It’s probably safe to say that media tends to refer to itself, in one way or another — and referring to literature, as opposed to other forms of pop culture, is one way to make just about anything a little more highbrow. Television, notoriously full of references and allusions, might be the worst/best culprit, and the most fun to hunt through for literary moments — after all, nothing’s more fun than seeing books on the boob tube. After the jump, you’ll find 50 of the greatest and most memorable literary allusions, shout-outs, cameos, and references on television, as well as real-life author appearances and whole episodes, or even whole seasons, based on books. NB: I’ve shied away from one-to-one adaptations, like Sherlock, because that’s a whole other list. Click through to check out some great bookish small-screen moments, and add any that are missing here (there are certainly hundreds) to the list in the comments.
The Infinite Jest episode of Parks and Recreation
Remember the time when Parks and Recreation showrunner Michael Schur (who also directed that Eschaton-themed video for The Decemberists) tweeted that there’d be “like 18” Infinite Jest references in the next episode of Parks and the Internet went wild? Oh yes you do.