"You know what, guys? I think I've learned something today...."
Something which is spelled out explicitly or said aloud to the audience (especially the end of an episode) after already being considerably hinted at or alluded to in a smooth subtle form. Sort of like explaining the joke
. Just in case the audience is full of morons
These days, it's Lampshaded
more often than not.
See also: Book Ends
, Character Filibuster
, And Knowing Is Half the Battle
. Essentially, this is the script version of That Makes Me Feel Angry
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Anime and Manga
- In GaoGaiGar FINAL, Renee and Soldat J suddenly discover that by putting their Green Rocks together, they power up. They stare at the jewels for a few moments, considering. The G and J emblems are flashing inside the jewels - synchronization ahoy. Right at this point, a fragment of the opening theme starts playing: "Bright oath, G and J, illuminate our wish for peace!"
- Shin-Devilman, an Interquel to the Devilman manga, ends with the titular character pointing straight at the readers (and Commander Custer. It Makes Sense in Context. Somewhat.) shouting "The only demons here are those lurking within your hearts!" while a single, manly tear runs down his cheek. Apparently Go Nagai didn't think the message got trough clear enough in the original series.
- The Day After Tomorrow, which is about global warming causing a new instant Ice Age, concludes with a Dick Cheney Captain Ersatz announcing publicly how wrong humanity was to abuse petroleum.
- Lampshade Hanging in Wayne's World: The final alternate ending (the "Mega-Happy" one) features everyone, including the villain, reforming completely (loudly announcing the lessons they've learned) while Wayne turns towards the camera and announces, "Isn't it great that we're all better people?" And then immediately subverts it by Wayne and Garth yelling "Fished in!"
- This is Older than Television, thanks to the last line of King Kong, "'Twas beauty killed the beast!", spoken by Carl Denham in both the original film and Peter Jackson's version. Just in case someone still didn't get the reference to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, even though the theme is discussed throughout the movie, starting with the famous "Old Arabian Proverb", and reaching its most comic point when Denham comments on how well Fay Wray gets along with the ship's pet monkey, Iggy.
- The X-Men series spends a lot of time waving the message that "mutants = oppressed racial and sexual minorities" at the audience, only to then roll that message into a stiff baton and club the audience over the head with it when Bobby's mother asks him "Have you tried... not being a mutant?" Thanks, movie; we were going crazy trying to figure out the message before you threw us that bone.
- Harry Potter would be Anvilicious about its morals even without Dumbledore ending every book with a detailed explanation of the plot and lesson learned. He shows his admirable dedication to the role by continuing to do this in book seven, proving that even the cold embrace of death cannot hinder him in his mission to explain the plot to stupid people.
- The prime weakness of Lyndon Hardy's Master of the Five Magics series is that the characters generally end by explaining what they learned over the course of their (mis)adventures.
- In The Hunger Games, the Capitol is evil. The protagonist feels the need to express this opinion once a chapter. "I thought about how much I hated the Capitol for (X)" might be the most common phrase in the books other than "she said".
Live Action TV
- Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis". Tasha Yar evidently got busted for possession of drugs, so she had to do a public service announcement, to Wesley, no less, because kids are the future.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the musical episode "Once More With Feeling": After declaring to her friends that by bringing her Back from the Dead, they dragged her out of Heaven, Buffy begins dancing herself to death. Before she can burst into flames, Spike grabs her, stopping the dance, and sings that life is hard but must be lived on. Whereupon Dawn steps forward and quotes back Buffy's words to her from the season 5 finale: "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it." While some agree that Dawn's line may be Truth in Television, others saw it as Anvilicious.
- Strangers with Candy, parodying the kids' shows. "I got something to say!" invariably precedes the Spoof Aesop. Usually Jerri, but used at least once by Noblet (in an Aesop about homosexuality... sort of.)
- OK, it looks like Sylar saved Peter. Oh, Peter agrees. What's that you say, Arthur? You think Sylar saved Peter? OK, I get it! you can shut up now.
- Scrubs just about Once an Episode.
- Lampshaded with increasing frequency as as the seasons went on, to the point where it was less often than not played straight in season 8.
- The last episode of season one of the Dollhouse, Epitaph One. The series had been good up until literally the last line of the episode, which states the moral plainly for all to hear.
- During the climax of the Doctor Who episode "The Beast Below", the star-whale is likened to the Doctor:"very old, very kind, and the very last of its kind..." Once the situation is fixed, Amy explains it more clearly. And then, just in case we didn't get it, she explains it to the Doctor again. (To make things worse, Amy's Eureka Moment was shown as repetitive flashbacks. We're brighter than that... aren't we?)
- Every episode of Adventures in Odyssey ends with Chris showing up to explicitly lay out whatever lesson (and, occasionally, plot development) had been the subject of the episode. This on top of the traditional Golden Moment, which is usually a bit easier to swallow. On the other hand, it's very safe to say by now that it just wouldn't be Odyssey without her.
- Ellen's Energy Adventure at EPCOT contains a long statements over how great fossil fuels are. Certain things about the attraction imply that people were walking out of the theatre.
- The redone version thankfully replaces that with a segment on alternative energy sources, although it makes the whole dinosaur thing kind of off.
- Used just before the fight against the Big Bad in Final Fantasy VI. He responds that the protagonists sound like the pages of a self-help book.
- South Park episodes frequently end with Kyle and/or Stan announcing "I've learned something today". Then the character delivers either a Spoof Aesop or an Aesop played straight if the writers are feeling humorless or patronizing.
- Parodied in the movie South Park: Bigger, Longer and Uncut – Kenny gives a lengthy speech at the end, which the other kids see as being an amazing insight, but for the audience the speech was entirely muffled by his hood.
- Spoofed in Family Guy:
Lois: So Peter did you learn your lesson?
- The Simpsons episode from "Homer Badman":
Marge: Hasn't this experience taught you you can't believe everything you hear?
Homer: Marge, my friend, I haven't learned a thing.
- Teen Titans:
- Lampshaded/parodied when, after defeating Control Freak, Robin states that the lesson this week was to not watch too much TV... until he's reminded that they only won because Beast Boy watches too much TV, thereby deliberately smashing the Aesop into small pieces.
- Played straight in "Troq", the episode dealing with Fantastic Racism.
- Several episodes of Animaniacs ended with a segment titled The Wheel of Morality. The Warners would spin the wheel, whilst Yakko chanted "Wheel of Morality, turn turn turn, tell us a lesson that we should learn." The wheel would then stop, and an Aesop-style moral would be read out, totally unrelated to the events of the episode, as it was one of a number of random segments tacked on to the episode.
If at first you don't succeed, blame it on your parents.
Never ask what hot dogs are made of.
If you don't have anything nice to say, you're probably at the Ice Capades.
- Reaches the height of Spoof Aesop, when they win a prize!
- Lampshaded in Danny Phantom:
Danny: Jazz, take it easy. There's a rhythm to these things. Ghost attacks, we exchange witty banter, I kick ghost butt, and we all go home having learned a valuable lesson about honesty or... some such nonsense.
Jazz: Attack, banter, kick butt, lesson. Got it.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: Almost never played straight. One memorable example is when SpongeBob makes a speech about honesty while Patrick does sorrowful background music a capella.
- Fairly Oddparents:
- At the end of every episode, Timmy explicitly spells out what that episode's aesop was.
- But not the series aesop, i.e. that wishing never works.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this a lot. It also often has secondary aesops that might not be explicitly mentioned at all.
- The theme of friendship is explained at the end of many episodes, with the iconic line "Dear Princess Celestia..." Not always, however; a few episodes do not reiterate the message at all, and a few end with the characters moving to write the letter because that's what the characters would do, but not showing or dictating its contents.
- Subverted in the Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 episode:
Applejack: Dear Princess Celestia, I wanted to share my thoughts with you...I didn't learn anything! Ha, I was right all along!
- Fractured Fairytails and Mr. Peabody episodes always ended up with a moral of the story in a groanable, awful, pun.
- VeggieTales: "Let's go over by QWERTY to talk about what we learned today!"
- ♪ "And so what we have learned applies to our lives today…" ♫
- Almost every cartoon aimed towards children will have this, because a young kid may not get the message that's been hinted at (either because they're too young to fully understand without help or because their attention spans are too short) without being told outright what it is.
- Defied in Phineas and Ferb:
Phineas: And I think we all learned a valuable lesson today, but we all know what it is so why waste our time restating it?
- Polish animated series Hip-Hip and Hurra does this in every episode. After the main heroes solve a mystery - which always centers around some natural phenomenon - they make a lecturing speech explaining what the phenomenon is. It's an educational show after all.