Cyclic Tv Reference Paradox Finder

Cyclic TV Reference Paradoxes occur when a chain of fictional TV show references form a cycle. Each show’s reality depends on another being fictional, so a cycle of these dependencies is a paradox.


The Simpson's referenceing Rick and Morty, and Rick and Morty referencing The Simpson's

Here, in the Simpsons’ fictional universe, Rick and Morty exists as a TV show (shown by the reference). However, in the Rick and Morty fictional universe, The Simpsons also exists as a TV show. These two references create a cycle where each depends on the other being fictional in their respective universe, which cannot both be true simultaneously – a paradox!

This project finds these paradoxes through looking through subtitles files of popular TV shows. It is divided into two sections:

Reference Gen Scripts

A set of python scripts to get the subtitles, and eventually output a CSV file of all TV show references found to be displayed in a web app.

Script Explanation Downloads subtitles of the top TV shows listed on The Movie DB. Be sure to set the TMDB_API_KEY environment variable to your API key. Indexes all subtitle files downloaded by with Woosh. Searches the index generated by for a keyword. Generates a graph of TV show references from the index generated by (and saves it to disk). Outputs a CSV of all references found in the index above as well a CSV of all TV shows used. Runs a DFS on the graph outputted in to find cycles in references.

Web App

A react web app for visualizing the the graph generated by the Reference Gen Scripts. Run with npm run start to test locally.

Screenshot of the web app showing references to/from the Simpsons

Screenshot of the web app showing a cycle of TV show references


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