Created By: HugoLuman on June 29, 2012 Last Edited By: Pichu-kun on November 25, 2014

Dead Bird Episode

An episode of a kid\'s show that teaches about Death

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Trope
A kind of Very Special Episode. When an educational/young kids' show has an episode about dealing with Death. Seems to commonly feature the child protagonist finding a dead bird and then asking his/her parents about it, but that is not necessary to qualify as an example. Dead birds are just often used because they are fairly common in real life and thus easily found by children.


Live Action TV

Newspaper Comics
  • Calvin and Hobbes had two of these. One of them, and the one that went fully into sad mode, involved a dying raccoon that Calvin tries (and fails) to save; and the other was a Sunday strip that literally involved a dead bird.
  • For Better or for Worse dealt with the death of the family dog.

Western Animation
Community Feedback Replies: 22
  • June 30, 2012
    HugoLuman
    Must admit that I suck at wikicode. If anyone else can think of examples, do not hesitate to provide.
  • June 30, 2012
    sgamer82
    Would probably either fall under Death Is A Sad Thing or Death By Newbery Medal
  • June 30, 2012
    HugoLuman
    Death Is A Sad Thing, maybe. I believe it is distinct, though; specifically a sub-trope of Very Special Episode. I think that either this could be a page or Death Is A Sad Thing could be expanded. Don't want to do that thing where a trope gets misapplied and loses its meaning, and am unclear on whether Death Is A Sad Thing is specifically a VSE, so that is why I think its separate.
  • June 30, 2012
    TwoGunAngel
    Calvin And Hobbes had two of these. One of them, and the one that went fully into sad mode, involved a dying raccoon that Calvin tries (and fails) to save; and the other was a Sunday strip that literally involved a dead bird.
  • June 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
  • June 30, 2012
    CaveCat
    • The Arthur episode "Good-Bye, Spanky" involved D.W. coping with the death of her pet parakeet Spanky. Fortunately, she gets a replacement pet in the form of a toad named Toadie.
  • June 30, 2012
    randomsurfer
    • An episode of Diffrent Strokes involved the death of Arnold's black goldfish, Abraham.
    • The Cosby Show: Rudy's goldfish died. She insisted on having a burial "at sea." (Which is to say, they had a small ceremony and flushed it down the toilet.)
  • June 30, 2012
    RJSavoy
    We need to make clear the scope of the article: does it require a young or otherwise naive character to find a dead animal? I can imagine this being used to talk about death, to foreshadow a character death, or to give a focal point to a tragedy going on around.
  • June 30, 2012
    FlintlockWolfman
    A Full House episode had Michelle win a goldfish and accidentally kill it in a bubble bath.
  • June 30, 2012
    HugoLuman
    ^^ Sort of. It requires a young and/or naive character to come across the issue of death in some way. They don't necessarily find a dead animal, but that is usually how they encounter the idea of death for the first time. In uncommon cases, it is the death of a family member or friend. Always comes in the format of a Very Special Episode, where the lesson is about death. The examples so far all qualify.
  • June 30, 2012
    SneakySquirrel
    • In the Rugrats episode, I Remember Melville, Chuckie has to deal with the death of his titular pet bug.
    • Alvin And The Chipmunks have to deal with the death of Cookie Chomper III, their pet kitten, who gets hit by a car.

    I'm not sure if this one would count, but there was an episode of Care Bears where Hugs and Tugs wake up a sleeping giant and become friends with him, but he accidentally gets put back to sleep for a very long time. This is used as a substitute for death, and pretty much has the same Aesop.
  • July 2, 2012
    robinjohnson
    The "Mog the Forgetful Cat" books for very young children end with "Goodbye Mog", in which Mog snuffs it.
  • July 2, 2012
    NESBoy
    • The title character of Doobl looks after Scue's pet hamster, only for it to die under his care. This starts a dramatic shift in tone for the comic as it turns into a Subverted Kids Show.
  • July 6, 2012
    HugoLuman
    Doobl can't be an example, it being a Subverted Kid's Show. Goodbye Mog would be a good literature example.
  • July 23, 2012
    HugoLuman
    I think there's an animated show, with an anthropomorphic penguin or a tucan or something, and they find a dead (non-anthropomorphic) baby bird.
  • July 24, 2012
    robinjohnson
    ^ That's faintly ringing bells as an episode of Pingu, but I'm not sure.
  • October 4, 2013
    randomsurfer
    • Silver Spoons: Ricky goes hunting with his father & grandfather and shoots a deer in the heart. That's bad enough for him but the deer is still alive and Ricky has to shoot it point blank to finish it off. He tries but can't; he runs a little way off and Grandfather shoots it instead (offscreen). Ricky breaks down in tears.
  • October 4, 2013
    DennisDunjinman
    I swear we have this trope, or at least something similar enough to cover it.

    Dead Pet Sketch?
  • September 25, 2014
    Pichu-kun
    I know goldfish are commonly used for this, despite the fact goldfish can easily live ten to thirty years.

    I remember an episode of Harold And The Purple Crayon where his goldfish died.
  • September 25, 2014
    Arivne
    Western Animation
    • Star Trek The Animated Series episode "Yesteryear". When Spock was a child his pet sehlat was poisoned. Spock had to choose between letting the sehlat live for a while in constant agony or having it euthanized. He decided to have to put to sleep.
  • September 25, 2014
    justanotherrandomlurker
    Isn't this already covered by Death By Newbery Medal? Most of the examples listed on this thread are pretty much already mentioned.
  • September 25, 2014
    Pichu-kun
    This is more of a Very Special Episode trope, outright teaching the characters and often audience about mortality.

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