Clip show

A clip show is an episode of a television series that consists primarily of excerpts from previous episodes. Most clip shows feature the format of a frame story in which cast members recall past events from past installments of the show, depicted with a clip of the event presented as a flashback. Clip shows are also known as cheaters, particularly in the field of animation. Clip shows are often played before series finales, or once syndication becomes highly likely. Other times, however, clip shows are simply produced for budgetary reasons (i.e. to avoid additional costs from shooting in a certain setting, or from casting actors to appear in new material).


Clip shows have their origin in theatrical short films and serials. Every serial chapter always had a brief recap showing where the previous chapter left off, but, beginning in 1936, entire chapters were largely devoted to material that audiences had already seen. In these recap chapters (also called "economy chapters"), previous chapters were summarized for those who may have missed some episodes (which were unlikely to be rerun). The practice began with the Republic Pictures serial Robinson Crusoe of Clipper Island. Adverse weather conditions slowed the filming of this outdoor adventure budgeted for 12 chapters, and screenwriter Barry Shipman was forced to create two more chapters to recoup the lost production costs. Shipman wrote a few scenes in which the screen characters recount their adventures to date, and stock footage from previous chapters is shown instead of new sequences. Shipman's brainstorm was a convenient way to economize on production, and soon Republic made the recap chapter standard procedure.

Movie studios often resorted to old footage to save money. The most famous example is the short comedies of The Three Stooges which, from 1949 until 1957, borrowed lengthy sequences and often entire storylines from old shorts. Only a few new scenes would be filmed as a framework for the old footage. This practice was adopted because the studios could charge more money for "new" films than for old ones.

Animation studios were also known to periodically make cartoon shorts - often referred to as "cheaters" - made up primarily of clips for earlier cartoons in order to save money. Examples of this include Betty Boop's Rise to Fame (Fleischer/Paramount, 1934), What's Cookin' Doc? (1944, Schlesinger/Warner Bros.) and a regular yearly series of Tom & Jerry "cheaters" such as Smitten Kitten (1952, MGM).


One variant of the modern clip show is the compilation episode, using clips from the most popular episodes, assembled together in one episode, sometimes without a frame story as such.

Another format is to have a host who describes various characters and characteristics of the show to introduce various clips from past episodes. For example, a special one-hour clip show episode of All in the Family featured actor Henry Fonda discussing the main characters on the show followed by relevant clips from previous episodes; a similar two-part clip show appeared on Three's Company, hosted by Lucille Ball. This format was parodied in a clip show for The Simpsons ("The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular"), in which fictional actor Troy McClure—a recurring Simpsons character—introduced the clips.

A third variation, used in a two-part clip show episode of Cheers featured the entire cast of the show, including former cast members, sitting on a stage while being interviewed by talk host John McLaughlin about their characters on the show, with clips of previous episodes mixed in. A similar clip episode of Barney Miller aired after the death of cast member Jack Soo, with flashbacks introduced by the rest of the cast highlighting Soo's character Detective Sergeant Nick Yamana.

Clerks: The Animated Series had a flashback episode 2 episodes in to the series. The two main leads reminisce on the previous episode and other adventures they went on. The episode was highly praised.[1]

In the Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "The Ember Island Players", the show's main characters watch a play about themselves based upon the events of the series thus far. Although the episode contains no actual footage from previous episodes, the actors recount many scenes from the series and show all the significant plot events. "The Ember Island Players" was the last episode before the four-part series finale.

The NBC sitcom Community used the clip show format with the episode "Paradigms of Human Memory", but rather than using clips from previous episodes, the cut-away scenes in that episode were all newly shot. In some cases the clips were set in events of previous episodes, and in other cases the clips showed events that had never before occurred on the show, such as visiting an Old West ghost town, taking over for a glee club killed in a bus crash or going on a fishing trip. The creator of Community, Dan Harmon, used the same format in another one of his shows, Rick and Morty, where all the clips were completely new and related to the episode, 'Total Rickall', in some way.

In anime, a common type of episode is the Recap episode, which presents clips from previous episodes in a manner to remind viewers of the story so far and help newer viewers catch up on the plot and details.


While clip shows do reduce production costs, they were originally employed in an era when there were far fewer program outlets and it was less likely that episodes from previous seasons would be aired again. Clip shows typically received strong ratings, and it was expected for any successful comedy series to feature clip shows regularly in its later years. However, the episodes were subject to some ridicule due to their forced or "corny" framing devices (such as a family sitting peacefully around a fireplace) and the frequently awkward transitions between the frame story and the clips (such as characters staring into space while the screen blurs to represent "remembering").

Daytime soap operas frequently present clip shows as a way to commemorate a show's milestone anniversary or the death of a long-running character. Many fans take advantage of the shows in order to see vintage clips of a particular soap opera. One example was an episode of As the World Turns in which seven of the longest running characters were stranded in a forest and remembered some of their best moments, all in honor of AtWT's 50th anniversary.

Another common rationale for a clip show is the lack of a new show to air, due to failure to meet production schedules. For example, the computer-animated series Roughnecks: Starship Troopers Chronicles used clip shows four times for this purpose, interrupting in-progress story arcs. Similarly, the Moonlighting season 3 episode "The Straight Poop" helped to fill out a production schedule that was rife with delays: in 15 weeks since that season began, only 8 episodes of the "weekly" series had been broadcast. Chappelle's Show resorted to producing five clip shows (using material from only 25 episodes) over the course of its first two seasons.

Other times budgetary considerations force clip shows. At the end of its second season, Star Trek: The Next Generation had one more episode to shoot. However, Paramount cut that show's budget to make up for an episode earlier in the season that had gone over budget—and, similarly, over schedule, leaving only three days for principal photography. Because the season had gotten off to a slow start due to a writers' strike, the producers had no scripts set aside for future use as they normally would have.[2] The result was "Shades of Gray", in which the "clips" were the induced dreams of a comatose William T. Riker. The episode is widely considered among the worst of any Star Trek series.[3]

Clip shows today tend to offset such criticism by trying to make the frame tale surrounding the clips compelling, or by presenting clip shows without any framing device. A show might also diffuse the awkwardness by indulging in self-parody, explicitly acknowledging or intentionally over-playing the device. Many series have included parody clip shows using "clips" from episodes which never happened. The South Park episode "City on the Edge of Forever" shows scenes from previous episodes, but the details are always wrong, and in the end, everyone gets ice cream. As another example, Clerks: The Animated Series ran a clip show as its second episode, even though there was only one prior episode from which to pull material. The aforementioned Moonlighting clip episode, in typical fashion for the show, used a framing story that broke the fourth wall to determine if the characters themselves were the source of the show's notorious production delays, and ended with the characters promising a "new episode next week!".

The clip show has been employed more seriously as a means to bring viewers up to date on highly serialized dramas, such as on Lost, Once Upon a Time and the reimagined Battlestar Galactica. Many anime dramas used similar techniques, particularly when a series ran for more episodes in one season than could be reasonably rerun (such as Mobile Suit Gundam Wing running for 49 episodes, which were originally aired weekly).

Sometimes clip shows air before or during a series finale as a way for audiences to reminisce about their favorite moments. Some examples of shows that have used clip shows in this sense are: Animaniacs, Frasier, The Golden Girls, Seinfeld, Friends, Thunderbirds, Everybody Loves Raymond, The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1/Atlantis, and Cheers.

Clip shows are also a way to compile the best episodes or sketches from a series to air in a single, concise package when rerunning a whole episode or series is implausible. The annual Scottish New Year special Scotch and Wry was condensed into four feature film-length episodes for home video release. Carson's Comedy Classics compiled memorable sketches from the first 20 seasons of The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson for airing in syndication. Surviving content from Bozo the Clown and other Chicago children's television programs was incorporated into Bozo, Gar and Ray: WGN TV Classics, an annual holiday special.

See also


  1. ^ "98, Clerks: The Animated Series". IGN. 2009-01-23. Archived from the original on 2009-01-19. Retrieved 2017-04-18.
  2. ^ Block, Paula M.; Erdmann, Terry J.; Moore, Ronald D. (2012). Star Trek: The Next Generation 365. Abrams. p. 330. ISBN 9781613124000. Retrieved May 24, 2015.
  3. ^ Nemecek, Larry (2003). The Star Trek: The Next Generation Companion: Revised Edition. Simon & Schuster. p. 94. ISBN 9780743476577. Retrieved May 24, 2015.

External links

All Singing, All Dancing

"All Singing, All Dancing" is the eleventh episode of The Simpsons' ninth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on January 4, 1998. In the fourth clip show aired by The Simpsons, Homer claims he hates singing, so Marge shows family videos of musical numbers from the previous seasons of the series. Additionally, the episode itself takes the form of a sung-through musical, featuring spoken dialogue only at the start and end of the episode. The original material was directed by Mark Ervin and written by Steve O'Donnell. It was executive produced by David Mirkin. It features guest appearances from George Harrison, Patrick Stewart, and Phil Hartman, although these are all clips and none of them recorded original material for the episode.

Another Simpsons Clip Show

"Another Simpsons Clip Show" is the third episode of The Simpsons' sixth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on September 25, 1994. In the episode, Marge reads a romance novel in bed, and it prompts her to have a family meeting, where the Simpson family recall their past loves in form of clips from previous episodes.

The episode was written by Jon Vitti (credited as "Penny Wise") and directed by David Silverman. It is the second The Simpsons episode featuring a clip show format and uses clips from all the previous five seasons. The episode features cultural references to the 1992 book The Bridges of Madison County and the 1967 film The Graduate. The episode has received rather negative reviews, since clip shows tend to be the least favorite episodes among fans. It acquired a Nielsen rating of 8.7 and was the fourth highest rated show on the Fox network that week.

Gump Roast

"Gump Roast" is the seventeenth episode of The Simpsons’ thirteenth season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on April 21, 2002. In the episode, Homer Simpson is honored by the townspeople at a Friars' Club Roast, until it is interrupted by Kang and Kodos.The episode was directed by Mark Kirkland and was written by Dan Castellaneta and his wife Deb Lacusta. The plot idea for the episode came about when The Simpsons cast members were on hiatus following a payment dispute. This is the fifth and, so far, the last clip show The Simpsons has produced. Instead, the series implements one "trilogy episode" each season. When it was first broadcast, "Gump Roast" received a 5.7 rating and was watched by 12.2 million viewers, making it the 16th most watched television show of the night. However, following its release on DVD and Blu-ray, the episode received negative reviews from critics.

Jon Vitti

Jon Vitti (born 1960) is an American writer best known for his work on the television series The Simpsons. He has also written for the King of the Hill and The Critic series, and has served as a screenwriter or consultant for several animated and live-action movies, including Ice Age (2002) and Robots (2005). He is one of the eleven writers of The Simpsons Movie and also wrote the screenplays for the film adaptions Alvin and the Chipmunks, its sequel and The Angry Birds Movie.

Kathy's So-Called Reality

Kathy's So-Called Reality is a television clip show that aired in 2001, hosted by comedian and former Suddenly Susan star Kathy Griffin.The show was "part monologue, part round-table", featuring Griffin discussing clips from a variety of reality television shows the week prior with a panel of family and friends. According to Griffin, the reality shows, even the "scandal-plagued" Temptation Island, "amazingly" contributed clips to be mocked. The show premiered on February 4, 2001 on MTV, and ended on April 1, 2001 after airing only six episodes; the network did not renew the show due to low ratings. USA Today columnist Whitney Matheson wrote that the show "seemed to be struggling for content," and "all the good jokes are taken by the time Kathy's weekly rant sees airtime."

List of Drawn Together characters

List of characters appearing in the animated television series Drawn Together. All eight of the main housemates have physically appeared in every episode and the movie. However, there have been certain episodes where some of them have had no lines of dialogue. Toot didn't speak in the episodes "Foxxy VS the Board of Education" and "Nipple Ring-Ring Goes to Foster Care." Clara and Xandir didn't speak in "Breakfast Food Killer" and Ling-Ling had no dialogue in the episodes "Dirty Pranking No. 2," "A Tale of Two Cows," "The Drawn Together Clip Show," "Spelling Applebee's" and "Unrestrainable Trainable."

List of Drawn Together episodes

This is a comprehensive list of episodes for the animated television comedy Drawn Together. Each episode (except "Lost in Parking Space, Part One" and "Nipple Ring-Ring Goes to Foster Care") contains at least one musical number that ties into the action of the scene in which it appears. These are either original songs (some parodies of existing songs) sung by the cast (often full-blown production numbers), or outside songs that play during montages. Season 1 premiered on October 27, 2004. Season 3, which consists of fourteen episodes, began airing on October 5, 2006. After a one-year hiatus, new episodes returned October 4, 2007 with the last seven episodes of Season 3. The series finale aired on November 14, 2007. A total of 36 episodes were produced over the series' three seasons.

Ridiculousness (TV series)

Ridiculousness is an American comedy clip show that began airing on August 29, 2011. It is hosted by Rob Dyrdek and co-hosted by Sterling "Steelo" Brim and Chanel West Coast. Ridiculousness shows various viral videos from the Internet, usually involving failed do-it-yourself attempts at stunts, to which Rob and his panelists add mock commentary. Although the format bears some similarity to viewer-submission driven shows such as America's Funniest Home Videos, Ridiculousness producers, as well as the show's network, MTV, do not accept viewer submissions and air a disclaimer before and after each episode warning that, because of the dangerous nature of the stunts being shown, any attempts to submit a video to the show will be rejected.

Short Attention Span Theater

Short Attention Span Theater (often abbreviated to SAST) was an American clip show in which the hosts presented short segments of stand-up comedy acts and scenes from films airing on HBO and Cinemax. It aired from 1989 until 1994.

SAST premiered on the Comedy Channel in November 1989; it was one of the channel's initial programs. Because the Comedy Channel, HBO, and Cinemax were all owned by Home Box Office, Inc., the show was used to promote the parent corporation's programming.

In April 1991, the Comedy Channel merged with Ha!, Viacom's competing comedy channel, to form CTV: The Comedy Network; two months later, CTV rebranded as Comedy Central. The network continued to order new episodes of SAST after this transition, but with some modifications.

SAST had no presenter during its first few weeks. In 1990, the Comedy Channel reformatted the show and hired Jon Stewart and Patty Rosborough to present it—which they did until 1993. Mark S. Allen replaced them for two seasons. After that, the format was altered slightly. The show now took place in "the basement of Comedy Central", it was shortened to a half-hour and centered on one topic, and Marc Maron was hired as host.

Among the show's various guest hosts were Janet Decker, Joe Bolster, Laura Kightlinger, Sue Murphy, and brothers Brian Regan and Dennis Regan. In between clips, the hosts' banter often covered events in entertainment news.

SAST was the first television venue for Marc Weiner's "head puppet" comedy sketches. The puppets' heads are the size of a human's, but the bodies are disproportionately small.

In 2002, several years after SAST's conclusion, Comedy Central broadcast a similar series called Comic Remix. The show had a comparable format, and re-used many of the clips previously featured on SAST.

In 2005, two shorts from SAST were animated for inclusion as bonus material for the DVD-Video release of the first season of Dr. Katz Professional Therapist.

The Banker (The Office)

"The Banker" is the 14th episode of the sixth season of the U.S. comedy series The Office and the show's 114th episode overall. It was written by Jason Kessler and directed by Jeffrey Blitz.

The series—presented as if it were a real documentary—depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania, branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. In this episode, an investment banker comes to the office to speak with HR rep Toby Flenderson (Paul Lieberstein), since the company has recently been bought out. The episode is a clip show featuring montages of episodes past, as the banker asks about events in the office.

The episode "The Banker" received mixed reviews from critics and 3.7/9 in the 18–49 demographic.

The Chronicle (Seinfeld)

"The Chronicle" (also known as "The Clip Show") is an hour-long, two-part episode of the NBC sitcom Seinfeld. These were the 177th and 178th episodes of Seinfeld from the ninth and final season. It aired on May 14, 1998. Both parts of "The Chronicle" were seen by 58.53 million viewers. To accommodate the long running time of "The Finale," "The Chronicle" ran for 45 minutes on its initial airing. It was expanded to a full hour when rerun. While originally called "The Clip Show," its official title is "The Chronicle," as mentioned in the "Notes about Nothing" feature of Seinfeld, Volume 8, Season 9, Disc 4.

The Robert Irvine Show

The Robert Irvine Show is a defunct American syndicated talk show hosted by Robert Irvine and produced by Tribune Studios and Irwin Entertainment. The show premiered on The CW on September 12, 2016, as part of their late afternoon timeslot, and replaced Bill Cunningham's self-titled show after his television retirement. Like Cunningham, along with Irvine's Food Network series Restaurant: Impossible, it featured Irvine in the traditional conflict-resolution talk format trying to work out problems between subjects who came on the series.

Until the start of its second season in September 2017, it was the final program distributed by the American Big Five over-the-air networks to still be produced in standard definition, albeit in a widescreen format.

The show ceased production after the completion of the second season, with the last original episode airing May 24, 2018 (a clip show one day later was the final regular episode), with repeats ending September 8. It was replaced by encore and unaired original episodes of The Jerry Springer Show under an arrangement with Tribune Media and NBCUniversal Television Distribution.

The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular

"The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" is the tenth episode of The Simpsons' seventh season. It originally aired on the Fox network in the United States on December 3, 1995. As the title suggests, it is the 138th episode and the third clip show episode of The Simpsons, after "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" and "Another Simpsons Clip Show". While the "138th Episode Spectacular" compiles sequences from episodes throughout the entire series like the previous two, it also shows clips from the original Simpsons shorts from The Tracey Ullman Show and other previously unaired material. Like the Halloween specials, the episode is considered non-canon and falls outside of the show's regular continuity.The "138th Episode Spectacular" was written by Jon Vitti and directed by David Silverman, and is a parody of the common practice among live-action series to produce clip shows. It has received positive reviews, and was one of the most watched episodes of the seventh season, with a Nielsen rating of 9.5.

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