Doom Patrol, season 1, episode 6, "Doom Patrol Patrol," contains an ironic parody of X-Men, with the residents of Doom Manor encountering a school for aspiring superheroes. While the parody is amusing on its own terms, it proves doubly funny to those comic book history buffs who know the rather odd historical connection between the X-Men and the Doom Patrol.
The storyline of Doom Patrol season 1 has focused on the super-powered patients of Dr. Niles "The Chief" Caulder and their search for their abducted doctor after he is kidnapped by the reality-altering Mister Nobody. The last episode ended with Mr. Nobody giving a direction to Crazy Jane, who has 64 personalities, each with their own superpower. His instructions? Find the Doom Patrol.
As Doom Patrol episode 6 opens, Crazy Jane explains this odd command to the rest of the group, with Rita "Elasti-Woman" Farr being the only person who has heard of the Doom Patrol. It is revealed that the Doom Patrol were a minor-league superhero team in the 1950s and that Rita had a brief love affair with one of its members, the telepathic hero Mento. Upon finding a photo of the team standing in front of a mansion, Crazy Jane takes herself, Rita and Larry "Negative Man" Trainor to the same place in the present day, through the courtesy of Jane's teleporting personality, Flit. Upon arrival, they soon discover that the Doom Patrol retired 60 years ago to establish a school for young metahumans in the mansion that served as their base and that Rita's ex is among the teachers.
The scenes which follow are a treat for comic book fans of all stripes, as we see more of the school and meet its teachers, who are comprised of various characters created during Grant Morrison's run on the Doom Patrol comic book. In addition to Mento, the school's staff includes the magnetism-manipulating Lodestone, the fire-and-ice generating Celsius and Dr. Joshua "Tempest" Clay, who acts as the school's headmaster. The X-Men tribute is obvious, even ignoring that the school was reportedly financed by an independently wealthy telepath (i.e. Mento) and that the wheelchair bound Dr. Caulder also had a hand in getting the school started, in twin nods to the character of Professor X.
The irony sets in when one considers that Stan Lee and Jack Kirby's X-Men is thought by some comic book historians to have borrowed a lot from early Doom Patrol comics, which premiered several months earlier. Certainly there is some cosmetic resemblance between the two books, which both starred superheroes who were hated and feared by the world they tried to protect and led by iconoclastic, independently-wealthy scientists, who were confined to a wheelchair. It's also worth noting that the Doom Patrol's chief enemies were the Brotherhood of Evil, whereas the X-Men went on to fight the Brotherhood of Evil... Mutants.
The only thing that truly separated the two teams was that the X-Men had a school setting and was made up entirely of teenagers learning how to master the powers they were born with, whereas the original line-up of the Doom Patrol all developed superpowers as the result of accidents. Both teams would also see their respective leaders, Professor Charles Xavier and Dr. Niles Caulder, have their backgrounds altered significantly by later stories to make them into more sinister and morally ambiguous characters. In addition to being a nice gag for the history buffs, this showcases just how deeply the producers of Doom Patrol have delved in drawing off their source material in fashioning the world of their show.