Anti Premise Episode YKTTW Discussion

Anti Premise Episode
A show's premise is broken temporarily
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(permanent link) added: 2012-03-26 10:20:55 sponsor: WackyMeetsPractical (last reply: 2014-10-08 18:23:37)

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A lot of shows rely on a premise, and all episodes are based on this premise. The show may have a Series Goal, in which the characters spend every episode trying to achieve that goal, often invoking Failure Is the Only Option, insuring that Status Quo Is God. Other shows are Strictly Formula, and every episode must follow the formula. Some shows have an established setting and dynamic, which every episode is expected to follow.

But every once in a while, you get an episode that's completely different. These episodes takes the premise of the series, and asks "What if the opposite happened?" In a show where Failure Is the Only Option, the characters succeed. In a show where The Masquerade must be maintained, it becomes broken. If there is only one setting, then the characters will get to leave.

These episodes are often presented as a What If? episode, often turning out to be All Just a Dream, or an Alternate Universe, or an Imagine Spot. By the end of the episode, the Reset Button will surely be pressed, and the rest of the series can continue to follow it's premise as if nothing every happened.

Episodes don't count as an Anti Premise Episode if the episode is a premise changer, or the end of the series. If you are not sure if an episode of a series is an Anti Premise Episode, ask yourself what the premise of the episode is, then stick a 'NOT' in there somewhere, and see if it resembles the premise of the episode. If it does, chances are, it's an Anti Premise Episode.

This is a sub trope of Something Completely Different, where the episode doesn't come anywhere close to following the show's premise. If an episode defies the premise that the show is in fact real to the characters, then you're dealing with a Real World Episode.

Spoilers ahead!

  • A Smallville episode had Clark Kent reveal his secret about his powers and alien origins to the world. The episode explored Clark's life as a hero and a celebrity before things got very bad. The whole incident was erased with time travel.
  • Phineas and Ferb had a few. One episode had Candace finally succeed in busting her brothers. It turns out to be a dream. Another episode played with the "one outrageous stunt per episode" premise by having Phineas and Ferb do nothing for a whole day.
  • A Futurama episode introduced a What If machine that explored several different What If? scenarios, one being a world in which Fry was never frozen for a thousand years and remained in the year 2000.
  • In Phil of the Future, the Diffy's must keep the fact that they're time travelers from the future stuck in the early 21st century a secret from everyone in that time period. But one episode had Phil reveal their true nature to the world and became instant celebrities. The event was undone at the end of the episode.
  • In Hannah Montana, a wish on a shooting star undid Miley's double life and allowed her to be Hannah Montanna all the time, erasing her friendships with Lily and Oliver in the process.
  • An episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch's premise was that there was one day which allowed witches to reveal their nature to mortals without any concequences (and anyone they told forgetting at the end of the day).
  • An episode of The Secret World of Alex Mack involved Alex and her best friend being struck by lightning, and Alex's powers were transferred to her friend, who did exactly the opposite of Alex and revealed himself to the world. Turned out to be a dream of Alex's
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