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)
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Jan 30, 2012
All glory to the Hypnotoad.....

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Nov 03, 2011
There's also

All My Circuits from Futurama

Fast Animals Slow Children from Family Guy

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Nov 03, 2011
Actually it would be cool to see a full length episode of The Krusty The Clown Show
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Oct 03, 2011
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.
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Oct 03, 2011
There's another one from 30 Rock: The game show Gold Case.

http://30rock.wikia.com/wiki/Gold_Case
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Oct 03, 2011
Wormhole X-treme from Stargate SG1
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Oct 03, 2011
Lost's episode Expose was actually pretty awesome.
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Oct 02, 2011
Isn't "Inspector Spacetime" basically Dr. Who?
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Oct 02, 2011
Are you seriously asking that question?
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Oct 03, 2011
haha damn. excuse my laziness.
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Oct 02, 2011
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.
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Oct 02, 2011
MILF Island and no TGS? Seriusly?
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Oct 02, 2011
Haha I forgot about The Valley.
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Oct 02, 2011
what about from Supernatural?
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Oct 03, 2011
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.
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Oct 02, 2011
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.
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Oct 02, 2011
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.
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Oct 01, 2011
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".
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Oct 01, 2011
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.
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Oct 01, 2011
Psycho Dad from Married With Children
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Oct 02, 2011
Psycho Dad, definitely! And it would be sponsored by infomercials from Dr. Shoe (at 555-SHOE).
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Oct 01, 2011
Ghostfacers from supernatural and smile time from Angel
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Oct 02, 2011
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!
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Oct 02, 2011
Those were just one-timers. They don't qualify for the purpose of this article.
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Oct 04, 2011
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?
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Oct 01, 2011
Ultra Lord from Jimmy Neutron
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Oct 01, 2011
How is Inspector Spacetime not on here?
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Oct 01, 2011
Last week's SNL gameshow - Who's on Top? and Ghostfacers (Supernatural)
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Oct 01, 2011
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.
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Oct 02, 2011
Also from 30rock would be tracy's wife's reality show Queen of Jordan.
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Oct 01, 2011
"Heads Or Tails" WAS a real game show. seriously it was. How it managed to get made I have no idea.
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Oct 01, 2011
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.
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Oct 01, 2011
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.
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Oct 01, 2011
Community and 30 Rock have the best imaginary shows :)
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Oct 01, 2011
Sick Sad World in Daria -- a fitting description for the shows on MTV now.
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Oct 01, 2011
Every sub-show on Children's Hospital. Hilarity and confusion all in one.
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Oct 01, 2011
Bamboozled (the game show) from Friends. Or Days of Our Lives with Dr. Drake Ramoray
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Oct 01, 2011
Mac and C.H.E.E.S.E ( Computerized Humanoid Electronically Enhanced Secret Enforcer) from FRIENDS!
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Oct 01, 2011
I wish Everybody Loves Hypnotoad were real.
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Oct 01, 2011
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.
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Oct 01, 2011
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.
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Oct 04, 2011
World's Worst Driver (excluding the S) is actually a TV show http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World's_Worst_Driver
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Oct 02, 2011
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.
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Oct 01, 2011
I thought of Ghostfacers from Supernatural when I read this.
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Oct 01, 2011
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."
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Oct 01, 2011
dont forget ( Heat Wave ) played by (Nikki Heat) from Castle
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Oct 01, 2011
I knew The O.C.'s "the Valley" was going to end up on that list! :D
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