From Bad To Worse: Western Animation

  • Adventure Time has an episode with this trope as the title, word for word. It involved zombies overrunning the Candy Kingdom, (again) and Finn and his friends trying to come up with cures from Princess Bubblegum's incomprehensible notes. Their cures...well, they just make things worse, starting by giving the zombies wings, then superhuman strength, then huge red lips.
  • Batman: The Animated Series episode "Over The Edge" has this trope completely. After the Scarecrow kills Batgirl, Commissioner Gordon discovers that she was his daughter, and blames Batman for her death, after that Gordon reveals to Bruce Wayne that he read Barbara's computer diary that revealed everything to him and sends the largest manhunt to catch him, soon Alfred and Nightwing are caught, and Batman orders Robin to give himself up, things go downhill even more as Gordon hires Bane to catch Batman, the loss of everything destroys Batman's moral code and is willing to use lethal force on Bane, Bane then double crosses Gordon and is prepared to kill the both of them, Batman then electrocutes Bane and goes to save Gordon, but Bane uses the last of his strength to toss them off a building to their deaths. All of these events are then revealed to be Barbara's nightmare caused by Scarecrow's fear toxin.
  • What happens in Danny Phantom episode "Public Enemies". It's bad enough he has to deal with his parent's constant pursuit of his ghostly half, but that's been upped to the nth degree after Ghost Cop Walker sends waves of cops to terrorize Amity Park, leaving Danny to not only stop the mess, but deal with the aftermath of the ghosts possessing authority figures and eventually the mayor, who declares Danny the leader of the whole ghost invasion, causing him to be a Hero with Bad Publicity. Despite Danny striving to do good regardless, the real kicker is how the entire town mistreats his ghostly alter ego for the rest of Season One, solved only by the beginning of Season Two. That's got to be frustrating.
    • Another great example is "The Ultimate Enemy." Under stress for a big test, Danny accidentally ends up with the answers for said test! And he plans to cheat. Of course, that's not just the end of it. His teacher found out and the Fentons and friends gather together to talk about it when they're all killed. Oh, but that's not all, folks! He goes to live with his former archenemy, Vlad, whom he asks to remove his emotions (by splitting his human and ghost halves). And you'd think it'd end there, but it doesn't. Danny's ghost half kills the human Danny and then unleashes 10 years of complete destruction on everything in his path. This is why the Reset Button exists.
      • You forgot something there, his ghost half removes VLAD'S ghost half and takes it over, which causes him to become evil in the first place, and also INSANELY overpowered. It gets MUCH worse as he only gets stronger from there.
    • Oh, and probably the best example of the series? In the scene in Reality Trip where Danny's Secret Identity is revealed to the entire world, Sam looks at him and says, "Well, it could be worse." "Oh really, how?". The Guys in White then proceed to show up: "You're coming in for questioning-" "-And experiments. Lots and lots of really painful experiments." Thankfully, this episode also had a Reset Button.
  • South Park:
    • BP first drills into the ocean and creates another oil spill. Then they dig again and release monsters from another dimension. They dig into the moon now, can't get worse right? They release Cthulhu.
    • Oh cmon, that's total bullshit...everyone knows Cthulu is sealed somewhere in the Atlantic near Antarctica!
  • The Simpsons episode "The City of New York Vs. Homer Simpson", Homer's flashback to his last visit to NYC goes like this, all to the tune of The Entertainer: he gets a stranger to take his photo, but after taking it, the guy steals his camera, so Homer goes to a cop to report it, and the cop steals his suitcase. Then someone steals his wallet and a bird steals his hot dog. He's covered in trash dumped from a nearby window by none other than Woody Allen, and while cleaning himself off, inadvertently tosses a banana peel onto a pimp. The angry pimp chases him and the ladder he climbs to escape falls down a manhole...
    Homer:... and that's when the C.H.U.D.s came at me.
    • In the same episode, where Homer gets a boot put on his car, and has to wait for a police officer to come by so he can submit an appeal. He waits...and waits...and he's getting kinda thirsty, so he buys some drinks from a nearby cart. Of course, now he has to use the bathroom because he drank so much. And because his car was booted in the first place because it was parked in a No Parking zone in the middle of the city (right outside The WTC complex, no less), so he can't just pee in a bush, since there aren't any. The only bathroom is in a nearby the very top floor. Unfortunately, there's an "Out Of Order" sign on the bathroom there, so he has to go to the skyscraper next door, whose bathroom is (naturally) on the very top floor. He finally relieves himself...only to look out the window to see the police officer he was waiting for the entire time put a ticket on his car and walk away. Understandably, Homer flies into a rage and smashes his car's doors and windows with an iron bar. He gives up and tries to drive off anyway, car-boot still attached. Surprisingly, he can. It's just the boot carves a massive trench into the front right tire-well, destroying much of the car on that side. Even better, when driving away from the city, Bart and Lisa are in the back, talking about the amazing day they had, and asking if they can come back here again sometime. Homer, due to being stuck driving behind a faulty garbage truck and getting constantly splatted with bags of rotting garbage, can barely give a coherent answer, due to grinding his teeth so hard. "Maybe..someday..."
    • It was also Lamp Shaded in the episode A Star Is Burns with the Film in an Episode Bright Lights Beef Jerkey where, from what was obviously security footage, Snake is holding up Apu with a sawed-off shotgun and Apu calling for help from the Police. Although Chief Wiggum was actually on the scene, he wasn't able to help because his tie was caught in the Hot Dog rotisserie machine, and was pulled in, causing him to remark "Oh boy, looks like it's gonna get worse before it gets better."
  • Where to even begin with Avatar: The Last Airbender? In the first episodes, the plot is: the only hope to restore peace is a young, untrained boy. But a few episodes later, we learn that in a few months, the bad guys' powers will be multiplied by 100 for enough time for them to destroy all remaining opposition single-handedly. Season 2, the gang starts getting chased by Zuko's much more competent sister, Princess Azula, and her two friends who can throw knives and block bending. Then they make enemies with the government (Dai Li) of Ba-Sing-Se and the Fire Nation captures the city by the end of the season. Season 2's finale: Aang gives up his love for Katara in order to save her by activating the avatar state, his most powerful trump card. And is shot down almost immediately by Azula, nearly rendering him worse than dead. And Azula takes Ba-Sing-Se. Then in Season 3, the Fire Nation successfully captures the entire invasion force. They introduce the Series Finale with Zuko revealing that the plan by his father upon the advent of the comet is to burn the entire Earth Kingdom to the ground, destroying all life in an attempt to claim the land as permanent Fire Nation Territory. Making the whole "Stop the Fire Lord" thing a whole lot more serious.
  • In Teen Titans the episode "The End Part 1" ends with Raven seemingly being destroyed and her demonic father Trigon appearing, bent on destroying the Earth. "The End Part 2" then has Trigon succeed in destroying the Earth, killing every single person on the planet except for the Main Characters. And that's before The Teaser is even over.
  • The Transformers Episode "Kremzeek" is basically a huge "It Got Worse" episode featuring the eponymous Kremzeek's rampage spiraling out of control.
    • just one practically decimates the Autobots, then it moves to Tokyo, then there's like 20 of them, then there's a really big one, etc...
    • Transformers: The Movie spends its first third having Megatron and the Decepticons leading an all-out attack on Autobot City, and though they're defeat heavy casualties are left on both sides, including Autobot leader OptimusPrime, dead. And then planet-eating Unicron comes in and revives a mortally-wounded Megatron as Galvatron.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades episode "Enemy of my Enemy features an almost constant escalation of this trope. Joes are swarmed by Bio-Vipers with guns, and that are smarter than their cousins. No problem, exploit their new fatal design flaw! But now comes Destro's Iron Grenadiers in indestructable mech-suits. Pretty bleak, right? Now how about Mech-Vipers, mech-suits wearing constantly regenerating Bio-Vipers as their skin, which proceed to rip the I Gs apart and are about to do the same to the Joes?
  • ThunderCats (2011) Trapped in servitude to a thematically inappropiate villain, hated by all other races as a taskmasters, and said villain is immortal and powerful beyond belief to say nothing of his awesome pecs, then you gain one of the most powerful artifacts in existence, you face said villain and tell him you now have said weapon only for him to whip out the other 3 most powerful weapons in existence....well we can work through that I mean after a bit of fighting I separate him from one of the stones and...dear god did a that immortal mummy just whip out flying body armor, a spear, and a good 10 feet in height.. ya it got worse.
  • Happens regularly on My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic for comic effect. Noteworthy examples include "Swarm of the Century" and "The Best Night Ever", which are episode-long sequences of things getting worse.
    • It's not even just used for comedy. 2-part episodes like "The Return of Harmony" and "A Canterlot Wedding" play this for dramatic effect.
  • The games in ReBoot often embody this trope. They have a tendency of appearing when the situation is already problematic, such as downloading while Bob is still unwittingly carrying a bomb. They subvert it sometimes as well, occasionally becoming a Deus ex Machina.
  • It truly got worse with the second season opener of Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated than it did when season one ended, which had the Mayor of Crystal Cove as the Freak who had played Fred as a patsy (pretending to be his father) in an attempt to locate the hidden treasure, which resulted in Fred disbanding the gang so he can locate his real parents while Scooby is being sent to a farm, Shaggy is sent to military school, and original Mystery Inc. mascot Professor Pericles makes off with two pieces of the puzzle leading to the treasure. Season two starts off with a creature called Crybaby Clown causing mass destruction, prompting the Mayor (new mayor Janet Nettles) to reassemble the team, but Daphne has moved on to greener pastures, Hot Dog Water takes her place in the team, Fred's trap to capture the clown completely fails, and the town is left in a smoldering wreck at the episode's conclusion.
  • All of the Young Justice episode "Failsafe". How does it begin? Well, both the Green Lanterns and Batman are disintegrated up in space. Red Tornado warns the Team that should the Justice League fail in defeating this alien invasion, they must be Earth's heroes- good thing, too, because we then watch as every single member of the League is killed by aliens. So they launch a sneak attack, which only succeeds in getting Wolf and Artemis killed. Over the course of the episode the aliens manage to take over every major city, completely wiping out all the military. Slowly but surely the team's ranks fall, and even the discovery that the Martian Manhunter is still alive can't bolster their spirits. Aqualad sacrifices himself for the team and Superboy is disintegrated while acting as a distraction. Their hope that somehow the disintegration beams were really just teleportation beams is proved wrong, and even though they manage to destroy the mother-ship, Robin and Kid Flash die, too. M'gnn watches the mother-ship get destroyed, lamenting that while the mission was a success, the cost was too high....only for a second mother ship to drop down in its place. And then Martian Man-hunter stabs her in the chest, killing her.
    • Even with the reveal that this was basically All Just a Dream doesn't lesson the impact, because all the characters still remember this happening, and spend the next couple episodes recovering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
  • Parts 3 and 4 of Super Ducktales are made to embody this trope. Ma Beagle is able to get a remote control that lets her take control of Gizmoduck to make him her unwilling slave and go on a personal crime spree for her. That's bad. Then she uses him to steal Scrooge's entire fortune and leave him penniless and forced to sell his own home, which just to rub salt in the wound, she proceeds to buy. Then she uses her new power to buy out the town and control it against their will. Then when Huey, Dewey, and Louie are able to discover that her new sudden gain in wealth is actually stolen from Scrooge, Ma Beagle uses her new influence over the police to get them to arrest him instead.
    • Also used in the Grand Finale "The Golden Goose." The titular MacGuffin falls into Scrooge's hands and he gleefully learns it can turn everything into gold. Put jealous Glomgold has the Beagle Boys steal it, and when Huey, Dewey, and Louie try to stop them they get turned into golden statues. A distraught Scrooge teams up with Poupon, whose temple housed the goose, to recover it as it turns out to be cursed and will transform if it's away from its resting place for too long. Scrooge, Launchpad, Dijon, and Poupon head to recover the goose, but as they arrive at Glomgold's hideout it undergo its first transformation and becomes sentient and starts turning things (and people!) into gold on its own. Then the heroes manage to catch the goose, but before Poupon can pour his temple's enchanted water on it to return the goose to normal the Beagle Boys destroy his vial. And then the goose undergoes its second transformation where it sheds its gold so it can start consuming the entire world...
    • And of course we can't forget The Movie. Bad: Dijon steals the magic lamp and has his first wish to have the genie give him all of Scrooge's fortune. Worst: Big Bad Merlock proceeds to steal it from Dijon and uses his talisman to give himself unlimited power over the lamp and genie.
  • Codename: Kids Next Door's movie Operation: Z.E.R.O. starts out with Numbuh Zero's recommissioning module being stolen, and then an old evil named Grandfather being awakened and then he takes over the world, turning everyone into Senior Citizombies, and then all of the Kids Next Door members become Citizombies save for Numbuh One, Numbuh Zero and Sector Z. And then the book of KND almost gets destroyed! Yeesh!
  • Green Lantern: The Animated Series "Cold Fury" starts with an attack by the Anti-Monitor and the Manhunters, yet manages to get worse when Aya takes the energy from the ships engine, defeats the Anti-Monitor and takes it's place as leader of the Manhunters and leaves the rest of the crew stranded in a now powerless Interceptor.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: "Not So Awesome Blossom" starts off bad for Blossom and slowly deteriorates for her as the story goes on. Her attack plans to stop Mojo Jojo's robots lead to destruction she did not intend, leaving Buttercup to clean up the mess. Everything Blossom does goes wrong to where she runs away from home and gets a job at a fast food restaurant. It gets no better: the final straw is when she accidentally spurts ketchup all over her face.
  • The feature film version of Shane Acker's award-winning short film 9 does this twice. After 7 kills the Beast, 9 awakens the Fabrication Machine. After they kill the Winged Beast, Mr. Fab sends the Seamstress. When they kill the Seamstress, Mr. Fab sends his spider robot mook things. When they blow the factory up, Mr. Fab pulls a Disney Death, kills 5 and 6, and then kills 1 before they finally kill it. The poor sackdolls just can't catch a break.