The Five Meta-iest Meta Jokes This Year
Not to be confused with jabs about the company that owns Facebook and its creepy VR hellscape, there have been a lot of meta jokes in movies and TV shows this year. Yes, Hollywood just loves referencing itself — and we love referencing said references, such as…
Everything Everywhere All at Once Featured a Behind-the-Scenes Zoom Call
The best interdimensional adventure story about launderers in an IRS office, Everything Everywhere All at Once is obviously packed full of highly specific references, from the Wong Kar-wai universe, to Raccacoonie, to the chapstick label borrowed from the cult classic Repo Man. The movie also subtly cops to its own fictional construction. In a scene, Michelle Yeoh’s character, Evelyn, is careening through countless realities, each glimpsed for only a fraction of a second:
One dimension we see features the film’s VFX crew discussing the scene over Zoom next to an image of Yeoh in front of a green screen. Meanwhile, another one is just the thumbnail for a YouTube video blowing the lid off “Illuminati Symbols Hidden in Hollywood Films for One Frame.”
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers’ Justice for Ugly Sonic
Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers was overflowing with deep-cut meta gags (some more depressing than others), but the star of the show was clearly Ugly Sonic. In the world of the movie, cartoon characters are actual performers. This means that the original, hideously toothy version of Sonic the Hedgehog, who was in the film’s trailer before being soundly rejected by the internet (voiced here by I Think You Should Leave’s Tim Robinson), was just a working actor who got the “Eric Stoltz in Back to the Future” treatment, and is now making the convention rounds. At least Ugly Sonic gets to be a hero in the end!
Close Enough’ s Candice Visits the Cartoon Network Building
J.G. Quintel’s Close Enough was canceled by HBO Max this year and totally removed from the platform, along with seemingly anything that doesn’t involve incest and dragons. But before that, the third season’s Halloween episode, “Halloween Enough,” found 6-year-old Candice passing through a gateway between worlds and visiting the offices of *gasp* the Cartoon Network building, where she encounters her creators, voice actors and zombie-like animators.
See How They Run Ends With A Familiar Warning
The year’s biggest comedic mystery not involving Daniel Craig dressing up in an amusing bathing suit, See How They Run is a playful riff on Agatha Christie’s The Mousetrap. The film ends with Sam Rockwell turning to the camera, asking audiences not to divulge the film’s twist — a reference to how The Mousetrap traditionally ends with a plea from the actors during the curtain call to “preserve the tradition by keeping the secret of whodunit locked in your hearts.”
The She-Hulk Meets K.E.V.I.N.
In the season finale of She-Hulk, Jennifer Walters literally climbs through the Disney+ menu, enters our world and berates the show’s writers’ room for its lazy conclusion. Then she takes her grievances to Marvel’s head honcho, Kevin— sorry, make that K.E.V.I.N. Yeah, instead of a middle-aged dude in a baseball hat, Kevin is really an A.I. with the “most advanced entertainment algorithm in the world.” The robot eventually reworks the ending to Jennifer’s specifications but shoots down all her questions about the X-Men.
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