Imaginary TV: 10 Shows-Within-Shows We Wish Were Real

Last week's episode of Community featured two awesome-sounding fake TV shows—Cougarton Abbey and Inspector Spacetime—that we found ourselves wishing we could watch in real life. Which of course got us thinking, "What other fake TV shows from within real TV shows do we wish were actual shows?" Behold:


MILF Island from 30 Rock

Twenty-five super-hot moms, fifty eighth-grade boys, and no rules, plus Rob Huebel as a Jeff Probstian host. We're with Pete on this one: must-watch.


Cookie Party! from The Sarah Silverman Program

Sarah and Laura Silverman’s favorite show appears to be a cookie-baking competition that's sort of like Top Chef on acid (and a bunch of other drugs). Fun fact: Sarah Silverman Program co-creator Rob Schrab plays Cookie Party! host Mini Coffee.


Hearts 'n Scalpels from Nip/Tuck

A medical show for people who think Grey's Anatomy is too subtle, Hearts 'n Scalpels stars Aidan Stone (Bradley Cooper) as sexy plastic surgeon Dr. Clift.


Mock Trial with J. Reinhold from Arrested Development

This one started out as a simple courtroom show about a judge named Judge Reinhold—played, naturally, by real-life actor Judge Reinhold. But once washed-up American Idol wannabe and pop-culture curiosity William Hung came on-board as the leader of the house band, William Hung and his Hung Jury, so did we.


Single Female Lawyer from Futurama

We're not talking the "actual" Single Female Lawyer that Lrrr from Omicron Persei-8 loved so much, we're talking Fry's interpretation of the Ally McBeal ripoff. Chock full of drama clichés, Leela's plastic eye falling off her face, and Bender's gripping reinterpretation of the theme song, it would probably be better than what Futurama has become.


Itchy and Scratchy from The Simpsons

A classic! In the world of The Simpsons, the cat-and-mouse cartoon is somehow deemed acceptable for children, who find the sadistic violence within it hysterical. We think it'd be a perfect addition to Adult Swim's lineup.


Exposé from Lost

One of the worst episodes of Lost not involving Jack on vacation in Southeast Asia actually featured something pretty cool: a faux-show about strippers who solve crimes. We repeat: Strippers. Who solve crimes. The glimpse we saw through Lost left us with a doozy of a cliffhanger: Did the mystery of Mr. LaShade's (Billy Dee Williams) secret identity, The Cobra, remain a mystery, or did Autumn and Crystal, ahem, expose him as the bad guy? And just who the heck is The Scorpion!?!? Find out on the next episode of Exposé, which will never air!


Celebrity Zillions from Tim & Eric Awesome Show, Great Job!

Watching celebrities (or convincing facsimiles) scramble for money that's being thrown by a Tony Clifton-esque "Zillionaire" suspended above them would be plenty entertaining. But the icing on the cake is that bald referee who shrieks like a cat.


Invitation to Love from Twin Peaks

During the first season of Twin Peaks, the fictional soap opera Invitation to Love was featured in every episode. Like Itchy and Scratchy, the fictional soap contained themes and motifs from *actual* Twin Peaks episodes. If we could Lynch-out daily to a soap opera this involved, we... probably would.


The Valley from The O.C.

The O.C.'s constant flirtation with the meta lead to its introduction of The Valley, the never-seen but often mentioned teen drama that all the characters watched... and which sounded absolutely ridiculous. While Summer and Seth exchanged charming bedroom repartee, their counterparts on The Valley seemed to be engaging in sub-90210 levels of poor decision-making (even worse than Marissa's). Essentially a running joke, the existence of The Valley was supposed to serve as a reminder of what The O.C. wasn't. In hindsight, though, The Valley couldn't be much worse than The O.C.'s second season. So, we'll take it!


Your turn! Which fake TV shows from real TV shows do you wish were actual TV shows?

Comments (52)
Submit
Sort: Latest | Popular
All glory to the Hypnotoad.....

Reply
Flag
There's also

All My Circuits from Futurama

Fast Animals Slow Children from Family Guy

Reply
Flag
Actually it would be cool to see a full length episode of The Krusty The Clown Show
Reply
Flag
I'm so glad you mentioned The Valley. As soon as I read the title of the article, that's the show that popped into mind. Then it was Gold Case from 30 Rock. Ahh 30 Rock, so many episodes, so many laughs. God bless you Tina Fey.
Reply
Flag
There's another one from 30 Rock: The game show Gold Case.

http://30rock.wikia.com/wiki/Gold_Case
Reply
Flag
Wormhole X-treme from Stargate SG1
Reply
Flag
Lost's episode Expose was actually pretty awesome.
Reply
Flag
Isn't "Inspector Spacetime" basically Dr. Who?
Reply
Flag
Are you seriously asking that question?
Reply
Flag
haha damn. excuse my laziness.
Reply
Flag
In Icarly they watch a show celebrities underwater i don't know if it's real but most of other shows are copies of real ones Inspector Spacetime of Community is the same as Doctor Who.
Reply
Flag
MILF Island and no TGS? Seriusly?
Reply
Flag
Haha I forgot about The Valley.
Reply
Flag
what about from Supernatural?
Reply
Flag
There is Dr. Sexy M.D. which is a send up of Greys Anatomy. It is the one soap opera that Dean admits to watching. Gabriel trapped them in an episode once. It is an in joke also because Jeffery Dean Morgan who played John on Supernatural was also on Greys Anatomy.
Reply
Flag
Sorry about the double reply but I just read another comment from someone else, and "Ghostfacers" doesn't qualify for this article. If I'm wrong, just tell me and I'll take it, no problem.
Reply
Flag
What about them? They don't watch tv, at least lately the show had two tv related episodes, one of them was the meta-episode, and the other one was just a tv-show themed episode, but that's it. I thought you should know that better than anyone else around here.
Reply
Flag
I know it's hard to remember anything that happened before the 90's, but I happen to think the greatest show within a show was "The Alan Brady Show".
Reply
Flag
I think my favorite show in a show has to be Wormhole Xtreme from stargate SG1. Something about the show being just a cheezy (cheezier?) version of the actual show you're watching and spoofing itself.
Reply
Flag
Psycho Dad from Married With Children
Reply
Flag
Psycho Dad, definitely! And it would be sponsored by infomercials from Dr. Shoe (at 555-SHOE).
Reply
Flag
Ghostfacers from supernatural and smile time from Angel
Reply
Flag
Ghostfacers had a actual spin-off of ten web-based episodes, which I suppose constitutes it's own series, therefore making it ineligable for this list, or something like that!
Reply
Flag
Those were just one-timers. They don't qualify for the purpose of this article.
Reply
Flag
But several of the shows mentioned in the article appear to have been "one-timers" too - like Expos; while not having watched Lost, it sounds like the crimesolving strippers were shown in one episode only?
Reply
Flag
Ultra Lord from Jimmy Neutron
Reply
Flag
How is Inspector Spacetime not on here?
Reply
Flag
Last week's SNL gameshow - Who's on Top? and Ghostfacers (Supernatural)
Reply
Flag
Similarish to this premise, I always wondered why NBC didn't have Matt LeBlanc actually guest star in a couple of episodes of "Days of our Lives" as Dr. Drake Ramoray ("Friends"). Also, probably would have been some awesome cross promotion. Also wouldn't mind seeing "TGS With Tracy Jordan", give SNL some competition ("30 Rock"). But the best ever would be the fake "How I Met Your Mother" TV show hosted by Regis Philbin, "Heads Or Tails". The best game show ever.
Reply
Flag
Also from 30rock would be tracy's wife's reality show Queen of Jordan.
Reply
Flag
"Heads Or Tails" WAS a real game show. seriously it was. How it managed to get made I have no idea.
Reply
Flag
If we're taking shows from HIMYM, I want the Canadian show with Robin Sparkles and Alan Thicke.
Reply
Flag
If TGS was a real show, it would be on NBC, so it wouldn't be competing. It's also "live" on Friday nights, not Saturday.
Reply
Flag
Technically yes, and along those lines, so would "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip" (The fictional NBS on that show being an obvious NBC substitute). I just mean it would be nice to have another live sketch show to compare with and raise the bar. Shows get better (mostly) when they're competing against other shows, and SNL has pretty much had the monopoly on this for almost 40 years.
Reply
Flag
Anything featuring Troy McClure. And, for the truly, truly hardcore, Edison Carter coming to you live and direct on Channel 23, twenty minutes from now.
Reply
Flag
Community and 30 Rock have the best imaginary shows :)
Reply
Flag
Sick Sad World in Daria -- a fitting description for the shows on MTV now.
Reply
Flag
Every sub-show on Children's Hospital. Hilarity and confusion all in one.
Reply
Flag
Bamboozled (the game show) from Friends. Or Days of Our Lives with Dr. Drake Ramoray
Reply
Flag
Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E ( Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer) from FRIENDS!
Reply
Flag
I wish Everybody Loves Hypnotoad were real.
Reply
Flag
Everybody loves Hypnotoad is sort of real. They had a 22 minute episode of it as a dvd extra. It's just Hypnotoad with a laugh track.
Reply
Flag
For The Simpsons, I would've gone with McGarnigal, the show where none of the characters can go five seconds without uttering the name of the lead character/show title, McGarnigal.



For Arrested Development, you really can't go wrong with any of the fake shows they used. Wrench!, World's Worst Drivers, Girls With Low Self-Esteem, etc. etc.
Reply
Flag
World's Worst Driver (excluding the S) is actually a TV show http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_Worst_Driver
Reply
Flag
Staff
Oh man McGarnigal!!! Those clips of the show were teh best. Thank you for setting off an easter egg of warm fuzzy memories in my head.
Reply
Flag
I thought of Ghostfacers from Supernatural when I read this.
Reply
Flag
Prescription: Passion featuring Dr. Brock Sterling, the fake medical drama on House is a good one. The succinctly titled "Jerry", the fake sitcom on Seinfeld was a brilliant stroke by Larry David (I have no idea if he came up with the idea, but as you can see, I'm a little biased.) And who can forget "Los Dias y Las Noches de Monsignor Martinez" from King of the Hill. The Spanish equivalent of Walker Texas Ranger, starring an undercover cop posing as a Catholic Monsignor, with the unforgettable catchphrase - "Vaya con Dios."
Reply
Flag
dont forget ( Heat Wave ) played by (Nikki Heat) from Castle
Reply
Flag
That's a book, not a TV show. And it IS real.
Reply
Flag
in castle the book was made into a movie or tv series i think
Reply
Flag
It's (fictionally) being made into a movie. We saw information about this a couple of times... they went to the set towards the end of last season, and before that, the actress who wanted to play Nicki Heat schmoozed Castle to get his recommendation (although in the real world, if you aren't J.K. Rowling, you don't get cast approval when they make a movie out of your book.)
Reply
Flag
I knew The O.C.'s "the Valley" was going to end up on that list! :D
Reply
Flag

Like TV.com on Facebook