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One of Veep’s recent episodes saw Selina Meyer appearing on “The Tonight Show” again with Adam Scott as the late-night TV host. The full, five-minute Tonight Show segment was then hidden by HBO as an Easter egg in the official (spoof) Meyer Fund for Adult Literacy, AIDS, the Advancement of Global Democracy, Military Family Assistance and Childhood Obesity. Veep isn’t the only TV series that loves to hide Easter eggs – hidden secrets and intentional jokes – for their fans, though.

It doesn’t really matter whether it’s a TV show, a video game, or a film, fans love trying to find all the little secrets buried in entertainment, hoping that they’ll find a special something the creators left behind. Of course, logging every Easter egg in entertainment would be nearly impossible since there can be dozens of secrets hidden in a single video game or season of a TV show. So, I’ve taken a look at some of the best Easter eggs in TV series instead: whether it’s an extremely well-hidden secret, a nod to other projects or additional content, here are some of the best TV secrets out there.

A very popular version of an Easter egg is a phone number. Since film and TV producers don’t want to provide a real person’s actual phone number, they would normally use a fake number that starts with “555”. However, The Wire was nothing if not dedicated to creating a sense of realism, and the writers of the show knew that using the ol’ 555 trick would immediately take viewers out of the scene. In a scene of the Season 3, episode entitled “Back Burners”, where Marlo Stanfield gives out his personal number, they used a real Baltimore-area line.

But in order to make sure fans of the show didn’t keep calling the phone number and bugging a real person, an employee at the Baltimore-Washington Telephone Company (who happened to be a big fan of The Wire) redirected callers to the then-inactive number to a recording of Marlo speechifying about the importance of his name. The Gilmore Girls producers did something similar, where if you called the number that Luke left on Lorelai’s answering machine, you got a recorded spiel from Scott Patterson, who plays Luke.

Sometimes producers also use Easter eggs to hint on something that will happen in the future. In season 6 of How I Met Your Mother, for example, Marshall’s dad dies and the episode counts down to his death with actual numbers. It starts with the number 50 on a brochure, which switches to 49 in the next scene, then there’s a 48 on a bottle. The countdown continues on magazine covers, newspapers, and so on, until the final number 001 appears on a taxi. Then there’s a parking meter that says: “expired”.

Another often-used version of an Easter egg is a nod to another show. Monty Python quotes have permeated much of Western society, and now it looks like they’ve also invaded Eastern society – more specifically the Eastern continent in Game of Thrones.

GoT linguist David Peterson revealed that the references appear in a scene of Season 4 Episode 3 where Daario Naharis faces off with the champion of Meereen and the latter shouts at Daenerys Targaryen in some foreign tongue. Although she asks what the invective means, she does not get an accurate translation. “He’s actually saying a Low Valyrian translation of the French guy’s insults from Monty Python and the Holy Grail,” Peterson told Making Game of Thrones. Series co-creator D.B. Weiss allegedly came up with the idea.

Wanna go on a GoT Easter egg hunt now? Season 7 will premiere on Sunday, July 16 on HBO in the US and on Monday, July 17 on Sky Atlantic in the UK. See you there!

Top photo © NiseriN/GettyImages


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About Author

Sandra Lehner

Sandra Lehner is Head of Content at ad agency TBWA Zurich. She is a frequent contributor to MIPBlog, and speaks regularly at MIPTV & MIPCOM.

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