Utahraptor: Hey, T-Rex!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 Fools' 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 has 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. When a whole plot centers around an elaborate April Fools prank played on the protagonist, this also classifies as Friendly Scheming. 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.
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.
T-Rex: April Fool's.
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.
T-Rex: April Fool's.
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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.
- Haruhi Suzumiya had an April Fool's day episode where Achakura tries and fails to trick Nagato several times.
- Sgt. Frog 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.
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.
- 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:
Tsukasa: What I said just now... I lied... when I said I lied?
- 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:
- 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.
- My Monster Secret manages to play one of these pranks on the reader: In one chapter, Nagisa receives a message from her higher-ups informing her that her mission on earth is over and she has to return to her homeworld. The next couple of chapters revolve around her preparing for her departure, finally coming to a head in one of the most emotional Tear Jerker moments in the series, where she and Youko say their final goodbyes. Then on the very last page of the last chapter in the arc, it's revealed that the whole event was an April Fools Day Prank by her brother that had Gone Horribly Right thanks to Akane, and the initial departure order was just a joke, turning one of the most dramatic chapters in the entire manga into a "Shaggy Dog" Story. note
- 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," opens with Superman going to bed on March 31, then waking 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.)
- Calvin and Hobbes: The Series has "Let Us Prank the Fool", which involves Calvin trying to prank resident prankster Socrates before April 1st.
- Subverted in Who Silenced Elly Patterson, April thinks Brad is trying to pull this on her, but when he confirms he's not joking, and that her mother Elly is dead, she screams and faints.
- Being a Slice of Life story, My Family and Other Equestrians has one of these in Interlude 9 and chapter 60, in which Discord pranks Blade Star and Lizzie by gluing fake wings onto Blade Star (making him an alicorn) and turning Lizzie into a pegasus. (The first chapter shows the pranks from Lizzie's point of view, and the second chapter shows them from Blade Star's. This is not Simultaneous Arcs, however, as the second chapter is immediately after the previous one.) Blade Star eventually gets rid of his wings, but Lizzie's transformation stuck (mainly because Lizzie wanted to stay a pegasus, she was originally given the option to change back).
- At the end of Chapter 14 of The Tangled Princess Bride, The King drops the book and loses his place. When he starts reading again, he's in a totally different story, Tangled Die Hard. Quickly realizing his mistake, he closes the book and flips back to the right story. The kids beg for that to be the next story read to them, but Grandpa refuses as to avoid the wrath of the kids' Mom and Grandma.
- In The Secret Origins of Scrappy-Doo The entirety of Scrappy's "Secret origins" are actually an April Fool's day joke cooked up by Shaggy, Fred, and Scrappy to dupe Daphne into thinking the titular character is Fred.
- 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.
- In The French Connection II, Popeye arrives in Marseilles on April 1 to find the police gutting a shipment of fish, searching for drugs. It's soon after revealed the anonymous tip about the fish was a prank, much to the narcotics head's frustration.
- In Billy and Howard, the twins play jokes on each other. Hilarity Ensues, for certain values of hilarity.
- In The Confidence Man, it is April Fools' Day when a mysterious man sneaks onto a steamboat and tests each passenger's confidence through moral questioning while conning them out of their money one by one.
- According to Word of God, Fred and George Weasley were born on April 1st.
- Browns Pine Ridge Stories: This is one of Jerome's favorite holidays as it provides him the opportunity to pull as many pranks as possible, such as saying that the store is on fire... except he's telling the truth this time.
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. Britta's prank horribly backfires (as do the rest of the group's antics) and so the April Fool's episode ultimately ends with all the characters in tears.
- 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. Col. Potter is vainly trying to stop them with a hardass inspector coming around on that very day. The inspector starts riding everyone hard to the point of bringing Hawkeye, Houlihan and Winchester up on Insubordination charges. Incensed with nothing to lose, they plan a really cruel April Fool prank on him that apparently stresses him out into a heart attack. As they frantically work on him, the officer calls Hawkeye to him and whispers "April Fool!" At that, Potter reveals that it was all an elaborate prank and the marks for this prank all praise it as a masterful one.
- 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.
- Victorious did one where it proceeded as a normal episode with clearly not normal things happening around the cast.
- In the Shining Time Station episode, "The Joke's on Schemer", on March 31st, the kids dread Schemer's April Fool's Day pranks, so they decide to prank him by making him think it's April 1st. At first, they find it funny when Schemer's pranks confuse bystanders, but then he starts mistaking serious things for pranks, like JB King trying to get him to renew the lease on his arcade.
- One 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!"
- Another strip takes this Up to Eleven, with Lucy telling Charlie Brown she's going to play an April Fool's trick on him, making sure he's absolutely clear on the concept, and then saying the little red-haired girl is at the door and wants to give him a hug and kiss. He falls for it.
- 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).
- In Elona, when the in-game calendar reaches April, all generic NPC dialogue is replaced by Blatant Lies (as well as a few lies that may be plausible enough to fool uninformed players).
- Geography Now: Paul talks about Bandiaterra (a country that doesn't actually exist) in the same semi-serious way he speaks about any country he covers. Only at the end we discover it's actually an April Fools' Day episode.
- Sillypplproductions2: Breez says that since Furno is turning evil, and Nex looks like the better choice to date, and Surge is going to go to school note .
- The Strong Bad Email episode "April 1st" is about Strong Bad playing April Fool pranks in person, after lamenting that the internet ruined the holiday.
- In the Super Mario Logan episode, "April Fools!", Bowser Junior and Toad play a series of April Fool's pranks, including telling Chef Pee Pee his Mom died of a stroke. As retribution, Chef Pee Pee tricks Junior into thinking his Thomas the Tank Engine toy was destroyed. When Junior finds his Thomas toy, he decides to get revenge on Chef Pee Pee, with the help of Toad. Toad pours bleach into Chef Pee Pee's sprite, killing him when he drinks it. When Toad rushes to dial the emergency number, he notices the date was April 2nd.
- Came up in Twitch streamer Beaglerush's Long War campaign of all places. After losing some of his best soldiers in an eleventh hour base defense mission, an irate Beagle passed the game's Point of No Return, which was unfortunate since he needed to build some equipment for his replacement team. Since passing time normally was no longer an option, Beagle spent ten minutes real-time and a week in-game running the clock by flying a Skyranger to the final mission site, aborting the attack, flying back to base, and repeating the process until the equipment was ready. In a hilarious coincidence, this meant that the final battle took place on April 1st, making it all one overly-elaborate April Fool's joke at the aliens' expense.
Beagle: By the 121st attempt, the aliens will have stopped defending the Temple Ship, believing that we will never actually attack it.
- 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 festive around the holidays.
Diane Simmons: And with only eighty-seven suicides and widespread looting, we think this was a pretty successful practical joke!
Brian: You... DICKS!
- 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, but eventually gets everyone back by faking an alien invasion.
- A House of Mouse short involves Mortimer and Mickey out-pranking each other.
- A SpongeBob SquarePants 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!!!"
- NOTE: The voiceovers for the final episode were recorded, but the episode never got into the animation stage due to Nickelodeon not allowing shows to break the fourth wall.
- Recess: "The Big Prank" and "The Madness of King Bob" (not set in April Fool's Day, but were often rerun around the time).
- 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 personification 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?").
- Hey Arnold! had the aptly named "April Fool's 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. At the end, 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.
- Happens on Jimmy Two-Shoes' in the episode "Best Prank Ever". On Miseryville's 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). However when Jimmy decides Lucius shouldn't "have all the fun", he and everyone else in Miseryville pitch in to prank Lucius in every way possible. This eventually ends in Heloise turning the entire town into Smilesville which works so well Lucius has a Villainous Breakdown.
- 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 depicting 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.
- In The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh episode "April Pooh", Pooh finds out about April Fools' Day from Christopher Robin. Pooh thinks "the April Fool" is a person, and the one who keeps playing tricks on him and his friends. They try and capture the April Fool, and it turns out to be Christopher Robin, who tells them that they played the biggest trick of the day on him.
Pooh: And just in time for breakfast!
Rabbit: But Pooh, it's almost sunset!
Pooh: April Fool! I knew it was dinnertime all along.
- Donkey Kong Country has the episode called "Just Kidding," which involves a special day on Kongo-Bongo similar to April Fool's Day called All Fool's Day, which involves jokes similar to April Fool's Day, and the one who was pranked has to say "Well I'll be a monkey's uncle." Cranky constantly pranks DK, Diddy and Candy, (Cranky makes an agreement to set up the prank with the latter two, only to betray them with another prank) which causes DK, Diddy and Candy to use a K. Rool suit to prank Cranky, but it backfires when the real K. Rool uses the prank to his advantage. In the end, after DK gets the coconut back from K. Rool by using some pranks that Cranky used on DK, DK and Diddy finally prank Cranky with a fake Crystal Coconut while Diddy has the real Crystal Coconut.
- In the Johnny Bravo episode "Fool For A Day", Johnny becomes the butt of everyone's jokes and pranks on April Fool's Day. The next day, he retaliates with his own highly effective pranks, only to be informed that since it's not April Fool's Day anymore, it's no longer appropriate. He gets in trouble and is beaten up.
- In the The Loud House episode, "April Fools Rules", Luan unleashes an arsenal of pranks on April Fool's Day, and Lincoln tries to avoid whatever she may have in store.