Nostalgia critic has a new series talking about things in movies many people may never have noticed. It got me thinking about something which I always wonder if people notice. The in-joke! I don’t mean references to pop culture, but references to the actors real lives.

I love sitcoms (no, really?) and one of the things that they will often do that I adore is an “inside” joke. This is basically a reference regarding an actors previous work within the context of the character on the show. Or maybe a refrence to events within the show. Of course animated shows like The Simpsons do this like crazy. But once in awhile live action series will do it also. Here now are some of my favorites:

#10.The Cosby Show

In “I Spy” Bill Cosby played Alexander Scott and Robert Culp played Kelly Robinson. What was the name of Culp’s character when he appeared on an episode of The Cosby Show? Scott Kelly! Of course!

#9.Who’s The Boss?

In one episode Angela and Mona run into a man who resembles Tony played by Tony Danza in a dual role. When they approach him, the man assumes they think he is “that guy from Taxi” Of course Tony Danza was that guy in Taxi.

#8.Murphy Brown

In the series finale, Avery explains that he contacted Eldin by phone. He asks his mother is she knew that you can call anywhere for just .10 a day! Murphy smiles and says she did know that. Candace Bergen was a huge spokesperson for Sprint at the time.

#7.Mad About You

In one episode Mark is talking to Paul and Jamie. He asks them if they have ever seen that movie “Alien”. Paul replies he has only seen the first one. Of course, Paul Reiser starred in Alien. An even better gag comes in a different episode, when Jamie walks into Lisa’s apartment to find her playing Twister. Lisa asks her to play but Jamie says no. Obviously this was when Helen Hunt was coming out with the overrrated Twister.

#6.Everybody Loves Raymond

On the Halloween episode, Frank walks in dressed like Frankenstein. An obvious homage to the fact Peter Boyle was the Frankenstein monster in “Young Frankenstein”


Roseanne Barr made news with a disastrous attempt to sing the Star Spangled Banner back in 1988. When her series resumed, the first line was Roseanne commenting on the weather and how it “it just makes me want to sing!” Also when Lecy Goranson returned to the show Roseanne commented that it felt like Becky “was gone for three years!”

#4.Boy Meets World

A few of these! The youngest Matthews, Morgan, vanished without a trace. When she suddenly returned, Cory commented when he saw her that it “long time no see”. Morgran replied that it was the longest time out she ever had! Minkus and Mr.Thomas vanished from the show, and in the graduation episode we discover that Minkus has been there all along, but in the “other” part of the school just beyond the 4th wall. At the end of his scene he races off to catch up to Mr.Thomas.


Seinfeld had tons. Several characters were named after real people who worked on the show. George can be seen eating Rold Gold, which Jason Alexander was the spokesperson for. And the whole story of Jerry and George writing a pilot for NBC mirrored the real journey of Jerry Seinfelf and Larry David. my favorite was when Jerry and George are writing their pilot, and decide to eliminate Elaine. Of course Elaine’s character really wasn’t in the pilot of the show.

#2.Spin City

This wasn’t my favorite show, but I adored this one! Christopher Lloyd reuinited with Michael J Fox and when the two characters first meet they throw out some very obvious refrences to Back to the Future!. In the episode where Mike leaves, he says he needs a psychiatrist who feels like a father. Then Michael Gross, who played his father in Family Ties walks in. At the end he tells Mike to pay Mallory on the way out. Inspired! Want better? The episode ends with Mike talking about how  me met an obnoxious junior senator named Alex P. Keaton. Love it!!!

#1.3rd rock from the sun

I LOVE this one!! William Shatner as the Big Giant Head staggers off a plane. John Lithgow as Dick and the rest are there to greet him. Sally asks him how the flight was, and The Big Giant Head says it was awful. “I lookd out the window, and there was something on the wing!”. Dick then responds, “Hey the same thing happened to me!”. William Shatner was in the original twilight zone episode Terror at 20000 Ft and John Lithgow starred in the remake years later. Billiant!

Honorable mentions? I could do three more lists like this! Where there any I missed you fondly remember and think I should have mentioned?

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