A trope throughout a series by which a part of the opening or ending credits is interchangeably switched, and the content can be different every show. Some of the same shows also have couch gags at the end as a Credits Gag. Alternatively, this gag may occur at the end of The Teaser, just before the credits start.
Named for one of its best-known incarnations, the family scrambling to gather on the couch during the opening sequence of The Simpsons.
Not to be confused with the other type of couch and gag.
Anime and Manga
- I, Koshi Rikdo, hereby give my permission to include a couch gag featuring me at the start of every episode of the Excel Saga anime.
- The ending credits to Genshiken show the club members watching an episode of Kujibiki Unbalance in the club room in the immediate aftermath of the episode, featuring some sort of visual reference to the events of the episode.
- Appropriately, each episode of the Kujibiki Unbalance TV series ended with a pan across an illustration of the Rikkyoin school campus, also with a visual reference to the events of the episode.
- Every episode of Sister Princess ended with Yamada alone in his apartment watching something on television—usually the fictional Humongous Mecha show Garban—which had a comment relevant to the episode's action.
- Any anime subbed by Dattebayo Fansubs frequently has a wry comment at the end of the opening credits. This can range from an in-joke between the Dattebayo production team, to something like "Attempting to unlock bankai in three days can be hazardous to your health."
- Sayonara, Zetsubou-sensei has these in the middle of the openings without animation: Series One has large blocks of text, while Series Two has fanart.
- Trigun had scenes from the episode in its opening credits. The initial American DVD release left this out, apparently because the US licensor didn't want to create different English credits for each episode.
- The endings of Detective Conan in the original Japanese version included clips from the episode.
- Every episode of the first half of Lucky Star ends with the characters doing karaoke versions of various anime theme songs (different each episode). They're always arguing at the same time. The second half of the series has Minoru Shiraishi (the actor, in live-action) singing other random songs (some he wrote himself, others old theme songs) a capella. The last one, though...
- Played more seriously in Eureka Seven: the way Renton and/or Eureka say "To be continued" ("Tsuzuku" in Japanese) reflects the state of things at the end of the episode. At first, Renton is the only one who says it, Eureka joining in about half way through the series to symbolize their relationship moving forward.
- The last scene of Omamori Himari's opening changes from episode to episode. When Rinko goes up to Yuuto's room, she always finds him in bed with one (or more) members of his harem in a compromising position. Megaton Punch ensues.
- While not exactly a gag, one of the end credits sequences for the second season focuses on a different one of the 13 squads for each episode.
- The fourth opening, "Tonight Tonight Tonight" features a different pic of a character near the end of the song. It was cut out in the U.S. broadcast only keeping the first one.
- Though not exactly a joke, the endings to Axis Powers Hetalia have variations of this. During the second season, the ending song was sung by the character that was the focus of that episode. During the third season, a certain potion of the credits changes to depict either the Allies or Axis Powers standing around a tree, and then focuses in one one of the characters' faces.
- Asobi ni Iku yo! typically starts each episode with an Opening Narration before the opening credits start, acting as a parody of classic television like Star Trek or Bewitched.
- In season 5 of Keroro Gunsou, each of the episodes using the thirteenth ending theme, "Bokura no Aikotoba", used different art over the end credits (though all were overlaid with the same animation of the Keroro Platoon clapping along to the music).
- Hidamari Sketch x365's opening has several: Miyako eating a different dish in each episode, the scroll on the wall behind her changing, the message Hiro writes on the paper airplane changing, and Yuno's attempt at a group picture getting messed up in different ways.
- Durarara!! does this as well, essentially "slipping in" a few seconds of new footage in between a section of the Openings; only carrying over the music until it returned to the stock footage. Used very effectively.
- Squid Girl: Who or what is going to be in the closing credits with our title character for this episode?
- Played with by Rail Wars! - when the opening credits show a grayscale rendering of all of the rolling stock used in the series, the full-color scenes shown above the rendered video are changed every second episode. The clips are from both of the episodes that are aired with those clips.
- The comic book The Maxx included a different short sentence in its credits.
- Keith Giffen's comics usually have some sort of credit gag, eg: Keith (angry old man) Giffen.
- Probably not a proper couch gag since it only happened once, but in the first issue the title/credit box comes a page or two after Spider Jerusalem hears his editor's voice on the phone and, surprised, says, "The whorehopper!" The editor is credited, in that issue, as the "whorehopper".
- A more proper example: at the end of each issue, the three eyed smiley face would be shown in a way somehow related to the content of the issue (walking in the rain, smoking a cigarette, etc.)
- In Stan Lee and Steve Ditko's run on The Amazing Spider-Man, each splash page would contain some kind of gag in the credits, usually replacing "written by", "drawn by" and "lettered by" areas.
- Each of the longer Sam and Max Freelance Police comics carries a title gag [dead link] in the form of "Based on the [Media Type], [Silly Title]", such as Based on the famed Beat-generation novel, "Sam and Max Drive Around in a Car" by Bucky Kerouac. This tradition is carried over to Season 2 and 3 of Telltale's series of adventure games. The episode "Chariot of the Dogs", for example, is "Based on the best-selling addled-brained musings of noted aliens-made-all-our-stuff theorist Erich von Dannyohday"
- Bongo Comics' The Simpsons usually credits Matt Groening with a different title in every issue.
- Most fan fictions start with a standard disclaimer about not owning the source material. Humorous fan fiction loves to play with this disclaimer.
- Yu-Gi-Oh!: The Abridged Series:
- Yami Yugi saying something random that usually has nothing to do with the plot, a fly-by of fake cards, and a Cold Opening before the opening credits.
- It also has The Stinger after every episode that is usually a blank screen with a joke related to the episode or a Spoof Aesop. And there is also a stinger AFTER The Stinger.
- Naruto: The Abridged Comedy Fandub Spoof Series Show, also created by Little Kuriboh, has the starting disclaimer read out in a different way each episode. The highlight would be the one sung by Kakashi 'I'm Not David Bowie' Bowie
- Dragon Ball Abridged: From Episode 17 onward, the "please support official release" message is always done by the character who dies in that episode. (Or, in Episode 25's case, the character who ceases to exist as an individual being in that episode.)
- For a while, the Australian printing of White Dwarf (Games Workshop's magazine) would finish the list of contributors on the first page with something odd, like "Sean Bean" or "that guy on SOF 2 who did not believe me". Sadly, this appears to have fallen by the wayside.
- Match Game: Host Gene Rayburn made a different entrance for each show. Once, this involved him breaking down the doors.
- The 2004 Reboot of Battlestar Galactica:
- The opening credits includes the current population of the Rag-Tag Fleet. This tally is updated in each episode, based on the events (and body count) in the previous episode (and the teaser, if someone dies before the opening credits).
- Also, the Vanity Plate at the end of BSG is different every episode.
- The first version of the Hangin' With Mr. Cooper opening has the title character saying something different before and after the theme song. This was also something that had several versions as opposed to being different every time. The second changes his set of after-song quips.
- Police Squad!
- Each episode ends with the characters frozen in mid-laugh in traditional style while the credits rolled, but rather than freeze the image, the actors would just remain still. Each episode played with this in a different way, such as having the recently-arrested perp notice that everyone else has frozen and try to escape (but a uniformed officer is frozen right in front of the door), or having one character in the middle of pouring coffee, resulting in it overflowing from the cup (and scalding the hand of the person holding the cup - who almost succeeds in not screaming in pain).
- Likewise, in the opening section, they'd have it say "and special guest star", and cut to a shot of said star, so they could then die in the title sequence.
- Monty Python's Flying Circus
- Except for the short fourth season, the show use thematic gags to introduce the opening titles. In the first season, Michael Palin, dressed as a hermit, runs up to the camera and says, "It's..." In the second season, John Cleese appears seated at a desk and says, "And now for something completely different," followed by a shot of Palin saying "It's..." In the third season, a nude Terry Jones plays an organ chord, followed by Cleese's "And now..." and Palin's "It's..."
- Subverted in the Second Season when, in one episode, Cleese does not appear before the opening titles. After the opening titles, Cleese appears sat at a desk and says, "You probably noticed that I didn't say 'And now for something completely different' this week. That's because I'm unable to appear in this week's show..." before looking in dismay at his script.
- Mystery Science Theater 3000 had a "stinger"—a five-second clip from that day's movie, usually something that would be bizarre even in context—after the ending credits. As well, some episodes had different music or spoken lines over the end credits.
- For the Hamlet episode, the entire ending theme was replaced by the audio for part of the "to be or not to be" monologue (in keeping with the final scene, in which Tom and Crow present Mike with a talking Hamlet action figure).
- Many episodes in the second half of season 5 (i.e. after Mike replaced Joel) had alternate Eyecatches showing something odd being thrown at a blackboard.
- Power Rangers Turbo and Power Rangers Lost Galaxy had several spots in its opening that had two or three different versions, making instances of seeing the exact same opening twice in a row fairly rare.
- In the first two seasons of Red Dwarf, each episode would begin with a "Distress Call" in which Holly, the ship's computer, described the ship's situation (and the show's premise) and then finished off with a humorous remark (different each episode) about the situation, recent events, or the crew's hopes for the future. One of these was even used as a retroactive Reset Button: The most important event that happened recently is that Lister pretended to pass a test to be a chef, when in fact he failed. "That should tell you something about how interesting things are here."
- Not quite a proper Couch Gag, but perhaps something of a prototype: the "family photo" scene at the end of the opening credits to Soap alternated between several different versions.
- The original opening Sabrina the Teenage Witch would have Sabrina changing into 4 different outfits in front of her mirror, the fourth always being different. She would then make a quick pun or observation.
- This Hour Has 22 Minutes has a fake disclaimer after a regular one. For example:
- Warning! To France: If you don't go to war now, you won't be able to surrender later!
- Warning! To the Prime Minister: It's Flag Day, not Flog Day!
- (For the hour-long 200th episode) Warning! This hour has 44 minutes! We are drunk with power!
- Tokusou Sentai Dekaranger gives a spot in the opening to each Monster of the Week, changing every episode. (A different shot of the same monster if one monster gets a two-parter.)
- It's very subtle, but almost every episode of The Prisoner uses a different mix of the opening Theme Tune. Each episode is also supposed to begin with a version of the same dialogue between Number 6 and Number 2, with the voice of Number 2 changing in each episode. However, in some episodes the actor playing Number 2 did not record the lines, or the identity of Number 2 was hidden, and so a generic voice was used instead.
- The opening animation of Frasier would change each episode. To begin with these cycled between a handful of basic animations; later episodes and seasons added more elaborate sequences. The color of the show's title also changed from season to season.
- Each episode of past the first season opens with someone different singing the Malvina Reynolds song "Little Boxes" as a Theme Tune.
- Also, in season 5, the Weeds title card (plus "Created by Jenji Kohan") somehow fashioned itself onto an object that was featured prominently in the episode.
- Starting with the 2007 season, The Chasers War On Everything features an image of a celebrity with a caption underneath it which is different in every episode. Also, a number of the "locked on" images in the rest of the title sequence are different in each episode.
- The Daily Show
- Episodes on the set of created in 2007 open with a shot of a globe with a scrolling marquee on it. The marquee displays a list of cities that changes each episode, often following a theme (such as ancient cities, cities with "Sioux" in the name, etc.).
- "And here it is, your Moment of Zen." Every episode since the show's creation has had a "Moment of Zen" Stinger clip tagged on to the end—except the first episode after 9/11, when the Moment of Zen was Jon Stewart holding a puppy.
- The opening credits for the original |Mission Impossible included a montage of short clips taken from the episode itself
- Each episode of The Vicar of Dibley ends with a post-credit scene in which the vicar tells Alice a joke, which the latter misunderstands humorously.
- The Colbert Report
- There's an opening sequence where Colbert is in a box filled with patriotic words (and an eagle?). The Couch Gag, which doesn't change every episode but rather once every couple of months, is the last of a certain flurry of words. It's often a nonword, such as "Megamerican", a short phrase, such as "George Bush have a hotdog with me!", or both, in the case of "Factose intolerant". Leading up to the election, it was simply a command to "Vote".
- Almost every episode opens with Stephen giving a humorously-worded description of the topics he'll be covering (accompanied by punny captions) followed by a non-sequitur one-liner right before the credits.
- England's The Day Today would end with a few.
- Chris Morris would conclude all but one episode by reading tomorrow's tabloid headlines, i.e. "Lord Mayor's Pirouette in Fire Chief Wife Decapitation."
- Episodes ended with the camera panning out on Chris and the studio lights dimming, Chris would use this opportunity to perform an assortment of bizarre activities during the credits, such as stealing all the pens around his news desk, shooting heroin, and removing a wig revealing long, blond hair. The last episode concluded with Chris lying on the ground in front of his news desk as if he were worshiping it.
- On occasion, the music track playing over the credits would skip like a broken record near the end.
- Episode 5, which featured Chris inciting a war between Australia and Hong Kong, concluded after the credits with a rather humorous advertisement for a home video series on the war covered during the episode.
- The Ur Example might be The Dick Van Dyke Show, which had different openings where he either tripped over the footrest, then later lampshaded it by stepping around it. And there's also a rarer third version that has him step around the footrest, only to trip slightly on the rug as he greets Buddy.
- All in The Family had Edith trying to hit a high note when singing the title song Those Were The Days, initially the incident was so funny they ran canned laughter after her (badly performed) attempt. Later the incident became so well known that they dropped it.
- The Soup has its own literal Couch Gag: during the opening sequence Joel and the dog can be seen on a couch watching a clip from/relating to a big media event of the previous week.
- The Rockford Files has the message being left on Jim Rockford's answering machine.
- The West Wing has Gail the goldfish.
- Fawlty Towers includes a hotel sign in the opening credits. This usually either has letters missing or is rearranged into anagrams or partial anagrams of itself, for example "Fatty Owls" and "Flowery Twats".
- The production company Vanity Plate at the end of shows produced by Chuck Lorre (Dharma and Greg, Two and A Half Men, The Big Bang Theory) contains text written by him. The text can usually only be read by freeze-framing on it (using a VCR or DVR). The card is different for most episodes and is numbered, starting with #1 for the first episode of Dharma & Greg and continuing through the other shows.
- Similarly, the production company for Everybody Loves Raymond, Where's Lunch. In their vanity plate, the company logo is printed on a table, and then covered up as a waiter serves a plate of food, which is different every episode. For the last episode, the waiter delivers the check.
- Each episode of Blackadder II has a humorous summary of the episode's plot as lyrics for the closing theme song sung by a minstrel fleeing the wrath of the title character. In one episode, he finally catches the minstrel and beats him.
- Xena: Warrior Princess and Hercules: The Legendary Journeys have a bit right near the end of the credits that riffed on the standard No Animals Were Harmed disclaimer, usually a comedic bit referring to the events of the episode. For instance, during the "Hope" arc which set Xena and Gabrielle against each other, one of the episodes made the comment that "Xena and Gabrielle's relationship was harmed during the filming of this episode."
- The IT Crowd has a semi-couch gag: at the end of each episode, video or pictures relating to the just-shown episode play. Some consider this just a continuation of the episode, though.
- Web Soup
- The show changes their Operators Are Standing By introduction clip each episode, where the operator woman and her headset do something stupid like try to answer a phone upside down, or nearly choke to death on the headset cord.
- Starting in season 3 following the format change, after the opening Chris Hardwick (the host) would run down the hall to the studio and encounter or do something different. Such as being chased by a mob (who would back off when they realize they were entering a area where they're taping) or using the Portal gun. Likewise the "Firsties" segment the announcer would often change the way how he shouted it.
- The Sarah Silverman Program always has an opening where Sarah gives a run down of the characters on the show while showing pictures (some completely random), but the pictures she shows and what she says is different for every episode.
- Has a literal couch gag during The Tag. Save for the first and eighth episodes thus far,[please verify] every show will end with Abed and Troy (many times literally on the couch in the library) doing/saying something funny, right before or as the credits begin to roll.
- As of the second season, certain special episodes have new versions of the title sequence. The Halloween episode (paid out of the creator's pocket) altered the scribbles on the cootie catcher and desk to fit a scary theme, the animated Christmas episode had Abed sing new lyrics to the theme song while dancing on the cars in the parking lot, and the Dungeons and Dragons episode changed the scribbles and theme song to medieval versions.
- On Dawn French's Murder Most Horrid, the second-to-last line of the theme song would be different in every episode; they would all rhyme with "horrid."
- Episodes of the original Mickey Mouse Club started with a cartoon Donald Duck trying to ring a gong, with humorous results.
- While not exactly a "gag", during the theme song of every episode of Mister Rogers Neighborhood, Mr. Rogers would put on a different colored sweater. Obviously there were duplicates considering how long the show ran.
- Cougar Town
- On the second season, the "Welcome To" part of the title sequence was changed to a gag subtitle Lampshading the fact that the title no longer goes with the premise but the producers coudn't find a better one. For example, the season opener reads "Still Cougartown", while a later episode has "Titles are hard".
- A season 3 episode even references the Trope Namer: "This is not The Simpsons chalkboard thing. This is not the Simpsons chalkboard thing. This is not the Simpsons chalkboard thing."
- In Green Acres, after the opening title it's usually Lisa Douglas who would notice "It's time to wake up and see the names!" or some other variation.
- Whose Line Is It Anyway?, both the British and American Versions.
- At the beginning host Clive Anderson started out introducing the players and their showbiz origins, then got bored with that and switched to more original, thematic introductions, with a theme and usually a sting for the fourth one.
Clive: The greatest thing from America since sliced hamburgers, Mike McShane; and the most interesting Canadian after the maple leaf, Colin Mochrie; and the biggest thing in show business since Barnum and Bailey's tent pole, Ryan Stiles; and finally the most interesting thing to come out of Gunnersbury since the North Circular Road, Tony Slattery.
- Drew introduced each episode's contestants by using slogans, figures of speech, or other popular phrases while replacing the last words of the phrase with the contestant's name.
Drew: If at first you don't succeed, try Greg Proops! If you can't stand the heat, get out of the Wayne Brady! If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say Colin Mochrie! And if you think you have problems, Ryan Stiles!
- Ryan's habit of making a funny expression into the camera during the intro can be traced back to the last UK season. In the US version, all four of them will be making an odd face for their introduction.
- The final game of the British series probably counts as a Couch Gag: The Winner or Winners of the show read the credits in the style of Clive's Choosing.
- The American version started without this aspect, then eventually added it after a few seasons.
- The credits to each episode of Game of Thrones feature a pop-up book style map of the major areas of importance to the episode.
- Episodes of Conan that debuted on Thursdays usually have a different variant of the "bridge scene" which varies from week to week such as
- Ones done in the style of a movie or TV show (Such as a "Back To The Future" version where the car travels through time)
- Ones based on current events (One that aired on the opening day of baseball season had a variant where the car drives to a baseball game a and baseball flies into the camera)
- Ones just plain different than usual (Such as the car being replaced with a clown car that overstuffed the house, robotic legs sprouting from the house and walking away, or the Dreamworks kid in the moon hooking the car by accident).
- During a week of shows filmed in New York City, each episode featured the same gag: The family jumps onto the top of an underground subway.
- In some cases, the show's opening credits also look different (The aforementioned New York City episodes were done in the style of a subway map and there was also an episode opening done as the opening to Happy Days).
- Guest names on the title cards are usually accompanied by icons demonstrating the medium of whatever they're promoting (the typical ones being a TV for a TV actor, a reel-to-reel projector for film, a microphone for comedians, and music notes for musicians). Occasionally, guests have icons specific to them (such as "Nerdist" podcast host Chris Hardwick's name being accompanied by the Nerdist symbol [dead link]).
- The Seinfeld logo is always a different color every single episode.
- The last segment to each episode of The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson begins with the title card "What did we learn on the show tonight, Craig?" with a kitten. What happens next changes from show to show, and it's possible to see a full month of episodes without seeing the same thing twice.
- In each episode of Numb3rs, the action is preceded by a four-quadrant grid, each quadrant of which contains a number of something—suspects, dollars, crimes committed per day, people, whatever—relevant to that episode's case.
- In a Couch Gag that encompassed the entire work, the band Yes shot 17 versions of their video for 1983's "Leave It". The first featured the five band members standing side by side, singing the song, in black suits. The other 16 each incorporated some variation on this setup, often quite subtle (e.g. one band member wearing a different-colored tie), as a visual Running Gag.
- The wiki signs: Wikipedia has signs that tell users a page needs information, lacks it, is not objective, etc. Other wikis take advantage and use their themes in their pages. For example: in the Harry Potter wiki, they have "'Homenum Revelio!' [S]poilers will be present within the article. Please take care when reading this article if you do not wish to be spoiled." for spoiler alert.
- When pro wrestler Bryan Danielson was Ring of Honor World Champion, he had a Couch Gag of coercing the ring announcer to give him a different flattering title before every match, usually some sort of Cheap Heat relating to his opponent or where he was wrestling. Said titles included "the best wrestler in the entire world, with an emphasis on entire world," "the best wrestler to ever step foot in the ECW Arena," "even better than the Beatles," "the best champion in ROH history," and "really too good to wrestle in front of all these pricks."
- This was done to an even greater extent earlier on in ROH, during Steve Corino's run in 2003. Prior to every match he would have personal ring announcer Bobby Cruise announce a ridiculously, painfully long list of something that usually served as a means of mocking his opponents. For example, when facing the notoriously straight-edge CM Punk, Corino's list consisted of famous wrestlers with histories with drugs and alcohol that Corino aspired to be like.
- The opening sequence to the post-apocalyptic show Jericho always featured a telegraph beeping in the background. If one knew Morse code well enough, one could tell that each episode's plot was given away by the message ("There is a fire" the week half the town burns down, etc.).
- The Muppet Show has Gonzo's attempt to close the opening credits with a gong or trumpet (depending on the season), as well as Statler and Waldorf making a comment.
- Also, if there was a guest star for that episode, he or she would be introduced; if there wasn't, there would be a different verse added at that point (usually sung by Statler and Waldorf, complaining about the show).
- Sometimes, before leaving, a child on Barney and Friends will double back and thank the big purple guy for his help, or just share their love with him. They may find that he has reverted already.
- The Teletubbies actually begins and ends with the Teletubbies emerging and reentering their dome in a random order, respectively.
- A Prairie Home Companion has the line "I smell the _____, I look around for you" in its theme song; the blank is filled by an object related to the city they're currently in, such as "cheesesteaks" for Philadelphia.
- This American Life ends every episode with Ira Glass stating that "Management oversight is provided by our boss, Mr. Torey Malatia, who..." with the ellipses filled in by a statement introducing a sound bite from that week's episode taken out of context.
- Car Talk has the credits that make fun of the various people that work on the show, occasionally changing when a new in-joke or gag presents itself, such as Doug the "Subway Fugitive". He jumped a turnstile.
- Wait Wait Don't Tell Me has Carl Kasell giving a line from the "Who's Carl This Time" game, which sounds completely odd out of context.
- Each episode of The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy has a different short, humorous quip stuck onto the end of the credits, occasionally tangentially related to the episode that had just played.
- The splash text in Minecraft's title screen is randomly selected among about two hundreds.
- In Elite Beat Agents and Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan, the way the Agents/Ouendan enter are different sometimes. For example, the agents could drive in on motorcycles, and the Ouendan are in a hot spring. The scene also differs slightly based on difficulty, changing elements like what type of ladder the Agents descend on, or what type of book the Ouendan are reading.
- Rise of the Triad has several Guilt Based Gaming quit messages worded along the lines of "Press Y to release the cyanide gas", "Press Y to drive your car off the cliff" or "Press Y to signal firing squad". In the registered version, the game plays a sound effect to match the message when you do press Y.
- In Mario Kart: Double Dash!!, Lakitu has a different item at random on the end of his fishing line just before the title sequence begins.
- In LSD Dream Emulator, the opening is randomly selected every time you turn it on.
- The title sequences for Sam & Max Save the World end with the duo making some kind of gesture (high-five, "right back atcha", ect.) In the season finale, the sequence ends with Max pointing upward and the car flies to the moon.
- Following seasons use the couch gag from the comics (as mentioned above).
- The narration text that appears onscreen before the opening cutscene in Spelunky is randomly generated between three lines, with a seperate list of possible sentence fragments for each line. One such example:
With fate guiding my every move,
- Unforgotten Realms begins every episode with a black screen with a message about "the following episode", which is accompanied by an announcer-type voice not-quite reading the message word-for-word. The white text has deviated further and further from what the voice says in later episodes. Variations have included "The following episode may or may not contain the word 'tiddly wank'", "The following episode did not care for the new Batman movie", and "The following episode will not have one of those 'the following episode' announcements at the start of it." Episode Nine actually doesn't have one, cutting immediately into the recap and title theme. But at the end, the familiar screen shows up to inform you that "the following episode is over"
- Strong Bad email frequently changes the menu's mini-song about scroll buttons, the opening mini-song about email checking and the 'So until next time...' ending.
- Bonus Stage started having one consistently after its 75th episode.
- Zero Punctuation has this with the last two frames of the end credits. Some times hilarious, sometimes not so much. Before getting an official title song, Yahtzee used music with a title or theme that was related to the game reviewed.
- The opening for each video in Profound Moments in Left 4 Dead 2 changes slightly depending on which season the video is a part of. The poster shown at the very start, the music played during it, and the images of the Survivors the players are controlling for that season all change, the former two being the poster and intro music for the campaign in question and the latter just being the Survivors doing silly things.
- Questionable Content
- The specials board at Coffee of Doom, which always shows ridiculous things like "Cup o' Bees", "Mocha with a hair in it", and "We murder you". Faye has commented that no one ever orders the specials, which is fine with her because then she doesn't have to make them. When no-nonsense Penelope was left in charge, the specials were ordinary drinks, pastries, and a request to not chat with her, which of course was ignored. Recently Jeph expolred a third way with "Banana Latte, Banana Bread, Banana Brownies, We got way too many bananas!" Truth in Television if you've ever dealt with having over-ordered a perishable item.
- There are also some recurring jokes on the main menu board, including a drink size "WTF" and a beverage sold as "Frappuccino Ripoff".
- Each Mulberry story begins with an old comic cover that looks nonsensical taken out of context.
- Princess Pi has randomly selected images and quotes in lieu of cover pages and synopses. Also, the first panel of each comic credits a different celebrity with Pi's creation.
- The web series Matchstick McCoy is NOTHING BUT couch gags.
- Parlsey Boobs switched out its lyrics from episode to episode, getting progressively more bizzare until the end.
- Smosh: A random audio clip playing when the Smosh logo comes up in the beginning always gets interrup- SHUT! UP!
- The Philthon Jones intro. It started out (for the first three videos) as someone just saying "Philthon Jones", but there have been variations since -- one video even had the intro segue into the episode itself.
- Each episodes Brows Held High has Oancitizen reading some book or periodical relevant to the film for the episode—from Alice in Wonderland for Jan Svankmeyer's version to a Yankee Candle catalogue for Perfume.
- Todd in the Shadows opens each of his videos with a piano rendition of the song being reviewed. If it's a special review, like a top ten list, he will simply play a song from that year or theme.
- Tobuscus opens each episode of Cute Win Fail with a Mad Libs Catchphrase intro, using the formula "Hi, I'm Toby Turner. [Improbable statement], and this is 'Cute Win Fail', the show where videos from three different [items related to improbable statement] compete to become the most EPIC."
- After its first few episodes, Bad Obsession Motorsport's Project Binky! ends each installment with the same gag as Police Squad! above. Which is only appropriate, because they use the music and format of Police Squad!'s opening credits as well.
- The Simpsons' original opening sequence had four couch gags:
- Bart writes something different in detention each episode.
- Lisa plays a different solo on her saxophone. Sometimes Lisa will play a trumpet instead.
- The literal "couch gag", the family gathering on the couch in a (usually) humorous animation. (This is also the only gag that's never cut in syndication.)
- The HDTV opening introduced in season 20 introduced four additional couch gags:
- Something different flies in front of the Simpsons logo (but it's usually a three-eyed crow)
- When the head of the Jebediah Springfield statue falls on Ralph's head, he will usually make a muttering noise, but sometimes he will actually say something, such as "I see stars!" or "It's dark!"
- A billboard across the street from Springfield Elementary advertises something different each episode.
- The Simpsons' wall-mounted HDTV falls off the wall in some episodes, and does not in others.
- The writers enjoy meta-humor about the blackboard gags.
- In "Skinner's Sense of Snow", Bart complains that he's written on the board so often that his wrist sounds like a cement mixer (and rotates his wrist to prove his point).
- In "The Parent Rap", the phrase Bart writes on the blackboard is "No one reads these anymore."
- On the 100th episode, highly advertised by Fox, Bart wrote "I will not celebrate meaningless milestones".
- On one occasion, Bart wrote, "I will not defame New Orleans." The previous episode, "A Streetcar Named Marge", had featured a song about how horrible New Orleans was, in a spoof of the song from the musical Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street. Bart's writing on the board was intended as an apology to those who were offended.
- Similarly, one episode had a guest cast or crew member whose name was misspelled in the credits; the following episode had Bart writing the correct spelling on the blackboard over and over.
- Another episode had, "I will not bite the hand that feeds me Butterfingers." Two episodes earlier, Chief Wiggum had thrown the town's supply of Butterfingers into a fire, only for the fire to reject them. "Not even the fire wants them." comments Wiggum. This was an inside joke about the show's long history of Simpsons characters appearing in Butterfinger ads. This was written around the time the contract with Butterfinger ended.
- When Matt Groening announced that Springfield, Oregon was the inspiration for Springfield, that week's episode ("Beware My Cheating Bart") opened with the words "Now entering Oregon" next to the main title, while the chalkboard gag read "The true location of Springfield is in any state but yours."
- In the first HD episode, Bart writes "HDTV is worth every cent."
- The Gracie Films Vanity Plate at the end of the episode sometimes has different sound effects playing besides just the "shh" and the little jingle that plays.
- The most regular appearing one is a shriek and minor-key organ variation of the jingle which follows some of the Halloween episodes.
- A gunshot is inserted here for "Who shot Mr. Burns? Part 1."
- Another has Grandpa Simpson angrily yelling at the shushing woman, "Don't shush me!"
- Throughout the credits of one episode, Homer, drunk with power from being made Head Coach of the pee-wee football team, was "cutting" several people when their names showed up, and when the woman did her shush he said "You're cut too, Shushy!".
- Sometimes the closing theme is rendered in a different musical motif based on the theme of the episode (such as an ice rink organ after a hockey-themed one), or an instrumental performed by a "special musical guest" (past bands to interpret the theme during the end credits include NRBQ, Sonic Youth, Brave Combo, Fall Out Boy and Yo La Tengo).
- The Halloween specials also generally feature gags within the credits, with puns on the names in the credits ("Matt Groaning" or "Bat Groening" being almost inevitably featured)
- For some episodes, the entire opening is changed:
- For the episode "He Loves to Fly and He D'ohs", which immediately follows The Simpsons Movie, almost every element of the opening was changed to reflect events of the movie such as Springfield in ruin, the silo still lashed to the top of Homer's car, and Spiderpig waiting for them on the couch.
- For the episode "To Surveil with Love", the opening credits were completely replaced by an animated music video set to "TiK Tok", though the gathering-on-the-couch gag still appears at the end.
- Probably the most infamous of the couch gags was the one for "MoneyBART", storyboarded by subversive and reclusive street artist Banksy. It started with the typical intro (with "Banksy" written over several billboards and walls, and Bart writing "I will not write all over walls", all over the room) ending with all the Simpsons on the couch. It then panned out to a stereotypical Korean sweatshop animating the show, with small barefoot children washing the cells in biohazardous material, kittens being ground up to stuff Bart Simpson plushies which are then carted off by a starving panda and packed in boxes sealed with the tongue of a dolphin head, and a person making Simpson DVDs by smashing out the center holes on the horn of a dying unicorn chained to a wall. Then the camera pans out to reveal the sweatshop being inside the 20th Century Fox logo, which has a decrepit, prison-esque look, finally panning out to the Simpsons TV.
- If an episode is too short, then a very long couch gag will start to play to fill time. Three noticable examples include one where the family performs a chorus line while the living room turns into a circus, one where the camera zooms out of their house and into outer space and back, and one where Homer is seen evolving from a single-celled organism.
- Two Season 23 episodes have couch gags by guest animators: "Bart Stops to Smell the Roosevelts", by John Kricfalusi; and "Beware My Cheating Bart", by Bill Plympton.
- The second-to-last line in the opening song is interchangeable, but always rhymes with "here's the show's name-y". To note, however, when the show was aired on Nickelodeon, this gag was removed and replaced with Dot saying "Nickel-eeny" (which didn't even rhyme with "aney") for every opening.
- Animaniacs also includes a gag-credit amongst the regular credits of every episode.
- Not to mention the Warners or another character making some comment at the very end of the credits.
- This becomes amusing on VHS releases as they have all of the alternative openings, one right after another.
- Also, in early seasons, the line Wakko packs away the snacks was followed by While Bill Clinton plays the sax (showing an image of the then President), while in later seasons it showed the Warners surrounded by paperwork while they sing We pay loads of income tax.
- American Dad
- Stan will pick up a paper in the opening credits, and the headline will vary every time. It will usually be a cynical pun on a common aphorism, such as "Optimist Drowns in Half-Full Tub", or "Hooker Killed for Heart of Gold". Subverted in an episode where the headline is "Alien Spotted", with a picture of Roger, thus jump-starting the plot of the episode (and ending the theme song early).
- Starting with the third season there's a new opening which ends with Roger appearing in Stan's car and stealing the last line. The new Couch Gag is how Roger is dressed.
- The Critic bookends itself with Couch Gags.
- Near the end of the opening credits, Jay will watch a short trailer for a fictional movie, which will usually be a sequel to an existing movie, or a cross-over between two movies. Regardless of the clip, Jay will declare "It Stinks!". Also, the credits open with Jay being roused from sleep by a phone call, always bad news, to which he reacts silently; this was later replaced by assorted talk radio chatter from his alarm clock.
- After Jay watches the ending credits in a movie theatre, an usher approaches him and tells him the movie is over, and he responds with a one-liner. "My feet are stuck to the floor!" "But I have nowhere to go!" After he gets a girlfriend, the credits usually featured them kissing, and the one-liner being one or both of them telling the usher off.
- The opening credits of Dave the Barbarian finished with the castle collapsing as the door slammed, revealing something different behind the wall each time.
- The Emperors New School opens with Kuzco (or rarely some other character) making a weird observation about the coming episode. He thens yells "Theme music!" and the opening credits start. The show ends with some kind of gag (styled as a blooper reel, deleted scene, etc) playing above the closing credits.
- The Fairly OddParents ends its opening titles with Vicky's heading getting changed into something (say, a toilet). Starting around season 2, Vicky's head was changed into something that had something to do with the plot of the episode.
- At the beginning of the opening credits, a small tagline is shown underneath the Futurama logo (for example: "Now in Smell-o-vision," "As Foretold by Nostradamus," or "From The Makers Of Futurama").
- At the end of the opening credits, the ship crashes into a large screen that is playing a classic cartoon. Sadly, the cartoon gag has been done away with thanks to the shortened opening sequence in the new season.
- In the opening credits to Garfield and Friends, Garfield would say something different at the end of it. (At the beginning of the "Caped Avenger" episode, it was: "You notice how every week I say something different here?") Of course, he does have the advantage of not moving his mouth when he speaks. (One particular airing went out with silence where Garfield's quip usually went. See it here.)
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
- The opening of of each episode always ends with Mandy giving a different sardonic, menacing, and sometimes downright threatening message to the viewer. An example from the episode "My Fair Mandy":
Mandy: It's just you and me against the world. (puts on soldier's helmet) We attack at dawn.
- Don't forget the Aleister Crowley quote "Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law."
- "The call is coming from inside the house", said completely deadpan, per usual... save the slight intonation that whoever was making the call was in for a world of hurt.
- In the opening to every episode of Mickey Mouse Works, Donald would get something to display "Starring Donald Duck" in front of the title, only for it to backfire in some way.
- Every episode of Muppet Babies ends with a skit, usually with Baby Gonzo and Baby Animal—the latter shouting "Go Bye-Bye!"—often in a setting based on that particular episode.
- The opening of all Pepper Ann episodes had her find a different random object under her desk each time, from $5.00 American to the TV remote.
- In the title sequence of The Proud Family, Oscar closes the door on a series of characters, always starting with Penny's friends and ending with Suga Mama, who forces the door open and goes in. Sometimes one or two recurring characters appearing in that particular episode will appear after Penny's friends, sometimes it just goes straight to Suga Mama.
- The first season of Disney's The Replacements always ends with one of the characters doing a public service announcement for Fleemco.
- Every episode of Sheep in The Big City starts with a random commercial parody before the opening sequence. Nearly every episode ended with "the Ranting Swede", who would come out just before the credits and complain about some random topic that annoys him, often based on some misunderstanding about a common idiom. The one exception was the "behind the scenes" episode, where his rant and the closing credits came at the beginning of the show.
- Tiny Toon Adventures always includes one entry in the end credits that somehow calls back to a joke made somewhere in the episode proper. It also frequently had a different gag in the ending bubble at the very end of the credits. Before the "75th Anniversary" episode, the gag was Kathryn Page being credited as a different joke occupation.
- The end credits of Pinky and The Brain features a different complex word, with its definition (tying in to Brain's intellect). The revamp with Elmyra had her attempt to define the word instead.
- Can you find Emmitt Nervind X times in this episode?
- As with Tiny Toons and Animaniacs, Freakazoid would give a comment at the end of the closing credits. In the second season, a short clip from the episode would play instead.
- Freakazoid also had a semi-couch gag in the opening song around the word "Freakazoo." Some episodes would show Freakazoid behind bars while this word was said; other times an ad for a free kazoo was shown instead.
- Histeria! also went with having a gag credit sometimes calling back to a joke in the episode, though they stopped doing this in later episodes.
- The closing credits of The Angry Beavers include nicknames put in quotes inside the names that are listed.
- The credits of The Venture Brothers always had a "nickname" insert between the first and last name of one of the animation supervisors that is composed of an off-hand line from the previous episode.
- The opening of Chowder is from the point of view of inside an oven. While the activities in the foreground are always the same, the living food being cooked is different in each episode.
- The Secret Show opens with Agent Ray evicting Granny from in her timeslot in a different fashion every episode.
- The opening credits for Invader Zim always ended with the disguised Zim imagining himself laughing maniacally atop his house, oblivious to his surroundings. There were only three scenes used interchangeably for normal episodes, but two unique ones were made for Halloween and Christmas.
- The Backyardigans
- At the end of an episode, just after the Five-Man Band returned from their adventure, Tyrone would ask: "That was an excellent XXX adventure, don'tcha think?" (with XXX being something related to the episode), and the others would agree. Later, after they got in one of their houses for a snack, one of them would come out and shout an important phrase from the episode (for instance, "Boo!" from Tyrone in the "Great to Be a Ghost" episode, complete with Tasha screaming, because Tyrone was the one who scared her).
- In the holiday episode, its last song was stitched to the final theme of the show (which is basically a shorter reprise of the opening), which they sing everytime in the end before they went inside for a snack.
- The extended scene at the beginning of every episode of Jackknife (the prisoner with the pompadour haircut) getting arrested again by Jailbot and carried through a variety of bizarre events back to Superjail. This effectively make most of the opening a Couch Gag, and the only Stock Footage is the last couple seconds of going through the cloud shaped like the Warden's head to Superjail.
- Further playing with this, the things that happen in the scene sometimes affect/set off the plot of the episode. One episode started with a particularly brutal serial killer who ripped off Jackknife's face which resulted in Jailbot taking him instead, and other was centered around a kid that Jailbot accidently picked up.
- Each episode of Code Monkeys starts with a different mock content warning.
- In Aaahh Real Monsters, the Gromble always says something different when he comes out from under the floor.
- The title cards for every episode would have Porkchop painting the episode's title under Doug's logo, adding in "'s" to the logo if it was needed (sometimes it fades in by itself while Porkchop is painting the title), with Doug always reacting negatively enough to scare Porkchop into running offscreen, though the outcome of this would vary from episode to episode. When Disney Retooled the series, Porkchop's way of writing the title would correspond with the episode's plot.
- Additionally, the way that the screen became black after the title was shown varied as well: sometimes Porkchop turned off the lights, sometimes Doug did, and sometimes Porkchop would throw the rest of his paint onto the screen.
- On The Wild Thornberrys, the opening sequence ends by zooming in on a map of the world, to the location where the Thornberrys were in the current episode.
- Lucy, the Daughter of the Devil takes this to its logical extreme and has a completely different opening sequence for every episode.
- Starting in Season 2 of Blues Clues, Blue hides in a different spot outside the house.
- The mildly obscure Disney series The Buzz on Maggie has the title character dress up in two different outfits/costumes in each credit sequence.
- The short-lived Clerks the Animated Series had two couch gags. Before the opening credits, a disclaimer (inserted via Executive Meddling) would run, followed by the announcer making an off-hand comment like, "Is anyone still watching after all that?" After the opening Theme Song, Randall would make a sitcom-like announcement about a supposed "live studio audience" as if it were a live-action show. (i.e. Clerks is drawn by a live studio audience.)
- For Robot Chicken, the Stoopid Monkey Vanity Plate is different each episode; all of them are a still picture of a monkey being Too Dumb to Live or already dead. For the first half of Season 5, episodes only featured the standard Stoopid Monkey logo that was introduced in Titan Maximum. The second half of the season featured Fan Art style pictures.
- On the first season of The Brak Show, the beginning of each episode showed the title of an old television show, with one word changed to the name 'Brak' (i.e. Leave it to Brak). The end of every episode throughout the series has a different song or piece of dialogue.
- King of the Hill has a different sound clip play at the end of the credits after every episode Season 2 and on. It was usually a line from the episode that, when played by itself and out of context, was usually very bizarre. Though there might have been some versions where a new line of dialog was added to continue a gag started at the end of the episode.
- The intro to Buzz Lightyear of Star Command would sometimes have a humorous incident occur when Buzz gets to the TV (i.e. he smacks right into the TV, or Wheezy and RC knock him away). Fittingly enough, the montage of clips from the episodes would vary depending on which gag they used.
- The Superhero Squad Show's opening features a scene where The Incredible Hulk grabs the Infinity Sword and transforms into a different version of himself in every opening, from a baby version to Joe Fixit, to the Grey Hulk.
- Justice League
- In the Justice League Unlimited phase, the end credits would be played over some selected scenes from the episode to follow, providing a sort of sneak peak (unless the episode was a Season Finale because the next episode was either still being animated or they were Uncanceled. Bruce Timm and company on the DVD Commentary would mention that they would sometimes play with the footage, like playing it backwards from the intended form.
- Most of the time (at least at first), the opening theme would include clips from that very episode, featuring the members of the rotating cast that would be the episode's main characters.
- The title of Sealab 2021 would appear in the opening credits as "Sealab 2020", the name of the show on which it was based. The changeover of the final "0" to a "1" would be accompanied by a different sound effect each episode.
- Perfect Hair Forever took this trope to the extreme with both its begining and ending credits having exclusive sequences with each episode.
- The televised version of Veggie Tales's opening theme ends with Pa Grape making a different comment about Archibald's sweater.
- The episode title cards from Arthur usually show a different animation involving characters from the show interacting with a large circle. For example, one title card shows Francine Frensky hitting the circle as if it was a gong, followed by Arthur Read screaming in annoyance. Another title card had Buster Baxter spoof the MGM logo.
- Family Guy has a few episodes with an alternate opening, all made right around the same time. Presumably, the idea was to make the entire opening a couch gag, but this never really materialized.
- Teen Titans has a running title gag that, whenever they did a silly episode, a nonsensical version of the theme song would be sung in Japanese.
- Hard to catch, but in the opening to Bob's Burgers, the store to the right of the title restaurant changes from episode to episode. Also, the exterminator's truck that comes when the restaurant is infected by rats has a different name and logo. Starting in the second season, the end credits sequence changes with each episode.
- At the end of the theme to Scaredy Squirrel, the title character says something different every time, typically a piece of advice.
- In the DVD version of Cars Toons, Mater will actually say "If I'm lyin', I'm cryin'" in a different manner that relates to the episode's plot. For example, in "Moon Mater", it is nighttime, and Mater says "Houston, if I'm lyin', I'm cryin'", and in "Mater: Private Eye", it is black and white, and Mater will say the opening title in a manner similar to film noirs.
- Tuff Puppy has several different openings with some random thing happening after Dudley strums the bass chord at the end. Either he falls off of the logo, the bass explodes, the bass turns into a rocket that carries him off screen, or the bass turns out to be The Chameleon who Dudley then chases offscreen. There's also one where Kitty plays the bass followed by Dudley driving into her on a motorcycle and knocking her offscreen followed by her coming back on screen giving him an angry look, and one where Keswick plays the bass and it turns into a robot chasing him away.
- The Title Sequence of the first season of Wakfu always ends with The Hero leaping towards the episode's Monster of the Week. For a string of episodes where the show concentrated on the supporting cast, the role was taken over by The Big Guy.
- Tripping the Rift: At the end of each opening sequence, Spaceship Bob (the voice of the computer) would utter some different, humorous sentence.