Lampshade Hanging/Live-Action TV

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.

Lampshades hung in live-action television.

  • The line "Dawn's in trouble. It must be Tuesday," from the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Once More with Feeling". (At the time, Buffy was broadcast on Tuesday nights.)
    • In the very next episode, "Tabula Rasa", the entire cast loses their memories. Buffy and Spike have the following exchange:

Spike Randy: How come I don't wanna bite you? And why am I fighting other vampires? I must be a noble vampire. A good guy. On a mission of redemption. I help the hopeless. I'm a vampire with a soul.

Buffy Joan: A vampire with a soul? Oh my god, how lame is that?

    • Giles: "A vampire in love with a slayer! It's really rather poetic... in a maudlin sort of way."
    • Graduation Pt 1: *Giles pulls random book on demons off normal bookshelf in the library* Xander: "Gee it's just as well nobody ever tried to check these books out..."
    • Episode 1, Season 5: Riley: "I've lived in Sunnydale a couple of years now, and you know what I've never noticed? ... A big, honking castle."
    • During Dawn's training the season seven premiere, Dawn encounters a new vampire. Dawn: "Well, he's new- he doesn't know his strength. Maybe he doesn't know all those martial arts skills that they inevitably pick up."
    • Joss adores this one. Both Buffy and Angel featured near-constant lampshade hanging.
    • Wesley's 'pull of divided loyalties' speech in That Old Gang of Mine
  • After the actor that plays one of the main characters is replaced in Game On, the next episode closes with everyone watching TV and someone saying "You know what I hate? When they replace the actor on a show, and just pretend it never happened!"
  • In the Malcolm in the Middle episode "Malcolm Dates a Family", Malcolm engages in a bit of Lampshade Hanging when he realizes he's scheduled simultaneous dates: "This is like that episode of... well, everything."
    • He even considered how Urkel handled the problem.
  • In an episode from one of Mork and Mindy's later seasons, an exasperated Mindy exclaimed, "Oh, Mork, what Earth concept have you misunderstood this week?"
  • Chuck
    • In Chuck vs. the Fake Name, a villain says "I hate those will-they-won't-they things," which perfectly describes the relationship between Chuck and Sarah.
    • Morgan lampshades Shaw's Disney Villain Death when Chuck tells him that Shaw fell into a river after being shot.
    • Ever since season two the show has been constantly on the verge of cancellation, so the writers began ending the seasons with episodes that would make satisfying endings, containing such events as Chuck and Sarah becoming a couple, Chuck proposing to Sarah, and Ellie giving birth. By the time the end of season 4 rolled around, everyone knew what to expect, and so the writers gave us a season finale in which Chuck and Sarah get married, Vivian is happily reunited with her father and the two gift the newlyweds Volkoff Industries, and the crew start up their own private spy business. All well and good... and then in a move no one saw coming, Morgan becomes an Intersect. The title of this episode? Chuck vs. the Cliffhanger.
  • Criminal Minds
    • In "The Fisher King" (Part 1), when the team sets up a sundial in a crime scene with a spotlight set to find a hidden spot on a wall, Elle says "What is this? An Indiana Jones movie?"
  • Boy Meets World also engaged in quite a bit of this, particular with respect to the character played by William Daniels. Mr. Feeny served as the teacher of almost every class the protagonists took, from elementary school through college, being somehow qualified to teach elementary school, English, history, literature, writing, psychology, mathematics and quantum mechanics. Several times over the series, the Matthews brothers commented that Mr. Feeny had been their teacher an inordinate number of times. Mr. Feeny himself wryly comments that, in addition to being the principal and teaching five different subjects, he is also in charge of the Lost and Found, and other characters comment that Cory somehow brought his own professor with him to college. In the final episode of the fifth season (the last episode before college), a character from the first couple of seasons, Minkus, was briefly reintroduced. Cory asked him why they hadn't seen him for so long if they were in the same school, and he explained he'd been "in the other part of the school" for the past couple of years -- pointing to the studio audience. Cory grimaced and said, "Well, we don't go there..."
    • Said character also makes reference to an offscreen character who also mysteriously disappeared seasons earlier.
    • In a season three episode, Morgan, who hadn't been on the show for about a season, returns as a different actress who was notably older than than the actress who initially played Morgan. Morgan's absence is lampshaded when Cory is telling Eric and their mother, "You know, why can't you guys learn from Morgan? She is a great sister. I mean, she stays in her room, you don't hear from her, you don't see her, and best of all, she stays out of my personal life." Morgan then comes down stairs and Cory says to her, "Morgan, long time no see." Morgan responds with, "Yeah, that was the longest time out I've ever had."
    • In one episode Cory is attempting to be in two places at once. Shawn helps out by showing him an episode of the Flintstones in which Fred had the same problem, and so this conversation occurs:

Shawn: Fred never spent more than 75 seconds at either location.
Cory: Yeah, but, you see Shawn, that was a cartoon. Time was compressed. We're real, we're in real time.
Shawn: Trust me, it's the same thing.
Cory: No, no it's not. You see, a television show can cover many days in only one half an hour program.
Shawn: *knowing smirk* Trust me, it's the same thing.

  • In the Community pilot, one of the characters quotes The Breakfast Club and is called on it by another character -- while in a "study group" that is rather reminiscent of the movie's detention group. The second episode's cold open also lampshades that it's a TV show...
    • Abed, the character the previous paragraph is referring to, is basically this website in walking, talking form. In one episode, he says that acting like life is TV is basically his thing, but "they leaned heavily on that last week, so I'll lay low for now", which he does. In another episode, it seems like a narration by Abed is about to start, when the camera reveal shows him simply talking aloud, and the other character tells him to stop, to which he replies "I know, it's a crutch." Then in ANOTHER episode, it seems like they completely forgot about their narration rule, except it turns out the entire narration for the episode was him recounting the events of the episode to the dean of the community college. Oh yeah, the episode was basically Goodfellas meets chicken fingers. He starts his narration with "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be in a Mafia movie."
    • The motto of the Community writers is to never let a trope go unlampshaded.
  • In the IT Crowd episode "Are We Not Men", the last thing we hear from Roy is a lampshading of some Fridge Logic about their escape when he asks "...who closed the door?".
  • In the 6th season of One Tree Hill, when Lucas agrees to getting his book turned into a movie, he goes around asking his friends and family who they want to play them. Most name famous celebrities, to which Lucas often points out they the film is based on teenagers/high school students lampshading the fact that all the cast members themselves were all twenty-somethings playing teenagers.
  • Referred to as "Hanging a lantern on it" in Stargate SG-1, "200", as the characters discuss an unlikely escape in a film script. An example of a show lampshading the act of lampshading.

Sgt. Harriman: “Basically, when the ’Gate is dialing, I say ‘Chevron One, encoded; Chevron Two, encoded’ and so on, incrementally, until the seventh Chevron, which is a little different because that’s when the wormhole connects. When that happens, I like to change things up a little bit and just say ‘Chevron Seven, locked.’”

    • In the original movie, O'Neill's name only had one "l" in it. After the change was noticed, the TV O'Neill would occasionally make a point of the spelling of his name, as if he's been annoyed by having it misspelled before, also providing a Retcon by implying that the single-L version from the movie was just a mistake.
    • He also makes repeated references to a Colonel O'Neil (one L) at the SGC who has "No sense of humour at all", lampshading the personality retool he underwent at the same time.
    • The show also occasionally reminds us that the Goa'uld purposely behave like totally cliched villains. Partly to keep their slaves and warriors living in constant fear; partly because most of them lack the ingenuity and creativity to try anything new and different, which proves to be their Achilles' Heel.
      • And it implies that all the villain cliches came from previous enslavement by said Go'auld.
    • In season 6 episode "Disclosure", during a review of the Stargate operation, Senator Kinsey remarks: "Face it General, under your command the Stargate program has lurched from one crisis to the next. Never averting disaster by anything more than the skin of its teeth."
    • "Wormhole X-Treme" and "200", the 100th and 200th episodes, respectively, basically exist to lampshade everything. This includes: the Zats originally vaporizing on the third shot, Daniel being able to sit down when he was out of phase, the ridiculousness of occasionally having touching scenes surrounded by carnage, the introduction of Cam Mitchell, Vala's entire backstory, and even how the 'gate works. And more.
    • The heroes frequently comment on Daniel's tendency to die and return from the dead. They also sometimes point out that all of Sam's boyfriends wind up dead.
    • And what about this line in reference to Teal'c? "He is Jaffa!" "No, but he plays one on TV."
    • In season3, episode 9, "Demons," upon emerging from the Stargate onto yet another heavily forested planet that looks suspiciously like British Columbia, O'Neill remarks "Trees, trees, and more trees. What a wonderfully green universe we live in."
    • In "Failsafe", O'Neil has to disarm a nuclear bomb. Upon being told to cut the red wire, he discovers that they're all yellow. He proceeds to cut them one by one, hoping that it's not the wire that will set off the bomb. When it comes down to the final two wires, he's about to cut one, but stops.

O'Neil: I'd just like to take this moment to point out that this is a very poorly designed bomb, and we should say something to someone when we get back.
Carter: Noted, sir.

    • An amusing scene from "Off the Grid" finds SG1 once again captured by bad guys and lampshades both the frequency of such situations and the flimsy handwaves that often get them into (and out of) said jams.

Daniel: Oh, I have a question. Why would we make the gate magically disappear before we had a chance to escape through it?
Worrell: Bad timing?
Daniel: That's gotta be the single stupidest thing I've ever heard.
Worrel: Do things always go according to plan in your world, Doctor Jackson?
Daniel: No, not usually, no.
Worrel: Then I would guess this is another one of those times.
]The scene is made even better a few moments later when our heroes are beamed away just as the bad guys decide to start shooting.]

  • In the Cop Show spoof Sledge Hammer!, the chief declares "Where the hell is he getting all this ammo!" about a hostage taker who has destroyed almost every vase in the room without reloading his revolver.
  • Doctor Who, In the episode "Rise of the Cyberman", the Doctor and his companions find themself in an alternate universe. Mickey immediately catches on to this, noting how it always happens in comic books. In the next episode, "Age of Steel": Mickey and Jake are looking for the transmitter controls, and Mickey asks what it looks like. Jake responds sarcastically that it'll have a sign with "Transmitter Controls" with big red letters on it. After a cut away and a couple of scenes, it cuts back to them, standing next to a metal box with "Transmitter Controls" written on it in big red letters.
    • In the earlier Doctor Who episode "Pyramids of Mars", The Doctor and Sarah Jane Smith hide from evil mummies in a priest hole (A hidden chamber). The Doctor rightly points out this is an anachronism, as the house is Victorian while priest holes are a relic of Elizabethan architecture. As he's doing this while attempting to hide, he is quickly shushed by his companion. Then again, Victorian architecture does often borrow from past eras, so it's not entirely far-fetched. (This actually gets mentioned in the story.)
    • In "Fury from the Deep", when the Doctor, Victoria, and Jamie land on Earth in England yet again, Victoria points out that they're always landing on Earth, while Jamie points out it's always in England. This happens again in the first season of the new series, which had not yet had any stories set beyond Earth and its immediate satellites - at the beginning of "The Empty Child", the Doctor says to Rose, "Know how long you can knock around space without happening to bump into Earth?" Rose responds, "Five days. Or is that just when we're out of milk?"
    • In "The Unicorn and the Wasp", the Agatha Christie episode, Donna notices immediately, saying "There's a murder, a mystery, and Agatha Christie. That's like meeting Charles Dickens, with ghosts, at Christmas!", which had happened in the episode "The Unquiet Dead". The Doctor, hilariously, looks guilty and goes "Well..."
    • The Brigadier said, "Just once, I wish we would encounter an alien menace that wasn't Immune to Bullets!"
      • He got his wish in Terror of the Zygons. A pity they didn't lampshade it then, too.
    • Even more blatantly, the UNIT captain in "Planet of the Dead": "I can't believe it? Guns that work!"
    • Many times in the new series, various companions comment on the inordinate amount of running that goes on whilst adventuring with the Doctor, most notably in "The Doctor's Daughter".
    • The Sixth Doctor's companion Peri said "All these corridors look the same to me" in nearly every story she appeared in, lampshading Doctor Who's public reputation as a campy runaround in corridors.
    • "Wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey."
    • The Fourth Doctor gave us this little beauty in regards to suspiciously similar-looking locations: "Oh look! ROCKS!"
    • Pretty much the entirety of the episode 'The Hand of Fear.' They saw fit to lampshade ridiculous wardrobes, the number of times Sarah Jane has been hypnotized, AND the BBC's overuse of quarries.
      • It should also be noted that Sarah Jane herself was responsible two of the above-mentioned lampshade-hangings.
    • In the third new series Christmas special, Voyage of the Damned, Wilfred Mott lampshades the tendency of alien invasions to happen in London on Christmas, saying that everyone left because they know London during Christmas is not safe.
    • Doctor number Eleven, on the purpose, use, and abuse of companions:

I'm being extremely clever up here, and there's no one to stand around looking impressed. What's the point in having you all?

    • In Let's Kill Hitler, Rory and Amy steal a motorbike from a Nazi guard. Amy asks "Can you ride this?", to which Rory replies, "I expect so. It's that kind of day."
    • Speaking of Rory, the Silence lampshaded his Kenny-ness by calling him: "The man who dies and dies again."
    • In The Sontaran Stratagem, one character asks how the Sontarans can tell each other apart. This is of course lampshading the use of the same costume over and over again for what is supposed to be different beings, due to budget limits. The Sontaran replies, "We say the same of humans." Of course, all the Sontarans looking the same is justified by the fact they're all clones.
    • The Doctor doesn't like Sundays, but he views Saturdays as big temporal tipping points where anything can happen. Doctor Who airs on Saturdays.
  • In the Red Dwarf episode "Quarantine", Lister, Cat, and Kryten are running from a deranged hologram who is shooting at them with "hex vision". Lister runs past the camera, surrounded by wild shots and explosions, and shouts, "Why don't we ever meet anyone nice?" Cat runs past behind him and says, "Why don't we ever meet anyone who can shoot straight?"
    • In early Red Dwarf episodes the gang are all seen using cassette and VHS tapes (sometimes normal, sometimes triangular). In the 2009 story Back to Earth they are in a store selling DVDs where Kryten noted that DVDs eventually die out and are replaced by VHS because they are "just too big to lose".
  • Thirty Rock does this constantly, to the point where Lampshade Hanging seems to be the main reason the show exists.
    • The episode "Jack-Tor" has a scene where Liz starts to decry using Product Placement, but is promptly interrupted by the other characters talking about how much they love Snapple (one of the sponsors of 30 Rock at the time).
    • When Tracy is desperately trying to shed his A-list celebrity status, Jack gives him the advice to go back on the show, telling him "no one takes you seriously anymore if you do television!"
    • "Can we have our money now?"
      • Ten o'clock in the morning, Lemon.
  • In one Hannah Montana episode, Jackson complains about people being too gullible not to notice Clark Kent is Superman (their only difference is Clark wearing glasses). Miley (who's putting on the wig -- which makes her Hannah alter-ego unrecognisable for the rest of the world) agrees.
    • Robbie Ray's fake mustache is itself a lampshade of Paper Thin disguises as it's not really intended to hide his identity as it's pretty much the same with or without it.
    • In another episode, Jackson is surfing for something to watch on TV. He stops on a channel that is clearly meant to be Disney and the theme music for Hannah Montana starts up. He groans and says, "Is this ever not on?" Disney Channel has a habit of airing Hannah Montana episodes ad nauseam.
  • In J Michael Straczynski's Babylon 5 sequel series Crusade for TNT, Turner execs insisted on the characters wearing a unflattering uniform design. JMS wrote the character dialog to decry the uniforms as resembling "bellhops" and their out-of-touch superiors on Earth ordering them to be worn "for morale reasons." An episode was written, but never filmed where as soon as their ship was outside video link range with Earth, the uniforms were to be gleefully trashed by the characters on screen.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series and unspecified Star Trek Universe:
    • "Bread and Circuses" contained some choice lampshades about television production and sportscasting. "You bring this network's ratings down, Flavius -- and we'll do a special on you!"
    • "Heisenberg compensators" are used to explain how transporters work in spite of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle.
    • Someone asked Star Trek scientific advisor Michael Okuda how the Heisenberg compensators worked. He replied, "They work very well, thank you."
    • In the episode "Operation Annihilate," a Red Shirt stares at the mutant alien brain cells killer pancakes and cries "They don't even look real!" Took the words right out of my mouth, honey.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • In Samaritan Snare, Worf asks Riker why they are sending the chief engineer, Geordi, without guard, to fix a simple problem, to which Riker says there is nothing to worry about. Of course as we know, Geordi gets captured and held for "ransom". In fact, it is the sending of such an important officer over in the first place that allows him to be captured.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • In "Trials and Tribble-ations", members of Deep Space Nine go back in time and encounter the events of the original series episode "The Trouble with Tribbles".
    • When they are in the space station bar, Worf is asked why he looks different than the Klingons of that era, lampshading the radical changes in Klingon appearance over the years. He merely growls that Klingons don't talk about it with outsiders. The lampshade is expanded in Star Trek: Enterprise, when a Klingon pandemic/genetic engineering is cured with human DNA, one of the side effects is to smooth out the forehead ridges.
    • At the end of the original episode, Kirk is half-buried in an avalanche of tribbles. The plot is concluded while he stands there with occasional tribbles still falling on him. It's obvious that these tribbles are actually being dropped on him by someone above. In the Deep Space Nine version we see that this is because Sisko and Jadzia are desperately searching for the fake tribble containing the bomb.
    • In one episode Rom tries to point out the inconsistencies of the Mirror Universe, such as how there doesn't seem to be any difference between their Chief O'Brien and his Mirrorverse counterpart, and gree worms aren't poisonous in either universe. Quark tells him to shut up.
    • The episode "The Way of the Warrior" lampshades The Next Generation. Worf reminisces about their victory over the Borg at Wolf 359, saying "We were like warriors from the ancient sagas; there was nothing we could not do," to which O'Brien rejoins, "Except keep the holodecks working right!"
  • Star Trek: Voyager:
    • In "Deadlock", Harry tries to talk about how confusing it is that his real self just died and now his duplicate (created by a Negative Space Wedgie) has taken his place. Janeway cuts him off, telling him to accept that when you're in Starfleet 'weird is part of the job."
  • Supernatural:
    • The Season 2 episode "Hollywood Babylon" mocked several of the show's flaws/deliberate stylistic choices, including this exchange between an actress and two Hollywood producers:

Tara: Salt. Doesn't that sound silly? I mean why would a ghost be afraid of salt?
McG: Marty, what do you think?
Marty: I'm not married to salt. Are we still sticking with condiments?
McG: Mmm, it just sounds different, not better. What else would a ghost be scared of?
Marty: Maybe shotguns.
McG: That makes even less sense than salt.

    • In the Season 2 episode "Heart", Madison comments that the Impala is a pretty conspicuous car to have for a stakeout.
    • The Season 4 episode "The Monster at the End of this Book", in which a "prophet" is discovered to have been writing stories about the brothers' adventures, is dizzyingly self-referential. While most of the gags poke fun at the writers and fans, three major Lampshade Hangings occur:
      • Chuck the prophet specifically mentions "Bugs" and "Red Sky at Morning" -- two real episodes that the show's fan community generally rates as the series' worst -- apologizing to Sam and Dean for being "forced to live bad writing... if I would have known it was real, I would have done another pass."
      • An obsessed fan of Chuck's books says at one point "The best part is when they cry", alluding to how these apparently manly men burst into tears more often than a four-year-old watching Dumbo on loop.
      • When Chuck tells Sam that he knows he has been drinking demon blood, he explains that he left it out of the books because no one would relate to him doing something so awful -- a reaction to many fans complaining that Sam's behaviour in the most recent season had made him too unsympathetic.
    • In "Changing Channels", the Trickster (aka Gabriel) says that he wishes they were in a TV show, complete with easy answers and simple endings. Later, Dean says something to the same effect.
    • In the most recent episode of Supernatural, we've got this:

Dean: Awesome. Horsemen. Must be Thursday.

      • Might also be a shoutout to a previously-hung lampshade from Buffy (just scroll up a tad)
      • Similiarly, when Supernatural was still airing on Thursdays, Crowley mentions that if they don't do something soon, the entire town will be overrun with zombies "by this time next Thursday."
      • By the way, Castiel happens to be an "angel of Thursday."
      • Then there's the sixth season episode, "The French Mistake". Sam and Dean get sent into an alternate reality where they find themselves inserted into the lives of their actors in what is a close approximation of the real world. The rest of the episode from there is basically one continuous string of lampshades being hung over the real lives of the two lead actors and the series itself.
  • Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip overused this trope at times. The worst example was in "The Harriet Dinner," which was a two-part episode that was nothing but cliches. Jordan and Danny, characters who'd been potential love interests, actually got locked on a roof together, and Danny said it seemed like something out of a bad sitcom. Sorkin's acknowledging it did not change the fact that it did, in fact, seem like a bad sitcom, and was by far the worst episodes of the series.
    • Towards the end of the series, Jordan also lists all the things that tv dramas do to boost sagging ratings -- a difficult birth where the mother's life is in danger, an unanswered marriage proposal, characters in danger of losing their lives/jobs/loved ones, etc, etc - every single item on her list is currently occurring in the storyline, in a massive Take That from Aaron Sorkin, since by this point the show was already cancelled. It works, though - even after the shameless manipulation of it is pointed out, you still care what happens...
  • In the "Spanish Inquisition" sketch from Monty Python's Flying Circus:

Cardinal Ximinez: Ha! ha! ha! ha!

Cardinal Ximinez: (with ridiculous hand gestures) We'll soon change your mind about that!


    • Look no further than the Argument Clinic Sketch, which ends on several recursive lampshades.
    • It would be a lot faster to list the examples of Monty Python humor that isn't based on lampshading various tropes. (To be more explicit, this sentence lampshades the fact that more are not needed.) [1]
  • The CSI episode of 2008-05-08, "Two and a Half Deaths", was one long series of lampshades being hung.
    • Which is no surprise, considering that the writers of Two and a Half Men were doing the episode. The Two and A Half Men episode that week was also full of lampshade hangings, a result of the CSI guys doing that episode.
  • The Middleman and Sidekick Dubbie hang lampshades every chance they get.
  • In the News Radio episode Stocks Jimmy James gives Beth a stock ticker and then says, "It's just like television, except without all those people doing stupid things to a fake laugh track."
    • In the episode Kids Jimmy James is given a 555 phone number by a potential date, only to read the number after she's gone and proclaim, "Wait a minute, 555...that's one of those fake TV numbers!"
  • Corner Gas: When talking about a mocking radio program called "Dog River Dave", Brent is surprised someone would ever want to watch/listen to a show about him. Another character remarks "You could have some cool star cameos!", and then suddenly, coming in through the door: "Hi! I'm Olympic Gold Medal Winner Cindy Klassen!"
  • iCarly lampshades in 2 main ways, firstly when a character clings hard onto the Idiot Ball to progress the plot, and when they use or subvert common sitcom tropes.
    • The episode 'iEnrage Gibby' - Carly is playing the ukelele and confirms she's always played it when asked by Freddie. On this Freddie hangs his lampshade retort with "Wow, that's never been established".
  • Scrubs points out the constant Will They or Won't They? between Elliot and J.D, as evidenced by the quote on that trope's front page.

Dr. Cox: What in the hell are you talking about?
J.D.: Oh, I'm just doing this thing where I use a slice of wisdom from someone else's life to solve a problem in my own life.
Jordan: Seems coincidental.
J.D.: And yet I do it almost every week.

    • At one point in season seven, Carla tells Elliot to pay attention, because she "doesn't want to tell her the same exact thing in two weeks". Two episodes later, Carla tells Elliot the same lesson and brings up that she told her this before, while Elliot claims to have never been told.
    • There's also the case of the jingle. In the first few seasons, when something sad or emotional happened, the jingle would play. Its overuse became very tacky, and once the directors realized it, they only used it ironically. In one episode, J.D. comments on it :

J.D.: And then every time I learn a lesson this weird music starts playing in my head, it goes: dadada da dada da daaaaa, dadada da dada da daaaa...
Elliot: You know what J.D., I think you need to grow up.
(music starts playing, J.D starts singing along to it)

  • At times in Lost's early seasons, characters commented on certain plot points to respond to fan comments, such as Sayid's statement in "The Moth" that no-one should have survived the plane crash. In "Dave", Hurley's Imaginary Friend nags him that the island is a hallucination, listing all the unlikely and impossible things that have happened to Hurley since he left a mental institution. Director Jack Bender refers to this dialogue in the DVD commentary as "hanging a lantern on it." Leave it to Deadpan Snarker Sawyer to be the one to finally point out what everyone in real life has noticed -- Richard Alpert's eyeliner (the actor has long eyelashes).
    • In the epilogue "The New Man in Charge", Ben visits the Audience Surrogate guys at the DHARMA packing plant, telling them he's there to "tie up a few loose ends," which is exactly what he's there to do for the viewers as well.
  • In The West Wing, which was famous for it's walk-and-talk sequences, in which characters hurry from office to office instead of sitting around, in order to make all the long necessary discussions more interesting, had one scene where Sam and Josh are talking and walking, then find out they have come in a circle and are walking nowhere.

Sam: Where are you going?
Josh: Where are you going?
Sam: I was following you.
Josh: I was following you.
(awkward pause)
Josh: All right, don't tell anyone this happened, okay?

    • And in a later flashback episode showing their first day in the West Wing, they can't find their offices and they end up meeting on the move. Sam suggests that, "Maybe we should do all our meetings like this".
  • The 100th episode of Monk might as well be called "Mr. Monk Gives an Ode to Lampshades".
  • Blue Heelers does this twice. In "Piece of Cake", when worrying about an inspection team, Tom Croydon says he wants Mount Thomas to look like the crime capital of Australia. Which, as it turns out, a Carl Williams or Alphonse Gangitano shows up every couple of weeks. In another episode, when police sergeant Ian Goss goes missing as a French filmmaker is filming a documentary, Tom says a police officer going missing is "not a subject for television". Oh yes?
  • In Dad's Army, one episode focused on Frazer and his acquisition of a large quantity of gold. One character gives his opinion that Frazer is unstable and unpredictable, to which Sergeant Wilson replies that he's actually quite predictable- "whatever we do, he predicts that it will end in horrible tragedy."
  • In House a lampshade was hung on the Walk and Talk technique, when House tells a documentary crew "Walks look good on camera. They give the illusion of the story moving forward."
    • In another episode, he walks out his office with Wilson, talks to him, and they end up... right back at his office. When Wilson points it out, House says "I like to walk." Note that this is a man missing a piece of his leg who regularly pops painkillers.
    • In yet another episode, the same thing happens, save with Wilson in the lead; when House asks him why he did that, Wilson replies on the order of, "Because it hurts you."
    • House also did the "It must be Tuesday" variation in season 3 with Chase's weekly reminders to Cameron that he's in love with her.
    • Several episodes have lampshaded the fact that the team routinely throws out a differential diagnosis of lupus, but only once (and not until season four) was it ever the correct diagnosis. In the Season 4 opener, House recruits the janitor to replace his missing team, who suggests a number of mechanical failures in his cleaning equipment which House interprets medically, then simply blurts out "It could be lupus." Also, during the House/Tritter arc, we learn that House has cut out the middle of a lupus reference book to stash his Vicodin because "It's never lupus."
    • In the season-three opener, House barges into Cuddy's office demanding permission to run yet another rather ill-advised diagnostic procedure, to which Cuddy replies, "Twenty-four times a year you come into my office, saying you need to... remove a man's pancreas because his... brain is on fire!" Naturally, the patient o' the week turns out to have a malfunctioning hypothalamus which is incapable of correctly regulating body temperature, or as House tells Cuddy, "Yes, his brain's on fire."
    • Cuddy's mention of twenty-four days a year is not just a coincidence either. It's the number of episodes in a typical season.
    • In one episode, Cuddy has shut off cable to all the patient's rooms, and tells House he'll have to make do with network TV. House replies "I'll be fine on Tuesdays." At the time, he show aired on Tuesday nights.
    • House's Eureka Moments have also been lampshaded in a number of episodes. For example, in one episode Wilson and House are talking, Wilson says something that gives House the idea that solves the case. House gets "that look" on his face and Wilson says "You're about to run out of here aren't you?" House does just that, except without the running part.
    • Also, shortly after Wilson's girlfriend Amber dies, House seeks out Wilson to have a conversation with him -- specifically so that the conversation will spark a Eureka Moment.
    • Isn't the entire season 4 episode "Living the Dream" a giant lampshade to medical dramas?
    • In the episode 'No Reason" House lampshades the way that TV shows will jump-cut to a different location, yet still have everyone continuing their conversation as though nothing happened in between locations. Of course, since the episode is All Just a Dream, this actually provides House with another piece of evidence that not all is what it seems.
  • From the Jonathan Creek episode "Gorgon's Wood" (and not the only time they've hung a lampshade on the Eureka Moment):

Carla: Aren't you going to make some oddball comment, with no obvious relevance to anything?
Jonathan: Certainly not. But you might want to consider Englebert Humperdink, and the pop group Jethro Tull.

  • In the last season of Mad About You, Jamie points out the fact that Paul appears to have no friends (outside the regular cast) by referencing Selby, Paul's best friend from season 1 who was later replaced by the similar Cousin Ira:

Jamie: Whatever happened to that guy Selby we used to know?

    • In the Season 6 episode "Coming Home", a reference is made to the fact that the actor that originally played Hal (Paxton Whitehead) was replaced in season 2 with Whitehead returning and the following explanation given:

Maggie: My first husband Hal. Both my husbands have been called Hal. My second husband Hal and I have separated and my first husband Hal and I have rekindled. Alright?


Gwen: There's a hole in the floor. Don't people fall in?
Jack: That's so Welsh... I show you something amazing, and you find fault.


If you're wondering how they eat and breathe and other science facts
just repeat to yourself, "it's just a show, I should really just relax!"

    • Okay, everybody... Chant it together... the MST3K Mantra! TWANG!
    • One of the greatest examples of lampshading came in the tenth season, during which Joel (who had been Put on a Bus mid season-five) visited the Satellite of Love in order to do some repairs. Mike becomes jealous of Joel, whom he considers to be a better man, to which Tom Servo replies: "Don't compare yourself, man, it ain't healthy." When Mike replaced Joel in season five, it started a massive Flame War over which of them was the better host.
    • There was a minor one in "Terror from the Year 5000", when the characters decide to go see a movie and Mike says: "So what, we're going to watch people watch a movie? What's up with that?"
  • The title hero in the show Kamen Rider Hibiki receives his first major Super Mode near the midpoint of the series. The in-universe reasoning behind needing the power-up is that monsters get stronger during the summer months, and Hibiki wants to be able to save time by blowing them up in one hit. Replace "Hibiki" with "the producers" and you have one of the out-of-universe reasons this is done in every season of Kamen Rider (the other reason being toy sales).
  • In related lampshading, the third episode of Power Rangers RPM has a character, Dillon, who is being recruited by the team. When their mentor, Dr. K, introduces the suits as the Ranger Prototype Series Covert Infantry Bio-Suits, he quips, "Right, because nothing says 'covert' like bright red, yellow, and blue spandex." Dr. K gets very angry when somebody calls it spandex.
    • RPM looks like it'll make a habit of this. The fifth episode alone has Big Bad Venjix's generals commenting on the ridiculousness of a spray-nozzle robot, asking "do you want to super-size the bot before or after the Rangers beat it?" (Venjix blasts the general for this one) and wondering aloud why they never do a Zerg Rush while the city's defenses are down (Venjix: blasts the general, then orders a Zerg Rush).
    • One episode of RPM begins with the Rangers questioning Dr. K about why their zords have eyes, why things blow up when they morph and why they need to shout their morphing call.
    • This is made even better when the Blue Ranger uses the post-morph explosion against the enemy.
    • Power Rangers Ninja Storm, a lighthearted season after a long rush of Darker and Edgier, also liked its lampshades. After Cam has been captured by the computer double he created to help him balance his duties as a Ranger and at Mission Control:

Shane: Not another clone story! Didn't we already do this?

    • The trend of the rangers always wearing some piece of clothing that matches their ranger color when not morphed is lampshaded in Power Rangers Dino Thunder. At the end of the episode when veteran ranger (and mentor to that year's team) Tommy receives the new Black Ranger powers:

Tommy: I really need to go shopping. I have a serious shortage of black clothes in my closet.

  • In a couple episodes of Mighty Morphin Power Rangers, when one or two Rangers needed help from the others, they used the excuse that they were scuba-diving and thus could not hear their communicators' summoning them (yes, this excuse was used more than once). In an episode of the third season, this was lampshaded when Kimberly was trapped inside a taxi cab monster. When Zordon tells Alpha to contact the other Rangers, Alpha quips "I hope they're not off scuba-diving!"
    • Also in the third season, Finster comes running up to Zedd and Rita, declaring he's done something wonderful, to which Zedd responds "What is it this time, Finster? A monster that blows itself up?"
    • Again in the third season, Bulk and Skull are patrolling through the park when they come across Rito, Squatt and Baboo, seconds before they teleport away in their usual multicolored flashes. The two begin screaming in their usual fashion, then say the following:

Bulk: ... Uh, why are we screaming?
Skull: Because Evil Space Aliens are using their magical powers right in front of us.
Bulk: Oh.
(they continue screaming)

  • The NCIS fifth season finale uses a lampshade hanging very similar to the Buffy example; when Director Vance complains that Gibbs has run off after a clue that nobody knows anything about and nobody can explain it to him, Tony replies, "Sounds like a Wednesday."
    • Additionally, Gibbs has a known habit of building boats in his basements but no method is ever shown for removing the boat on completion. This is lampshaded in a recent episode where Abby treats it as a mystery on par with the murder they're trying to solve.
    • In "Jetlag", in the seventh season, at the end of the episode the closing line is that the photo being discussed would look better in black and white. Every segment of the show ends with a fade to a black-and-white of a significant image.
    • Early one, McGee, Kate, and Tony have a clever exchange about what life would be like if they were in an action movie. Kate would be wearing something sexier, McGee would be dead before the credits (or survive as the Plucky Comic Relief!) . . . you get the picture.
    • Swan Song is mostly told from Gibbs' perspective. Franks is listening, and there's lots of lampshades on Once an Episode episode features. Paraphrased: Isn't this the point you usually tell the team something about a dead marine? Gibbs then goes on to boil the field agent's briefing style down to their stereotypes ("I'm going to do some tech stuff with Abby!" "I'm going to use 'old school' techniques!" "I'm going to 'accidentally' eavesdrop on Tony's love interest! Wink, wink, nudge, nudge!")
  • Boston Legal. All the time, on everything, as a consequence of Denny (and other characters, but mostly Denny) being ridiculously Genre Savvy and having No Fourth Wall. In the last-but-one episode, when they finally decide that Alan and Denny will get married, Denny describes it as "Like jumping a shark."
  • In a third season episode of The Mighty Boosh, "Party", Howard Moon claims to be only ten years older than Vince Noir; then both characters perform an Aside Glance, subtly acknowledging that according to previous canon, Howard and Vince are the same age.
    • They also seem to be lampshading the fact that the actors are a good ten years older than their characters.
  • On Entourage, Turtle and Jamie-Lynn Sigler are dating. The other characters on the show constantly make reference to how unlikely such a relationship would be. It is made even funnier by the fact that the actors are dating in real life.
  • Roseanne exhibits an awful lot of lampshade hanging when it comes to the actor switch of Becky. In "The Clip Show: All About Rosey (Part 1)" an adult DJ has clearly gone insane and is seen muttering something. The psychiatrist finally askes him to speak up and he says, "They say she's the same, but she's not the same." This is followed by back-to-back clips of Lecy Goranson and Sarah Chalke as Becky. Also, in the first episode where Sarah Chalke appears as Becky, Roseanne mentions at the end of the episode that Becky "seems really different." Due to Lecy Goranson's indecision in whether or not she wanted to stay as Becky in season 8 of the show, one week's episode would include Lecy and the next's Sarah. Finally, in the episode "Disney World War II" Sarah Chalke appeared onscreen and the entire cast freeze-framed. A narrator lamp-shaded the whole Lecy-Sarah switch-off by saying, "Sarah Chalke will play Becky in this episode and for the rest of series." To which the audience clapped. Amen, audience.
    • Not to mention that shortly after the narrator finishes speaking, Roseanne tells Becky that they are going to Disney, she rejoices and Roseanne then says "Aren't you glad to be in this episode?"
    • In the first episode of Roseanne in which Johnny Galecki appeared as David, he introduced himself as "Kevin", but later they changed the character's name back to its original, "David". Later on, Roseanne comments that Darlene has so much control over David that his name wasn't even originally David -- Darlene changed it.
    • There's also an episode where the whole family is watching a rerun of Bewitched, and Sarah Chalke comments that she likes the second Darren better.
    • That was Chalke's first episode as Becky, doing something pretty similar to the Game On episode mentioned above.
    • Then there's this exchange when Lecy Goranson returns for a brief stint:

Roseanne: Where the hell have you been?
Becky: Just getting this.
Roseanne: Took you long enough. Seems like you've been gone for 3 years.

    • And let's not forget the final Halloween episode, after Lecy returned to the role of Becky, featured Sarah Chalke as the mother of two young trick-or-treaters:

Roseanne: (After closing the door) Gee, I wish we had a daughter that sweet.
Dan: Just wasn't in the cards, honey.

  • Episodes of Psych typically begin with flashbacks to Shawn's life as a kid. Corbin Bernsen plays Shawn's father and is made to look younger when he appears in the flashbacks. In one episode Shawn says to his father, "I don't know, Dad. Slap a wig on you, you're a spitting image of yourself when I was a kid."
    • There's lampshades in every episode; a especially notable example would be a recursive lampshade hanging: After Lassiter says something about not needing Shawn's help on a case, Shawn states that that just makes it "more dramatic" when he has to ask for his help later on. His girlfriend then lampshades that lampshade by asking "More dramatic for who?"

Shawn: (sheepishly looks around, points to random extra) To that guy, I guess.

    • The new season also has Gus (and their childhood friend Dennis) noticing Shawn's "Shawn-vision" (Whenever Shawn 'SEES' a clue that no one else notices).

Gus: Shawn, how do you explain the three strange markings on Toby's arm?
Shawn: You saw those?
Gus: Of course I did. And I didn't have to do this: (makes squinty Shawn-vision face)
Shawn: Are you MOCKING my "it's a clue" face?
Gus: Yup.
Shawn: Do it again. (Gus does it again) I don't look like that.
Gus: Yes you do.
Shawn: You're a bastard.

    • Also, in "Viagra Falls", they work with a pair of retired detectives that have similar if not identical quirks to them (such as their 'side conversations' where they take a step away and talk privately pretty much right next to someone and expect not to be heard, and their rambles...) Pretty much lampshaded every point in the series in one episode.
  • In a Saw parody from Mad TV, the ending points out a common Fridge Logic-inducing trend in trailer parodies.
  • During the infamous "You Fool" episode of Hollywood Squares, the host refers to the show as "The Gilbert Gottfried Hour" and similar titles as the contestants repeatedly fail to take Gilbert's square.
  • In the season opener of The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air after Baby Nicky is born, Jazz walks in the house and sees Nicky at age 5. He gives Will an incredulous look, and Will responds by shrugging his shoulders.
    • The show is full of them, for instance Uncle Phil once informs Will of how wealthy they are. Will replies "If we're so rich, how come we can't even afford a roof?" as the camera pans up to the overhead lighting. Also, the season after the role of Vivian changes, Jazz walks in and asks "So who's playing the mom this year?"
  • In the final episode of the HBO series John Adams (Peacefield), all of the liberties that the writers took with history are lampshaded in a scene where Adams is taken to see John Trumbull's painting of the signing of the Declaration of Independence. After complaining about the historical inaccuracies in the painting:

Adams: Do not let our posterity be deluded with fictions under the guise of poetical or graphical license.

  • In an episode of The Nanny, C.C, played by the then very pregnant Lauren Lane brings up an episode of Seinfeld where writers obviously hid Julia Louis Dreyfus' pregnancy behind large props, while Lane move a giant purse and a potted plant that "needed watering". Later in the episode, she used a giant sign that read "BABY".
  • In the final episode of Firefly, "Objects in Space", when discussing the possibility of River having psychic abilities Wash comments:

Wash: Psychic, though? That's like something out of science fiction.
Zoe: We live on a spaceship, dear.
Wash: ... So?

  • Gossip Girl loves this trope, especially with popular fan opinions.
  • In The Big Bang Theory, when the character Kripke is first introduced with his strange lisp (reminiscent of Elmer Fudd), the main character Rajesh points out "What part of America is that accent from?", but his question is summarily ignored.
  • In an episode of Glee, when Jesse tries to convince Rachel to come out of the bathroom when she's having second thoughts about losing her virginity to him he says "Well, come out here so we can talk about it! Or sing about it."
    • The Power of Madonna episode hung a few lampshades, the above being one example, and Mercedes complaining to Mr. Schue about how she's always brought into songs at the last second to wail on the last note being another.
    • In Theatricality, Rachel invites her mother to sing with her. She calls out "BRAD!" and the pianist whom we've seen in every episode, hitherto unnamed, emerges from nowhere. Rachel explains, "He’s always just...around."
    • In Britney/Brittany, Brittany and Santana get their first duet, through a drug-induced dream sequence. When Brittany declares that she sang and danced better than Britney Spears, Santana vouches for her, but then questions how they had a collective dream in the first place.
    • In "Rumours" Santana tells Brittany she wants to sing her a song in private. Brittany looks at the accompanist and says "What about him?" to which Santana replies "He's just furniture" - exactly how Glee has always treated their instrumentalists.
  • Police, Camera, Action! tends to live off this trope, well, for pretty much a lot of episodes. Only a fair few tend to escape this, notably Deathwish Drivers, Speed, Speed Freaks and Bad Influences
  • Stargate Atlantis does this beautifully with the following conversation from the Season Five episode "The Prodigal", which highlights the vast number of times Colonel Sheppard has apparently gone on suicide missions, only to be rescued, have the plan change at the last minute:

(Rodney sighs anxiously; John looks round at him)
Sheppard: What?
McKay: Well, it's just... um... what you're about to do is...
Sheppard: Yeah. Well, it's not like it's the first time. How many suicide missions have I flown?
McKay: I don't know. I lost count.
Sheppard: Right, well, there you go.
McKay: All right. Well, you know...
(he stands up and offers John his hand)
McKay: ... here's to many more.

  • In an episode of Martin where he delivers a baby: the baby shoots out and Martin catches him football-style. Tommy then asks: "Wait a minute, where's the umbilical cord?" Martin's response: "D*mn it, Tommy. We don't need an umbilical cord... this is TV!!"
  • In Two Guys, a Girl, and a Pizza Place, the first halloween episode had a lot of dramatic lightning. While it didn't take long for Berg to notice, he made comments about it.

Berg: again with the well-timed lightning!

  • In the second season Friends episode, "The One With Five Steaks and an Egglpant", Chandler gets laid via a convoluted sitcom shennanigan. He had to give the girl Ross's number because he couldn't give her his number because she thought his number was Bob's number. After Chandler explains this, Ross asks, "And what should I do if Mr. Roper calls?"
    • Throughout the season, the gang of Friends bumps into Janice (Maggie Wheeler) quite a lot, because the producers and the audience just loved her. She is in fact one of the only 4 guest stars to appear in every season (the others being the senior Gellers and Gunther). In her final apperance, near the end of the series, Janice makes a cameo in the neighbouring house of the one Monica and Chandler are buying, saying "What a small world". Chandler lampshades the unlikelihood of bumping into her every now and then by replying "And yet, I never run into Beyoncé".
  • Veronica Mars had one in the episode "The Rapes of Graff": Veronica has to convince a wig store owner to give up the name of a girl who had bought a wig. She says "Now for my Emmy nomination speech." The music swells, Veronica tears up, and she gives a heartbreaking speech about the girl being her sister, then mentions cancer, runaways, and prostituting. Then the woman says that the girl was Hawaiian.
  • Best Love (2011 Korean Drama). The main characters are celebrities: nice girl with bad publicity Ae Jung and jerkass with good publicity Jin. The series features a cameo by Lee Seung Gi, who is in Real Life known for his amenable personality, as another jerkass with good publicity who is really chummy with Jin.
  • The Law and Order: Criminal Intent episode "Icarus" is clearly inspired by the almost-disastrous Broadway production "Spiderman: Turn off the Dark." The fact that the fictional musical "Icarus" and "Spiderman" are so similar behind the scenes was lampshaded when Goren specifically mentioned Julie Taymor, Spiderman's ousted director.
  • In an episode of White Collar, Mozzie does some investigation using a hair dryer. Mozzie is bald.

Neal: Why do you have a hair dryer?
Mozzie: Do you want the information or not?

  • In nearly every episode of the 1970's half hour TV show, "Isis," somebody points out to Andrea (Isis's mundane identity) that she misses Isis every time.
  • In an episode of 'The Colbert Report', Stephen gets high off of licking stamps, and starts lampshading various elements of his set. Hilarity ensues.

Stephen: Ohh, that fire looks fake. It IS fake!

  • Murder, She Wrote; the episode "Deadpan" closes with Jessica Fletcher in an empty theater, confronting a theater critic whom she had proven had murdered a rival critic. As the police emerge to arrest him, the critic haughtily comments, "The policeman in the wings? I should have expected a climax so cliche."
  • In Diagnosis: Murder, when Dr. Mark Sloan manages to inconvenience a group of domestic terrorists who had kidnapped him, a FBI agent assigned to the case comments, "Some people you shouldn't kidnap! I swear, if Dr. Sloan is your enemy, just shoot him in the head! Otherwise he will find a way to make you suffer!"
  • The OC occasionally referenced the rapid plot developments in between episodes, such as when Summer's therapist comments on how much she's improved, "and just in one week!"
    • Kaitlin once disapproves of how serious her mom has gotten with a new love interest, reminding her "You've only been dating for a week."

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