Stuck In A World Of Their Own

It’s no exaggeration to say that TV exists in a world of its own. But what happens when that world contains another world? Sometimes things can get very existentially confusing, although sometimes the result can be comedy gold. Today we look at some of the best TV shows within shows, to see what happens when TV becomes too reflexive for its own good.

Children of Castor (As seen in Cruise of the Gods)

"What's the point in being human, if we lose the ability to be humane?"
Do you remember that weird cult series from the eighties, which had kids battling monsters in a post nuclear-apocalyptic world? You know the one with the cheesy lines and the incomprehensible plot? Well this is the ultimate parody of dystopian nineteen-eighties sci-fi. Also I am a particular fan of the opening sequence containing a doomed man screaming “I’m changing! I’M CHANGING!” due to the nuclear apocalypse described in the back-story.

Albi the Racist Dragon (As seen in Flight of the Conchords)

"The cave was so dark, and so scary, that Albi began to cry; dragon tears. Which as we all know, turn into JELLYBEANS!"

Albi the Racist Dragon is a beautiful little piece of Jermaine Clemant and Brett MacKenzie style randomness. The brief, but full, episode of the show tells us the touching story of a bigoted dragon that learns to love people who are different to himself, instead of burning them to death with his dragon breath. Also we learn that dragons in fact cry jellybeans, which is a welcome discovery. If only we could all sit down and eat bubblegum pie with different peoples of the world, what a world it would be.

Itchy and Scratchy (As seen in the Simpsons)

 "They fight. And bite. And fight and fight and bite."
If Tom and Jerry contained blood and mutilation it could have looked a lot like this. Simply speaking, it’s about a cat and a mouse who for some un-explained reasons (maybe it’s a type of bestial racism) frantically try to disembowel one another every day, with Itchy the mouse coming away as the victor more often than not. Some of the best moments have involved Scratchy being crushed to death by the moon, and Scratchy eating a piece of his own stomach (and unsurprisingly being unable to digest it properly) before being charged an outrageously high price for the privilege.

The Russell Crowe Show (As seen in South Park) 

"Hoodillali! Tugger's going to be ok! You know what that makes me feel like doing? Fighting!"
It’s a badly kept Hollywood secret that Russell Crowe is an angry man, however imagine if he got to combine his love of a scrap with teaching children about basic world geography. Well, the Russell Crowe Show is the result. Marvel as Russell, his anthropomorphic tugboat named "Tugger," and the briefly name checked "Wally-B" – a talking Wallaby – travel the globe in search for a good fight from whoever they can provoke (or more likely whoever provokes Russell). Don’t worry though, it’s not just mindless violence against people of all colours and creeds, Russ also tackles important issues like fighting cancer – or as he can’t find cancer itself, a person with cancer.

Father Ben (As seen in Father Ted)
"Oh Ben! I'm such an eejit. I put the shorts, on me head!" 
A nice little knowing reference to the show that it appeared in, Father Ben appears to be a carbon copy of Father Ted, although within the Father Ted narrative world. It is a show both Father Ted and Father Dougal appear to enjoy, although they miss the irony that the show is in fact incredibly similar to their lives, and even mock the stupidity of the characters based on themselves. Though this scenario was incredibly funny, I am worried this could happen to me one day.

All My Circuits (As seen in Futurama)

 "Oh, Monique! Why did we wait so many years to bathe in champagne?"
For anyone fortunate (or unfortunate) enough to have seen cheesy daytime soaps like Days of Our Lives or Sunset Beach, it will come as no surprise that a soap opera full of convoluted twists and ever more shocking cliff-hangers - such as those seen in All My Circuits - are based on an element of fact rather than just parody. However for many viewers who haven’t seen these gems of mediocrity, All my Circuits will seem like a soap opera that is pushing the envelope of cliché. Also there are Robots! Yay!


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