->'''The Red Guy:''' So get ready for part three of ''THE UGLIEST WEENIE!''
->'''Director:''' Hey, what happened to part two? Was [[WesternAnimation/IAmWeasel that weasel thing ]] part two?
->'''The Red Guy:''' Yes, it ''WAS'' part two of our show! Now, this is part three of the show, WHICH IS PART TWO OF ''THE UGLIEST WEENIE!''
-->-- ''WesternAnimation/CowAndChicken'', "The Ugliest Weenie (Epilogue)"

A once popular format in which to present a cartoon show. The half hour, 22 minutes of program time, is used to show three six-minute short cartoons. The remaining time is used for short framing segments or one-minute gags.

Many shows follow an A-B-A form for this format, meaning one series has a short in the first slot and in the last. This "A" series is generally the one that gives the whole show its name. The middle slot is filled by a second "B" series, that may or may not get billing in the TitleSequence. The "B" series is often in the same universe as the "A" series, and the two can often CrossOver, with the virtue that everyone who has seen the one will almost inevitably see the other. Creator/HannaBarbera liked this format for its Cartoon Network original shows, and many of its older productions.

This form has some advantages. The short episodes are easier to produce in parallel, since writing and animation tasks can be farmed out to a bigger staff, resulting in higher productivity. This, and carrying a comedic story for 22 minutes can be tricky. A six-minute short doesn't give the premise of a joke enough time to run out of steam.

This is different from an AnimatedAnthology, in that a specific two or three series are used, and both are made new for this format. Animated Anthologies have widely variable structures within a given episode, while ThreeShorts shows are usually locked into the exact form.

The ''Three Shorts'' format became eclipsed by the ''Two Shorts'' format [[UsefulNotes/TheMillenniumAgeOfAnimation around the turn of the century]], this being a pair of eleven-minute episodes. Originally very rare, it's now the standard for comedy animation, as it allows for more complex stories to be told while still not having the aforementioned hurdles that come with writing a half-hour story. In addition, some half-hour animated shows will have [[VignetteEpisode a few Two Shorts episodes]], any half of which can be used as emergency schedule filler around odd-length specials or movies.

Sometimes, in between the shorts are super-short one-joke bits. ''WesternAnimation/GarfieldAndFriends'' called these "Quickies", and they were often adapted from a single Sunday strip.

Compare QuarterHourShort, where an eleven-minute short isn't paired with a companion short. Creator/CartoonNetwork is especially fond of airing new episodes of their shows in this format, later showcasing them in their Two Shorts form during re-runs.

The granddaddy of this trope, WesternAnimation, has so many examples that it [[ThreeShorts.WesternAnimation got its own page.]]


[[folder:Anime & Manga]]
* Some {{anime}} air (in Japan) in a form like this, notably ''Manga/RiskySafety'', ''Folktales From Japan'' and ''Anime/OruchubanEbichu'', although the series they aired with are less notable. More common are the half-length episodes (about 13 minutes) which air back to back in a half-hour timeslot.
* ''{{Franchise/Anpanman}}'' follows the two story format in nearly every episode, with the exception of a few half-hour special episodes. Because of [[LoadsAndLoadsOfCharacters the amount of characters]] in the franchise, the episodes are simply created by pairing up two characters (or a [[CastHerd defined group]] and a seperate character) and have them work off each other based on their personalities.
* ''Manga/AzumangaDaioh'' was broadcast as one five-minute episode per weekday, which were then stitched together into a half-hour Five Shorts form on Saturday.
* ''Anime/CrayonShinChan'' usually runs the three episode format.
* ''Anime/{{Doraemon}}'' uses the ABA format, with a mini segment in between each episode. Most dubs cut these mini segments out, making it Two Shorts, and some episodes are full length.
* ''VisualNovel/FinalApproach'' and ''VisualNovel/WWish'' aired together in this manner.
* Most of the ''Anime/FullMetalPanicFumoffu'' episodes were made up of two different stories.
* ''Anime/GalaxyAngel'' after its first season (26 thirteen-minute individual episodes) had a 2 shorts format.
* ''Franchise/{{Jewelpet}}''
** ''Anime/JewelpetSunshine'' uses the two shorts format in more than half its episodes.
** ''Anime/JewelpetMagicalChange'' uses two shorts in most episodes, canon to the plot, and at the end there's a very short segment detailing some Jewelpet's misadventure (so, AAB).
* ''Anime/PantyAndStockingWithGarterbelt'', being a tribute to Western cartoons in many ways, follows this format.
** It sometimes deviates from it, like with the full-length episode 6.
* Episodes two and onward of (Zoku) ''Manga/SayonaraZetsubouSensei'' follow this format.
** As does ''Goku'' (the OVA) and, so far, ''Zan'' (the third series).
* ''Manga/{{Sazaesan}}'' does the three shorts format.
* ''Manga/SchoolRumble'' is a subversion. While the episodes are divided into three shorter ones (each with their own title, except for the season finales), they are all linked together in one overarching plot.
* The anime version of ''Manga/SgtFrog'' usually followed a Two Shorts format.
* ''Shima Shima Tora No Shimajiro'' does the ABA format, with a live action segment featuring a costume Shimajiro being the B.
* ''Manga/ShinryakuIkaMusume''
* ''Manga/ShizukuChan'' does two stories per episode.
* ''Manga/SoredemoMachiWaMawatteiru'' anime adaption features two thematically linked chapters of the manga per episode.
* The 2009 ''VideoGame/{{Tamagotchi}}'' anime has two stories per episode.
* ''Anime/ThrillerRestaurant''
* ''Motto Manga/ToLoveRu''
* ''Manga/UruseiYatsura'' began as a Two Shorts format, sometimes leading to confusion about how many episodes there are since the shows from this period may be counted as either one or two.
* ''Anime/YokaiWatch'' has up to four segments an episode.

* ''Film/TheThreeStooges'' (2012 movie) follows this format, with three half-hour shorts in the spirit of the original series.

* The ''Literature/NellyTheMonsterSitter'' book series has three stories per book that follow monster species that Nelly meets.

[[folder:Live-Action TV]]
* ''Series/NedsDeclassifiedSchoolSurvivalGuide'' has two 11-minute shorts per episode, with the second sometimes continuing where the first left off. Unless Nickelodeon only shows one to even out the time slots after running interstitials.
* Season 14 of ''Series/BarneyAndFriends'' has two stories per episode. But really, it's two longer episodes from Seasons 10 and 11 shortened and strung together. A few episodes from a few years back followed this format, too.
* Series/NightGallery. How many segments per episode varied, but was usually two or three. In series two, the segments were often followed by brief comedic skits. The formula was dropped for series three, where the series took on a more conventional format of each episode consisting of one half-hour story.
* ''Series/DrunkHistory'' tells 3 historical stories an episode, with the exception of the Hamilton episode, which is a single 22-minute segment.
* ''Series/TheMickeyMouseClub''
** The first season followed an ABCD format; A would be a newsreel, a ''[[Series/TheSootyShow Sooty]]'' episode or a Jiminy Cricket short, B would be Mouseketeer skits, C would be a serial, and D would be a cartoon.
** For the second season, the Jiminy Cricket short was replaced by a Mouseketeer hosting a look at world cultures; Jiminy would replace the cartoon once a week.
** When the show was reduced to a half-hour for the third season, the show followed an AB format; A would be Mouseketeer skits, a cartoon or a newsreel, while B would be a serial.
* ''Series/OddSquad'' follows an AB format, both for the first season and the second. In between, there is usually a Training Video from Oscar and Oona (the latter for the second season), or a Welcome to Headquarters video, sometimes followed by one of Ms. O's recruitment commercials. As of Season 2, the We Are Odd Squad shorts become more prevalent as the only short after each episode. In fact, most episodes have the We Are Odd Squad shorts directly after, and are the only shorts featured. The Training Videos, the We Are Odd Squad shorts, and the Welcome to Headquarters shorts also vary in turn, most prevalent in Season 1.

[[folder:Puppet Shows]]
* ''Series/ThePajanimals'' was designed as 11-minute stories. However, even when the show is presented in a half-hour block, the ending theme with "La La Lullaby" is still presented at the end of the first short, then the opening credits are used leading into the second short.

* Early episodes of ''Radio/TheGoonShow'' ([[MissingEpisode none of which still exist]]) had three plots separated by musical interludes. Much later the show partly returned to the format with "The Million Pound Penny", in which the mystery set up in act one is solved during the musical break, with acts two and three forming the title story.

[[folder:Web Animation]]
* ''Animation/{{Pucca}}'' uses the Three Shorts format for the TV series.
* ''WebAnimation/HappyTreeFriends'' followed the Three Shorts structure when adapted for television.