Archived Discussion

This is discussion archived from a time before the current discussion method was installed.

Bluetooth The Pirate: The Family Guy example isn't itself a Snapback. The following season, he moves on to a new job as a deep-sea fisherman. The status quo is not resumed.

Red Shoe: I don't think that's the same incident. When Peter becomes a deep sea fisherman, doesn't he have to lose his job again at the beginning of the episode?

BT The P: Nope. It's the season break, two to three I think. The toy factory is gone for good, and by the start of the next season, Peter's fat enough to be mistaken for the planet Mercury. Lois begs him to go get a new job in the opening scene. They seem to have done it again this season, with Peter's boat gone, and him getting a new job at the brewery.
moved out of main entry

  • Full House (one of the kids is allowed to keep a horse by the end of one episode, but it's not there subsequently)
[Note: This is not an example, as a careful viewer would know that the child was not allowed to keep a horse, but that the dad's co-host bought the horse instead. It is mentioned that they have been riding together several times after this.)

Ungvichian: Then would that make the horse something like He Who Must Not Be Seen?
Drop Dead Gorgias: I don't quite see what the difference between Reset Button and Snapback is. In either case, the slight distinction made means that I think that several entries from Reset Button should be on Snapback and vice versa. Can we merge them?

Red Shoe: I think the concepts are very different. A Snapback is "the authors just ignore/forget the consequences of this episode", where as a Reset Button is a kind of Deus ex Machina to preserve the premise. The key thing about the difference is that a Reset Button has an explanation: we explicitly undo the effects of the episode. A Reset Button is a specific thing with a positive existence, whereas a Snapback is defined by the absence of consequences. Snapbacks happen all the time in shows without any serious continuity (sitcoms, etc.). Reset Buttons are the resort of the scoundrels who write shows where Failure Is the Only Option (every example of a Reset Button I can think of is from Star Trek: Voyager). One speaks to authorial laziness/inattention; the other is a deliberate attempt by the author to cheat the audience of any real growth or progress.

Drop Dead Gorgias: OK, so the Aqua Teen Hunger Force entry on Reset Button should be moved to Snapback?

Red Shoe: I was, in fact, just trying to decide whether or not it was worth moving that very entry.

Drop Dead Gorgias: It also seems like The Simpsons entry on Snapback is actually a Reset Button, and the Star Trek: The Next Generation entry (and possibly TOS one as well) is a Retcon.

Red Shoe: Okay. I'm confused. The TNG entry that was moved sounds like a Snapback (Everyone just conveniently forgets the speed limit even exists), also, the reference to Retcon in Dis Continuity sounds like snapback too. (However, the TNG example does become a Retcon if you mention the notion in Voyager (I forget whether they said this on-screen. It was in some of the press releases) that the pivoting warp engines were part of new technology to render the speed limit obsolete).

Drop Dead Gorgias: My understanding, from the initial descriptions and examples given is that:
  • A Retcon is when the creators or writers of a show official redact a previously declared premise given in previous show canon.
  • Dis Continuity is when a fan redacts a premise stated by a given show and ignores it in all future plotlines.
  • Reset Button is usually an episode-specific trope in which events that occurred in that episode are reverted to the way they were before.
  • Snapback is a series trope used in many animated shows to ensure that major premises of the basic show do not change themselves, almost like an automatic Reset Button pushed at the end of every show, or any show in which the Reset Button is pushed off-camera.
Whew. Are these four definitions about right to everyone else?

Red Shoe: I think you're right on on the first two, but the last two are a little less clear. I'll take a swing at it:
  • Reset Button is an episode-specific device used to cancel the effects of events of an episode
  • Snapback is an episode-specific trope (though a continuityless series may employ it in every episode) where the events of an episode are simply ignored.

I suspect the bar to understanding here is that the Reset Button and Snapback are both subtropes of some greater trope which is, AFAIK, unidentified (Though Failure Is the Only Option comes close). Let's call it "Status Quo Is God", and say that it's any instance when the effects of a particular episode would be inconvenient for the future continuity of the series, and therefore must be neutralized. The Reset Button is a device which neutralizes such effects (it may be worth splitting subtypes which undo the events from those which simply neutralize them: "time goes backwards and the episode unhappens" vs "the Deus Ex Machina solves exactly the problems from this episode, then breaks, stopping us from using it to instantly solve future problems"). There may be other devices (Something related to the Post-Script Season, say, where you just let the events stand, but introduce an entirely new arc to keep the show going). If no device is employed, you have a Snapback: we just go on as if the events never happened. (As a result, you can't, generally, point to a single episode and say "That's a snapback!": it only becomes a snapback when the next episode happens, and ignores the previous events. You can, however, identify Lampshade Hanging about a Snapback ("Let us never speak of this again.")).
Looney Toons: Snipped this because — sorry, Birkett — it's more of a Reset Button than a Snap Back.

  • Southpark: Just about every episode involves Kenny dying in some horific way.

Ununnilium: Sure it's a Snap Back. Kenny dies, and shows up just fine in the next episode with no explaination. `.`

Dark Sasami: Yeah, 110 is right. The Reset Button is a plot device. Snap Back is a lack of plot device. Negative Continuity is having way too much fun with Snap Back.

Looney Toons: <shrug> Okay. Putting it back.
Octal: About this line in the Invader Zim example: "However, in that specific case, another episode references Dib may have helping them get out of that situation." What was that meant to be? "...references Dib may have helped them get out...", "...references Dib may have had help getting them out...", or "...references help Dib may have had getting them out..."? Or something else? What did the reference imply? I don't remember it.
triassicranger: Putting this here because it's not an example:

  • Done incredibly badly in Sabrina the Teenage Witch: One episode involved everybody going back in time to the 1960s, and Salem being required to break the spell; however, at the end of the episode, he escaped the house and was seen hitching a ride to somewhere. This episode seemed like an obvious cliffhanger, yet at the start of the next episode, everything was right back to normal without even a Lampshade Hanging.
    • What actually happened was that Salem went on to intrude into the other tv shows (warping them into different time zones as he went) that night on the network Sabrina was airing on and she didn't catch up with him until Teen Angel. This of course would leave people who don't get those other shows in their countries, or on the same channel, in the position of "What was that all about?" This troper did hear there was an alternate ending though, in which Salem relieved himself of the time ball offscreen.