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The Most Meta TV Shows of All Time

In this week’s episode of 30 Rock, Tracy Jordan took a lot of heat for homophobic comments, which reminded us rather strongly of that time Tracy Morgan found himself in hot water after making anti-gay comments during a stand-up routine in Nashville. We thought it was interesting and oh-so-meta that the show chose to address one of its stars’ real-life controversies via the fiction of the show, and the episode left us thinking about how so many of our favorite TV shows are metafictional — or at least have prominent meta qualities. It’s just all so post-modern. Click through to read about the most metafictional television shows of all time, and let us know if we missed your favorite in the comments.

30 Rock

30 Rock absolutely loves metafictional jokes, and almost every episode is chock full of them. Everyone knows that Tracy Jordan is an exaggerated caricature of actor Tracy Morgan, who plays him, but did you know that John Lutz plays John Lutz and Grizz plays Grizz and Tina Fey’s real first name is Elizabeth? And that’s just the superficial stuff. The characters are constantly playing with the fourth wall and referring to NBC — consider the first lines of season four, when Jack welcomes you to Season Four… the restaurant. Or the very fact that a major plot line, NBC being sold to Kabletown, is probably based on NBC being sold to Comcast. There’s even an episode in which two janitors, Khonani and Subhas fight over the late night spot, mirroring the Conan/Jay Leno feud. Really, in order to do this justice, we’d have to recap every episode, so we’re just going to stop right there.

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