film.
  • Clothes Make the Maniac: A possible, though unlikely, explanation for Jerry Lansing behaviour. He claims early motion capture suits were made of lead (lined with asbestos).
  • Cloudcuckoolander Jerry Lansing, judging by his panel, and later, his Mo-Cap classes.
    Jerry: Who likes Jesus? I have a theory that he wasn't crucified. I think vikings killed Jesus Christ.
  • Cock Fight: An interesting take on this between the gay Sean Maher and posing-as-gay Leslie Jordan, who are both attracted to Bobbie (a cis woman). A fight ensues when she separately invites both of them for a drink and they show up at the bar around the same time.
  • invokedCompletely Different Title: Spectrum was retitled Spacey Plane Shoot-'Em-Up in Australia.
  • Country Matters: Girth Hemsworth calls Wray either this or a "cut".
  • Creepy Doll: The dolls at the convention and the people who treat them as real. YMMV.
  • Cue Card Pause: Faith's letter to Wray has at the bottom of the page "So I guess what I'm trying to say can be summed up in one word. Over". Not "the relationship is over", but "this letter is continued over on the other side of the paper". The letter continues "And that one word is respect." Due to Wray's reaction, Faith proceeds to edit out the second page.
  • Cure Your Gays: Used by the fictional Leslie Jordan (who is openly gay in real life) in order to convince women to sleep with him.
  • Death Course: The Ambivalence Course, leading to a high death count at Shock-A-Con.
  • invokedDeleted Role: When rehersing the opening scene of Of Mice and Men: The Musical, Wray gets annoyed at a voice actor's overzealous hooting. When the curtain rises for the premiere, Wray is roasting an owl prop over a fire.
  • invokedDirect-to-Video: Exaggerated - Wassup, Bitch? was only released as an extra on a VHS tape of Truck and Tractor Pull bloopers.
  • The Doll Episode: Episode seven.
  • Dream Within a Dream: The Season Two finale opens with this.
  • Dresses the Same: Wray's assistant, Karen, dresses the same as him all the time. She even manages to appear at Wray's door with the same shirt (including arm-through-head-hole) less than thirty seconds after he put it on. She claims this is so she can act as a decoy if necessary (see Paper-Thin Disguise).
  • Dodgy Toupee: Bobbie is occasionally seen adjusting her wig. When Wray knocks on Bobbie's door for the second time, Leslie Jordan answers wearing it.
  • Enhance Button: Use in Doctor-Cop-Lawyer, to view a murderer's face in the reflection of a bystander's sunglasses... which were enhanced from a different bystander's sunglasses in the original image.
  • Eye Scream: Under pressure from the fans at his pannel, Wray tries to return Ari Stidham's lucky pen. He does so by throwing it, but hits another fan in the eye. note 
  • invokedFake American: This is the current trend, resulting in Jack being told he has lost two roles to two of the Hemsworth Brothers.
    Jess: It's an industry wide trend. All leading men are being replaced with Australians.
    Bryce: They're just more American.
  • Fake Static: Of the "lost signal drop" variant. Wray tries this on a call to Jack. On a landline.
  • Fan Disservice: One episode opens up with Bobbie wearing a rather Stripperific cosplay outfit.
  • Fictional Counterpart: Spectrum for Firefly.
  • Forced Out of the Closet: Wray accidentally does this to Stutter, who he thought was already out. However, Stutter was not outed as being gay (that is fine in Hollywood), but for being a Republican.
  • Former Child Star: Tiffany
    Dream!Tiffany: I'm releasing a sequel to my sex tape. Will you come to the premiere.
  • Funny Background Event: The bar scene in episode seven.
  • Girls with Moustaches: Sean Maher sees one on Bobbie. She then uses Wray's razors to shave it off.
  • Going Down with the Ship: Jack Moore does not do this is Wray's dream, which reflects him being the only successful actor from Spectrum.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: When Randy Lane lifts his shirt to reveal an old stunt injury (that he somehow aquired on Reading Rainbow), Wray blocks the camera.
  • Groin Attack: When stuntman Randy Lane's job is threatened by Wray declaring he doing his own stunts, Randy uses the consume's harness to enact one of these.
  • Having a Gay Old Time: Sean Astin uses "retarding" in its original sense (slowing, impeding). Wray tries to use it, but makes the mistake of doing so on stage, in front of several people in wheelchairs.
  • Head Desk: In the wings during the impromptu premiere of Of Mice and Men: The Musical Wray is told that the show will be officially premiering Off-Broadway. However, his role is being recast to a big-name British actor. He then head desks, into some make-up, which he spreads to cover his black eye.
  • High Turnover Rate: While in his agency's parking lot, Wray call up his agent, Stephanie. Expecting Stephanie's assistant Gordon, he instead gets Daniel, Gordan's assistant, as Stephanie has been fired and Gordan has replaced her. When he reaches his agent's office, he finds Gordan has been fired, and Daniel has replaced him, with Pascal as his new assistant. In the meeting with Daniel, Wray drops his phone on the floor, and after reaching down to pick it up, finds Daniel has been replaced by Pascal. Pascal immediately fires his assistant. Unfortunately, he gets a new assistant within two minutes. When Wray goes to pick up his car, he finds his former agents are now working as valets. It's a volatile time.
  • Hollywood Genetics: Dawn's twin children were born three weeks apart. They are also different races, and the black one may be Wray's child.
  • Ignoring By Blending: When Wray starts ranting about characters with humps, the bartender turns on the blender for a good fifteen seconds. Then the bartender adds a few ingredients and repeats. Twice.
  • Instantly Proven Wrong: In the smoothie bar:
    Wray: Did you tell them that I'm manly? Did you tell them that? 'Cause I am.
    Employee: (Handing to Wray) Hell Kittly Lemonade Spritz.
    Wray: (To himself) A little light on the sprinkles.
  • Intoxication Ensues: Wray figures the best way to keep Tiffany sober is to drink any alcohol she orders. Problem is, they are at an open bar.
  • Ironic Nickname: Bucky got her nickname not from her buckteeth, but because of an incident in her childhood where she was pinned under a buck (elk) for several days, and forced to eat the family dog, Lucky.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: When Wray ties to watch the final episode on Vimeo (where Con Man was released, behind a paywall).
    Wray: Someone uploaded it to Vimeo. I love Vimeo. Wait, paywall.
  • Locked in a Room: Happens to Wray and Lou Ferrigno at The Long Con, due to wandering through a self-locking door. They are joined by Bobbie and Leslie Jordan, the Tooth Fairy, Jerry Lansing and his groupies, and bunch of bystanders who just so happen to have skills that can be applied to theatre (a comic book artist starts painting scenery, and a voice actor does voice acting). Each time someone enters, Wray calls for them to hold the door, only for it to shut just before they grab it. Finally, during a Rousing Speech by Lou Ferrigno, Karen enters and successfully hold the door open, only for Wray, moved by the speech, to tell her to close it. The Tooth Fairy despairs over his missing medication.
  • Lost in Transmission: Due to the bartender's blender.
    Wray: ...Cynthia Nixon, 1986 Chicago Bears, and a six inch piece of string. And I'm like "What, I don't think so. not on a Tuesday."...
  • Manly Tears: Invoked by Wray during his video game voice audition, when he is asked to voice a character who was shot in the ass, as his voice was not as deep and manly as the other two actors.
  • Massive Numbered Siblings: Jack loses a role to Liam Hemsworth, and another roles to (the fictional) Chip Hemsworth. When he asks how many Hemsworths there are, one of his agents does not know, while another starts counting on his fingers, getting to six before the scene changes.
  • Master of Disguise: Stutter successfully disguises himself as a tree, bed and seat, only being seen after he reveals himself.
  • Meet Cute: Wray is standing in line at a hotel, and tries to put down the handle on his luggage. Instead, the handle jams, and the luggage is forced backwards into the legs of Louise, knocking her down. Wray helps her up, claiming "she fell". At the end of their conversation, he knocks her down the same way.
  • Mic Drop: Wray finishes his "The Reason You Suck" Speech at the end of Shock-A-Con with this. It is a lapel mic, so he drags it along the floor by the hip-transmitter for a few seconds, before untangling himself and redropping the mic and transmitter.
  • Mistaken for Pregnant: Wray does this at the Platinum Party
    Woman: The Alien Baby was awesome.
    Wray: I bet you think that about all babies because you're about to have one.
    Woman: One what?
  • Mistaken for Profound: Tiffany is despairing over how her life has turned out. "It's harder to become anything you want once you start actually becoming who you are." Wray turns around, and finds she read the last line off a shampoo bottle.
  • Modesty Towel: Bobbie wears one after her night with Jerry Lansing. When Wray drops his coffee on his laptop, she offers it to clean up the spill. He adamantly refuses.
  • Mystery Meat: Bobbie's massage parlour at Half Foods also sells "Roadside Discovery" sausages. Ingredients include foal prepuce and pig anus.
  • Noble Bigot: After talking about how killing job-stealing foreigners does not count as murder because they are not citizens (He is talking about Australians), Stutter reveals his main goal at Shock-A-Con is to ensure Tiffany does not fall Off the Wagon.
  • invokedOld Shame: Spectrum is this for Wray. Problem is, it is also his Star-Making Role.
  • Only in It for the Money: Wray when he is told that going to a comic book store and being on a panel will pay $5,000.
    Milo: So you can to tonight? Great, you can go tonight.
    Wray: No.
    Milo: Just say yes.
    Wray: No.
    Milo: Say yes.
    Wray: No.
    Milo: They're going to pay you five thousand dollars.
    Wray: Yeah, I'll do it.
  • Paper-Thin Disguise: After the faux pas mentioned in Having a Gay Old Time, Wray escapes pursuit when his assistant, Karen, acts as a decoy by being dressed the same as him, and complaining about his life. It works, despite Karen being played by Felicia Day.
    Karen: Retarding. Retarding. I, uh, hate science fiction fans. I don't appreciate what I've got. Trophies and awards are the only sense of self worth that I have. I, uh, don't see what I have, because my head is stuck so far up my own ass. Ugh, ah, argh, I have a drinking problem.
    Pursuer: That's him.
  • Punch! Punch! Punch! Uh Oh...: Wray tries punching Girth Hemsworth. After missing twice, he manages to gently push his fist into Girth's face. Girth is unaffected by this, but his face cuts Wray's hand.
    Girth: Look, honestly, I feel that's kind of disappointing. Have you punched people before?
  • Prematurely Bald: Jack is shown to be this, hiding it with a toupee.
  • Psycho Ex-Girlfriend: Dawn for Wray.
  • Rasputinian Death: The dog in Of Mice And Men: The Musical requires six shots from a revolver, several seconds of automatic gunfire, and more, due to Jerry Lansing's Large Ham portrayal.
  • Really Gets Around: Bobbie looks like someone's granny. Despite this, she often has sex with convention guests.
  • Repeating so the Audience Can Hear: In this case, Wray's audience is Faith.
    Jack: I'm pissed. Faith is a no-show to my Spectrum meeting with my agents. Which makes me think it's your fault.
    Wray (to Faith): Faith is a no-show for the Spectrum meeting with your agents. Oh no.
  • Scary Black Man: The fictional counterparts of Michael Dorn and Kevin Grevioux, who are on a panel with Wray about overcoming racist stereotypes and bigotry. Both of them admit to becoming murderously angry at racist stereotypes. Wray's assistant/bodyguard Marion, a black man, also fits this trope after hearing Wray's stereotypical Black voice for an all-around racist cartoon he did called Wassup, Bitch?
    Kevin Grevioux: Sometimes I black out, and when I come to someplace else hours later, I wake up with a blunt object covered in some poor guy's blood.
    Michael Dorn: I do the same thing. I have to watch the news to find out who I killed.
  • Shout-Out: Given that the show is set at a Sci-Fi Convention, it is inevitable. Fans are seen dressed as Darth Vader, Peggy Carter and Misty.
    • During the Locked in a Room sequence above, one of the characters should "Hodor" when some new people enter the room.
  • Show Within a Show: Spectrum, Doctor-Cop-Lawyer, Wassup, Bitch?, and a few others. So far, only scenes from Spectrum have been shown. There is also I'm With Stupid (Of Mice and Men: The Musical) on stage.
  • Side Bet: The crew of Jack Moore's latest project bet on who he will flirt with first. The Snow Guy's tells Ben that he won the pool betting on Martina, the makeup girl.
  • Stating the Simple Solution: Doctor-Cop-Lawyer and the Spectrum movie begin filming on the same date. Wray chooses Doctor-Cop-Lawyer, and gives a long "The Reason You Suck" Speech to the rest of the cast. Tiffany suggests moving Spectrum back, and so Wray tries to pretend the last three minutes did not happen.
  • That Came Out Wrong: Diego Alfonso's (Jon Huertas) description of a manly man is a series of these.
    Diego : He must be such a manly man, that there is another man inside of him... No, it shouldn't sound like that... Like a Russian nesting doll man; like a man, inside of another man, inside of another man, inside of another man... Nope, no, no, no, nothing like that, no, no... Like, it's as if he has swallowed many men... That's it.
  • This Is Gonna Suck: Janet and Rico think this about hosting Talk-A-Con, covering Shock-A-Con continuously for the entire duration.
    Rico: 24 hours a day? Just you and me? That sounds like a terrible idea, and one that I am just hearing for the first time now.
    Janet: I am not looking forward to this.
  • Three-Way Sex: Bobbie, Leslie Jordan and Sean Maher. No, really.
  • Transgender Fetishization: Sean Maher's character mistakenly believes that Wray's convention booker Bobbie (a cis woman) is male, then translates Wray's garbled explanation to mean that she is transgender. He immediately finds her "courageousness" attractive to the point of fetishizing her and desiring sex with "the real you". It does not help that Bobbie plays along.
  • Vocal Dissonance: The characters voiced by Michael Dorn and Kevin Grevioux. Michael Dorn voices the Warrior King Tartanos, whose high-pitch speech is full of cutesy alliteration. Kevin Grevioux voices the Finicky Dragon Sparkle, whose deep speech is mostly creative threats.
  • White-Dwarf Starlet: Wray's landlord Dale. He used to stunt-double for actresses before stunt-women. Now he spends his day in his old dresses, falling off ladders and asking people to punch him in the face.
  • Worst News Judgment Ever: Talk-A-Thon provides 24 hour coverage of Shock-A-Con. Including of the empty venue overnight.
  • invokedWTH, Casting Agency?: Lou Ferrigno decides that, in his adaptation of Of Mice and Men, he should play George and Wray should play Lennie, despite Lou being 11cm/4in taller and 50kg/100lb heavier.
  • You Look Familiar: Invoked. Casper Van Dien plays every bartender (including a smoothie bartender) in the series.
  • You Wouldn't Like Me When I'm Angry: Do not get Casey Wingwall's (Seth Green) hackles up.
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