Meta TV

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There’s no TV humour that I love quite as much as meta references. And I don’t mean when a TV show really lets you know that it’s a TV show, but when a show makes jokes or references to other TV shows or movies, either just for fun or because of a certain guest star. A few examples of this coming up after the jump.

First up is “Contract,” an episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. This one’s pretty brief, and featured Mary McCormack from In Plain Sight as Mary Shannon. The joke? If I remember correctly, Mary says she has to be back in Albuquerque at 10, and the detectives question what there is to do in Albuquerque at 10. In Plain Sight, as you probably know, is set in Albuquerque and airs at 10pm, right after Law & Order: CI.

“Back to the Future IV: Judgment Day,” the episode of Spin City where Christopher Lloyd guest stars and the writers wink at the audience a lot with Back to the Future jokes. Okay, so it’s not quite a TV meta reference, but I have a soft spot for Spin City since I grew up watching reruns. It was great until Charlie Sheen took over from Michael J. Fox. After that, the show lost a lot of its pep.

The episode that inspired this post (and is pictured above): “Donut Run,” a second-season episode of one of my most favourite shows ever, Veronica Mars. I’m only halfway through Lost currently, so when I first watched this episode, the numbers obviously didn’t register as anything special. This time, however, I noticed the first few numbers on the fortune matched the ones from Lost, so when the episode ended a few minutes later, I went back and checked. Lo and behold, it was the same set of numbers! And even more TV-meta-awesomely is that at the time, VM and Lost shared a timeslot.

Another In Plain Sight-related joke: Allison Janney’s character, introduced in “When Mary Met Marshall,” used to work for the president. Given that I love The West Wing, as well as Allison Janney/CJ, this one made me grin like a fool, which is what I tend to do when TV does something really awesome.

Basically everything that happens on Community.

If you’ve got any other examples (and I’m sure there are hundreds upon thousands, but these were the ones I remembered off the top of my head), let me know.

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  1. […] Random meta joke of the episode: The actress who plays Jenny was actually in Degrassi. As I’ve said before, meta-TV jokes make me laugh. […]



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