In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius, Jimmy goes into Carl's dream and tries to convince him that he's dreaming. He points out that Libby had to row her desk to school with a plastic leg, and Carl responds with "Her paddle broke!".
In the episode "Arthur Goes Crosswire," Arthur gets paired with his class's shallow Rich Bitch, Muffy Crosswire to work on a project, and he quickly begins to act like her. At the episode's climax, all of Arthur's friends start acting like Muffy to show him how obnoxious he's being. Muffy thinks they're trying to flatter her:
Muffy: I didn't mind when Arthur started acting like me, but I'm sorry, there's only one me, and that's enough.
In "Sick As A Dog", when Pal has to stay overnight at the vet, Arthur has an overblown anxiety-induced dream about Pal calling Arthur and being kidnapped by the other dogs, who leave a ransom note written in pawprints and are pursued by a police helicopter. When Arthur wakes up, he says, "Wow, what a ridiculous dream. Pal doesn't even know our phone number."
Sokka: Whoever took Aang and Toph left this. Katara(reading the note): "If you wanna see your daughter again, bring five hundred gold pieces to the arena..." It's signed Xin Fu and The Boulder. Sokka: I can't believe it... (grabs the paper from Katara) I HAVE THE BOULDER'S AUTOGRAPH!"
Also, when Zuko tries to join the group:
Zuko: ...and I never should have sent that Fire Nation assassin after you. I'm gonna try to stop— Sokka: Wait, you sent Combustion Man after us!? Zuko: Well, that's not his name...
When Sokka and Suki share a quiet moment in "The Serpent's Pass."
Suki: I lost someone I care about. He didn't die, he just went away. I only had a few days to get to know him, but he was smart, and brave, and funny... Sokka: (offended) Who is this guy? Is he taller than me? Suki: No, he's about your height. Sokka: Is he better looking?"
The Gaang, minus Aang and Momo who have vanished completely at a moment when the world really needs the avatar, seek out The Order of the White Lotus. Bumi notices something odd about the group.
Bumi: Wait! Someone's missing from your group! Someone very important! Where's Momo?! Sokka: He's gone. And so is Aang. Bumi: Oh, well. So long as they have each other, I'm sure we have nothing to worry about.
In Beavis and Butthead Do America, Butthead is woken from his dream by Beavis with the alarming news that their TV has just disappeared and he can't work out why. After looking at the broken in door, the muddy footprints leading to the door, and the two people talking about how they're going to sell a TV for about a minute, Butthead finally says "Hey Beavis, I've figured something out... this sucks!"
Also, at the McCarran Airport, they see a guy holding out a sign with their names written on it. Beavis attempts to read it: "B...U...T—'Boot?!' There's a guy named 'Boot?!'" Butthead corrects him, sort of. "It says Butthead. Beavis, you idiot; these guys have the same names as us!"
In a regular episode, when some girls at a shopping mall tell the two to come back in ten years, instead of interpreting this as "I don't want to see you for a really long time", they think the girls literally mean to come back to them in ten years. Butthead tells Beavis to hurry up and get rid of their "beards" so that they can actually meet them again in ten years. (They're gonna forget by then anyway.)
In one episode the two spend the day at Stuart's house while he and his family are out. Two "moving men" break in and they help them steal most of their things. Stuart's dad isn't happy when they tell him the movers took everything. Butt-Head assumes he's angry because his new house was a ripoff.
Stuart's Dad: Movers? You idiots! We've been robbed! Butt-Head: Robbed? We were here all day, we didn't see any robbers.
Jay's # 1 Fan: Whenever I get into a relationship with a man, they tend to get dominating and overcritical. Jay: I can see your point. Although, I wouldn't have used overcritical, and I think your delivery was wooden and unconvincing!
The Danny Phantom episode The Million Dollar Ghost has the following exchange:
Newscaster: ...the need for competent, non-Jack Fenton, ghost hunters in Amity Park has never been more obvious. Jack: Hey! They said my name!
A Daria episode involved a hotel bellboy giving Quinn fantastic room service and upgrades using the excuse of his "uncle" who supposedly owned the hotel. Later Quinn along with her parents was informed by police that the bellboy was in fact billing the family for these, then deleting them from the system and was effectively a stalker. Quinn's reaction:
Quinn: You mean I almost went out with... Police: That's right. Quinn: A COMPUTER GEEK?!
Dexter's Laboratory has a particularly funny example with the robot parrot reading out a bunch of random ingredients while Dexter's mother reads a recipe out of a cookbook:
Robot Parrot: "Beans."
Robot Parrot: "Cookies!"
Robot Parrot: "Worms and plastic minnows."
Mom: "... Now, wait just a minute, here!... Where am I gonna get worms and plastic minnows?"
Timmy's dad hears "Icky Vicky", singing about how evil Vicky is. He comes to the conclusion that it's about pumpkins.
Timmy's parents (as well as the rest of the world besides Crocker, and even he has his moments) may as well be anthropomorphic personifications of completely missing or ignoring the glaring and obvious magical phenomenon that surrounds Timmy and his fairy godparents. In the episode "Meet The Oddparents", Timmy's parents finally begin to seriously suspect the weird things that keep happening to them, such as when they found a gorilla and a monster playing ping pong in Timmy's bedroom. Of course, Timmy's Dad being Timmy's Dad, the only bizarre thing he finds about that situation is that they have a ping pong table.
In the episode where the Anti-Fairies made their first appearance, Timmy's Dad found a door to Fairy World and the only thing he noticed was that the door didn't lead to the bathroom.
Lois is shown several drawings that Stewie has done. All of them have Lois dying in a particularly gruesome fashion. Lois realizes that this can mean only one thing: "His father's not in any of these pictures; they should spend more time together." The teacher concurs with her.
One instance of this of many from Peter:
Meg: If I can't drive, I'll never have any boyfriends, I'll never get married and then I'll have to adopt a kid like Rosie O'Donnell! Peter: "Meg, are you implying that Rosie O'Donnell can't drive?"
In "Back to the Woods" James Woods steals Peter's identity and kicks him out of the house. Brian points out that identity theft works both ways and Peter can be Woods. Peter figures if he was a famous movie star, he wouldn't even want his family.
Mrs. Lockhart: Basically what Orwell was saying was it's not perfect, but I'll take it.
In another episode, Stewie walks in on Chris and his friends watching a porno:
Doctor 1: Your test results came back, I'm afraid you've got an acute case of nymphomania. Woman: Oh no, what should I do? Doctor 2: Take two of these and call us in the morning! (zip!) Stewie: Well that's not going to help her nymphomania! If anything, it'll just exacerbate it!
When Peter becomes a bully and starts bullying his friends, Lois reminds him that Peter is being no better than the bully that used to torment him in school. Rather than realize what he did was wrong and apologize to his friends, Peter takes the lesson as "I have to confront the guy that used to bully me and kick his ass!" The kicker? The bully from Peter's childhood has Multiple Sclerosis and Peter still tries to beat him up until Chris intervenes.
In "Seahorse Seashell Party", Peter takes all of Meg's critisisms of him in stride until she calls him a "waste of a man".
In "Love Thy Trophy", Meg lies about being a single mother of a crack addicted Stewie in order to get big tips ends up getting Stewie taken away by child services.
Lois: How did you make $1100 as a waitress in a week? Meg:(nervously) It's easy... when you're the unwed teenage mother of a crack-addicted baby. (nervous laugh) Peter: Whoa, whoa, whoa, Meg. When did you become a teenager? Lois: Peter, she's sixteen. Peter: You knew about this?
In "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q." when Jeff announces that Brenda is pregnant.
Peter: Have you thought about names yet? Like "Slappy" or "Bruisy" or "Keep-it-down-in-thersy"?
Professor Farnsworth says the crew is about to be attacked by an albino humping worm.
Fry: Why do they call it an albino humping worm? [the ship starts rocking back and forth] Professor Farnsworth: Because it lacks pigment.
The Robot Mafia is prone to this.
Joey Mousepad: This guy's an ox! He's got oxen-like strength. Hey, he needs a nickname, right? Let's call him Clamps!
The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In the future, Mandy has mutated into a giant slug creature to obtain immortality and ruled the Earth with an iron fist, keeping a collection of artificially grown Billy clones to keep her company. Demonstrating the same cluelessness as his predecessor, Billy clone 2188, upon activation, asks if Mandy got a new haircut. And he wasn't the only clone to ask about her haircut.
The Muggles of Invader Zim. Despite admitting many, many times that he is an alien intent on conquering Earth, Zim is dismissed as talking about something completely different.
An episode of Jimmy Two-Shoes, Jimmy and Heloise are strapped into a roller coaster designed to kill them. One section involves passing through several giant meat cleavers...which only results in a Close-Call Haircut. She angrily yells "Your henchmen do shoddy work!"
Kim Possible: Ron Stoppable, master of the missed point. For example, fixating on a restaurant manager's decision to take his favourite meal off the menu, instead of said manager's Secret Identity as a superhero, or worrying that the Self-Destruct Mechanism in Drakken's lair will destroy a mind-switching device they need to use, missing the detail that since he and Kim are tied up there, the explosion will get them too.
Dale manages to do a single-person version of this by relating to Hank about how 9 months before the birth of his son, he was watching aliens while his wife was with some other guy. Hank says, "Your wife loves you," but then Dale comes to the conclusion that his son is an alien, and asks Hank if there's any better explanation. Obviously there is, but Hank decides to refrain from pointing out the obvious.
Even better, in the episode where Dale's wife ends the affair, Dale notices that every time she gets a headache, she calls in John Redcorn to give her a massage, and comes to the obvious conclusion: her headaches are a cry for attention, and he's been selfishly pawning her off on someone else instead of taking care of herself. When Redcorn sneaks into their bedroom later to try and patch things up, Dale mistakes him for a burgler and knocks him out with a lamp. Dale is the one who feels guilty for this and in order to make good he helps Redcorn recover his peoples' lands, which ironically helps end the affair because Redcorn feel guilty about betraying Dale's honest friendship and kindness.
In the first season, Bobby went to Willie Nelson's house to try to apologize for accidently hitting him with a golf club... But there was some confusion at first:
Nelson: Wait, I know you... You're the kid who rakes my lawn.
Bobby: No, I'm the kid who hit you.
Nelson: With a rake?
Bobby: No, with a golf club!
Nelson: You've been rakin' my yard with a golf club? I want my ten bucks back!
When John Redcorn, Joseph's actual father, tries to be a part of his son's life by taking him on a traditional Native American vision quest as a rite of passage, Dale decides to tag along. Joseph doesn't have a vision, but Dale does. He sees a man wearing an elaborate Native American headdress having sex with Nancy, and then flashes forward to the day of Joseph's birth, where Joseph is born wearing the same headdress. Dale comes to the only possible conclusion... he has Native American ancestry!
In the episode "The Asteroid", she does this twice in one conversation:
Lilo: Cobra Bubbles? What are you doing here? Cobra: There are questions in life one prefers not to answer. Lilo: So true. So, what are you doing here? Cobra: Lilo, I appreciate your curiosity, but there comes a time when adults must deal with adult problems, and children must stay with their field trips and out of adults' hair. Do you understand? Lilo: You don't have any hair!
She occasionally gives an experiment an appropriate nickname, but not for the reason you'd expect:
Experiment 113, who affects the luck of whoever is nearby. Whether it is bad luck or good luck depends on which way the horseshoe-shaped horn on his head is pointing...though in the first part of the episode, even Jumba thought it only created bad luck. After driving away the customer they had for Jumba and Pleakley's "Bed, not Breakfast", Lilo says they need to name him...
Pleakley: A name, oh, how about, uh, I don't know, Unlucky? Or Mr. Unlucky? Or Unluckifier? Lilo: How about Shoe? Pleakley: Because of that horseshoe shape on his head? Lilo: Because he needs shoes. He doesn't have any.
Experiment 251, who binds together uncooperative people with an indestructible putty (though they find out later that Earth wasn't one of the planets taken into account when calling it indestructible; it dissolves in mud). When Lilo and Myrtle capture it...
Lilo: I think I'm gonna name him...Link. Myrtle: Because he links people together? Lilo: No, silly. It's short for Linkenstein, the zombie president.
Experiment 177, which was designed to eat Uburnium, the most powerful and economical fuel source in the universe, and drive prices through the roof. Unfortunately for Jumba, in the language he was using the word used for "Uburnium" was the same word used for "hair". When Lilo and Stitch catch it after it wreaks havoc at a local spa, this exchange follows:
Lilo: Hmm...you look like a hairy hairball. And you seem to like to eat hair, and you're made of hair, so I'm gonna call you... Stitch: Hairy! Lilo: NO...Clip!
The Little Flying Bears: Skulk once had a party with fireworks that went out of control. After the fire was put off, Plato said he hoped Skulk learned his lesson. Skulk said next party would be held closer to the river so it'll be easier to get water.
In the short "Daffy Duck Slept Here", Daffy tricks a drowsy Porky into falling several stories to the ground by making him think he was boarding a train. However, when it shows that Porky is on a train outside the window, Daffy makes this statement.
Daffy: That's just plain ol' silly. I should have given him some magazines to read on the trip. Woo-hoo! Woo-hoo!
In the "pronoun trouble" scene from "Rabbit Seasoning", Daffy think he's spotted the problem with Bugs' retort: "It's not 'he doesn't have to shoot you now', it's 'he doesn't have to shoot me now'. (beat) Well I say, he does have to shoot me now!"
My Dad The Rock Star: When Rock Zilla's alma mater granted him a honorary doctorate, he thought he'd be that kind of doctor and started practicing the shout of "Calling Doctor Zilla". When he was told it wasn't that kind of doctorate and he'd instead be a sort of professor, he shouted "Calling Professor Zilla".
In the episode "Boast Busters," a unicorn named Trixie comes to town claiming to be incredibly powerful and capable of vanquishing the dreaded Ursa Major. Most of the ponies don't buy it, but two young colts fall for her story and proudly defend her. Spike tells them that unless they actually see her pulling off the feats she claims, they shouldn't believe her. They take this as a cue to find an Ursa Major and bring it to town so Trixie can defeat it in front of everyone. Bad idea.
In "The Show Stoppers," The Cutie Mark Crusaders enter the school talent show hoping to get their cutie marks, but each tackles something they're not suited for (and that another one of them is perfect for). They do actually win an award, but don't get their cutie marks. They realize they failed to get their marks because they neglected their true talents, but decide that their actual calling in life must be comedy, since they won Best Comedy Act.
Scootaloo: Argh! These namby-pamby stories aren't getting us any closer to our cutie marks! They're all about 'finding out who you are' and boring stuff like that!
Explanation for the uninitiated: in the Fi M setting, "cutie marks" are symbols that appear on a pony's flanks when they figure out what their special talent is, and what they want to do with it. In other words, they are markers that a pony has "found out who they are". That's the whole point of them.
Let's just save time and say the CMC pretty much embody this trope every time they appear in the show, because instead of cultivating the talents they're actually good at, they spend all their time trying every random activity they can think of. Like Wile E. Coyote, they've gotten so obsessed with the short-term goal ("catch the roadrunner" / "get a cutie mark") that they've lost sight of why they wanted to accomplish the goal in the first place. Making things worse is that this same obsession leads to them ignoring the hints their elders are giving them.
In "Party of One" Pinkie Pie throws a birthday party for her toothless pet alligator Gummy, and her friends have a delightful time. though she's a little overeager during the party. The next day, she invites them to an after-birthday-party party that afternoon. All five of her friends decline the invitation. The viewer is led to assume they turn her down because two parties in two days is a too much partying, but they're actually planning a surprise party for her own birthday, which she forgot due to being wrapped up in her own plans for the second party. Fluttershy and Rainbow Dash collaboratively lie, hilariously building the worst excuse of the bunch.
Pinkie Pie: Something strange is definitely going on around here, Gummy. Sure Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy had to house-sit for that vacationing bear, but what are the chances all my other friends would have plans this afternoon too? Rarity (the fashionista) has to wash her hair? Applejack (the farmer) has to pick apples? Twilight (the student) is behind on her studies, and has to hit the books? The more I think about it, the more those are starting to sound likeÖ (gasps) excuses!
Fluttershy: Why Rarity, it's so lovely! Rarity: I know! (whips her restored tail) I'll never part with it again! Fluttershy: No, your necklace.
In "Owl's Well That Ends Well", Twilight lectures Spike about all the trouble he's been causing because he's jealous of Owlowiscious, telling him "This is not the Spike I know and love!" A dejected Spike interprets this as meaning Twilight doesn't love him anymore, and prompts him to run away from home.
In The Oblongs, Pickles tries to teach Milo that she's cool because she married a great guy and had great kids. Milo reaches the conclusion that he must marry his father.
Bob: You just ruined what could have been a very poignant family moment, son.
After accidently being zapped by the penguins's enhancement ray, Mort (a tiny mouse lemur) quadrupled in size and strength, capable of bringing down animals larger than himself and many times taller than his bossy, but absent-minded ring-tailed lemur leader, King Julian. Julian's advisor, Maurice, takes note of this transformation immediately.
Maurice: Do you, uh, notice anything different about Mort? Julien: Well yes, he's obviously doing something different with his hair! It's nice actually.
In another episode, Maurice takes over as king while Julien is sick, becomes mad with power after eating rotten lychee nuts, and threatens to take over the entire zoo. After hearing about this, Julien's reaction is, "I cannot believe what I am hearing. Maurice ate my lychee nuts!"
In "Greece Lightning," Dr. Doofenshmirtz, the nemesis of superspy Perry the Platypus, watches an old educational film and finds out that due to the effects of encroaching development, "the enemy of the platypus is Man!" So... he builds a giant robot man named Norm, complete with business suit, with which to defeat Perry the Platypus.
In "The Doof Side of the Moon," Doofenshmirtz plans to rotate the moon so that the "dark side" always faces the Earth. At the end of the episode, he realizes his mistake (moonlight is reflected sunlight), and chastises himself, "Dummkopf! I should have rotated the sun!"
Doofenshmirtz can't tell that Perry is the same platypus with his hat off. Perry once escaped a trap by removing his hat and Doofenshmirtz released the "regular platypus" and wondered what happened to Perry. This was brought to its height in "Across the Second Dimension", where his doppelganger tried to explain it to him and he still couldn't grasp the concept.
When Perry shows up in the middle of an all-out battle with Doofenshmirtz in "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", all Candace can say is, "Perry has a hat?" Luckily, it was All Just a Dream. A Dream Within a Dream to be precise.
McLeish attempts to keep his mother from finding out he's a dog catcher, but when his ruse fails, his mother threatens to cut him out of her will, remove him from the family scrapbook, and disinvite him from Thanksgiving. McLeish's comment: "But the turkey!"
In the same episode, he resolves to tell his mother that he's actually a CIA agent working undercover, "If I told you more, Mother, I'd have to make you disappear." Olaf, whom he was testing this out on, asks, "Disappear? So are you a spy or a magician?" Annoyed, McLeish storms out, leaving Olaf to mumble, "Being a magician's nothing to be ashamed of."
Thorn: (surprised) Daddy? Mr. McKnight: Hello, Sally. Luna: Your dad's the ghost? Fred: Your name is Sally?
In Sheep in the Big City, the Ranting Swede's rants tend to come from him misunderstanding a simple american custom, metaphor or item; such as refrigerators ('I came here to get AWAY from the cold!'), coffee tables ('Is every beverage going to want their own table?') juggling his job, house and family ('It's hard enough trying to have those things, let alone juggle them!') or answering machines. ('I ask it "Will I ever find true love?", and it just SITS there!')
In one episode, a new student at Mrs. Puff's driving school draws himself punching the title character on the chalkboard and repeatedly threatens to kick his butt. This naturally horrifies SpongeBob, while Mrs. Puff just thinks he's a talented artist.note It's up for interpretation, though. Mrs. Puff really hates SpongeBob.
In the episode "Dying for Pie", Squidward accidentally buys an exploding pie for Spongebob. Mr. Krabs, "inspecting" it, pinches off a tiny piece of crust to eat. When he drops the piece on the ground, it explodes and leaves a huge, gaping hole in Mr. Krabs's office, blasting Mr. Crabs and Squidward outside. Then Spongebob comes in: "Mr. Krabs, are you okay? I heard a... WOW!! (completely ignores the hole and points at the pie) A pie!"
Happens again a second later when Squidward explains he paid $25 for the pie, not realising it was a bomb. Guess which detail Mr. Krabsremembered first.
Also in an episode where Spongebob has to stall kids for Mr. Krabs by hurting himself, Spongebob comes to him all battered up and pleads to him to make 'Krabby the Clown' appear already. Mr. Krabs asks him where his arms and legs are, and Spongebob tells him the kids are using them as boomerangs (with one leg even flying around among them). Mr. Krabs then gets worried that it might break his windows.
Spongebob can regenerate limbs though, so it's possible Mr. Krabs really didn't see a problem.
Mr. Krabs is fond of this. In Born Again Krabs when Squidward called out Krabs for selling Spongebob's soul:
Squidward: Mr. Krabs, I can't believe I'm saying this, but how could you sell Spongebob for 62 cents? Mr. Krabs: You think I could have gotten more?
Spongebob seems rather fond of this trope, actually...
Mr. Krabs: Neptune preserve her! Squidward: How long can she stay like that? Spongebob: I dunno! Patrick: Sandy's a girl!?
On yet another driving test rampage, SpongeBob flies by two cops and goes straight through a building.
Cop 1: Barnacles! Did you see that?! Cop 2: Yeah! That guy had no front license plate! LET'S GET 'IM!
In "Squid's Day Off" Mr.Krabs goes to the hospital and leaves Squidward in charge of the Krusty Krab. Squidward takes advantage of this by telling Spongebob he has some errands to do so that he can stay at home and skip work. But whenever he reaches his house Squidward ends up becoming paranoid, first that Spongebob will mess everything up, then later that Spongebob suspects Squidward's just goofing off and will tell Mr.Krabs about it. In one of those times he ends up going back to the Krusty Krab, Spongebob innocently asks Squid about his errands. Squidward interprets it as an accusatory question.
Squidward: What's that supposed mean? I'm very busy. SpongeBob: I'm sure you are. Squidward: I don't like your tone! SpongeBob: (falsetto) I'm sure you aaaaare.
In an episode of Squirrel Boy when Andy is worried that his and Rodney's attempts to get money from recycling cans is too slow he has an Imagine Spot of them 20 years later and no closer to reaching their goal:
Grown-Up Rodney: See, Grown-Up Andy? One man's garbage is another man's garbage that can be traded for minuscule amounts of cash. Grown-Up Andy: But Grown-Up Rodney, we're no closer to owning a rollercastle (a castle on wheels that moves along a rollercoaster track) now than we were 20 years ago. Grown-Up Rodney: Sure we are! We have a dollar.
In the Strawberry Shortcake's Berry Bitty Adventures episode "Too Cool For Rules", Plum Pudding, tired of having to follow rules that she considers "silly", implements some ridiculous rules for anyone who wants to use her dance studio, such as guessing a password and wearing a yellow hat. To retaliate, Lemon Meringue, Blueberry Muffin, and Mr. Longface Caterpillar make up rules of their own for her to follow when she visits them. Strawberry Shortcake rounds those three up and tells them that they aren't helping the situation, and that it isn't fair to have silly rules just for Plum. Their reaction: make everyone follow their new rules.
People on the Isle of Sodor tend to have rather blase reactions to train crashes.
Rather famously, Thomas crashed right into the Stationmaster's house one morning... and his wife was worried more about the pancakes.
A barber meanwhile has a train crash into his shop when he's shaving a customer, and he decides to get payback by covering half of Duck's face up with shaving cream.
When The Tick was interviewed on TV, and questioned about what his powers were:
Interviewer: Can you destroy the Earth? Tick: E-GAD!! I hope not! That's where I keep all my stuff!
In "Red Thunder" on Timothy Goes to School, Henry sets up a biking exercise in which the kids have to navigate through orange cones while also being graded on speed, accuracy, safety skills and overall bikemanship. When the Franks finish their turn, they tell him, "We're done, and we got them all," and Henry can only chuckle as he looks over and sees that they did indeed "get them all" - all of the cones have been knocked over.
I-I think you missed the point of the exercise, boys.
In Total Drama World Tour, a challenge requires the contestants to use riddles as clues to help capture "Jack the Ripper". When Noah and Owen run into the final clue, Noah is in stunned disbelief when Owen figures out the clue on his first try with no help, remarking, "So there is a brain in there. You've been holding out on me." Owen responds that he was not holding out on Noah, because he told him about the sausages he smuggled.