->''"Oh my glob, you guys! [[TropeNamer DUH-RAMA BOMB!]]"''
-->-- '''Lumpy Space Princess''', ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime''

The Drama Bomb is pretty much exactly what it sounds like. In the world of fiction, among the marching armies of tropes and [[ExecutiveMeddling conquering generals]], it is a weapon of power scarcely imagined.

When a story has been coasting along quite well and nothing really strange is happening, beware. This is exactly the kind of environment writers can't stand. After all, a story without conflict is dull, and [[RuleOfDrama no-one likes a dull story]], right? So, just when you think everything has settled, they pull out the best weapon they can bring to bear on your sensibilities: a sudden explosive moment of drama.The happy couple breaks up. A character [[KilledOffForReal dies and doesn't get better]]. Somebody crosses the MoralEventHorizon. A well done authorial blitzkrieg attack will leave you stunned, shocked, yet wanting for more.

That is the raison d'être of the Drama Bomb. If successful, the event portrayed creates instant and justified character development and ties the audience even closer to their fate. The more it is used, however, the less powerful it becomes. After all, if an orphan gets slaughtered in every episode of your TV serial, people aren't going to look up from what they're doing if it happens again. The Drama Bomb is defined by its power, and if it loses this, it becomes a regular trope. As such, its usage is mostly reserved to comedy or other lighthearted media- but an expertly used drama bomb can leave a crater even when CharactersDroppingLikeFlies is the status quo.

Similar to VerySpecialEpisode, except the consequences carry and a lesson needn't be learned. Can be the first sign of CerebusSyndrome, but not always.

A secondary meaning of the term references a subject literally ''guaranteed'' to start a FlameWar or one with a very high potential of doing so (e.g. "what do you think about abortion?") : on this Wiki such is referred to as InternetBackdraft.

Also see: WhamEpisode, ShockingSwerve, KilledOffForReal, and DramaBombFinale.

'''Warning: High chance of spoilers.'''


[[folder:{{Anime}} and {{Manga}}]]
* Episode 103 of ''Manga/ChisSweetHome'', in which [[spoiler:Blackie moves away, leaving Chi in tears.]]
* A weird (possibly accidental) one came later in the manga of ''Manga/RanmaOneHalf'': the series is generally full of IneffectualDeathThreats, and even in the more serious bits we never see anyone die. Even childhood abuse was largely played as a form of ComedicSociopathy. Not so with Ryu Kumon's backstory: [[spoiler:his father used a DangerousForbiddenTechnique Genma taught him that made his house fall on top of him, with his last words to find the other technique, leaving the kid orphaned and homeless at the age of ''six'']]. Goddamn was that depressing.
* ''Anime/KirbyOfTheStars'' provides examples of both the use and overuse of the Drama Bomb. A fairly early episode has Kirby get a robo-puppy that becomes something of a little brother to him. The episode ends with the puppy [[TearJerker sacrificing itself to save Kirby]]. The overuse comes when they do this ''two additional times''. By the third self-sacrifice, you can't help thinking "Oh, not again."
* A ''massive'' Drama Bomb hits ''LightNovel/{{Toradora}}'' halfway through the series (starting with [[spoiler:Yuusaku's breakdown]] and ending with [[spoiler:Taiga realizing she loves Ryuuji]]). It's never quite the same again.
* ''Manga/{{Kekkaishi}}'': after [[spoiler:Gen dies in combat, the other characters hold a funeral for him.]] It's more of a Drama Nuke since [[spoiler:Gen's closest acquaintances remember him, Masamori gives Gen's grieving sister unanswered letters, and Yoshimori goes through a temporary HeroicBSOD over Gen's passing.]] However, for a few subsequent episodes, the aftermath left by said Drama Nuke is noticeable, but some funny moments pop up time after time.
* The 20th Episode of ''Anime/FreshPrettyCure'' is all about this. The tone was already bleak, it being about how the strain of being Pretty Cure and the dance lessons took a toll on Love, Miki and Inori physically (and to an extent psychologically) but it all reaches its peak when [[spoiler:they collapse after the battle with the [[MonsterOfTheWeek Nakisakebe]] and on the way to the dance lessons with Miyuki.]] Bonus Points if you like Eas. She has only 2 uses of the Pyramid Card, [[spoiler:which will eventually kill her if she runs out and refuses Wester's and Souler's offer to take her place...]]
* ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'', episode 12. It's been its own [[VulgarHumor vulgar]], [[WidgetSeries widgety]] self for the first half, then everything goes to hell. [[spoiler:Literally.]]
* ''Anime/MawaruPenguindrum'' gets hit with one halfway through the series (Episode 12): [[spoiler:Himari dies, seemingly permanently. The Takakura parents are revealed to have been responsible for the 1995 terrorist attacks. And the penguin hat stops working]]. Things [[FromBadToWorse go downhill from there]].
* ''Anime/CodeGeass'' is full of cluster bombs, that for added effect, accompany {{Hope Spot}}s in a couple cases, most notably [[spoiler:Lelouch accidentally geassing Euphemia, and Shirley having her memories restored]].
* Episode 7 of the anime adaptation of ''LightNovel/LoveChunibyoAndOtherDelusions'' starts off as your normal BeachEpisode, [[spoiler:but turns into this like WOAH. Namely, in explained ''why'' Rikka behaves that way, in the ''very'' TearJerker manner.]]
* The Whitebeard War saga is one big one in ''Manga/OnePiece''. First off, the Straw Hat Pirates are separated thanks to Bartholomew Kuma, then Luffy joins the Marineford war to save Ace from being executed. Just when it looks like he succeeds and all will be well [[spoiler:Admiral Akainu successfully kills Ace, sending Luffy into shock. Then, the Blackbeard Pirates arrive with new recruits and murder Whitebeard, but not before Whitebeard announces that the One Piece is real, thus causing piracy to skyrocket. Then, when Luffy recovers, he begins to question his abilities for the first time and believes he is too weak to become the Pirate King. Upon regaining his spirit, instead of reuniting with his crew and setting off for the New World, he sends word that they'll meet up in two years to give them time to prepare. And that's how the first half of the manga ends!]]
* This happens after the first two episodes of ''Manga/AttackOnTitan''. Military training aside, things are relatively calm after the TimeSkip following the Titan's attack on [[DoomedHometown Shiganshina]], and the next two episodes are spent introducing the characters, establishing just how desperate their situation is, and [[WorldBuilding giving further development to the overall setting]]. Near the end of the fourth episode, Eren and his teammates have graduated and are anxiously discussing their new positions over stolen food. [[spoiler:[[OhCrap And then]] the Colossal Titan shows up]].
* ''Anime/DragonBallZ''
** Frieza is seemingly defeated after getting hit by a moon size Spirit Bomb and the heroes are celebrating their bittersweet victory. Then, Frieza returns, shoots Piccolo, kills Krillin, and pushes Goku over the edge to become a Super Saiyan.
** Gohan seemingly has Cell truly beat after he forced him to spit out Android 18, reverting back to his much weaker semi-perfect form. Instead of being killed, [[RageQuit Cell decides to self-destruct and take the Earth with him]]. [[HeroicSacrifice Goku sacrifices his life so Cell only kills a few people instead of the entire planet]]. Before the heroes can get over their shock at Goku's death, Cell returns stronger than ever and murders Trunks.
** When Super Buu returns after he seemingly self-destructed, everyone is baffled since he didn't get any stronger and is still outmatched against Gohan. He challenges Gotenks to a fight instead of Gohan, who obligates. Buu then absorbs Gotenks and Piccolo, becoming stronger than ever.
** After Vegeta forces Buu to revert back to his original form, things seem fine since this version of Buu doesn't appear to be as strong as his other forms. Then Buu blows up the Earth, killing Gohan, Goten, Trunks, and Piccolo.
* ''Manga/HappyHappyClover'' starts becoming more serious and filled with drama in the fifth volume which is also the final entry of the series.

* In the ''VideoGame/SuperSmashBros'' fanfiction ''Smash Generation'', it seemed as if everything was going smoothly for the heroes, and then [[spoiler:Toon Link gets almost eaten by Molgera, and nearly ''dies'']].
* ''WesternAnimation/TotalDrama'':
** In ''Fanfic/TheLegendOfTotalDramaIsland'', Katie and Sadie are almost exclusively comic relief through the first several chapters. Then, during the camping challenge, instead of a reimagined version of the childish quarrel they had in canon after getting lost, they are caught in a nighttime storm without adequate shelter or clothing and develop severe hypothermia, facing a very real possibility of decidedly uncomic deaths.
** In ''[[Fanfic/TotalDramaComebackSeries Total Drama Comeback]]'', [[spoiler:Harold]] suffers a massive allergic reaction when [[spoiler:the eating contest is sabotaged]], which exposes the alliance that had controlled most of the eliminations up to that point.
** In ''[[Fanfic/TotalDramaDoOver Total Drama Action Do Over]]'', it comes to light that [[spoiler:Heather]] had locked away [[spoiler:Vanessa]] and assumed her identity to continue on the show, becoming the season's new BigBad.
%%* Chapter 15 of ''[[{{Fanfic/AceCombatEquestriaChronicles}} Ace Combat: The Equestrian War]]''. [[TearJerker And let's leave it at that]].
* Chapter 39 of ''Fanfic/FalloutEquestria''. The heroes have just [[spoiler:eliminated two major threats at once, survived (if just barely), and are regrouping]] with smiles on their faces. Things are looking up, right? [[spoiler:A page later, one of them has been decapitated.]]
* Chapter 10 of ''FanFic/TheLegendOfSpyroNoRestForTheWicked'' is a pretty big one. [[spoiler:First off, Spyro's new friend Caden is killed alongside hundreds of other dragons in the battle against the humans. Then Spyro manages to drive the humans away by accidentally unleashing his SuperpoweredEvilSide, only for it to nearly completely take over him even when Cynder tries to get through to him. Then, the biggest shocker comes during the aftermath when Galiron blames the humans' attack on Cynder for what she did to them, to which Spyro defends her, only for Galiron to reveal that among Cynder's victims during her time when she was evil were ''Spyro's biological parents'', shocking Spyro to the point that he actually '''smacks''' Cynder when she tries to explain she didn't know and runs off]].
* Chapter 34 of ''Fanfic/ADifferentLesson'' has one of these as well. Despite the death of [[spoiler:Mantis]] and the discovery of what happened to Chang and his family, things mostly seem to be getting better or heading toward resolution, with Vachir dead, [[spoiler:Monkey]] freed of DemonicPossession, Tai Lung having acquitted himself well in battle to the point it seems he'll be finally forgiven and accepted back in the Valley, and he and Tigress drawing closer and closer until she finally admits she loves him. There's still the Wu Sisters and the BigBad to deal with, but the former have been blunted by the RoomFullOfCrazy, Jia's feelings for Tai Lung, and the knowledge they have of Po's parentage, while the latter has been severely weakened by the events at Chorh-Gom. Surely things can be tidied up and dealt with relatively painlessly now, right? Wrong! [[spoiler:Zhuang gets killed and Tai Lung framed for it; Chao corrupts the Pool of Sacred Tears so as to possess all the townsfolk; Ping is kidnapped and taken to Wu Dan to force Po to sit out the coming battles; and Tai Lung himself gets arrested to be put on trial and forced into a SadisticChoice designed to let Chao win [[XanatosGambit no matter what happens]].]]
* In ''Fanfic/TheKeysStandAlone: The Soft World'', there's a doozy. John has just rescued Ringo and himself from a roomful of nasty psionics, and they're currently lying on their “default” mesa, with John laughing hysterically at his triumph. But Ringo is still under the psionics' mental influence and demands to be taken back. When John tries to snap him out of it, Ringo ''throws him over the side of the mesa''. While John is still wearing his cloak and, hence, his wings are bound. Which ''does'' snap Ringo out of it. This little event causes a seismic shift in the way the four deal with the Power Groups from then on.

* The martial arts movie ''House Of Flying Daggers'' does pretty well with its drama and plot for the most part...but just ''try'' to keep up with the last quarter of the movie. [[spoiler:The two government agents find the rebels, and it is revealed that one of the agents is actually working for the rebels and in love with the lady protagonist, also an agent of the Flying Daggers. But it turns out the leader of the Flying Daggers is NOT the leader of the Flying Daggers, our lady isn't blind, and is in love with the agent still pro-government and...]]
* In ''Film/DeadPoetsSociety'', everything looks like it's worked itself out, at least to some extent. Then [[spoiler:Neil shoots himself.]]
* The inspirational film ''Film/{{Courageous}}'', [[spoiler:One of the dads was caught stealing drugs!]] And that was after the pretty awesome moment where one of the dads gets a promotion for passing a SecretTestOfCharacter.
* ''Film/CaptainAmericaTheWinterSoldier'' serves this role for the Franchise/MarvelCinematicUniverse. It results in the dismantling of SHIELD, a pair of colossal revelations about SHIELD's true nature and the fate of Howard Stark, and very nearly uprooted then-nascent Series/AgentsOfSHIELD, serving as a drama bomb for that series as well.

* The illness of Red's daughter in ''[[Creator/StrugatskyBrothers Roadside Picnic]]'', forcing him to become even more of a [[AntiHero bastard]].
* ''Literature/AStormOfSwords'': The second half is just one big drama bomb. To enumerate *inhales* [[spoiler:Balon Greyjoy dies. The Red Wedding wipes out Robb Stark and Catelyn Stark. Davos frees Edric Storm and informs Stannis of what's happening on the Wall. Joffrey gets poisoned by Olenna Tyrell and Littlefinger. Tyrion is blamed for this murder. Sansa is taken along with Littlefinger to the Vale. Meanwhile, the wildlings attack Castle Black, leading to Ygritte being killed. The wildlings from Beyond the Wall then lay siege to the Wall, leading to a large-scale battle. In the midst of this, Jon Snow is accused of being a traitor and is sent to parley with Mance Rayder, only to be interrupted by Stannis winning the battle for them. Meanwhile, Oberyn Martell volunteers to be Tyrion's champion to avoid the [[KangarooCourt kangaroo court]] of Cersei Lannister, in exchange for the identity of Elia Martell's murderer. Tyrion claims that it is Gregor Clegane, who also happens to be Cersei's champion. They battle only for Oberyn to be killed, which further sparks the animosity between the Lannisters and Martells. Arya finally gets her revenge on Polliver, but it leads to The Hound's death. She finally gets passage to Braavos though. Meanwhile, Sam rigs the election at the Wall, making Jon Snow the new Lord Commander. Littlefinger weds Lysa Arryn, steals a kiss from Sansa, who gets accused of being the one who initiated the kiss in the first place by Lysa. She is threatened to be pushed out the Moon Door, only for Littlefinger to intervene. Lysa admits that SHE POISONED JON ARRYN UNDER LITTLEFINGER'S ORDERS, THUS INADVERTENTLY CAUSING THE WAR. Littlefinger then pushes her out of the window. Finally, Merrett Frey goes to a rendezvous point to ransom one of his relatives, only to find that he is being hanged. Who is sentencing him to death?? The reincarnated corpse of CATELYN FUCKING STARK!]]*exhales*
* In the ''Literature/SkulduggeryPleasant'' novel ''Dark Days''. [[spoiler:The magical world has been saved, the villian stopped and the Gaelic Football goes on. Then ''Bang'': the second [[SphereOfDestruction Desolation Engine]] goes off and the Sanctuary is destroyed. By a seemingly one-shot side character, no less.]]
* ''Creator/TomClancy'''s Literature/JackRyan had risen about as far in the US Administration as he could in ''Debt of Honor'': part of the sell for making him Vice President was that once his term was done, he'd never be able to work for the US Government again. And then [[spoiler:a lunatic [[HarsherInHindsight crashed a 747 into Congress]]. Meet ''President'' Ryan.]]
* In ''Literature/JaneEyre,'' first we were surprised by Rochester proposing marriage to Jane - though [[UnresolvedSexualTension we did sort of see it coming.]] But when [[spoiler:Rochester's insane but ''very'' alive first wife turns up in the attic,]] Jane is so shaken by the incident that the only thing she can do is [[spoiler:leave]].
* Literal in ''Literature/TheStand'', in the form of the bomb Harold and Nadine set off inside the house where the Free Zone committee is meeting, killing several people including a main character and injuring several more. King specifically said he used this tactic because it was getting too dull.

[[folder:{{Live-Action TV}}]]
* In ''Series/BuffyTheVampireSlayer'' the bomb was dropped more than once, most potently when [[spoiler:her mom died]]. Season 6 seemed to consist of nothing ''but'' Drama Bombs (and a MusicalEpisode).
* Back in 1996, ''Series/GeneralHospital'' had a very memorable drama bomb {{montage}} called Clink!Boom which juxtaposes a mobster's ex-girlfriend toasting her new husband while his current pregnant girlfriend turned the key in the ignition of their car and it exploded. Ever since, the show has been trying to top itself with mob violence, even going so far as to make the month of February UsefulNotes/{{Sweeps}} a 16 hour hostage crisis told in the same style as ''Series/TwentyFour''. Nowadays, GH fans are used to seeing at least a dozen mob shootouts and one or two legacy characters dying violent deaths a year.
* One of ''Series/{{Scrubs}}'''s biggest Drama Bombs were the episodes "My Lunch" and "My Fallen Idol". Interestingly, the Drama Bombs rarely affect the whole cast; for example, while in "My Lunch" Dr. Cox and JD are both profoundly affected by the deaths, Carla, Turk, and Elliot are busy sorting out [[AnythingThatMoves The Todd's sexuality]], apparently oblivious to the other goings on.
* Officer deaths in ''Series/TheBill''
* Michael's [[spoiler:killing of Ana-Lucia and Libby]] in ''Series/{{Lost}}'' season 2.
* Happened a few times in ''[[Series/{{MASH}} M* A* S* H]]''. The best example is in the Season 3 finale. For the most part, the episode is a celebration for Henry's discharge. The bomb comes in the last thirty seconds, when [[spoiler:Radar comes into the OR with the news [[McLeaned Henry]] had died in a plane crash]]. {{Retirony}}, much?
* The first two seasons of ''Series/StarTrekEnterprise'' were full of Archer and the gang staring at pretty comets, bitching about Vulcans, and saying 'Gee Whiz' a lot. And then came....The Xindi....
* ''Series/LALaw'' made it onto a list of great TV moments purely through one of these. [[DeadpanSnarker Snarky]] Rosalind had been tormenting the rest of the cast all season--then she took a wrong step and fell down an elevator shaft.
* Oh geez. The ''Series/NCISLosAngeles'' episode "Missing" was a drama ''nuke''.
* The [[spoiler:bus crash]] in the opening episode of the second season of ''Series/VeronicaMars''.
* ''Series/DoctorWho'' season openers are usually pretty laid back, fun-romps which exist to introduce new characters (if there are any). This was blow out of the water with the opening episode to Season 6, "The Impossible Astronaut" has the [[spoiler:Doctor begin to regenerate, and then die. The finale showed it was only supposed to ''look'' like that, but the Doctor's companions didn't know this until the same time as the audience.]]
* ''Series/{{JAG}}'': The death of Loren Singer in season 8. [[PoorlyDisguisedPilot Enter]] ''Series/{{NCIS}}''.
* ''Series/BreakingBad'': The third-to last episode, "Ozymandias". Dear. Lord. [[spoiler:It sees the consequence of just about every one of Walt's actions and sins in the entire series. It sees his drug empire completely collapse, his brother-in-law murdered by neo-nazi hitmen he had hired to kill someone else, Jesse taken hostage and tortured (after Walt tells him he saw and let his girlfriend die) by the neo-nazis and MadeASlave for them, Walt's family completely destroyed and their lives ruined. Walt runs away, kidnapping his baby daughter, until he finally comes to the realization that he was the one responsible for the family's destruction. Before returning Holly he makes a phone call to his wife, while the police are with her, acting as an abusive husband to absolve her from their crimes, and finally using Saul's eraser man to start a new identity.]] Feel happy? Even in a final season of nothing but WhamEpisode after WhamEpisode, it STILL stands out.
* ''Series/TheShield'': The penultimate episode of the final season, "Possible Kill Screen", ends with [[spoiler: Vic Mackey confessing all his crimes for ''full immunity'' on said crimes. In doing this, he leaves Ronnie (his last loyal teammate) hung out to dry. This is such a shock to the dynamic of the show that there's next to nowhere to go afterward (even though the GrandFinale was no slouch).]]
* ''Series/DocMartin'': When [[spoiler:Joan]] is KilledOffForReal at the start of season 5.

* ''VideoGame/WorldOfWarcraft'''s Wrath Gate.
* ''VideoGame/HeavyRain''. You ''start the game'' in a nice, stable place, with such action-packed events as brushing your teeth in your clean, organized bathroom, pouring yourself orange juice in a bright kitchen beneath a sunlit window, and musing over photographs of your beautiful, complete family, all of whom are alive and living with you in apparent harmony. In order for saying things get worse to be a spoiler, the player would have to expect something contraindicated by what previous experience with video games, stories in general, and the game's specific marketing materials (including the box art and ''the title'') would tell him or her.
* ''VideoGame/FinalFantasyVI'' has a particularly large one mixed liberally with the game's biggest HopeSpot, when the Empire appears to be crying "uncle" after the Espers are unleashed on them. [[spoiler:[[ILied They lied]], the Emperor attempts [[AGodAmI to ascend to godhood]], [[TheStarscream Kefka]] gets caught in the effect instead, and [[OmnicidalManiac destroys the world as a result]].]]
* ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon'' has this on occasion. Where else are you going to get surprising moments in a game about farming in a peaceful town? Notable examples are [[spoiler:Ellen in ''VideoGame/HarvestMoon64'' and Nina in ''[[VideoGame/HarvestMoonAWonderfulLife A Wonderful Life]]'']].
* In ''VideoGame/{{Warframe}}'', the release of update 18.0 and the storyline quest 'The Second Dream' upended ''everything'' players thought they knew about the Tenno.

* ''Webcomic/CtrlAltDel'' with Lilah's miscarriage. A massive Drama Bomb for a previously light-hearted comic.
* [[Webcomic/WalkyVerse Dave Willis]] loves this trope. To death. Especially jarring considering that he keeps his comedic characters still somewhat-comedic (though never the same) as he drops bomb after bomb after bomb on them. He seems to at least be aware of it if his LampshadeHanging in the StoryArc about "Pulling the Drama Tag" in ''Shortpacked!'' is any indication.
* Many drama bombs occur at the end of issue 9 in the webcomic ''Webcomic/YuMeDream'', the biggest of which was [[spoiler:that everything up until that point was a dream]]. Thankfully that is not the end of the series or there would have been some very pissed off fans.
* ''Webcomic/MobTies'': the first bomb begins at the end of Issue 2, but the author starts a heavy bombardment starting at Issue 7. Once Issue 14 rolls around, though, the HSQ raises UpToEleven.
* ''Webcomic/{{Spinnerette}}'' gives us [[spoiler:a yuritastic]] one when it is revealed that [[spoiler:Spinny likes Mecha Maid back--and then the chapter ends, leaving the readers hanging for weeks.]] In fact, it was even [[InvokedTrope invoked]] in the author commentary.
* ''Webcomic/CaptainUfo'' has a couple in season two.
* ''Webcomic/StandStillStaySilent'': In Chapter 12, the crew completes the last mission assigned to them and now just need to reach their pick up spot. The mixed ghost and troll horde established to be following them earlier catches up with them at the end of the chapter. They manage to defeat the ZergRush thanks to Reynir's latest rune turning out to be good for something just a few hours earlier and Onni putting himself into a PowerStrainBlackout to send them a powerful summon long-distance. Then the sight of [[spoiler:Tuuri clutching a bloody shoulder that may very well be infected with the Rash given the origin of the wound]], combined with the fact that Onni's current state got nicknamed "magic coma" for a reason, gives plenty for the readers to worry about for the following part of the story. That battle also promotes Reynir's magic practice to something that can be put in good use. On top of everything else, the two FlatEarthAtheist members of the crew both got a good look at Onni's summon, so no more denying that magic exists for them.

* ''WebVideo/DoctorHorriblesSingAlongBlog'', Act three. Everything has pretty well ironed out at the end--[[spoiler:Captain Hammer is defeated, the Doctor is brushing himself off, and all in all things could've gone much worse... And then the camera pans to Penny with a piece of shrapnel in her chest.]]
* In ''WebAnimation/DSBTInsaniT'', one is dropped in 'The Camping Webisode' when Killer Monster tells Koden what happened to him after Koden lost him.
* The very end of the second episode of ''WebAnimation/{{Dreamscape}}''.

* ''WesternAnimation/AvatarTheLastAirbender'' had a few well-spaced ones, but of particular note was the ''cluster'' Drama Bomb towards the end of Season 2, where an episode ends with [[MetaGuy Sokka]] blithely mentioning how [[TemptingFate smoothly]] things have been going, followed by [[spoiler:[[CuteBruiser Toph]] getting captured by [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Xin Fu and Master Wu]], [[EvilChancellor Long Feng]] being revealed to still control the [[SecretPolice Dai Li]], and instead of Suki and the [[AmazonBrigade Kyoshi Warriors]] coming to the aid of [[TheFederation Ba Sing Se]], it's actually [[MagnificentBastard Azula]] and [[QuirkyMinibossSquad friends]] in disguise.]]
** To recap: The Earth Kingdom city of Ba Sing Se, a city that the Fire Nation had been trying to breach for the better part of a hundred years, [[spoiler:fell in two days]]. The EK army was [[spoiler:immobilized]] after [[spoiler:its generals were captured, and the Earth King was forced to retreat]]. Not only that, but Zuko ended up [[spoiler:betraying his uncle, the only man who had ever been a real father to him, in order to get his birth father's approval]]. And Aang [[spoiler:got killed by Azula]]. All in the space of about forty minutes. It remains the single greatest WhamEpisode of the series.
* ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark'':
** The show has taken a few occasions to break from its irreverence and do this. Most important was the end of Season 5's 'Kenny Dies' episode as the KilledOffForReal plot is played disturbingly straight with Kyle and particularly Stan acting very much like kids. The kids spend much of season 6 making references to wanting Kenny back.
** Season 15 spent the first half being typically silly until the episode "You're Getting Old" as Stan goes through a fall out with friends and major changes in his life and unlike previous episodes with a breakup, it doesn't get better by the end.
** Other episodes include "Fun with Veal", "The Death Camp of Tolerance", "Toilet Paper", "Red Man's Greed", "Raisins", "Preschool", and "The Return of Chef".
** And in the case of Stan and Kyle's friendship, "Follow That Egg" was the first of several episodes to have these dropped on it in contrast to earlier, sillier episodes such as "Prehistoric Ice Man".
** Cartman himself has quite a big one in "1%".
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventuresOfTheGalaxyRangers'' has a few serious jaw-droppers; "Psychocrypt" and "Scarecrow." Both ran on tanks full of Nightmare Fuel, TheBadGuyWins on both (The Rangers' "victory" is merely getting out with their skins and souls intact), and the CharacterDevelopment quotient was through the goddamn ''roof.'' The two episodes are considered jewels in the series crown. Two more jewels are the Supertrooper duology. Massive CharacterDevelopment for Gooseman, including one of the most gut-wrenching IWantMyBelovedToBeHappy scenes ever done.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'''s Lumpy Space Princess name-drops the trope, complete with Valley Girl gestures and inflection, during Marcelline's confrontation with her father: "Oh my glob, you guys -- drama bomb!"
** Jake actually said "Drama Bomb" while Finn, Jake and Ice King watched a secret tape of the Ice King's dramatic past.
** The 2nd Season Finale could count as a example for the show itself.
** In another episode, "What Was Missing", the aforementioned Marceline sings a song to Princess Bubblegum about how she resents that she's malicious towards her for a reason she can't remember. (The two have barely interacted in the show up to that point.) The song practically comes out of nowhere, and Princess Bubblegum is reasonably surprised.
** Burning Low contains huge drama bombs, least of which is [[spoiler:Finn admitting having loved PB and becoming very, very angry at her for (he thinks) leading him on just when he's getting over her and getting a proper relationship with flame princess.]]
** Speaking of Flame Princess, "Frost and Fire" drops a bomb when [[spoiler:she dumps Finn for manipulating her and Ice King into doing battle]].
* ''WesternAnimation/DannyPhantom's'' "WesternAnimation/TheUltimateEnemy" was jawdropping, not least for its awesomeness, abruptness, as well as its sudden venture into dark humour. Oh yes, and the brutal murders, so many brutal murders.
* Believe it or not, ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'' in "Screams of Silence: The Story of Brenda Q.", a DarkerAndEdgier VerySpecialEpisode where DomesticAbuse is PlayedForDrama.
** They did it again in [[spoiler:"Life of Brian", where Brian was temporarily killed off]].
* ''WesternAnimation/StevenUniverse'' episode "A Single Pale Rose" completely changes the show's status quo, [[spoiler:by revealing that Steven's mother Rose Quartz was actually ''Pink Diamond'']].
* ''WesternAnimation/MyLifeAsATeenageRobot'''s ChristmasSpecial falls into this. For what's meant to be a cheery Christmas episode, Jenny gets brainwashed and attacks Tremorton on every holiday, but doesn't remember any of it. She awakens on the next Christmas having no conception of the time that has passed and escapes back to her hometown, only to discover that almost everybody is terrified of her and considers her an enemy. And to top it all off, her creator was in the middle of designing a successor to take her down!