Close Encounters of the Third Kind is a 1977 Academy Award winning film written and directed by Steven Spielberg with music by John Williams. The film tells the story of a family man, who is overcome by a series of strange instances amongst an evolving mystery concerning UFOs.
- "The Square Song" from Sesame Street is featured in a significant scene from the film. A cover of the song plays on a record player which is brought to life in a little boy's room, and plays over the commotion created by all of his other toys which have seemingly been stimulated by extra-terrestrial visitors.
- Sesame Street Episode 1186 opens with Count von Count asking the viewer to count "hellos" with him from the residents on Sesame Street. Before they say hello to the camera, Bob asks Linda if she had yet seen Close Encounters. Linda responds by signing with her hands, a spacecraft descending from the sky, suggesting that she had seen it.
- In a behind-the-scenes featurette on the 40 Years of Sunny Days DVD, director Jon Stone refers to scenes with Othmar the Grouch as "Close Encounters of the Worst Kind."
- The film's title was spoofed as "Clothing Counter's on the Third Floor" in the book, The Great Muppet Caper!: The Making of the Masterpiece.
- Another spoof of the title appeared in a Pigs in Space comic from The Muppet Show Annual 1978: "Pork Encounters of the Worst Kind."
- In a "Miss Piggy's Advice" column from the Winter 1984 issue of Muppet Magazine, Piggy answers a letter from "A Secret Admirer" stating that she recently auditioned for Spielberg's new film "E.T. Goes Back to the Future for a Close Encounter with a Poltergeist".
- In the Summer 1988 issue of Muppet Magazine, the Siskel and Ebert Muppets trade jokes about various film classics: "What's Miss Piggy's favorite movie? Clothes Encounters of the Third Kind."
- A first season Muppet Babies episode references the film's title: "Close Encounters of the Frog Kind."
- The Little Muppet Monsters episode "Space Cowboys" features a song called "Close Encounters of the Herd Kind".
- The October entry in The Miss Piggy Cover Girl Fantasy Calendar features Miss Piggy in a spoof cover of the magazine OMNI. She's wearing a stylized space suit and the caption reads "A Pig In Space, Close Encounters of the Divine Kind." The image was used again for a poster in the waiting queue of Muppet*Vision 3D in Walt Disney World. The image is redubbed "Closet Encounters of the Worst Kind," and carries an additional spoof of the 1979 film Alien with the subtitle: "In space, no one can find their shoes."
- Muppets from Space features a scene in which dozens of people witness Gonzo's declaration of his alien origins on live TV. One follower explains that they were drawn to the Muppet Boarding House and produces a mashed potato sculpture in the shape of Gonzo's head. The concept spoofs a similar phenomenon from Close Encounters of the Third Kind whereupon earthlings were drawn to Devil's Tower by images of the monolith implanted in their brains by the aliens.
- In the "Premiere" episode of Farscape, John Crichton remarks, "Boy, was Spielberg ever wrong. Close encounters my ass!"
- In a scene from Episode 3833 of Sesame Street, Alan prepares mashed potatoes for a kid who has never tried them. Telly, who has spent a good deal of the episode looking for a mysterious letter X, also has some mashed potatoes. He asks for more and more, and absent-mindedly uses them to make a sculpture of the letter "X". At the end of the episode, the X plays the first five notes of the "Sesame Street Theme" referencing the truncated melody used to communicate in the film.
- The Elmo's World episode, "Open and Close," parodied the title when the Open and Close Channel broadcaster Jerry Nelson announced the upcoming film, "Closed Encounters of the Third Kind starring Glenn Close."
- Episode 31 of From the Balcony featured an interview with Woody Allen in which he speaks about what his version of the film would be like. The segment also featured a caricature of one of the film's aliens.
- The Muppet Show Comic Book #1, "Kermit's Story," features a Koozebane sketch titled "Close Encounters of the Worst Kind," in which the Male and Female Koozebanian Creatures are flattened by a landing spaceship.
- In the Muppet Babies episode "This Little Piggy Went to Hollywood," Baby Piggy dreams of being discovered by a famous director in a record store. In walks Steven Weirdbird (played by Baby Gonzo) looking to cast a role in his latest film, "ET's Close Encounter with Indiana Jaws."
- Teri Garr played Veronica Neary