From 'Twin Peaks' To 'Dual Spires': 7 Shows That Paid Loving Tribute to Other Shows
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From ‘Twin Peaks’ To ‘Dual Spires’: 7 Shows That Paid Loving Tribute to Other Shows

By Nadia Chaudhury | Seriously Random Lists | April 11, 2014 | Comments ()


Trophy Wife’s “The Minutes,” a tribute to Scandal
After Diane was sent home from a PTA meeting, she dons a white robe, sipping a big (but not as big as Olivia’s) glass of red wine, and munching on baked cheese puffs (a tastier substitute to popcorn), while binge-watching Scandal. Diane even slips into Olivia’s coat to help clear Kate’s dilemma through secrets and blackmail.
Also includes: Shutter-click transitions, spying with a professional camera, scenes framed through glass panels, close-ups on file details, the wall of people

Psych’s “Dual Spires,” a tribute to Twin Peaks
When the Psych duo travel to the northwest town of Dual Spires for a cinnamon festival, they stumble upon the death of Paula Merral, an anagram for Laura Palmer. While solving the crime, they meet some familiar (to us, at least) faces, including Sherilyn Fenn (Audrey Horne), Sheryl Lee (Laura Palmer and Maddy Ferguson), and Dana Ashbrook (Bobby Briggs). Ray Wise (Leland Palmer), who already played Father Peter Westley on the show, even returned, though with a sudden shock of white hair, just like on Twin Peaks. Naturally, there was cinnamon pie and apple cider at the Sawmill Diner, which really is no substitute for the cherry pie and damn fine coffee at Double R Diner.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits, props, musical cues

Community’s “Basic Lupine Urology,” a tribute to Law & Order
This love letter, written out of cut-up newspapers, to the stand-alone Law & Order (no SVU or CI nonsense here) followed the same set-up. It begins with a shocking discovery: a yam was murdered in the biology lab. Shirley plays the captain role, and the first half has Troy and Abed as wise-cracking detectives solving the crime (the law), while in the second, Annie and Jeff play the will-they-won’t-they prosecutors litigating their project saboteur to get their well-earned A (the order). There was a nice The Wire reference, too, when Jeff tells Annie “a man’s got to have a code” in a sidebar with Judge Marshall Kane, played by Omar Little himself, Michael K. Williams.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits, opening narration, location/date placards and chung-chungs as transitions, guest appearance from a Law & Order figure: Leslie Hendrix, who played a medical examiner

Felicity’s “Help for the Lovelorn,” a tribute to The Twilight Zone
The black and white episode inexplicably set the show in the 1950s (no real electronics!), where, in Felicity’s search for a cure for her Noel/Ben heartache (Team Noel here, by the way), she visits The Clinic, a strange medical center that promises “help for the lovelorn.” She undergoes a treatment that would, as she discovers through a trail of glass hearts in the mail, a man in the shadows that warns her against the clinic, and emotionless friends who had the procedure, remove her heart. Based on The Twilight Zone’s “Five Characters in Search of an Exit,” (J.J. Abrams’ favorite one), the episode then transitions into a different scenario, which was one of the weirdest I’ve ever seen: Felicity and her friends are trapped in a white boxed room with no apparent exit, where they are forced to confront the other’s philosophical dilemmas.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits, opening and closing narration

Scrubs’ “My House,” a tribute to House
This episode of Scrubs collected some of the most bizarre symptoms in the show’s history, including a man who was bright orange, a callback to the pilot of House. After going off on a rant about the impossibilities of a doctor’s life being like House’s, Dr. Cox is stuck playing the main figure’s role (especially after he has to use a cane when a paint bucket drops on his foot and hobbles around), solving everyone’s problems through simple explanations.
Also includes: Stylized flashbacks

The X-Files’ “Sunshine Days,” a tribute to The Brady Bunch
Anthony Fogelman (played by Michael Emerson) loves The Brady Brunch so much, he changed his name to Oliver Martin in honor of the family’s unlucky jinx of a cousin. Using his supernatural powers, he creates the Brady house through his mind. The X-Files crew actually recreated the set for this episode, which was directed by Vince Gilligan.
Also includes: Someone whistling the theme song, blurred scenes from the show

Supernatural’s “Clap Your Hands if You Believe,” a tribute to The X-Files
Although Supernatural is somewhat similar to The X-Files, this particular episode deals with crop circles, abductions, UFOs, and abductions by creatures that turn out not to be aliens, but fairies.
Also includes: Reshot opening credits

Nadia Chaudhury is still waiting for a full-on Parenthood/Friday Night Lights homage.

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Comments Are Welcome, Bigots and Trolls Are Not

  • SoiledDoughnut

    There are plenty of TV shows that give pretty obvious nods to LOST out there.

  • Maddy

    I've never seen an episode of Trophy Wife, but I wholeheartedly approve of Scandal marathons while drinking copious amounts of red wine

  • Guest

    Childrens Hopital also did a terrific L&O (cops-and-lawyers) episode "Childrens Lawspital" Season 4 - Episode 12.

    Lola: I don't deal in why woulds I deal in you shoulds.

    *Childrens Hosiptial also did a British Childrens Hospital with Lauren Cohan which was tribute of sorts.

  • TacoBellRey

    When she kept going into the bathroom to do cocaine I just about fell over.

  • Guest

    She was nervous, it being her first case and all.

    Childrens Hospital never gets any love here.

    Fun Fact: It was filmed in the same hospital that Scrubs was (it was torn down in 2011).

  • TacoBellRey

    I knew about the Scrubs hospital thing. My favorite running joke has been whenever they have "Madonna" on the show. It's hard to believe she has the time for guest spots like that.

  • GreenEyedSoul

    8 Simple Rules for Dating My Teenage Daughter did a sweet Three's Company episode, too. All while John Ritter was still alive.

  • Rocabarra

    I personally loved when Alan Alda's character on ER was questioned about some medical technique he'd used and he responded that it was "an old Army trick." God I miss M*A*S*H and ER.

  • Guest

    What about "The Goldbergs" Goonies episode??

  • Three_nineteen

    When Rodgers showed up on "Basic Lupine Urology" I screamed out loud. That was so great.

  • DataAngel

    That whole episode was just fantastic and Rodgers really was the icing on the cake. It's probably the best episode of Community -- and possibly Law & Order -- out there.

  • BettyNugs

    I'm Team Scott Speedman's Hair.

  • Buellie413

    Duel Spires is one of my favorite Psych episodes ever. I love their homages to Friday the 13th and American Idol as well (the Clue episode was fun just for the guest stars).

    Also, yes, Team Noel!

  • dizzylucy

    American Duos is my favorite Psych episode.
    They also nicely did a telenovela episode too.

  • TacoBellRey

    They should have picked a different British man for the American Duos episode so they could've used Tim Curry for the Clue episode.

  • sanity fair

    Tim Curry is appropriate for every situation, though! I thought they could have easily brought his American Duos character into the Clue episode. It was about a band, after all!

  • Salasalu

    Fringe had THE absolute best tribute to Twin Peaks.

  • Classic

    Team Noel all the way. Ben sucked.

  • Zen

    It wasn't a tribute per se, but I loved that episode of The X-Files that was filmed like COPS.

  • Three_nineteen

    You reminded me - this list should include My Name Is Earl's "Our COPS Is On".

  • BWeaves

    The first season of That 70's Show also did a nice job of riffing on TV shows, movies and ads of the 70s. They dropped that in the following seasons as the characters gained their own personalities and the show went in its own direction.

  • Matt Kennedy

    Watching Trophy Wife the other day and Malin Ackerman's character was eating Let's chips. Yes Let's, from Community, also found in Arrested Development and Veronica Mars.

  • Bert_McGurt

    Between Let's chips, Heisler beer and Morley cigarettes apparently a sh*t-ton of TV shows are happening in the same universe.

  • Rebecca Hachmyer

    And it is this universe that I would like to call home.

  • I give you Friday Night at the Luncheonette.

  • Pentadactyl

    Re: Trophy Wife and Scandal - ABC has a habit of doing that. Characters in ABC shows keep making references to watching other ABC shows. Can't remember any specific cases, but I've seen this happen like 3 or 4 times. It's been tastefully done so far, so I don't mind.

    Also, another cool one: the Castle halloween episode that referenced both Firefly and Buffy.

  • Team Noel? And I had liked your work here so much so far. :(

  • dilwazr

    I feel like everyone forgets that Noel gets kind of rapey in season one when he finds out Simon Rex swiped Felicity's v-card! Or is it... some other time. Anyway, he gets really aggressive with her when he's drunk, and I apparently can NOT get over that.

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