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"Can we please agree on one form of 3-D? I'm just getting tired of having to get a new pair of glasses every time there's a new 3-D gimmick." -Jorge Garcia
Occasionally, a network will get the brilliant idea to film an episode in 3-D, thus forcing the public to go on a search for the special 3-D glasses that work for this episode alone which are either given out by a store or inserted in a magazine. It's more of a novelty act than anything else. Definitely known for having "cheap 3-D tricks" in which all kinds of weird items (explosions, snakes, guns, anything flying through the air) will shoot out at the viewer. Also a guarantee of Incredibly Bad Writing ensuing as entire plots have to screech to a halt to indulge in the network's gimmickry.
As seen below, the 3-D episodes only take place around either sweeps weeks or event programming like after the Super Bowl.
Disney theme parks do a lot of these, including Captain EO, Honey, I Shrunk the Audience, Muppet* Vision 3D and It's Tough to Be a Bug!. See also ~3-D Movie~.
- Chuck Versus the Third Dimension. (As part of a trailer tie in with the film Monsters vs. Aliens for the previous night's Super Bowl ad for the latter)
- Doctor Who: Dimensions in Time
- 3rd Rock from the Sun: Nightmare on Dick Street (used only for the Dream Sequences), a post-Super Bowl episode.
- Home Improvement once had a 3-D episode of Tool Time, making this a Three Dimensional Episode of both the show and the Show Within a Show.
- This was part of a weeklong 3D promotion ABC did that also included TGIF shows Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Family Matters, and even America's Funniest Home Videos (which was also structured as a Full House reunion show). It did not go well as the writers of each show had to write in the 3-D gags in haphazardly and piecemeal and all of the gags where objects were thrown at the screen were groan-inducing and are now useless when these episodes are rerun.
- The Dust Bunnies episode of Rugrats. It used the Chroma Depth method and required special glasses.
- FOX did this a few times back in the 90's. One week in particular was hosted by Al Bundy.
- Two of The Three Stooges shorts, "Pardon my Backfire" and "Spooks", were shot in 3-D in the 1950's, during the first big 3-D craze.
- The Ka Blam! episode Won't Crack or Peel! was originally broadcast in 3-D (similar to the above Rugrats episode, it used Chroma Depth and needed the glasses, known as Noggle-Vision for the week in 1997, and after that, the episode would be slightly re-done without the 3-D). The episode focused on Henry and June introducing "Ka Blam!-o-Vision", which was supposed to have the audience interact with the show (cute little gags like having a Staring Contest with the duo (which included June plucking out her eyeballs and sticking them to the screen)
- The Drew Carey Show
- Arrested Development grudgingly participated in a network mandated 3-D night. The only 3-D scene was GOB throwing a tomato at the camera that had nothing to do with the plot and was never mentioned again.
- Similar to Noggle-Vision, Cartoon Network did a week of shows in 3-D in 2007.
- Parodied in a sequence in the Futurama episode "Law and Oracle", complete with Shout Outs to Avatar and typical "things in front of camera" gags. It ends with a caption saying "PUT ON 3-D GLASSES ONE MINUTE AGO".