For those who aren't sure, a "celebrity paradox" is when a show/film references or acknowledges an actor or celebrity, and then later in the story, that actor or celebrity plays a FICTIONAL character.
Honestly, this phenomenon is so fun and can get kinda complicated the more you get into it. So, allow me elaborate on some examples of the celebrity paradox in our favourite TV shows and movies...
1.In CBS sitcom Mom, Christy (played by Anna Faris) says she's finally gotten around to watching Friends. Anna, of course, guest-starred in Season 10 of Friends as Erica – the woman who carries Monica and Chandler's baby!
2.While we're on the character of Erica, you might've noticed that Parks and Recreation actor Jim O'Heir appears alongside Anna as an Adoption Agency Worker in series 10 of Friends. Well, considering Leslie Knope is such a fan of the show, wouldn't she have recognised "Jerry" when watching the final season?
3.Sticking with Parks and Rec – and for the same very reason as the above example – wouldn't Leslie also recognise Bobby Newport, played by Friends alumnus Paul Rudd AKA Mike?
LET'S DO MORE!!
4.There are loads of examples in Friends. Like, do you remember in season three, when Chandler creates his freebie list and he includes Jessica Rabbit? Well, later on in season seven, Chandler's father is played by none other than Kathleen Turner – the actual voice of Jessica Rabbit!
5.Meanwhile, Ross includes Winona Ryder and Susan Sarandon on his list, and Chandler mentions thinking of Elle Macpherson during sex in another episode, but no one bats an eyelid when Winona, Susan, and Elle all turn up in subsequent seasons of Friends NOT playing themselves.
6.In Schitt's Creek, Roland namechecks Geena Davis who co-starred with Catherine O'Hara (who plays Moira Rose) in the 1988 horror comedy, Beetlejuice. Maybe Roland conveniently missed that movie when it came out?
7.In the 2009 film Zombieland, Bill Murray appears as himself, but he doesn't seem to recognise Woody Harrelson, who he starred with in the 1996 film, Kingpin.
8.In Glee, there are numerous covers of songs by famous singers who went on to appear as characters on the show, including Demi Lovato, Gloria Estefan, and Max George from The Wanted.
This is fun! I'll continue.
9.In Broad City, Ilana tells Abbi that she'd like RuPaul's song "Supermodel" to be played on repeat at her funeral. I don't know how big of a fan that makes Ilana, but she sure as hell doesn't seem to recognise RuPaul when he turns up two seasons later playing the character of Marcel!
10.Also, in season three of Broad City, Abbi, Ilana, and Lincoln discuss which Sex And The City characters they relate to most. Despite her apparent affinity with the show, Ilana doesn't seem fazed later on when she meets a woman who looks A LOT like Cynthia Nixon AKA Miranda.
11.In the noughties Britcom My Family, starring Zoë Wanamaker, two characters fight over a card out of a cereal box that has Madame Hooch from Harry Potter on it. Zoë, of course, plays Madame Hooch in the Harry Potter films.
12.In Gilmore Girls, Lorelai and Rory reference the iconic '80s movie Dirty Dancing a few times, but don't they notice the startling resemblance between Baby's mother and Lorelai's?
13.Hiro Nakamura of Heroes is an avid Star Trek fan, yet his father in the series is played none other than the original Mr Sulu, George Takei!
14.In New Girl, Jess tells Nick that she wants to listen to Taylor Swift alone after a breakup. Taylor is actually mentioned several times in the show, but also appears as "Elaine" in the New Girl season two finale.
15.In Schmigadoon! season two, Cecily Strong as Melissa tells Keegan-Michael Key's character Josh that's she seen every series of Rupaul's Drag Race. That must mean, then, that she's seen the episode of Drag Race where Cecily herself guest stars.
16.In The Fast and the Furious, Paul Walker goes to a house party where Vin Diesel is playing "I got hoes" by Ludacris. Then, in 2 Fast 2 Furious, Ludacris shows up as race host Tej Parker! So is the song not by Ludacris, orrrr?
17.Also, given that Game Of Thrones gets name-checked in Hobbs & Shaw, why does Hobbs not question why the hacker he hires looks exactly like Missandei?
18.In Veronica Mars, Keith jokes that Veronica gets nightmares when she watches Paris Hilton in movies, but has she never put together that there was a girl at school who was PLAYED by Paris Hilton!?
19.Brooklyn Nine-Nine acknowledges the existence of the hit musical Hamilton – created by Lin-Manuel Miranda – in an episode from season four. Then, in season six, Lin-Manuel appears as Amy Santiago's brother, David Santiago.
20.Remember when Hugh Grant makes that speech about Britain and mentions Harry Potter in Love Actually? Well, who the hell plays Severus Snape, Sybill Trelawney, and Rufus Scrimgeour in the films if not Alan Rickman, Emma Thompson, and Bill Nighy, who also appear in Love Actually?!
21.In an episode of Community, Abed asks Annie how good his Don Draper impression is. Annie, of course, is played by Alison Brie who also stars in Mad Men as Trudy Campbell. Outrageous!
22.In the British film About A Boy, the main character Marcus wishes in his opening monologue that he could be like "that movie kid, Haley Joel Osment". If he's referring to Haley in The Sixth Sense, why has he never noticed that Haley's mother, Toni Collette, is also his own mother!?
23.And finally, the MCU references several movies including The Big Lebowski, Hot Tub Time Machine, and Stars Wars, which all implicate actors Jeff Bridges, Sebastian Stan, Samuel L. Jackson, and Natalie Portman as fellow Marvel characters!
Let me say this for the back row – I KNOW SOME OF THESE ARE ON PURPOSE, but they're still pretty addictive to think up! Can you think of any awesome celebrity paradoxes? Share yours in the comments below.