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Max: Is this turning into one of those shows where we sit around and reminisce, thereby recouping eighty percent of the episode cost, via the use of clips and archive footage?

Sam: Yes it is, Max. Now stop talking, stupid, it's costing money.

An episode which consists mainly of fragments (clips) of previous episodes. Usually has a theme: for example, to highlight a character's development over the years, or show the relationship between characters. Sometimes, however, it won't be shown that the events take place in the past, but they are shown as appearing directly one after another.

Clip shows can be used to stretch the budget—they utilize footage already shot, thus needing only narrative glue money for the episode. In that sense, they are similar to a Bottle Episode.

When a clip show is used to sum up a season or storyline, it is a Recap Episode.

Clip shows were more appreciated by viewers in the days before reruns, syndication, and DVDs provided an alternative way for them to revisit the old moments of their shows. There were even theatrical films that served as these (most famously the That's Entertainment! films) in the 1970s. In those days, they were less likely to get today's cynical reaction, "They've just done it to save money." Still, the fact that they do save money means that clip shows will continue to exist for quite a while longer.

When previous clips of a single character's line or action are played out in rapid succession (such as Homer's "D'oh" sequence in So It's Come To This: A Simpsons Clip Show), that's a Fully-Automatic Clip Show.

Compare this to the use of the Magical Security Cam. Also, the Voiceover Clip Show, which is simply a cheap/lazy way of making factual entertainment shows.

Examples of Clip Show include:

Anime & Manga

  • Robotech had an expertly edited dream sequence episode formed mainly of clips, with new dialogue, which flowed into each other in a very accurate rendition of dream logic.
    • They did it twice, actually. Once in the episode that linked the Macross segment to the Robotech Masters segment. Then again in a New Generation episode called "Sandstorm". The first one was particularly notable because it was created entirely from other episode content by the American translation company.
  • Around the middle of Transformers: Energon, there was a mostly clip episode for no particular reason.
  • Ditto for the original series (at least the dub) of Yu-Gi-Oh!
    • Yu-Gi-Oh the Abridged Series took that episode and ran with it. All the lines (except the flashback to the opening credits) were new.
      • That episode was in the original Japanese version as well. There were also two others: episodes 144 and 184. 144 took place in between the Battle City and anime-only Doma arcs that had Tea (Anzu) and Serenity (Shizuka) reminiscing about the events of the Battle City Tournament as well as when Noah took them hostage. Episode 184 ended the Doma storyline, but actually spent most of it having the characters in the arc remember what happened in the past 40 episodes.

 Did I just abridge my own series?

  • Another famous example: Martian Successor Nadesico plays with this trope by using its Show Within a Show Gekiganger 3 as a Framing Device—with the Gekiganger characters watching the episode as their own Show Within a Show (Within A Show... my puzzler hurts). The Gekiganger characters freely hang a lampshade on this trope. And just to completely demolish the Fourth Wall, the second half of the episode reveals that Gekiganger's trademark Forgotten Superweapon, the Gekigan Flare, was inspired by Nadesico. Which has already had its hero come up with a Finishing Move based on Gekiganger. This editor will just lie down now...
  • Pokémon held out for eight years before creating a clip show — a mash of scenes from the current arc's important battles that wasn't even edited to make the music flow. The dub just skipped it, and its two later successors. Currently, a Best Wishes variant is upcoming.
  • The last episode of the first Story Arc of Revolutionary Girl Utena was a clip show narrated by the as-yet-unrevealed Big Bad.
    • And the last episode of the second arc was a joke clip show about a secondary character. And the last episode of the third arc was a clip show interspersed with a narration by the main character revealing that she slept with Akio.
  • Gundam Seed uses this a few times during the show's run. It's used about 10% of the time; 5 episodes out of 50 are clip shows. Gundam Seed Destiny has even more. This was actually due to Troubled Production matters: the late head writer Chiaki Morosawa was an Ill Girl afflicted with a nasty combo of depression and cancer, and could barely turn in several scripts.
  • You're not going to believe this one. Wolf's Rain had FOUR OF THESE IN A ROW. That's right. FOUR. Episodes 15-18. It seems several months passed after episode 14, so it was deemed necessary to recap pretty much the whole thing (or was it the budget?). On the American DVDs, the four episodes filled an entire volume (vol. 4: "recollections"). Well, at least the name is accurate. It retails for $30, and the average rating on amazon is one and a half stars (as opposed to five stars for vol. 3).
  • The Transformers series Car Robots has three clip shows; when it was dubbed into Transformers Robots in Disguise those episodes remained clip shows, but the clips involved were completely different. In at least one case this was probably an attempt to show scenes that hadn't aired because the episode came Too Soon after 9/11.
    • Transformers Victory had no less than six over the course of its run, with another four added for the video release. Since these episodes contributed nothing to the plot, they were omitted from the UK/Australian DVD releases.
  • Trigun's 13th episode, "Vash the Stampede", is a clip show episode wherein Meryl is typing her report on Vash and summarizing all that she has witnessed since following him.
  • One Piece has a particularly aggravating example: right after a dramatic moment in the CP9 arc, preceded by a three-episode flashback, the arc decides to pause again with the heroes falling in mid-air for five Clip Show episodes in a row.
    • To be fair, when originally broadcast, these episodes were aired during the offseason. So they were really more of a fancy way of doing reruns. They didn't soak up any of the season's actual episodes.
  • Original broadcast version of Gurren Lagann replaced the infamously fanservicey episode 6 with one of these. The unedited episode was included on the DVDs.
    • Episode 16 is actually a clip show.
      • Same goes for Gurren-Hen and Lagann-Hen, the two Compilation Movies, though they add new scenes as well.
  • Excel Saga had two of these despite only running for 26 episodes. The first was halfway through the series and was about half and half between old and new content (with the premise of a New Year's gameshow that had clips for some reason), while the second was about five episodes later and recapped the Pedro storyline, consisting almost entirely of recycled content up until the end when the storyline was expanded on a bit.
    • Naturally, since this is Excel Saga, it was parodied: Not all the clips shown play out like they did in the episodes which turns "remember that time" into a form of Unreliable Narrator.
  • Gundam Wing had a two-part clip show coming right after the emergence of Wing Zero. The first one is voiced over by Relena who just straight recaps the plot, and the second is by Trieze who babbles philosophically like always. There is slight plot development though, as you get a glimpse of the final gundam, Epyon. Of course, as any fan can tell you, these episodes only exist because plans to animate vignettes from the Gundam Pilots' childhoods (collectively known as "Episode Zero") fell through.
  • The first half of episode 14 of Neon Genesis Evangelion is one of these, with the SEELE committee narrating the events of the series so far.
    • The first 70 minutes of Death and Rebirth is a clip movie.
    • Rebuild of Evangelion 1.00, 1.01 and 1.11 (three versions of the same movie) are clip movies, as it is a reanimated version of Neon Genesis Evangelion episodes 1-6. The only difference is some scenes are made in 3D-CGI this time around, allowing for a really amazing remake of the battle in episode 6.
      • Rebuild of Evangelion 2.00 and 2.22 are also this more loosely, as it starts going Off The Rails pretty early (Asuka shows up sortieing from the sky, managing to kill an Angel before landing on the water below, Asuka piloting the EVA-03 instead of Toji, Kaworu showing up in the both movies, though he originally didn't show up until episode 24, and EVA-01 causing Near Third Impact in the end of the second movie)
  • Eureka Seven's episode 14 is one of these, with the events narrated in the form of various reports written by two cast members.
  • The first Fist of the North Star anime series had a clip show for its series finale, actually called "A Look Back! The 2000 Year History of Hokuto"... despite only recapping the series' events; the "proper" series finale had been the penultimate episode. Fist of the North Star is rife with these, unfortunately, with each episode after the first having a recap Clip Show, and with several episodes that were nothing but clip shows, including one notorious incident where five episodes in a row were just clip shows. Fully half of the penultimate episode was a recap clip show of the antepenultimate episode. It's one of the reasons the series is basically not watched today.
  • Throughout the two-year filler period that Naruto Part 1 aired, only one episode, 202, was a clip show. It was based on a viewer vote of the best five fight scenes, and ended with cameos of Jiraiya, Orochimaru, and Sasuke.
    • Naruto Shippuden gave us a double-length clip show with episodes 212 and 213. A handful of plot developments were thrown in between the flashbacks, but the two episodes had barely 10 minutes of new footage between them.
  • Code Geass had two Clip Show episodes in the first season, but unlike many such examples, the staff outright admitted that they were Filler episodes intended to buy them some "breathing room" so they could work on more plot-relevant episodes. These two episodes didn't even make it into the American release, becoming Missing Episodes.
  • Chobits managed to have three clip episodes, two of which aired with the original broadcast, and one of which was made for home video. And at least in the North American DVD release, all three were included on the final volume, which also included the "Chibits" short.
  • Kare Kano had a clip show that actually lasted one and 1/2 episodes of it's 26 episode run.
  • Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood had an interesting take on this for episode 27, with a clip show brought on by the framing device of a very strange dream by Hohenheim.
  • Akazukin Chacha had 4.
  • Samurai Champloo had one in episode 13 when Mugen and Jin read Fuu's diary, which sees her personally recapping the events of the past 12 episodes.
  • A notable one happened in episode 89 of Sailor Moon. It featured only voiceovers of the five main senshi discussing the events of the season and pondering the future while clips from the entire series played out.
  • Although Dragonball Z never had an entire clip show, it played with the idea a little. For filler the anime would often have scenes taking place away from the action where characters would reminisce about events from both DBZ and Dragon Ball and could range anywhere from five to ten minutes. For example, late during the Goku/Freeza fight after everyone else gets teleported back to Earth by Porunga there's an episode that devotes a little bit of time to have Piccolo think back on his past with Goku, which then features clips of mainly from the Piccolo storylines from Dragon Ball. Another episode has Muten Roshi explain the history of the Red Ribbon Army to some of the supporting cast hanging out on his island early on during the Artificial Human saga, which in turn features clips from the entire Red Ribbon Army arc from the original Dragon Ball.


Films — Live Action

  • 1974's That's Entertainment! is a collection of highlights from MGM musicals, hosted by performers who had appeared in those films. Released as a Milestone Celebration for MGM's 50th anniversary, it was a surprise box-office hit. There would be two follow-ups: 1976's Part 2 included scenes from musicals and non-musicals, and 1993's Part III included Deleted Scenes and rehearsal/test footage from musicals along with finished scenes. The 1984 Spin-Off That's Dancing! didn't restrict itself to MGM movies. On top of all this, several variations were made well into The Eighties, such as America at the Movies (a tie-in to the U.S. Bicentennial), It's Showtime (animals), It Came from Hollywood (So Bad It's Good) and Terror in the Aisles (thriller and horror films). This was also the inspiration for the Looney Tunes compilation movies described below.
  • 1982's Trail of The Pink Panther is a variation that uses the format to make a movie starring Peter Sellers two years after he had died. The first half of the film uses then-unseen deleted scenes of Sellers as Inspector Clouseau from the series' 5th film (The Pink Panther Strikes Again) with new material filmed with the other actors to change the context and create a new storyline. When Clouseau goes missing at about the halfway mark, a reporter interviews people who knew him, triggering flashbacks to previously-seen clips from all of Sellers' previous PP films. The poor taste of the exercise led to a successful lawsuit by Sellers' widow against the studio and director/writer/producer Blake Edwards.
  • The 1943 musical short Three Cheers for the Girls is based on clips from 1930s Warner Bros. movie musicals, mostly Busby Berkeley Numbers.
  • Gamera Tai Uchū Kaijū Bairasu (which translates to So It's Come To This: A Gamera Clip Show); it's filled with stock footage recounting fights in the previous movies. Hope you really liked those previous films! It's perhaps only bested by 1980's even lazier Uchu Kaijū Gamera ("Another Gamera Clip Show"), which was the last entry in the series until 1995. And best of all? The latter is one of the most beloved in the franchise.
  • One or two entries in the Guinea Pig series of gore films.
  • Some Mondo film series will do this, an example being The Worst of Faces of Death.

Live Action TV

  • Generally of dubious quality, but Andromeda's "Unconquerable Man" proved a deft use of the mechanism, changing the context of every clip.
  • After the death of actor Jack Soo (Det. Yemana), Barney Miller aired a tribute in the form of a clip show, with the actors breaking character and recalling their favorite Yemana scenes.
  • ICarly: iBloop is a clip show of bloopers, which makes it easier to digest than a normal clip show.
  • Happens on the Bear in the Big Blue House episodes "Wish You Were Here", "Need a Little Help Today" and "The Great Bandini".
  • Big Wolf on Campus did this twice. The first time was during the Season Two finale to show the Grim Reaper that Tommy Dawkins was too good to die. The second time was during the Third Season finale in which the ACTORS presented clips of the fans' favorite moments as well as clips of their favorite villains.
  • Charmed also did an innovative clip show in season 5's "Cat House", by having Piper cast a spell before recounting (with her hubby, Leo) many memories to a shrink... which has the side effect of putting Phoebe and Paige into scenes of those memories (although some of the memories have been tweaked to excise Prue... Phoebe sort of hangs a lampshade on how Paige replaced Prue by noting, "You wanted to meet Prue," while they're in a memory featuring her as a wolf).
  • The CSI episode "Lab Rats" served as both a Clip Show and a Recap Episode for the Miniature Killer arc.
  • Dinosaurs did two clip shows, both having the framing device of a modern-day paleontologist making conclusions about dinosaur society that are shown to be completely wrong by the interspersed clips.
  • The episode of Drake and Josh where the title characters go on "Dr. Phyllis"'s talk show.
  • Due South ended its second season with a clip show. Until the show was resurrected that fall, it also served as the series finale, to the annoyance of fans.
  • Friends is the master of the clip show. They have had so many, but they are so good. The first one was in Season 4, episode 21, where Ross's decision whether or not to invite Rachel and her decision whether or not to attend are accompanied by flashbacks of every memorable scene in their relationship over four seasons. There are about a total of four new scenes, period, including the two bookends.
    • "The One With Christmas in Tulsa" in Series 9 played with this: half of the episode was a clip show, but the rest was new footage, and contained a very plot-relevant development. Namely Chandler quitting his job.
  • Ending an entire series with a Clip Show is just asking for trouble. Naturally, people who write sitcoms do it all the time. Full House did it (using Michelle getting amnesia from a fall from a horse as a Framing Device). Growing Pains did it. The Facts of Life did it. Home Improvement did it. Leave It to Beaver did it, pioneering not only many clip shows to come but setting an early precedent for series finales altogether. When Seinfeld did it, there was rioting in the streets even though Seinfeld used the most interesting framing device in years (the gang was put on trial for, well, not being pleasant people). Sometimes, the series finale Clip Show is framed as the reminiscences of the characters as they prepare to move.
    • The reason for the outrage over Seinfeld's clip show finale was that just prior to the finale, NBC aired a 70 minute clip show. So they gave us back to back clip shows. And since it was the most popular syndicated show of all time at that point, it was clips that everyone had seen 50 times already.
    • Each of the four series of SClub ends this way... which is very annoying as they often used clips used in previous series finale clip shows. Though, given that the rest of the series finales revolves around being as depressing as possible, it may not have been such a bad thing. They also did this when Paul left, if I recall correctly.
  • Kenan and Kel had a lampshade-hung clip show, with Kenan explaining how the concept worked: "All you have to do is stare into the distance, and everything gets all blurry."
  • Because of the massive number of storylines running at any given time and the fact that networks have moved away from actually airing reruns for long-running serialized shows, ABC produced a good number of clip-shows for Lost and Desperate Housewives, usually airing them whenever the show's new season starts or after a brief hiatus between new episodes during the season. The purpose for these clip shows are to get returning fans up to speed with the plotlines or in the case of Lost, to clarify plot-points for viewers.
  • MacGyver did at least three: "Friends", "Unfinished Business" and "Hindsight".
  • Mystery Science Theater 3000 has an episode where the host segments were in Clip Show form; it was admitted in the Amazing Colossal Episode Guide that doing the narrative glue took up just as much time and money as making wholly new ones.
  • The Outer Limits Revival has quite a number of clip shows. Of course, being Sci Fi, and seeing as these clips usually involved aliens, Time Travel or a potential end of the world, the framing devices were slightly above average in uniqueness (they even had the near-obligatory Cruel Twist Ending); but they were still clip shows.
  • An unusual example occurs in the third act of the Frasier episode "Daphne Returns"; over the course of the episode, Niles and Daphne have been experiencing difficulties in their relationship, and in an effort to help, Frasier talks Niles through some of the significant moments in their relationship (their first meeting, their first dance, etc) - however, similar to the Charmed example above, both the current Frasier and Niles are inserted into the scenes with their past selves, thus allowing the characters (and audience) to view the scenes in question from different perspectives. Not only are the clips worked into the episode in a logical and interesting fashion, but they only appear towards the end.
    • Crock Tales also subverted the trope, in which new scenes depicting the cast in previous seasons were shot, with the cast recreating their mannerisms, and in some cases, wearing wigs.
  • The "Missing Episode" of Power Rangers Dino Thunder, really a promotional video for the next season (Power Rangers SPD), was composed as a Clip Show with characters being shown images from the future.
    • Other than that exception, Power Rangers tends to play it straight with its seasonal clip shows, generally either as a form of recap or an attempt by the Rangers to piece together several past clues they originally missed to try and figure out what the enemy is really planning.
    • Of particular note is the 500th episode, "Legacy of Power", in which the incumbent team (Dino Thunder) is caught up on the entire history of the Power Rangers in a series of archived videos narrated by Tommy Oliver.
      • Incidentally proving that all the series take place in the same shared universe, which in turn kicked off endless and still ongoing debate about how that was possible, given the blatant contradictions in the series. Nice job, Tommy!
        • At the point that episode aired, the only series there would have been debate about would have been Ninja Storm. Bulk appears in every series until Lost Galaxy. After that, teamups link the current team to the previous, and "Forever Red" cemented that, which is where most of the contradictions occur. The Ninja Storm team did not have a teamup with the Wild Force team due to Disney buying the franchise and moving production to New Zealand.
  • Myth Busters has done at least two clip shows. The "Buster Special" blends several clips of Buster getting trashed with footage of the rebuild; the "Outtakes Special" is just what it says—clips that didn't make it into the show. One could argue that "Myth Busters Revealed" qualifies as well, with clips mixed in to interviews with the team.
    • Myth Busters has several clipshows in its first season(s), which combines several myths with similar themes (explosions, animals, etc.) into one episode, while sacrificing some of the "filler" material from the original segments.
    • As part of Discovery Channel's 25th anniversary celebration, Myth Busters did a two-hour "Top 25 Moments" Clip Show special.
  • Saved by the Bell does this three times. One episode uses a framing device of the gang hanging around the Max reminiscing about various scenes/episodes related to dating and romance. Another has Mr. Belding with a group of students from a class many years in the future, watching a video time capsule made by the "present" group of kids. The last has the gang at Zack's house remembering the wacky hijinks of their summer working at the beach club (the 8-episode summer season).
  • A very unusual variant is the Scrubs episode "My Deja Vu, My Deja Vu", in which, after J.D. comments that at this stage of his career it seems like everything's happened before, much of the rest of the storyline consists of re-recorded scenes from earlier episodes. Scrubs also did a regular clip show in season 6 — really more of a montage show, with sequences of "people dancing", "people falling over", etc. The season six clip show is notable for its lampshade hanging and self-mockery. Fans in aggregate have rated it the series's worst episode.
    • The funny thing is that in the re-recorded scenes of My Deja Vu, My Deja Vu, there are minor differences in the dialogue, such as the Janitor claiming to have been from Yale instead of Harvard. The entire point of the episode is that while things can repeat themselves, it's the little differences that matter.
  • Unsurprisingly for a show made by the creators of The Outer Limits revival mentioned above, Stargate SG-1 has several clipshows, usually in the context of one of SG-1's political enemies trying to convince their superiors to fire SG-1.
    • "Politics" at the end of Season 1 — the Stargate team tries to persuade a politician to keept funding the project
    • "Out of Mind", last episode of Season 2 — the heroes have been captured by the enemy pretending to be friends and asking about past missions.
    • "Disclosure"—the Stargate program is presented to representatives from other countries.
    • "Inauguration"—the new President being briefed about the Stargate program.
    • In Season 8 episode "Citizen Joe", they do a quite delightful clip show that actually has very few clips in it—the eponymous Joe is a regular guy who has picked up an alien device seven years ago that gives him a psychic connection to SG-1's Colonel O'Neill. Most of the episode is Joe recounting the events of various SG-1 episodes to the customers in his barber shop, and eventually trying to sell them as short stories. Joe's friends and wife get to play the role of the SG-1 fan as they make comments and complaints that real-life fans have made. They comment on Jonas Quinn, a temporary replacement for Dr. Daniel Jackson (because the actor playing Jackson took a year off from the show), for example.
    • The second episode of season 5, Threshold, is something of a "fake-out". The setup of the show is that the characters have to stay awake with Teal'c, talking to him. Just when the viewer is certain it's going to be a boring clip-show, it turns out every one of Teal'c's past memories is brand-new footage containing tons of character development.
  • Stargate Atlantis also has a clip show episode, "Letters from Pegasus". The characters record messages to be sent to Earth before they die, and footage from earlier in the season is aired again. It was mainly used to drive in the poignancy of that time in their lives as they were unable to describe all the things that had happened to them because the Stargate program is a secret. One memorable scene is footage of Atlantis rising from the ocean with an added voice-over entirely in Czech from Dr. Zelenka. However, the plot is still continued in-between the recorded messages.
    • They have another clip show in the final season, in which the characters are put on trial by the inhabitants of the Pegasus Galaxy; the clips are flashbacks to the things they're accused of. (See SGA's Moral Dissonance section to find out just how much trouble they were in.) They got off by basically saying "Yeah, well, we're still the only ones who can save your asses from the Wraith."
  • Babylon 5 and Star Trek: Voyager both do what could be considered a "reverse" clip show, where clips feature events that would come to pass later in the series. (In the former case, care is taken to make the clips come to pass exactly as shown. In the latter, thanks to the character's foreknowledge—the clips are events one character lived through as she travelled back in time to the present—the events which came to pass are similar, but not identical.)
  • While not strictly a clip show, Star Trek: Voyager also has an episode where the ship itself became a clip show of sorts, with different parts of it reverting to moments from different points in time.
    • Voyager's clipshow is honestly a hilarious send-up of clip shows. You can recognize the episodes and even guess them, through all the seasons, reusing all the old hairstyles and everything that changed season to season. It was amazing :)
    • Star Trek: Voyager also has the sixth season episode "The Voyager Conspiracy", which see Seven of Nine hypothesising that various unconnected events over the course of the series are linked together into some big conspiracy theory, dating all the way back to the pilot episode. Extensive use of clips of events from several former episodes are used to help illustrate her points. It was TNG's "Shades of Grey" done right.
  • Meanwhile, Star Trek: The Next Generation has one of the most abysmal clip shows ever in its second-season finale, "Shades of Grey" It was almost literally, "Riker's got a fever and the only prescription is A CLIP SHOW!"
    • A common misconception is that this clip show was brought on by the 1988 Writers Strike. Actually the strike affected one or two episodes at the end of TNG's first season and delayed the beginning of the second. The strike ended months before "Shades of Grey" came along at the end of the second season. "Shades," like just about all clip shows, was commissioned to save money because the season had run over budget. (There's no reason why a writers' strike would result in a clip show. Clip shows still need writers to construct the frame sequences and figure out how to integrate the clips. It would be as impossible to do a clip show during a writers' strike as any other kind of episode, unless it consisted entirely of clips without any framing material at all.)
    • Unfortunately the beginning of the episode is actually engaging (the crew is actually exploring for once!), which just makes it all the more frustrating when the clips start to roll.
  • On the other other hand, Star Trek: The Original Series has a (much better) two-part episode, "The Menagerie", which is often named as a clip show, although all of the clips were from the unaired Pilot episode.
  • Stroker and Hoop made an interesting use of this trope during its season one finale (although it didn't get a second season). The heroes were being held in a Death Trap by someone who swore revenge on them. He would only release them if they could identify him. All the clips focused on a minor character who appeared in some (but not all) of the episodes in the series, whom they unwittingly wronged in every episode, either directly or indirectly.
  • Lexx's Clip Show was also a Wham! Episode, with The Reveal and a major character's death.
  • War of the Worlds uses a clip show near the end of its first season, framed as the Blackwood project's presentation to a international conference on alien-fighting. The clip show section only takes up about half of the episode, however, as the aliens besiege the conference in order to prevent the producers from needing to magic up clips to go along with the presentations of the other countries involved.
  • In the early WKRP in Cincinnati episode, "Mama's Review", Mama Carlson comes to review the progress of the radio station and Andy and Arthur Carlson ineffectually try to explain the bizarre disasters that have occured as seen in the clips. Unlike similar shows, this episode also features significant character development of both Mama and Son Carlson as each own up to their mistakes.
  • The X-Files series finale, "The Truth," is a Clip Show. In the episode, the characters recap the series Myth Arc as part of Mulder's trial, and the clips accompany their recaps.
  • Xena: Warrior Princess has several. The most memorable is the bard one, which has Gabrielle at bard school, where she sings the praises of Xena. This clip show also uses footage from the Steve Reeves movie sung by the bard Stallonus (as an actor called Sylverster), and footage from Spartacus sung by the bard Homer, who wins the competition by closing his eyes before singing (thus earning the nickname "the blind bard").
    • Another Gabrielle-based clip show was very well done by going over the current Arc, which has Xena and Gabby's relationship straining, and put a new spin on the events of a pivotal two-parter by exploring Gabrielle's motives. It also uses cut footage to good effect AND serves to close a Plot Hole that had been hanging (namely, how did Gabby get to China before Xena?).
    • There is also a rather unusual example in the fourth season episode "Lifeblood"; the production company had filmed an hour-long pilot for a new series, Amazon High, which never got picked up (among other reasons, it doesn't appear to have been very good). So, instead, they edited a bunch of the footage into a X:WP episode that explained the "origin" of the Amazons through a series of vision quest flashbacks. Ergo: a Clip Show that didn't look like a Clip Show. Clever, yes?
    • The episodes of both Xena and Hercules that are based in the present day are almost always clip shows, but it's understandable why those aren't discussed offen.
  • All in The Family's 100th episode was a "best of" clip show hosted by Henry Fonda.
  • Three's Company has a "best of" clip show hosted by Lucille Ball.
  • The Season 7 Mash episode "Our Finest Hour" has reporter Clete Roberts, previously used in the acclaimed Season 4 episode "The Interview", returning to the 4077th to interview the doctors and nurses for a black-and-white TV documentary. However, whereas the earlier episode featured all-new material and never broke from its concept, "Our Finest Hour" awkwardly inserts a large number of (color) clips from earlier episodes in a manner that destroys any kind of narrative flow in the Roberts segments. All of this goes a long way toward explaining why "Our Finest Hour" is regarded by many M*A*S*H fans as one of the weakest episodes in the show's run, making its title more than a little ironic.
  • In its very first season, Diff'rent Strokes has an episode where Mr. Drummond reminisces with Arnold and Willis while they prepare to celebrate their first Christmas together. That's right: not only did they give us a Clip Show a mere nine episodes into the series' run, they combined it with a Christmas Episode in the bargain! And it was a two-part episode, to boot. In the framing sequence, Mr. Drummond wakes up the kids in the middle of the night to remind them that it's the 8-week anniversary of their arrival.
  • The Pretender, "Mr. Lee": Mr. Lee tries to find Jarod by interviewing people from past episodes.
  • Forever Knight, "Close Call": Schanke starts putting together all the strange things he's noticed about Nick (and comes this close to confirming that Nick is a vampire).
  • The twelfth episode of Legend of the Seeker is a recap of the events of the early episodes, using the frame of Rahl tapping into Richard's mind with a spell and trying to get information out of him.
    • The second season has another one, this time the frame being The Creator putting Richard on trial.
  • Kamen Rider Dragon Knight has a rare and completely ridiculous example of a clip show that flashes back to another clip show.
    • The show actually has three in its run, a bit much for the amount of episodes the show has. What's worse, the final battle and main resolution of the story takes place in the penultimate episodes, with the actual final episode being a clipshow of the whole series, which tied up some of the loose ends in passing. "Kit's dad and Sting? Oh yeah, they got better." No wonder the series was cancelled before either of these got to air...
  • Panel Shows such as Mock the Week, Have I Got News for You and Would I Lie to You? record upwards of 2 hours' footage for every programme, which is then edited down to half an hour. They thus get a lot of mileage out of clip shows showing highlights as well as some Deleted Scenes.
  • The Cosby Show has some clip shows, including one which aired outtakes, bloopers, and deleted scenes.
  • Family Ties had several of these. In one, the family members share stories with Alex's girlfriend Ellen; another has Alex's second girlfriend, Lauren, asking family members to relate past stories while working on a research paper ; still another has the men and women of the family rehashing past incidents while arguing at a restaurant; finally, there's one where everyone reminisces while Andy works on a time capsule he's planning to bury.
    • Spoofed by SNL when Justine Bateman hosted and they did a "Family Ties" skit. The Keatons would reminisce about a previous episode which was another clip show which would flash back to another episode.
      • Which then flash backed into an episode of The Jeffersons which was itself a clip show...
  • The season 6 episode of The Office, "The Banker". Though one of the first known mockumentaries to have a clip show, the episode followed a fairly standard clip show format, having characters recall past moments and grouping clips into accidents and injuries, Jim's pranks, romantic moments, etc. Though at least a third of the episode was new footage, the show got flack for being on hiatus for over a month and coming back to a clip show rather than a new episode.
  • Night Court did a two-part clip show where a city auditor(played by Les Nesman) demanded an explanation for the outrageous expenses filed by the people in Harry's court. Then Judge Harry's office is taken hostage by a clown with a gun played by Mr.Carlson.
  • The Steve Harvey Show did this when Byron came to do a Where Are They Now-esque show featuring Steve. Unfortunately, everyone wanted to talk about themselves. Byron became frustrated that Steve did not have any juicy secrets and when the show aired, all it said was that Steve was a music teacher.
  • In the first season of Dead Like Me they had a clip show episode. But still managed to be interesting because it gave some insight on Daisy for the first time, and tried their best to make the time between the clips interesting to watch.
  • The Eureka episode "You Don't Know Jack", which centers around a memory-recording device that starts erasing people's memories.
  • Malcolm in the Middle actually titled its clips shows Clip Show, Clip Show 2, Clip Show 3, etc.
  • The 3rd Rock from the Sun episode "Seven Deadly Clips", in which the clips were loosely themed around the Seven Deadly Sins. It includes Harry mistakenly identifying "falling down" as a deadly sin so that they could show a bunch of Slapstick clips. Also, a clip of Evil Dick is included at one point, as though it were demonstrating the behavior of the "real" Dick.
  • Home Improvement had two: "Tool Time After Dark", where Tim watches tapes of the Show Within a Show Tool Time, and the second part of the three part finale, where Tim, Brad and Mark reminisce about their life in Detroit while preparing to move.
  • The 3000th and 4000th episodes of Wheel of Fortune were clip shows giving glimpses at the show's history, also including some memorable moments (five words: "A group of pill-pushers"). Sister show Jeopardy! also did this for its 4000th.
  • Hannah Montana's clip show was in the form of an interview, and not subtle at all.
  • The series finale of Boy Meets World, although it had a plot going on at the same time.
  • Young Dracula has the episode "Fangs for the Memories", which is somewhat helpful since the show was cancelled then Un Cancelled, meaning much of the footage was from four years ago.
  • Sons of Guns had one - Sons of Guns: Guns of Glory on Thanksgiving 2011 listed the crew's favorite projects from the previous episodes.
  • The "Science of Disaster" episodes of Air Crash Investigation can be counted as this, as it's usually half a recap of air disasters centering around a theme (ATC, bad weather, pilot errors, etc.) and half an explanation about the theme itself and how to prevent similar disasters in the future.
  • The season ending episodes of seasons three and four of Punky Brewster when it went into first-run syndication were clip shows. "Remember When" (season three) featured clips as the gang dealt with a power outtage during a blizzard. while "Wedding Bells For Brandon" (season four and series finale) used clips from past episodes as a wedding for Punky's dog Brandon and a female golden retriever named Brenda was arranged.
  • Pee-wee's Playhouse marks yet another series that used a clip show as its finale. Miss Yvonne mistakenly thinks that the Pee Wee is selling the Playhouse and thinks back to all the fun everyone's had there in the past.


  • The Kids Praise series had a clip album: Psalty's Singalongathon Maranatha Marathon Hallelujah Jubilee, set up as a TV special where viewers at home could phone in their votes for their favorite songs from the previous albums, which Psalty and the Kids would then perform.
  • In a way, The music equivalent of a clip show is the Greatest Hits Album.


  • In the Hamish & Dougal episode "Trapped!", Hamish and Dougal find themselves trapped on an escalator (yes, it's that kind of show), and Hamish reminisces about the events of the previous episode, because that's what you do when you're trapped somewhere. Dougal doesn't quite get the concept, becoming confused as to which of him is when halfway through a line from the clip, and then remembering a scene from Friends instead.

Web Animation

  • In a Homestar Runner cartoon that never aired on the site (originally seen at the Flash Forward convention), Homestar misinterprets the name of the con as "The Flashback Show". Strong Bad's response: "I love a good cop-out!" He then has "flashbacks" to previous cons in the style of a clip show.

Web Comics

  • Brawl in the Family has done this in the "Turnabout Kirby" plot, where Dedede shows several pictures of Kirby's eating mishaps from past comics (amidst newly created ones)

Web Original

Western Animation

  • Oddly enough, this is Older Than Television; there are old animated theatrical shorts composed mainly of footage from other shorts. 'Tom and Jerry is very guilty of this, having six shorts composed mainly of footage from earlier T&J cartoons. Bugs Bunny also had more than one of these.
    • One of the T&J "clipshows" takes it a bit further: after the usual schtick of having Tom watch older T&J cartoons, it then tries to pass off a scene of Tom working at a drawing board from an earlier short as being part of the actual story.
  • Phineas and Ferb had a "Musical Cliptastic Countdown" composed of clips from their most memorable musical numbers, as voted on by the viewers. There's also "Phineas's Birthday Clip-o-Rama", where the gang makes a clip show for Phineas's birthday. As expected, they take joy in lampshading this trope at every chance they get.
  • In addition to re-using old animation in "new" theatrical shorts and TV specials, the Warner Brothers cartoon set has five movies devoted to this. The first, The Bugs Bunny/Road Runner Movie (1979), is a That's Entertainment!-esque retrospective hosted by Bugs Bunny in new linking segments; the sequels use new animation to link the shorts together into a long storyline. For example, Daffy Duck's Movie: Fantastic Island has a framing device of various characters making wishes in a wishing well.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender's penultimate episode had another variation: the characters attend a play about their adventures, which provides a more-or-less accurate summary of the series so far while somehow managing to get the details comically wrong and accurately poke fun at itself at the same time.
  • Duckman's second season ended with "Clip Joint", a clip show that deconstructed clip shows. The framing story had a disgruntled television critic kidnapping the titular character and trying to convince him that Duckman is the most immoral show of all time. Duckman is unaware that he is a television character, and can't understand where and how the critic acquired all the clips of his past adventures, which he uses to torture Duckman by showing him the worst aspects of his personality. In the end Duckman is rescued, and his sons Charles and Mambo point out that if their life really were a TV program then this occurrence would have been a clip show created as an excuse to spend less money on original production. Duckman scoffs at the idea and asks who could possibly be so cynical to do such a thing. He then stares out at the audience as the credits start to roll, beginning with the names of the series' executive producers.
  • Gargoyles has a truly excellent example: a Clip Show centered around the paranoid rantings of a recurring background character. (See Recurring Extra.)
  • Kappa Mikey decides to go meta for its Clip Show episode... The plot revolves around putting together a Clip Show for the Show Within a Show.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures has a Phlebotinum-induced one, in which Jackie actually has to travel to several points in the past, while trying not to change the outcome of his adventures.
  • Shadow Raiders has a clip show based around Graveheart having a crisis of faith in his leadership abilities. It consisted of each of the main characters going "Did I just hear you want to quit? What about the time you did X?" and a clip would roll. Sadly, one of the series' weaker episodes, though it did resolve this arc for his character, for what that's worth.
  • The Simpsons (like many other sitcoms) has clip shows, only theirs are a little different:
    • "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons' Clip Show" (Season 4): It's April Fools' Day and Bart has had it with Homer's pranks, so Bart shakes a can of beer up so much that it explodes (using a paint shaker at a local hardware store), putting Homer in a coma. While Homer is in a coma, the rest of the family (and Mr. Burns) reminisces about all the wacky adventures The Simpsons has had from Seasons 1 through the first half of 4. Includes a self-referential joke where Bart remembers an "Itchy and Scratchy" cartoon and says, "It was an amusing episode...of our lives."
    • "Another Simpsons Clip Show" (Season 6): After reading The Bridges of Madison County, Marge decides to gather the family in the kitchen so they can discuss their love lives (most of which ended in tragedy [Bart getting his heart broken by Laura from "New Kid on the Block" and Lisa yelling at Ralph in "I Love Lisa"] or near-infidelity [Homer almost sleeping with his coworker Mindy in "The Last Temptation of Homer" and Marge almost driving to Jacques the French bowler's house in "Life in the Fast Lane"]). Notable for having next to no new footage for its framing scenes (the kitchen sequence used for the entire episode was reused from Season 2's "One Fish, Two Fish, Blowfish, Blue Fish") and making a joke about how the cel-animated cartoons of old recycled clips to make new scenes and episodes that would only be seen as new in the eyes of naive viewers (much like Ren and Stimpy).
    • "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular" (Season 7): A take on sitcom retrospective episodes of the 1970s (like the Three's Company example mentioned above). It had Troy McClure hosting a retrospective of The Simpsons, showing viewers the show's early years as animated filler on The Tracy Ullman Show, deleted scenes from popular episodes (all of which are real, according to Word of God, including the infamous "Robotic Richard Simmons" scene from season five's "Burns' Heir"), portraying Matt Groening as a bald, drunken gun nut (instead of a bearded, bespectacled nerd), and, of course, "hard-core nudity!"
    • "All Singing, All Dancing" (Season 9): Starts out as a normal episode (much like "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons' Clip Show") where Homer rents a Western that turns out to be a musical, then complains that musicals suck, prompting the rest of the family to show video clips of the many times The Simpson family (and the people of Springfield) have broken out in song. In response to this, Snake barges in and holds the entire family hostage, but leaves when he realizes how weird it is to hold a singing family at gunpoint. Has a Funny Aneurysm Moment during the credits where gunshots can be heard when Phil Hartman's name appears in the credits (to make matters worse, this was the last episode for which Hartman did voicework shown before he died, although his voice appeared in "Bart the Mother," a leftover season nine episode that aired in season 10).
    • "Gump Roast" (Season 13): Homer is honored at a Friars' Club Roast, when Kang and Kodos invade so they can enslave humanity. Not much to write home about, except for the end song, sung by Dan Castellaneta, parodying Billy Joel's "We Didn't Start the Fire" and the lyric: "We're sorry for the clip show!" Also has a Hilarious in Hindsight moment where the song mentions an episode with a "crazy wedding" involving Patty, Selma, and Grampa getting married to each other. Selma and Grampa would marry each other in season 18's "Rome-Old and Juli-Ech." Patty, on the other hand, would get married in season 16's "There's Something About Marrying," but in that episode she would almost marry a man who looks like a woman and break up with her near-husband/wife because Patty just revealed to Marge that she was a lesbian — despite her and Selma's crush on MacGyver. Also of note that this is the last Clip Show the writers have done, according to the season 13 DVD commentary, as the writers have now taken to doing "trilogy" episodes [episodes with three separate stories for each act], such as "Margical History Tour," "Tales From The Public Domain," "Love: Springfieldian Style," "Simpsons Christmas Stories," "Four Great Women and a Manicure," and "The Fight Before Christmas."
      • In addition to the full episode clip shows, there were some partial clip shows The Simpsons had: in season five's "Bart's Inner Child," Lisa and Bart think back to all the times Marge has nagged them after Marge asks if she nags the family all the time.
      • In season 13's "The Blunder Years," Homer thinks back to the time he jumped over Springfield Gorge (the Crowning Moment of Funny from season two's "Bart the Daredevil"), but Lisa interrupts, stating that everyone is sick of that flashback.
      • In season 19's "Eternal Moonshine of the Simpson Mind," Homer travels through his mind to see what he did to make his family leave him. If you look closely at the background, you can see clips of scenes from the past 18 seasons).
      • In season 20's "How the Test was Won," there was a Fully-Automatic Clip Show of the many times Homer has injured himself.
  • One of the last episodes of Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog, "Hero of the Year", uses this trope as part of a dinner party held in Sonic's honor (with Dr. Robotnik doing a similar one for himself).
  • Spiral Zone did no less than five Clip Shows.
  • The Swat Kats episode "Swat Kats - A Special Report" is a Clip Show disguised as a news report about the heroes.
  • The final episode of The Critic, "I Can't Believe It's a Clip Show", takes place at the filming of a clip show celebrating the 10th anniversary of the Show Within a Show Coming Attractions. As a result, the clips are from that and the various movie parodies featured in the series.
  • The final episode of Beavis and Butthead is a clip-show where all the secondary characters have flashbacks over their encounters with the two main characters from the previous episodes.
  • The final episode of Code Lyoko, "Echoes", is a Clip Show where the main characters are reminiscing of their adventures throughout the series, before shutting off the Supercomputer for good.
  • Monster Buster Club also ended with a Clip Show.
  • Ka Blam never had an official clip show, but the episodes "Won't Stick to Most Dental Work!" (in the begining, when Henry shows all the times June has been pranking/beating him up, and at the end, when June was showing all the good times she and Henry had together) and "Under New Management!" (when Henry's thinking back to the moments that Mr. Foot beat him up) played clips from previous episodes.
    • When Action League NOW became a show, they had a clip show, "And Justice For None", when the Action League is trying to explain why the team shouldn't be terminated.
  • The appropriately named Totally Spies episode "The Elevator", where the spies reminisce about highlights of previous episodes while trapped in a malfunctioning elevator.
  • Biker Mice From Mars had numerous Clip Shows, often with very flimsy excuses.
  • The Series Finale episode "Clip Hangers" of Timon and Pumbaa had Timon and Pumbaa falling off a cliff after trying to catch a grub. Then, clips of their previous adventures show.
  • Transformers Prime has the episode Grill, in which Agent Fowler must make a case to his superiors for Team Prime to stay active on Earth in the wake of MECH's plots to discredit the Autobots with a fake version of Optimus.

Subversions and Parodies

Anime and Manga

  • Subverted in Seitokai Yakuindomo. The final episode starts its second half with what appears to be a regular clip show. Then things start getting strange when characters flash back to events that didn't happen the way they happened. In Mutsumi's case, events that weren't even in the same genre. And it gets Up to Eleven weirder; apparently Tsuda's souvenir actually changed to conform to Shino's warped memory, causing Tsuda to go into a short Heroic BSOD. That the whole thing is topped off with a preview for the show that will be taking their time slot (that also doesn't exist) cements the show taking a sledgehammer to the fourth wall.
  • The second episode of Miami Guns was a Clip Show that reviewed episodes from an imaginary first season.

Live Action TV

  • Subverted with Doctor Who's season 22, the one, or three, depending on who you ask, serials are set out like a clip show but it's all new footage.
  • Community did a clip show in the second season, to draw attention to and/or resolve running character arcs—but being a show that thrives on Affectionate Parody and Breaking the Fourth Wall, the clips weren't from previous episodes, but instead were written and shot just for the episode. As a result, the episode is wall-to-wall Noodle Incidents.
    • There are a couple segments that take place during - but not actually in - two episodes (and weren't deleted scenes or even filmed at the same time as those two episodes either. Some of the set dressing of one of the previous episodes had to be recreated). Additionally, the one thing we did see that is referred to in the episode (Annie's pens being stolen) is not flashed back to. One example is even filmed in the 'stop motion animation' style adopted by an earlier Christmas episode (although this example was done in advance along with the earlier example, it being prohibitively expensive to do otherwise).
  • Stargate SG-1: lampshaded and parodied in episode "200"
  • Subverted in the 30 Rock episode "The Bubble" when Jack mentions that Tracy's contract is up and Liz responds that they sure do have some crazy memories of Tracy. They stand quietly for a moment with Liz remarking "I'm thinking about some of them now", but no clip starts and both characters shake it off and continue with the episode.
  • The April Fools' Day episode of ICarly starts out like a typical clip show episode...but soon turns into absolute madness.

Web Animation

  • Spoofed on Homestar Runner: Strong Bad, when asked about his favorite emails, lists two real examples (e.g. "invisibility" and "gimmicks"), but then starts making ones up (like the time he got drunk on soy sauce and tried to fly Bubs' Concession Stand, or the time Coach Z and Pom Pom got in a knife fight). This caused a lot of confusion when some people thought they were real excerpts, and that they had missed emails.
    • Similarly referenced in "email thunder" when Homestar explains that Strong Bad was in a bunch of his hremails, listing the two real sbemails "caper" and "long pants" before following them up with a fake one where he dressed up like Coach Z.

Web Comics

  • The Insecticomics has a clip webcomic, in which Tarantulas uses a device to show Megatron past and future comic panels. Oddly enough, some of the panels never actually happened and were probably thrown in for the heck of it.
  • In Eight Bit Theater, at one point Black Mage asks "Have I mentioned that I hate Thief?" Which cues a montage of the times Black Mage said that he hates Thief in response to Thief screwing the team over. The last of these is just a scene from Boondock Saints with the faces of the Light Warrior pasted on.
  • Basic Instructions provides a "how to".

Web Original

  • Satirized in The Nostalgia Critic's 100th Episode special, where the Critic appears on-camera to tell the audience that they can watch some lame clips of his past episodes while he goes backstage to smoke a joint... until the characters in the clips call him out on it and insist that he review Battlefield Earth.
    • In the commentary for that episode, Mr. Walker said he planned to do a clip show... but with all the clips not being from any episode. Seems like he wanted to do some personal favorites...

Western Animation

  • Spoofed in the Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy episode "The Good Ol' Ed", which had the Eds collecting things from previous episodes for a time capsule and reminiscing about past misadventures. While events of actual episodes were mentioned, all the "flashbacks" were to events never seen in previous episodes (a fake time machine scam, Edd getting a bad case of the hiccups, and the Eds trying to make the world's biggest pancake). The only real Flash Back was Ed remembering something that happened earlier in the current episode, and that was interrupted by Eddy smacking Ed with a fish and protesting "I hate clip shows!"
  • The second episode of Clerks the Animated Series is a clip show that flashes back to a single scene of the first episode several times and then starts making up clips from episodes that had never happened.
    • As well as showing clips from that episode that happened 5 minutes ago.
    • Made even better by the fact that the series was shown out of production order and as such there are no clips or references to the fourth episode of the series which was actually the first to air.
  • Likewise spoofed in an episode of The Powerpuff Girls: The episode starts out looking like a clip show, but the clips quickly turn into outrageous, bizarre events that never took place. Ultimately it turns out the clip show was a clip, with them at the end saying "Remember when we were remembering things?"
  • Spoofed again in the final episode of the Sam and Max Freelance Police cartoon. While captured by the most memorable villains of the series, Sam and Max reminisce about things that never happened in the show. They continue to do this while escaping.
  • South Park parodies this in "City on the Edge of Forever", where the children recall incidents from past episodes, but their stories increasingly diverge from the original episodes. Eventually the kids starts lampshading the fact that the original stories didn't happen quite like that. Ultimately the episode is explained away as All Just a Dream of Cartman's, which then turns out to be a Dream Within a Dream of Stan's, who notes, "I must have some serious emotional problems!"
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Grim Reaper Gutters" started out as a subversion of a clip show where at least a couple of the flashback turned out to be camera footage secretly compiled by Frylock and Meatwad. Their clip show ends when Meatwad, faced with his depressing and meaningless life, kills himself
  • Duck Dodgers uses a subversion in "Deconstructing Dodgers", where specific episodes and incidents are mentioned, but the actual clips shown are outtakes, unused gags or even one-shot jokes with no setup or context whatsoever.
  • Subverted in Total Drama Action, where they briefly return to Camp Wawanakwa from the first season.

 Chris: If you need to take a moment to reminisce about the great times you had here...

Everyone else: [laugh for a rather long time]

Chris: Fine. We'll skip the good memories montage.

  • There's an episode of Fairly Odd Parents in which Wanda and Timmy show clips to prove what a good godparent, friend, and humor generator Cosmo is—but they're all things that must've happened between episodes.