Interrupted by the End
No, not that The End. Or that one. Or even that one. The characters are about to do something, but are interrupted by the end of the episode, often in the form of a "The End" card. This isn't a Cliff Hanger that will be resolved when the characters finish their plans next episode; either the end of the episode actually prevents them from ever getting it done, or they at least express dismay that the episode's ending has stopped or delayed them. Often overlaps with Smash Cut and The Unreveal.
The most important thing to remember about this trope is that... ...The End is not the end.
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Anime and Manga
- Turnabout Storm: The Stinger in the final episode has Princess Celestia talking to an unknown person. After some cryptic dialogue of which only Celestia's side is heard, the princess asks the other person's name. She then answers: "My name? My name is...". Cue ending. Subverted since the end gives the answer by giving the credits for Princess Celestia and Mia Fey.
- The ending of the Lost Boys cuts off right before the cast reacts to grandpa who apparently knew that vampires existed in the town.
- Though it also appears in an earlier scene, My Fellow Americans ends with a verbal cutoff. One character distracts the other and seizes a microphone in front of a large audience. As the latter begins My fellow Americans," the former sees he's been deceived and mutters "you son of a--"
- The film The Rules of Attraction ends mid-sentence. It also begins mid-sentence. The book did the same thing with the exact same two lines.
- Monty Python's 1972 film ''And Now For Something Completely Different" starts with the How Not To Be Seen Sketch, the opening titles and a sudden "The End" card. Terry Jones comes out to apologize for the brief film length and goes on to a man with a tape recorder up his nose before the film resumes.
- Patriot Games: Cathy Ryan is on the phone with her doctor, who has just told her whether her unborn child will be a boy or a girl. After she gets off the phone, she grins and savors the moment as Jack and Sally anxiously stare at her waiting to hear the answer. Cue credits.
Film - Animated
- This happens at the very last scene of Ed Edd And Eddys Big Picture Show, when Johnny AKA Captain Melonhead has turned to evil after the other kids beat him up for beating up the Eds, and vows to rain terror on the cul-de-sac a The Gourd, only for Plank to tell him that the movie is over.
- The great prophet Zarquon, who's 2nd coming has been long awaited in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is interrupted not by the end of the episode, but by the end of the universe.
- "Behind the Painted Smile," a 1983 essay by Alan Moore on the origins of V for Vendetta ends:
So anyway, that's where we get our ideas from. I was going to go on from this point and tell you exactly who V really is, but I'm afraid that I've run out of room. The only real hint I can give is that V isn't Evey's father, Whistler's mother, or Charley's aunt. Beyond that, I'm afraid you're on your own.
- The David Lodge novel Changing Places ends with one of the characters arguing that film is a superior medium to literature, because you can always see the end of a novel coming by the fact that the book is running out of pages. Movies have more potential for surprise, he argues, because they can end at any moment, sometimes with no explanation. As he is saying this, the book abruptly cuts him off in mid-sentence and ends.
- Just to drive the point home, the last chapter is written in the form of a movie script, while all the previous chapters had been done in normal prose.
- The Crying of Lot 49 is about a woman who suspects she has discovered an enormous Ancient Conspiracy of mailmen. One of her clues is that an old stamp collection is up for auction, and she believes that - if the conspiracy is indeed real - someone will show up to bid on it very heavily. Looking at a program, she sees that the stamps have been designated as the 49th lot to be cried at auction. Not only are we cut off from The Reveal, but The Crying of Lot 49 ends seconds before the crying of lot 49.
- Bret Easton Ellis's novel The Rules Of Attraction, as noted above under the film adaptation, ends in mid-sentence on exactly the same two words it began with.
- James Joyce's Finnegans Wake also ends in mid-sentence, with the words "Away at long at last the" implying that the real story is just about to begin.
- Used in the Spanish Inquisition episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus; when the three cardinals finally reach the courtroom where they are most definitely not expected, the screen goes black before Cardinal Ximenez can finish announcing their presence, prompting him to cut himself off with "Nobody expects - oh, bugger!"
- Several seasons of The Morecambe and Wise Show would end with a harmonica player walking onstage after the closing credits had rolled, and being cut off after playing a few notes.
- In Buffy the Vampire Slayer, when Spikes discovers the chip in his head only prevents him from hurting humans
Spike: Whatís this? Sitting around watching the telly while thereís evil still afoot. Thatís not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, canít go without your Buffy? Is that it? Too chicken? Letís find her! She is the Chosen One, after all. ... Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Letís annihilate them. For justice... and for... the safety of puppies Ė and Christmas, right? Letís fight that evil! ... Letís kill something! [Fade to black.] Oh, come on!
- The Sopranos.
- The Community episode "Pillows And Blankets" has a mock telethon for a closing credit tag. Troy tells the audience "We need the funds to keep up from getting pulled off the air which could literally happen at any..." Fade to black.
- During one episode of Top Gear, the guys mentioned that they would be ending a minute early for a soccer match. During the end, Jeremy continued to ramble on while Richard and James begged him to stop while reminding him of the early ending. He says "What are they going to do? Cut us o..."
- The Warhammer40000 universe is self-contained (possibly a historical account) within the 41st millennium... and only the 41st millennium. This is particularly painful to the Tyranids, who are not only one of only two races that lack faster-than-light travel, but they first appear in force around the year 40,950. Yep. While other armies have a few thousand years (Tau), ten thousand years (Marines, Chaos Marines), millions of years (Eldar, Necrons, the Orks' ancestor race), or a literally infinite span of time (Daemons) to play with, Tyranids get fifty years.
- Weeell, strictly speaking the Tau get much less than that: it's true that they were first encountered around 789.m35note , but at that point, they were pretty much an alien avian equivalent of homo neanderthalis. One of the "big things" the Imperium's and Mechanicum's biologists and xenanthropologists were excited about was the fact that in the roughly 4 millennia between First and second contact note with the Tau was just how much they have developed (culturally, technologically and physically). So, put Tau at around 2000 years as an interstellar polity/army, even though their first major war (with humanity, anyway) was the Damocles Gulf Crusade, in around 600.m41note .
- And the judgment for the 'nids depends on what you consider "appearing in force": Hive Fleet Leviathan arrived around 40,950, true, but Kraken and Behemoth were earlier. The First Tyrannic War started in 40,745 with the destruction of Tyran by Hive Fleet Behemoth, but Tyranid precursor fleets (including the predominantly zoat Colossus) have been retroactively identified as entering the galaxy centuries, if not millennia earlier. And that ignores the existence of Tyranid remnants and scout forms on worlds never touched by the identified hive fleets (indeed, some theories suggest that Catachan and Fenris harbour Tyranid remnants, and have done for over ten millenia), such as Ymgarl, which for a long time was thought to be the home planet of the genestealers (now known to be a Tyranid scout/shock clade).
- Tales of Symphonia:
Lloyd: The name of this tree shall be...* Credits roll*
- A Running Gag in Kid Radd is that The Hero of the "Kid Radd" videogame has never been able to kiss his Damsel in Distress because the credits run just as he's about to do it.
- In this Order of the Stick, had Elan not complained about the verdict being Interrupted by the End, it wouldn't have been (a fact that was, of course, lampshaded by Roy).
- In one episode of Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series, Bakura is about to begin some Bakura-style Fanservice - but to his dismay, the closing credits arrive and stop him.
"Now it's time for some Bakura Fanser-oh bugger!"
"In five seconds you will be interrupted by the opening credits""What the hell are you talking ab-"
- In a variation, in one episode Ishizu predicts that another guy will be interrupted by the opening credits.
- In the very first Decemberween cartoon, Homestar Runner cuts off Strong Sad, claiming they're out of time, but a few seconds then pass before the end screen actually appears.
- Another animation called "Strong Bad is a Bad Guy", which is done on Mario Paint, has Strong Bad, Strong Mad, and The Cheat talking about tattoos, but they are all interrupted by Homestar Runner, who tells them about his design for a perfect tattoo. When Strong Mad realizes that Homestar cannot have tattoos because of his lack of arms, he yells out "YOU DON'T HAVE AR-" but the episode ends.
- Red Letter Media's video game show Previously Recorded ends every episode with an abrupt edit to the word "End" that fills the screen and often cuts someone off mid-sentence.
- The Zero Punctuation of 50 Cent: Blood In The Sand sees Yahtzee regularly insisting that he isn't racist, going so far as to include "subliminal" messages about his lack of racism. He ends the review with an inspiring speech about how we should all put aside our differences and work together to build a better world. "Not that they'd know anything about work, the lazy nig-" *CREDITS*
- One episode of Futurama had Zoidberg try to start up his own musical routine at the end (copying Hermes who had one earlier in the episode):
Zoidberg: "Now it's time for Zoidberg's song - When I was two there was a tidal wave..."* Credits start*Zoidberg: "Awww..."
- The Simpsons used this in the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield," when Professor Frink showed up too late.
- A later episode has Moe complain about the absurdity of the Snap Back. A prop wall fell on him, magically reversing the plastic surgery he underwent. He asks how this could happen, and points out how nonsensical it is, but is hushed by the credits.
- At the end of the fourth-season episode "Homer The Heretic", Homer convinces God to tell him the meaning of life as they stroll through Heaven together. God gets as far as "The meaning of life is—" before the credits cut Him off.
- The writers thought that when the episode aired, the end would be immediately followed by a Fox promo (rather than just the credits). The idea was that the viewers would be pissed off by having a revelation from God being cut off by a promo.
- Used in the Krusty Krab Training Video on SpongeBob SquarePants. "The secret Krabby Patty formula i—"
- Many fans speculate the episode ends this way because, In-Universe, it is a fail-safe to protect the formula in the event Plankton gets his hands on the tape.
- In the episode "Here Comes The Neighborhood" of South Park, Mr. Garrison convinces others in town to got rid of all the rich blacks, with methods such as burning a lowercase "t" on their lawns and scaring them by dressing as ghosts. At the end he states they can now become rich themselves by selling the homes only for the others to point out that what they did was meaningless since there will still be rich people. Garrison says "Well, at least we got rid of those damn ni-".
- The episode "Trapper Keeper" had Cartman constantly make fun of Kyle, who saves him in the end. When Stan demands Cartman apologize, he utters "Kyle..." before the credits roll.
- One episode of House of Mouse was about Goofy attempting to sing the national anthem because Mickey Mouse and friends are preparing to start a show about sports and focusing on athletic Disney characters such as Casey at the Bat, Hercules, and Mulan, but ends up singing other patriotic songs like "America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", "Stars and Stripes Forever", and "A Grand Old Flag" instead. Eventually Goofy finally finds out that the national anthem is actually "Star-Spangled Banner", and is about to sing it only to find out that the episode is over. The episode ends with him singing the first few lyrics of the anthem, but is then cut off.
- Space Ghost Coast to Coast often ended this way. This was lampshaded in one episode when the show was hijacked by an angry fan, who among his demands wanted "at least one episode of Space Ghost to have a decent ending, not one that just is abruptly interrupted by the theme—" *credits roll*
- Family Guy has this in an episode that doesn't feature Meg until the end. When she does appear, Brian says "Oh, hey, Meg. What did you get up to today?" Meg opens her arms to explain animatedly and a huge smile comes to her face...BAM. Credits.
- Happens again in one of the Thanksgiving Specials centered around Kevin Swanson having deserted from his unit in Iraq. After the plot has settled and Joe and Kevin have made peace, a second Kevin shows up claiming that the other Kevin is an impostor. Peter says that he doesnt think they have time for that story, and is followed by the credits.
- An early 50s Mighty Mouse cartoon has Pearl Pureheart in a predicament and Mighty Mouse in flight on his way to save her as the cartoon starts to iris out, as the narrator entreats us to catch the story next week. The iris suddenly stops and the picture frozen. The narrator says "Gosh, we can't wait till next week. Won't you show us what happens now? Please?" The cartoon resumes.
The most important thing to remember about this trope is that... ...The End is not the end.