Is there anything better than a bit of friendly (or not so friendly) competition in the usually reliably polite and staid world of television?
The long production schedules and sizeable budgets of most mainstream TV shows tend to limit how many pot shots creators can take at each other, not to mention the fact that it’s a pretty insular industry and as such many of the showrunners who could lampoon one another are aware they may end up working together later.
As such, it’s always gratifying to see creators throw caution to the wind and slam their competitors regardless of the consequences, whether it’s a gentle parody between friends or an outright provocation between two warring shows. The showrunners and writer’s rooms may respect their competitors and just be looking for some innocent fun, or they may outright hate the popularity, impressive ratings, or perceived success of the show they’re fighting against and want to take it down a notch.
Whatever the case, here are ten times that TV shows had the gall to roast their rivals, and how they got away with it.
10. Futurama Mocked The Simpsons
Matt Groening’s other beloved adult animation effort (see
us in a few seasons’ time, Netflix’s Disenchantment), Futurama struggled during
its original run to emerge from the outsized shadow of its creator’s first and
most famous show, despite having a sillier and often darker sensibility which
earned it a cult following all of its own after a few shaky seasons.
As a result, the show was always going to address the chip on its shoulder through a little light spoofing, as seen in the episode A Big Piece of Garbage, wherein the Planet Express crew search through a gigantic garbage barge as the title implies and Bender finds a set of Bart Simpson merchandise, prompting him to eat their shorts after a still-functioning toy recites the younger Simpson’s iconic catchphrase.
Of course, many more references to the series abound throughout Futurama’s run, and whilst a few are similar digs at the show’s over-merchandised image such as the sight of more Bart toys in Mars University, a few are sweeter in tone, such as a scrawled “H.S 4 M.B” in Robot Hell which stands for Homer Simpson 4 Marge Bouvier.