A popular format in which to present a cartoon show. The half hour, 22 minutes of program time, is used to show three six-minute short cartoons. The remaining time is used for short framing segments or one-minute gags.

Many shows follow an A-B-A form for this format, meaning one series has a short in the first slot and in the last. This "A" series is generally the one that gives the whole show its name. The middle slot is filled by a second "B" series, that may or may not get billing in the TitleSequence. The "B" series is often in the same universe as the "A" series, and the two can often CrossOver, with the virtue that everyone who has seen the one will almost inevitably see the other. Creator/{{Hanna-Barbera}} likes this format for its Cartoon Network original shows, and many of its older productions.

This form has some advantages. The short episodes are easier to produce in parallel, since writing and animation tasks can be farmed out to a bigger staff, resulting in higher productivity. This, and carrying a comedic story for 22 minutes can be tricky. A six-minute short doesn't give the premise of a joke enough time to run out of steam.

This is different from an AnimatedAnthology, in that a specific two or three series are used, and both are made new for this format. Animated Anthologies have widely variable structures within a given episode, while ThreeShorts shows are usually locked into the exact form.

Most series today use a TwoShorts form, with a pair of eleven-minute episodes. Originally very rare, it's practically the standard for comedy. Some half-hour animated shows have a few Two Shorts episodes made up, any half of which can be used as emergency schedule filler around odd-length specials or movies. (The Disney Channel likes these, there are three episodes of ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' that follow Two Shorts form, and they crop up after any given movie airing.)

Sometimes, in between the shorts are super-short one-joke bits. ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' called these "Quickies", and they were often adapted from a single Sunday strip.
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!!Examples:

The granddaddy of this trope, WesternAnimation, has so many examples that it [[ThreeShorts.WesternAnimation got its own page.]]

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[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* Some {{anime}} air (in Japan) in a form like this, notably ''Anime/RiskySafety'', Folktales From Japan and ''Anime/OruchubanEbichu'', although the series they aired with are less notable. More common are the half-length episodes (about 13 minutes) which air back to back in a half-hour timeslot.
* ''VisualNovel/FinalApproach'' and ''VisualNovel/WWish'' aired together in this manner.
* The anime version of ''Manga/SgtFrog'' usually followed a Two Shorts format.
* ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' began as a Two Shorts format, sometimes leading to confusion about how many episodes there are since the shows from this period may be counted as either one or two.
* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'' was broadcast as one five-minute episode per weekday, which were then stitched together into a half-hour Five Shorts form on Saturday.
* Episodes two and onward of (Zoku) ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' follow this format.
** As does ''Goku'' (the OVA) and, so far, ''Zan'' (the third series).
* ''Anime/GalaxyAngel'' after its first season (26 thirteen-minute individual episodes) had a 2 shorts format.
* ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'', being a tribute to Western cartoons in many ways, follows this format.
** It sometimes deviates from it, like with the full-length episode 6.
* ''Manga/ShinryakuIkaMusume''
* ''Motto Manga/ToLoveRu''
* ''Manga/SoredemoMachiWaMawatteiru'' anime adaption features two thematically linked chapters of the manga per episode.
* ''ShizukuChan'' does two stories per episode.
* ''Manga/{{Sazae-san}}'' does the three shorts format.
* ''Anime/ThrillerRestaurant''
* The 2009 ''VideoGame/{{Tamagotchi}}'' anime has two stories per episode.
* ''Anime/ShinChan'' usually runs the three episode format.
* Most of the ''Anime/FullMetalPanicFumoffu'' episodes were made up of two different stories.
* ''Manga/SchoolRumble'' is a subversion. While the episodes are divided into three shorter ones (each with their own title, except for the season finales), they are all linked together in one overarching plot.
* ''Anime/JewelpetSunshine'' uses the two shorts format in more than half its episodes.
* ''{{Franchise/Anpanman}}'' follows the two story format in nearly every episode, with the exception of a few half-hour special episodes. Because of [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters the amount of characters]] in the franchise, the episodes are simply created by pairing up two characters (or a [[CastHerd defined group]] and a seperate character) and have them work off each other based on their personalities.
* ''Anime/{{Doraemon}}'' uses the ABA format, with a mini segment in between each episode. Most dubs cut these mini segments out, making it Two Shorts, and some episodes are full length.
* ''Shima Shima Tora No Shimajiro'' does the ABA format, with a live action segment featuring a costume Shimajiro being the B.
* ''YokaiWatch'' has up to four segments an episode.
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[[folder:Film]]
* ''Film/TheThreeStooges'' (2012 movie) follows this format, with three half hour shorts in the spirit of the original series.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/NedsDeclassifiedSchoolSurvivalGuide'' has two 11-minute shorts per episode, with the second sometimes continuing where the first left off. Unless Nickelodeon only shows one to even out the time slots after running interstitials.
* Season 14 of ''Series/BarneyAndFriends'' has two stories per episode. But really, it's two longer episodes from Seasons 10 and 11 shortened and strung together. A few episodes from a few years back followed this format, too.
* Series/NightGallery. How many segments per episode varied, but was usually two or three. In series two, the segments were often followed by brief comedic skits. The formula was dropped for series three, where the series took on a more conventional format of each episode consisting of one half hour story.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:{{Radio}}]]
* Early episodes of ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' ([[MissingEpisode none of which still exist]]) had three plots separated by musical interludes. Much later the show partly returned to the format with "The Million Pound Penny", in which the mystery set up in act one is solved during the musical break, with acts two and three forming the title story.
[[/folder]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''Animation/{{Pucca}}'' uses the Three Shorts format for the TV series.
* ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' followed the Three Shorts structure when adapted for television.
[[/folder]]

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