The 60 Weirdest Things You Didn’t Know About Your Favorite TV Shows
Use these to impress your next TV date.
Whether you watch it every week or binge it on Netflix, you’ve probably missed the weirdest trivia fact about your favorite show. Maybe someday, a video streaming service will debut a version of VH1’s iconic “Pop-Up Video” for television shows, but until then, this super definitive, end-all list will have to fulfill your desires for bizarre show trivia.
Hit the keys “Command + F” for Macs or “Control + F” for PCs to quickly find your favorite among this collection of shows currently on the air and recent classics.
1. “American Horror Story”
Evan Peters accidentally flashed Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson, while wearing a cock sock, on the first day of shooting “Asylum.”
Peters was wearing a hospital gown and didn’t think his front would be showing until he was bent over in front of the two actresses. Paulson then kissed Peters on the cheek.
2. “American Idol”
Americans cast more votes in the election of Taylor Hicks than the 1984 presidential election of Ronald Reagan.
63 million votes were cast for the Season 5 finale as opposed to the 54.5 million votes that secured Ronald Reagan’s victory. Of course, people can vote multiple times for their favorite on “American Idol,” which isn’t exactly supposed to happen in presidential elections.
The show may have caused a noticeable bump in parents naming their kids “Archer” in 2014.
4. “Arrested Development”
David Cross had to fight Fox to keep Tobias’ mustache as the executive had a no-mustaches policy.
Apparently, Fox executive Gail Berman had a “standing rule for men in comedies: no hats, no mustaches, no fluffy shirts.”
5. “Battlestar Galactica”
Admiral Adama uses a mirror that is sold at IKEA and is called “FRÄCK.”
6. “Bob’s Burgers”
Loren Bouchard pitched the show as “a family of cannibals who runs a restaurant.”
Fox essentially liked everything about the show except for the cannibalism so it was dropped except for a nod in the pilot. Also, Tina was originally going to be the eldest brother, but since Fox thought the brothers were too alike, Bouchard asked the voice-actor, Dan Mintz, to play the role of an eldest sister character instead.
One of the writers, Dean Lopata, first acted as a victim on the show before joining the staff.
8. “Boy Meets World”
Disney wouldn’t let any of the actors take mementos from the set after the show wrapped, but Rider Strong stole the leather jacket.
The leather jacket was later stolen from Strong’s car, while parked in New York City.
9. “Breaking Bad”
AMC would only allow the writers to use one “fuck” per season as long as it was “dipped.”
Although multiple “fucks” are in the script, it seems like AMC would only allow one “fuck” to play sans-bleeping on the air per season. The volume of the “fucks” would still have to be “dipped” lower, according to Vince Gilligan. Thanks to the Internet, here seems to be a roundup of all the ‘fucks’ the show did decide to keep.
10. “Brooklyn Nine-Nine”
The cast partook in real firearms training before filming.
Andy Samberg described the crash course as “stuff like how to holster your firearm, how to draw it, where to put your finger unless you’re intending to fire, where you would and wouldn’t show your gun or badge, what the rules of being undercover are.”
Abed is based off of a real actor named Abed Gheith.
Abed Gheith is an actor and friend of Dan Harmon’s. Gheith even auditioned for the role based on himself, but of course, Danny Pudi ended up getting to play the socially unaware student instead.
12. “CSI: Crime Scene Investigation”
The show fired both George Eads and Jorja Fox and then immediately hired them back in 2004.
The network felt as if Eads and Fox were trying to hold up shooting to negotiate for more money.
13. “Curb Your Enthusiasm”
Footage from an episode cleared a man of murder in real life.
Juan Catalan spent nearly five months in jail before he was released and awarded $320,000 in a police misconduct lawsuit. He was cleared of the murder charge when footage of a Dodgers game taken by the show, proved he was at the game and had an alibi for the crime.
14. “Family Guy”
Seth Green bases Chris’ voice off of the character Buffalo Bill from “The Silence of the Lambs.”
Green thought it’d be funny if the Buffalo Bill character tried to do normal things with his strange voice.
15. “Freaks and Geeks”
Paul Feig and Judd Apatow didn’t think James Franco was attractive and that his mouth was too big for his face for him to be a star.
The full shocking quote: “We thought his mouth was too big for his face and he seemed perfect to be a small-town cool guy who wasn’t as cool as he thought he was. When all the women in our office started talking about how gorgeous he was, me and Feig started laughing because we just didn’t see it.” Actually what.
Matthew Perry was Courtney Cox’s “man slave” on set due to losing a bet.
The bet was over which movie an Anthony Michael Hall line came from — either “Weird Science” or “The Breakfast Club” — and was settled by finding Hall on a neighboring set of “Friends” to set the record straight. After Cox told the story on Jay Leno’s show, she rang a bell and brought Perry over to her as he held a box of tissues. The arrangement apparently lasted for months.
17. “Friday Night Lights”
During the first few seasons’ opening credits, Jesse Plemons’ name is the only one that corresponds to when he’s onscreen.
You can watch the opening credits and see for yourself above.
Writer Ken Keeler developed a real mathematical theorem called the “Futurama theorem” solely to be used in an episode.
19. “Game of Thrones”
The show is filmed in the same factory that made the RMS Titanic.
The factory is in Belfast, Ireland, and you can take a tour of Titanic Studios.
HBO fired Lena Dunham from a different project right before “Girls” was picked up.
In 2011, Lena Dunham almost had a role in the mini-series, “Mildred Pierce,” but ended up getting dismissed from the set after only half a day. The producer, who now produces “Girls,” later told Dunham that her acting had been very bad at the time.
21. “Gossip Girl”
CW felt that Ed Westwick looked like a serial killer and had doubts about him being a romantic lead.
Westwick had originally auditioned for the role of Nate Archibald, but the network apparently thought he was too scary. Luckily, he ended up getting the role of Chuck so he could fulfill his destiny in becoming half of the greatest television couple of all time.
22. “Grey’s Anatomy”
The writers created a gossip novel based on the show that’s considered canon and it’s written in blog posts and text messages.
It’s called “Grey’s Anatomy: Notes from the Nurse’s Station (Overheard at the Emerald City Bar)“ and probably deserved the Pulitzer.
Morena Baccarin and Claire Danes were in the same public school homeroom growing up.
The two went to junior high together and were in the same homeroom for about a year. Apparently they had the same bully.
24. “House of Cards”
The actors who play President Garrett Walker and the Secretary of State are married in real life, which David Fincher didn’t know when casting.
25. “How I Met Your Mother”
Josh Radnor has a severe allergy of dog dander which made filming scenes with Robin’s dogs extremely difficult.
In his own words, Radnor claims, “I haven’t left the house without a packet of Kleenex in my back pocket for as long as I can remember,” due to his allergy to dogs. Eventually they wrote Robin’s dogs out of the show, but not before one scene with a Dalmatian required the paramedics to show up.
26. “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit”
The character of John Munch has been in many other shows including “The Wire,” “30 Rock” and “The X-Files.”
John Munch, played by Richard Belzer, has actually appeared in 12 different projects.
The “Lost” pilot was so expensive that the Chairman of ABC was fired for greenlighting it.
Apparently Disney execs weren’t too happy with Lloyd Braun for greenlighting the $12 million pilot before it even had a script. Even after his firing, Braun’s voice could be heard before episodes: “Previously on ‘Lost.’”
28. “Mad Men”
January Jones and Christina Hendricks both made their acting debuts in a television film called “Sorority.”
Although the movie is pegged to 1999 which would mark the beginning of both actresses’ careers, it’s unclear when exactly this MTV project was filmed and whether it was actually ever released. So be slightly skeptical about how perfectly the fates aligned on this one. Regardless, you can watch it on YouTube.
29. “Modern Family”
Despite the character’s simple-mindedness on the show, the young actor who plays Luke is a real life genius.
Nolan Gould is a member of Mensa and graduated from high school at the age of just thirteen.
30. “Nathan for You”
To keep from laughing, Nathan will act like he’s picking something out of his teeth with a finger and if that doesn’t work he then asks for floss.
Upon her arrival to the show, actress Lauren Holly went against Mark Harmon’s wishes to ignore his birthday and instead held a massive party.
According to a Mark Harmon fan site, Harmon responded to the whole studio set and crew being decked out in party supplies by telling Holly, “Payback’s a bitch.”
32. “New Girl”
Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield texted each other throughout their auditions to make sure they weren’t matching clothes or colors.
Apparently, the audition process was lengthy enough for Johnson and Greenfield to become fast friends and so neither of them wanted to cancel the other out from getting hired.
33. “Orange Is the New Black”
There are multiple theories as to why Red got her nickname, besides the color of her hair.
Kate Mulgrew’s character could be called “Red” because of the hair. Or it might be a reference to the red communists due to the character’s Russian backgrounds. Or the nickname is referencing Morgan Freeman’s character in “The Shawshank Redemption” as he smuggles contraband for the other inmates. Or it’s all three.
34. “Parks and Recreation”
Perd Hapley is actually a real news reporter and also leads a jazz band.
His name is Jay Jackson and you can book his jazz band “for Concerts, festivals, corporate and private parties, weddings, Bar/Bat Mitzvahs and more.” The booking number is 805-660-9191. Jackson also owns a company called Los Angeles Reporter’s Clinic that helps people break into TV news reporting. Here’s a video of his own reporting.
The feminist bookstore is real.
The bookstore is called “In Other Words.” They’re currently looking for volunteers, so check it out.
36. “Saturday Night Live”
When the show first started, another show was called “Saturday Night Live,” hence the iconic opening line being worded, “Live from New York, it’s ‘Saturday Night.’”
The other show was called “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell” and only lasted between 1975 and 1976.
37. “Saved by the Bell”
Mark-Paul Gosselaar dyed his hair blond for the role.
Gosselaar dyed his hair blond for six years while filming the show as his hair became more brunette as he aged. He was blond at 10, but that didn’t last very long.
Actress Katie Lowes was Connie Britton’s babysitter before she landed a role on the pilot.
Britton said, “I was so upset when she got this little pilot. I think it was really pretty selfish on her part, I’ll be honest.” She was joking of course, but she did say she was a tough boss.
Elaine’s father was supposed to be a recurring character, but the cast was so scared of the actor that he was dropped.
The actor, Lawrence Tierney, stole a butcher knife from the set and then when he was confronted about it re-enacted the “Psycho” stabbing in Jerry’s direction while making the classic noises. The character was also based off the novelist Richard Yates, who was the father of a girl Larry David dated.
40. “The Simpsons”
Marge Simpson was originally supposed to have bunny ears underneath her blue hair.
Groening explained that his original plan was for Marge to be secretly a character from one of his previous comics called “Life in Hell” and that she’d be hiding bunny ears under her hair. When he eventually pitched the idea to other writers on the show, it was shot down. The show has ended up referencing the other comic in many other occasions.
41. “The Sopranos”
A 15-year-old Lady GaGa appears in Season 3.
GaGa played a friend of Tony Soprano’s son and smoked a cigarette.
42. “South Park”
Kenny is based off a real kid that Trey Parker went to school with.
Parker has said that he went to school with a kid named Kenny who always wore an orange parka that muffled his voice and was also considered the poorest kid in town. This other Kenny would skip school often, which led to the other students joking that Kenny had died. Of course, even after the real life Kenny “died,” he’d still come back to school as if nothing had happened.
The show used fake “survivor” body doubles in overhead shots since actual cast members are usually surrounded by cameras.
At least for the first couple seasons, executive producer Mark Burnett admitted that aerial shots were recreated with body doubles to make scenes more picturesque. The show would use lookalikes of the survivors. It’s unclear whether the practice continued.
44. “The Amazing Race”
Before founding Toms shoes, Blake Mycoskie competed in the second season and lost by only minutes.
45. “The Bachelor” & “The Bachelorette”
“The Biggest Loser” has produced more successful marriages than “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” combined.
It is not entirely certain if all “The Biggest Loser” marriages have lasted, but if they have, then the show claims at least five successful marriages. “The Bachelor” only has two (with one not resulting from the final rose) and “The Bachelorette” has also only had two so far, although some contestants are still dating. All in all, the shows haven’t been incredibly successful in keeping people together.
46. “The Big Bang Theory”
The show’s science consultant often uses actress Mayim Bialik’s help, as she has a Ph.D. in neuroscience.
David Saltzberg is a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles, along with being the show’s scientific fact-checker and the person who writes equations on the whiteboards. Saltzberg has said that Bialik “has [his] back on the biology.”
47. “The Blacklist”
The numbers “042983” are actually actress Megan Boone’s birthday in real life.
Megan Boone plays Elizabeth Keene on the show. She was born on April 29, 1983.
48. “The Colbert Report”
An astronaut convinced a younger Stephen Colbert to make the “T” silent in his last name.
While flying to Northwestern University as an undergrad, Colbert asked an astronaut whether he should make the “T” silent at the end of his last name — something his father had always wanted to do. In Colbert’s memory, the astronaut replied, “Well, I think you know.” Presumably, the astronaut was not consulted on whether the “T” in “Report” should also be silent.
49. “The Daily Show”
Jon Stewart was the first guest ever on the show, back when Craig Kilborn hosted.
50. “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air”
Will Smith used to memorize everybody’s lines and would mumble them while they were being said in Season 1.
Smith explained it thus: “I would memorize the entire script, then I’d be lipping everybody’s lines while they were talking. When I watch those episodes, it’s disgusting. My performances were horrible.” Apparently he felt uncomfortable about acting with the other stars since they had more experience.
51. “The Good Wife”
Chris Noth said that Julianna Margulies slapping him in the pilot was nothing, because he was slapped so many times on “Sex and the City.”
Although extremely dramatic on the show, Margulies said it was no big deal in real life. Chris Noth played the infamous “Mr. Big” on “Sex and the City” and certainly had a tumultuous relationship with Carrie Bradshaw.
52. “The O.C.”
The set for the Cohen’s pool was only 4-feet deep, so the actors would be on their knees while “swimming.”
Despite the set pool being shallow, in real life there was a normally sized infinity pool in Malibu that the show used as a model that can presumably be swam in. Unfortunately, that pool doesn’t actually have the iconic pool house that Ryan slept in though, so the nostalgia levels won’t be too high while you’re swimming laps. Although a separate location from the pool, the Cohen house is also a real place.
53. “The Office”
Apparently, the computers in the office had real Internet connections, so when in the background, cast members would be surfing the web.
Many of the actors supposedly admitted at the end of the series that they could actually use the Internet while fake working at Dunder-Mifflin for shots.
54. “The Walking Dead”
The cast holds special “death dinners” for the actors and actresses who get killed off the show.
For the first couple seasons, the cast could easily hold these special dinners for cast members who’d been killed off without leaking spoilers. Now that fans are savvy about the special event, the surviving actors and actresses have to go through more elaborate lengths to disguise the dinner as just normal hanging out.
55. “The West Wing”
Aaron Sorkin didn’t intend for the president to be a recurring part of the show.
The show was supposed to follow just the senior staff, but Sorkin decided it’d be too “hokey” if you just saw the president leaving scenes constantly. He also didn’t even mean to pitch the show and just did it off the top of his head when he was surprised by a pitch meeting he thought was just lunch.
56. “The Wire”
The original orange couch was pulled from a dumpster, but when the show was picked up, $5,000 was spent to replicate it as someone accidentally threw it out again.
How do you recreate a “perfect” dumpster couch from the Marble Hill area of Baltimore, Maryland? Location scout and production designer Vincent Peranio describes it like this: “We had to make that couch. Make the frame, send away to Scalamandre in London for the fabric because they were the only place that had crushed orange velvet. It was not popular at the time we were shooting the show. Then we had to age it, split it, pull the stuffing out. It ended up being a $5,000 couch. But we made it as close as possible to the other couch. I don’t think anybody knew. We didn’t even tell the producers.”
57. “True Blood”
Sam Trammell prepared for his shirtless scenes by embracing hangriness.
Perhaps not the best advice, but Trammel, who played Sam Merlotte, said in a Reddit AMA that there’s “tons of work to do when you have to be naked [on screen] and a lot of being ‘hangry’ — so hungry, you’re angry.” He said in preparation, he really cuts down his calories before such a scene.
58. “Twin Peaks”
The population written on the welcome sign is considered an official typo and not the true population of Twin Peaks.
As the legend goes, the town was originally supposed to have a population of 5,120 versus 51,201, but ABC required the show to add the zero as they didn’t think Americans would watch a show about such a small town. In the canon supplementary visitor’s guide to the town, it is said that the sign simply has a typo.
59. “Veronica Mars”
Rob Thomas named characters on the show after people from the Austin, Texas, music scene.
Thomas went to school in Austin and spent much of his early adult life in Texas and so he dropped references to the music scene in his writing. A complete list of references can be found at Texas Monthly, including a reference to the writer of that article.
60. “30 Rock”
Donald Glover was still a resident assistant at New York University when he started writing for the show.
Donald Glover told New York Magazine that he “literally had [his] RA pager go off the first day of work.” He ended up graduating from NYU in 2006. Also, Glover wrote the fan-favorite song, “Werewolf Bar-Mitzvah.”