9 Worst Times TV Shows Went Meta

Things can only get meta.


We live in strange times, with reality increasingly resembling a poorly-written TV show. But you needn't panic, because TV screenwriters are on hand to blur the distinction between fact and fiction even further.

The last decade brought us sitcoms like Arrested Development, Community and 30 Rock - shows that boldly explored new frontiers of ironic deconstruction. Their influence has percolated throughout the entertainment industries (there was even an Arrested Development joke in Frozen, of all places). Whether it is self-referential jokes, a show-within-a-show, fourth-wall breaking or pulling back the curtain entirely, self-awareness in one form or another has never been more ubiquitous on TV.

But it doesn’t always work. Done right, an unintrusive meta joke rewards eagle-eyed viewers with a knowing nod from the filmmakers, giving the show a life outside of itself. Done wrong, it can derail a show and alert the audience to the artifice. It can be hard to suspend your disbelief when the script keeps actively discouraging it.

Here are 9 times that TV programmes have sailed too close to the sun in their attempts at edgy self-commentary.

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Ed Sheeran
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Another wayward English graduate who makes money by arranging words into the correct order. Is really at it good!