Easter means Easter eggs. We all love geeking out on TV shows, and often there are many hidden gems right in front of our eyes that we didn't notice the first time around. Or the second. Or the third.
Running gags and easter eggs are a staple of any great TV show, from "We were on a break!" in Friends to scratching lupus off the list in House. But sometimes, these hidden jokes can last for months or even years and across seasons.
These are the times when the writers went full geek on us and we needed a pause button to discover them all.
1. Friends had a doodle board that showed Chandler and Joey's messages to each other
From season 3 onwards, you probably noticed the Magna Doodle board on Joey and Chandler's door. From then on, it would be frequently used in most episodes, each time with different messages.
Often, the messages would have something to do with the episode (such as Chandler saying how sorry he was for kissing Joey's girlfriend), or would have one of the boys leaving a message about a phone call.
But as the series went on, this was scrapped and replaced with frankly bizarre drawings of everything from motorbikes to the planet Earth. If you want to see them all, we've compiled every single one of them here (we have way too much time on our hands, clearly).
2. The West Wing's goldfish bowl contained references to the episode's theme
In an early episode, Danny Concannon gives CJ a goldfish, thinking she likes them. However, it turns out she meant Goldfish crackers. She keeps it anyway to spare his blushes.
From then on, the political drama kept the fishbowl on CJ's desk, and a running gag was born. The bowl would always contain a prop that in some way depicted one of the themes from the same episode, from Christmas trees to submarines to coffins to ballot boxes. The final episode featured a Warner Bros logo with the catchphrase 'That's all folks!'.
3. Each McBain clip forms an actual movie in The Simpsons
Throughout the cartoon's early run, we'd occasionally be treated to what we assumed were unrelated clips featuring Rainier Wolfcastle's action movie alter-ego McBain.
However, if you actually put all of these clips together, they form a logical, if short, narrative. Sadly, Rainier's attempt at becoming a stand-up comedian doesn't count.
4. There's a silver hare in every episode of Inside No 9
Aside from each episode of this anthology series taking place in something to do with the number '9', there is another object that links all the episodes together, and you've probably never spotted it.
Each episode will include a distinct silver hare in the background at some point – blink and you'll miss it, but it's there.
5. A fish always screams "My leg!" in Spongebob Squarepants
A hilarious running gag in Bikini Bottom is the exclamation of "My leg!" every time some kind of accident occurs. It is assumed to be coming from poor old Fred the fish, after he was seen to be saying it in an early episode.
After hearing "My leg!" in various episodes in the first two seasons, the gag seemed to have stopped for a while. But thankfully it was brought back in season 9, and even the Spongebob movie.
6. A scary bald man appears in every Fringe episode
In sci-fi timey-wimey drama Fringe, The Observer was a mysterious figure who would show up here and there to freak everyone out. Like a scary but dapper Pierluigi Collina.
While some episodes would feature The Observer prominently, it turns out he was always lurking in the background of every episode.
Not only that, but he would actually show up on other Fox broadcasts, from American Idol to live sports. Now that is commitment to Easter egging.
7. Psych always contains a pineapple
Cult detective show Psych went for a similar gag to Fringe, but decided to make it as pointless as possible. Each episode contained a hidden pineapple. For no reason whatsoever.
Sometimes it was an actual pineapple, sometimes it was a picture of one, or a keyring, etc etc. The show even ran a website where you could compete to win a prize for spotting them all. That's a cunning way of making people watch your show, right there.
8. Arrested Development foreshadowed Buster's injury for ages
We'd be here all day if we detailed every single running gag and Easter egg in Arrested Development, but we've chosen one which took a lot of effort, for little reward in the grand scheme of things.
In episode 11 of season 2, Buster Bluth loses his hand after it was bitten off by a loose seal (while trying to escape his mother Lucille), and ends up with a hook for a hand. If you then rewatched the entire season, there were loads of clues about Buster's plight from the start.
Phrases like "off the hook" were used throughout, Buster was seen sitting on a bench in front of words so it spelled "arm off", he uses a claw machine to win a cuddly seal, and many more moments that wouldn't have made sense the first time around.
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