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Former Lives: 11 Actors Who Amusingly Acknowledged Their Past Roles

By Nadia Chaudhury | Seriously Random Lists | July 18, 2014 | Comments ()


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Nathan Fillion
Castle’s Richard Castle’s nod to Mal Reynolds in Firefly

A space cowboy is the perfect Halloween costume for a mystery writer, right? There was also the added Buffy the Vampire Slayer homage with the case of the vampire corpse and stake.
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Elisha Cuthbert
Happy Endings’s Alex Kerkovich’s nod to Kim Bauer in 24

Penny throws out a hypothetical—wherein Alex would’ve been trapped in the woods, and a cougar’s about to eat her, and her dad’s some big guy in a counter terrorist agency, and there’s only 24 hours—to encourage her to date again. Totally hypothetical.


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Michael K. Williams
Community’s Marshall Kane’s nod to Omar Little in The Wire

No matter if you’re a hitman and robber in Baltimore or a wise biology professor at a community college in Colorado, a man has to live his life with a code of honor.


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John Lithgow
3rd Rock from the Sun’s Dick Solomon’s nod to Reverend Shaw Moore in Footloose

After getting annoyed at the garage rock band figuring themselves out while cooking in the kitchen, Dick breaks out a familiar rant about stopping that consarned rock ‘n’ roll music and how it leads to dirty dancing, wait, wrong movie.


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Julia Louis-Dreyfus
The New Adventures of Old Christine’s Christine Campbell’s nod to Elaine Benes in Seinfeld

Christine’s early ’90s digs look a whole lot like the Upper West Side…


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H. Jon Benjamin
Archer’s Archer Sterling’s nod to Bob Belcher in Bob’s Burgers

Benjamin’s magnificent voice somehow embodies both sleek alcoholic Archer and schlubby culinary genius Bob, and in this crossover episode, amnesiac Archer marries into the Belcher clan and takes over the burger joint. Until KGB agents come charging in, guns blazin’, that is.


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Wallace Shawn
Gossip Girl’s Cyrus Rose’s nod to Vizzini in The Princess Bride

It’s a very slight nod, but when stepdaughter royalty-to-be Blair Waldorf is ready to be walked down the aisle, he exclaims, “Hey, she’s here, the princess bride.”


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Neil Patrick Harris
How I Met Your Mother’s Barney Stinson’s nod to Doogie Howser in Doogie Howser, M.D.

Barney celebrates his latest conquest by typing up a blog entry on a laptop with an old-old-old looking word processor with a familiar theme song playing in the background.


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Carrie Fisher
30 Rock’s Rosemary Howard’s nod to Princess Leia in Star Wars
Liz Lemon is Rosemary Howard’s Obi-Wan Kenobi as she yells, “Help me, Liz Lemon. You’re my only hope!”


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David Tennant
Doctor Who’s Tenth Doctor’s nod to Casanova in Casanova

In his newly regenerated body as the Tenth Doctor, the Doctor browses through his wardrobe, passing up a sexy red period outfit that seduced so many ladies.
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Dan Castellaneta
Arrested Development’s Dr. Frank Stein’s nod to Homer Simpson in The Simpsons

After realizing he’s made a HUGE mistake, Dr. Stein slips in a “D’oh!”


And a bonus:
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The Office
Michael Scott meets David Brent

The American paper company boss meets the British paper company boss in the elevator, but sadly, no guitars were brought out.

Nadia Chaudhury wants Peter Krause and Lauren Graham to make Six Feet Under and Gilmore Girls references on Parenthood.



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Comments Are Welcome, Jerks Will Be Banned


  • How about on Dawson's Creek when Pacey refers to the Mighty Ducks movies as classic and so funny. That's an oldie but a goodie.

  • geeeque

    What about Barry Kornenfeld (Henry Winkler)'s brief, subtle and mf'ing awesome nod to the Fonz on Arrested Development?

  • Jazz

    The janitor in Scrubs - there's an entire episode about JD finding out he was on The Fugitive as a cop

  • candace hathaway

    In Dawson's Creek Pacey says something along the lines of "I liked those Mighty Ducks movies!" followed by an appropriately awkward silence.

  • ed newman

    What about Arrested Development when Henry Winkler literally jumps the shark on the pier?

  • pthalio

    How about the season 2 episode of Futurama, "A Bicyclops Built for Two", where Leela almost marries a gross alien named Al referencing "Married...with Children"?

  • Hal Semmens

    My favorite instance of this would have to be when Alan Alda appeared on 30 Rock and referenced Hawkeye's mental breakdown in the final episode of M*A*S*H:

    TRACY: "It's true. There is no baby. I was chicken! I was chicken!"
    ALDA: "A guy crying about a chicken and a baby? I thought this was a comedy show?"

    Crappy video of it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v...

    Also, without giving too much away, there's a scene involving Nick Fury in Captain America: The Winter Soldier that references that Ezekiel quote that Samuel L. Jackson kept quoting in Pulp Fiction: "The path of the righteous..."

  • BootlegGinger

    1. was David Tennant like 17 when he did Casanova? look at that face!

    2. as an avid Doogie Howser, MD fan back in the day, i let out what can only be described as a screech-cackle-guffaw of inarticulate joy the moment i heard the Doogie theme music and heard the clickity-clack of NPH's typing in that HIMYM episode. I thought, "this is the moment I have been waiting for this entire show."

  • Colleen Mitchell

    In a Halloween episode of Medium, Joe Dubois (Jake Weber) is told there's a zombie marathon on tv and he says something like, "are they showing the one with the people trapped in the mall?" By the way, I love Coach and Mrs. Coach as much as the next person, but the Joe and Allison Dubois had the best tv marriage.

  • Dome'loki

    Claudia Black and Ben Browder on Stargate SG1 saying they would never ever get together referencing their long romance on Farscape.

  • Hal Semmens

    There was also "200" where Vala is pitching a bunch of storylines for the "Wormhole X-treme" movie, including one that's a blatant rip-off of Farscape with Vala in the Aeryn Sun role.

    Not to mention some of the early series references to Richard Dean Anderson's stint as MacGyver.

  • kirbyjay

    How about Sean Bean in The Lord of the Rings
    Boromir runs his finger over the blade of a sword.
    "Hmmmm......still sharp"

  • BlackRabbit

    Hey, apparently John Lithgow and William Shatner did a thing where something something!

  • muscleman

    On "3rd Rock from the Sun," William Shatner, as the Big, Giant Head gets off of a plane with Lithgow there to meet him. Shatner goes, "I had a great flight, but, I could have swore I saw something on the wing of the plane."
    Lithgow, without missing a beat, goes,
    "The same exact thing happened to me."

  • Grifter

    80s. Dirk Benedict's Face having a moment when the Cylon walks past him in The A-Team is one of my all-time faves...

  • Idle Primate

    I remember that!

  • Michael Jackson

    Elisha Cuthbert also did a "Happy Endings" nod to the poster for her crappy film "Captivity" with being buried in a ball pit

    http://images.moviepostershop....

    I can't find a picture from the show however

  • Carolina Moon

    Wasn't there an episode of Supernatural that managed to work in a reference to Gilmore Girls?

  • Three_nineteen

    I haven't seen it yet (on season 5), but my friend tells me there's a season 6 ep where Dean sees a "Days of Our Lives" episode featuring Jensen Ackles as Eric Brady.

  • phofascinating

    They definitely made a "House of Wax" reference in the episode with Paris Hilton!

  • TheReinaG

    Whoa whoa whoa, we had Third Rock from The Sun, but not when William Shatner (big giant head) shows up and says his flight was delayed because there was something on the wing of the plane and John Lithgow says "the same thing happened to me!" (A nod to their sharing the same role in The Twilight Zone series/movie.) Come on, your list is invalid!

  • Katylalala

    Here, here!

  • Alicia

    Dan Akroyd - Casper ("Who ya gonna call?.... Someone else!")
    Linda Hamilton - Chuck (doing chin-ups, among other things)

  • wonkeythemonkey

    You could have devoted an entire article to James Spader and William Shatner's callbacks on Boston Legal.

  • Hasen Klub

    Denny Crane!

  • nin

    I prefer the 30 Rock's nod to John Lithgow and William Shatner talking about they both had a dream about a monster on a wing of the plane.... both were in Twilight Zone episodes, Shatner in the original and Lithgow in the remake.

  • Dan Scott

    Well, Lithgow's one was in the movie.

  • Ginger McFlea

    David Duchovny in Californication - "I look like a fucking FBI agent".

  • lonestarr357

    Not the first time, though. From Evolution:

    "We need to do something. Call the FBI!"
    "No way. I know those people."

  • Pants_are_a_must

    I think everyone and their Dean peed a little during "a man's gotta have a code."

  • Kala

    Funny enough, when I reached that entry on this post my first thought was actually, "Totally peed a little when that happened." So happy to be among my people.

  • Wrestling Fan

    I would add Cold Case's Rocky Horror episode, with Barry Bostwick as the killer (it's a nine year old episode. spoiler rule expires after 5 years!)
    And also 3rd Rock with Shatner and Lithgow both referencing Nightmare At 20,000 Feet.

  • There's also the Psych musical, with Barry Bostwick's nod to Rocky Horror and the slight Cold Case nod making us think he might be the killer (but - SPOILER - he's just cheating on his wife, Janet, and that's why he's acting suspicious).

  • Aaron Schulz

    That 3rd rock one is awesome, i forgot about it.

  • ralyra

    I seem to remember NPH referring to '80's child actors being better than present day. It might be from the same episode.

  • lonestarr357

    Different episode. ("The Stinsons"). Great gag.

  • Berry

    I had a sex dream about Omar once. It felt wrong, because he's gay and I have girly bits. I still enjoyed it.

  • chanohack

    Ooo hey, I like your picture!

  • Berry

    Thank you. It's section of a raspberry.

  • Billybob

    Anna Chlumsky on Veep made a comment about having her arm cut off. Crude, but effective.

  • Sean

    Also on Veep, Tony Hale was digging through his Leviathan bag when he found Selina's rape whistle and he said "Like anyone is going to rape her. Because she has so much security." This is an obvious callback to Buster saying it about Lucille.

  • Pants_are_a_must

    Really? EXCELLENT.

  • Whoa I haven't seen My Girl but it sounds vicious.

  • Billybob

    Well, you've seen what it did to Macauley Culkin.

  • Tatiana Torres

    Oh Nadia, don't we all "Nadia Chaudhury wants Peter Krause and Lauren Graham to make Six Feet Under and Gilmore Girls references on Parenthood"

  • Joe Grunenwald

    Personally I'd rather they make Sports Night and NewsRadio references.

  • poopnado

    Felicity, anyone? Amy Jo Johnson's character attends a Halloween party where there is someone dressed at the Pink Power Ranger.

  • Nadia Chaudhury

    Ugh, I am so mad I forgot this.

  • poopnado

    No worries. I'm kind of embarrassed that I remembered it.

  • deliarpatterson

    My Uncle
    Riley got an almost new red GMC Canyon just by some parttime working online
    with a laptop. visit their website C­a­s­h­f­i­g­.­C­O­M­

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