The homage may be the ultimate in insider jokes. TV shows can almost always guarantee a laugh when they borrow themes and cinematic styles from other popular shows or movies. In honor of shows that aren't afraid to experiment with style, here are some popular TV shows that made a name for themselves with constant genre tributes.
This USA comedy about a fake psychic detective and his pharmaceutical rep sidekick thrives on witty banter that's chock full of pop culture references. Over the years, the show has done a whole slew of episodes that are heavily inspired by other shows or movies, including homages to "Twin Peaks," "Indiana Jones," "The Shining," and the unique visual styles of telenovelas and Bollywood extravaganzas. If you're a pop culture junkie, there's always something to love about the newest episode of "Psych."
What hasn't "Community" done homage to at this point? Thanks in part to a central character (Abed), who is obsessed with pop culture and filmmaking, the show frequently gives itself license to do in-depth homages to all kinds of cultural touchstones. The show famously paid tribute to both "My Dinner with Andre" and "Pulp Fiction" in a single episode, with other installments of the series taking inspiration from "28 Days Later," "The Warriors," "Die Hard," "Law & Order," spaghetti westerns, Ken Burns documentaries, and the unique cinematography of John Woo's body of work.
"Scrubs" didn't often deviate from its episode-to-episode formula, but there are a few great examples of genre homage in the show's long history. There's one episode where Dr. Cox wanders around the hospital solving mysterious cases and yelling at people in the style of "House," complete with a limp and a cane. There's also "My Way Home," which includes tons of references to "The Wizard of Oz," as well as "My Life in Four Cameras," which reimagines the show as a classic sitcom, complete with laugh track, cheesy jokes, and unrealistic costumes.
Animated shows often have an easier time changing up their style to parody or pay homage to other works. So it makes sense that the popular "Powerpuff Girls" series had a few episodes where pop culture homages were the order of the day. The episode "Boogie Frights" references "Boogie Nights" in the title, but actually has more to do with the "Star Wars" franchise. Other episodes paid tribute to the unique visual elements of "Rocky and Bullwinkle" and "Yellow Submarine."