Gag Series

"Dearest Mother: We're thinking of portraying various dramas from everyday life from now on."
[Beat]
"Just kidding. This episode was a one time thing."

A comedic show specifically concentrating on being humorous before any concern of plot, drama, or even comprehensibility. Noted for a complete lack of tact or pomposity on the part of the writers, and frequent postmodern commentary. Can have occasional Fanservice which the series will openly acknowledge. The Rule of Funny will be observed.

Because they don't take themselves seriously, gag series tend to experiment across the board with parody, lewd humor, random cutaways, and short-lived drama. In a win-win situation, these can be very successful experiments when they succeed, or mocked by the series itself when they fail as a protective tactic. Ironically, they can be praised for presenting such topics without being Anvilicious. However, doing this at the end of a series can cause accusations of being pretentious.

Anime gag series often use a Puni Plush design. Many are also Widget Series. Shows that depend a lot on puns and parody are typically considered too difficult for commercial releases, and are fansubbed only erratically. A few even get a Gag Dub.

Anime and Manga are particularly notorious in this genre. Series will regularly go over the top in their nonsense and hilarity even within the context of the show itself. Characters will time-travel, change species or gender, die, destroy buildings, cities, or planets, anything that will push the ridiculousness even higher; also note that these effects are rarely, if ever, permanent. There are times when "normality" is broken and restored in the space of a few minutes.

Occasionally the Gag Series is an adaptation of some 'canonical' source, except now the writers pretty much do whatever they like.

See also Big Lipped Alligator Moment, for cases where an otherwise coherent story has occasional Gag Series interludes.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Anime and Manga 
  • Aoi House is part anime/manga parody, part American media parody (multiple references to Grey's Anatomy, and at one point a character is found to be singing the theme song to Cardcaptors), and entirely hilarious.
  • Axis Powers Hetalia is a parody of World History. While some strips does depict real world events, some is actually just the countries bickering with each other silly.
  • Beelzebub: Can't seem to take itself seriously even when trying to be shounen.
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: Plots constructed entirely out of bad puns, sight gags, and pop-culture flotsam.
  • Carnival Phantasm being an Affectionate Parody of the Nasuverse, has gotten quite hilarious EVERYTIME AND EVERYWHERE!
  • Colorful. A couple of braindead losers and surprisingly innocent ecchi. The show makes fun of itself and perverts.
  • Dragon Ball started off as this for its first several arcs, and is repeatedly called a gag series in the manga during these arcs. Once King Piccolo showed up, however, the story began taking itself much more seriously. Since the darker tone is present for a greater portion of the manga's storyline, the fact that it began as a vulgar comedy is often overlooked.
  • Excel Saga: A mockery of everyday Japanese life seen through the lives of two supervillain henchgirl temp workers and four municipal Sentai employees. Then Shinichi Watanabe turned it into an anime and made fun of every anime genre in existence.
  • FLCL: Although there is a plot, you would be hard-pressed to find someone that could identify which parts are gags and which are not in the first viewing. Additionally, this show has been described as Excel Saga on Excel Saga. The creators themselves admitted that about half of what they put into this show were completely a result of nonsense, and what they found funny at the time.
  • Galaxy Angel: The animated equivalent of Dada Comicsnothing is sacred, and the writers are by-and-large allowed to run with whatever they like. Including scissors.* Haré+Guu: With a mix of serious and nonserious subplots.
  • Goldfish Warning!. The show has a paper-thin plot, little to no continuity, 7 is just the random insane adventures of a particular class in a farm school.
  • The Gothic World Of Nyanpire: The anime and manga, at first might sound strange to you. But just watching an episode of the anime can be very amusing depending on the episode. Since Nyanpire is completely different compared to classic vampires and Dracula.
  • Hayate the Combat Butler: The first season of the anime, anyway - the second season and manga have continuity, and the latter has a few bouts of seriousness.
  • He Is My Master: More so in the manga, where the author inserts romantic comedy cliches, then chides the reader for expecting serious resolutions.
  • Haiyore! Nyarko-san, a hyperactive, Reference Overdosed parody of the Harem Genre in which a majority of the cast are the human forms of Cthulhu Mythos creatures (that Nyarko in the title? Short for Nyarlathotep). It tends to split its time between zany comedy and more serious moments, either gory battles with Cosmic Horrors or the emerging romance between the human Mahiro Yasaka and Nyarko.
  • Jewelpet:
  • Kill Me Baby, 99.9% of which is played for a purely comedic scenario where all seriousness and compassion are thrown out the window.
  • Lucky Star: The series follows the norm and is quite realistic for the most part but has it's slight share of wackiness, especially in the anime.
  • The Negima!? reboot is this, with most of the humorous banter between characters more characteristic of the Pani Poni Dash! writers than Akamatsu's usual fare. The original manga was like this for about 2 volumes before going in a different direction.
  • Sket Dance: From the former apprentice of the guy who unleashed Gintama onto the world, we have three high school students who will assist anyone with anything, usually with disastrously hilarious results.
  • Strange+: the sordid tale of a 20-something year old who looks 12, likes to crossdress and get naked in public, and is in general a tremendous jerkass, his younger, saner brother, and their two co-workers - a violent woman and a possibly gay, dreadlocked, muscled guy. They Fight Crime.
  • Tantei Opera Milky Holmes, where anything, even reality, is subject to change at a moment's notice.
  • Teekyuu demolishes everything within its two-minute limit-sanity, its own bizarre rules and order, any semblance of a fourth wall, the limits of personal taste, how fast a normal human can logically speak (and how fast a viewer can read subtitles) to tell a joke.

    Comic Books 

    Literature 

    Live Action TV 
  • Monty Python's Flying Circus frequently berated itself for being too silly. Many of the sketches head deep into Cloudcuckoolander territory (one had a caption saying "SOMETHING SILLY'S GOING TO HAPPEN"), and the animations in between them are even weirder. The Sergeant with no sense of humor would generally serve as a means to tell them to stop being so silly.

    Newspaper Comics 

    Radio 
  • Hello Cheeky was a series based almost entirely on quick jokes, with quite a bit of subtle strangeness and cartoon logic holding it together.
  • The Goon Show was one of the premiere British surreal comedy shows, influencing everyone from Monty Python to The Beatles.

    Video Games 
  • God Hand: There actually is a plot, but even the characters make fun of it. Also, there are midget Super Sentai and a gorilla in a luchador mask.
  • Katamari Damacy: Any attempt at a sane description of the plot is an exercise in futility.
  • Saints Row has slowly drifted into this. The first game was a dead-serious Grand Theft Auto clone; the second game decided to swing for the fences, and it's gotten increasingly bizarre ever since. Also, it's in the same universe as Red Faction.
  • Warioware's gameplay consists of a series of bizarre and humorous microgames that last less that 5 seconds most of the time and are completely unrelated to each other.

    Visual Novels 
  • Dra Koi shifts between being a gag series and some weird sort of romantic meta fiction without a moment's notice. It's hard to know what to take seriously.

    Web Animation 
  • The Demented Cartoon Movie features barely any plot, no continuity between scenes, and features more than half of the 30-minute running time consisting of explosions. Suffice to say, the title is accurate.
  • Don Hertzfeldt's Rejected. Not a series, but it fits. Seriously, try to create a plot from it. Your brain WILL explode.
  • RWBY Chibi is a Gag Series spinoff of the original RWBY, meant to provide fans with some comic relief following the dark and dramatic turn of the third season of the original show and to get the animators acquainted with the new tools they'll need for Season 4.

    Web Comics 

    Western Animation 
  • Sheep in the Big City features Sheep, who is hiding from a secret military organization. Why? General Specific has a sheep-powered ray gun. Gags happen as the military tries and fails to grab one Sheep. Apart from the plot, there are also Parody Commercials, and a segment with the Ranting Swede.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/GagSeries