Last night's The Office centered around the Dunder Mifflin staff gathering to watch an episode of Glee. On the surface the plot point seems remarkable, considering The Office and Glee air on rival networks (NBC and Fox, respectively). Why would NBC promote another network's hit show during an episode of its highest rated comedy?
But as Zap2it points out, it's not the first time one TV show has focused a plot point around another series (though Glee's part in last night's Office storyline may be the most substantial). Friends famously wove Days of Our Lives and Baywatch into Joey's life, the characters on Scrubs quoted the Gilmore Girls, and 30 Rock even put Tracy Jordan in the Cash Cab. Seinfeld's reference is also a classic:
The all-time best use of another show as a plot point came in the Season 6 episode "The Beard." Jerry is ashamed to tell his new girlfriend that he watches "Melrose Place," and per usual, the lie spirals out of control, to the point that Jerry takes a polygraph test to prove he doesn't know what's happening with Billy, Amanda, Allison et al -- which he fails spectacularly. We don't see footage from "Melrose Place," but we hear its theme music as the gang sits down to watch an episode, during which Jerry says, "Oh, that Michael, I hate him! He's just so smug."
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Here is the Seinfeld clip:
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