"Once upon a time, there was a little girl with an adorable red cape... and GREAT FLAMING EYEBROWS!"A branch off the Something Completely Different tree, in which in the characters are cast into a "storybook land" in which there are chivalrous knights, beautiful maidens and, of course, dragons. Such archetypes will be applied to each of the lead characters, their current situations and relationships in order to draw on familiar archetypes, but also to suggest a Happily Ever After Ending. Note that these "Storybook" settings are incredibly generic. They are not adaptations of any previous material, just The Theme Park Version of fables and chivalry. If it is a straight adaptation of a specific fairy tale, then it falls under Fairy Tale Episode. If it is a parody or subverted version of a popular story, it's a Fractured Fairy Tale. May or may not be a dream, as one character is often narrating. See also Trapped in TV Land.
— Aku, Samurai Jack
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- In the Elseworld Story Superman: Kal, Kal-El arrives on Earth in the Middle Ages, and he defends the lady Loisse from the villainous Baron Luthor.
- The Powerpuff Girls: "Bedcrime Story" (issue #17) had the girls interpreting the story of Little Red Riding Hood in their own individual perspectives.
- In Uncanny X-Men #153, "Kitty's Fairy-Tale", Kitty tells Illyana a bedtime story in which the X-Men are fantasy characters. The concept was re-used in the '90s cartoon with Jubilee.
- The New Mutants graphic novels "Rahne of Terra" and "Knight of Terra" feature a fantasy alternate universe in which Rahne is a princess and the other characters are knights and mages.
- The first fantasy segment in Bedtime Stories was along these lines.
- One Short Story Within a Short Story in the Haruhi Suzumiya novels takes this form after Haruhi asks Mikuru to write a fairy tale complete with illustrations for the Literature Club's magazine. The illustrations are all Super-Deformed depictions of the SOS Brigade members (and Tsuruya-san) as storybook characters such as Snow White (Haruhi) and the seven dwarfs (all Yuki), a mermaid (Mikuru), and a prince (Kyon).
Live Action TV
- Wizards of Waverly Place has an episode which takes place largely in Alex's magical Secret Diary. Shedding her typical "tough-girl" image, the diary is filled with knights and, whenever she transports herself into it, she turns into a princess.
- Scrubs: "My Princess", which consists of Dr. Cox relaying his day at the hospital to his son in the form of a fairytale as a bedtime story. Elliot is the princess, Turk and Carla are a two-headed witch, JD is the village idiot, Cox is the brave, attractive knight, and Kelso is the villain (either a demon or The Devil). The princess' handmaiden is being attacked by a monster, and the only way to save her is to retrieve a ring from the forbidden forest being guarded by the villain. (Elliot's patient is dying and needs to be diagnosed as quickly as possible, while Kelso is trying to prevent potential lawsuits by preventing the doctors from working overtime). The story itself had a happy ending (the girl was saved in time), but in reality, the diagnosis was made too late, so she was unable to be saved.
- MacGyver: "Good Knight MacGyver".
- Farscape: "John Quixote".
- The Cosby Show had an episode where it was Rudy's fairy tale story, with all the actors as characters (in costumes that looked as if they were drawn with crayon).
- The Monkees: "Fairy Tale"
- Andy Richter Controls the Universe: "Final Fantasy"
- Fringe: Excellently done in "Brown Betty" where Walter tells young Ella a story. Instead of a generic fantasy tale, he casts her aunt Olivia as the heroine of a film Noir mystery full of Schizo Tech, in which characters (and corpses) break out in song.
- Married... with Children did a "pirates" episode, complete with David Garrison making a return as the bad guy.
- I Love Lucy did it first.
- The Prisoner does this in "The Girl Who Was Death" (though the frame doesn't get revealed until the end of the episode).
- The game show The Hollywood Squares did a week as The Storybook Squares with the celebrities as storybook characters.
- X-Men: "Jubilee's Fairytale Theater" has Jubilee telling a story to a group of children: she, Wolverine and Gambit are a trip of travelers, Xavier is a Merlin-like wizard, Magneto is the Evil Sorceror, Jean is a Princess and Scott is her Knight in Shining Armor...
- The Fairly OddParents!: "Timmy the Barbarian".
- Samurai Jack: Aku reads some fairy tales to children with Jack as the villain of each one.
- The third act of Futurama: Bender's Game sees our heroes pulled into a weird fantasy Alternate Universe based on Bender's sudden obsession with Dungeons and Dragons.
- The Backyardigans: "Knights are Brave and Strong", "A Giant Problem", "Tale of the Mighty Knights" and "Escape from Fairy Tale Village".
- Tom Goes to the Mayor: "Rat's Off to Ya!" (incidentally doubles as the Christmas Episode)
- There's a fantasy Fairy Tale-ish land in the Ghost Zone of Danny Phantom, complete with knights (what Danny is anyways), princesses, and dragons—not to mention a Damsel in Distress plot (though subverted). The only problem is that it isn't happy, thanks to a certain Evil Prince.
- Dexter's Laboratory, "Dee Dee Locks and the Ness Monster": Dexter tries to read his sick sister a story, but she quickly gets bored when he's just reading from a science textbook. Dee Dee takes it and reads it for herself, making up a crazy story combining all sorts of fairy tale elements (such as a three-headed bagpipe creature called the Ness Monster; three pigs made entirely of straw, sticks, and bricks; and a not-so-Big Bad Wolf who's small in stature but big in ego).
- Rocko's Modern Life: "Yarn Benders". When Filburt falls ill, Rocko decides to tell "Hansel and Gretel" to him, but Heffer keeps injecting random elements into the story in a "Mad-Libs" fashion.
- The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: "Nursery Crimes". When Billy is unable to fall asleep and won't leave Mandy alone because of it, Grim decides to tell them "Hansel and Gretel", except they have to be the kids in the story. Then they get side-tracked and Billy meets Pinocchio, who believes that if he eats Billy he will become a real boy!
- South Park: "Woodland Critter Christmas". Its twistedness is no surprise—not just because it's South Park, but because it's Cartman telling the story.
- Phineas and Ferb: "Excaliferb".
- The Magnificent Muttley installment "What's New, Old Bean?" has Muttley as Jack from "Jack And The Beanstalk" and Dick Dastardly as the giant ("Fee, fi, fo, fooch...I smell the blood of a mangy pooch!")
- Clémentine sorta uses the concept in its first part, with Hemera sending Clementine to different worlds that are based in either tales (Pinocchio, the legend of Momotarou, Hansel and Gretel) or fictionalized biographies of real life people (Leonardo Da Vinci, Akenathon, Saint Kateri Tethawicka, etc.) so she can banish the Big Bad Malmoth from there.
- Martha Speaks had an episode called "Martha Spins a Tale", where Martha the dog tells a story where she's Goldilocks, Helen is Little Red Riding Hood, Daniel, Mariella and Jake are the Three Bears, T.D. is Robin Hood, Mrs Demson is the Queen of Hearts, Alice is Sleeping Beauty's cousin, Pablum and Otis are ogres and Nelson breathes fire.
- Krypto the Superdog: In "Storybook Holiday", Krypto and Kevin are transported inside a magical storybook and meet characters resembling Kevin's visiting relatives.
- Even though Peter Pan & the Pirates is already a fairy tale story, one episode is a re-telling of Alice in Wonderland with Tinkerbell's magic turning all characters into Wonderland's denizens.