Biting the Hand Humor

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
Jump to navigation Jump to search
FoxSucks 3557.png
"BBC bastards."
Steve, Coupling (a show financed by The BBC)

When on a comedy the characters make jokes at the expense of the studio or network funding their movie or TV show. In the US, the favorite target out of the Big Four Networks seems to be FOX, although all networks are Acceptable Targets at some point or another.

This trope would also fit those moments when an embittered author, or one cynical of the morality of the publishing industry, inserts into his work a thinly disguised slap to the face of the publishing house that is keeping him in work, albeit for not entirely satisfactory royalties or advance payments.

A sister trope to Take That and Writer Revolt. Related to Take That, Audience!. Remembering who wears the pants can combine this with End of Series Awareness.

Examples of Biting the Hand Humor include:

Anime and Manga[edit | hide | hide all]

  • One arc of Digimon Adventure ends with a climactic battle in the Fuji TV station, which broadcast the show in Japan. It's mercilessly destroyed, although part of the architecture is used to destroy the Big Bad. The English dub just refers to "the TV station," which is a shame—the dub aired on Fox and everything!
  • Speaking of the Fuji TV station, it also occurred in several Kochikame TV specials which the building was destroyed during the climaxes. One time, its architecture was used as a wrecking ball to knock a few stories off a skyscraper.
  • The first episode of the OVA Dangaioh had the AIC building (Dangaioh's production company) destroyed by the invading bad guys.
  • With Tiger and Bunny, Sunrise figured out that the best way to make use of blatant Product Placement was to make fun of blatant Product Placement.

Jackson: You know who made you a hero, right?
Kotetsu: Our sponsors, sir!
Jackson: Good!

  • A dub example. If you play a scene in episode 130 of Pokémon backwards, you will hear James say "Leo Burnett and 4kids are the devil! Leo Burnett!" 4kids is the company that dubbed the series.
  • In-universe example in Kannagi. Akiba brings a taped show for the main character Jin, because Jin accidentally taped over a show that Nagi hadn't watched yet on a VHS tape. He first hands out a Blu-ray, then when Jin mentions not having a Blu-ray player, he pulls out a tape. Nagi asks what it is, and turns out it's a Betamax tape, which Jin also doesn't have a player for. Cue the characters looking at Akiba.

Akiba: Its a Sony!

  • "Daily Lives of High School Boys was lazily brought to you by these sponsors..."
    • "Daily Lives of High School Boys was intermittently brought to you by these sponsors..."
    • "Daily Lives of High School Boys should have been brought to you by these sponsors..."


Comic Books[edit | hide]


Film[edit | hide]

Ben Affleck: You're like a child. What've I been telling you? You gotta do the safe picture. Then you can do the art picture. But then sometimes you gotta do the payback picture because your friend says you owe him. Beat and Aside Glance

  • Wayne's World actually had this as a plot point, with the boys making fun of their show's sponsor.
  • Woody Allen's Stardust Memories is one long lament against his fans, with Allen playing his own Author Avatar of a filmmaker who made his name with silly slapstick movies and whose fans are currently decrying his efforts at more sophisticated projects. Everyone he meets declares "I love your movies, especially the early funny ones."
  • Idiocracy made a point to savage the hand of every piece of Product Placement appearing in the film. Fudruckers' name slowly mutates into 'Buttfuckers'. Carl Jr's slogan becomes 'Fuck you, I'm eating!'. Opinions divide on the motives behind this move.
    • One would presume Rule of Funny.
    • It's generally assumed that Gatorade refused to allow this, so they created "Brawndo" instead.
  • In a similar way, Fight Club mocks most of its product placement (though one was intentional, as Edward Norton hates the New Beetle and intended to have a scene hitting it).
  • In The Lion King, Zazu starts to sing "It's A Small World". Scar freaks out and demands him to sing anything else but that.
  • In Impromptu, a group of struggling artists put on a theater production for their wealthy patrons that insult said patrons. The artists give "true art is offensive" as their justification.
  • After RoboCop has been reprogrammed in Robocop 2, one of his directives is to "avoid Orion meetings".
  • Pee-wee's Big Adventure does this in the climax: Pee-Wee Herman sneaks into the Warner Bros. studio to find his stolen bike and escapes on it, but ends up being chased by studio security guards.
  • The near destruction of Pixar in |Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, as seen in the trailer.
  • At the end of Holy Flying Circus, God tells Michael Palin that he's having a dream that will probably be used as the ending for a heavy-handed BBC 4 comedy/drama.

Michael: Gosh, there's a BBC4 in the future? They must be doing well.

Literature[edit | hide]

  • In Maskerade, Terry Pratchett manages a dig at the publishing industry and the morality of book publishers by having Nanny Ogg bilked over a publishing deal, in which her payment for a best-seller is the usual gratis author's copy of the book and nothing else. Granny Weatherwax plays catch-up on her friend's behalf and demonstrates that a publisher's worst nightmare is a cheated witch. They leave the offices with an advance payment of five thousand dollars.
  • Sci-fi author Philip José Farmer, in his Riverworld series where all the Earth's population is resurrected into a wholly unexpected afterlife, has the character who is his Marty Stu in the book (legitimate, as we are all characters on the Riverworld) meet a publisher who once cheated him. Near-lethal vengeance is administered. The publisher is given the name Sharko.

Live-Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Alfred Hitchcock used to do this to the advertisers sponsoring his shows a lot. For instance, in one episode he came on before the film to give a brief lecture about how pagans used to try to tell the future by looking at the internal organs of various animals. Then, looking at a modern X-ray of an animal, he predicted that we viewers were in for a "very gloomy" next minute or so. Cue the commercial break...
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 had a throwaway joke in Santa Claus where, in response to kids writing letters to Santa, they quipped that writing to these Comedy Central contests was useless.
    • Also in Godzilla vs Megalon when the radar dish-like Maser cannons are being deployed: "Man, all this and they still can't get the Comedy Channel!".
  • Married... with Children had an episode in which the cast assumed "Fox viewing positions," which involved grabbing onto the rabbit ears, standing on one foot, balancing pots on their heads, etc. For you youngsters who've always had cable, the Fox network originally used mostly UHF stations, which were sometimes hard to tune in depending on weather, etc. This was just one of many, many pokes at Fox's programming reputation.
    • Several episodes had a family member watching TV and hearing/listening to the promo for some utterly awful-sounding show, like "Psycho Dad" or "Psycho Mom". The promo would always conclude with the phrase, "On Fox!", to which the family member would reply, "Naturally."
  • Seinfeld did this trope as well, by having Jerry and George pitch a Show Within a Show to NBC. The pitch—a show about nothing—was the real life pitch for the real life Seinfeld. According to Larry David, the meeting really played a lot like the episode.
  • True Blood does this with one of their sponsors: Nintendo. There have been at least two episodes where characters were shown playing the Nintendo Wii and having a good, wholesome time. Finally, near the very end of season two they had a clearly deranged stay-at-home mom flailing the Wii remote around as she killed in psychopathic glee...suddenly those previous scenes don't seem so wholesome.
    • Then season three started: No Wii.
  • On July 21, 1969, Johnny Carson announced that he was due for a raise because his contract with NBC said that he'd get a raise when men walked on the moon.
  • This is one of David Letterman's favorite types of gag.
    • Letterman used to poke fun at Westinghouse when it owned CBS, through on-stage use of its industrial products.
    • Before CSI made a killing for CBS, Letterman's Top 10 lists made the occasional joke or two about how little watched CBS was at the time. An example: "CBS: More powerful than The Weather Channel."
    • CBS' Late Show site actually archives every single CBS list, so you can check for yourself.
    • Before he changed networks, Letterman did plenty of digs at NBC and their parent company, General Electric.
    • Jay Leno of The Tonight Show must have similar writers - he makes a lot of jokes at NBC's expense, too. He even makes jokes about how bad his jokes are.
  • CBS cares.
  • Thirty Rock also can't seem to stop making fun of NBC and General Electric.
  • A number of British Series knock their own channel.
  • Many comedy shows on the ABC (the Australian one) make fun of the network's usually low budget. The Chaser's War on Everything also mocked the ABC's left-wing stance, and after Maxine McKew, an ABC News reporter, began running as a candidate for the Labor party, it had one sketch where Australia's parliament gave out Labor seats to ABC personalities.
  • I've yet to see any comedy show on the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation that does not make fun of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation at some point, if not continuously.
  • Because it's his job to make fun of everything on television, Charlie Brooker makes fun of the Beeb on his BBC Four show Screenwipe just as much as anyone else. While he does make light jabs at BBC Four's pretentiousness with fake shows like Harpsichord Challenge and The History of Corners, and BBC Three's pandering to the base with Sick on a Widow, he also gives well deserved criticism at recent BBC recommendations relating to the Credits Pushback.
    • At least one jab was aimed at the viewers, in a piece about computer games:

"Yes, videogames are going through a renaissance, and you should not miss out - like you are now, by choosing to watch TV instead, like some kind of medieval throwback farmhand fuck."

    • Also, he often lays into Endemol produced shows such as Big Brother, while Brooker's production company is itself a subsidiary of Endemol. At one point this is Lampshaded, by immediately following a particularly vitriolic attack on Endemol with the Zeppotron/Endemol Vanity Plate from the end of the show.
    • Brooker's Dead Set, in which Big Brother contestants face a Zombie Apocalypse, was also made by Zeppotron and was broadcast on E4.
  • Although not a comedy, The Bill had a moment where two character were checking a hotel's CCTV cameras during an undercover operation. They were making comments related to the order of channels on the TV set. BBC 2 was gardening, ITV (the show's own channel, before it became ITV 1) was adverts and the final conclusion to the joke was that Channel 4 (not named) was sex, as they discovered Dave and Polly kissing in a hotel room. Taking the joke further, Channel Five equals porn (although, not as much... these days.)
  • In one skit on Whose Line Is It Anyway, Colin Mochrie screamed at Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady: "You're not human! You're less than human! You're network executives!" However, after the game, Drew Carey went to great lengths to point out that Colin wasn't talking about ABC (the American one).
    • In one episode, they attempt to do an improv of a theme song for a sitcom featuring Bill Cosby and Adolf Hitler. When the executives (mid-skit nonetheless) bring down the hammer and bans them from using Hitler in the skit. For the entire rest of the episode, almost every single bit of improv became a Take That towards the executives, calling them prudes, taking every single opportunity to bring up the Fuhrer, etc.
    • There was one episode where Ryan had to play a weatherman who discovered the portal to hell was behind his green screen. He goes through the portal and looks at Drew and says: "So THAT'S how you got two shows!"
      • Everyone (but especially Ryan) rags on Drew.
  • In an episode of Millennium, a demon causes a member of an unspecified network's Broadcast Standards and Practices department to go crazy, culminating in a shooting rampage that results in the deaths of two actors dressed as aliens. The demon then remarks that, as a result of this one action, he damned millions of people, as not every network has such strict Broadcast Standards and Practices. Cut to grainy video of the shooting, now repackaged as the latest FOX network special: "When Humans Attack!"
  • In The X-Files episode "Nisei", Scully dismisses an Alien Autopsy Video as "even hokier than the one they aired on the Fox network".
  • Saturday Night Live has had plenty of jokes/skits about NBC over the years, but went wild with them in Seasons 4 and 5 (covering 1978-1980) when super-executive Fred Silverman, who had worked ratings wonders for CBS and ABC, failed to repeat that magic when he was head honcho of NBC over 1978-1981. Examples:
    • The Kate Jackson episode has a running gag revealing that Silverman (played by John Belushi) was sent to NBC by Charlie to ruin the network.
    • The 1979 Christmas show has a running gag of promos hyping Gary Coleman appearances on every other NBC show and special, since Diff'rent Strokes was one of the network's only hits at the time, along with SNL.
    • The "Limo for the Lame-O" affair: Al Franken encouraged viewers to send letters to NBC asking that Franken get the use of a company limo—since Silverman had one despite all the flops he'd launched, and Franken was on a hit show. This did not go over well with Silverman, and it led to him nixing Lorne Michaels' request that Franken succeed him as executive producer of SNL.
    • Then there was the "Conspiracy Theory Rock" short from the 1998 season, which is about major corporations like General Electric controlling the media. It was banned from re-airing, but would appear on a TV Funhouse "Best Of" DVD.
    • In an installment of Weekend Update:

Seth Meyers: You have TV in Hell?
The Devil: Well, just NBC.

  • Towards the end of his run on The Tonight Show, Conan got absolutely vicious with these. For example, he mentioned that his rating were up 50%(due to the controversy), and continued that he was on the wrong network. He also introduced new one-shot characters for no reason other than to be really expensive, such as the mouse made out of a Bugatti Veyron, with the backing track of the original studio recording version of the Rolling Stones' "Satisfaction". As he pointed out, both the broadcast rights and the syndication rights to the song were "crazy expensive", bringing the price tag of the character, who appeared for all of two minutes, to 1.5 million dollars. "What're they gonna do, fire me?"
    • And then, when word got out that the network was banning him from saying bad things about them, he got around it by SINGING insults.
      • And then, when that didn't work, he said them in Spanish (complete with subtitles):

"NBC is like a Goat that Eats Money and Shits Trouble."

        • The Bugatti Veyron was on loan. Conan admitted the "crazy expensive" skits were jokes after fake ground sloth skeleton spraying fake beluga caviar on a fake authentic Picasso painting. It's also unclear how much NBC tried to prevent Conan's incredibly popular ravaging of the network and how much Conan just made up for laughs. Nearly all of his final two weeks at NBC were this trope, however.
    • Not only that, Conan would often bash NBC and promote other networks, simply while conversing with guests and not making a bit out of it. It's likely Conan was saying these things simply because he really felt that way (hosting the Tonight Show was a life-long dream of his) and mostly got laughs because they were very cathartic.
  • The Daily Show and The Colbert Report do this frequently. One toss between the two shows had a jealous Colbert mocking fellow Daily Show alumnus Ed Helms for not having a nightly show. When reminded that his own show was on Comedy Central, Colbert broke down sobbing: "I know! God, it's horrible! I wish I was on the Food Network!"
    • An episode of the former once showed a clip of Barack Obama being asked if he had ever seen the Comedy Central show 'Lil' Bush, to which he replied "I heard of it, but I've never seen it." Cut to Stewart saying "Join the club."
    • Stewart also had a little fun at the network's expense during his feud with Jim Cramer. Cramer made appearances on every NBC network/show he could (his home channel of CNBC, NBC's Today, MSNBC, etc). Stewart responded by going on a "Viacom tour". Cut to Jon appearing on Dora the Explorer (Nick Jr) and The Hills (MTV), unleashing the awesome power of his employer's multimedia empire.
    • An example of another network getting its hand bit on The Daily Show: In 1997 Keith Olbermann, a Sports Center anchor at the time, appeared as a guest on the The Daily Show with Craig Kilborn (himself a Sports Center anchor before becoming host of The Daily Show) without permission from his bosses at ESPN, as required by that network's rules. During the interview Olbermann was asked (as part of the now-retired Five Questions segment) "What's the most god-forsaken place on the East Coast?" and answered "Bristol, Connecticut." Bristol happens to be the headquarters of ESPN. He got a two-week suspension, and the incident partially led to his departure from ESPN that year.
    • Colbert also mocks this trope a lot, when he was feeling uneasy about giving Jon advertising.

"No free rides, guy who made my career."

    • When The Colbert Report debuted it was followed by a short-lived talk show called Too Late With Adam Carolla. One night Stephen closed his show by saying, "Stay tuned for Adam Carolla. His guest tonight? Comedy."
  • Strangers with Candy bit the hand hard in their final episode. Two property developers show up at Flatpoint High and repeatedly deny that they're tearing it down and building a strip mall, even as classrooms are demolished and food outlets built in their place. At the end of the episode, the teachers and students go on a rampage of destruction and burn down the school, with one teacher gloating "They'll never turn it into a strip mall now!" The Reality Subtext: the property developers were based on two Comedy Central network execs. Strangers with Candy was being cancelled, and replaced with a show called Strip Mall.
  • During the 2006 Emmy Awards on NBC, host Conan O'Brien, whose show is also on NBC, puts it delicately:

Yeah, we got trouble, right here at NBC
With a capital "T" and that rhymes with "G" as in "Gee, we're screwed!"
Yeah, we got trouble, right here at NBC
I hate to disrespect, but my lawyer checked and I can't be sued!

    • There was also a hilarious crack about how since the ceremony was on NBC, it would probably be canceled halfway through.
    • In early 2010, Conan is once again taking shots at NBC, although this is less "Biting the hand that feeds" and more "Mauling the arm that hit you."
    • This all came full circle with Jimmy Fallon hosting the 2010 Emmys

So NBC asked the host of Late Night to come to LA and host a different show. What could possibly go wrong?

  • Harry Hills TV Burp makes fun of all channels about equally and does not spare its parent ITV. For example:

Harry: If you enjoyed the BBC's Who Do You Think You Are? you may be interested in ITV's You Don't Know You're Born...which is the same.

    • Harry's earlier Channel Four series frequently made fun of that channel, depicting numerous run-ins with the Controller of Channel Four, who was portrayed as a child.
      • Not just a child, but a ventriloquist's dummy that had the personality of a child.
  • X-Play would occasionally jab at G4 after its Network Decay, with specific references to being on the same channel as The Man Show.
  • In one episode of Dirty Jobs, there was an incident in a salt mine where one of the camera men narrowly avoided getting hit on the head by a large rock. One of the mine workers joked that when someone is injured to 'go for the wallet first.' Cue Mike Rowe's reply "He's a camera man. For the Discovery Channel. There's nothing in his wallet."
    • Also, this fun exchange:

Dairy Farmer: Yeah, you just want to bend over right there.
Mike: Just bend over and get ready for it?
Dairy Famer: Yup. That's not a problem?
Mike: Sir, I've been in television so long, I'm a pro at bending over and taking it.

  • Something similar happened on Destination Truth. Josh Gates is browsing through a marketplace in Turkey (I believe) and sees a beautiful rug. The shop owner tells him the price and Josh looks surprised. They then cut to him looking at much smaller rugs, roughly the size of a sheet of paper (the shop owner suggests using them under a telephone,) and Josh says "I work on cable, my friend, this is all I can afford." He never explicitly mentions Syfy, but the implication is there.
  • While presenting the Best Animated Feature nominees at the 2009 Academy Awards, Jack Black explains to co-presenter Jennifer Aniston his secret to success when it comes to making money at voice acting:

Jack Black: Each year I do one Dreamworks Animation project, then I take all the money to the Oscars and bet it on Pixar.

    • And the winner? WALL-E. (to which Black jumped and cheered...)
      • What was especially funny about the moment, though, is that one of the people who laughed hardest when he made this joke was...Jeffrey Katzenberg.
  • While we're on the topic of the Oscars, after the 2008 show played a montage of movies addressing the social issues of their time (in a very "look how awesome we are for doing this" tone):
    • John Oliver's segment on the 78th academy awards where he says they managed to move past the dark clouds of failure from the previous year (the one Jon Stewart hosted).
  • In the Spike Milligan series Q6 (1975), the first episode features several digs at the BBC's security guards, the "crummy wardrobe department" and the high prices in the canteen.
  • The Goodies contains numerous swipes at the BBC, most notably in the episodes "Alternative Roots" and "The End", during which a service announcement warns of "cutbacks of a hundred percent" - and the screen immediately goes black!
    • And in the Gender Education episode they blew up the BBC Television centre! The rest of that one they spent taking the mickey out of Mary Whitehouse
  • Every episode of This American Life (both on radio and TV) ends with Ira Glass attributing some quote from the show, taken out of context, to the general manager of WBEZ, the show's home radio station.
  • On one episode of Kingdom: Is there an ITV4?
  • In his show No Reservations, celebrity chef Anthony Bourdain frequently pokes fun at his producers and The Travel Network.
    • Although compared to the absolute demolishing of Food Network in his book, A Cook's Tour (which was funded by the network in question), Bourdain is pratically complimentary.
  • The Soup takes sooooooooo many jabs at E! They even have a segment dedicated to mocking E! shows called "Let's take some E!"
    • Also a staple of Chelsea Lately. Chelsea Handler frequently ridiculed the network president, even while she was dating him.
  • An episode of Family Matters had Carl passive-aggressively chewed out by his wife for liking The Three Stooges, and essentially calls him childish and sadistic for liking a show about people getting hurt. His nephew Richie even says that the show was too juvenile for him. Saying this while The Three Stooges is essentially the grandfather of sitcoms (including Family Matters) and is practically responsible for physical comedy as a whole. Even hypocritical considering how much physical comedy Family Matters itself used.
  • In Talkin Bout Your Generation, host Shaun Micallef makes unkind remarks about the Ten network a few times; once, he lampshaded this by miming biting his hand afterwards.
  • When he was a panelist on Match Game, Richard Dawson used to quip that his Family Feud was the most popular show in Guam.
  • The Too Good to Last game show Clash (Ha!/Comedy Central) had Billy Kimball addressing a discrepency "because if we don't, we're going to get a letter from our viewer."
  • A 1971 episode of The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour featured an opera version of All in The Family with a completely different cast playing the Bunkers and Stivics, with the plotline having the CBS censor being invited for dinner. The CBS censor was played by Carroll O'Connor.
  • Satirical BBC panel game Have I Got News for You does this a lot. One of the most notable occasions was in the late 1990s when the BBC director-general John Birt banned BBC programs from discussing rumours that politician Peter Mandelson (a close friend of Birt) was gay; this act by Birt was widely regarded as an abuse of Birt's position and clear bias towards a friend who was otherwise an obvious target for satirists. Viewers eagerly awaited the first show after this became public, to see if the show would break the BBC's rules. Early on, guest Jackie Mason made a reference about Mandelson, and soon everyone else was at it, so the entire show became an attack on Mandelson's hypocrisy and Birt's attempt to get the BBC to cover for his friend.
  • Eric Idle's post-Monty Python sketch show Rutland Weekend Television was un-necessarily crippled by a miniscule budget granted by a parsimonious BBC. Idle, Innes, Woolf and Batley ended the first series on a bitter spoof song about the mean and miserly attitude of the BBC, where the male characters sat naked on a row of stools in a bare studio, with only minmal modesty-saving towels (Gwen Taylor was absent for this one).

Hello, I bet you're wondering why we're here/Sitting on our bums, without a stitch of gear/For as it happens, the budget has expired/And everything's gone back to the place from whence it's hired...

  • An episode of The Mighty Boosh (made by the BBC) has Howard watching a bland, seven-hour documentary about an obscure film director and his incomprehensible works... on BBC Four. They got to use the real BBC Four logo.
  • Boy Meets World delivered a really big Take That at ABC for moving the show's timeslot. It happens in the episode where Cory and Topanga are babysitting a kid and are discussing his bedtime:

Kid: At least let me watch my favorite show. It's on right now!
Topanga: But it's 9:30, I know you don't stay up past nine.
Kid: It used to be on at 8:30 but this year they moved it to 9:30, those idiots.
Cory: Wait a minute, they moved that show to 9:30? Why?
Kid: No one knows!
Cory: Well was it doing badly at 8:30?
Kid: No!
Cory: Well why didn't they leave it alone?
Kid: There're trying to kill it! There're trying to kill it!
Cory: Those are bad, bad people.

Director of show in show: They better make great TV, okay? Because I sold this to NBC. NBC! They make classics like Friends and...uh...um...uh...

  • The made-for-tv movie Special Bulletin, which aired on NBC, featured a terrorist remarking "NBC would kill its mother for this footage!"
  • Babylon 5: At the start of season 2, Executive Meddling made the creators sex up Ivanova's appearance. She started wearing redder lipstick and had her hair loose instead of pulled back. When Garibaldi came out of his coma and returned to duty, he commented on her 'new look'. Ivanova snapped back "With everything that's been going on around here I'd think you'd have other things on your mind besides my look!" Take That, Executive Meddlers!
  • An unusual case: ABC has been owned by The Walt Disney Company since 1995, and in the Tom Bergeron era of America's Funniest Home Videos (which started at the Turn of the Millennium), the grand prizes each season are usually related to the Disney Theme Parks or the company's other vacation ventures. The show usually sends Bergeron to the venues in question to spend chunks of his host segments shilling them. Aside from those special episodes, however, Disney hasn't stopped the show from airing home videos that cast the parks in a less-than-ideal light (costumed characters falling off of parade floats or scaring toddlers, kids and adults being unpleasantly surprised by Epcot's famous "leapfrog fountains", etc.), and in one 2005 finale Bergeron joked that when his daughters are at Disney World, the three things they're most eager to see are "Mickey, Minnie, and Daddy's Wallet."


Music[edit | hide]

  • The Dead Kennedys turned this into a Crowning Moment of Awesome with their legendary performance of "Pull My Strings" at the Bay Area Music Awards in 1980.
  • The back cover of The Replacements' Let It Be is a picture of graffiti the band members had written on a door, including "Twin/Tone eats slotty crap" (or possibly "...sloth crap"). The Replacements were signed to the label Twin/Tone at the time, and what makes it even funnier is that the Twin/Tone logo is positioned directly beneath that message.
    • The rarity "Lookin' For Ya" (which they would re-work into "Love Lines") ends with Paul Westerberg ad-libbing "Keep your riches, give me a Budweiser!". This is because it was originally recorded for Trackin' Up The North, a compilation put together as part of a "Rags To Riches" battle of the bands co-sponsored by Miller High Life.
  • Mr. Bungle were apparently doubtful as to whether or not their major label debut would even be released: In one line of "Carousel" they ask "Will Warner Brothers put this record on the shelf?" (although, possibly as a way of Getting Crap Past the Radar, the liner notes make the blatantly false claim that the lyric is "look at me I'm Sandra Dee)".
    • Devo was also known to mock Warner Brothers, and the music industry in general. Their promotional videos included characters that embodied every record executive stereotype: Rod Rooter, a pimply manager who didn't get Devo ("I can forgive you guys for being artists, but I can't forgive you for being stupid!" "Look at the airplay charts! No, no Devo!") and Daddy-Know-It-All, the boss of Big Entertainment who orders Rod to keep Devo in line.


Newspaper Comics[edit | hide]

  • A variation occurred in Pearls Before Swine: Stephan Pastis has often credited Dilbert creator Scott Adams with getting him into the syndicated cartooning world. That didn't stop him from making a storyline where Adams is portrayed as an Elvis caricature that ends up dying of a drug overdose in a toilet off-panel.
    • Pastis has mocked his syndicate several times as well.
  • Gary Trudeau, creator of Doonesbury, has slapped at his employer several times for making him submit strips six weeks in advance, with characters saying things along the lines of "even though the election happened last week, we don't know who won because this strip was submitted six weeks ago."


Radio[edit | hide]

  • The "Radio 3" episode of Absolute Power (on Radio 4) was full of digs at The BBC including "In the BBC ratings are like sex; of course they're not important, just as long as you're getting some!"
    • Absolute Power's parent show, In The Red and sequels were made of this trope; BBC radio comedy dramas about an inept BBC radio journalist and his unpleasant BBC bosses.
  • In Season One of Old Harrys Game, Thomas persuades Gary to lead a rebellion of the demons. Two demons keep insisting they need mission statements and brightly-coloured charts.

Thomas: Who are those two?
Gary: They're the demons in charge of torturing former BBC executives.
Thomas: I think they've gone native.

  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue often made fun of the BBC. In particular Tim and Graeme spent the early 2000s taking potshots at the Controller of BBC 2, Jane "The Goodies will be repeated over my dead body" Root. After all, she started it.
  • The News Quiz and The Now Show, because sometimes The BBC is the news.
  • The Goon Show started off a lot of their shows with digs at the BBC.
  • Car Talk has an inversion via Self-Deprecation: the Stinger for the show is inevitably something to the effect of "And even though [something indicating deep disapproval/disappointment happens] every time we say it, this is NPR, National Public Radio." In other words, they compliment their network by calling themselves unworthy of it.
  • Radio 4's statistics programme More Or Less, reporting that one of their regular mathematician guests was appearing on BBC One's Winter Wipeout:

Tim Hartford: I hadn't previously seen the show myself, but I now realise it's a bit like Its A Knockout, but without the high philosophical concepts. After watching it, I had one question for David: Why?

Print Media[edit | hide]

  • MAD is well-known for its satires of movies, television, and other forms of media, and it very often lampoons works produced by Warner Communications, its parent company.

Video Games[edit | hide]


Webcomics[edit | hide]

  • Web Comic example: Most of the jokes in Order of the Stick, especially in the first 200 or so comics, are at the expense of Dungeons & Dragons or its publisher, Wizards of the Coast. Rich Burlew, the author, is a freelance game designer who mostly works for Wizards on D&D-related projects. An early strip based on Wizards' slightly bizarre copyright policy is actually titled Biting the Hand That Feeds Me.
    • The OotS strip in the last three issues of Dragon magazine had the Order discover the dragon from the cover of issue 1, whose subsequent career mirrored that of the magazine itself. The second of these strips was titled "Claw/Claw/Bite The Hand That Feeds Me".

Web Original[edit | hide]

  • The Bugle podcast is put out by the London Times, which is owned by Murdoch's News Corporation. They've had a couple of digs at Murdoch media products, including "The Sun is, of course, a cousin of the Bugle - not that we all get on with all our relatives".
  • This episode of David Mitchell's Soap Box. (Originally the video went out as a podcast sponsored by Bulldog Natural Grooming.)
    • Later episodes have a Running Gag that David can't remember the name of the company that is sponsoring his podcasts. Eventually Bulldog got in on the joke by announcing "Robert Webb's Soapbox".
  • Psycomedia hosts Tim and Ben both attended Oxford University but many episodes focus on the bizarre research of their teachers and other faculty members. Lovingly. And not libellously.
  • According to Todd in the Shadows, Lady Gaga's "Telephone" has more advertisements than That Guy With The Glasses.com. And "I've realised something about my new workplace. YOU ARE ALL A BUNCH OF NERDS! NERDS! NERDS!"
    • Continues in Linkara's review of KISS comics. When asking Todd if he'd like to co-review after giving the history of KISS, he just laughs at the thought of him reviewing a comic. "I forget how nerdy this site is." Linkara didn't look pleased.
    • In "The Sexual Awakening Of The Human Nerd" by The Nostalgia Chick's supporting cast, Dr. Tease interviews the other reviewers, describing them as "These creatures - I mean, humans - I mean, nerds".
  • Yahtzee has an infrequent habit of calling the Escapist out on having him play and review games he'd rather not. Its not exactly suprising, considering he he insults bascially everyone else.


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • The Simpsons and Family Guy both have histories of poking fun at the FOX network. Probably the most striking example was the first scene in the first episode of Family Guy after it had been revived from cancellation, where Peter recites the long list of every prime-time show that Fox cancelled after Family Guy.
    • There is a list here of many of the jabs at Fox. Specific Simpsons examples:
      • The Simpsons reached a disturbing new nadir in its "MoneyBART" episode, its Couch Gag (storyboarded by subversive street artist Banksy) depicting the production of Simpsons episodes and merchandise taking place in a toxic sweat shop within a bulding shaped like the 20th Century Fox Vanity Plate. This BBC report claims the sequence "led to delays, disputes over broadcast standards and a threatened walk out by the animation department."
      • Planning to videotape an apparent alien visitor (and taking a swipe at Fox's "Alien Autopsy: Fact or Fiction" broadcast), giving us the second page quote.
      • A Couch Gag had the Fox logo bug appearing in the corner of the screen only for Homer to rip it off and the whole family stamp on it.
      • Another episode had Homer calling an automated stock price hotline, which worked by having the person calling saying the name of the company and the computer replying with the stock's respective value. When Homer asks "What is this crap?", the service replies "Fox Broadcasting: down 8 [points].", followed by him smiling.
      • Yet another episode had Homer investing in "something called News Corp", followed by Lisa telling him that was Fox and Homer screaming "AHH! UNDO! UNDO!"
      • One of the earliest and more subtle ones may be in the Season 4 episode Mr. Plow. When a TV commercial starring the family airs on late at night on an obscure cable channel, Homer exclaims - "It may be on a crappy network, but The Simpsons are on TV".
      • In "Bart Gets An Elephant", Lisa ask someone if they're an ivory dealer, with the reply "Well, little girl, I've had lots of jobs in my day: whale-hunter, seal-clubber, president of the Fox network..."
      • An even better example was in The Movie: During one of the scenes, a Commercial Pop-Up crawler advertising the Fox networks starts moving across the bottom of the screen, ending with "Yes, we even advertise during movies now".
      • Also there was Krusty bemoaning his good-for-nothing half-brother Luke Perry:

Lisa: But he's a big star!
Krusty:Yeah...[with disgust] on Fox.

      • "Missionary: Impossible" begins with Betty White hosting a PBS pledge drive. At the end of the episode, she pops up again, this time hosting a pledge drive for Fox. She urges viewers not to let "crude, lowbrow programming disappear from the airwaves". A Family Guy logo appears on the TV set she's standing next to.

Betty White: Sure, Fox makes a fortune from advertising but it's still not enough.
Rupert Murdoch: Not nearly enough!

        • That particular example is more of a swipe at Family Guy than at Fox. The rivalry between those two shows is not particularly friendly.
        • In that same episode at the end, someone calls in pledging $10,000, and Rupert Murdoch says "You've saved my network!" Bart, hanging up the phone, says "Wouldn't be the first time."
      • This also ended up biting them back; in one episode they mock Butterfinger, a long-time sponsor of the show. Nestle responded by canceling their contract. Acknowledged in the next episode, where the blackboard gag read "I will not bite the hand that feeds me Butterfingers."
      • In a flash-forward episode, set in 2010 15 years from now, we find out that all the programs on Fox have become porn. This happened so gradually that Marge hadn't noticed until that point in time.
      • The Road Rage episode ("Marge Simpson in: Screaming Yellow Honkers"). The family promotes NBC for its quality programming, ending with "How do we know if there's something good on now? Just change the channel", followed by Homer reading out a forced statement over the episode's credits that NBC sucks and Fox rules, under gunpoint, ending with him saying, "CBS: great," and being shot.
      • "Sunday, Cruddy Sunday" has Homer and company tangling with Rupert Murdoch, who refers to himself as "the billionaire tyrant". (Murdoch was actually playing himself.)
      • Another example is when a promo for Joe Millionaire goes across the top of the screen. Homer then eats part of it, but disgustedly spits out the Fox logo.
      • In another episode, the Flanders' kids have been infected with the "Osaka Flu" going around town. Ned then asks himself why God has "forsaken" them only to have a flashback to the one time they watched Married... with Children (complete with sinister lightning).

Ned: Oh Maude, the network slogan was true! "Watch Fox and be damned for all eternity!"

      • In "Lisa vs. Malibu Stacy", the family criticizes Lisa's recent activism:

Homer: And we can't watch Fox because they own those chemical weapon plants in Syria.

      • In "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" you may remember Troy McClure from such Fox network specials as Alien Nose Job and Five Fabulous Weeks of "The Chevy Chase Show".
        • And in "Treehouse of Horror IX" Ed McMahon would like to remind you that the FOX special World's Deadliest Executions is brought to you by the producers of When Skirts Fall Off and Secrets of National Security Revealed.
      • In The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase, Troy McClure says that FOX approached the Writers of The Simpsons to create "35 new shows" to fill a "few holes" in the schedule. Cue a poster of the FOX schedule: A slot each for The Simpsons, The X-Files, and Melrose Place, All other slots are question marks.
      • In "Simple Simpson", the family watches Promiscuous Idiots Island on Fox, the home of promiscuous idiots.
      • Plus, there was a scene in a Sideshow Bob episode where Rupert Murdoch himself (speaking with a bad Australian accent) was in jail with Bob. They actually had to ask for and GOT permission from Murdoch himself for that one. His response was apparently "I would be honored to be in jail in The Simpsons".
      • In the episode where Lisa was petitioning to have Springfield turn off all its lights so she could see an upcoming meteor shower, she complained that the only thing she could see in her telescope was the Fox satellite. The screen then cuts to a broken, falling apart satellite that's only being held up by regular party balloons.
      • And in the episode written by and guest starring Ricky Gervais, Fox is described as the home of the world's worst sitcoms, before Lisa points out that the show Mother Flippers (i.e. Trading Spouses) is a rip-off of an existing show. She is bribed with a Fox sweatshirt, but when she points out it's actually an ABC sweatshirt they throw her in the American Idol holding pen.
      • Behind the Laughter: The only reason that "The Simpsons" got picked up as a show, was because Marge's hairdresser was also president of the Fox network.
      • In the couch gag for "Elementary School Musical", the 22nd season premiere, a Fox executive appeared giving the Simpsons a cupcake with a candle on it to celebrate the beginning of the season. After Maggie blew out the candle, the executive took the cupcake and ate it himself.
      • Subverted in another episode, when a media circus hits town, the Fox news van is very large and rolls into view while "We Are The Champions" plays.
      • The show did a parody of The Island of Dr. Moreau called "The Island of Dr. Hibbert." In it, Dr. Hibbert has been turning the people of Springfield into half-men/half-beasts. He himself comes out wearing a fox stole which resembles Mr. Burns, prompting Bart to say, "Ooooh, he got the Fox treatment."
      • In-universe example in one episode. Krusty bad-mouths a particular drug company (I think Percodan) while being taped, then mentions "a word from our sponsor", who also happens to be the same drug company he just criticized. Cue Oh Crap moment for him.
      • In "Sideshow Bob Roberts" Larry King is moderating in a mayoral debate. Before the debate, he addresses the audience.

King:I'm your moderator, Larry King. Now, a word to our audience: even though we're being broadcast on...Fox, there's no need for obnoxious hooting and hollering.
*Cue obnoxious hooting and hollering*

    • Family Guy: "What are they gonna do? Cut our budget?"
      • And their first episode after coming back, as previously mentioned.
        • Revisited in the episode "Family Gay". At a horse race, the announcer rattles off the list of entrants, all of them named for recently cancelled Fox shows.
      • They also inverted this trope, in the episode "Death Is a Bitch". Assigned by Death with the task of killing the cast of Dawson's Creek, Peter demurs:

Peter: I'm not gonna kill those kids. If they die, I'll have nothing to watch on Wednesdays. [Glancing at the camera, and breaking out in a nervous grin] Other than the fine programs on Fox.

      • In "Meet the Quagmires" we get this exchange:

Molly: Hey did you guys hear on the news how President Gore hunted down and killed Osama bin Laden with his bare hands?
Lois: Yeah, who woulda thought that bin Laden was hiding out in the cast of Mad TV?
Quagmire: Man, the perfect hiding spot. The one place no one would look!

      • Then there was the episode where they took one potshot after another at Fox News when Lois went to work for them.
        • In Something Something Something Dark Side the opening scrawl turns into a ramble about how Fox thought so little of the Star Wars franchise that it did not bother to retain merchandising rights, handing those off to Lucas. It then goes on to point out precisely how valuable those merchandising rights turned out to be and questions the sanity of Fox stockholders for sticking with a company that makes such unbelievably stupid choices about money.
      • In "Big Man on Hippocampus", there was what appeared to be the trademark black with white lettering panels from Adult Swim questioning why anyone would watch the show on Fox since it is much funnier on Adult Swim.
      • Peter closes the episode "Three Kings" with "Now stay tuned for whatever Fox is limping to the barn with".
      • They've even made fun of TBS in "Hell Comes to Quahog":

Announcer: We now return to Showgirls...
Peter: Yeah!
Announcer: ...on TBS.
Peter: Aww.

  • In an Animaniacs Wheel of Morality segment, Wakko's response to Yakko's "It's that time again!" is "[Time] to make the Fox censors cry?"
    • Their treatment of the network censors in "Valuable Lesson"...
    • From the Thanksgiving episode, arguing over a turkey:

Pilgrim: Give me the bird!
Yakko: We'd love to, really, but the Fox censors won't allow it.

  • Jay Sherman: "It's a giant horse's ass! (turns to the camera) You're watching Fox. Give us 10 minutes; we'll give you an ass."
    • Hearing the word 'ass' on TV doesn't sound like much nowadays, but back then it was long before South Park made swearing okay and a fairly surprising shock to hear.
    • One of his voiceovers during the Eyecatch: "You're watching Fox. Shame on you!"
  • The intro to the first Futurama movie is a long string of jokes where the cancellation of the show is compared to Planet Express' flight license being canceled by the "Box Network", which is in turn an unending string of attacks on Fox for canceling the show in the first place.
    • The Couch Gag tagline for that movie is "It just won't stay dead!"
    • In the first string of Lampshade jokes that opens the movie, the Professor mentions that the executives responsible for their cancellation had been fired, then beaten up, badly mauled and finally ground into a fine powder that was then packaged and sold as 'Torgo's Executive Powder,' a product with a million and one uses.
    • Fox is repeatedly the target of jabs during the series. Such as this exchange from "When Aliens Attack":

Fry: Wow, so this is a real TV station, huh?
Technician: Well, it's a Fox affiliate.

      • Fry then spills his drink on the control console, knocking the station off the air. The technician panics, but Fry is confident that nobody will notice.

Technician: Oh my God. You knocked FOX off the air!
Fry: Pfft, like anyone on Earth cares.

    • The trope strikes again in the very first Comedy Central episode, which opens with a still of the Hypnotoad while a voiceover by Bender tells the viewer, on the count of three, to forget the show was ever cancelled by idiots and revived by... bigger idiots.
      • This is something of an inversion of this trope, for instead of mocking their old network, they mock the one they are just picked up by. They don't have a single bad word to say about Cartoon Network, and for good reason.
    • Back when they were on Fox, the crew go on a tour of Hollywood, where the tour guide says the Fox logo spotlights are used to blind pilots so that they can film the resulting plane crashes.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures took aim at network execs in general in its very first episode:

Babs: "It takes a group of highly-paid network executives YEARS to come up with a TV show!"
Buster: "Which means it should take US... about as long as this next commercial break!"

    • In a segment featuring instructions on how to make your own cartoon, Buster comments after a long list of writers, animators and other personnel.

Buster: And one guy who does nothing except sign his name on it! [Steven Spielberg falls onto the top of the pile.]

  • Invader Zim had a minor character named 'Nick' who was created as a symbol for Nickelodeon. Nick had various disturbing science experiments performed on him by the main character.
    • Considering that Nick was perpetually happy, it might be a jab at how Nickelodeon disliked the dark stuff Zim was putting out, instead living in an eternally happy rainbow land.
  • Yet another Fox example occurred from J Jonah Jameson on Spider-Man: The Animated Series: "All the networks are laughing at me. Even FOX!"
  • In the "Cartoon Wars" episodes of South Park, the creators had a very public disagreement with Comedy Central over their right to visually portray the Islamic prophet Mohammad in their show, after a French satirical magazine was fire-bombed by terrorists for doing just that. The episode is essentially an extended debate between freedom of speech (in regards to comedy and satire) and censorship in the name of political correctness. During the scene where Mohammad was supposed to appear, South Park inserted a neutral title card stating (truthfully) that Comedy Central had ultimately refused to allow Mohammad to be show. The irony was that South Park had featured Mohammad as a character in the episode "Super Best Friends" and had him hidden in the title sequence of the show for the last two seasons.
  • When ever an evil corporation is mentioned in Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law, a little neon sign turns on the background saying "An AOL/TimeWarner company."

Reducto: No! [pulls out a complicated schematic] There is no government, just a few multi-national corporations that run everything.
[The words "An AOL/Time Warner Co." appear on the bar's sign in the background.]

  • After the original version of the episode was rejected for not meeting Broadcast Standards and Practices guidelines, the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Gee Whiz" was rewritten to be an extended slam of said organization, complete with a filmstrip about network standards that ends by congratulating the viewer for making "a bland show that no one can relate to".
    • A filmstrip that makes its point by showing the incorrect and then the correct way to blow a nun's head off.
    • Another example in the one hundredth episode has Shake trying to push the show's merchandise at the Adult Swim Shop, saying they "sell all our stuff for more than you can buy in other places."
    • In another example, Shake tells Meatwad that he can no longer watch Futurama because "we're too cheap to get it".
  • On Undergrads, one character remarks to Nitz that a concert might not be so bad since Good Charlotte is headlining. Nitz asks what Good Charlotte have done that he should care about. Good Charlotte provided the theme song to the show, which actually plays in the background of the scene to drive the point home.
  • The King of the Hill episode "Enrique-ciliable Differences" shows Hank locking out the Fox network and generally disparaging the quality of programming on it.
  • The 1988 Mighty Mouse episode "Anatomy Of A Milquetoast" had Mighty Mouse on trial for the disappearance of orphan Scrappy, using season 1 footage with the dialogue altered as evidence. A dialogue-changed scene from "It's Scrappy's Birthday" had Scrappy's boxcar companion Slappy Rimshot reuniting with some hobo friends, to which Slappy says "Hey, look. The network boards are here!"
    • The ending of "Don't Touch That Dial" is probably the show's Crowning Moment of Awesome. After chastizing a toddler for vegetating to "electronic pablum," Mighty Mouse turns to us and says "But enough of all this lying and hypocrisy. Time for what television's really about." Cut to commercial.
  • The beginning of "Tortoise Beats Hare" has Bugs Bunny reading the credits out loud. He blows his top after seeing the cartoon title:

Bugs: (angrily) Why dese guys don't know what they're talkin' about, the big buncha joiks! (smugly) I oughta know. I woik for 'em.

  • "Blooper Bunny" has Daffy Duck kvetching about his role in the Bugs Bunny 51-1/2 anniversary special:

Daffy: Who writes this slop?! (Groans) Warner Brothers doesn't have a creative bone in their...

  • After Re Boot was dropped by ABC the show retroactively dubbed Megabyte's forces "Armored Binome Carriers. Which leads to the line:

It's the ABC's, they've turned on us.
Treacherous Dogs.

  • Duckman frequently made jabs at the USA Network.
  • Eek! The Cat has an episode of Eek visiting his own production studio, to find out that series writers are treated as slaves, being forced to write to the point of getting crazy of it and haven't seen the outside world for a long time and that executives will do anything to get their way, including riding them over with a steamroller.
  • The years when Daria was on the N! network... whose other shows oozed the same dumb popularity-obsessed teen attitude that Daria mocked.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle has been known to poke fun at their producers on occasion. Example:

Rocky: Bullwinkle, I'm worried.
Bullwinkle: Ratings down in the show again?
Rocky: No.
Bullwinkle: That's odd.
Rocky: I'm worried because there have already been two attempts on your life.
Bullwinkle: Oh, don't worry. We will be renewed.
Rocky: I'm not talking about the Bullwinkle Show.
Bullwinkle: You had better; we could use the publicity.

    • Another example, as Boris and Natasha look for an A-bomb to blow open a giant trunk:

Rocky: They said A-bomb! Do you know what that means, Bullwinkle?
Bullwinkle: Sure. "A bomb" is what some people call our show!
Rocky: (miffed) I didn't think that was very funny.
Bullwinkle: (looking to camera) Neither did they, apparently.



Oh look, another "witty" self-demonstrating stinger to show that TV Tropes is dumber--more informal!-- than The Other Wiki. Joy.