Beating Him To The Punch Line (Sorry): TV Show References To Chris Brown

If we just ignore Chris Brown, do you think he’ll go away? No? Me either. Truth is, we’re not very good at just ignoring him. He’s an easy target for jokes because he’s such an extreme guy. He beat his famous girlfriend, has a face tattooed on his face, gets in fights at nightclubs… you know the story. Yet Chris Brown references continue to appear in pop culture and many of our favorite shows, from network primetime to cable. But… why? Don’t we just want him to go away?

Chris Brown jokes are, admittedly, easy. They practically write themselves. I’ve gathered examples of some of the (best?) C.B. references in our favorite TV shows. Some of them even make me laugh. Who’s the bad person: me for laughing? The writer for writing it? The network for airing it? How about Chris Brown for starting it? While all of the jokes listed below are intended to be funny, I’m assuming they also intend to shed light on the facts: Chris Brown is bad news, and women should never, ever be treated the way he treated Rihanna. Ever. Period.

Do these Chris Brown references educate TV viewers on the wrongs of domestic abuse? Or are we just glorifying him? Either way, it looks like the jokes are here to stay.

30 Rock

Short and sweet, like the best jokes on 30 Rock. Basically, Liz doesn’t agree that we should be okay with Chris Brown stepping back into the spotlight. We ban him from award shows for a few years, and now suddenly all is forgiven? Not so fast. Liz Lemon could make a flu shot funny. Oh wait, she already has.

2 Broke Girls

“Maybe you two are like Chris Brown and Rihanna, minus the punching and the duet.” –Max Black
“Oh my God, we are Rihanna and Chris Brown. But I’m Chris Brown!” –Caroline Channing
“Speaking of Chris Brown, I’m gonna start to batter [the cupcakes].” –Max Black

That moment when you realize you were the alpha in the relationship. Although it’s hard to compare Caroline to Chris Brown, because she only “hurt” Andy emotionally. Plus, she’s much prettier. Either way, everyone’s favorite broke girls use the famous ruined relationship as a metaphor for Caroline’s ruined relationship, pointing out Chris Brown’s abuse of Rihanna.


I have a fair amount to say about this one because this episode just aired. In Glee’s ‘Guilty Pleasures’ episode, Jake wants to sing a Chris Brown song. The girls are like, “Oh HAYLL no.” To be fair, he makes some decent points: “The assignment was guilty pleasures. I like his music, and I feel guilty about it. … I think that we should be able to separate art from the artist.” In the end, Jake makes a lateral move and chooses a Bobby Brown song (facepalm), but they chalk that up to him not being the brightest bulb in the glee club, and educate him on domestic abuse. (Should he have still sung the Bobby Brown song? Question for another day.) All in all, the characters let it all out and really don’t really hold back on Chris Brown. It’s a great episode that addresses the incident.

Parks and Recreation

“On a scale of 1 to Chris Brown, how pissed is he?” –Tom Haverford

Leave it to Tom Haverford to say what everyone is thinking. He could have just said “On a scale of 1 to 10”, because we all know what he meant by 10: hot-headed, blow-smoke-through-your-ears, I-could-just-smack-the-crap-out-of-someone mad. But I think Tom summed it up pretty well.

Family Guy

“We are gonna beat you so bad, you’ll think you gave Chris Brown an STD.” –Peter Griffin, betting his family can climb a mountain faster than another family

Pretty much what you’d expect from Family Guy. I know I said these TV shows were probably aiming for some social justice with their references, but Seth MacFarlane & Co. were probably just going for the joke here. Still, it makes Chris Brown look like a tool, so it’s not a total loss.

Law & Order:

Fake Rihanna and Fake Chris Brown share a kiss.

This one’s a more subtle Chris Brown reference, I guess. The episode, ‘Funny Valentine’, depicts an R&B singer with a rapper boyfriend, Caleb Bryant (check the initials). Caleb abuses her and immediately apologies, but not before her battered photos land on the front page of the New York Post. He apologies, goes to court and gets a tattoo to commemorate the saga. Any of this sound familiar yet? Except in the SVU version, Fake Rihanna dies. Because Fake Chris Brown kills her. Because he’s a monster.

Saturday Night Live

“You know you’ve made a bad decision when having a neck tattoo is the second worst thing than having a neck tattoo.” –Seth Meyers on Brown’s neck tattoo that resembles a battered woman

Why does everything sound better when Seth Meyers says it?

The Office

Ah, the ‘Niagara’ episode. This one doesn’t specifically call out Brown for being a bad guy, but Pam does say she put ‘Forever’ on her wedding do not play list, so I’m going to assume it’s because she thinks Brown is a bad guy.

Extra Credit: The Oscars

“This is the story of a man fighting to get back his woman, who’s been subjected to unthinkable violence. Or as Chris Brown and Rihanna call it, a date movie.” –Seth MacFarlane on Django Unchained

Just MacFarlane being MacFarlane. More shock value than awareness, but reminds us that C.B. is a moron.

A future generation may look back at old episodes of these shows and go “Huh? Chris Brown?” and the joke will pass over their heads with the same confusion I often feel during fast-paced Gilmore Girls exchanges. But, I guess only time will tell. Can you think of any other references? (Do you even want to? It’s okay if you don’t.)

Featured image via ShutterStock from Helga Esteb, images via Pop Judgment and Videogum

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