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April Fools' Plot
Utahraptor: Hey, T-Rex!
T-Rex: Hey! Don't try to trick me!
Utahraptor: Huh? Oh, April Fool's. No, I just wanted some help moving something heavy.
T-Rex: Sorry, I'm busy.
Utahraptor: Oh. (beat) OK.
(Utahraptor leaves)
T-Rex: April Fool's!

Ah... April 1st. It is the day where everyone can pull tricks at someone without worry. It is the time of the year where you let yourself loose and have light-hearted fun.

Some works will have plots based on April Fool's Day, much like the Christmas Episode. Plots will revolve around characters pranking each other. It might be just a bunch of harmless fun. Very often, however, what was intended as a harmless prank might spiral out of control and create real problems.

If the show as a resident Jerkass or Bully, that character might use this celebration to be a douchebag to everyone around them and simply yell "April Fools!" to be immediately immune from any form of criticism. They use the freedom of the day to be abusive towards others by pulling pranks and get away with it scot free! If that is the case, the episode will probably end with the jerk getting his comeuppance ending with "April Fools!" being uttered by the former victim as he or she pulls a prank on the prankster. Of course, there have been variations, with even the prankster getting away with it.

Escalating Wars are not uncommon with these stories.

Note that this is NOT about episodes that simply aired during April Fool's Day. This is simply about episodes with the story that focuses on April Fools Day, hence this trope's name. While it is possible for them to air during early April, that is not a requirement.

This trope is for In-Universe Examples Only. For examples of Real Life April Fools pranks by creators, see April Fools' Day.

Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • The ninth episode of Smile Pretty Cure! had Yayoi attempt to pull an April Fool's prank by saying that she was transferring to a new school. However, she ended up telling this to Miyuki, who promptly panicked and began telling the other girls, with Yayoi being unable to get an word in edgeways, mostly because they kept assuming she was going to talk about them separating. When they do find out the truth, they aren't happy... until they realize that the whole thing started because Miyuki believed her.
    • Bonus points to one copy of the episode having an Akanbe eyecatch on it.
  • Part of an episode of Lucky Star involves April Fool's lies. Konata briefly tricks Kagami into believing that she finished her homework herself, Kuroi-sensei calls Konata claiming to have overwritten one of Konata's saved games, Konata told Kuroi that Miyuki said teaching must be easy if Kuroi could do it, and Tsukasa told Kagami that she had told someone an April Fool's lie.
  • Haruhi Suzumiya had an April Fool's day episode where Achakura tries and fails to trick Nagato several times.
  • Keroro Gunsou has a chapter where the Platoon fools Fuyuki and Natsumi into thinking they have gotten serious about their invasion of Earth - they even hijack some news broadcasts and internet sites to amplify the effect of their supposed attacks on the population. It even includes a number of Shout Outs to Orson Welles' radio adaptation of The War of the Worlds.
  • An arc in Lucky Star has a few.
    • a phone call between Konata and Kagami has Konata claiming to have finished her homework by herself, shocking Kagami... until Konata revealed that it was an April Fools' Day lie.
    • After the call, Kuroi-sensei called Konata, tricking her into thinking she'd saved over game data:
    Ms. Kuroi: Sorry, Izumi. I deleted all your saved data.
    Konata: WHAT?!
    Ms. Kuroi: Fooled ya, fooled ya, today is April Fools!
    Konata: She must be so bored calling up this late.
    • Then Konata told Kuroi that Miyuki had used her as an example of why being a teacher must be an easy job.
    • Meanwhile, when asked, Tsukasa tries her hand at a recursive April Fool's lie, confusing Kagami a bit:
    Tsukasa: What I said just now... I lied... when I said I lied?
  • Doraemon had an April Fool's plot beginning when Nobita uses the excuse of April's Fools to avoid getting beaten up by Giant for tricking him. Giant then asks if he's sure it's April 1st, causing Nobita to doubt if it's actually April 2nd, so Giant gets the right to beat him up. When all said and done, Giant revealed that it's REALLY April 1st so he gets away for bluffing Nobita about the date.
    • Another episode started with Giant, Suneo and Shizuka playing April Fool's joke on Nobita. One of the jokes include ''his house is on fire'', so he has the right to be panic being the paranoid kid he is. Enraged by his friends fooling him, Nobita pleads to Doraemon for a device that makes its user able to make all April Fool's joke become reality. And since this is Nobita we're talking about, he's going to abuse it for his own good.
    • The plot point of the Retcon used by the manga (first story in Volume 7) and the second part of the two-parter anime special to bring Doraemon back. After getting tricked by Gian and Suneo that Doraemon has returned (and a couple more pranks) due to it being the said date, Nobita remembers that Doraemon has left behind a special box that would grant him one more gadget that should only be used in case of an emergency. The box grants him a potion that would make anything he says become a lie. He quickly uses it to unleash revenge on Gian and Suneo, but then on the way home, muses about the prank Gian and Suneo pulled on him and how Doraemon would never return. Naturally, Doraemon returns at the end of the chapter/anime.

    Comic Books 
  • The Batman story Arkham Asylum: A Serious House on Serious Earth takes place during April Fools' Day. Early in it, The Joker tells Batman that he's going to shove a pencil in a girl's eye (which later inspired a Joker in a different adaptation), only to later reveal he was just april fooling Bats and the girl is fine. According to Word of God, Two-Face doesn't shoot Batman in the comic's last page despite getting tails from his coin because it was April Fools' Day.
  • The Batman series The Long Halloween involves a serial killer—nicknamed Holiday—who kills once a month, always on a holiday. Except when April rolls around. Holiday commemorates April Fools Day by not killing anyone that month, but instead cornering The Riddler in an alley and shooting a bullet outline around him.
  • A classic Superman story from the Silver Age, "The Night of March 31st," ends with Superman going to bed on March 31 only to wake up to utter chaos. Villains who know his secret identity, Lana Lang trying to kill him, Superman flying around the city in Clark's glasses, and so forth. The story asked the readers if they could "guess the solution of the astonishing story that began on the night of March 31st!" (The answer, of course, is not related to what day it is when Superman goes to bed, but what day it is when he wakes up.)

    Fan Fiction 

    Film 
  • In the 1939 film Goodbye, Mr. Chips, the boys of Brookfield school play pranks on the masters on April first, and the eponymous Mr. Chipping's wife goes into labour. Sadly, both Kathie and the baby die.
  • Featured in the Slasher Movies April Fools' Day and Slaughter High, plus the lesser known ones April Fools and Killer Party.

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • In a first season episode of Community the plot is centered around Britta's attempt at an April Fool's Prank, after being called a 'killjoy' one too many times.
  • An episode of Not Going Out has Lucy claim she's pregnant in a ruse to get Lee to admit he masturbated in her bath water. She reveals this by declaring "April Fool's!", although the events of the episode appeared to take place over several days.
  • A M*A*S*H episode has the 4077th staff playing April Fools' pranks on each other.
  • A NewsRadio episode has Jimmy James doing this...in February.
  • In a Season One Red Dwarf episode, Holly tells Lister that an attack fleet from the Norweb Federation is after him for his crimes against humanity — he left two sausages to go mouldy three million years ago, and they now cover nine tenths of the Earth's surface. They also have a final electricity demand for 180 billion.
    Lister: A hundred and eighty billion pounds? You're kidding!
    Holly: (suddenly wearing Groucho glasses) April fool.
    Lister: But it's not April!
    Holly: Yeah, but I could hardly wait six months with a red hot jape like that under me belt, could I?
  • The Price Is Right has been renowned for pulling some hilarious April Fools shenanigans.
  • The penultimate episode of Kenan & Kel (if you don't count the movies) is this trope, with the titular duo performing many pranks including getting the mailman to hit Kenan's mom in the face with a pie.
  • In The Worst Year of My Life, Again, the episode "April Fools Day" revolves around the pranks played on and by Alex.
  • Castle combines this trope with Birthday Episode in "The Lives of Others"; Castle's birthday is April 1. The whole plot, in which Castle is convinced that a tenant in the apartment across the street is a killer is an elaborate birthday surprise staged by Beckett.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • One Foxtrot strip had Jason tuning in to the Game of Thrones season two premiere, only to find that all the horses had been replaced with characters from My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic and the characters referring to each other as bronies. The network revealed it was an April Fools' prank pretty quickly, but Jason had already broken out his pitchfork (and apparently, so had the other viewers in the universe).
  • An old Peanuts strip has Lucy coming up to Charlie Brown at school recess and telling him the little red-haired girl wants him to come over and eat lunch with her. Charlie Brown nervously walks off, then - after a beat panel - returns to shoot a Death Glare at Lucy as she says, "April Fool!"

    Video Games 
  • Each of the Animal Crossing games has some sort of special event on April 1:
    • In the original, Tortimer gives you a copy of the fake NES game Super Tortimer (no, you can't play it).
    • In Wild World, you get a letter from your parents with a joke.
    • In City Folk, Tortimer gives you a furniture leaf. Not a piece of furniture. Just a leaf.
    • April Fools' Day in New Leaf is much more involved than April Fools' in the earlier games. The recurring NPC Blanca appears in your village to pull pranks; she enters the villagers' houses one by one to impersonate them, and you have to guess who is the real villager and who is Blanca in disguise. If you correctly identify Blanca, the real villager will give you their picture, and if you correctly identify every villager, Blanca will send you her picture in the mail.
    • Additionally, in all the games, villagers will try to trick you with various lies (with varying degrees of believability).

    Webcomics 
  • One Dinosaur Comics strip had T-Rex playing an April Fool's prank on Utahraptor simply by claiming he is busy.

    Western Animation 
  • Family Guy: In "April in Quahog," the infamous, appalling stunt pulled by Channel 5 newscasters Tom Tucker and Diane Simmons, claiming via use of seemingly legitimate news stories that the Earth was being sucked into a giant black hole and everyone would be killed.
    Tom Tucker: Yes, April Fools. We, at Channel 5 News conducted the whole black hole story as part of our commitment to be infestive around the holidays.
    Diane Simmons: And with only eighty-seven suicides and widespread looting, we think this was a pretty successful practical joke!
    Brian Griffin: You DICKS!
    • The episode also contained a real-life April Fools' Day prank, as it was announced that Stan and Francine Smith and Hank Hill were going to guest-star, but they didn't. Well, it would have been a prank... if it didn't premiere on April 11th!
  • In an old Paramount-Famous Studio short, Popeye had to deal with Bluto abusing him because it was April Fools. He will try to get back at the big guy, but Olive scolds him for not celebrating the day. He of course eats his spinach, but Bluto trades it with a toy snake inside a spinach. However Popeye still managed to win by scaring Bluto with an inflatable toy.
  • CatDog has "Kooky Prank Day", where Cat is on the receiving end of every prank in Nearburg.
  • A House of Mouse short involves Mortimer and Mickey out-pranking each other.
  • A Sponge Bob Square Pants episode entitled "Fools in April" focuses on SpongeBob pulling a prank on everyone (who actually enjoyed the pranks) including Squidward, who finds it irritating. He then does a prank to SpongeBob that rather crosses the line, causing the sponge to flee the Krusty Krab in tears and have everyone think of him as a jerk. He does apologize to SpongeBob, but it ends up with SpongeBob joking about getting hurt from the joke.
  • In The Penguins of Madagascar, King Julien learns of April Fools a little too late, so he decides to prank everyone to make up for lost time, even if it's not April 1.
  • The final episode of The Angry Beavers was going to have Norbert and Daggett realizing that they're cartoon characters, and then they vanish from existence. At the end, Norbert says to Daggett, "There's just something I want to say..." Then Daggett asks, "What?" And Norbert yells, "APRIL FOOLS!!!"
  • Recess: "The Big Prank" and "The Madness of King Bob" (not set in April Fool's Day, but were often rerun around the time).
  • Hey Arnold! had the aptly named "April Fools Day" episode where Helga and Arnold tried pranking each other...then Arnold took it a little too far. Then Helga used his guilt to fool him even further.
  • Nicktoons:
    • The Wild Thornberrys had an episode about April Fools' Day with Eliza and Tyler pulling pranks at each other.
    • The Fairly Oddparents had a semi-recurring character called The April Fool who is the personifacation of April Fools' Day (like The Easter Bunny or Baby New Year for Easter and New Years) and talks like a Jerry Seinfeld stand-up act ("What's up with that?").
    • In Hey Arnold!, Arnold finally gets one up on Helga, with plenty of over-the-top flirting on Arnold's part as he does so - probably influenced by the post-movie feelings inferred that Arnold has for Helga starting to surface.
  • The Simpsons: the first clip show used April Fools' Day as a framing device. Bart, trying to outprank Homer, puts a can of Duff in a paint shaker. The ensuing explosion of high-pressure beer puts Homer in the hospital, where the family talking about his past experiences triggers the Flashbacks.
    Lou: We need pretzels. Repeat, pretzels.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes' Alternative Calendar, the holiday is Lucius Fools Day, where Lucius pulls mean-spirited pranks on everyone (as opposed to his usual Kick the Dog mentality).
  • Beetlejuice: "Scare And Scare Alike" had Beetlejuice and Lydia playing practical jokes on each other for Scary Fools Day.
  • Tex Avery's 1940 Warner Bros. cartoon "Holiday Highlights" is a series of vignettes depciting selected holidays. When it gets to April 1st, the picture is completely blank, much to the hilarity of the announcer ("Fooled ya! Fooled ya! There ain't no picture!") and the irritation of the theater management (card slide reads "T'ain't funny, McGee!")
  • The Smurfs episode "April Smurf's Day" is this trope in action.

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alternative title(s): April Fools Day Episode
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