In Lincoln Heights the whole point of the series seems to be to show how dangerous it is to raise a family there. So then why do the Suttons insist on raising their family there? Because they love the neighborhood so much despite the fact that their kids have been shot, kidnapped and held hostage every other episode. So it's fine to raise your family in a dangerous neighborhood as long as they're comfortable there.
The final episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch badly mangled its moral. On the eve of her wedding, Sabrina gets cold feet because the magical stone representing her soul doesn't quite interlock with the magical stone representing the groom's. The entire rest of the episode builds to a clear moral: there are no sure things, don't rely on magic, just do your best and have faith. Then she leaves him at the altar to run off with Harvey — and their magic stones interlock perfectly. Hm. Guess the moral was that magic is right after all. Also, First Guy Wins, so the whole 'no sure things' lesson is out as well.
In Family Matters, one of Extraverted Nerd Steve Urkel's redeeming traits was originally that he was a personification of the aesop "just Be Yourself." The original appearance of his alter-ego Stefan Urquelle was merely a vehicle for anvilicious preaching of this aesop. Unfortunately, then someone on the creative team decided that Stefan should become a regular part of Urkel's bag of Mad Scientist tricks, and the aesop was broken. Attempts to mend it — for instance, the fact that Steve and Stefan could not exist at the same time, forcing Laura to give up her romance with Stefan because Steve had the right to exist as himself — were themselvesbroken by later, new wrinkles (Steve accidentally clones himself and the clone decides to be permanently Stefan). The Aesop was finally mended in the final season when Laura accepted Steve's proposal over Stefan's but by then, the series had moved to CBS and not enough viewers were watching to keep the show on the air.
Urkel's almost always been a broken aesop. By 'being himself', he caused the majority of the problems the Winslows faced over the years.
When a Jerkass date ridicules Steve, Laura defends him by ranting about how despite his many flaws, Steve always treated her with "respect". Except that when you sum up Steve's behavior towards Laura throughout the series, you realize that he hasn't been any better. Steve repeatedly refused to accept that Laura was not interested in him, took even the most minutely nice thing that she said or did as a sign that she did return his feelings, constantly ignored her requests that he leave her alone, and just as frequently interfered with her dates and relationships to the point where he was literally chasing guys off. That is not respect, that's the basis for an episode of the Investigation Discovery series "Stalked".
A glaring demonstration of this in the episode "Born To Be Mild". When a gang member makes advances to Laura, she snaps at him, "Don't touch me". When he continues, Steve slaps his hand away, saying, "The lady asked not to be touched." So apparently it's only wrong when others ill-treat or harass Laura. When Steve does it, it's proof of his love.
And like with Stefan, the show's writers tried to fix the issue with Steve's obsession with Laura, by introducing Mya, who was obsessed with Steve and accepted him for his original self. This was the show's attempt to give viewers the lesson of Laser-Guided Karma... which ultimately didn't work, because he eventually sits Myra down to set clear boundaries for their relationship: he has the right to refuse her advances, she needs to accept that he's only dating her until Laura comes around, at which point he'll drop her like a bad habit with no remorse.
More than a few Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes had members of the Enterprise's crew caught up in planetary rebellions. In at least two of them, crew members were specifically targeted for abduction because they were Federation citizens, and the Federation had access to plentiful weapons and supplies that they hoped would be traded for the hostages. In all cases, Picard refused to provide any significant aid to the party opposing the ones that took his personnel, citing the Prime Directive as his reason. The problem with that is that the abductors had committed an act of war against the Federation. One group came very close to stealing or destroying the Enterprise, the flagship of the fleet. So the moral of "You have to solve your own problems, rather than finding someone else to solve them for you", became "The strong and principled are good targets, because they won't fight someone so much weaker than them."
The episode The Game attempted to make an aesop that video games are EVIL. However, the game in question (a weird "put disc into bad CGI tubes" game) was actively programmed to brainwash who ever plays it. Also, holodecks are the final form of video games (can simulate ANY scenario imaginable, and stimulate all the senses while doing it), and nobody had a problem with them.
So here's Star Trek's message: "We have a great respect for the cultures of the Native Americans... and we convey that by showing that they were backwards, languageless cavemen until they were touched by mystical white people from outer space." You're welcome.
In the TNG episode "Up The Long Ladder," Riker and Dr. Pulaski discover that the bad guys have secretly cloned them. The still-developing clones are unconscious and defenseless, so Riker and Pulaski simply glance at each other, nod, and use a phaser to vaporize the clones. Geordi calmly watches them do it. A few years later, in the DS9 episode "A Man Alone," Odo arrests a man for doing the same thing (to fake his own death), with the words "Killing your own clone is still murder!"
Also in "Up The Long Ladder," Riker expresses horror and disgust at the mere notion of cloning human beings, saying "It's not a question of harm. One William Riker is unique, perhaps even special. But a hundred of him, a thousand of him, diminishes me in ways I can't even imagine." Later, in "Second Chances," he learns that a transporter malfunction created an identical duplicate of him eight years ago . . . and it turns out to be no big deal. He just has a twin brother that he didn't know about before. The option of just drawing a phaser and killing the Other Will on the spot doesn't even occur to him, because Clones Are People Too.
In the Xindi arc of Star Trek: Enterprise, a big theme is that they probably shouldn't be fighting each other. But when Archer finds an insectoid hatchery, whose crew performed a Heroic Sacrifice to keep their egg-hatchery running, his attempts to keep it operational and have it send a distress signal is treated as irrational and dangerous. Why? Because they're BUG BABIES born of THE ENEMY, never mind how a huge theme throughout the franchise is respecting new forms of life, even if you don't recognize them or they give you the heebie-jeebies, and to the Xindi arc specifically that they're Not So Different. Archer's comparison to saving a nursery of humanoid babies and a truce in the Eugenics Wars where both sides moved the battle lines away from a school? A totally irrational response caused by egg gunk. Okay.
In one episode Evie uses her powers to pass her driving test, with the result that she gets a license despite not being able to parallel park. This is, obviously, a reprehensible thing, and consequentially, she gets in a car accident the very first time she takes the car out. Everything's reasonable so far, except for the fact that the tester was being a jerk and demanded she park in a space visibly smaller than the car. So the moral is "It's not fair to use your superpowers to succeed at something that would be physically impossible to do without them."
"I Want My Evie TV": Evie's recently-arrived Uncle Mick tries to persuade her to use her powers for personal gain. After being repeatedly cautioned about using her powers for personal gain, she uses her powers to make a music video for a school project. She is punished by her mom, for using her powers for personal gain. So far so good, right? In the end, her video gets entered in a contest and she wins $500. And that's the end of the episode. That's it. No confession, no moment of revelation. No moral epiphany. Turns out that using her powers for personal gain just works with no negative consequences.
When Hiro from Heroes discovers that his father had died, he traveled back into the past to save his father, but his father declined the offer by saying that he should not play God with his powers; then the entire episode is about Hiro learning that his father is absolutely correct and he presents this as An Aesopduring his father's funeral. The problem is that Hiro's Time Travel abilities are about changing the past and he had done it before without complaining once. Worse, Present!Dad wouldn't have died if Future!Hiro hadn't traveled through time to save Past!Dad from dying in the first place! It could be that the very Stargate-Aesop is, "Time Travel gives everyone a headache, even when it's their main ability."
This was somewhat lampshaded when Hiro was put on trial in his own mind for playing around with causality for his own benefit.
Kids Incorporated frequently had to shave off some load-bearing plot elements to fit in their morals — each episode only had about 7 minutes of actual show between the musical numbers. The two most common:
Anything based around the Aesop of "Be Yourself". Time after time, one of the Kids would try something new or to hang out with someone who was different from their usual peer group. Unless this newcomer was Inspirationally Disadvantaged, the end result was always that hanging out with the new person made them change, act like a punk, act too sophisticated, act arrogant, etc. The writers wanted to show that it was bad to change yourself to make new "cooler" friends, but the story was used with such frequency that it seemed as if trying in any way to broaden your horizons or make friends outside the regular cast was a bad thing.
Ambition Is Evil: About once a season, something would give one or all of the kids a taste of stardom, and they would promptly forget about The Power of Friendship and start acting like jackasses and rivals. In the end, they would have to turn down any chance at becoming rich and famous in order to keep to what's "really important". Aside from the usual "Success is evil" vibe, we're repeatedly told in the early seasons that Kids Incorporated are already the most famous juvenile band on the planet, and are world famous. Heck, the theme song includes the phrase "Looks like we made it!" So, um, exactly how successful are you allowed to be before it becomes immoral?
Gilligan's Island: According to series creator Sherwood Schwartz, the show was supposed to be about the need for us all to work together. So who ends up getting off the island? The guest stars, by betraying the regular cast.
iCarly: In the episode "iGo Nuclear", the intended Green Aesop is destroyed with a message that eventually boils down to "don't bother trying, you'll just do it wrong anyway," as well as failing one character for not doing something, and then failing a second character because he did what the first character didn't do. It's worth noting that Executive Meddling mandated a Green Aesop that the creators didn't want to write—this might be a purposefulSpoof Aesop that being forced into environmentalism just sucks.
A Saturday Night Live sketch parodying The Twilight Zone episode "The Eye of the Beholder" intentionally does this by having the male characters look at the "ugly" patient (played by Pamela Anderson) and proclaim, "She's hot!" Not only did they lampshade this trope, they slightly-more-subtly sent a message of modern media eschewing thought-provoking entertainment in favor of gratuitous T&A that ensures ratings. They took this even further by having all the characters except the patient literally have pig noses, and the male pig-people complain that after having seen the patient, they would no longer be able to stand looking at their pig-faced wives. This drives a pig-nurse to angrily point out (to no avail) that the men had pig faces themselves!
True Blood. The vampire rights movement seems to parallel every oppressed minority ever, but the Vampires Are People Too message just doesn't ring when you examine how the vampires actually behave. Examples:
Most of them are cold-blooded killers. Bill isn't an exception.
Despite claiming that they want to integrate with human society, they still maintain their own parallel system of government, with Queens and Sheriffs empowered to deal out punishment.
They view and keep humans as property. Sookie is kept relatively "safe" because Bill says that she belongs to him, and Sookie agrees to go along with it.
Vampires can use mind control and convert others, either voluntarily or against their will. Obviously, minorities in real life can't, not to mention that it plays into fear-mongering Unfortunate Implications about how LGBT people "recruit" others.
In short, the fears that many people have against vampires are legitimate, not just the result of ignorant prejudice. This is entirely deliberate on the part of both the show and the novels it's based on. Which makes the resulting Aesop... maybe the bigots were right all along?
Word of God even says that comparing the vampire rights movement to the LGBT movement is somewhat homophobic.
In a 2 part serial of the revived Doctor Who, the finale ends with a Fantastic Aesop that the gangers (remote controlled bodies) should be treated as just as human as the originals they're copies of. This is after a ganger jumps off the slippery slope, creates another ganger just to kill it so that it can kill more humans, and goes Ax-Crazy and tries to kill everyone.
Counts as an inversion too. It follows the "Gangers are people too" Aesop through to its logical conclusion - just like humans, some are bad, some good, and some in between. The villain ball passes between human and ganger over the course of the story and by the end, the survivors are a mixed group of gangers and humans working together to escape from the aforementioned Ax-Crazy.
An episode of Sex and the City had an Aesop about how you can't change a man. However, in this same episode, every male character who appears changes in some way.
In episode 17 of Mirai Sentai Timeranger, an Aesop is taught that fighting is wrong, even in self-defense - in a Super Sentai series where fights are the preferred method of problem solving.
An episode of Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers has the Yellow Ranger (Who is Asian of course) being talked to about honor. Most notably, how she should fight monsters all on her own because it's honorable. Besides of all the other things wrong with this aesop, this episode was very closely placed to an episode about teamwork, which had literally the exact opposite aesop. And between the two, on a show where 5 super heroes usually beat up on one monster, the whole honor thing just doesn't make as much sense.
The lesson in the Power Rangers Mystic Force three-parter "Dark Wish" is supposed to be "don't take shortcuts, do the work you're supposed to", demonstrated by having the Rangers try to wish away the bad guys through the resident genie and having it backfire horribly. This is undermined by A) the Rangers have been encouraged all season to embrace their magical gifts, so "don't cheat with magic" rings hollow, B) the bad guys get the chance to use the genie themselves, and their wish to depower the Rangers is completely successful, and C) the Rangers' reward for learning not to use magic is even stronger magic that fuels their Super Mode.
In Power Rangers Samurai, the Red Ranger stays behind to train on his day off while all the other Rangers go to an amusement park. His master says that in order to master his weapon, he needs balance in his life and should have more fun. The Ranger shrugs him off and eventually masters the weapon with more training, even after all these hints that in order to master his weapon, he needed to have more fun.
Power Rangers Ninja Storm when Sensei told Dustin not to use his abilities for trivial matters. Said trivial matter involved protecting a business that was basically being vandalised. In other words, "Don't use your abilities to stop crime."
The Noah's Arc movie gets in several aesops, but one is particularly broken. When Noah finds out Alex is addicted to caffeine pills he takes it very seriously, and thats where the Drugs Are Bad aesop is played out. But throughout the movie we've seen Brandy enjoy a variety of drugs quite a bit harsher than caffeine, and its all Played for Laughs with no real consequences.
In an episode of The Equalizer, eponymous character Robert McCall, whose client has been shot, delivers a blistering screed against private ownership of firearms. He's standing in his private arsenal at the time. (Satisfyingly, sidekick Mickey Kostmayer points this out.)
In Glee, near the end of Season 1, the show tried to promote a Gay Aesop. Finn learns to his shock from his mother that they're moving in with her boyfriend. Her boyfriend happens to be the father of Kurt, who has a crush on Finn. The two have to room together, and Finn's homophobia causes tension between the two. Eventually at the end, Finn has to learn to respect others despite their differences. Sounds simple enough, but the way they go about achieving this aesop made it broken. Kurt, both in this episode and over the course of the season, had a blatant crush on Finn and the rooming situation was part of his plan to seduce Finn in hopes of him becoming his boyfriend. In other words, despite the aesop, Kurt never did respect Finn's boundaries.
It gets a bit compounded with the Disproportionate Retribution when Finn calls Kurt's decorating "faggy", and time itself practically gasps in offense at the excited utterance of hate speech. Thing is, Kurt's behavior is inappropriate, and his choice in decorating their room with a blending of feminine and masculine elements was presented as a sort of visual metaphor for the two of them joining together... which he openly wants to be a romantic relationship, despite the fact that they're about to effectively become stepbrothers. So, using profanity in a fit of anger to refer to inanimate objects is absolutely unforgivable and means you need to learn a lesson about respecting others, but sexually harassing your new stepbrother while dominating the space you share with him with romantically-suggestive imagery is totally okay.
In season 2 Kurt calls Blaine out on the fact that Blaine is the only one to even have solos with The Warblers and everybody else just sways in the background and provide backvocals for him. Blaine takes this seriously and when the Warbler council argue which song would be the best for Blaine to sing at Regionals, Blaine stands up and tells them he wants their voices to be heard too and that they should have solos as well. When the council wants to vote who should have the solos instead, Blaine tells them he already decided he wants one of his songs to be a duet with Kurt, then he tells Kurt he picked him to spend more time with him, because he wants them to be boyfriends. Then at Regionals they sing one duet together and the second song is a Blaine solo with the rest of the Warblers swaying in the background and providing back vocals.
In the Christmas episode in season 3, the club is given the choice between volunteering at a homeless shelter for the holidays and filming a christmas special. They arrive near the end and we are clearly supposed to see it as a noble heartwarming moment which ignores the fact that they filmed the special anyway and arrived later. It wouldn't be as troubling but for the way the writers obviously want this to be seen as a selfless moment on their part. The message comes across "Do the right thing but only if it doesn't cost you anything".
One episode of Saved By The Bell: The College Years has Slater discovering his Hispanic heritage and that his father changed his name to get into the army. Zack is presented as being ignorant of this and the one who has to learn An Aesop. Except Slater out of nowhere calls Zack a racist because he tries to set Slater up with a blonde girl. The exact quote is "why do you only think girls with blonde hair and blue eyes are attractive? I've dated girls with dark hair and dark eyes before" - which is a massive Continuity Snarl given that many girls of different ethnicities have served as Zack's love interests and Slater's own major love interest was a Caucasian blonde. Zack apologises for his behaviour at the end of the episode but Slater never apologises for being overly sensitive. Oh and there's a scene where Zack uses a racist remark and Slater comes back with a racist response of his own. Zack apologises for his but Slater doesn't.
A Mexican telenovela called "La Catrina" revolves around the story of a rich woman just before the Mexican Revolution who went around in disguise, robbing from the rich and giving to the poor. It's meant to be heroic, but the question is: since she was so rich, why didn't she just give to the poor from her own fortune, instead of stealing others'?
Mexican's "La Rosa de Guadalupe" it's supposed to give valors and ethics to the people, sometimes in an excessively catholic view but even when not it manages to screw things so bad more times than not, at times like in a Chick strip the bad guy will repent and get a happy ending with some innocent dying in the process, others with clear "Didn't do the research" scenarios, and one particular time with all of the people about to get killed saved by nothing but a miracle which in a country like Mexico sounds cruel and unnecessary.
In Wizards of Waverly Place, Alex never learns to handle life without using magic to get her way. However - she is learning...
The episode "Moving On" is all about how Justin needs to move on and be open to new relationships after his girlfriend (a vampire) gets scratched by a werewolf (Alex's boyfriend) and Rapid Aging sets in, causing her to run into the woods to hide. Near the end of "Wizards Vs. Everything", guess who comes back, returned to her teenage form and ready to date Justin again?
One episode of Zoey 101 involved Zoey and Logan starting a web segment that quickly became popular in school. However, the dean bans them from doing it, so they fight back and win, the moral being "censorship is bad". Which would be fine, except for the fact that the show was causing full-scale riots in the halls during school hours. That kind of response is a valid reason to ban something.
Boston Public had an incident from a previous episode's Aesop altered to fit the Aesop of the current ep. An academically-overachieving girl suffers a stress-related panic attack meant to open Lauren Davis' eyes to the intense pressure she puts on her students with her Death Glare, high standards and stern attitude. In the next episode, which is about students using performance-enhancing drugs, the hospitalized student is revealed to have been on a Ritalin-esque drug that caused her attack. Lauren still struggled with it in later storylines but the girl's speech to Lauren about how her students really see her falls flat. Furthermore, it's implied that the teacher's techniques work.
In the Red Dwarf episode "Timeslides" Rimmer attempts to convince an alternate Lister (created by Lister's fiddling with the past) to come back to the ship.
You call this happiness? Surrounded by toadying lackeys and paid sycophants? Living with a love-goddess sex-bomb model megastar? You call this contentment? You know, I stand here now and I look at the two of us, and I ask one simple question: Who is the rich man? You, with your fifty-eight houses, your private island in the Bahamas, your multi-billion pound business empire; or me, with... with... with what I've got. (Pause) It's you, isn't it? Yes, it's all very clear to me now. You — richer and happier. I should have thought a bit harder about that speech, really. I cocked it up a bit, didn't I...?
Johnathan, the angel, is often reminding his mortal friend, Mark, that violence is not the answer, often in cases where violence could reasonably be used. However, there are times when Johnathan uses violence himself, such as a time when he beats up three guys for stealing another guy's lunch. So, violence is not the answer, except when it is, but only if it's for something trivial.
The episode "Friends" has a fat girl who doesn't have any friends. Why? Apparently, it's because she's fat. The just be yourself Aesop is broken in this episode. The life lesson this fat girl learns at the end of the episode is that it's okay to be yourself - unless you're fat! Then, it's okay to lose weight, but not because it's healthy or because doughnuts were costing her $3.10 a day, but because people will like you if you're thin. The intention may have been "Obesity is bad. Diet and exercise can make you thin" which isn't so bad, but pretty much the opposite of "Be Yourself".
In the episode "Man to Man", a 19-year-old is good at just about everything he does. Johnathan and Mark discuss how winning isn't everything, despite the fact that the guy is just good at the things he does and applies himself. Mark and Johnathan come up with a few ways to show him how it's okay to lose sometimes, then use God's power to make him lose.
A student athletic star ends up getting his legs paralyzed in an accident, which makes him feel worthless until someone helps him learn that there are other sports that he can participate in without the use of his legs, such as the pommel horse, except that there's no way he'd be able to do the routine he did without the use of his legs.
In My Name Is Earl, Earl explains how you shouldn't let people's labels define who you are. What's he doing while saying this? He's putting away his Karma list because people have taken to calling him "Karma guy."
On Strong Medicine, perennial Jerk Sue Lu Delgado is constantly ranting and raving about the evils of rich people and acting holier-than-thou because she isn't. However, she's horrified when her son's girlfriend (whom she's been incredibly nasty too, despite the girl being nice and polite) insinuates that Lu dislikes her for being white (Lu is Hispanic), and distressed that her son thinks she's racist. So, automatically disliking and judging people because of their race is wrong (which it is, of course), but automatically disliking and judging people because they have money is perfectly fine?
Also another fine example of Lu's dislike of wealthy people was in another episode where two couples (one being working class and the other one being, you guessed it, wealthy) are trying to adopt the same baby girl. Well, Lu wanted the working class couple to get the baby, so she told both couples that the girl had some incurable disease (which she didn't; Lu was just trying to trick the wealthy couple into forfeiting the process of adopting a "sick" baby.) After this revelation to both couples, the wealthy couple said to Lu that they would love the child no matter what (and ended up with the child) while the working class couple, upon learning the other couple were now the girl's parents, were relieved that they didn't get the baby, seeing how they felt that they couldn't handle a sick child.
On The West Wing, the two-parter "24 Hours in America" ends with Donna eloquently scolding Toby and Josh for politicizing everything, telling them that, in all the time they were traveling from Indiana to D.C., no one brought up the Bartlet vs. Ritchie election except them. It's a nice speech, but it's not true: at several points along the way, when Toby or Josh merely mentions working for Bartlet, whoever they were talking to would immediately shoot back a surly, "Didn't vote for him the first time, don't plan to the second time."
But that was because of a bet that Josh made with Toby that every time he said his name, he had to add "I work at the White House," so he was always the person who brought politics up first. It gets a Meaningful Echo at the end of the episode.
On the Nevada Day episode of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, The writers clearly tried to get across a message about how not everyone in small towns is an unreasonable, stuck in the dark ages bible bashing gun-nut (To the point where John Goodman's character actually says something to that effect). Its a nice if glaringly obvious aesop that gets broken because the Judge was giving them every reason to believe that he really was as bad as they thought he was. When he comes into the sheriff's office, He puts a holstered gun on the table,refers to nearby chinese people as "Japs", refuses to listen to any legal arguments from the attorney and threatens to have him shot if he keeps talking (I.e, actually trying to defend his client) and claims to have never heard of the station they work for. He then has a good laugh at their expense and chastises them in a manner clearly directed at audience members who had made their mind up. Its like calling someone a racist name and chastising them for assuming you're racist. The judge even tells Tom that he doesn't like his show in a manner that basically says "I don't like what you do for a living so I'm not going to be fair or do my job right". The only thing that saves Tom is having a brother in the army and we never get a sense that the judge would have been fair or lenient otherwise. It also doesn't help that the show has previously shown Tom's parents from the midwest as so hopelessly out of touch with pop culture that they've never heard of Abbot & Costello despite presumable growing up in the 1950's.
Benson: In the episode "Don't Quote Me," it is discovered that somebody in the governor's mansion leaked damaging information to a reporter. Paranoia quickly infects the staff as, one after another, Benson, Marcy, Kraus, and Taylor are all suspected of being the leak. The entire episode seems to be warning against the paranoia that can develop in these situations, and depicts the characters as being wrong for turning the matter into a witch hunt, and for accusing people they should have known were trustworthy and loyal to the governor. This aesop about trust would work, if it wasn't for the fact that the leak turned out to be, of all people, Katie. When the governor's 8-year-old daughter proves to be the guilty party ... Well, it appears that nobody was above suspicion, after all.
In the Xena: Warrior Princess episode "Here She Comes, Miss Amphipolis" Xena has to go undercover in a beauty pageant, and finds that one of the other contestants has only entered because she wants to get a winter's supply of food for her village. At the end of the episode, (along with the other girls) she quits, stating that winning the competition isn't worth losing her pride and dignity. First of all, (according to her) she's already lost it, so she may as well have hung in there and gotten a winter's supply of food to go with it. Secondly, endangering the lives of hungry children over the winter isn't a particularly good reason to quit a competition for the sake of one's dignity. Thirdly, it doesn't seem to occur to her that she had her pride and dignity all along considering she only entered the pageant in the first place for the sake of others. For an episode that was meant to demonstrate that beauty pageant contestants aren't just pretty faces, they really missed the boat with this one. It gets slightly more off-key, since most beauty pageants aren't held for charity, and when they are, the charitable donations don't go to the winner.
In the Bones episode "The Goop on the Girl," a bank is hit by a suicide bomber who apparently triggered the bomb using the signal from an angry left-wing radio show. Booth accuses the show's host of spreading "poison" on the airwaves and claims that he is responsible for the attack, even if he isn't legally responsible. As it turns out, the suicide bomber was being manipulated by a pair of bank robbers who were not motivated by ideology. The only reason the radio show's signal seemed to set off the bomb was because it was very close to the signal used by the robbers' own detonator. The episode ends with the host lecturing to his audience on the dangers of media-stoked anger and signing off for the last time.
The L Word constantly defended itself from being just a cash cow pandering to the straight male demographic, while featuring extensive sex scenes between women and restricting gay guys to extras. Let's just say most of the so-called PSA's in the show never really got much impact.
Even better, the following line, spoken by Jenny after tazering a homophobic bully no less, is one of the most hypocritical things to say in a minority show :
Jenny: "We're dykes, not fags".
M*A*S*H has an episode where Klinger wants a nose job, but the doctors convince him that he should be happy the way he is. Klinger goes for it and all is great for a while. Then comes the later episode where a guy named Baker, who has a smaller nose than Klinger, wants to get a nose job. He easily convinces the doctors that he should have a nose job because his life would be so much better if he didn't have such an unattractive nose. The doctors even risk court-martial to get a plastic surgeon to do the surgery.
It also has Hawkeye Pierce, who is anti-war and anti-violence. He drones on and on about alternatives to fighting, but then when someone irks him, he punches him or mutilates him in surgery. With Hawkeye, violence isn't the answer when it's someone else's problem, but when it's Hawkeye's problem, violence is okay.
MacGyver says guns are bad and that you shouldn't use them. Then, there's an episode where a racist newspaper editor is confronted by MacGyver at gunpoint. Someone has to remind MacGyver that shooting this person would be bad.
The Nickelodeon sitcom Romeo! had an episode in which Romeo's older sister got a boyfriend. She is lectured on how she is not mature enough for a relationship. Later, when the boyfriend comes over for dinner, he eats some Blazing Inferno Hellfire Sauce and reacts hilariously. The sister dumps him and it's presented as her being "mature." However, what would be truly mature is not breaking up with your boyfriend over something so minor.
At the end of Smallville episode "Unsafe," Martha Kent lectures Clark on using better judgment about something he did while he was on red Kryptonite, which impairs his judgment. Characters in the show are pretty consistently forgiven for things they did "while they weren't themselves," including at the beginning of season 3 when Clark comes home after a much longer bout with red Kryptonite in Metropolis during which he was committing serious crimes. And for all of that he was on red Kryptonite voluntarily, whereas in "Unsafe" Alicia gives it to him without his knowledge.
A Hannah Montana episode where Miley goes out with a rich boy and his parents make fun of her accent and stereotype her. They're portrayed as jerks for this and get comeuppance. Earlier in the same episode Miley said that they talked funny and the Zany Scheme of the episode involves everyone donning bad British accents.
On two episodes of The Bob Newhart Show, when Carol was vacationing, Bob was saddled with an extremely incompetent elderly secretary who could neither answer the phone nor remember his name. At the end of her second appearance (which started with an exasperated Bob pleading to Jerry not to get this same woman again), it's revealed that once she was young and cute, and hired solely for this reason. Now that she was older, all of her presumed ditz qualities were magnified and she was not in a good place. Bob feels bad for this, and we are supposed to as well—-but consider. When she was younger, she got all kinds of employment opportunities women deemed less attractive but presumably more competent did not. In the present of that show, it can be inferred that these other women are the competent vets badly wanted for their skills. The villain is supposed to be sexism and tossing someone aside when their looks fade. But while this woman got used by the system, she also once made good use of the system. It's hard to sympathize with her entirely, since this sad turnaround is also a bit of karmic justice. Plus, she is blazingly incompetent. She is also very far on in years, so her looks have probably not been a factor for some time. One wonders how she's had any recent employment. It seems like she's now trading on people feeling sorry for her, again diluting potential sympathy.
In a more cynical light, Cold Case could be looked at as one big broken aesop. In all of its LGBT-friendliness, it showed us that Gays (and Jewish people for that matter) were unacceptable targets, but other minorities (especially Blacks), women and Christians weren't.
In the final episode of season 1, a nine-year old boy who's kind of a loner is told by Louisa that, if you allow people to make fun of you and don't react, then they'll accept you because "they'll see you're okay". Even worse, this Aesop is repeated by the boy to Martin... who in the same episode had been the victim of a practical joke that wasn't strictly a Deadly Prank, but was still pretty cruel and quickly made him a laughing stock by pretty much everybody in the village, to the point where he was being discussed on local radio.
There's another one in an episode where the school's caretaker is kicked out and is sleeping in the school shed. He's delirious from carbon monoxide from a gas heater in a closed area, and has been putting fertilizer on the floors and floor cleaner on the vegetables. One of the teachers is trying to teach the kids the importance of eating fruits and vegetables, when Martin bursts into the room and shouts "Don't eat those! Destroy them immediately!"
Frasier: In "I Hate Frasier Crane," when Frasier decides to renege on fighting with a man who he had accepted an invitation to fight with, Martin is furious and brings up a past incident where Frasier decided not to fight a guy. An incident from Frasier's CHILDHOOD. His anger seems to stem from embarrassment at his son not being "man" enough to go through with such a fight. However, it's first lampshaded by Frasier how stupid it is that Martin won't be satisfied until he comes home with a black eye, and then Subverted when Martin says he only wants Frasier to carry out promises he makes; once it becomes clear that Frasier is actually going to fight, Martin calls in the cops to break it up before things really get physical.