Central Theme / Western Animation

Remember, a Central Theme is not the same as An Aesop; a theme is a question, idea, topic or concept that the text explores, while an Aesop is a conclusion the author reaches about the theme or a lesson they wish to impart to the reader. As such, you should avoid phrasing your examples as conclusions.
  • Adventure Time
    • Growing Up/Puberty
    • World Powers
    • The Generation of Today
    • Acceptance leads to healing and growth.
    • Evolution and Adaptation
    • Cosmic Space/ Time & Spirituality
    • Losing Mentality & Mental Illness
  • Allen Gregory: Screw the Rules, I Have Money!
  • American Dad!: Be open-minded, but don't get too overwhelmed by new ideas.
  • Archer: We're all ruled by our vices, and will always make poor decisions because of them.
  • Avatar:
    • Avatar: The Last Airbender: War Is Hell. But forgiveness, love, friendship, and compassion win out over spite, hatred, and fear in the end. A friend may become an enemy, but an enemy may also become a friend. Destiny is choice; and choices must be made, not put off. Also, be open-minded, it might just be the only difference between you and your enemy.
    • The Legend of Korra: Attaining balance, whether it be in an individual, a city, or the world. Recognizing one's own strengths and weaknesses, and by doing so, adapting to your personal environment and situation.
    • When watched side by side, it's clear that The Last Airbender is about a human learning to become a god, whilst The Legend of Korra is about a god learning to become a human.
  • Beast Machines: Bringing life back to earth; like the life cycle of a plant.
  • Ben 10:
    • Make the best out of the cards you are dealt.
    • You shouldn't be a hero for the thrill of it and the praise afterwards. You should be a hero because it's the right thing to do.
  • Big Mouth: Growing Up Sucks but at least we have our loved ones.
  • Bob's Burgers: Life maybe hard and awkward, but at least you have your family. Even if they are hard and awkward.
  • Bojack Horseman:
  • The Boondocks:
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers:
    • Respect the environment and help the planet (Earth).
    • Nature vs Industry.
  • Clarence: It's possible to find fun and excitement in the boring and mundane.
  • The Cleveland Show: The perils and pitfalls of fatherhood.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door: Protecting childhood.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog:
    • Protecting the people you love, even when it means going up against the things you fear most.
    • Courage is not necessarily the absence of fear, but rather the willingness to confront one's fears even despite being afraid.
  • Craig of the Creek: Childhood and Love.
  • Cybersix: What does it mean to be human?
  • DC Animated Universe:
  • Dexter's Laboratory: In any pursuit, you're going to fail in small ways, maybe even in big ones. The important thing is learning the right lessons from failure.
  • DuckTales (1987) and DuckTales (2017): The spirit of adventure and The Power Of Family.
  • Ed Eddn Eddy: Screwing people over and loving money more than friendship will destroy you.
  • The Fairly Oddparents: Be Careful What You Wish For.
  • Family Guy:
  • Fillmore!: There's always More Than Meets the Eye.
  • Futurama:
    • Loneliness. Difference. Some ideas remain familiar even after the world has changed enough to become unrecognizable. No matter how different and isolated you are, you can always find common ground with people if you look for it.
    • No matter how much time passes or how much our technology and world evolves, humanity is always basically the same, for better or worse.
    • There is always more to people than you would presume and no matter how small and insignificant you think you are, how weak and stupid you are, life always has some value and meaning to the people around you.
  • Gargoyles:
  • Gravity Falls:
    • Learning how to deal with the fact that things aren't always what they seem.
    • The ones who love you and you love are people you can trust.
    • Growing up can be rough somedays, but the people who love you can help you get through it.
  • Hey Arnold!: Rousseau Was Right. People in poor circumstances are definitely able to find happiness in their circumstance. .
  • Invader Zim:
    • Humans Are Morons. Amazing that we have not been invaded.
    • Luckily, the aliens are morons, too. Word of God points out that anyone with the Irkens' miraculous technology and average intelligence could conquer the Earth in no time. Zim, on the other hand, is continuously thwarted by his own ridiculous plans, a complete lack of common sense, and a ten-year-old social outcast; the aliens in "Abducted" are utterly brainless. One could argue that Invader Zim contains a subtler theme that technology makes us stupider because we no longer have to think.
  • Disney's The Legend of Tarzan TV series: Balancing responsibilities.
  • The Loud House: The ups and downs of living in a large family.
  • The Magic School Bus: Learning about nature and the world, and the fun in doing so with your friends.
  • Milo Murphy's Law: Maintaining a positive attitude when everything goes wrong.
  • Moral Orel:
    • Just because kids are prone to mistakes doesn't mean adults are any better.
    • People misinterpreting The Bible or using it to serve themselves and exploit others, instead of staying true to its teachings, will make monster out of them.
    • Doing the right thing, even if it means going against traditional values espoused by your community.
    • Staying optimistic in a Crapsack World.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • Overall: Friendship is a powerful force that can connect all of us, and lets us accomplish far more then we can achieve on our own.
    • Second season: But that doesn't mean it's easy.
    • Season three: Everyone is special in their own way, and everyone has an important part to play.
    • For the fourth season, it's maintaining a friendship after life begins to separate you, and growing into a position of responsibility.
    • Season six: Becoming a better friend and atoning for your mistakes is something that anyone can do.
    • Season seven: Those who don't learn from history are doomed to repeat it. You should value talking things out and listening over trying to force your opinions.
  • Over the Garden Wall: Things aren't always what they seem, so you should expect the unexpected.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Make the most out of every day you've got. Especially during summer vacation.
    • The importance and greatness of idealism and creativity.
  • Pinky and the Brain: The impracticality of supposed intelligence, the wisdom of supposed stupidity, the subjectivity of intelligence.
  • Ready Jet Go!: No matter what happens, keep a positive attitude and persevere through obstacles, no matter how impossible they may seem.
  • Recess: The Power of Friendship will help you overcome any problems. And enjoy being a kid while you can.
  • Regular Show:
    • What aspects of life should and should not be taken seriously.
    • Trying to maintain good relationships with your loved ones; whether they be friends, family, romantic partners, etc.
  • Rick and Morty: Nihilism and Cosmic Horror. No really thats the main theme. Nobody matters and this show shatters any optimism we could predict.
  • Rugrats and All Grown Up!: The joys and struggles of youth.
  • Samurai Jack:
  • Scooby-Doo:
    • No matter how supernatural it may seem, there's always a scientific and logical explanation for everything.
    • Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: Living in the shadow of the past, and how The Power of Friendship can help us move forward and undo the mistakes of those who came before us.
  • The Simpsons:
    • Family will always stand by you and accept you for who you are, no matter how much you fight, how different you are, or how crazy you drive each other.
    • For Springfield in general: Everyone in the world is unique and seems a little insane to everyone else. You won't make them change. Get used to it.
    • For Springfield Elementary School: The education system is flawed and so are the people in it.
    • The Springfield Nuclear Power Plant and its effects on the town are one big Green Aesop.
    • For the Treehouse of Horror episodes: Ignorance can cause your own demise.
  • South Park:
    • Learning how to live in a morally Crapsack World.
    • Navigating a world that is morally bankrupt.
    • Don't take everything too seriously.
    • Don't be that guy.
    • Kids Are Cruel and Adults Are Useless.
    • For season 19: just because something looks nicer doesn't mean it's better, and tolerance is good, but it is wrong to bully others into it.
    • For season 20: obsessing over the good things in the past will lead you to forget the bad.
    • For season 21: If you blame everything that goes wrong in your life on something or someone else you'll never grow as a person.
  • The Spectacular Spider-Man:
    • Just like the comics, With great power comes great responsibility; what it means to have power and to use it in a socially and morally responsible way. This theme can be said to apply, to varying degrees, to almost any superhero story in some shape or form.
    • Along with, Everybody makes mistakes. it's important to acknowledge when you did wrong and learn from it.
    • With Spider-Man, it's being a hero even when there is no reward for being one, it won't get bills paid, it won't help your love life and it won't get you fame and respect.
  • Star VS The Forces Of Evil: Reconstructing fantasy to coexist with reality.
  • Star Wars Rebels:
  • Steven Universe:
    • Putting in all your effort in everything you do and making contributions for people, no matter how small or seemingly insignificant it is.
    • Nobody's perfect, and that's a good thing. Embrace and accept imperfection and try to find beauty in the ugly.
    • The Power of Love and Friendship, and the importance of communication. Relationships between people make them stronger.
  • Teen Titans: The central theme of the whole show is The Power of Friendship. Several of the season arcs are centered around the theme that you may be Not So Different from a villain, be it by blood, abilities, or personality, but you can always choose to be a better person. The Terra arc also has the central theme of taking responsibility for one's actions, and the Raven arc says yes, you can Screw Destiny.
  • Thunder Cats 2011: Right Makes Might. Being a proud badass doesn't make you a good leader. Seeing the big picture, having clarity, doing what's right, and showing kindness, selflessness and mercy towards all does make a good leader, and is the best way to combat the evil in the world that would exploit people's hatred and selfishness.
  • Tom and Jerry: The trials and tribulations between predator and prey.
  • Trollhunters: Your family and friends will help you defeat evil and adversity.
  • Uncle Grandpa: Always embrace weirdness, imagination and idealism in life.
  • The Venture Bros.: Failure and Identity. The series is about failure, and failed expectations in particular. The setting is a failed Used Future take on the Space Age ideals, Rusty Venture and Billy Quizboy are failed child geniuses, and almost every episode is about how some experiment crashed and burned.
  • Wakfu: If you have the power to help somebody in need, then you should, that's what makes a hero.
  • Wander over Yonder:
  • We Bare Bears: The need to fit in and belong in modern society, no matter how awkwardly we try.
  • Wild Kratts: All creatures are amazing and should be living free and in the wild.
  • Young Justice:
    • What does it mean to be a hero?
    • The next generation taking over where their predecessors left off.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/CentralTheme/WesternAnimation