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Maintaining a consistent creative output is incredibly difficult and takes a lot of talent, hard work, and discipline. Unless, of course, you just shamelessly repeat the same idea over and over again and hope that nobody notices, such as dropping a scene from one of your older movies into your new one or redrawing one of your old comics with the exact same characters and dialogue.

To be clear, we're not talking about artists who have recurrent themes and subtle motifs in their work. We're talking about people who literally take their old work and try to pass it off as new -- without changing a single thing.

Michael Bay Stuck A Car Chase From The Island In The Middle Of Transformers 3

Paramount Pictures

Michael Bay is often accused of making movies that are indistinguishable from each other: stuff explodes, the military kicks ass, a young actress bends over in front of the camera, something racist happens, and the movie ends. Of course, it's not that simple -- as identical as they might look, it's not like Bay just takes a scene from one Transformers movie and puts it in another. Nope, he takes scenes from other movies and puts them in Transformers.

For instance, here's one of the aircraft carriers from Pearl Harbor making a cameo in the first Transformers film.

Touchstone Pictures, Paramount Pictures
That aircraft carrier should be retirement age with a snowy-white beard by now.

Perhaps that was just a little self-homage, but this isn't a one-time thing. Remember Bay's The Island, that two-hour Xbox ad starring Ewan McGregor and Scarlett Johansson? Of course you don't, because nobody saw it. This makes it the perfect film from which to "borrow" shots that Michael Bay doesn't feel like taking the time to redo. As pointed out in this YouTube video by filmmaker Jermain Odreman, Bay Frankensteined footage from a car chase he had filmed for The Island and shoved it into Transformers: Dark Of The Moon. Seriously -- barring a few CGI touch-ups, it's the exact same footage:

DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures
Bay was angry when those rollerblading robots wandered into the shot
for The Island, but they sure came in handy later on.

Ironically, the plot of The Island is all about cloning people and pillaging the clones' bodies for spare parts ... and double-ironically, that movie itself is a blatant rip-off of an older one. Did Bay intentionally pick a movie no one cares about to ensure he could get away with it? Was he trying to comment on the disposable nature of modern entertainment? Does he simply not give a shit anymore? Or, had the world simply reached Marky Mark critical mass?

DreamWorks Pictures, Paramount Pictures
Mark Wahlberg didn't even know he was in Transformers 4 -- it was all
recycled footage from Pain & Gain.

Garfield Repeats Jokes Verbatim

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate

Garfield is an almost offensively inoffensive comic strip about a slovenly cat with an eating disorder who irrationally hates Mondays (as others have pointed out, he is a cat without a job -- Monday is literally just like every other day of the week to him). However, if you pay attention, the truth is much darker: This is actually the story of a bunch of characters trapped in a hellish Groundhog Day-esque time loop, forced to repeat the same lame dad jokes over and over again. And we mean the exact same jokes:

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
We're using the term loosely.

The fact that creator Jim Davis is the antithesis of an artist probably has a lot to do with it -- he has talked multiple times about how he doesn't give a damn about Garfield beyond the money-making machine that character has become. Even then, it's surprising to see just how blatant and lazy he is about shamelessly redrawing his old strips:

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
You'd think Garfield would be used to being disappointed by now.

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
At least Davis is honest about his top priority in life.

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
The only loser here is us.

When you do hundreds of strips a year for four decades, some basic ideas are bound to repeat, but look at the poses in the examples below -- Davis (or, more accurately, the assembly line of artists he employs) stopped just short of tracing the originals before putting a new date on them and sending them off to newspapers worldwide, presumably in an envelope filled with his own farts. In some cases, he didn't even bother changing a single word.

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
At least the background's a different color.

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
"Just plug in a new number every year. It's a
cat's birthday. Who gives a shit?" - Jim Davis

Paws, Inc./United Feature Syndicate
The only thing greater than Garfield's contempt for Odie
is Davis' contempt for his audience.

Those last two examples were repeated only a year apart, by the way. There are many, many, many, many, many, many more examples, but listing them all would take us several articles. Not even Garfield And Friends, the beloved Saturday morning cartoon from late '80s to early '90s, was above recycling bits verbatim:

Incidentally, they just announced the title of the third live
action movie: Garfield 3: A Tale Of Two Kitties.

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Aaron Sorkin Repeats The Same Dialogue In Everything He Writes

Columbia Pictures

Everyone who has ever watched an Aaron Sorkin-written show (The West Wing, The Newsroom) or movie (The Social Network, Steve Jobs) knows he has got a few quirks: season finales titled "What Kind Of Day Has It Been," characters based on his ex-girlfriends, endless mazes of hallways, and, most of all, people who won't fucking shut up. What you might not have noticed is exactly how many of those words are actually the same:

If you watch 1:35 to 1:52, it looks like a crossover episode.

That is one of two master cuts of repeated lines that Sorkin has used in all of his shows and films. Because brevity is the soul of you not getting bored and clicking away, here is a master paragraph showing you some of the lines in that video:

"The only thing you had to do to make [parent] happy is come home safe at night."

"I'm not going to like you very much am I?" "Don't be ridiculous, [name], everybody likes me."

"I could buy [place] [number] times over and turn it into my pingpong room."

"It seems more and more we've come to expect less and less of each other."

"This isn't [TV/government] camp. It's not important everyone get to play."

"I'm like Tippi Hedren here."

"The streets of heaven are too crowded with angels."

"[My/Her] legs do go all the way down to the floor."

"As if it matters how a man falls down." "When the fall is all that's left, it matters a great deal."

"Fire me or shut the hell up."

"Well, that was predictable."

Jason Merritt/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images, Kevin Winter/Hulton Archive/Getty Images, Mark Davis/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

That last one is particularly biting.

Again, those are only a few of the recycled lines, and we're not even counting the second "Aaron Sorkin's Greatest Hits" video. He repeats lines on a show-by-show, episode-by-episode basis, as if he keeps his favorite phrases tacked up on index cards around his desk while he writes. Some of his best/worst examples include using the name "Mohammed Al Mohammed El Mohammed Bin Bazir," having a character explain how awesome he is by including the joke "and I'm never ever sick at sea," and this very specific gag:

Warner Brothers Television Distribution, HBO

Hell, even one of the most famous lines in the Facebook movie -- "If you guys were the inventor of [thing], you would have invented [thing]" -- was first used in Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip. Of course, nobody saw that show, so Sorkin probably figured it was fair game.

Sting Has Used The Same Corny Lyric In Three Different Songs

Jon Kopaloff/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images

The Police are best known for being the birthplace of Sting, one of the most famous nonsensical single-named pop stars ever (just behind Bono and Cher, but with a thousand percent more "calling to mind things you don't like about wasps"). Discounting the songs where he's a stalker or a pedophile, one of the most popular tracks that Sting recorded with the band was "Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic" from 1981, where he sings:

"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met?
It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet."

A&M Records
Nobody told Stewart Copeland they were taking the picture.

In 1983, they released another song called "O My God," in which Sting soulfully croons:

"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met?
It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet."

Ten years later, Sting proved he still had it by recording a song called "Seven Days" for one of his solo albums. This contains evocative lyrics like:

"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met?
It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet."

Michael Putland/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
"I just want to sing about my umbrella."

Perhaps the key to unraveling this mystery is the fact that "Every Little Thing She Does" is actually a pre-Police song from a band called Strontium 90 that Sting belonged to in 1976. The Strontium demo version is pretty different from the Police one, except for the first few lines of lyrics, which are as follows:

"Do I have to tell the story of a thousand rainy days since we first met?
It's a big enough umbrella, but it's always me that ends up getting wet."

By the spice mines of Arrakis, Sting, please come up with a new metaphor.

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Old TV Shows Used To Just Remake Episodes From Earlier Seasons ... Over And Over Again

Sony Pictures Television

Bewitched is the classic '60s sitcom about a beautiful girl with magical powers who lives with an uptight man who is occasionally a different man -- depending on what season you're watching. Despite having what has proven to be one of television's most successful premises ("beautiful white woman does magic"), the show eventually ran out of steam, and its writers decided, "Fuck it, let's just stop."

They didn't decide to stop making the show, mind you; they just decided to stop writing scripts. Instead, they began reusing old ones, almost word for word:

Transcribed from here at 18:18 and here at 20:06. The biggest difference is Darrin's face.

That's just one of the more egregious examples from the show's 254-episode run. Look, we're probably going to start repeating ourselves when we get to that age, too, but Bewitched's writers threw in the towel and began remaking episodes as early as season three -- by the last one, more than half of the "new" episodes borrowed something from older scripts. Sometimes it was specific jokes, sometimes it was general plotlines, and sometimes it was, well, the whole thing. One script got used three times:

It was later remade again as the weirdest Mad Men episode ever.

One episode in season five was about little Tabitha's first day in school, when she turns a classmate into a butterfly. Another one in season eight is about a slightly older Tabitha's first day in school (how many of those did she have?), when she turns a classmate into a frog. Both episodes even featured the same actress playing different teachers:

Sony Pictures Television
"Making them the exact opposite of these scripts."

Then again, maybe they felt that since their show was already being plagiarized by I Dream Of Jeannie, they should stop coming up with new ideas for those bastards to steal.

But, that was a garbage sitcom -- you wouldn't see shit like this pulled by an award-winning, groundbreaking show such as M*A*S*H, right? After all, this was a truly great comedy that could take on some big subjects -- such as a season seven episode called "Preventative Medicine," which deals with Hawkeye slipping an asshole colonel a drug that makes him think he has appendicitis, which would result in the colonel being sent home to America. The medics then debate the morality of performing an unnecessary operation on a healthy man to save the lives of the soldiers who would be under his command.

20th Television
"Save this guy!"

And then, you had other episodes that were pure hilarity: like season three's "White Gold," in which Hawkeye slips an asshole colonel a drug that makes him think he has appendicitis as part of a plan to send him home. The medics then gleefully perform an unnecessary operation on a healthy man because he ... just bugs them, basically.

20th Television
"Fuck this guy."

Yeah, it was the exact same premise, played as a comedy first and then a drama, just like that crappy Woody Allen/Will Ferrell movie. The crazy thing is, not a single member of the M*A*S*H crew noticed until one of them happened to watch an old rerun of the show and realized it was the exact same premise as the episode they were filming (this was in the days before the Internet, so they didn't really have a way to check for overlap outside of their own memories). Not having time or money to reshoot, they did the only thing they could think to do: They decided to air the episode up against the Oscars to make sure that it got absolutely buried in the ratings, so that no one would even notice what "blithering idiots" (in the words of the one of the writers) they were.

What they didn't seem to remember was that there was yet another episode with a similar plot -- Hawkeye and Trapper convince an asshole colonel he's ill in order to get him sent home and save lives. Despite the fact that this episode guest-starred Leslie Nielsen, the M*A*S*H staff apparently forgot it ever existed.

20th Television
Possibly because putting a dramatic actor in a comedy series was a recipe for disaster.

Michael Bay and Sting aren't the only guys who are sometimes creatively lacking. Even James Cameron can't make an original movie. See what we mean in 7 Directors Who Stole Their Biggest Hits (From Themselves). And also check out 5 Insanely Blatant Acts Of Plagiarism By Famous People.

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