questionsdo you enjoy meta references in tv shows?

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I enjoy the cross-pollination of Abed from Community into Cougar Town.

Abed talks about his appearance on Cougar Town during Community.

Then a copuple weeks later Abed is in the background of the cafe in Cougar Town.

Gold.

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I love it. The only problem is that those references can seem very odd and misunderstood in re-runs.

Also, I don't watch enough variety or quantity of TV to get them all. But I still like them and don't mind a few when I don't understand.

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I do tend to enjoy them. I like when writers put in little bits that more dedicated fans would get but the casual viewer might miss. I particularly have enjoyed the Firefly references in Castle. Sometimes they're not so subtle (Castle dressing up as a "space cowboy" in full Malcolm Reynolds Browncoat attire and his daughter making some comment about that being so five years ago was especially fun). But I still enjoy them.

When characters or locations from other shows appear I like to pretend that the different shows all happen in the same universe and the different characters could pass each other on the street just randomly.

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My favorite anime, Gintama, does it all the time, to the degree that it's a staple aspect of its comedy, right up there with character and character-development humor. It ranges from noting budgetary constraints on animation to one of the voice actors being involved in a parody of a scene from another anime he was involved in.

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Another Community joke was done over their first three seasons. First and second season's Halloweend episode, Beattlejuice is mentioned, and when they do it in the third season, you see him walk by in the background.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ayaRznft9H4

Carefully planned jokes like that are rewarding for the fans clever enough to catch them, I say bring them on.

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It works for Community and Arrested Development because that was part of the setup from the get go. For other shows, meta humor is often a signifier of a decline in quality. Simpsons seemed to start doing primarily self-referential jokes around season 8 or 9 and well...

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@woothulhu: I don't think that video points it out, but when Castle is in full Browncoat attire, if you look on the bookcase to his right (left side of the screen) you might be able to make out a little nuthin' part...well, it's only nuthin' til you ain't got one. Seems a certain catalyzer turned up on set that day.

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The Castle show makes frequent meta references to Firefly. When I recognize them it really cheers me up but then depresses me because I really miss Firefly.

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I like them. I catch more in books than TV, though.

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Another very subtle Firefly reference on Season 1 of Castle.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_L-uoxmfe8

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Love them. The more the better.

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30 Rock is great at them. I love the ones I understand and don't usually worry about the others. The ones I dislike are the ones where I know it was some reference that I didn't get. The reason I dislike those is because it makes me think I'm missing out on something really funny (and I probably am), but I wouldn't want them to stop.

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I love them when done well. The current season of 30 Rock has been a parade of jabs at the show's critics and NBC, reminiscent of but pointedly more defiant than Arrested Development's third-season, imminent-cancellation pleas for attention.

These sorts of meta references, including just about every episode of Community, permit depths of commentary usually unavailable to writers.

A quick word on Arrested Development. Part of the genius of that show was its meta-references that could only be discovered through rewatching. Take Season 2: Buster doesn't lose his hand until the end of the season, but the writers littered the entire season with references to the incident. I don't recall seeing this sort of subtle, "foreshadowing" meta-reference anywhere else, but it is incredibly effective: in essence, they permit the viewer to "unlock" many new jokes that literally could not be discovered on the first viewing.

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Greg Garcia shows are big on this too. In the first My Name is Earl, there's a song from Yes Dear. In an Early Raising Hope there's a news story bout a man finishing his list a few towns over.

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In general I like that sort of thing because it makes me feel like an "insider", which I suspect is the main purpose. It's also sometimes a call-out to fans of older material. My friends and my favorite moment in Castle is when Nathan Fillian is headed to a Halloween party wearing his Mal Reynolds costume from Firefly. He and his on-screen daughter have a merry conversation about how he wore that "space cowboy" costume five years ago (when Firefly was aired) and him responding how much he loves the costume. For Firefly fans, especially those of us who've had the good fortune to see Fillian at conventions and know how much he loves that role it was a really fun TV moment.

Ah, that's what I get for not reading the previous comments (wanted to capture my own thoughts first), gt0163c and wlfbrim beat me to the reference.

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I'm surprised that Psych didn't come up in this discussion so far. A majority of their jokes, and even themes revolve around other shows.

My wife and I enjoy the Firefly references in Castle. Totally missed the reference in http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=W_L-uoxmfe8 the first time around. Thanks for the link @wilfbrim!

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In Leverage, Hardison often uses the names of the actors who portrayed The Doctor (Dr Who) as an alias.
I point this out, excitedly, to my wife who just shrugs and keeps watching...

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@mml666: They did something similar in Star trek TNG. In the episode ¨The Neutral Zone¨ when Deanna Troi is conferring with Clare Raymond concerning her family tree during this episode, the console on Troi’s desk displays a list of the first six actors who starred as the Doctor in Doctor Who.

Colin Baker; Tom Baker; Peter Davidson; William Hartnell; Jon Pertwee; Patrick Troughton.

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@bogie21: "Dual Spires"--enough said! As a huge fan of both Psych and Twin Peaks, I was geeking out during the entire episode.

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This is what I call really BIG inside jokes. If your in the know its awesome if not you just think it's strange.

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Like a few other posters here, I like how Community does it by having a character who's obsessed with TV and can therefore make jokes about stuff like being in a bottle episode, or predicting the future based on his knowledge of TV plots and twists.

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When they are done well, I greatly enjoy them.

The series CHUCK used them often, regularly referring to STAR TREK, STAR WARS, SPIES LIKE US, THE TERMINATOR, SUPERMAN and FIREFLY. The producers of the show would then bring in stars from these movies and tv shows as guest stars.

These included Mark Hamill, Brandon Routh, Chevy Chase, Scott Bakula, Kristen Kruek, Summer Glau and Linda Hamilton.

The shows main character was also portrayed as a dedicated gamer. Most of the main cast have lengthy credits voice acting in video games.

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@insightpatch: The old Saturday morning animated series GARFIELD AND FRIENDS often had Garfield breaking the fourth wall and talking directly to the audience. Usually with a joke or some of kind of observation or an aside. Of all the players in the GARFIELD portion of the show, only Garfield himself was aware that he was part of a tv show.

The other half of the series, U.S. ACRES, typically had all of its characters breaking the fourth wall to comedic affect. In fact, the star of U.S. ACRES, Orson, would usually begin an episode by addressing the viewing audience directly.

However, unlike the GARFIELD portion of the show just about everyone in U.S. ACRES was aware they were only part of a tv series and this popped up in dialogue constantly as a source of humor.

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My current favorite is Grampa Simpson: Well I like Stephen Colbert... But that's because I don't get the joke.

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@caffeine_dude: haha! thats my dad. he's a fox news fanatic and loves Colbert. He thinks they are on the same side. he also thinks Jon Stewart is the devil

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@thetexastwister: wow, I almost forgot about those shows! they were awesome, U.S. Acres was the best at that practice. They are great examples.

And Psych is definitely tops on the list for inside jokes. I never watched Firefly (shame on me) but I enjoy the other references on Castle.

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@mkdr: I've never seen Castle, though I probably should. Ever since FIREFLY I've been a fan of Nathan Fillion.

PSYCH is one of my favorite shows on television right now. I enjoy the funny personalities and humor used throughout the show.

I'm also going to add two other shows that were great at meta references:

ANIMANIACS and PINKY AND THE BRAIN. Both of these shows lived on making references to other shows, movies and people.