[[quoteright:350:[[Webcomic/OzyAndMillie http://static.tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pub/images/aesop_4925.png]]]]

->'''Calvin:''' Well, Hobbes, I guess there's a moral to all this.\\
'''Hobbes:''' What's that?\\
'''Calvin:''' "Snow goons are bad news."\\
'''Hobbes:''' ''That'' lesson certainly ought to be inapplicable elsewhere in life.\\
'''Calvin:''' I like maxims that don't encourage behavior modification.
-->-- ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes''

%% One quote is sufficient. Please place additional entries on the quotes tab.

One of the greatest strengths of [[SpeculativeFiction Sci-Fi and Fantasy]] is that they can convey real-life situations in a new context by showing everyday problems, humanity's greatest challenges, and even social commentary that's ostensibly free of the prejudices and preconceptions that weigh them down in RealLife, giving us a more detached view of a given problem... as if we were aliens [[HumansThroughAlienEyes visiting Earth]], or rather Earthlings visiting WorldOfWeirdness.

However, the [[AnAesop Aesops]] delivered via unicorn or rocket ship sometimes get {{lost|Aesop}} or [[BrokenAesop break]]. In the course of presenting the story, the Aesop either gets shoehorned to fit into [[TheVerse that world]] or is arbitrarily discarded. The problem isn't that we can't relate to it. [[RuleOfEmpathy We usually can]], because the metaphor is [[{{Anvilicious}} so obvious]]. The problem is that the deck is stacked, causing one of two problems:
* '''Failed Metaphor:''' The writer tries to use the story as a metaphor for a [[RealLife real-life]] issue without properly considering the differences between the settings that [[{{Metaphorgotten}} cause the metaphor to break down]].
** One such common Aesop is simply that we must [[SourGrapes accept something in real life because changing it is impossible]], which is, in and of itself, a fairly FamilyUnfriendlyAesop. In the other (fictional) world, we're shown that changing it is completely possible and is not just wishful thinking in that reality, but we're still supposed to accept it, which quite often takes this into MisappliedPhlebotinum territory.
** In a variation, the metaphor sometimes fails because the characters ''do'' apply the fantastic solution. It works beautifully and they get a HappyEnding; the problem being that this properly AppliedPhlebotinum doesn't exist in our world and is therefore useless to us, giving us a LostAesop.
* '''Arbitrary Rules:''' The writer, in order to prevent MisappliedPhlebotinum, provides [[HoldingBackThePhlebotinum arbitrary rules and restrictions on the phlebotinum]]. Now the Aesop makes sense within the fictional universe, but makes no sense as a metaphor at all. A variety of {{Aesoptinum}}, and often a SpaceWhaleAesop.

These tend to crop up fairly often in a few common flavors: ''Resurrection Rum and Raisin'', ''Time Travel Lemon Twist'', ''Robot Raspberry Revolution'', ''Mango Magic Mishaps'', ''Eternal Life By Chocolate'', ''Superpower Sour Grapes'' and ''Vampire Blood vs. Holy Water Swirl''.

* '''[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: [[Back From The Dead Resurrection ]]
** '''Failed Metaphor:''' A resurrection spell would bring the loved one back [[DeathIsCheap without trouble]], but the characters act as if it wouldn't, often for no reason other than "[[HumansAreFlawed death is a part of life]] and [[FailureIsTheOnlyOption must be accepted]]" when they use magic to solve problems every day.
*** Variation: they ''do'' use the magic to bring their loved one back from the dead. The lesson for our impressionable young viewers? Magic can bring your loved ones back from the dead; enroll in magic school today!
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' A resurrection spell has [[BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor horrible side effects]] that makes those resurrected [[CameBackWrong come back wrong]], so it's better to accept what cannot be changed. But in the real world, it can't be changed because it can't, while in the fictional world, it can't be changed because of some [[FakeDifficulty arbitrary problem]] the writer made up to ensure it can't be changed. Alternatively, resurrecting a person may [[PoweredByAForsakenChild require harming or killing someone else]].
* '''[[/folder]]

[[folder: Time Travel: ]]
** '''Failed Metaphor:''' Time travel exists, but the characters think they shouldn't use it to benefit either themselves, loved ones, or [[ReedRichardsIsUseless humanity in general]] because, like Resurrection: "It [[ScienceIsBad isn't natural]], you should [[ApatheticCitizens accept the past for how it is]]."
*** Variation: they ''do'' use time travel to make everything better. The lesson for our viewers today is that they should get busy inventing that time machine.
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' ''[-ahem:-]'' GodwinsLawOfTimeTravel, HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct, ClockRoaches, ButterflyOfDoom, and RubberBandHistory.
* '''[[/folder]]

[[folder: [[Robot War Robot Revolution ]]
** '''Failed Metaphor:''' Using the metaphor of "Robots are like [[WeWillUseManualLaborInTheFuture human slaves]]" (as Karel Čapek did when he invented the term "robot"), with the Aesop that if you don't treat them like equals you will face [[CrushKillDestroy the wrath]] of machines who have TurnedAgainstTheirMasters. However, the fictional robots are different from human beings in a way that makes it much more justified to treat them as dangerous or makes it much more likely they could successfully revolt; human workers don't have {{Death Ray}}s or an [[MookMaker infinitely respawning population]] (well, not the way those robots do). Also, human slaves are sentient. Robots may not be. Then again, maybe everybody acknowledges this and therefore programs the robots ''not'' to revolt, leading to a utopian future where everyone is served by willing slaves. Go thou and do likewise, viewers!
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' The authors have arbitrarily given the robots [[DoAndroidsDream so many human qualities]] that anti-robot sentiment and discrimination is [[{{Anvilicious}} obviously]] like doing the same thing to human beings... making them not very much like robots. It's not like every robot needs to have [[SlidingScaleOfRobotIntelligence the same level of intelligence,]] or even be capable of genuine thought like, well, none are at present.
* '''[[/folder]]

[[folder: Magic And Powers: ]]
** '''Failed Metaphor:''' The {{Stock Superpower|s}} or [[FunctionalMagic magical ability]] the hero has is quite potent, perhaps [[StoryBreakerPower story breakingly so]], but is never as good as old-fashioned, character-building ''hard work''. So the hero must never use her powers [[AmbitionIsEvil for self-gain]], or even just [[MundaneUtility baking a pizza]]. Why? Because [[PersonalGainHurts that way lies]] JumpingOffTheSlipperySlope and [[GoodPowersBadPeople villainy]]. Never mind that Adam Smith has different ideas about [[ComesGreatResponsibility using your talents to help yourself and others]], if it's a power, it's [[InverseLawOfUtilityAndLethality only good for beating stuff up]]. Alternatively, the powers work great and make everyone's life better; so today's moral is that you should go get yourself some superpowers.
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' Same as above, using powers for self-gain is bad, except this time it's not because of any corrupting influence... but because it never works. UselessSuperpowers are the order of the day, ReedRichardsIsUseless and the poor witch is really BlessedWithSuck. Chores done with magic are sloppy, things made with super powers lack heart, and in general "laziness" begets problems. Particularly common for Teenage Witches and pre-teen Super Heroes. Perhaps this BrokenAesop can be repaired, if this trope variant were ever to be subverted with the message that "Just because magic is no substitute for good hard work doesn't excuse you from putting in some good hard work practicing your magic!" With sufficiently refined skill and subtlety, even super powers that were once [[InverseLawOfUtilityAndLethality only good for beating stuff up]] could realistically find broader application with an artisan's approach to spell craft.
* [[/folder]]

[[folder: Immortality ]]

** '''Failed Metaphor:''' Immortality works as advertised, but characters should not seek it because, well, [[WhoWantsToLiveForever you wouldn't really want it anyway, trust me]] (even though the author has no actual experience with immortality, somehow they [[SourGrapesTropes just]] ''[[SourGrapesTropes know]]'' [[SourGrapesTropes it would suck]]). Oddly, even in worlds where immortals aren't indestructible, they [[ICannotSelfTerminate never simply choose to commit suicide]] if they ''really'' decide that 1,000 years is enough.
*** Variation: no tricks and no hidden costs, LivingForeverIsAwesome after all. So you should go live forever... somehow.
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' Immortality exists, but you can only get it by [[LifeDrinker draining life]] from other people, or [[DealWithTheDevil selling your soul]], or some other [[BadPowersBadPeople obviously bad method]]. See ImmortalityImmorality.
* '''[[/folder]]

[[folder: Never Be A Hero: ]]
** '''Failed Metaphor:''' [[{{Muggles}} Normal people]] can be and are [[TheRealHeroes heroes without having powers]], which are superfluous to true heroism. ''However'', ordinary civilians should act like InnocentBystanders and let the [[strike:real]] {{Super Hero}}es [[HoldingOutForAHero do all the work.]] Anyone trying to get powers, keep those they get, or otherwise "encroach" on the hero's work is thus being a [[HeroForADay dangerously irresponsible]] JerkAss (even if a hero started out this exact same way, there's only ''one'' Chosen One after all). Falls flat because people don't spontaneously become [[BadassNormal paramedics and firemen]] in RealLife. "Emergency room training, ACTIVATE!" Another possibility is that this metaphor [[GoneHorriblyRight works a little too well]]: "[[CharlesAtlasSuperpower Civilian training can make you a superhero!]] Enroll in college today so you can become Batman!"
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' Getting and then using superpowers to emulate a superhero is never advisable for the former {{Muggles}}. The {{Phlebotinum}} may be [[PsychoSerum dangerous]] or [[TheDarkSide addictive]], only the hero can wield the EmpathicWeapon, or there will be [[HowDoIShotWeb accidents while learning to control their powers]]. Essentially, only the hero can be TheHero because he's a BornWinner, no one else can even try.
* '''[[/folder]]

[[folder: Silly Reason For War ]]
** '''Failed Metaphor:''' The differences between two groups are not trivial, and in fact a case can be made for treating those involved differently. Like a vampire needing human blood to "live", or an alien [[EmotionEater feeding detrimentally on another's emotions.]] While the author would like us to consider this as a clear metaphor for racism, sexism, or other forms of segregation, the situation shown is less about trivial surface differences and more substantial. On the other hand, maybe the author ''acknowledges'' these differences and that ViolenceReallyIsTheAnswer therefore. Today's lesson? If your enemy is a race of psychopathic vampire space monsters from Hell, ''then'' [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop genocidal racism is perfectly justifiable]].
** '''Arbitrary Rules:''' The author provides a means for both sides to live together easily and/or render the core of the dispute moot (artificial blood for vampires, for example). This breaks the Aesop of not fighting others for trivial differences because now the differences that they were fighting over ''are effectively gone.''

Many of these are a repetition of the old ScienceIsBad saw -- we can't do it right now and, since our society is the baseline, if we later learn to do it, that would be [[TheyChangedItNowItSucks strange and different and thus bad]].
'''IMPORTANT NOTE:''' Sometimes a writer will put their characters through an interesting dilemma / character development that is only made possible by the fantastic setting, but has no intended bearing on the real world. It becomes a Fantastic Aesop ''if and only if'' the author was demonstrably trying to get their audience to learn a specific moral lesson from this bizarre situation. Think carefully before citing something as an example!

'''ADDITIONAL IMPORTANT NOTE:''' Something does not become a Fantastic Aesop simply because it falls apart when interpreted literally; many works introduce or advocate aesops indirectly through allegory, allusion, or symbolism.

Compare and contrast SpaceWhaleAesop, which is when realistic actions ''cause'' fantastic consequences.

!!Examples of Failed Metaphor:


[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* At the end of ''Anime/TengenToppaGurrenLagann'' [[spoiler:it's not really clear whether Spiral Energy ''can'' resurrect the dead, or if the characters are speculating if it could. Regardless though, the characters conclude they shouldn't bring back the dead]]. ''Gurren Lagann'' has the major theme of accepting and moving on after death. While a good value in real life, this might not be as good in a world where resurrection is possible.
** Except the villains of the stories very firmly establish real consequences for such an ability; in fact, all of the "Spiral Power" the heroes use [[spoiler: violates the conservation of matter and energy and speeds up the collapse of the universe into a supermassive black hole.]]. Making this more of a [[ComesGreatResponsibility "Don't abuse your power"]] aesop.
** Even ignoring the threat of [[TheEndOfTheWorldAsWeKnowIt the Spiral Nemesis]], the power to bring ''anybody'' back to life is pretty much a one-way ticket to disaster. The fact that Gimmy's list starts with Kamina and starts growing should give you an idea where I'm going with this: once you start, where do you stop? If you can resurrect your friends, why are all the other victims you ''didn't'' personally know any less deserving? [[http://www.kiwisbybeat.com/minus119.html This]] Webcomic/{{minus}} comic might have the answer to that...
** Another example for ''Gurren Lagann'' is the core theme that ideals should never be sacrificed, because in its universe idealism and willpower literally ''can'' do anything. I.e. [[spoiler: what Rossiu does in the third arc of the series is, for the most part, technically correct. He holds Simon accountable for recklessly charging into battle and subsequently causing a huge explosion in the middle of the city, and when it becomes clear that there's no way to save all of humanity, he conceals this information to prevent (more of) a panic while trying to save as many as he can. However his actions are cast as being wrong because he acts in a totalitarian way in the process, and one of Gurren Lagann's big ideas is the importance of freedom, and compromising that value for the sake of safety basically makes you evil. In fact all the series' villains practice forms of "population control" to preserve peace, and this is portrayed as a sad and "limited" way to live, effectively sacrificing what life should be (growth) in exchange for trying to hold on to it as long as possible (stagnation). However, in the real world, taking an all-or-nothing approach to the survival of the human race would be seen by most people as really, really stupid. Especially since being manly tends not to break the laws of physics in reality]]. It's a powerful message, and it has relevance to the real world, but the things that make it possible that everything works out in GL don't actually exist.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/XMen'' comic books about discrimination sometimes seem to forget that real-world oppressed minorities can't shoot EyeBeams or walk through walls or make YourHeadAsplode by looking at you funny. Conversely, the ComicBook/UltimateMarvel comics treating the rise of superheroes as a sort of [[WeaponOfMassDestruction WMD]] proliferation sometimes seem to forget that real-world [=WMDs=] can't walk, talk, and have minds of their own.
* ''ComicBook/ChickTracts'' often have these. Quite often, the Real True Christians are capable of performing supernatural feats which back up what they say. This commonly takes the form of the ability to dispel any dark forces in their vicinity, thus showing that UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}} is superior to whatever the villain of the week is. We've also seen a brief five-second prayer dispel a massive tornado (the guy who said the prayer told everyone it was safe literally as soon as he finished), summon storms to blind terrorists in the Middle East, briefly resurrect those who've died so they can accept Jesus, and sense an assassination plot on someone's granddaughter taking place thousands of miles away. It's difficult to say whether these miracles are a cheap plot device or a reflection on how the author seriously views reality.

[[folder:Films -- Animated]]
* All three ''WesternAnimation/ToyStory'' films have the same moral: ''"If you a are a [[LivingToys living toy]], be loyal to the kid who is your owner"'', it may be an analogy of being loyal to your friends, but the relationship between a child and a toy is different from real friends, no matter if toys are alive or not, or, the moral may be that this friendship is not different, treat your toys like friends even if in real life they aren't alive.
* ''WesternAnimation/CloudyWithAChanceOfMeatballs'' has a kind of meta-example: the DVD comes with a pitch telling you to "make it rain food" by giving money to a certain charity. Giving money to this charity is probably a good thing, but if we really want to follow the movie's example, what we ought to be funding is research into inventing food replicators like the one in the movie.
* (Learned by Joaquin) in ''WesternAnimation/TheBookOfLife'', [[spoiler:if you are immortal and invincible, a willingness to fight isn't really courage]].

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* ''Film/{{Legend 1985}}'': NEVER, EVER, TOUCH A UNICORN, as you'll unleash Armageddon and the devil will try to seduce and marry you. [[SarcasmMode All right. We won't touch unicorns. Thanks for warning us.]]
* Creator/GeorgeARomero's ''Film/LivingDeadSeries'' is another example that puts forth the idea that [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters humans, for all their claims of being civilized, are really savages]] and that a supernatural species, in this case the zombies, are people too. This aesop became more emphasized as the films went on. ''Film/LandOfTheDead'' eventually went so far as to give the zombies their own storyline with a SympatheticPOV, and presenting their invasion of the last remaining human city, which was run by a CorruptCorporateExecutive and his private army, as a liberation for the oppressed humans. The problem with this is that while the zombies are too animalistic to be considered truly ''malevolent'', they are still undeniably ''dangerous'' predators whose biology demands that [[HungryMenace they feast on human flesh]]. During their assault towards Fiddler's Green, the zombies consumed just as many of the destitute poor as the corrupt rich, which the film glosses over.
* As an example of AppliedPhlebotinum's ''success'' ruining the metaphor, ''Film/OneMagicChristmas'' teaches us that Santa Claus can bring loved ones back from the dead; so have faith... in SantaClaus.
* Many movies from Pure Flix Entertainment (and many other religious movies in general) have a problem with the DeusExMachina nature of their plots. The premise of these movies center around Christianity and God's power. The whole idea is to establish the power of faith and prayer by having the Christian protagonists face hardships, pray, and have their problems solved. When people in Pure Flix movies pray, God often ''literally'' shows up to answer their prayers in the best possible way or at least does an out-and-out miracle for them, thus promoting the aesop "Prayer is magic: ask God for a miracle and you'll get one every time!" This is, at best, ArtisticLicenseReligion. In RealLife, the point of prayer and worship is to have faith even when God ''doesn't'' grant a convenient DeusExMachina, as in the case of many Jewish and Christian martyrs. (See, in particular, the Book of Job in Literature/TheBible for just one example.)
* ''Film/RevengeOfTheSith'' contains two in one movie. YouCantFightFate plays into the central plot and Anakin's attempt to save Padme from dying led to her path to death. The movie also touches on ImmortalityImmorality with Palpatine suggesting that immortality is a Sith exclusive technique.
* ''Film/StarTrekInsurrection'' uses the relocation of the Ba'ku as an analogy for the Trail of Tears and how it utterly destroyed several Amerindian cultures. Fair enough, most people can agree that the Trail of Tears was a bad thing, but ''Insurrection'' changes it so much that it actually seems to be arguing in its favor. The relocation of the Amerindian tribes was forcing thousands of members of a native minority populace to traverse an incredibly dangerous and lengthy route to nowhere, out of a desire for gold and territory. The relocation of the Ba'ku would have been forcing a few hundred non-native white humans to get on a ship and fly to an opulent Federation colony out of a need (the Federation is at war) to obtain a MacGuffin particle that could advance medicine by centuries and add a few decades onto the lifespan of the Federation's entire populace. It's true that the Ba'ku will die off, just like the Amerindians, but only because they'll no longer be immortal, and plenty of them are already well past their time. The movie does try to address the issue of racism as a motivating factor... by introducing an evil race of ugly mutants who want to get revenge on the angelic and all-white Ba'ku. A more accurate analogy would be a group of about three people refusing to leave when the city needs to demolish their lavish house that they moved in only a month before to build a hospital.
* ''Film/XMenFilmSeries'':
** All this [[FantasticRacism discrimination against mutants]] is obviously wrong, right? So there's [[SillyReasonForWar really no good reason for all this fussing and fighting]] between mutants and humans, right? Yet, as ''Webvideo/HonestTrailers'' points out, what the racist government officials lobbying for a mutant registration act are trying to prove is that mutants are dangerous--"[[VillainHasAPoint which they totally are!]]" [Cue a montage of mutants destroying a lot of expensive property and scaring the hell out of huge crowds of {{Muggles}}.] The metaphors for racism and discrimination would make a lot more sense here if the films' message didn't require us to dismiss the perfectly justifiable concerns and fears of humanity out of hand. As Senator Kelly points out to one of his colleagues while lobbying him over the phone, people worry about kids carrying guns in schools; surely it makes sense to keep an eye on kids with powers like ''weather control''?
** In fact, the FantasticRacism metaphor breaks down in part because it gets so mixed up with other concerns such as arms rights vs. arms controls. Having dangerous mutant powers amounts to ''being'' a weapon rather than merely carrying one. A lot of mutant powers like Magneto's are also demonstrated to be far more dangerous than any knife or gun, and some of them like Rogue's [[PowerIncontinence aren't under the mutant's control]]. Racism is not really a relevant concern when you have people ''forced'' to carry potentially deadly weapons with them everywhere they go that can sometimes fire without the carriers even pulling the trigger.
** Also, mutants shouldn't be ashamed of their powers and shouldn't seek a cure for them because they're genetic, and therefore seeking a cure for mutant powers is just as much a form of internalized racism as seeking a cure for one's skin color would be. Tell that to Rogue, [[PowerIncontinence whose powers first manifested themselves by putting her boyfriend in a coma]], who's been socially and romantically isolated from humans and her fellow mutants alike by her inability to touch them, and whose powers made Magneto try to exploit her as a vessel into which he could pour his own powers so that [[PoweredByAForsakenChild her life would be the one sacrificed]] to his cause rather than his own. In [[Film/XMenTheLastStand the third movie]], when she walks past a bunch of mutants and their sympathizers demonstrating outside a clinic dispensing the cure, you can see her looking at them with considerable contempt at their chant "We don't need a cure!" and obviously thinking "Speak for yourselves!"
* The second ''{{Film/Hellboy}}'' film has a similar message as the ''X Men'' movies, with the same problem. The {{Muggles}} are portrayed as nasty little shits for being afraid of Hellboy. Even ignoring that Hellboy (both the person and movie) [[UniquenessValue doesn't show much concern for regular humans' lives]], there's the problem that he doesn't just look like a devil sent from Hell to bring destruction to the world of man, he actually ''is'' just that. In the previous movie he was seconds away from dooming the world. And this movie reveals that he had the human who stopped him doing that literally ReassignedToAntarctica, and an Angel states that the powers that be still fully expect that he'll destroy earth at some point. The humans he encounters may be judging a book by its cover, but the contents of this particular book happen to be just as scary it seemed.

* In ''Literature/LatawnyaTheNaughtyHorseLearnsToSayNoToDrugs'', the author tries to present a DrugsAreBad message. One scene in this book features a horse dying from a marijuana overdose, to warn kids that this could happen to them. But while marijuana is toxic to ''horses'', it's much less toxic to ''humans''.
* In ''[[Literature/StarShardsChronicles Shattered Sky]]'', the protagonists struggle with the moral implications of their ability to combine their powers to raise the dead. When EccentricMillionaire Elon Tessic suggests they use this power to bring back the six million victims of the Holocaust, they run into a variation of HitlersTimeTravelExemptionAct, deciding that undoing historical atrocities is wrong because people need to remember them to keep history from repeating itself. So, don't use your magical powers to bring back the dead.
* ''Literature/HarryPotter'' often tries to address issues of prejudice and racism, and while this metaphor works fairly well with Muggle-borns, it doesn't necessarily apply so much with magical creatures. For example, when it gets out that Remus Lupin is [[spoiler:a werewolf]], we're supposed to be upset that parental concerns force him to resign. But considering that the very day before he came close to killing Harry and the others when he forgot to take his potion, this seems at least a bit more complicated than Rowling suggested. Lupin himself admits that he is a danger, that he really screwed up, and that the only reason no one was hurt was that he was lucky. The [[spoiler:werewolves]] are supposed to be a hyperbolic allegory to AIDS/HIV. Provided they take the necessary precautions to stop the spread of their disease [[spoiler:werewolves]]/HIV positive people should receive the same level of human dignity... but Lupin very much ''didn't''. While many of the parental complaints may well have been motivated by prejudice, even absent that, he really ought to have been fired for negligence.
** Prejudice against centaurs might also be well justified. In the fifth book, the Centaurs are about ready to kill Harry and Hermione for trespassing. They protest that they were in trouble, and that they were seeking their help. The centaurs then get even more angry that the humans wanted them to do their dirty work. It's probably an old feud where the centaurs are just responding to the prejudice from wizards, but their indiscriminate paranoia and willingness to murder children who have shown no signs of hostility make them just as bad, if not worse, than wizards.
** Potentially averted with House Elves. Keeping slaves is bad. But if the slaves WANT to do your dishes, and actively refuse pay, wouldn't it be immoral to treat them differently from how they want to be treated? The books seem to settle that there is absolutely nothing wrong with keeping house elf 'servants' as long as you are kind and treat them well. And, [[MySpeciesDothProtestTooMuch if they are really weird]], remember to pay them if they ask, but never more than they ask, because they might find that insulting. This one is treated as being extremely confusing OrangeAndBlueMorality in-universe, and WordOfGod is the Hermione made a career out of trying to work out a solution after the main plot was over.
** It's also been noted that the major moral about accepting death falls a bit flat, because while it ''is'' impossible to "really" raise the dead, you ''can'' come back as a ghost (rarely), have your [[AddedAlliterativeAppeal posthumous personality preserved in a portrait]], and even summon spirits from the afterlife with the [[NonIndicativeName so-called]] Resurrection Stone to have pleasant chats with dead mentors during {{near death experience}}s.
* The ''Literature/SwordOfTruth'' books have a lot of Objectivist Aesops, including on how religion is denounced by the protagonist because there is no evidence of the afterlife. That argument might sound reasonable in this world, but in this story [[FlatEarthAtheist said protagonist has encountered ghosts and spirits, visited the afterlife several times and fought with the devil, and even summoned some spirits himself from the afterlife.]]
* ''Literature/{{Twilight}}'' has [[GoodGirlsAvoidAbortion an anti-abortion Aesop]] in the fourth book. This doesn't really work, however, since the "baby" in question is clearly supernatural. Edward was reading the baby's mind at one point, which in real life would be impossible since brain activity doesn't start until a certain point during pregnancy.
** And a lot of issues associated with abortion in the real world are avoided by there being no need for someone to spend a decade or two caring for the newborn, which makes things ''much'' easier for her mother.
** It's also a bit much where they're unwilling to abort the baby even when she is literally eating Bella from the inside out, and this only gets prevented by Edward ''ripping her out'', then turning her into a vampire. Yeah...not very feasible for RealLife (note that although the LDS church--of which author Creator/StephenieMeyer is a part--generally opposes abortion, they allow it to save the life of the mother as would be the case here).
* Some ''TabletopGame/DungeonsAndDragons'' novelizations engage in this to justify the lack of resurrection, especially in high-magic settings like ''Literature/ForgottenRealms''. At least two writers for the Realms, for example, claim that resurrection is selfish because it rips the dead person away from their ideal afterlife in order to explain why [[spoiler:Liriel Baenre doesn't resurrect Fyodor or Erevis Cale decides not to resurrect Jak Fleet]]. Why they can't just take a few decades off and go back to their ideal afterlife after dying of old age, or why the Realms aren't full of people killing themselves to find eternal happiness, isn't usually explained.
** This point is played up more prominently with the Speak With Dead spell/ritual, as the dead REALLY don't like being partially resurrected just to answer some stupid questions. They will often give vague answers just to piss off the spell caster.
** Especially weird because spells like Raise Dead and Resurrection explicitly state they cannot be used on an unwilling target. This prevents someone from being killed by their enemies and raised afterwards while in enemy hands. [[spoiler:This is partially justified in Erevis's case, since he'd met someone who was BlessedWithSuck and only agreed to be resurrected out of duty, but this hadn't been the case for Jak.]]
* The lesson in ''Literature/TheWishingMaiden'' seems to be that magically granted wishes, if allowed to run rampant, will incite wars and create chaos.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' has drug issues.
** The magic-as-drug plotline, where "overuse" of magic was suddenly revealed to cause addictive behavior, came complete with a "magic pusher" and after-school special-esque behavior by Willow. This was rather jolting to many fans, as during the prior two seasons, Wicca/magic was used as a metaphor for Willow and Tara's love and their sexual relationship. In fact, it continued to be used to refer to their relationship with Tara's song, ''I'm Under Your Spell'' when Willow was already showing signs of magical "dependence." The reprise of the song later in the episode is probably the moment it flips, when Tara realizes just how under Willow's spell she actually is.
** Riley voluntarily "donating blood" to vampires riffed off of drug use and illicit prostitution, despite no prior suggestion that people found vampire-bites anything but terrifying and painful.
-->'''Riley''': This isn't your fault. It's mine. I feel like hell for what I've put you through. (Buffy still doesn't look at him) It's just... (sighs) these girls-
-->'''Buffy''': Vampires. Killers.
-->'''Riley''': They made me feel something, Buffy. Something I didn't even know I was missing until-
-->'''Buffy''': I can't. I can't hear this.
-->'''Riley''': You ''need'' to hear this.
-->'''Buffy''': Fine. Fine! Tell me about your whores! Tell me what on earth they were giving you that I can't.
-->'''Riley''': They needed me.
-->'''Buffy''': They needed your money. It wasn't about you.
-->'''Riley''': (walks closer to her) No. On some basic level it ''was'' about me. My blood, my body. (sighs) When they bit me ... it was beyond passion. They wanted to devour me, all of me.
* Season 2 of ''Series/TheFlash2014'' is rife with anti-drug message with Velocity series of speed-enhancing drugs being used as metaphor for performance-enhancing drugs used in sports. When faced with evil speedsters much faster than he is, Flash is tempted to use Velocity 9 to increase his performance and level the playing field, but is discouraged by others since using Velocity 9 can ruin his health in long term. Problem here is that Flash is superhero, not a sportsman. The stake here isn't victory, fame or money, it's people's lives. If the Flash isn't fast enough someone may die, sometimes many people will die. Taking Velocity once wouldn't cause that much damage to his health and if it would stop a guy who's terrorising the world who is extremely hard if not impossible to stop otherwise it's not that hard to think it would be worth it. Doubles as BrokenAesop, since Jay Garrick used Velocity several times in the show and more often than not it ended up with him saving someone's life.
* ''Series/TrueBlood'' uses prejudice against vampires as a comparison to prejudice against homosexuals. The real-life analogy fails, however, because in the context of the series, vampires ''actually are'' dangerous predators. Show runner Alan Ball actually protested against using this metaphor for exactly this reason but writers still used it, especially once he left the show.
* ''Series/MontyPythonsFlyingCircus'' plays this for laughs: "Oh, now this is where Mr. Podgorny could have saved his wife's life. If he'd gone to the police and told them that he'd been approached by unearthly beings, from the galaxy of Andromeda, we'd have sent a man round to investigate. As it was, he did a deal with a blancmange and the blancmange ate his wife. So if you're going out or anything strange happens involving other galaxies, just nip round to your local police station and tell the sergeant on duty, or his wife, of your suspicions. And the same goes for dogs."
* ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch''
** One episode has Zelda and Hilda deciding to hire someone to clean the house. Zelda rationalizes that they can't use their magic to clean in case they just get lazy.
** One of the {{novelization}}s has Sabrina trying to explain that she can't use magic to decide what classes she wants to take because it's somehow unfair since her mortal students can't. [[SubvertedTrope She quickly realizes how flimsy this argument is and does it anyway.]]
* ''Series/StargateSG1'' seemed to be trying for a pacifism Aesop with the Nox (at least in their first episode), a race of {{Perfect Pacifist|People}} SpaceElves who look down on SG-1 for using violence against the Goa'uld. This completely ignores the fact that the Nox are {{Sufficiently Advanced Alien}}s with abilities that make pacifism a viable option (just for starters, they can turn invisible and raise the dead). Humans have no such abilities and must fight or be killed/enslaved.
* ''Series/H2OJustAddWater'' tries to preach AnAesop when Zane wants the girls to use their powers to salvage a sunken museum artifact. It suddenly becomes a despicable idea the moment a financial reward is mentioned. In real life (as far as we know) it's impossible to use mermaid powers to retrieve sunken objects but the show doesn't explain why it's so wrong, [[InformedWrongness just that it is]].
** The analogy is completely incorrect in real life as we often use technology-submarine powers to salvage sunken artifacts and offer monetary rewards, and that's a good thing.
* ''Series/StarTrekTheNextGeneration'' plays Failed Metaphor straight in the first season. Commander Riker is granted god-like power by the god-like Q. But using these new powers to save colonists who are in danger? Resurrecting a girl who died? Can't have that, now.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Woman Who Lived" devotes a good deal of time to discussing the Aesop that "Just because you're immortal doesn't mean you should stop caring about mortals."
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'': In the episode "First Anniversary", two aliens who are stranded on Earth use their shapeshifting/psychic powers to make themselves appear as beautiful women to seduce men. The problem is that the effect wears off after a year of exposure and reveals their hideous true forms to their husbands. The guys can't handle this revelation and are unable to see that TrueBeautyIsOnTheInside. However, the aliens are not just ugly but so [[StarfishAliens downright inhuman]] that even touching them makes the men violently ill and eventually GoMadFromTheRevelation. As a result they look less like a bunch of superficial jerks and more like a bunch of duped victims; it's implied that the two aliens have been doing this for some time, and one of them has already stopped caring about the damaging effect she has on humans.

[[folder:Religion & Mythology]]
* A common problem for people trying to apply lessons from supernatural events in Literature/TheBible to the natural processes of science, business, and politics. An example would be "Jesus and his disciples cared for the sick at no cost; therefore the Bible supports universal health care." While this may technically be true, it's also completely inapplicable to modern health care systems: the healings in question were all supernatural, therefore consumed no natural resources, and therefore cannot be replicated by any scientific, economic, or political means whatsoever. Moreover, if anyone nowadays ''can'' do these same miracles, why does anyone with access to these miracle workers need doctors, hospitals, or health insurance at all in the first place?

* ''Theatre/ShrekTheMusical'' has the song "Freak Flag", which starts off as a catch-all BeYourself message but is derailed when the fairy tale creatures realize that their problems, such as being animals with human intelligence or having magical powers, actually gives them ''an advantage'' in confronting their problems. Not really applicable to real-life discrimination (then again, as an adaptation of ''[[DeconstructorFleet Shrek]]'' this may have been intentional).
--> '''Humpty-Dumpty:''' We've got magic! We've got power!\\
Who are they to say we're wrong?\\
All the things that make us special\\
Are the things that make us strong!

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/QuantumConundrum'': Professor Quadrangle tries and fails to deliver a GreenAesop when he hypothesizes that the reason why tigers are going extinct today is because people are going back in time and shooting them.
* Much of the criticism of ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyTacticsAdvance'' stems from the attempt to use an idealized fantasy world as a metaphor for escapism; there's a [[AlternativeCharacterInterpretation/FinalFantasy very strong case to be made]] that Alterna-Ivalice is real in-setting.
* In ''VisualNovel/{{Snatcher}}'', the quotes and overall moral thrust upon the player tells us that humans need to trust each other. However, ''Snatcher'' is about a race of RidiculouslyHumanRobots who are [[ReplicantSnatching bit-by-bit replacing]] humans by killing them. If humans had trusted each other as the game tells us they should have, the Snatchers would probably have taken over humanity in a month tops; the humans killed in the anti-Snatcher witch hunts were a tragedy, but the problem wasn't lack of trust so much as misapplied mistrust.
* ''VideoGame/{{Undertale}}'':
** The Genocide route is extremely unrelenting in hammering the point home you're likely only taking that route to see what happens, rather than any actual desire to hurt or punish the characters, and the few characters who are aware that [[spoiler: you're able to effectively time travel using the ability to SAVE]] argue the fact you can undo everything doesn't make you any better of a person. However, the only reason their point sticks is because the Genocide route ends with an all but literal DiabolusExMachina in the form of [[spoiler: the Fallen Child, who destroys the world whether you want to or not and then only allows you to recreate it if you [[DealWithTheDevil sell your SOUL to them]]]]. Doing so prevents you from ever achieving the GoldenEnding, as [[spoiler: the child takes you over in the final scene of the Pacifist route and is implied to kill everyone again anyway]]. So in some ways, it's an Arbitrary Rules Aesop about [[spoiler: DemonicPossession and [[DealWithTheDevil deals with the devil]]]], but since its primary purpose is to drive the point the other characters are making, it makes you wonder how effective their point would have been without [[spoiler: the Child's cross-timeline possession of you]].
** Less {{Anvilicious}}ly, the fact that the GoldenEnding can only be achieved by refraining from committing the CrimeOfSelfDefense no matter how violent your enemy is only makes sense in-universe because the barrier needs seven human souls worth of power to be destroyed; the six human souls in reserve plus ''every monster in the Underground'' conveniently make up the correct amount, and you can't do it with one iota less. It's a pretty convenient coincidence that this is the number of monsters currently alive, and the fact that every living monster soul adds up to one human soul is only mentioned on one PamphletShelf, in a way that seems more like PurpleProse than an actual mathematical fact.
* ''VideoGame/ValkyriaChronicles'' gives us the Valkyria-- rare women who are born with the power to channel huge amounts of energy through [[GreenRocks unrefined ragnite]]-- and the game tells us in no uncertain terms that Valkyria powers are bad and evil, because ''one man'' is inclined to exploit them. Always. Regardless of the Valkyria's age, intelligence, strength, or general stability, their powers are always bad, because they can be used for war. There are no practical uses for the ability to channel the raw energies of the earth that everyone is fighting a war over in the first place; there is no responsible or pragmatic approach to researching the effects that Valkyria powers have on the environment, or for developing new and better technology. Bad. Period.
** Related but not strictly falling into any of the prescribed types, the game uses Valkyria powers as a metaphor for nuclear weapons/[=WMDs=], which is part of why they're portrayed as being as negative as possible, and [[spoiler:Alicia]] stops using her powers because she's afraid of the one-instance dehumanizing effect they have on her, which basically renders that aspect of the Aesop down to ''Won't somebody please think of the hydrogen bombs?!''. Because the game's presentation of the Valkyria as a race [[BrokenAesop tries to satisfy the needs of two conflicting moral lessons]], the Valkyria are said to be mindless, soulless monsters that can do nothing but bring ruin, but the two we actually see in the game are good people with human emotions and free will; it's just that one of them is slavishly devoted to the villain and the other [[InternalizedCategorism just doesn't think for herself]]. This is exemplified in the ending, [[spoiler:where Alicia abandons her powers, essentially because she couldn't remain a Valkyria and still live a normal life, but couldn't arrive at that conclusion on her own]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* ''Literature/TalesOfMU''. While prejudices exist against most non-human species in a manner clearly resembling real racism, a few of those discriminated against are [[ImAHumanitarian literal man-eaters]] by dietary preference or culture. (Though nobody dares to discriminate against dragons on this basis.)

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* ''WesternAnimation/CaptainPlanetAndThePlaneteers'': Many or most of the ecological problems depicted are caused by supervillains doing things like making monsters that eat rainforests or building factories to build air conditioners which are then torn open to release [=CFCs=]. The only solutions to the problems are the ring-wielding kids or Captain Planet fixing things. The series is supposed to teach about protecting the environment, but the overarching morals seem to be "Don't be a supervillain. Let people with magic rings do all the work." The only attempt to counteract this message is in the AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle segments at the end of each episode that usually show something an actual viewer can do.
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' is generally pretty good at avoiding this, but it still runs into it on occasion:
** "Cutie Mark Chronicles" is a good example, as its moral is that friendship is important because everyone has a special connection with their friends, even before they've met. Which is a nice thought, and may very well be true InUniverse, but in real life it's entirely impossible to become really good friends without having ever crossed paths in the past.
** Neither "Christmas" episode ("[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS2E13HearthsWarmingEve Hearth's Warming Eve]]" and "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS6E8AHearthsWarmingTail A Hearth's Warming Tale]]") of ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'' actually has a "love your friends and family, good will to all" aesop. Rather, the aesop is, "If you don't celebrate this holiday, Windigoes will [[ApocalypseHow destroy the world]] with [[EndlessWinter a never-ending winter]]."
* All the breakdowns in the metaphors seen in the Comic Books and Movies folders apply to the ''WesternAnimation/XMen'' animated series as well. In addition, metaphors about discrimination and internalized racism break down when dealing with one poor plot-device schlub from the background of several episodes who lost the SuperpowerLottery, and whose mutation gave him ''no powers whatsoever'', just a kind of weird-looking face. To say he shouldn't seek a cure for his mutation would be to proclaim metaphorically that reconstructive surgery is evil. (Speaking of reconstructive surgery, considering that mutations in these stories have NoOntologicalInertia, some kind of cheaply available mutation-reversal serum could probably save that guy a lot of money on getting his face back to normal.) Devices like Genosha's power-suppression collars are also presented as nothing but evil, when such would help empower mutants with PowerIncontinence (such as Rogue and Jubilee) to get more control over their mutations to make them more beneficial to everyone. About the only useful lesson this series teaches (in the unlikely event that individuals ever ''do'' develop any kind of superpowers) is [[AccidentalAesop inadvertent]]: if you want to remain integrated with the rest of humanity, don't advertise your powers by wearing garishly-colored spandex costumes.
* Many TimeTravel stories (ex. ''WesternAnimation/TheFairlyOddParents'' episode "Father Time," the ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom'' episode "Masters Of All Time") try to teach a moral about accepting what you can't change, usually by having characters' attempts to change the past make the present/future worse instead of better. However, the message this almost always sends is "Don't use time travel to solve your problems because meddling with time can make things worse" -- not exactly a temptation the viewers will (likely) ever be tempted with.

!!Examples of Arbitrary Rules:

[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In the universe of ''Manga/FullmetalAlchemist'', raising the dead will [[{{Pun}} cost you an arm and a leg]]. Results may vary. (Or you could sell your organs on the ''black'' market, but look where that got Izumi.)
** Ultimately, there is no Aesop as Ed concludes that it is impossible to bring back the dead after he examined his resurrected "Mother's" remains and realized that what he and Al made wasn't their mother, or even ''[[EpicFail female]]''.
* Arbitrary Rules Robot Revolution is subverted in ''Anime/GhostInTheShell.'' In ''Anime/GhostInTheShellStandAloneComplex'' it is explained that certain kinds of machines are made in certain ways in order to avoid people thinking of them as "too human." Human-looking androids are stupid and capable of only following basic programming, while the decidedly non-humanoid Tachikomas are given [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots full sentience]]. It then plays with the trope all it can, with non-sentient robots hinted as being more human than they should be, and some humans acting very robot-like. The end conclusion seems to be a combination of not judging a book by its cover and that the question of what is "human" is a very complicated one.
* In ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'' bringing people back to life requires human sacrifices and is considered wrong by almost everyone.
** The first Jutsu, Impure World Resurrection, is described above.
** One of them was originally created to bring puppets to life, and can resurrect a person if their body is habitable, but will cost the jutsu user their life.
** Finally, the Samsara of Heavenly Life technique can only be used by someone who possesses the Rinnegan, an eye power which was held centuries ago by the Messiah figure. This technique was used by Nagato to revive nearly the entire population of the most politically important city in the world. As confirmed by [[spoiler:Obito Uchiha]] in a recent chapter, this technique also costs the user their life.
* While not an aesop, in a similar vein in ''Manga/OnePiece'' the main cast starts to speculate about how regaining their shadows from Moria caused them to reform from being disintegrated. After a brief conversation over this, Zoro asks them why they even bother as the same situation will probably never happen to anyone ever again.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* In ''ComicBook/{{Runaways}}'', much of the development of Karolina and Xavin's relationship involved Karolina, a lesbian, having to learn to accept that Xavin changes gender, because it was supposedly difficult for Xavin to maintain a female form. Which is all well and good, except Xavin had no trouble maintaining a human male form at nearly all times, despite this not being their natural form, so Xavin's inability to maintain a female form (either human or Skrull) seems like an entirely arbitrary limitation.

* ''Film/TheTimeMachine2002'' had a ButterflyOfDoom follow the time traveler around when he tried to change time to save his fiancée.
* If you are Creator/AdamSandler in the movie ''{{Film/Click}}'' and find a "universal remote" that can apply TV-like functions (e.g. mute, fast-forward, etc.) to the universe, don't use fast-forward to skip the boring parts of life like traffic jams, or the remote will "remember" how you used it and automatically fast-forward through important parts of your life as well just because it contained a boring bit you previously skipped.

* At the end of ''Literature/HisDarkMaterials,'' [[spoiler:Will and Lyra go their separate ways and never see each other again]]; the Aesop is that learning how to make sacrifices is part of growing up. But the mechanism [[spoiler:forcing them to separate]] is [[DiabolusExMachina complicated and comes out of nowhere]]: at the end of the story, someone tells them that [[spoiler:living in someone else's world]] makes you sicken and die, opening windows between words creates evil Spectres, and [[spoiler:leaving existing windows open allows Dust to escape]]. So, even though the plot has dictated that they [[spoiler:leave one window open in one spot]] until the end of time, [[spoiler:leaving one more between their worlds for less than 100 years]] would be excessively dangerous.
** And it still manages to enter into Failed Metaphor territory because, although naturally occurring portals exist without any of these problems, [[spoiler:the angels will close those as well because otherwise Will and Lyra will waste their lives searching for one]]. Because, you know, it's impossible to just tell them where it is.
*** For that matter, couldn't the knife kill Specters? So all Will would have to do is kill the Specter he makes when he opens a portal and close it behind him.
* ''Bad Dream'' by Creator/JohnChristopher is somewhere between Failed Metaphor and Arbitrary Rules, but probably closer to the latter. Apparently, Christopher feels that if virtual reality gets really good, it will become a LotusEaterMachine. Rather than treating this as an in-universe problem, he rants for pages and pages about the dangers of virtual reality, in a tone not unlike those who rant about the corrupting influence of video games or modern music. Given that he explicitly rejects the video game parallel, the most probable interpretation is that he feels virtual reality is a near-future problem and wants to prepare resistance ahead of time. (''Death Dream'' by Ben Bova and ''The Unincorporated Man'' by Dani Kollin and Eytan Kollin approach the matter similarly, but not as venomously in the former case and not as lengthily in the latter.)
* In Babette Cole's short story ''Literature/WinniAllfours'', this seems to abound quite a bit. The titular girl wants a pony more than anything else in the world, but her parents are strict vegetarians who aren't having any of it. When she hears that eating too many vegetables will turn her into a horse, Winni eagerly begins munching down everything she gets - and it works!
** And that's just the beginning. After Winni beats the world record, Winni's parents promise to buy her a pony if she turns human again - but Winni is having too much fun and refuses. FamilyUnfriendlyAesop, anyone?
* The Ring in ''Literature/TheLordOfTheRings'' has been accused of working this way. Why is Frodo the perfect choice for delivering the Ring to Mount Doom when there are so many stronger, smarter, worldlier, more powerful, and more versatile characters available? Because the Ring has a very strong ability to tempt its bearer, and [[ThisLooksLikeAJobForAquaman Frodo is the only one pure and humble enough to resist its lure.]] While he's not quite in IncorruptiblePurePureness territory, and even [[spoiler:deconstructs that trope near the end when he finally does succumb to the Ring's influence]], the "purity is the best trait" Aesop is a heavy-handed one.
* The main running theme of Creator/JulesVerne's ''Literature/RoburTheConqueror'' is that, ''if'' somebody finds a way of making heavier-than-air travel practical, then all the people who are trying to make balloon travel more practical will look pretty silly.
** In a charming historical twist, this moral ''stopped'' being a Fantastic Aesop—and became recognizable as simply a very well-researched hypothesis about future innovations—when practical heavier-than-air crafts were actually invented and Verne's arguments were proven right.

[[folder:Live Action TV]]
* ''Series/BattlestarGalactica2003'' and its {{Spinoff}} ''Series/{{Caprica}}'' is practically king of this trope. The entire current series itself is structured around an Arbitrary Rules Robot Revolution and purpose of war. Basically the entire series can be broken down like this:
** Apparently decades ago (in the current series timeline) a brilliant billionaire industrialist/scientist designed robots with perfectly emulated [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots Human movement, thought process, and emotions]] yet still expected them to act and behave like mindless drones (makes sense....RIGHT?).
** Anyway decades later the same mindless/yet sentient robots now in even ''more'' [[RidiculouslyHumanRobots ridiculously human]] forms have come back for revenge on humanity, nearly driving them to extinction. And after discovering that they've reached a level of near human sentience [[{{Muggles}} ordinary humans]] ''still'' treat the human-like robots like a literal defective toaster (no pun intended)/vacuum cleaner (except I don't think even when an actual toaster has gotten dangerously defective anyone has ever shot one execution style or ejected one out an airlock) and acting around them like the robots can't even understand words and lack basic thought capability, let alone genuine human emotion.
** To boot the very reason Humanoid Cylons exist in the first place is a Fantastic Aesop unto itself, as when a Number One Cylon asks his creator/designer why they were made SO un-machine like and with no cybernetic enhancements at all. Her only answer is something that if they were made more like machines they would have absolutely NO sense of human morality. Right, even though at this point they had just KILLED hundreds of ''Billions'' of humans and tortured/experimented of thousands of other humans in order to make themselves "more human." Ironically, ''The Plan'' suggests just that: the genocide of humanity was, in fact, not really a matter of cold machine logic, but Number One throwing a "temper tantrum" because "mom" (i.e. the Final Five) didn't like him best.
** As a final point according to both [[WildMassGuessing fan theory]] and some actual [[WordOfGod canon explanations]] the entire events of the show were orchestrated by an unseen "god" which may or may not be evil and created the conflict between Humans and Cylons him/itself numerous other times previous, basically meaning even if both humanity and Cylons truly learned their lessons and got along this God could kick start the [[CrapsackWorld whole thing all over again]] just ForTheEvulz, it renders all the previous Fantastic Aesops pointless and moot.
*** In reality, since Moore promised from the beginning that the show was About Something Big, and the show was about to end, and he couldn't think of anything else to ret-con in as having been the moral all along, the broken Aesop was the only one he could think of due to TheChrisCarterEffect.
* In the ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' episode "Superstar," the moral seems to be "dreaming about being super-cool perfect is just selfish narcissism." The way it does it is by having Jonathan cast a spell that turns him into a MartyStu. The moral has two halves; the first is that the spell creates an equally perfect evil opposite that torments people. This qualifies, since the only reason the evil opposite exists is that the writers put it there. The other half can be considered a type 1 version: in the real world, people ''aren't'' perfect, so claiming perfection is narcissistic. But if it really ''were'' possible to be perfect, claiming perfection is not narcissistic, merely realistic. "Genuine" perfection just isn't a good metaphor for imaginary perfection.
** Though it does have some relevancy with the idea that, by making Jonathan so great at everything, the spell also made everyone around him a little bit worse (i.e. Jonathan being a great demon fighter means Buffy is now a less capable and confidant Vampire Slayer, unsure how to save the day without Jonathan's help). OTOH, if that's the case, then isn't it also a case for Willow, or Giles, or Buffy herself? Or anyone who is above average in something?
** It also seems to be an example of the fairly standard Aesop NoChallengeEqualsNoSatisfaction - since Jonathon didn't have to work for his achievements they were ultimately hollow and built on sand.
** Also a BrokenAesop because Jonathan identifies Adam's one weakness (his nuclear power core), which is how Buffy later defeats him. The spell actually did give them an advantage they wouldn't have had otherwise.
* Both ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'' and ''Series/OutOfThisWorld'' relied on "Don't use your special powers to do X" aesops for the majority of their episodes. Thanks to these shows, we have learned that should we ever gain the ability to stop time, we should resist the urge to use it to get out of doing laborious and trivial tasks, for personal gain, or directly to make other people happy. (Using them to triage a friend's problem is sometimes okay, but just magicking your best friend a cute date is right out). It hasn't come up yet (that anyone's admitted), but if it does, we're ready.
** Interestingly subverted in one episode of ''Series/SabrinaTheTeenageWitch'', where she decides to use magic to interfere with other people's lives (usually aesops in the show are about her using magic for herself) and does three different things to do so. She injures a first-string football player so Harvey would be called up to the main team, rigs a class president election with Jenny winning instead of Libby, and implants knowledge of how to perform "lead to gold" alchemy to her science teacher. The first two changes are self-limiting, with both Harvey and Jenny getting BeCarefulWhatYouWishFor [[AnAesop aesops]]: Harvey is immediately injured himself due to his inexperience with football, while Jenny quickly realizes she has no real power as class president apart from the lunch menu and school dances. Harvey actually finds he enjoys not having to play football, and Jenny resigns in favor of Libby after all. The science teacher, on the other hand, becomes fabulously rich and a much better teacher (teaching because he wants to, rather than for the money). When the magical authorities find out, they don't really care that she has messed with her classmates' lives; they only care that she ''changed the nature of the universe'' by rewriting atomic law (allowing gold to be created at will by the science teacher who knows how to do it). She ends up getting off scot-free for the other two stunts she pulled.
* Deathwalker, of ''Series/BabylonFive'', had a Cure For Death with the conventional cost of requiring a chemical that [[PoweredByAForsakenChild could only be created by killing a living being]]. Even ignoring the part where it's implied to [[NoBiochemicalBarriers work regardless of sapient species or even from one sapient species to another]]-it can't be reproduced any other way. A chemical. That's right, in a fictional setting with [[MindOverMatter telekinetics]] capable of changing matter on a fundamental level, where bio-engineered plagues float freely, where it is possible to clone people, the ''single most valuable substance in the galaxy'' couldn't be synthesized or grown in a lab.
** The only way her claim makes sense (assuming she isn't lying) is if she's actually produced an inefficient matter-embodiment of the life energy which is manipulated by the machine confiscated in Season 1 and by Lorien in Season 4. The fact that a machine can "pump" the energy but not generate it from electricity fits the sufficiently advanced technology needed to work life energy. Even then, it doesn't explain why non-sentient animals can't be farmed for the purpose.
** It could well be that between her OmnicidalManiac MadDoctor personality and EvilCannotComprehendGood, she didn't think of that (or didn't want anyone else to) and no-one else thought past her reputation in the limited time available. Since the [[SufficientlyAdvancedAliens Vorlons]] could extend human lives enormously and the Shadows could bring people back from near-death, it is quite possible that Kosh knew all that and was making sure no-one else had even a sample of the immortality serum for reasons that would make sense by the end of Season 4.
* ''Series/TheOuterLimits1995'' episode "Unnatural Selection" dealt with the problems {{genetic engineering|IsTheNewNuke}} could cause a society, as [[DesignerBabies "fitter" babies]] grew into supermen and outpaced "normal" people. However, while this made for great drama in ''Film/{{Gattaca}}'' it was not nearly [[ScienceIsBad bad and horrifying enough]] for the show. So to spice things up, around 5% of all genetically modified children turn into the crazed descendants of [[TheIgor Igor]], and are [[KillItWithFire killed when found.]] Naturally, the couple who originally wanted this for their child have changed their minds, ''but'' the deformed child of the neighbors kills the back alley scientist before he can undo the changes, so the [[CruelTwistEnding episode's sad ending]] is that they'll never fully trust or love their genetically enhanced son.
* In ''Series/{{Supernatural}}'', resurrection is generally associated with [[CameBackWrong a transformation into a monster]] or a [[DealWithTheDevil demon deal]]. Sam and Dean, who have come back from the dead numerous times, both struggle with these implications.
* The ''Series/DoctorWho'' episode "The Woman Who Lived" devotes a good deal of time to discussing the Aesop that "Just because you're immortal doesn't mean you should stop caring about mortals."
* In ''Series/GoGoSentaiBoukenger'', the moral regarding Eiji/[[SixthRanger BoukenSilver]] (he's mixed race and fighting against his other half) would be a FamilyUnfriendlyAesop since he's fighting against his racially undesirable side...except it falls into this because he's a HalfHumanHybrid[[note]]he is part human, part Quester[[/note]], something you can't be in real life. Even then, it's somewhat justified, since with the exception of his mother, his non-human half is a race of literal monsters who desire destruction.

[[folder:Newspaper Comics]]
* The page quote comes from ''ComicStrip/CalvinAndHobbes'' story arc involving Calvin [[{{Snowlems}} bringing a snowman to life.]] The snowman became a vicious monster and created an army of "snow goons" that kept trying to kill Calvin. After defeating them by spraying them with the hose to freeze them solid, Calvin stated that he had learned a lesson from this misadventure: "Snow goons are bad news.", which he was glad was completely inapplicable.

[[folder:Tabletop RPG]]
* ''TabletopGame/{{Warhammer 40000}}'' presents extremely dark variations of the Immortality and Never Be A Hero Type 2s, with an immense helping of death. The Never Be A Hero sort is also subverted--trying to become superhuman is very dangerous and likely to condemn you to a horrible death (or worse) and has a [[TheSpartanWay between 30 and 75% mortality rate]] depending on the chapter, but you should try anyway, because where do you think the Imperium's supply of super soldiers comes from?
* White Wolf's ''TabletopGame/WerewolfTheApocalypse'' features an evil, polluting corporation as the main villain. The lesson is supposed to be that Corporations are Evil, but because of the logic of power creep and the need to have everything relate to the spirit world, the lesson ends up as, "companies which cavort with demonic entities are evil". Which... um, yeah. The environmental themes end up as irrelevant window dressing.
** ''TabletopGame/MageTheAscension'' went one worse. Aiming originally as an aesop pushing the po-mo science is evil trope, the Technocracy was envisioned as the evil villain that the magic-using traditional magicians (played by PC's) would oppose. Instead, the science/engineering literate gamers who played ''Mage'' fell in love with the Technocracy. Again, White Wolf was forced to {{anvilicious}}ly resort to more and more extreme KickTheDog moments. Whatever view you take, the setting broke down the metaphor so completely that the original Aesop was lost.

* ''The Gingerbread House''. From the New York Times review:
-->The moral of "The Gingerbread House" would appear to be that retailing your children to strangers will not bring satisfaction. [[AndThatsTerrible Glad that's been cleared up]].

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DivinityDragonCommander'': Three heroes [[spoiler:and their pet demon]] discover the wonders of steam technology in a medieval setting, allowing them to conquer the entire world and jumpstart industrialization 1,000 years early. All seems well until the leader gets caught in an affair that gets him assassinated and throws the empire into civil war by his bickering, insane children. This would normally be a regular power grab if not for the advanced weaponry mass-produced by each faction, which was meant to act as a deterrent against war but just made mass-murder a ''viable tactic''. In addition, the various sub-factions among your faction will bicker and propose ludicrously insane ideas, most of which are accredited to progress and unstable technology (the Imps in particular will propose ''nuclear warheads and embryo supersoldiers'' for kicks). So the main theme seems to be that ScienceIsBad... except (A) the source of most of the corruption from technology comes from [[spoiler:the demon that whispered hints about technology from worlds conquered by demonkind]] and was therefore in control of sadistic fucks all along, and (B) 1,000 years later, Damien unearths the technology, builds high-tech Heli-Cruisers with Nuclear Ion Cannons, and forces humanity back into the age of technology to fight back against him, which ends up going REALLY well because the five sub-factions who gave bad ideas aren't exactly relevant any more. So yeah: Don't accept technology from demons, just build your own doomsday weapons and carpet-bombing airships from your own efforts, and progress is bad IF there are religious undead, hippie elves, greedy dwarves, self-righteous lizards, *BOOM* Imps. Orcs are cool, apparently.
* ''VideoGame/TheDig'' adventure game contains crystals that can bring the dead back to life, as long as they have a more or less complete skeleton. However, the crystals eventually [[CameBackWrong corrupt the person]]. One part of the game involves a character begging you not to revive her if she dies, and when she does, you can decide to do it anyway or accept [[HumansAreFlawed death is final]] and not. If you do bring her back, she immediately throws herself off a cliff in horror. [[BrokenAesop The "death is a part of life," moral is completely lost when everyone who died is revived in the ending, corruption free]].
* Every game in the ''VideoGame/ShadowHearts'' series features someone trying to bring a loved one back from the dead. In the first game, it's a simple case of creating an EldritchAbomination instead of the loved one. In the second game, the protagonist can't get over the death of his love, so he tries - carefully - to bring her back from the dead. Seeing that it's failing, he aborts it before she can become a monster. In the third game, there's actually a successful resurrection, but [[spoiler:only because the resurrection process also resulted in a monster that was an order of magnitude worse than the monster in the first game]]. The lesson the games teach: Accept death, because trying to undo it will create monsters.
** The lesson is more like "accept death, because failing to do so will only harm you and your still-living loved ones." It's more apparent as an allegory in the prequel to the ''Shadow Hearts'' series, ''VideoGame/{{Koudelka}}''. The monsters are a side-effect of this failure in an alternate history with magic, but the story focuses most intently on the tragedy of a man who fails to let go of his lost love and ruins his own life, as well as the lives of those around him - it's just that in this case he ruined everyone's lives with monsters, instead of something more prosaic like alcoholism. It's reinforced with [[spoiler:Father O'Flaherty, who very nearly goes down the same path because he also loved the dead woman in question, and in the canonical ending essentially committed suicide. Suicide by giant monster, but still suicide]].
* One of the central villains of ''VideoGame/JadeEmpire'' kicks off the plot by capturing and imprisoning the local water deity, [[PoweredByAForsakenChild milking her body of water]] to save his empire from a years-long drought. [[AnAesop For some reason]], said water deity [[ComboPlatterPowers is also the one who maintains and oversees the dead and the afterlife,]] and with no one left to do the job...can you guess where this is going? \\
So remember, kids: if your empire is crippled and drought is killing your people by the thousands, don't try to resist or avoid the inevitable or you'll get attacked by ghosts.
* In ''VideoGame/LifeIsStrange'', the main character suddenly manifests time travel powers after seeing a girl shot. She discovers a lot of clever ways to use it, but no matter what she does, it never seems to make anything better in the end, and it's ultimately revealed that [[spoiler:her use of the time travel is what's causing the coming [[ClockRoaches apocalyptic storm]], and the only way to stop it is to go back to the first time she used her powers and let the girl get shot]]. In other words, you shouldn't use time travel powers that are miraculously given to you after a terrible event, because the universe might have arbitrary rules that make time travel a bad idea to use.
** This also overlaps with SpaceWhaleAesop, because the implied mundane message of "accept what happened in the past and move on" is only delivered through arbitrary and fantastic consequences. That, in turn, creates a BrokenAesop, because the only reason Max didn't learn to accept what happened early on is because the universe decided to grant her time travel powers to begin with, thanks again to the arbitrary rules of the fantastic element.
* Regal from ''VideoGame/TalesOfSymphonia'' eventually rebuts the BigBad's plan to [[AssimilationPlot turn everyone in the world into lifeless beings to end racial prejudice]] by saying that even if that were to happen, prejudice and discrimination would still continue. Though a scenario like that is unlikely in real-life, it could theoretically be reworded into something that's more grounded in real life: [[FamilyUnfriendlyAesop Prejudice and discrimination will always exist, in any form, and going to extremes to stop it will just cause more trouble than it prevents.]]

[[folder:Web Original]]
* {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d by Creator/AllisonPregler in her review of ''Billy Owens and the Secret of the Runes:''
-->"Well, it just goes to show you if you cast coma spells and cheat at carnival games, your magical pawn-shop professor will get his soul lost in a magical amulet given to you by some crazy Gypsy lady. And such an avoidable tragedy."

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* Many cartoons and children's shows will introduce characters with disabilities and/or on wheelchairs to show that you shouldn't be discriminated against due to physical disabilities. The problem is said character usually has PsychicPowers to make up for it, or the wheelchair is some CoolCar[=/=]PoweredArmor [[SuperWheelchair hybrid]]. In which case the aesop becomes "{{disability superpower}}s are cool!"
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible''
** Kim learns the hard way that if she overuses the SuperSpeed for taking care of far too many trivial tasks she doesn't even need to be doing, she gets stuck in hyper speed. Lesson learned: Get regular maintenance for your SuperSpeed shoes.
** {{Lampshade|Hanging}}d and [[RuleOfFunny played for laughs]] in "Grande Size Me". Ron gets hit with a [[{{Phlebotinum}} mutation ray of sorts]], [[HulkingOut hulks out]] on junk food and wrecks the town. At the end of the episode, Ron [[BreakingTheFourthWall breaks the fourth wall]] and [[AndKnowingIsHalfTheBattle gives a short speech to the audience]] ([[PaintingTheMedium confusing the other characters]]) about how you should never use a mutation ray, and how important it is to keep your DNA in check. (Thus [[ComicallyMissingThePoint missing]] what was [[ExecutiveMeddling supposed to be the point of the episode]], a lesson in healthy eating.)
** And again, the wheelchair guy that natural-athlete never-been-sick-a-day-in-her-life Kim felt uncomfortable around, turned out to have a [[SuperWheelChair flying jet chair]].
* A similar Aesop can be seen in the ''WesternAnimation/LiloAndStitchTheSeries'' episode "Frenchfry", where the titular experiment cooks addictive, bloating junkfood, after which point he is supposed to eat whomever ate his food. The message is supposed to be about healthy eating, but it comes off more as 'don't use illegal alien mutants to cook for you'.
* ''{{WesternAnimation/Futurama}}'':
** The DigitalPiracyIsEvil episode "I dated a Robot" is about not dating robot copies of people because it destroys your social life and the originals are kidnapped to be copied.
** In "The Prisoner of Benda" all of the regular characters are swapping minds with each other, and swapping back directly is impossible. The Globetrotters reason that with [[spoiler:two]] extra people, it's always possible to get everyone back to normal using the right combination of swaps. The professor remarks "and they say pure math has no real world applications". The writers actually [[ShownTheirWork mathematically proved]] [[http://theinfosphere.org/Futurama_theorem that this was so]].
* The second variant of Robot Revolution is mercilessly lampooned in an episode of ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'', where {{Ridiculously Human Robot|s}} Jenny insists on "liberating" the robots at an amusement park, refusing to realize they aren't and don't need to be RidiculouslyHumanRobots and are actually extremely limited in their programming and capabilities. Their efforts to live as they previously did -- since they can't live any other way -- cause chaos in the town, and eventually destroy the Martian civilization when she insists on sending them to another planet rather than sending them back to "slavery."
* ''WesternAnimation/RegularShow'' does this all the time. Lessons learned include "Rock Paper Scissors is evil and will probably get you killed." (Mordecai and Rigby nonetheless catch AesopAmnesia at the end of the same episode.)
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagic'':
** The pegasus Scootaloo is a variant of the above-mentioned characters with disabilities, except that her "disability" is the inability to fly. Her wings are supposedly undergrown for flight (though you [[InformedDeformity can't really tell]]), yet oddly they can, [[ArtisticLicensePhysics for some reason]], propel her at high speeds and great distances on her scooter. In [[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E5FlightToTheFinish "Flight to the Finish"]], Scootaloo learns that even though she can't fly, she's still awesome in other ways... like scooter riding. Thus we get the message, "Your limbs don't function properly? No problem! They can be used for other stuff, like SuperSpeed!" Ironically, with the exception of this episode, Scootaloo has never been portrayed as a disadvantaged filly, probably because most of the local population can't fly either.
** As Twilight said in "[[Recap/MyLittlePonyFriendshipIsMagicS4E23InspirationManifestation Inspiration Manifestation]]", [[SchmuckBait "Never, ever, ever, EVER take another book out of the library at the castle without asking!"]] (Or three Princesses might have to spend their entire day cleaning up your mistake. [[AndThatsTerrible Shame on you.]]) Gets funnier when you realize Spike ''ate'' the book [[WhatHappenedToTheMouse and Twilight doesn't even think it worth mentioning.]]
** The entire plot, resolution, and learned lesson of "A Flurry Of Emotions" relies entirely on Flurry Heart being an unstoppable infant PhysicalGod who even with a PowerLimiter is absurdly powerful, capable of flight, and seemingly much more intelligent than an infant should be. Any normal infant (even most from InUniverse) would only be able to sit grumpily in their baby carrier while Twilight completed her "boring" duties, and she would go on to spend some quality time with the kid with absolutely no conflict whatsoever.
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'': While the ''actual'' aesop of the episode "Steven and the Stevens" is the classic, 'Don't be a jerk', our main character takes a...different lesson from it, which he immortalizes in song.
--> ''By the way don't back in time/ Or you'll destroy yourself!''