The 10 Best TV Shows Within TV Shows

Everybody loves television, even fictional characters in TV shows. Throughout the years, there have been a number of fake TV shows placed within real TV shows for comedic effects. Of all the dreamed up TV shows within TV shows, here are ten of the best:

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10. Jerry – Seinfeld

While the fictional TV show, Jerry, never actually saw production in the fictional world of Seinfeld, it did contribute heavily to the actual show’s plot (particularly in the last season). The show, much like Seinfeld, was billed as a “show about nothing” that followed Jerry’s exploits in New York.  In true Seinfeld form, the whole story arc of the Jerry sitcom was groundbreaking television, and helped the real show’s television viewing audience laugh at the whole idea of putting a show about nothing on network TV.

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9. Gumbel 2 Gumbel: Beach Justice – Family Guy

A gritty crime drama that stars Bryant Gumbel and Greg Gumbel? Now that’s an idea that could only be dreamed up by the pop-culture-minded writers at Family Guy. With cheesy one-liners, terrible beach-themed plots and a lot of “Mm-Hmms” in the interrogation room, Gumbel 2 Gunbel ————————————————–is a TV show that is so bad, it’s good.

Other honorable mentions from Family Guy: Cutting in Line in Front of Italians, Diane!, Fast Animals…Slow Children and The Side Boob Hour.

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8. The Terrance and Phillip Show – South Park

Much like Jerry was directly based on Seinfeld, so too was the Terrance and Phillip Show based on South Park. Except, in this case, Trey Parker and Matt Stone decided to base their TV show within a TV show on letters sent from viewers that complained South Park was crudely drawn and all about fart jokes. Taking this criticism to the extreme, the duo created a fictional show that was exactly that. I don’t think I’d particularly enjoy watching a full 30 minutes of these two buffoons farting around, but Terrance and Phillip is the type of thing that kids eat up:

Other honorable mentions from South Park: Animals Close-Up With a Wide-Angle Lens, Jesus and Pals and Russell Crowe Fightin’ Round the World.

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7. Viking Quest – Entourage

If you like Xena: Warrior Princess, then you’d love Viking Quest. Viking Quest is a sci-fi fantasy that stars Entourage character Johnny Drama. With catchphrases like “Victory!” and plot points that feature Johnny’s character being frozen in time for 30 years, it’s not hard to see why the show has such a cult following within the fictional world of Entourage.

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6. Los Dias y Las Noches de Monsignor Martinez – King of the Hill

Los Dios… was a Spanish action show that starred an undercover cop posing as a Catholic Monsignor. The gritty drama was cheesy and captivating all at once, and might be likened to the Spanish version of Chuck Norris‘ Walker, Texas Ranger. The fictional TV show’s catch phrase, “Vaya con Dios,’ (go with God) was often uttered by Martinez right before we went Biblical on someone’s ass.

Note: Interestingly, Los Dios… was almost turned into a REAL TV spinoff of King of the Hill. However, the show (which actually filmed a pilot) never actually got picked up.

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5. Mock Trial With J. Reinhold – Arrested Development

“My name is Judge!” Mock Trial with J. Reinhold was a reality-based court show (similar to Judge Judy). Throw in a judge whose name is Judge, the ability to call puppets to the witness stand and an intro song from William Hung‘s Hung Jury, and this show was television gold.

The show’s intro song can be heard below:

Other honorable mentions from Arrested Development: El Amor Prohibido, Scandalmakers and Wrench (featuring Detective Frank Wrench)

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4. The Muddy Mudskipper Show – The Ren and Stimpy Show

Muddy Mudskipper is a fish that hosts an afternoon kid’s show. While completely congenial and kid-friendly when on screen, he is decidedly less so when the cameras are off. Grizzled, hateful and prone to villainous plots that involve kidnapping the pope, Muddy Mudskipper isn’t exactly the best role model for kids. The theme song for the show can be heard below:

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3. The Girlie Show – 30 Rock

With sketches about Gay-braham Lincoln and songs that discuss “Muffin Tops,” The Girlie Show is a live sketch show that is clearly a watered-down parody of Saturday Night Live. Regardless of content, I’d watch anything that stars Tracy Morgan (er, Jordan) and is written by Tina Fey. The Muffin Top song is below:

Other honorable mentions for 30 Rock: Gold Case, MILF Island and Bitch Hunter

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2. All My Circuits – Futurama

Amnesia, comas, long-lost twins – All My Circuits takes the cheesiness of daytime soap operas and adds in the twist of a nearly all-robot cast (save for one token human, whose official character name is “Human Friend”). I’ve never been a fan of tawdry daytime TV shows, but I’m pretty sure I’d be a loyal fan of All My Circuits. I mean, come on, that Calculon is SO dreamy.

Other honorable mentions for Futurama: The Essence of Elzar, Single Female Lawyer and Everybody Loves Hypnotoad.

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1. Itchy and Scratchy – The Simpsons

Itchy and Scratchy are clearly a demented rip-off of Tom and Jerry. Despite being incredibly violent, there’s actually a lot of ingenuity and creativity in most Itchy and Scratchy cartoons. It’s rare for a parody of a TV show to actually match the supreme awesome-ness of the original, but Itchy and Scratchy could easily find a long shelf life as a stand-alone cartoon. Throw in the fact that you actually get to see numerous full stories of Itchy and Scratchy, and you’ve got yourself the best TV show within a TV show of all time.

Other honorable mentions for the Simpsons: The Krusty the Klown Show, Eye on Springfield, Knightboat (the Crime-Solving Boat), Radioactive Man and The Happy Little Elves.

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23 Responses to The 10 Best TV Shows Within TV Shows

  1. reamer says:

    forgot one, and a very important one: invitation to love, inside of twin peaks.

  2. reamer says:

    and if 30 rock is eligible, then i think larry sanders show should be up there too.

  3. Michael, London says:

    And Seinfeld is just a show within Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    Probably long forgotten now, but Life With Bonnie is most definitely worth a mention. It was a family sitcom on ABC about a decade ago starring Bonnie Hunt as a talk show host. Not only did they include segments from the fake show within the real one, but they were totally improvised. This gave the fake show a totally different feel from the scripted real one. They were also very funny.

  4. Danielle says:

    You forgot Disney channels Sonny With a Chance and its shows with the show So Random and Mackenzie Falls

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  6. chris says:

    Thanks, excellent list
    I’d also like to nominate Sherry and the Anus from Family Guy..

  7. chris says:

    I also just remembered Psycho Dad from Married with Children
    Scary Door for Futurama as well… but now I’m cheating thanks to http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_fictional_television_shows 😛

  8. Nick says:

    What about “Psycho Dad” from Married With Children

  9. abigail says:

    wrong, number one is sick sad world from daria. glaring oversight.

  10. Randy says:

    Tool Time from Home Improvement

  11. Justin says:

    Wake Up San Francisco, Full House.

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  14. Steve says:

    Dancing guy from its always sunny in philadelphia

  15. Hiátustöltés says:

    Where is the Psychodad from the Married with Children?

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  19. Joe B. says:

    Yes, TGS with Tracy Jordan, but also M.I.L.F. Island with your host Rob Huebel.

    http://iamatvjunkie.typepad.com/i_am_a_tv_junkie_a_blog_f/milf_island_proposed_unscripted_show/

  20. Marq G says:

    I can’t believe nobody mentioned “The Alan Brady Show” from Dick Van Dyke. Am I just old or what?

  21. J says:

    It was only on one episode but what about “Kiss Saves Christmas” from Family Guy?

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