Funny Aneurysm Moment: Western Animation


  • Most of The Boondocks episode "Thank You for Not Snitching" follows the militarization of a Neighborhood Watch group that targets young black children. Considering what happened to Trayvon Martin, this all the more charged and slightly hard to watch.
  • In Futurama, one of the stations in the New New York tubeway system is given as "J.F.K., Jr. Airport". After the real-life John F. Kennedy, Jr. died when his private plane crashed, the line was replaced with "Radio City Mutant Hall" (though the original line can still be heard on the full-episode animatic that appears on Futurama volume one DVD and on the UK airings).
    • The line in the first episode about the Stop & Drop Suicide booths being "Americans' favorite suicide booth since 2008" becomes a bit wince worthy in light of 2008's economic meltdown and the invention of an actual suicide machine in the same year.
    • In "The Lesser of Two Evils", the main characters visit a theme park modeled on 2000s New York. There's a brief scene where the stock market drops from about 11,000 to 7,200, similar numbers to the real-life 2008 crash. (Fortunately, it jumps right back up to 11,000, and all the stock brokers who jumped to their apparent deaths float back up into the building via jetpack.) Considering that the scene was supposed to be a "distorted history" take on the crash that started the Great Depression; that makes this a sort of bizarre life imitating art imitating life.
    • In The Beast With a Billion Backs, Colleen, voiced by Brittany Murphy, is the only person in the universe to stay in heaven with Yivo. Beast With A Billion Backs was the last time Brittany Murphy did voicework on an animated show (besides her role as Luanne Platter on King of the Hill) before she died in December 2009.
  • There is a not-so-untrue Urban Legend about a King of the Hill episode and a Columbine survivor who was hiding during the shooting and wrote a love note she intended to give to a friend after realizing how close she was to dying, but the friend turned out to be one of the perpetrators. "Wings of the Dope," the episode with Buckley's angel, aired two weeks later and watching it helped the girl realize she didn't need permission or approval from anyone to mourn her loss (or the loss of what could have been had she spoken up sooner). In the episode, when Hank is tired of everyone talking about the angel and tries to get Luanne away from him, he says:
    "I'm sure with his help you'll do just fine. You'll pass the test and he'll have finished his good deed and there'll be no need for him to come back to Earth again. And if you do see Buckley's angel again, it will actually be an evil angel of death."
  • The Sam & Max: Freelance Police episode "Fools Die on Friday", originally aired in 1997, is about a terrorist who hijacks an aircraft and almost crashes it into a tall structure in New York City. Of course, the aircraft is a blimp, the terrorist is just a mildly insane loser, and the crash (into the Statue of Liberty) is averted. But the overall plot and dialogue still parallel 9/11 enough that it makes the episode harder to laugh at. The episode was not shown on Gametap when they began streaming the series in 2006, but it is fully present on the DVD release.
  • Godzilla: The Series Randy Hernandez's line "Who's been playing dominoes with the World Trade Center?" in the episode "Future Shock" straddles between this and Harsher in Hindsight, due to having time traveled to a Bad Future.
  • In South Park:
    • The entire episode "The Jeffersons" (and the lines from the black man on "The Mexican Staring Frog of Southern Sri Lanka" who kept telling Jesus that Michael Jackson is still a beloved entertainer, despite being branded as a Memetic Molester), which brutally spoofed Michael Jackson, considering the death of the pop idol and how all the jokes about Michael Jackson being a child molester fell out of favor when he was acquitted in 2005 and when he died in 2009. Considering all the crap he got for his alleged crimes both in real life and on other TV shows that make jokes about Michael Jackson being a child molester, South Park actually had a shocking amount of sympathy for him on the episode "The Jeffersons" as a Man Child who acted this way to make up for the childhood he never had (and Kyle calls Michael out on acting like a kid when really he should be caring for the child he has).
    • "Butters' Very Own Episode" ends with Gary Condit, JonBenet Ramsey's parents, and O.J. Simpson being called out for being murderers who lie through their teeth and (in the second case) are playing the victims on top of that. Not nearly as funny and biting now that the Ramseys and Condit have been confirmed as innocent people Convicted by Public Opinion, and too late for Patsy Ramsey (who died of ovarian cancer) at that. And especially after O.J.'s book If I Did It. Matt Stone and Trey Parker have gone on record saying that they deeply regret this.
    • And for an in-universe example of this trope, the revelation in the Wham Episode "201" completely twists the climax of "Scott Tenorman Must Die" around in a new light. For those who wonder: Cartman's true father and Scott Tenorman's father are the same. Meaning that Cartman killed his own dad and thus that his his victory in "Scott Tenorman Must Die" was a retroactive Pyrrhic Victory.
    • In 2004's "Passion of the Jew," Mel Gibson is shown as a deranged man who goes after Stan and Kenny for hating Passion of the Christ and ends up making a fool of himself in front of everyone in town (even going so far as to act like Daffy Duck, back when he was a screwball). In 2006, Gibson was pulled over for drunk driving, and while being arrested he made anti-Semitic remarks and insulted a female officer by calling her a misogynistic name. Now in 2010, he's been taped making racial and sexist slurs and screamed at his wife while threatening her, in a way that is scarily similar to his insane depiction. Though this probably actually makes this episode even funnier, but it makes you wonder if the South Park creators knew something the audience didn't at the time.
    • The season five episode "Proper Condom Use" has parents pushing for sex ed to be taught to the younger grades. How young? Try "kindergarten" (which Chef finds appalling, as he believes that kids should be kids and not worry about sexual matters until they find out about it for themselves). It was just a joke about how insane the need for teaching sex ed to younger children can be pushed...until some schools actually proposed having sex ed classes for 1st and 2nd graders, though this is arguable, as the sex-ed proposed for grade school children is more centered on child molestation and what to do if you or someone you know is being sexually molested.
    • In "Volcano", Jimbo says that because lawmakers are making it harder to hunt animals, hunters pretend to act like the animals pose a threat to them as an excuse to hunt. This becomes cringe-worthy after the shooting of Trayvon Martin and the George Zimmerman trial put Florida's controversial "Stand Your Ground" laws (harming/killing someone if you feel poses a threat to you) into the national spotlight (even though Zimmerman did not invoke "Stand Your Ground" and waived his right to have his case looked as such).
    • This one goes to South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut; in light of recent cyber-attacks on Sony Pictures allegedly by North Korea over the film The Interview, the plot about going to war over a movie doesn't seem too farfetched anymore.
      • On the same topic, the "Cartoon Wars" two-parter features an episode of Family Guy getting pulled after it receives terrorist threats due to its depiction of Muhammad. The Interview ended up getting pulled from theaters due to terrorist threats over its depiction of Kim Jong-un.
  • Inverted in the pilot episode of Drawn Together. Comedy Central initally didn't want Toot Braunstein to cut herself, as they felt that the gag was too tasteless. A year before the show premiered, an episode of The Real World: San Diego revealed that Frankie Abernathy was a cutter. Because of its relevance, the scene was left in the show.
  • Blitz Wolf, an MGM Wartime Cartoon, features the Three Little Pigs blowing up Tokyo after an overly long gun barrel gag note . This was three years before two Japanese cities (Hiroshima and Nagasaki) really would be blown to pieces — with atomic weapons.
  • In the Baseball Episode of The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius, Jimmy scientifically lines his team's equipment with the talents of Babe Ruth, Barry Bonds and Mark McGuire. This becomes less amusing after the latter two got busted for using steroids.
  • In Celebrity Deathmatch, when Steve Irwin gets tail-whipped by Medusa, he rips his heart out and puts it back in, saying "What a stinger!" This is now in bad taste due to Steve Irwin's real-life death after being stung in the heart by a stingray.
    • Siegfried getting attacked and killed by the tiger in Penn & Teller vs. Siegfried & Roy match became less funny when Roy was mauled by the tiger in Real Life.
  • The obscure cartoon Posse Impossible, part of The CB Bears, had an episode entitled "One of Our Rivers is Missing". It may have seemed funny at the time in the 1970s, but due to the late 2013 UK flooding and concern over global warming, it is a lot harder to laugh at nowadays.
  • The Legend of Korra: The Show Within The Show flanderizes Unalaq, the Big Bad of book 2, in an effort to get people to realize that he was indeed the bad guy by showing him as an Omnicidal Maniac. This became unfunny when it turned out that Unalaq was indeed such after becoming the dark avatar.
    • The original series has The Ember Island Players, about a Fire Nation play about the cast, which is about as hilarious a warping of reality as the Unalaq play. Then came The Movie, where pretty much everything the actual Gaang had a "No. Just... No" Reaction to in the play was true of the movie's portrayal. The movie goes on to be considered In Name Only and universally reviled by fans, not even liked by people new to the franchise and unfamiliar with what the cast was supposed to look and act like, and generally cemented M. Night Shyamalan's Fallen Creator status.
  • This ad for Clarence is a lot less funny after the creator was fired from Cartoon Network over allegations of sexual assault. However, the episode where this scene came from, "Slumber Party", did eventually air unaltered, which may fall into Too Soon territory instead.
  • The The Wild Thornberrys contains an episode where Eliza meets a pack of wolves in Yellowstone National Park. Eliza claims that there has never been a single human in North America killed by a wolf. The deaths of Kenton Joel Carnegie and Candice Berner, who were both killed by wolves in North America (Carnegie was Canadian, Berner was American), make this quote hard to stomach.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The episode "Trade Ya" has Twilight Sparkle deciding not to sell her books, saying that just because they don't need to be read again doesn't mean they don't possess value; they're a part of her history and what made her who she was, and were quite precious. Four episodes later in "Twilight's Kingdom", they along with the rest of the Golden Oak Library were destroyed by Tirek. Also counts as Harsher in Hindsight.
    • The episode "Ammending Fences" does this to the very first episode. The Establishing Character Moment of Twilight brushing aside a party invite to focus on her studies with Nightmare Moon's imminent arrival? Turns out the party that she was invited to was for an old friend of hers named Moondancer, and by snubbing it and moving to Ponyville without even saying goodbye broke poor Moondancer.
  • On an episode of The Critic where Jay becomes a trucker, he leaves Miami as a sign saying "You are now leaving Miami. We'll get you next time." is shown, which also contains a picture of an alligator holding a shotgun. Fast-forward to 2012 with the Trayvon Martin shooting in Florida and the controversy of its "stand your ground" law, and this becomes not so funny.
    • Another episode has a banner advertising the New York City Marathon (which Jay later runs in) with the slogan "It's More Fun to Run When it's Not From a Gun". Terrorism at a marathon was unthinkable until the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013 that left 3 dead and more than two hundred and fifty injured, making this one hit a bit close to home.
    • Jokes about Doris' smoking habits are also this ever since her voice actress Doris Grau died in 1995 of respiratory failure. A notable one was when she blew a smoke cloud of an evil figure telling her that her time is coming soon.
  • The Duck Dodgers episode "The Menace of Maninsuit" (first aired in 2004) had Dodgers fight the titular kaiju on the Japan-like planet of Nippono in a mecha, who eventually crashes into a nuclear power plant and comments on how it's a bad idea to have one near the ocean. The 2011 Tohoku earthquake and tsunami, along with the subsequent Fukushima nuclear disaster, show how it's a bad idea.
  • In a bad naming coincidence, the organization which the protagonists of Archer work for is named ISIS, the International Secret Intelligence Service. Among other things, they have engaged in counter-terrorism and espionage, unintentionally racking up high body counts and causing international incidents. The group is a parody of intelligence agencies, and allows the writers (usually through Lana or Mallory) to give their opinions on the fubared nature of covert geopolitics, and the horrible things that happen when said politics go wrong. Unfortunately, in early 2014, an organization known as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, rose to prominence, the result of several geopolitical disasters in the Middle East. Among other things, they have engaged in terrorism and mass murder, purposefully causing an international incident and racking up a high body count. The trouble caused by the real-life ISIS has lead to the creators to drop the name from the sixth season onwards.
  • "Colonel Heeza Liar" was a recurring character featured in a series of Bray Studios shorts during The Silent Age of Animation. During his first run (1913-17), many of his cartoons had him getting involved in World War Inote , where he was bounced around, singed, or otherwise inconvenienced by enemy fire. When the US finally entered the war, any doughboys who saw the cartoons after being incessantly bombarded by German artillery would have found the Colonel's antics a lot less amusing.
  • One episode, SpongeBob shouts 'Holy Oil Spill!' as Mermaid Man's rivals appear.
    • In an earlier episode where Spongebob and Patrick steal a balloon, it pops and they panic. Patrick says this little gem right here:
      Patrick: "We're not talking about some dumb mail fraud scheme or a hijacking! WE STOLE A BALLOON!"
    • (A few months after the episode aired, 9/11, the anthrax letters and hijacking of Flight 793 occurred. Coincidence or foreshadowing?)
    • Sandy Cheeks has become one after a hurricane bearing her name tore through New Jersey.
    • In "SpongeBob vs. The Big One", The Flying Dutchmen gets sent Davy Jones' Locker. It then shows him sitting in a locker full of Gym socks with the musician Davy Jones (of Monkees fame) standing next to him, taunting him. Considering who Davy Jones is in both maritime mythology and Pirates of the Caribbean, the Visual Pun becomes much darker after Davy Jones' death in 2012.
    • The "Remembering SpongeBob" montage from "The Sponge Who Could Fly" is rather heartbreaking if you think about it as remembering pre-Seasonal Rot SpongeBob.
  • In Steven Universe, a lot of the jokes made at Amethyst's expense (such as Garnet's "we kept Amethyst" tidbit) become a lot harsher when The Reveal shows us that Amethyst is one of many "parasites" created by the Gems from the homeworld to do... something bad to Earth. Made even worse when it reveals Amethyst's dead-seated inner turmoil about this and how Pearl was oblivious to how torn up Amethyst felt inside.
  • Littlest Pet Shop (2012): The episode "Lotsa Luck" has a flashback scene where Mrs. Twombly's retirement from kung fu quilting overshadows Neil Armstrong's moon landing. Considering that the episode was likely written around the time of Armstrong's death, the news retroactively comes off as this.
  • Rugrats: In "The Santa Experience", Angelica meets a shopping mall Santa and one item she tells him she wants is a "911 working emergency stethoscope kit", pronouncing "911" as "Nine-Eleven".