An episode in a normal series that is composed of two or more vignettes. Most times they are unrelated, or only held together by a Framing Device
or a common theme. Happens when a writer wants to try Something Completely Different
Note that this only counts for shows that normally have a single, cohesive plot. For example, The Bugs Bunny and Tweety Show
doesn't count, because all
the episodes are a series of shorts
A literary approximation happens when a book series whose novels generally have only one story release an anthology of short stories about the series universe.
Contrast Three Shorts
, Two Shorts
and Animated Anthology
. Compare Anthology Film
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- There's a good lit example: Borders of Infinity, from the Vorkosigan Saga, was a collection of three short stories ("Mountains of Mourning", "Labyrinth" and "Borders of Infinity") with a framing device about the main character being in extended surgery, and solving a case thereof. The individual stories have been reprinted in other, later omnibuses of the series; the original whole book has not, and is blastedly hard to find...
- The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine EU had a book called "The Lives of Dax", focusing on the Dax symbiotes former hosts.
- Neil Gaiman's The Sandman: Book of Dreams comprises several short stories by other authors inspired by The Sandman, and Endless Nights, seven short stories about each of The Endless, written by Gaiman.
Live Action TV
- The My Name Is Earl episode "Creative Writing". Randy, Joy, Darnell, and Catalina all write stories that are shown, respectively, as Stylistic Suck, an animated morality tale (using Family-Unfriendly Violence), an R&B music video, and a telenovela.
- The CSI episode "Toe Tags" is split into four different cases, each investigated by a different member(s) of the CSI team.
- The Simpsons has some episodes that might qualify— most obviously the "Treehouse of Horror" Halloween episodes, but also "22 Short Films about Springfield", the "Run Lola Run" episode (season 12's "Trilogy of Error") and "The Simpsons Spin-Off Showcase".
- Futurama has its two Anthology of Interest episodes, which feature Fry, Bender and Leela suggesting plots to a machine that can create a simulation of anything asked of it.
- Season 6's "The Futurama Holiday Spectacular" and "Reincarnation" also count. As well as Season 7's "Naturama" and season 10's "Saturday Morning Fun Pit".
- The Avatar: The Last Airbender episode "Tales of Ba Sing Se", a Day In The Life Breather Episode showing the main characters wandering around the city.
- The Batman: The Animated Series episode "Holiday Knights", which had three vignettes about the Bat-family dealing with holiday crime.
- Also "Almost Got 'Em," where each villain tells a story about how he or she almost defeated Batman. A bit more Framing Device heavy than other examples, but it's still a series of vignettes.
- And again in "Legends of the Dark Knight," with the three kids telling stories about how they perceive Batman; as they tell their stories, the animation shifts to better suit the story they're telling.
- Family Guy had this in its "Viewer Mail" (Family Guy Viewer Mail #1 and #2) and "Stephen King" episodes (Three Kings).
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic has "The Cutie Mark Chronicles," which has a story for how each of the mane cast got their cutie marks.
- The 1967 Pink Panther cartoon Pink Outs is a series of 12 quick unrelated vignettes. Many of them were later re-used as bumpers for The Pink Panther Show.
- Batman: The Brave and the Bold: Every episode has a vignette in the form of an unrelated teaser sequence before the main plot, but there are also at least two special vignette episodes: "Bat-Mite Presents: Batman's Strangest Cases!" and "Four Star Spectacular!"
- The Halloween Episodes of Regular Show, with the characters telling scary stories to each other.
- Samurai Jack: One episode showed Jack at four different times of a year, defeating seasonal-themed enemies.
- In Winter, a tribe used all of their resources to create an incredibly powerful weapon, and fought each other to find the most worthy to wield it against Jack. Jack wins.
- In Spring, what appears to be a nature spirit offers Jack a chance to rest. He realizes in time that it's a trap, and continues on his way.
- In Summer, Jack crosses a desert, and is attacked by strange shadowy creatures. His sword passes right through them. He almost overexerts himself in the heat trying to fight them off, but realizes they can't actually hurt him, so he doesn't have to fight. He walks through them.
- In Fall, a scientist gathers fallen leaves to make a deadly poison. He pours it into a well, which Jack later drinks from. Jack collapses, and the Scientist goes up to check his work, only for Jack to spit the water into the scientist's mouth.
- Gravity Falls:
- In "Bottomless Pit!" Mabel, Dipper, Soos, and Grunkle Stan are falling into a bottomless pit, and tell stories to pass the time.
- "Little Gift Shop of Horrors" has Grunkle Stan regaling a lost tourist who's stranded at the Mystery Shack after-hours with a series of "Tales Designed to Sell My Merchandise".
- The Adventure Time episodes "Five Short Graybles" and "Five More Short Graybles" are told through a series of scenarios, which all merge at some point, and are related by a common theme, The Five Senses and The Five Tastes, respectively.
- The Amazing World of Gumball, much like The Simpsons, has two episodes that focus on everyone else that isn't the main or supporting cast: "The World" (which focuses on the sentient objects in Elmore) and "The Extras" (which focuses on the background and one-shot characters that have appeared in minor roles in past episodes).