->''"Okay, they're dead, all right?! We're not gonna be seeing them again!"''
-->-- '''Stewie Griffin''' after shooting Vern and Johnny, ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy''

A RunningGag is a recurring event that becomes more humorous or meaningful each time it is used, depending on its subject. However, it can only happen so many times before fans will call out the writers for being unoriginal. What to do? This is the payoff of a RunningGag, where all the humor or drama caused by this builds up to an ending. Ending the gag is hard to pull off successfully whether the gag was popular among the fanbase or not. If it's popular, that means the gag won't be used anymore. If it isn't, it's wasting time when there are bigger fish to fry.

How do you handle it? Send it off in grand style, of course. Give it a conclusion, or maybe [[BreakingTheFourthWall tell the audience and end it there]].

Compared to OverusedRunningGag, where the writers acknowledge the joke's tiredness but don't retire it. If the Running Gag makes a reappearance after a while, it would be a CallBack or a ContinuityNod, depending on the example. [[JustForFun/IThoughtItMeant Has nothing to do]] with jogging with your mouth stuffed.



[[folder:Anime and Manga]]
* In Part 1 of ''Manga/{{Naruto}}'', viewers would sometimes see how Sakura feels through Inner Sakura whenever she felt differently than how she responded. In Part 2, Sakura has learned how to express her true feelings and Inner Sakura only appears once in what could be considered a CallBack (seen in Episode 8 of ''Shippuden'' and Chapter 250 of the manga). The last time the gag is used in Part 1 is when Inner Sakura is implied to be a full-on 2nd personality and foils Ino's attempt at GrandTheftMe.
* Usopp's lies in ''Manga/OnePiece''. His fighting style used to heavily rely on flat-out lying to his opponents to scare them and gave him the upper edge. This is a variation because instead of entirely dropping them at a certain point, he used them less and less and utilized more of his inventions. He still lies, but only occasionally, and he will usually have a plan instead of improvising a lie, such as the Usopp Golden Pound in his Thriller Bark fight against Perona. Not to mention, many of his early lies (such as being eaten by a giant goldfish) have since come true providing a nice BrickJoke for people paying attention.
* In the Funimation dub of ''Manga/CrayonShinChan'', Penny has a very abusive dad that stems most of her humor. Near the end of Season 2, her dad goes to therapy, but because Penny is used to the ideal that LoveHurts, she has trouble coping for an episode before finally accepting it. After the show was brought back after 2+ years on hiatus, the writers seemed to have kept this element.

[[folder:Comic Books]]
* ''ComicBook/UltimateSpiderMan'':
** Spider-Man following every single denial he was a mutant with "Not that there's anything wrong with that" before ultimately stopping whilst thrown into a HuntingTheMostDangerousGame situation alongside the X-Men.
** In a meta-sense, J. Jonah Jameson twisting every single heroic deed Spider-Man made and Spider-Man's general status as a HeroWithBadPublicity. After over 4 decades of it in the mainstream Marvel universe and 9 years in the Ultimate universe, Jameson stopped slandering Spider-Man after the events of ''ComicBook/{{Ultimatum}}'', when he witnessed Spider-Man doing everything he could possibly do to save people in the midst of New York being flooded whilst the other superheroes were nowhere to be seen, and subsequently this led to Spider-Man having the best PR out of any of the heroes when Jameson proceeded to admit he was wrong and the Bugle became Spider-Man's biggest supporters. He ''did'' restart the slandering when Miles Morales started on his path as Spider-Man, but in an interesting twist, this was because Jameson (like many people) thought that Miles was desecrating Peter's memory.

[[folder:Fan Works]]
* In Season 1 of ScriptFic ''Fanfic/CalvinAndHobbesTheSeries'', the titular duo would often have meaningless arguments over stupid things. This was quietly dropped in the second season.
* ''WebVideo/DragonBallZAbridged'':
** The "Kaio-what?" gag[[note]]In which Goku uses the Kaio-ken ([[CallingYourAttacks while saying its name]]), prompting his foe to ask "Kaio-what?" before getting punched in the face[[/note]] ended with Freeza {{No Sell}}ing it (though it did return in the Goku vs. Superman episode of ''WebAnimation/DeathBattle'').
--->'''Freeza:''' No, seriously, Kaio-''what?''\\
'''Goku:''' [[OhCrap Kaio-]]''[[OhCrap crap!]]''
** It comes back for one last hurrah in ''The World's Strongest Abridged''.
** In an odd way, the running gag of a {{freeze frame|Bonus}} {{Squick}}y FanDisservice picture appearing whenever someone uses [[BlindedByTheLight Solar Flare]] ended[[note]]At least possibly - barring {{filler}}, the move never shows up again in [[Anime/DragonBallZ the original series]][[/note]] by undergoing a mini-CerebusSyndrome, as when Cell shows up they go from being humorously squicky (such as Freeza's head photoshopped onto a guy showering, or Creator/{{Lanipator}} dressed as [[Film/TheRockyHorrorPictureShow Dr. Frank-N-Furter]]) to two real cicadas mating, until finally a (mercifully cropped) picture of [[spoiler:Semi-Perfect Cell raping Android 18]] appears in the episode where he [[spoiler:absorbs her and becomes perfect]].
* ''WebVideo/YuGiOhTheAbridgedSeries'':
** In Bandit Keith's final appearance in the main series, his EagleLand characterization was officially dropped when [[spoiler:it was revealed that he was [[FakeAmerican only pretending to be American]] and he was actually from Canada]]. In the episode that wrote out Bonz, he reveals that he actually can talk normally and his constantly saying "Braiiins..." was just an act. Both characters' subsequent appearances in all future side videos have dropped these gags. It's lampshaded in one anniversary special where Bakura and Marik try to do a drinking game off some of the gags from the series, they end disappointed when both Bandit Keith and Bonz explain that they don't do those anymore.
** One of the earliest running gags in the series was [[ThoseTwoBadGuys Weevil and Rex]] being obvious [[{{Expy}} expies]] of WesternAnimation/BeavisAndButtHead. This officially ended after Episode 73 when [[spoiler:the Seal of Orichalcos allowed them to {{Retcon}} this behavior away and act more like their canon counterparts.]]

[[folder:Films -- Live-Action]]
* The famous and recurring [[StockScream "Wilhelm Scream"]] has been officially retired from use in the ''Franchise/StarWars'' film series, starting with ''Film/RogueOne'', ''Film/TheLastJedi'' and ''Film/{{Solo}}'', since its now considered an overused and cliche sound effect to use, and it has been replaced with a new (as yet unidentified) recurring stock scream.
* In ''Film/SpyKids 3D'', everybody constantly refers to "The Guy", and it becomes ArcWords and a minor plot thread. Once the kids reach the entrance to Level 5, "The Guy" appears, opens the way, then gets killed immediately after. Nobody brings it up again.
* After two movies of being a {{Found Footage Film|s}} series, ''[[Film/{{REC}} REC 3]]'' goes through a GenreShift to more traditional horror... and the way it does this is by filming its first act in the regular Found Footage style and then one of the characters ending up pissed at the cameraman because he is eager to continue recording everything instead of helping (the cameraman even justifies himself by repeating a line that the characters on the other films use to ''encourage'' their cameramen into continuing his recording), so he wrestles the camera away from the cameraman and slams it into the ground.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* Maeby in ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' often says "Marry me!" to her coworkers as a means of allaying suspicion whenever they point out how young she looks. But one time when she uses it, the proposal is taken a little too seriously and she quickly stops.
** Another (temporary) example in ''Series/ArrestedDevelopment'' is Tobias' "never-nude" syndrome. For those who don't know, never-nude syndrome is when whenever you are required to be naked, you instinctively wear cutoff jeans. He recovers from it in a mid-season 1 episode, but at the beginning of season 2, he develops this again after [[ItMakesSenseInContext an extreme close-up of his testicles is aired on TV as "proof of weapons of mass destruction"]].
* A rare example of a RunningGag ending dramatically instead of comically happened on ''Series/HillStreetBlues''. Every few episodes, Belker would arrest the same petty criminal. Whenever Belker asked him for his name, he would always give an obviously fake one. Belker would often be on the phone with [[MyBelovedSmother his mother]] while booking the criminal, who smirked at the incongruity of a tough detective being nagged by his mom. This went on for years, until the criminal was accidentally caught in the crossfire of a shootout. He had nothing to do with the gang shooting it out with the police; he was just in the wrong place at the wrong time. When Belker ran up to him where he lay dying, he finally told Belker his real name and asked Belker to tell his (the criminal's) mother what had happened.
* ''Series/{{Friends}}'' had a RunningGag going since the beginning involving "[[NakedPeopleAreFunny Ugly Naked Guy]]", a [[HeWhoMustNotBeSeen never-seen]], um, ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin character who lived in the next apartment building over, who would occasionally get mentioned with lines such as "Oooh, Ugly Naked Guy's doing X!" By Season 5, the writers decided it was time to retire the gag, and at that point Ross was also in need of a new place to live. So they killed two birds with one stone by having him move out, and Ross get his apartment.
* ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'' brings back Barney's fireball magic trick, but everyone snaps at him that it isn't funny anymore, the barmaid reminds him he's been banned from doing it by the fire marshal, and Lily tells him to go stand in the corner. A flashback in a later episode shows that the gang at some point held an intervention to try to persuade him to stop doing it.
* In ''Series/KamenRiderDrive'', Lt. Otta had two major running gags:
** First, he only got bits and pieces of information about the Kamen Riders and therefore had a wildly inaccurate image of them - for instance, he saw only parts of Drive's body at times when he was in [[MultiformBalance different forms]], so his mental image of Drive was a mashup of all of them; and then when he realized there was more than one Kamen Rider running around he thought that ''all'' of Drive's forms were actually different people. This ended when Drive's identity went public and Otta could get his facts straight from the source. It gets an amusing CallBack in the ''Kamen Rider Heart'' post-series movie where Heart's attempt to transform into Drive results in his turning into a real-life version of Otta's mashup picture, complete with a reaction shot from Otta when he sees it.
** Otta also displayed a comical inability to say the word "[[MonsterOfTheWeek Roidmude]]" no matter how many times he's corrected; what he does say instead gets translated into things like "Hemmoroido" and "Pork Roasto". In one episode, he even acknowledges this while under the effects of a HatePlague, raging that his co-workers think he's an idiot because of it. The gag gets put to rest about 3/4 of the way through the show, [[spoiler:where it's revealed that the incredibly powerful Freeze Roidmude placed a mental block on the police to render them [[PoliceAreUseless ineffectual]], [[TriggerPhrase keyed to the word "Roidmude"]]; Otta's mispronunciation is one of the only reasons he was able to remain competent. A cure is developed, and once it's used on Otta he's able to say the word properly, much to his teammates' relief.]]
* ''Series/WhoseLineIsItAnyway'': To end the game "Scenes from a Hat", Drew Carey would fling the hat offstage. He stopped doing it when he accidentally hit a camera, knocking it off its crane.
* ''Series/StargateSG1'': FunWithHomophones jokes regarding the Goa'uld Lord Yu were abandoned in the eighth season, as even the characters in-universe were getting tired of them. Weir, a newcomer to the series, hears his name and is immediately told that every single joke and pun has been done to death, so please don't. [[spoiler:Yu himself dies near the end of the season as well, putting the final nail in the proverbial coffin.]]
* ''Series/TheMuppetShow'''s Rita Moreno episode has the telephone gag, wherein Fozzie answers the telephone, and something comes out of the microphone. Eventually, Kermit gets annoyed at the gag and orders Fozzie to not answer the phone, providing the page quote for [[RunningGag the parent trope.]] When he disparagingly cries "[[TemptingFate is there no end to this running gag?!]]" Cue [[ExtremeOmnivore Animal]] ripping the phone from the wall[[labelnote:*]]It's an old-fashioned wall telephone. [[https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Magneto_wall_telephone_1917_open.jpg Like this one.]][[/labelnote]] and running off with it.
-->'''Fozzie''': Well. [[LampshadeHanging I guess that means the end of this running gag.]]\\
'''Kermit''': Yeah, and also to [[RealityEnsues all the incoming calls!]]
* German comedy "Klimbim" had the unknown drinker at the bar, who never said a word and fell from his stool. When they got bored with it, in a series finale he shoots everyone and says "Finally I can talk!". (Too bad [[DeepSpaceNine Morn]] didn't get the chance...)

[[folder:Video Games]]
* ''VideoGame/DragonQuestVIII'' had Yangus's catch phrase "Cor Blimey!" which happens as a funny background event any time Trode appears from nowhere. By Tyran Gully, it had happened three times, and instead we got:
-->'''Yangus:''' Cor Bli--Nah, fed up of that line.
::: Given a callback as the very last line of the ending before the credits roll, though not by Yangus this time.
* In the first ''VideoGame/{{Portal|1}}'' game, numerous references were made to cake, such as Chell's reward being cake, and the famous TheCakeIsALie meme was found here. In ''VideoGame/{{Portal 2}}'', [[DiscreditedMeme the writers were sick of the memes]] and stripped out all references to cake... except ''one'': an [[SchmuckBait Obvious Trap]] labeled "[=GLaDOS=] Emergency Shutdown and Cake Dispensary".
* ''VideoGame/ToTheMoon'' has the [[MementoMacguffin stuffed platypus]], whose appearance (and long life) is constantly joked about in-game until [[spoiler: TheReveal of its origin at the end.]]

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* Parodied in ''WebAnimation/HomestarRunner'': In a Strong Bad Email, Homestar tells Strong Bad he's incorporating a new CatchPhrase, "That's bupkis", which he never says in any other cartoon.

[[folder: Web Comics]]
* ''Webcomic/ElGoonishShive'':
** There was a Running Gag involving women hitting men with a HyperspaceMallet whenever they said something sexist. The Hammers were eventually deconstructed as their true purpose was revealed: They were not designed to prevent sexist comments, but rather encourage them, as the hammers gave women an opportunity to get back at the men in a harmless manner, meaning the men didn't have to feel bad about upsetting them. The hammers became permanently unusable when [[spoiler:the immortal who controlled them was preparing for his death and rebirth.]]
** References to Tedd being androgynous also stopped for a while, probably because in the [[ArtEvolution newer art style]] he didn't really look all that androgynous. They later made a return, along with Tedd getting a new (and much more androgynous) look in-universe.
** Later, an arc titled Bringing Silly Back seemed to be mainly using this as a chance to call a capper on the overly silly running gags, and reconstruct them to fit the new tone of the comic.
* A short-lived example in ''Webcomic/BobAndGeorge'': The [[RuleOfThree third]] time the RightBehindMe gag was [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/000617 used with Dr. Wily]], Dave Anez retired the joke. (The name of that particular strip even {{lampshade|Hanging}}s this: "This Is The Last Time, I Swear".) The "retirement" only lasted one year before [[http://www.bobandgeorge.com/archives/010617 it was brought back]], at which point Wily rages about the author's broken promise. The gag would continue to be used on occasion right up to the final story arc.
* Jeph Jacques of ''Webcomic/QuestionableContent'' frequently used Yelling Bird, a foul-mouthed avian, as filler material when he needed a break. In August of 2015, he officially retired Yelling Bird, after letting the bird verbally abuse the [[http://questionablecontent.net/view.php?comic=3016 readers one last time.]]
-->'''Jeph:''' I am tired of Yelling Bird comics so there will be NO MORE OF THEM, goodbye you shitty bird.
* ''WebComic/CtrlAltDel'' had a running gag of a normal strip being interrupted with one of the character randomly getting shot by an arrow. It was officially retired by having Ethan dodge and [[ArrowCatch catch]] it and snapping it in half. [[PianoDrop Cue him being crushed by an elephant]].

[[folder:Web Original]]
* In ''[[http://dbzu.3gkai.com/ Dragon Ball Z Uncensored]]'' (a comparison of the original ''[[Manga/DragonBall Dragon Ball Z]]'' TV show and its English dub), some time after the episode which introduced Hell, Chris Psaros started using the exclamation "What the HFIL?" (in reference to Hell's DubNameChange), which he kept using until near the end of the Frieza Saga, at which point [[http://dbzu.3gkai.com/series/ep095.html he retires the phrase]], but not before admiring the meme that resulted from it.
* ''Series/{{Noob}}'' has a case of this trope meeting RealLifeWritesThePlot. One of the running gags was a situation in which a {{Player Kill|ing}}er named Dark Avenger was in a MistakenForBadass situation with Sparadrap, TheFool of the cast. The actor playing one of the two could no longer participate so [[spoiler:Dark Avenger's higher-ups suddenly got frustrated with the situation that has been lasting for years and expelled him from his guild. That is followed by Sparadrap managing to beat him up in the middle of trying to give him a little consolation. That results in him quitting the game out of spite]].
* WebVideo/TheNostalgiaCritic has had various jokes that he used at the beginning of his run, only to cycle them out and exchange them for new ones.
** With one -- his showing of a clip M. Bison saying "Of course!" when a character expresses a desire to rule the world -- he refuses to show it because it's been overdone, only for the clip to force its way onto the screen despite his protests. In the commentary for the review, Doug Walker mentions that he tries to be mindful of if he's overusing a joke to the point where it isn't funny, at which point he tries to mix things up a little and keep it fresh.
** On that point, one of his reviews ''did'' end with its respective RunningGag (a {{Flanderiz|ation}}ed-to-the-point-of-uselessness Film/PatchAdams called "Bitch Spasms") being blown away (and the cadaver being left on the ground as a BrickJoke for a future episode), the review for ''Film/JurassicPark III'' finishing (at least apparently for now) the "Motherfucking T-Rex" gag (on the moment that the T-Rex gets its neck snapped by another dinosaur. It do, however, gets a glorious resurrection as a CrowningMusicOfAwesome for the Rexy-vs.-Indominus fight on the ''Film/JurassicWorld'' review), the review for ''The Lost World'' kills the newsreel-style LongList [[HumansAreTheRealMonsters of how humans screw up nature]] that had pervaded several nature-related film reviews with the critic belting out a BigShutUp and rambling about how annoyingly {{Anvilicious}} films get when they try to (continuously) hammer this point.
** "{{Film/Bat|manAndRobin}} [[BerserkButton credit card]]" was killed by [[WebVideo/AtopTheFourthWall Linkara]] when the critic made a cameo in his review of a tie-in comic. Linkara {{reconstructed}} the meme by explaining Batman is filthy rich, uses secret methods to spend that money on crimefighting in ways that cannot be traced back to Bruce Wayne, is known to purchase items while fighting crime if he needs them, and is obsessed with putting his bat brand on everything he uses. With all those traits to him, a Bat credit card is actually rather logical and practical for him to have, so what's so anger-inducing about it? The Critic is speechless.
* LetsPlay/{{Raocow}} has done this in a few LP's, such as in ''Mushroom Kingdom Meltdown'', where he would often abruptly cut away to a fast-forwarded clip of him farming infinite lives whenever he ran out, usually while singing badly. After a few occasions, he said "Okay, this has stopped being funny now", and retired the gag (though he did still farm infinite lives offscreen). He's also said he [[OneOfUs reads his own trope page]] and checks under "Catchphrase" and "Running Gag" to see what he's overdoing and making an effort to stop doing that.
* Webvideo/{{Somecallmejohnny}} had a runningGag in his Metroid videos where, anytime he mentioned the Screw Attack powerup, a disembodied voice would suddenly shout "SCREW ATTACK!" much to Johnny's confusion, and later, annoyance. By ''Metroid Prime 3'', Johnny finally calls it off and guns down the "SCREW ATTACK" guy, ending the gag. It got one last oblique mention in his video of ''Federation Force'' where he mentions the Screw Attack, and then immediately says "I shot that bastard dead."
* ''WebVideo/HistoryOfTheEntireWorldIGuess'' has "you could make a religion out of this" repeated after the founding of various world religions. The line starts to repeat after the French Revolution and the death of Maximillien Robespierre, but is interrupted by "no, don't"[[note]]Quite likely a nod to the Cult of Reason and the Cult of the Supreme Being, two failed attempts at establishing a new national religion for France.[[/note]].

[[folder:Western Animation]]
* WesternAnimation/BugsBunny doesn't do his trademark crossdressing shtick much, if at all, anymore, since it's considered rather politically incorrect now to play something that can be interpreted as making light of transsexuality for a laugh, even if that wasn't remotely the intention of the original filmmakers. The last major instance of Bugs doing it was in ''Film/LooneyTunesBackInAction'', which was specifically done to call to attention how dated and questionable the gag is now.
** The ''WesternAnimation/LooneyTunes'' cartoons and comics can't use [[NoCelebritiesWereHarmed caricatures of]] Creator/PeterLorre anymore (at least not in the context of him being a MadScientist like he was in a few of the older Looney Tunes) due to legal issues with his estate, who will no longer authorize using caricatures of him in that context. It got a planned appearance of him axed from one of the Looney Tunes comics and replaced with the scientist from ''Water, Water Every Hare''.
* Early on in ''WesternAnimation/TheBoondocks,'' Tom was deathly afraid of [[BlackComedyRape being raped by Bubba]], [[HypocriticalHumor despite happily sending members of his own race to the exact same fate]]. In ''A Date With The Booty Warrior,'' he faces his greatest fear: [[MemeticMolester The Booty Warrior]]. [[TookALevelInBadass He easily defeats the Booty Warrior]], and he doesn't get a single rape joke in Season 4.
* From ''WesternAnimation/FamilyGuy'', the evil monkey living in Chris' closet. In season 8, he finally [[AccidentalInnuendo came out of the closet]], turned out to not be that bad of a monkey, helped Peter and Chris amend their relationship, and moves out to live in Jake Tucker's closet. He has been OutOfFocus in Family Guy, but he makes a complete HeelFaceTurn in ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'', where he is [[MeaningfulRename renamed Monkey]], and he saves Cleveland from the guys from Literature/{{Deliverance}}.
** Another example is Vern and Johnny, the Vaudeville players whose killing off provides the page quote. They started making appearances after the show's revival, and were killed by Stewie in the next season. They end up making one more appearance after this, with Vern as a ghost and Johnny in Hell ([[PaedoHunt he liked little boys]]).
** Possibly Quagmire's hatred for Brian, which was last seen in an EscalatingWar in "Tiegs For Two" where Brian suggested the two making amends. Granted, it culminated in Quagmire running him over with his car, but the feud has not been brought up since, save for Quagmire being seen apathetically playing on his phone during [[spoiler:Brian's funeral]].
*** It has occasionally been brought up again in a few episodes like "Brian the Closer" and "Quagmire's Mom," although now it seems that Quagmire's hatred of Brian isn't one-sided anymore, eliminating the KafkaKomedy running gag where Brian would only accidentally outrage Quagmire in favour of both of them deliberately and mutually insulting and expressing hatred for one another.
** Subverted with the running gag of Peter's shenanigans destroying the front of Cleveland's house while he's taking a bath, causing his tub to fall to the ground. At first, it seemed like the first episode of ''WesternAnimation/TheClevelandShow'' was this, as it was TheLastStraw that convinced Cleveland to move out of Quahog. Even after that, however, the gag still makes a few sparse appearances, once with an empty tub falling down, and once when time is going backwards for Stewie and Brian.
** [[http://www.youtube.com/user/WhersMyEmmy The "Brian's Emmy Vote" online shorts]] are basically remakes of the scene in "Patriot Games" where Stewie beats up Brian for not being able to pay back the money he owes him, only this time Stewie is beating up Brian for not giving ''Family Guy'' a vote in the Prime Time Emmy Awards for Best Comedy (its fellow nominees were ''Series/ThirtyRock'', ''Series/{{Entourage}}'', ''Series/FlightOfTheConchords'', ''Series/HowIMetYourMother'', ''Series/TheOffice'', and ''Series/{{Weeds}}''). [[http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k4_K9F8GkW4 The last video]] abruptly ends early as Stewie decides ''Weeds'' [[TakeThat is not worth beating Brian up over]].
* ''WesternAnimation/TheSimpsons'', with a combination of AbortedArc. Pre-season 8, Skinner was a NonGivingUpSchoolGuy and Krabappel was a ChristmasCake. In season 8, Skinner and Krabappel hooked up, ending the jokes about the two individually (particularly Krabappel), and became more notable as a couple with ADayInTheLimelight together occasionally. In season 14, the two got engaged, and since this show loves StatusQuoIsGod, this would put a stalemate to any future development. Surprisingly, season 15 showed their marriage, where Krabappel left Skinner at the altar. Since then, they reverted back to their original characters, Skinner was received opposite {{Flanderization}} (which is very notable considering The Simpsons is the {{Trope Namer|s}}), and Krabappel received regular {{Flanderization}}, though Krabappel's case seemed like it might change since in the season 22 finale, she and Flanders hooked up in a {{Cliffhanger}}. However, the death of her voice-actress and with it, apparently, the character, leaves whatever plans for the character there were derailed.
* "Oh, my God! {{They Killed Kenny|Again}}!" In its early seasons, Kenny [=McCormick's=] death OncePerEpisode was one of the defining traits of ''WesternAnimation/SouthPark''. Many a fan eagerly awaited to see how Kenny would bite it this week. Soon, however, the writers felt that it was becoming an OverusedRunningGag, and decided to end it before it got too much. And so, Kenny was KilledOffForReal in the aptly titled episode "Kenny Dies", and stayed dead for the better part of the following season. Eventually, Kenny was brought back from the dead, only now he wasn't killed off... at least not as often. The whole thing got a good {{Deconstruction}} in the "Coon and Friends" arc, where we learn that [[spoiler:Kenny's parents were part of a Lovecraftian cult and his immortality was a curse from the Dark Ones]].
** The boys trying to find a replacement fourth friend in the sixth season. For the majority of the first half they took in Butters, who GotVolunteered into all sorts of {{Zany Scheme}}s OncePerEpisode, before finally getting thrown out with Tweek being placed in the role instead. However, Tweek was eventually phased out before Kenny himself finally reappeared at the end of the season.
* A recurring gag of ButtMonkey Brett accidentally getting shot on ''WesternAnimation/{{Archer}}'' ends in the Season 5 premiere when FBI agents storm ISIS headquarters and accidentally shoot him in the head.
--> ''"He died doing what he loved... getting shot."''
* In the first season of ''WesternAnimation/AmericanDad'', Stan would often want to make Steve, his geeky son, popular at school because he was very unpopular when he was his age and doesn't want him to live through what he had to. In the last episode that aired before most Stan/Steve episodes were stripped of this plot thread, Stan gives Steve ''steroids'' to make him strong, but instead because of his genes he ''grows boobs'', becomes popular at school because the boys are using him for a cheap grope, and resists Stan when he tells him the boys are only using him. Stan had to resort to giving himself a larger dosage of steroids so he would grow bigger boobs to prove his point to Steve. At the end, Steve gets a chance to tell him he's happy with his real friends, and Stan seemingly accepts it.
** In the early seasons of ''American Dad'', Klaus' entire character (aside from being a man's brain in a goldfish) was his crush on Francine, doing things like trying to look up her dress or rolling around in her underwear, culminating in an episode where he gets a human body and tries to steal her away from Stan. As the show started GrowingTheBeard, this aspect of his character quietly disappeared without explanation[[note]]Well, ''maybe'' one explanation. In one episode the house catches fire, and Francine [[ForgottenFallenFriend didn't express concern for Klaus until she realized he was]] [[RightBehindMe right behind her]]. Klaus responds "Too late, Francine. Too [[PrecisionFStrike fucking]] late." This might mean that he gave up on his lust for her.[[/note]]
** One ongoing plot point in the first season was Hayley being an enemy and foil for Stan's uber-conservative personality who was often at odds with him. When the show started to become more original, Hayley's SoapboxSadie tendencies were downplayed and she has since gotten married and [[DemotedToExtra doesn't appear that much]].
* For four and a half seasons of ''WesternAnimation/{{Daria}}'', Quinn refuses to admit that Daria is her sister, insisting that she is her "cousin" instead. She is especially nervous that her friends in the [[GirlPosse Fashion Club]] not find out her real relationship with Daria. But thanks to CharacterDevelopment, by the fifth season Quinn's relationship with Daria has improved and she starts sticking up for herself more in the Fashion Club. This led to the following exchange in the episode "Lucky Strike":
-->'''Quinn:''' Besides, why ''shouldn't'' I act sisterly towards her? After all... she's my sister.\\
'''Sandi:''' ''[fake gasps]'' Did you hear that? Oh, my gosh! Quinn just admitted that weird girl is her sister!\\
'''Stacey:''' Well, um, of *course* she is, Sandi! We knew that.\\
'''Tiffany:''' We were just being polite about it.
* ''WesternAnimation/KimPossible'' had the popular gag where {{Sidekick}} Ron would [[ComedicUnderwearExposure lose his pants]]. Eventually, the gag ended in "Clean Slate" where Kim gave him a titanium belt. However, it got a good sendoff with a montage of Ron's best pants losing moments, which [[AmnesiacLover helped an amnesia-recovering Kim remember that they were dating]].
** A gag that surfaced in the PostScriptSeason was Kim and Ron {{Almost Kiss}}ing, only to be interrupted by various people (usually Wade), which could've been seen as frustrating to K/R fans. Fortunately, the gag ended in the GrandFinale where we see Kim and Ron kiss onscreen twice.
* ''WesternAnimation/AdventureTime'' had some jokes in early seasons which implied that Gunter, despite being to all indications an ordinary penguin, was in fact the ultimate evil in the Land of Ooo, surpassing even [[{{Satan}} Hunson Abadeer]] and [[OmnicidalManiac The Lich]] in threat level. This seemed to just be RuleOfFunny until "Orgalorg", which revealed that [[spoiler:Gunter is actually a MadGod named Orgalorg who is older than the Universe and can destroy planets on a whim when at full power. The only reason he's seemingly not a threat is because the King of Mars wiped his memory when he was banished to Earth, reducing him to primal animal instincts. Only when his brain is exposed can he remember his past.]]