End of Series Awareness
"He's here to save the nation,
So stay tuned to this station,
If not, we'll be unemployed,
Freakazoid! Freakazoid!"A specific type of Medium Awareness, where characters are aware of the potential for the impending end of their series. Such events generally happen on the Grand Finale. Because this basically implies a vocal dissatisfaction with the conditions (lack of viewers, Executive Meddling, Screwed by the Network) that could bring about an early end to a show, this may tie in with Biting-the-Hand Humor, and is generally used on media that lend themselves to it, such as Live-Action TV or Western Animation. The opposite sort of lampshade to And the Adventure Continues.
— FREAKAZOID! (opening theme)
Examples:Anime and Manga
- Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The characters (including the narrator) complain that the series is canceled just before an epic fight, and the narrator complains that he was never visible through the entire series.
- The first Negima! anime has Satsuki and Zazie narrating the next episode preview for the final episode, during which they both point out they've yet to have any lines.
- One of the chapter covers in Dr. Slump had a character on a phone stating there was only one volume to go before the series ends.
- Happens oh so very much in Gintama, often with plenty of Self-Deprecation from the characters as well. In fact, there's a whole episode based on the fact that the anime was unexpectedly cancelled (as opposed to all the times they were expecting to be cancelled) and the characters try to plan a fitting ending for the series.
- The final episode of I Can't Understand What My Husband is Saying begins with Hajime ranting about how he feels when a Slice of Life Thirteen Episode Anime is ending, and how he wishes he could see what happens to the characters afterwards.. He also notes that just before an anime ends, something happens, like a graduation. And at the end of this anime? Well, the episode is titled "Me, Her, and Another".
- The Funimation dub of Crayon Shin-chan spent its third season finale shattering what was left of the fourth wall.
Narrator: Boy, this show's been swearing more this season. That's either a sign that the Supes support it.. o-or don't care about it! Hey Zach! We're not getting canceled, are we!?ADR Director Zach Bolton: Nah, they got like 600 of these in Japan. We'll be doing this for years!
- Kitakubu Katsudou Kiroku has this trope turn up as early as episode 4, with the cast trying to avoid cancellation or retooling into a fighting anime. Discussion of the ending also comes up in episode 11 (out of 12).
- During Peter David's run on Captain Mar-Vell, Rick Jones developed Comics Awareness, knowing he's in a comic book and that it was about to be cancelled. The final issue of the series was entirely about the fact that it was the final issue of the series.
- In a Robert Kanigher issue of Wonder Woman during The Silver Age of Comic Books, one story was about Kanigher himself dropping most of the supporting characters to retool Wonder Woman into something closer to The Golden Age of Comic Books, as well as characters wondering whether or not he has a yellow bowtie.
- Robert Kirkman's Irredeemable Ant-Man, staring superhero slacker Eric O'Grady got the can at #12 leading to this cover◊. Which has various references to the previous cancelled titles from marvel's stable. In the reader mail section it's explained lack of buyers killed the book and Kirkman repeatedly jokes "Well if you buy 10,000 of this issue we can keep going."
- Issue #10 of the Marvel run of Mighty Mouse (which was derived from the Bakshi animated series) had the hero aware of the final issue as he confronts a foe he first feels he cannot defeat but soon reaches an epiphany:
Mighty Mouse: I've starred in ten gosh-darned good issues and nothing can change that!
- In Cartoon Network Block Party, the cover of issue #59 has everyone from CN who has appeared in the comic appear on a stage to take their last bows.
- This short fanfic for My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic takes the fan interpretation that one character has Medium Awareness and runs with it... right off a cliff into a river of tears.
- In the epilogue of the final Calvin and Hobbes: The Series episode, the heroes ponder over their adventures and remark on how it feels like an era has ended, tying into the end of the series.
- In one of Mo Willems' Elephant & Piggie books, "We Are in a Book," the main characters realize they're in a book. Piggie flips ahead to see how many pages are left, and Gerald freaks out when he sees how few there are. Subverted in that the book is not the end of the series.
- Similar to the above example, in the Sesame Street books The Monster at the End of This Book and Another Monster at the End of This Book, Grover becomes more and more panicked as he realizes that it's getting close to the end of the book and we're about to see the monster. ( In the first book, he is the monster at the end. In the second, it's Elmo.)
- In the last episode of the first season of The Neighbors many Leaning on the Fourth Wall moments happen, the most obvious being Alien Larry Bird begging his father to let his group stay on Earth for "another season" — before quickly changing this to "I mean, another year".
- In the Arrested Development episode "S.O.B.s", several characters make veiled references to the impending cancellation of their show and the behind-the-scenes negotiations about moving to a different network. At one point, the narrator, Ron Howard, says "please tell your friends about this show," in an effort to increase the fanbase to save it.
- The last episode ends with Howard saying "It was Arrested Development."
- Not to mention they manage to introduce the possibility of the story being continued in a movie in-universe, without breaking the Fourth Wall.
- In I Married Dora, a man and his maid have a Citizenship Marriage; in the last scene the man is about to leave on a trip.
Peter: It's been cancelled.Dora: The flight?Peter: No, our series.
- In the last episode of Moonlighting, the plot is interrupted by news that the series has been cancelled. Suddenly the characters have to deal with their reality falling apart, as sets are being dismantled all around them.
- A character dies because he had spoken his last line.
- Dave and Maddie rush off to find a preacher in the hope that by getting married they can save the series (and their lives).
- A popular supporting character chews out the leads for their off-set drama derailing the series and asserts that if there is a god in heaven she and her love interest will get a spin off.
- The closing narration notes that the crime they were investigating before they got distracted by the fact their show was ending has never been solved.
- The last episode of Becker has a brief mention of a patient named Nielsen (after the company that provides TV ratings) and how the numbers of his chart seem fine to him.
- Also the last episode was titled "DNR" meaning Do Not Resucitate. A medical term for patients who do not want to be revived if they are dying.
- The short-lived Stephen Bochco musical procedural Cop Rock did this in the final scene.
- Stargate SG-1
Mitchell: They cancelled it? Really? I didn't even know the new season had started.
- The show called out the then-Sci-Fi Channel in the Season 10 episode "Family Ties" through the use of this trope. Note the careful word choice.
Carter: The truth is, the Stargate program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge.
Jacek: Why not?
Dr. Lee: Eureka! One down, twelve to go.
Jacek: That's too bad because after all your Stargate program has accomplished for this network of planets, I would think that the decision-makers would show it the respect it deserves.
- That episode has an even more blatant example in the very first line:
- Each season from 6 to 9 were expected to be the last of the show, so there was always a great deal of End of Series Awareness and plenty of time to plan epic season finales, but they were always renewed at the last second. Interestingly, the show was picked up for an 11th season comparatively early initially...but that didn't pan out, sadly. As such, the actual series finale is the first season finale since season six that couldn't have made a perfect Grand Finale. It was a Locked in a Room character study, fun but total Filler as far as moving the plot along goes. Of course, we got two Wrap It Up movies, the first ending the last two seasons' storyline and the second bringing SG1 to the epic conclusion it deserved.
- The show called out the then-Sci-Fi Channel in the Season 10 episode "Family Ties" through the use of this trope. Note the careful word choice.
- The swan song of Star Trek: The Next Generation hints at this by having Q tell Picard that "All good things must come to an end."
- In the last episode of British children's drama Byker Grove, the entire youth club is made aware of the fact that they are all fictional characters, that their entire world is fictional, and that the almighty scriptwriters have decided to end their show. But the scriptwriters give them a parting gift...a stack of magic script paper; anything they write on the paper will happen in front of them. The idea is that they can write their own happy endings before the show is finished for good. They do...until two of the younger children write in a ton of dynamite and try to blow the youth club up.... (end credits)
- Boston Legal was absolutely relentless about this, it being how it is..
- The last episode of St. Elsewhere had a fat lady sing in the last hospital scene. Then after the infamous All Just a Dream ending, the MTM kitten flat-lined.
- On the season three episode of Cougar Town, "It'll All Work Out", Jules decides to celebrate Thanksgiving early because she is afraid that they won't all be together in the fall. They also mention how they missed Thanksgiving last fall (with Laurie adding that she missed Halloween and Christmas as well), a reference to the fact that season 3 was set back to mid-season.
- This was the whole driving force behind the Red Dwarf special "Back to Earth", in which the characters discover they are the stars of a popular TV series... which is about to end.
- The final episode of Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger runs on this trope, as the characters have become aware that they are in a television show that is about to be cut short, so they try all kinds of methods to prolong their series (e.g. introducing long-term plotlines, refusing to fight the Final Boss, etc.) while the producers rewrite the show around them to cram in as many Ending Tropes as humanly possible.
- The Electric Company ended the last episode of its original run with the cast bidding farewell to the viewers in song.
We're glad you came to call
We really had a ball
The show is done, we hate to run
We're sorry, but that's all.
- 30 Rock always joked about the likelihood that it would be cancelled, and it did it more and more as the show reached its (preplanned) final episodes.
- In one of the last episodes of Monster Garage, Jesse repairs some damage to the project car and says to the mechanics working on it "Need a body specialist? I'll be out of a job in three weeks."
- Brazilian sitcom Toma Lá Dá Cá had such a moment with insane Post Modernism. A riot on the condominium was threatening the main characters' lives. The solution was giving a notebook for the character played by the show's co-creator\writer, so he could give them a better ending. So a spaceship boarded by a character previously Put on a Bus appears and takes everyone away from the angry mob.
- Every series of Mrs. Brown's Boys - inevitably, as it has No Fourth Wall.
- The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson increasingly pointed out that they were approaching their final episodes (complete with a "Just a few more weeks of this crap~!" jingle). Even better, the series finale featured a viewer e-mail from someone who had only started watching Ferguson that week.
"You're watching the very last Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson; now Grandma can finally get some sleep!"
- Game Shows in general, although this practice isn't near as common as it was prior to about the mid-1990s.
Bill: I've never done it this way before, but hey - it's the last show, fire me.
- "If you would like to be a contestant on Hit Man...forget it!"
- While Press Your Luck doesn't appear to have had a direct mention of its demise, several comments by host Peter Tomarken during 1986 indicate they knew (or at least strongly suspected) their days were numbered.
- The last syndicated Card Sharks in 1987 has consistent use of "last show of the season", although host Bill Rafferty slips while explaining the Money Cards to the final champ and says "series". Later, while said champ places the four Jokers, Bill can be heard saying "Which one?", evidently referring to being told which card is the CAR one; as it was the leftmost card the player had marked with a Joker, Rafferty opted to start from the right and go in descending order.
- Roundhouse's final episode starts as a simple Graduate from the Story plot, but then proceeds to utterly tear itself apart as Ivan finds out that the show has been cancelled and tries to save it. It ends on a somewhat melancholy note as Ivan gives a speech about how the cast has become like a family and everyone else sings a song about how everything must eventually come to an end.
- The last month or so of Bloom County was replete with this trope, as the characters are "fired" by Donald Trump (whose brain was implanted into Bill The Cat), and try to find jobs in other comic strips: Steve Dallas turns up as one of Cathy's dates, Oliver integrates The Family Circus, Milo appears in The Far Side, et cetera. At one point, Opus even laments that "comic strips aren't supposed to end!", and in the penultimate strip, summarily boots Ronald Ann through the doorway to Outland (yes, Berke Breathed's Sunday-only successor strip, mentioned by name), reasoning that "she was dawdling, and Beetle Bailey is taking over this space Monday."
- When its spin-off comic, Opus, was coming to a close, Opus had to choose the one spot he wished to be for the remainder of eternity. He ended up picking Goodnight Moon.
- In the comic strip FoxTrot, the characters are aware that their creator, Bill Amend, is going to stop drawing regular daily comics and switch to Sundays only.
- The final daily strips of U.S. Acres had some hidden messages about the end of the strip, such as Lanolin wearing a sign on her body that says "The End is Near", and Orson reading a newspaper and trying to find himself in there. When Orson finds out he isn't in there, he disappears.
Sheldon: Orson, did you ever wonder if our days are numbered?Orson: Not only numbered, but signed and dated, Sheldon.Sheldon: No! Seriously!Orson: Seriously, I live each moment as if it were my last panel. And after that, there's always animation!Sheldon: SERIOUSLY!
- Finally, there was the Looney Tunes-style Porky Pig gag at the end of the very last comic.
- The last story arc of the strip Cleats had one character believe that if he stopped playing hackeysack with his soccer ball, the world would end. several "signs of the apocalypse" were shown, including an obese character becoming fit overnight. It was decided that "there's only one way to find out", upon which the character was jostled to make him drop the ball. And thus, the strip ended.
- The final episode of the Secondary Phase of The Hitchhikers Guide To The Galaxy has the continuity announcer, who normally asked ridiculous rhetorical questions as cliffhangers, ask if the show would ever be renewed for another series.
- No More Heroes has two gags at the end of the first game that joke about how it probably won't get a sequel. Including one crack about how the sequel could turn into No More Heroes Forever and be delayed forever and another where a character flat out says "Too bad there will never be a sequel!" All of it was averted, mind you, since it was able to get a sequel.
- In Banjo-Kazooie: Nuts & Bolts, it is CONSTANTLY joked that the game will sell terribly, the fans will hate it for being vehicle-based instead of the traditional platformer they were promised 8 years ago, and that there will never be another Banjo-Kazooie game. Sadly, with Rare stuck doing generic Kinect games now, it seems like they were right. At least at the end of the game, L.O.G promises that the next game (if there is one) will be a traditional platformer if Nuts & Bolts is poorly received.
- Merrill of Dragon Age II appears to have this; displaying the Genre Savvy of the Cloud Cuckoolander she is, she asks Aveline if she thinks "we'll win in the end," because "it feels like something is ending."
- Mass Effect 3 has this in the Citadel DLC, the final piece of Commander Shepard's story.
Joker: It's been a good ride. Can't wait to see what you'll have us do next.
- The 2009 installment of Punch-Out!! being the end of the line is made explicit in the hidden "Mac's Last Stand" mode. After its completion, Career Mode is locked permanently, emphasizing that Little Mac has retired.note
- The Misfortune of Being Ned: "Aw man! There goes my timeslot!"
- The Homestar Runner Show Within a Show "Limozeen: But They're In Space!" has its characters announce it's being cancelled... in the middle of the pilot episode. Keep in mind that, even in universe, this was an animated show...
- The characters in 1/0 know exactly when their comic is going to end, and it causes plenty of angst among the characters.
- Some characters in Concession are aware of the impending end of the comic.
- The plot of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series at one point starts to involve the threat of somehow being "cancelled" by in-universe characters. It even changes its name to Cancelled Series.
- Ouran: The Vaguely Abridged Series has a three-part series finale in which Haruhi and the hosts eagerly await the ending of the show, and even try to stop it from getting renewed.
- Ultra Fast Pony: In "The Pet Games", when the flamingo gets disqualified from a talent competition for using Disney footage in his performance, the color commentators note that this copyright violation might get Ultra Fast Pony taken off the internet.
- In NFL Quarterbacks On Facebook, Drew Brees points this out, to the shock of Colin Kaepernick:
Drew Brees: Fine. Go ahead. Get all these “[Cutler's] Mom jokes” out of your system. Might as well, since it’s our last convo and all.Colin Kaepernick: Yeah, use them up, since this is our last… WAIT, IT’S OUR WHAT?!?!Drew Brees: Our last convo. What, did you think this was going to go on forever and ever. It’s not the Cleveland Browns Super Bowl drought, you know.
- Parodied in the 100th episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force. Frylock starts obsessing about the number 100, and Shake realizes it is the 100th episode, time to cash in for syndication cash. However, the network heads inform him that since the show is only 11 minutes long, they really only have only 50 half hours. Returning home, he finds a giant creature in the shape of the number 100 destroying the Aqua Teen set, demanding "Give me the episodes!" Suddenly, the gang are transformed into a parody of Scooby-Doo, Where Are You! called Aqua Unit Patrol Squad 1. From that point on the show has adopted a new name every season (Although the series premise remains the same).
- In one episode of The Simpsons, the family gets counselling, and is no longer prone to wacky misadventures. Lisa says, "Could this be the end of our series?" When the family gives her odd looks for the statement, she tacks on "...of events?"
- In The Boondocks, Granddad mentions that his life is getting too stressful, and that he might not have a lot of episodes (a descriptor for heart attacks, as well) left.
- In Family Guy's first episode back from cancellation, a scene is shown of Peter informing the family too soon that they were cancelled. Lois asks if there's anything that can be done, to which Peter says only if every show that was aired in the meantime gets cancelled, which they were.
- One of the pre-cancellation episodes has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag: a TV Guide cover with Luke Perry on the cover also has the note "If you're reading this, we haven't been cancelled yet."
- Chowder exhibited this for a significant number of its last episodes due to the creator's suspicion that only being renewed for a nine episode third season was a sign of impending cancellation, which it was. And then he dedicated the Grand Finale specifically to pointing out the main character had to grow up.
- The theme tune of Freakazoid! mentions this in its final verse, the page quote. This proved prophetic, and the final episode of the second season ended with a musical curtain call.
- Robot Chicken plays with this. The characters always imply at the end of each season that the series is cancelled, while each season premiere begins with the show being "renewed".
- This was the premise for the final episode of The Angry Beavers, at least until some higher-up at Nickelodeon saw that it broke the network's continuity rules of the time (which forbade any series from having any final resolution) and refused to air it. That's just one version of the story, of course—executive producer Mary Harrington says she thought it was brilliant but refused to air it because the main characters Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, which might upset the kids.
- Rocky and Bullwinkle definitely became aware that their series was in danger, though possibly not when it was actually cancelled.
Rocky: Bullwinkle, I'm worried.Bullwinkle: Ratings down in the show again?Rocky: No.Bullwinkle: That's odd.Rocky: I'm worried because there have already been two attempts on your life.Bullwinkle: Oh, don't worry. We will be renewed.Rocky: I'm not talking about The Bullwinkle Show.Bullwinkle: You had better; we could use the publicity.
- Futurama's final Couch Gag during its initial run on Fox read "See you on some other network."
- In one episode of the original final season, Bender refers to Star Trek: The Original Series as "another classic science-fiction series cancelled before its time."
- The show also gives us a rare post-cancellation example. When it was revived on Comedy Central, the first episode opened with the Professor explaining that Planet Express had been shut down 2 years ago by the brainless drones at the Box delivery network, but that their spaceship was now back "on the air".
- The opening text at the beginning of their most recent finale says "AVENGE US"
- The final line of dialogue delivered on The Brak Show, after a genie grants Brak's ill-conceived wish that his family be turned into penguins, is "I wish we weren't penguins and our show wasn't cancelled!"
- The (aired) final episode of KaBlam!, "Just Chillin'!" has a scene in the beginning with Henry and June discussing that the show is coming close to cancellation. (Also note that this show was one of Nick's best examples of being Screwed by the Network.)
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold has an interesting spin on this with "Mitefall", where Bat-Mite tries to get the show cancelled by making it jump the shark and Ambush Bug tries to stop him. Bat-Mite does succeed in the end, but at least it ends well.
- King of the Hill: In the final episode, when Bobby expresses an honest interest in a manly hobby, Hank says, "I've been waiting thirteen years to hear you say that." 13 is both Bobby's age and the number of seasons the show ran.
- Also from the finale: as the episode draws to a close, Hank and Bobby are grilling steaks. Bobby looks at the final steak left to be cooked and says meaningfully "Well, dad, I guess this is the last one."
- The finale aired as the second half of a two-parter with the penultimate episode, which began with the foursome in the alley realizing, "Oh no, we're out of projects!"
- Upon finding out The Buzz on Maggie was cancelled, the animators had Maggie wave goodbye to the audience at the end of the final episode.
- Two episodes of ChalkZone had the ending song give implications that they did everything they thought they could do throughout the series, "Time To Go Home" and "Let's Go Wandering". The latter is a stronger example of this though, since not only were people crying and bidding farewell to the ChalkZone gang, but if one looks closely, Skrawl was among the people tearfully waving goodbye.
- The Grand Finale Made-for-TV Movie of Ed, Edd n Eddy had Edd (Double D) stating it took it only took "140 episodes, 4 specials, and a movie" for the Edds to finally get their respect from the Cul-De-Sac kids.
- And before that, the final episode proper ("A Fistful of Ed") ended with Eddy begrudgingly sharing some hot dogs with Ed and Edd and angrily asking if everyone was happy already.
- The first series finale of Kim Possible (before it was Un-Canceled) had Drakken after he was defeated and being thrown into a paddy wagon stating "It can't be over!" only for Ron to close the door on him and answer "Dude, it's so over."
- The very last scene in the Direct-to-Video Recess Grand Finale, Recess: Taking the Fifth Grade is T.J. waving goodbye to the audience. As this scene was a reference to the end of the theme song (Which could've been interpreted as T.J. waving hello to the audience ready for their next adventure), many tears were shed.
- An episode of Garfield and Friends, "The Discount of Monte Cristo", predicted the reason the show ended. The episode is all about Aloysius cutting the show's budget In the episode, Orson hated Aloysius ruining the story by firing people who made the show in order to keep the show's budget low. The reason for Garfield and Friends' cancellation is that CBS wanted budget cuts for the show, and the show's creators refused to let the show suffer the budget cuts.
- Also in the episode "A Tall Tale" the network executives want Nermal to take over as star for an episode. Garfield refuses to have him on his show and says (So what if they don't like it. What can they do to me?) and an announcer then says that Garfield and Friends will never be seen again.
- The Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes begins its final episode with Iron Man telling Captain America that he has started wondering how the Avengers will go down in history after he's gone.
Captain America: This is only the second time I've heard you use the word, "history."Iron Man: That's because I've never been able to imagine a world without me in it... until recently.
Captain America: You wanted to know how history will remember the Avengers, Iron Man? Well, here's your answer.
- By the time the episode ends, the Avengers save the world from getting destroyed by Galactus, and the civilians' cheers (preceding a fade to the show's title) reassure Cap and Tony that history will remember them as legends.
- The Drawn Together episode "The Musical Elimination Special, Part II: The Musical Elimination" contained references to the show's cancellation. A magazine the Jew Producer reads has the headline, "Popular Comedy Central toon cancelled", two "fun facts" refer to the episode as if it was the last, and the episode ends with the cast entering the unemployment office with their belongings.
Toot: Hey, assholes! Thanks for watching!
- Jem might have done this as well. The final shot of the series was Jem waving to the audience, and the final song ever played in the series was titled "This Is Farewell".
- After every episode of The Adventures Of Jimmy Neutron Boy Genius ended, one of the main production companies, DNA Entertainment, would have a short bumper where a three-eyed genetically altered monkey named Paul would pop up and wave to the audience, saying, "Hi, I'm Paul!" Once "Lady Sings the News", the last episode of series, went to credits and the DNA Entertainment bumper came on, Paul the monkey does not show up. Expecting him to appear, someone calls out, "Paul?" This and a Big Damn Kiss between Jimmy and Cindy made it clear that the series was over. The post-credits gag was also a Lampshade Hanging of the fact that the DNA Entertainment company itself had just been dissolved after a messy lawsuit, and Paul was now out of a job. Although it was a commonly used closing logo (Nicknamed "Coffee Break Paul"), its use here was fitting.