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In recent years, TV sitcoms from 30 Rock to The Simpsons have excelled at coming up with wild, wacky TV shows that exist within the show's own world, spoofing real TV genres and offering meta-commentary on current pop culture trends. Here, the best shows-within-shows from the five TV comedies that do them best:
It's no surprise that a show centered on a Saturday Night Live-like sketch comedy show was so good at inventing programming slyly modeled on NBC's real lineup. Over the years, 30 Rock offered us snippets of the action drama Bitch Hunter, starring Will Ferrell; Liz Lemon's talk show Dealbreakers; and the CNBC money talk show Hot Box. But 30 Rock really shines when it invents reality TV shows, like the Survivor-type show MILF Island (which eliminates contestants with the line "We no longer want to hit that"), and the Real Housewives spoof Queen of Jordan (catchphrase: "It's my way 'til payday").
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Itchy and Scratchy:
How I Met Your Mother
A long-running gag on How I Met Your Mother involves Robin Scherbatsky's checkered past as Canadian teen pop icon Robin Sparkles. With hits like "Let's Go To The Mall" and "Sandcastles in the Sand," Robin Sparkles is a fairly dead-on representation of 80s/90s teen idols. But in addition to her less-than-stellar musical career, the character is also used to spoof pop-star-centric TV shows with Space Teens, in which a hockey-stick-toting Robin Sparkles uses long division to catch a "space burglar." In a more recent episode, HIMYM spoofed the inevitable decline of Robin's pop career with Underneath the Tunes, Canada's answer to Behind The Music, in which a bitter Robin Sparkles reinvents herself as Robin Daggers.
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