Reality Ensues / Live-Action TV

Shows with their own pages


  • Blackadder Goes Forth has a snarky comedy protagonist and his idiot sidekicks getting up to some zany antics in the trench of World War One. In the final episode, they are finally forced to go over the top and charge machine gun nests. Rather than being saved by a hilarious cop-out Deus ex Machina or a surprising show of skill, the characters are all killed in seconds.
  • In the episode "Model Kombat" of Workaholics, Blake and Adam are about to fight. Adam throws ashes into Blake's face, blinding him, but Blake prepares to fight anyway, in a Shout-Out to Bloodsport, complete with flashback from wise advice from a blind man. Of course, Blake misses Adam by a mile and hits Jillian in the face, giving her a nosebleed.
  • The Hogan Family: In tandem with Hilarity Ensues in the Season 2 episode "Leave It To Willie" – the episode where Willie steals his father's car to go joyriding with his buddy, causes a hit-and-run accident and keeps mum as Valerie lays into David about the accident. The Hilarity had come in when Willie envisions – in an Imagine Spot – his "happily ever after"/problem solved in 30 minutes ending, thinking that just by simply telling the truth he would be absolved. The trope at hand comes in at the end, when Willie does come clean … only for Valerie to really get angry with him. Willie thinks that she would at least be happy that he was honest in the end, but Valerie says that honesty is expected all the time. She lectures him on the incident, pointing out that not only did her allow her to blame his older brother, but Willie also broke the law by fleeing the scene of the accident. Valerie says that he could have hurt himself or get someone killed in the accident and coldly brushes off Willie's offer to work to pay for the damages, saying that what he did is difficult to fix. In the end, Val lets on that it will be a very long time before she will be able to trust him again, before going to talk to David in the next room and make amends for accusing him earlier.
  • Happens with an attempted Race for Your Love on Happy Endings-in "Boys II Menorah" Dave and Jane rush to the airport because Alex is there due to buying into a false airport ticket which was actually an invitation to a set-up Grand Romantic Gesture dinner. When they get there, they're parked illegally, as often happens with this trope. Security tells them to move Dave's truck, and Dave, in classic romantic lead coolness tosses him the keys, saying 'Keep it.' The guard quickly tosses him back the keys despite Dave saying its for love. He and Jane try to rush past security anyway and get tackled and tazed, respectively.
  • Sherlock:
    • The second season finale, "The Reichenbach Fall" is practically a reality check for the series. First, Sherlock assumes Moriarty is going away for good after being arrested but overlooks how a criminal genius would have no trouble intimidating the jury to let him be found not guilty.
    • When Moriarty makes it appear as if Sherlock has been setting up all these crimes so he can "solve" them and look like a genius, Sherlock's jerk behavior for a while eventually ends up helping the scheme out. A reporter he ran down as a joke gets revenge by printing the story as fact and Sherlock discovers that when you insult police on a constant basis as being complete idiots, you're not going to get much support from them. Indeed, many of the cops are more than ready to believe Sherlock did this rather than being that smart.
    • The Chief Superintendent was under the impression Sherlock only helped on a few minor cases. When Lestrade confesses that Sherlock aided in nearly thirty and was given total access to sensitive data, his boss is outraged and orders Sherlock arrested.
    • Sherlock faces off against Moriarty on how the man came up with a super-hacking code and intends to use it in order to prove his innocence. Moriarty just laughs that there is no code, he just bribed people to open up bank vaults at the right moment and is disappointed Sherlock didn't see that.
    • When Sherlock returns from his apparent death in season three, it takes him a while to understand that John is not annoyed but truly furious his friend put him through the pain of his "death" and is not ready to forgive Sherlock.
    • Watson is fond of using his Army ID badge to get in and out of buildings but in "The Sign of Three", a guard notes that Watson was discharged from the Army years ago and the badge is no longer valid.
    • In "His Last Vow", Sherlock realizes that there's no way Magnussen has a computer database of his blackmail info - he just keeps it in his head - and kills him. He doesn't get off scot-free for it as MI-6 decides to send him on a suicide mission as punishment. At least until Moriarty shows up.
    • In "The Six Thatchers", Sherlock gives the villain of the piece a "Reason You Suck" Speech, only to have her pull a gun on him and shoot. Mary saves him, dying in the process. It's never a good idea to insult the bad guy when they still have the ability to shut you up.
    • The Lying Detective has John seeing a therapist to deal with Mary's death and having his daughter taken care of by family friends, since the trauma of the incident has him feeling he failed Rosie and is starting to hallucinate Mary's ghost in front of him. He is also avoiding Sherlock like the plague, blaming him for what happened to Mary, and it takes him to learn that Mary left a video in the event that she dies that would help Sherlock and John reconcile for him to come to Sherlock's aide just in time before he is strangled by the episode's killer. Sherlock mentions later that the recorder he hid to prove who the killer was will most likely be thrown out of court on grounds of entrapment, but the killer keeps on confessing to his crimes, so it doesn't really matter.
    • In the fourth series finale, The Final Problem, Sherlock's parents are pissed at Mycroft for lying to them about their daughter being alive, and not dead like he told them. It doesn't matter that she was responsible for many unfortunate events prior to the episode, they had a right to know if their daughter was dead or alive and the fact that Mycroft didn't bother telling them this most likely damages his relationship with them.
  • In the famous Star Trek: The Original Series episode "The City on the Edge of Forever" Kirk and Spock travel back in time to Depression-era New York in order to avert a disastrous event that changed history, but they don't know what it is. Fortunately for them, the information is stored on their tricorders. Their tricorders are damaged and Spock works to fix them, but he quickly finds it almost impossible. No matter how smart Spock is, the tricorder is centuries ahead of the most cutting-edge technology available at the time, and he's been trained to use highly advanced tools in a time where getting a pound of pure gold or platinum for your amateur electronics project is a simple matter. Imagine trying to rebuild a computer with the contents of a medieval blacksmith's forge to get an idea of just how much if a challenge he's facing - Spock compares it to working with "stone knives and bearskins". He's reduced to using consumer-grade electrical goods such as lightbulbs and radio sets, and can only get a few seconds of functionality out of the tricorder after weeks of work and constructing a rudimentary circuit board the size of a bed. Also, in order to buy those materials he and Kirk need to work menial odd jobs and live in a homeless shelter, and in order to fit in they steal clothes off a clothesline... where they are promptly confronted by a police officer.
    • The episode "Balance of Terror", a Whole Plot Reference to submarine movie The Enemy Below, opens with the wedding of a never-before seen character, which is broken up when the Romulans attack. Throughout the episode we keep cutting back to him, until he's killed in the fight, leaving his fiance distraught, and the whole crew mourning the death of a man whose last day alive started as the happiest of his life, indicating that, even if the audience don't see it, those disposable crew members are still people, and their deaths are still mourned.
    • It didn't come up much, but even in the utopia of The Federation, there was clearly some tension between the various races that made it up, partially due to racism, and partially due to Values Dissonance as to what constitutes acceptable behavior between such different species. For instance in "Journey to Babel", the Tellarite ambassador harasses Sarek and even tries to pick a fight with him over a coming vote, which is extremely rude from a Vulcan or Human perspective, but perfectly normal to a Tellarite.
    • Also, while people had become more civilised over the intervening centuries, Human nature was still essentially the same in the future of Star Trek, and people were still capable of animosity and hatred. In the episode "Errand of Mercy", Kirk is ashamed to admit that, although he knew how terrible it would be and intellectually didn't want it, he was raring to go into open war with the Klingons, and was briefly enraged when Sufficiently Advanced Aliens called the Organians forced a truce on them.
  • So the Star Trek: The Next Generation two-parter "The Best of Both Worlds" ends with our heroes defeating the Borg and saving Picard/Locutus of Borg, restoring him to his humanity. Incident's over, time for another adventure, right? Nope. For one thing, the battle-damaged Enterprise needs to put in for repairs. More importantly, though, Picard has to take an episode off so that he can recuperate both physically and mentally from what the Borg did to him. (This was, in fact, Enforced by Michael Piller, who insisted that Picard, who was for all intents and purposes a rape victim, would not be just fine after what happened to him.) When he tearfully tells his older brother what he suffered through, he's told that it will be with him for a long time—and future Borg encounters in "I, Borg" and Star Trek: First Contact prove that Picard will in fact be forever haunted by what happened to him.
  • In the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Blaze of Glory", Sisko and a wounded Michael Eddington have rescued several surviving members of the maquis from a planet controlled by the Dominion. Due to his wound Eddington asks to be left behind to hold off the Dominion soldiers in order to give the others time to escape. However, as he gets up for the last stand (even joking if anyone knows a rousing song to play) he is promptly shot at least half a dozen times in the chest and thrown against a wall. He does succeed in delaying them though.
    • In another episode "Valiant", Nog and Jake Sisko stumble across a ship of elite Starfleet cadets called "Red Squad" deep behind Dominion lines who were on a training mission when all the instructors were killed, leaving the ship in the command of the senior cadet. They decide to gather information on a new Dominion warship, and after discovering a weakness, try to destroy it. Unfortunately, the "captain" is cracking under the stress and is using drugs to deal with it, and his crew have developed an almost cultish loyalty. When they get ready for the attack, the ship is shown going to battle stations, including a rousing speech from the captain with dramatic music. Their ship is destroyed and they all die within five minutes, because inexperienced college-aged rookies led by a stoned demagogue are not the kind of people who can bring down a massive battle cruiser.
    • The pilot episode "Emissary" shows Sisko fighting at Wolf 359, where his wife, a civilian scientist living with him on the ship, was killed when their ship was damaged, proving that if you have families on board starships, eventually there will be casualties. Also, Sisko was openly hostile to Captain Picard when they met, even though he knew Picard wasn't in control of himself, it's hard to be friendly with the human face of the force that killed the person you love.
    • A recurring storyline throughout the series was the struggles in Chief O'Brien's marriage. Miles and Keiko loved each other, but their marriage was not perfect and they had frequent rough patches, not because of any specific thing one of them did, they simply quarrelled and occasionally got on each other's nerves like any couple that has been together for a long time. Also, as much as Miles enjoyed spending time with his wife and children, occasionally he preferred to have a drink with his friends, like any man with a family.
    • Garak suffers from claustrophobia so severe that it causes panic attacks, a fact that he kept secret until he needed to climb inside the walls of a prison camp to use a jury-rigged transmitter. Halfway through he freaks out so badly that he's almost catatonic, although he's eventually able to face his fears and finish the job, he isn't cured by the end of the episode, and suffers several attacks in later episodes, overcoming severe phobias takes years of counselling, and often the best people can do is learning to manage their fear, rather than overcome it completely. Also, the whole experience was so visibly traumatising that the fact that he was even willing to attempt it earned him the respect of Worf and Martok, two Klingon warriors.
    • A running theme through the first few seasons was just how fragile the Bajoran Provisional Government was, and how much of an ecological mess Bajor was in after fifty years of occupation.
    • The character of Jake Sisko was in many ways a rebuttal to Wesley Crusher; rather than an idealised Child Prodigy who saved the day on a regular basis and was an integral part of the crew, he was simply a normal kid joining his military office father on his latest posting. He was almost never the focus of the story or even contributed to the plot, preferred the company of kids his own age to the main characters, sometimes got in trouble, dated girls his father didn't approve of, didn't always do great in school, spent much of his leisure time hanging around the station rather than studying or working on projects, and ultimately didn't want to join Starfleet despite everyone's expectations that he would.
    • In "The Siege of AR-558" Nog gets shot in the leg and almost killed. Unlike other characters who suffer grievous injury, he's not back to normal in time for the next episode; instead, he comes down with a serious case of PTSD as he's forced to confront his own mortality. His struggles with it was the focus of an entire episode.
  • A major story arc in Star Trek: Enterprise was the formation of The Federation out of a coalition between Vulcan, United Earth, the Tellarites and Andorians. It showed very clearly how difficult that would actually be to do in Real Life: firstly due to the fact that the three alien powers had been essentially in a state of perpetual Space Cold War for as long as anyone could remember; secondly, the humans (who were the major driving force) had a serious credibility problem as the "new kids" on the galactic stage; and third, due to their century-long affiliation with Vulcan, the rest of the galaxy initially saw Earth as a Puppet State to Vulcan, which had been acting like jerks to the rest of the galaxy like it was going out of style for centuries.
  • Star Trek as a whole had a tendency to establish alien cultures based around a single trait, and create main characters that embodied them: Spock as the epitome of Vulcan emotionless logic, Worf as an honorable Klingon, Quark as a greedy Ferengi, Deanna Troi as a compassionate empathetic Betazoid, etc. Then, they would introduce characters that were the exact opposite of the stereotypes, for instance, a lot of Vulcans were shown to be smug, prejudiced and arrogant; many Klingons were cowards and bullies; Rom and Nog were terrible businessmen but great engineers with good hearts; and Lwaxanna Troi was a man-chasing Christmas Cake and a bit of a drama queen. Real life cultures are not totally homogeneous, and even in societies built around a single ideal, some people either won't measure up or will chose not to follow that ideal, we shouldn't expect aliens to be stereotypes any more than we would expect people to be.
  • A pretty depressing example appears on The George Lopez Show: Carmen's promiscuous ex-boyfriend starts a rumor about her being a whore, and everyone starts picking on her, to the point where Carmen gets into a fight with a former friend. George and Angie get the ex-boyfriend to admit to the guidance counselor that he started the rumor, and gets the girls who were bullying her suspended. By the end of the episode... she is still being bullied, and she has to be pulled out of school. The lesson is that even getting the people who start and spread a rumor to back off doesn't make it go away, and bullying can get so bad that people have to run from the situation.
  • A sketch on Saturday Night Live was a send-up of High School Musical as Troy (Zac Efron) has to break it to a new class of the high school that if you try breaking out into song in college, not only will no one join in but people will treat you like a lunatic.
    • Likewise, some skits would have Norm McDonald placed in Evita or West Side Story and baffled at people suddenly breaking into song. "What the hell was that?"
    • In a sketch parodying Peanuts, Lucy attempted the old Running Gag of pulling the football away when Charlie Brown (Brendan Fraser) tried to kick it, but when Charlie Brown landed, he cracked his skull open, and everyone was now angry with Lucy for causing him to be severely injured, and desperately trying to keep him to hang on until the paramedics arrived.
  • Angel:
    • In the second season, Wesley is shot in the gut and lands in a wheelchair. In the episode "Reprise", when Angel, going through a Knight Templar phase and having fired his staff, goes to their office to get some research material, Cordelia refuses to let him have it, even when it becomes clear that he will use force to take it if he has to. Eventually, Wesley rises from his wheelchair and tells Cordelia to just give Angel a book so they can get him out of their office... and immediately after, he collapses back into the chair and has to be taken back to the hospital because he tore open his stitched-up wound.
    • In the third season, Wesley abducts Connor after being tricked into believing that Angel will try to kill him, which results in Connor being stolen from Wesley and then lost in a hell dimension. Angel is understandably miffed, but Lorne gives him a heartwarming speech on the importance of forgiveness. Angel meets with Wesley, and after making it clear that he understands that Wesley wasn't intentionally trying to hurt him, that Angel hasn't turned into his evil-side as Wesley feared he would, that he's himself and in control of his actions, he then tries to murder him, shouting about how he will never forgive Wesley for taking his son away. No, a big speech isn't going to make Angel's anger magically go away and allow him to instantly forgive Wesley, and it takes much longer before Angel actually can find it in himself to move past what happened and work with Wesley again.
    • When the gang finds out that Knox is responsible for Fred's death. Angel starts a speech to Knox about how they're the good guys and they don't kill, and in the middle of it Wesley shoots Knox dead. He has principles, but they don't extend all the way to showing mercy to the guy who killed the woman he loved.
    • In the same episode as the above, Illyria travels to her temple to release her army and take over the world again. Wesley follows her expecting to encounter a horde of hellbeasts, only to walk into a dusty, empty ruin, with a distraught Illyria in the middle. Apparently, if you leave a building full of people sealed off from the rest of reality for eons, they die and the building falls down.
    • In a fairly dark version, Spike and Angel are both resigned to the fact that they will go to hell when they're eventually killed- no matter how much good they do, and no matter how sorry they are, they're irreversibly tainted by their centuries of evil.
    • Lindsey has a big showdown planned with the eponymous hero, only to be outraged when he's shot and killed by sidekick Lorne. "Goodnight, folks."
  • Bitten shows what really happens when people from the supernatural world date normal people: One has his girlfriend kidnapped at the end of the season, while the main character finds her ex-boyfriend's ripped-off head on her bed.
    • Because Clay never told Elena why he bit her, she spent most of the season hating him.
    • Elena fought with Malcolm, and got severely beaten by him. Only a last-minute trick saved her from certain death.
  • Breaking Bad has so many, to the point that it could be considered a Deconstruction of the escapist Anti-Hero/Villain Protagonist character. This is particularly true in "Ozymandias" where the consequences of every single one of Walter White's decisions and sins over the five seasons of the show come home all at once.
  • Better Call Saul:
    • Nacho Varga seems to think all criminals understand how it works. Like, thinking that street crooks aren't dumb enough to incriminate themselves, or thinking that an assassination on a drug kingpin like Tuco won't draw in Salamancas like flies (as Mike warns him). The truth is there is a bunch of idiotic or aggressive crooks who won't take the reasonable course of action.
    • "Cobbler": Jimmy is proud of himself getting the two detectives to believe his ridiculous story about the Squat Cobbler, and he seems not to understand how reckless he actually was. His actions could get him disbarred and sent to jail. He then brags to Kim about what he did, seemingly ignoring the fact that lawyers are ethically, morally, and legally obligated to report what he did. By keeping quiet she becomes complicit in his actions. We're starting to see Jimmy transform into Saul, but at this point, he does not yet fully have a grasp of how the Amoral Attorney thing is supposed to work.
    • "Amarillo": As Jimmy finds out, no matter how successful and legitimate your tactics are (advertising is perfectly legal), going behind your boss's back to do them is not going to be good for your job prospects.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the premiere of season 2, "When She Was Bad," Buffy returns from summer vacation with her father having Took a Level in Jerkass. Willow initially believes that Buffy may have been a victim of Demonic Possession, thus explaining her current behavior, but Giles quickly deduces (correctly) that Buffy's actions are a result of her having been traumatized by her Disney Death at the Master's hands during the first season finale.
    • Midway through season 2, a demon is hyped throughout the two-part episode as being so strong, that no weapon forged could defeat him. He is blown apart in one shot by an anti-tank missile. Guess the standards of "weapon forged" has improved in the past six hundred years.
    • With Buffy gone at the start of season 3, the Scoobies manage to slay some vampires, but in the most awkward, realistic way possible. When one runs away, Oz hurls a stake at it... and it bounces off a gravestone and lands pathetically on the ground a few feet away.
    • In the season 3 premiere, the Monster of the Week knocks The Chick down and does a speech about how his realm is inescapable. Then the girl gets up and pushes him off the edge.
    • Season 3 episode "Homecoming": Buffy repeatedly uses the Dramatic Gun Cock for emphasis. This comes back to bite her when she runs out of ammo quickly.
    • Season 3: After the events of Angel's Face–Heel Turn in the previous season, his relations with the Scoobies are now heavily strained. It doesn't matter that all his actions during that phase were from the Hyde part of his Jekyll & Hyde personality and he now has his soul back; after all the torment Angel's evil personality put them through they've lost any and all trust they previously had for him. Even after he proves he's one of the good guys again by saving Willow's life, that doesn't automatically dispel all the distrust; Giles for example now keeps a crossbow nearby whenever Angel shows up just in case anything goes wrong.
    • Season 3: Before Wesley was assigned to be Buffy and Faith's Watcher, his only encounters with vampires were brief and, in his own words, "under controlled circumstances," arrogantly declaring himself to be capable in the field. Needless to say, when he gets in a real fight later on, he turns out to be completely useless and Giles has to save him.
    • Season 3 finale: The Mayor completes his plan to ascend and become a full demon (almost every demon seen on the show is actually some flavor of low-powered half-demon or another). This also removes the immortality that he had benefited from previously, which leads to the Reality: The heroes, knowing how big and strong he will become, bait him into a trap where they have laid a considerable amount of high explosives to blow him to giblets.
    • Season 4 episode "A New Man": Meddlesome chaos sorcerer Ethan Rayne is once again thwarted, but gloats that he'll just walk away as usual, since, as a human, he's out of the Slayer's jurisdiction. Then Buffy's new boyfriend from a (para-)military organization calls some MPs and has him arrested.
    • When Joyce gets ill in season 5, Buffy seeks to prove that there is some supernatural cause behind it. There isn't and it gets worse.
    • The season 5 episode "The Body" brings a definite reality check to the Scooby Gang, when Joyce dies. Sure, you may spend years fighting mystical demons and monsters, but when you are forced to face a reality that will eventually affect you, you can feel utterly helpless when a loved one dies, and there is nothing you can do about it. The episode's creepy atmosphere, punctuated by a distinct lack of incidental music, makes the experience even more realistic.
    • Season 5 finale "The Gift": Buffy approaches The Dragon atop a tower. He gears up for a fight, and she just knocks him off the tower.
      • From the same episode, when the Big Bad stops to gloat during the final fight, on a construction site, Xander manages to send her through a wall with a wrecking ball.
    • Season 6, "Flooded". Being a superhero does not make Buffy any less vulnerable to typical homeowner problems, such as a pipe bursting in the basement. Nor does being a superhero provide her with any viable income to pay for home repairs, and having a construction foreman for a friend (Xander) doesn't entirely resolve the issue of costs.
    • Season 6 episode "Seeing Red": The villain's plot is thwarted, the heroes have their denouement with the talking about their feelings, and Tara is shot dead by a stray bullet when the villain comes back with a gun.
    • Season 7, "Empty Places". The Scoobies and Potential Slayers lose confidence in Buffy's leadership and mutiny against her, forcing her out of the house and appointing Faith as leader in her place on the logic that as the only other full-fledged Slayer, Faith is the most qualified for the job. The very next episode shows what happens when one give a leadership position to someone who has absolutely no experience: Faith's first plan leads herself and several Potentials into a Death Trap involving a bomb and several Turok-Han vampires, with the survivors only being saved by Buffy's Big Damn Heroes moment. The survivors even consider the whole ordeal as Laser-Guided Karma for turning against Buffy.
  • In one episode of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon is called to a small claims traffic court for running a red light. He concocts an elaborate defense based around the fact that he can't confront his accuser—a camera. Naturally the judge refuses to allow his Courtroom Antics (being a main character doesn't get you a huge trial for a trivial case in the real world), and he is locked up in contempt for insulting the judge to his face.
    • One time Sheldon once insulted his boss with his smug attitude, and he gets fired for it.
    • Played with when Howard loses his security clearance for having accidentally driven the Mars Rover into a ditch during an unauthorized visit after-hours to the rover control room. However, the rover discovers bona fide evidence for past life on Mars in that ditch as a result which somewhat explains how he managed to regain his clearance and qualify for a trip to the International Space Station. How he managed to keep his job at all is another story entirely.
    • Sheldon and Leonard's apartment is robbed, Sheldon collects evidence and expects a CSI team to arrive, while the single responding officer simply makes a list of the stolen items and gives them a police report for their insurance company. Breaking and entering and the theft of home electronics aren't high priorities for the police forces of major American cities.
    • Mid-second season Penny has had enough of Howard's creepy come-ons and tears into him, holding nothing back. Penny had always expressed how much she dislikes Howard as a person and she comes over usually just to visit Leonard and Sheldon, so she isn't just going to tolerate someone for years just because they are also part of the main cast.
    • Penny's car finally broke down, after years of Sheldon telling her to pay attention to her "check engine" light, which was portrayed as just a joke. This is what happens when car maintenance is ignored.
    • Penny, a struggling actress who works a minimum wage waitressing job yet also lives alone in an LA apartment and spends hundreds of dollars a month on expensive clothes and acting lessons has major credit card debt, is in constant danger of getting her power cut of, and has to mooch food and Wifi off Leonard and Sheldon. In later seasons she gets a high-paying job as a pharmaceutical sales rep and is more financially stable, but still saddled with debt.
    • In one episode, Sheldon tries to discourage his female assistant from a relationship with Leonard by giving her a lecture on the dangers of casual sex, including showing her pictures of STD infected genitals. Naturally she finds this deeply disturbing, and reports him to Human Resources. Also, while there he, with characteristic bluntness, tells the HR rep about his friends' own behaviour and misuse of university resources, getting the whole group in serious trouble.
    • At a conference, Sheldon approaches accomplished astrophysicist and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot with an offer to collaborate. Predictably he insults Smoot to his face by claiming his career has stalled and makes it clear that he expects to be the lead researcher and get most of the credit. Smoot just stares at him, says "With all due respect, Dr. Cooper, are you on crack?" and walks away.
    • The guys take a trip to Mexico in Richard Feynman's old van, and get a flat tyre. While trying to remove the wheel one lugnut sticks, and they use increasingly elaborate MacGyvering to try to remove it. Eventually they resort to thermite, and predictably set the van on fire.
    • Leonard, Sheldon and Howard come up with an idea for a new guidance system and try to patent it through the university. They are stunned to learn that Cal Tech will retain 75% of the ownership, they can't patent it themselves because under their contracts the university owns their ideas, and since Howard is technically a NASA employee he isn't entitled to have any of the profits. These are all fairly standard policies that companies and educational institutions have for patentable ideas their employees come up with.
    Leonard: So the three of us do all the work and only end up with twenty-five percent?
    Patent Lawyer: Dr. Hoftstader, this university has been paying your salaries for over ten years, do you think we do that out of the goodness of our hearts?
    Leonard: Well, until you just said that mean thing, kinda...
    • In season nine, Raj tries to date two women at the same time. He learns the hard way that it doesn't work, and sure enough he's single again during season 10.
    • In season 10, Raj decides to stop taking money from his father and become self-sufficient. In the very next episode, Sheldon goes over Raj's finances and tells him he needs to make serious cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy. Raj works full time, but he has been living far beyond the means of a mid-level academic, with high rent and car payments and many examples of frivolous spending. In the episode following that, he can no longer afford his lavish apartment. As a result, he moves in with Leonard and Penny until he finds a place of his own above Bert's garage.
    • Throughout Season 10, the guys work on the prototype for their new guidance system for the military. They worry when they promise a deadline that can never be reached and apologize when they can't produce the prototype on time. The colonel involved tells them it's okay as the Pentagon is long used to scientists promising things that are never completed on time ("we're still waiting for the laser weapons from the 1980s.")
    • After a year, Howard, Leonard, and Sheldon finally get the prototype working and are happy to get ready for the next stage. To their shock, the military promptly confiscates the prototype and all their research. When they confront the Colonel about it, he tells them that the next stage, which is applying the guidance system to military technology, involves high-level security clearance that none of them have. As a result, scientists that do have that kind of clearence are going to be replacing them in order to complete the project. All three of them have no choice but to relucantly accept this.
  • ER Two similar Race for Your Love aversions:
    • Doug races to Carol's engagement party to tell her that he loves her, only to have her scream at him to leave her alone and for her fiance to punch him.
    • Two years later, Mark dashes to the train station to plead his love to the departing Susan, only to have her leave anyway. Not just because she doesn't reciprocate, but also because it's literally at the last minute before she leaves.
  • Firefly
    • "The Train Job". After aborting a hired theft, Mal offers the employer his down payment back, no harm no foul.
      Crow: Keep the money. Use it to buy a funeral. It doesn't matter where you go or how far you fly. I will hunt you down, and the last thing you see will be my blade!
      Mal: Darn. *kicks him into an engine*
    • He then proceeds to get another mook, who is... much more reasonable. But the crime boss hunts him down anyway.
    • In "The Message", Wash tries to lose a pursuing ship by flying into a canyon:
      Wash: They're not behind us anymore!
      (Looks up and sees that the other ship simply flew over)
      Wash: I didn't think of that...
    • In "Serenity", someone takes a crewmember hostage and starts making demands. Malcolm just shoots him.
      • In a follow-up comic, the guy turns out to be alive but blinded in the eye where the bullet hit. He concocts a plan to capture and kill the crew of the Serenity. This time, Mal finishes the job.
  • Moesha has the title character's hopes of becoming a journalist hitting reality big time:
    • In one episode, meeting a seemingly homeless and illiterate kid, Moesha writes a story about him that's picked up the newspaper, getting big attention. At which point, the kid reveals he's a pathological liar just seeking attention. Moesha tells the paper's editor, who slams her for not doing any kind of research to make sure the kid's claims were true before writing this piece. When Moesha tells him she'll do better next time, the editor is amazed she believes she's ever going to write again, telling Moesha he has to print a retraction and she needs to learn real journalism skills before she can be a reporter.
    • Later in the series, Moesha gets a job as an intern at BET Magazine and learns Maya Angelou is coming by earlier than expected for an interview. Rather than relay the message, Moesha interviews the poet herself in a gushing style. While her boss admires her writing, he bluntly tells Moesha that that she had not authority to do this. It turns out there was a list of reader questions for Angelou that Moesha knew nothing about and her boss now has to pay for a reporter to fly to New York for a new interview. He points out that it didn't matter what an "exclusive" Moesha had, she had no business to do this interview on her own and fires her.
  • Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger has the rangers fight monsters in their shared delusions. When the villains begin to escape into reality, however, the Akibarangers lose their powers when they get see their real selves flailing about where they stood before morphing.
    • The second season finale ends with the rangers fighting Prism Ace, who is an Ultraman expy. Before, they mentioned about that the fight between them and Prism Ace will become a crossover special and they're fighting an alien army in the end, and that amazing climax wasn't brought up to while fighting Prism Ace. In the end, even though they kill Prism Ace to keep Super Sentai running, it's still a crossover special with the plot that still keeps going, and they wind up sacrificing themselves to destroy the alien army.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • The first episode of the series has the team fighting against a group of Putties. They get the asses kicked because, even though at least three of them are trained in martial arts, none of them have any actual fighting experience.
    • When Rita plans to give the Dragonzord to her then Evil Green Ranger, Squat has doubts that the Dragonzord still works because it hasn't been used in 10,000 years.
    • When the Shogunzords are discovered by the villains in Season 3, their next step is to steal a Ninjazord and kidnap Ninjor because the Zords are utterly outdated and, being primarily magic in nature, the villains have neither the knowledge to upgrade them or the resources to power them on their own.
  • One of the Key & Peele Halloween specials has a sketch where a detective pursues a crazed serial killer into a Hall of Mirrors. Despite the use of the usual Hollywood cliches, the detective is able to find and shoot the real killer rather easily. The humor comes from the killer trying to keep up the charade by pretending the detective only shot a reflection, despite the fact that he is now seriously injured and visibly in pain.
  • Doctor Who
    • In an Unbuilt Trope of the show's premise, when Ian and Barbara in the first episode get inside the TARDIS they think it is some sort of trick. When they find the Doctor's grandaughter Susan in there with him they think he has been deluding her and is keeping her prisoner.
    • The third story "The Edge of Destruction" shows how scary and dangerous it can be living in an alien ship that is apparently alive, is broken and which the Doctor doesn't entirely understand how to work, which is usually Played for Laughs. A minor fault on the console almost destroys the TARDIS by throwing it back through time towards the creation of a galaxy and the TARDIS's attempts to warn the crew leave them confused and scared something else is inside the ship.
    • In "The Romans" Barbara is overheard loudly talking about how she and the rest of her companions are from Briton. Not too soon afterwards, she and Ian are kidnapped and sold into slavery. While being British was advantageous in the 1960s, in the time of Pax Romana, not so much!
    • Usually, the companions are dazzled and excited to travel with the Doctor, or come around after a few adventures. One notable exception was Victoria, a teenaged girl from Victorian England, who reacted somewhat realistically to seeing her father killed by alien monsters and bouncing around time and space in a machine she couldn't possibly comprehend, facing constant danger. She was understandably terrified most of the time, almost single-handedly creating the "screaming damsel" stereotype of the companions, and, in "Fury From The Deep", jumped at the chance to leave the TARDIS and lead a normal life with a set of adoptive parents.
      • Similarly, the character of Adam Mitchell, who joined the TARDIS crew in "Dalek" and was kicked out by the Doctor in the very next episode for trying to use knowledge from the future for his own ends, was created to show that not everyone is cut out to be a companion.
    • In "Last of the Time Lords", the Doctor talks one minor character out of shooting the Master, then he gives a speech about how there are better ways to do things than kill people. While he's giving the speech, another minor character picks up the gun and shoots the villain anyway. Talking Is Not A Free Action, and not everyone is as pacifist as the Doctor.
    • In "The Sontaran Stratagem", the Doctor shorts out a GPS unit trying to kill him with a Logic Bomb, jumps out of the car and braces for a huge explosion...only for the unit to fizzle out harmlessly with a couple of sparks.
    Doctor: [dissapointed] Is that it?
    • "Midnight", which savages the Doctor's usual blustering Bavarian Fire Drill approach to a crisis. Instead of managing to get the people's trust, they view him with suspicion and think him very arrogant. It's all part of the Monster of the Week's plan.
    • In "The End of Time", Rassilon pulls an Eviler Than Thou on The Master, admits to causing the drumbeat in his head that has tormented him his entire life, insults him to his face and tells him that he will abandon him to the horrors of the Time War along with the rest of the universe. As Rassilon learned, it wasn't a great move to talk like that to an unstable psychopath with superpowers.
    • Played with in "Amy's Choice", when the Dream Lord trapped the Doctor, Amy and Rory in two different and dangerous worlds, claiming that one was a dream and the other was reality. (They were both dreams.)
      Dream Lord: Now then, the prognosis is this. If you die in the dream, you wake up in reality. Healthy recovery in next to no time. Ask me what happens if you die in reality?
      Rory: What happens?
      Dream Lord: You die, stupid. That's why it's called reality.
    • In "Planet of the Ood", the Doctor's psychic paper fails — not because, as had previously happened, the person in question had resistance to it, but because they bothered to run a background check on the suspicious people who weren't on the guest list at the earliest possible opportunity and discovered their credentials were entirely fabricated. It gets him into the complex, but doesn't do much more good than that before he and Donna are outed as frauds.
    • In "Deep Breath", Clara has a very hard time adjusting to the fact that the Doctor has not only changed his appearance but is no longer the young, kindly paramour he once was. She raises such a fuss that it forces Madame Vastra into giving her a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, which ultimately smartens her up.
    • In "The Caretaker", the Doctor takes a school student off in the TARDIS to see outer space. Instead of realizing The World Is Just Awesome, she gets sick and throws up.
    • "Face the Raven" shows the tragic consequences when an untrained human with only a couple of decades of life experience attempts to out-think, or even simply think like, a 2000-year-old Time Lord with millennia of experience, superior intelligence and virtual immortality.
    • "Oxygen" has the Doctor become blind due to the events of the episode, which does not get magically cured by advanced alien technology. This is after Nardole gives him a major chewing out about how going off on adventures could cause such a thing to happen; since the Doctor is supposed to be guarding a Vault with a dangerous prisoner inside, this gives the person inside an opportunity to take advantage of it.
    • Several episodes have touched on the fact that the Doctor, who can live forever "barring accidents" and continually renews himself, is constantly having to say goodbye to friends and even (on occasion) more-than-friends as he moves through eternity.
    • In "The Shakespeare Code", a pretty companion meets a handsome, intelligent, and famous historical figure... and won't consider snogging him because oral hygiene was somewhat lacking in those days.
    • In "World Enough And Time", after thousands of years of the Doctor talking his way past nervous gun-toting men who can't shoot straight, he fails to do this in time and his companion Bill Potts gets shot through the heart. But she's then revived by cybernetic surgeons with an artificial heart unit, so the Doctor will be able to rescue her Just in Time as usual, right? Nope; but the time he gets to her, Bill has been turned into a Cyberman and all the Doctor's skill and abilities can't change her back.
    • In "Turn Left", after Donna Noble makes a different decision that leads to her never meeting the Doctor and him dying. We get to see just how horrifying living in a world that's constantly in danger would be. Martha Jones, Sarah Jane, Maria, Clyde, Luke, and all but one person inside the Royal Hope Hospital die when it's taken to the Moon; the impact of the Titanic destroys London and floods Southern England with radiation, leading to a massive refugee crisis; 60 million Americans are transformed into Adipose; the Torchwood team sacrifices themselves to stop the Sontaran ATMOS plan; a fascist government takes power in Britain and begins deporting minorities to "labor camps"; worst of all, during a stargazing session, Donna and her Grandfather see that The Stars Are Going Out.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Stiles always gets up to some serious shenanigans like stealing police property and kidnapping one of his fellow students... which then causes his dad, the town Sheriff, to lose his job.
    • Scott always misses out on school due to being a werewolf... which causes him to have terrible grades and risk being held back a year.
    • The Beacon Hills police, specifically Sheriff Stilinski, have a lot of trouble closing cases due to most homicides having to do with the supernatural - which the police obviously have no experience with. At the start of season 3B, Agent McCall is looking to impeach the sheriff due to his seeming inability to do his job.
    • In "The Fox and the Wolf":
    Sheriff Stilinski: I don't know how you guys do it. You're all so strong. You're fearless. Hell, you manage to keep your grades up.
    Allison: Well, I'm failing Econ.
    • Thanks to all the damage it took in Season 3, the hospital is starting to have money issues.
    • Likewise, Sheriff Stilinski is having trouble paying off the debt he owes to Eichen House in Season 4 after Stiles was placed there in the previous season.
    • Lydia's mother is getting a job as a teacher and plans to sell off her mother-in-law's weekend house due to money issues caused by her recent divorce.
    • An assassin is poised to shoot Stiles, and Agent McCall is forced to shoot him first. In the next episode, we see him going through the procedures to prove that lethal force was necessary in that situation, and he has to leave town for review.
    • All the supernatural dangers take their toll on newly turned werewolf Liam, who suffers from anxiety and nightmares as a result.
  • In Torchwood, Tosh and Ianto find themselves confronted by three hooded, scythe-wielding men who spout fire and brimstone, then ominously start walking towards them as the music swells. They gun them down without a pause.
    Ianto: There we are then.
    Tosh: Sorted.
    • Torchwood: Miracle Day uses this as its premise: Having everlasting life in the real world creates horrific problems.
      • It also appears to deal with the problem of someone who has been immortal for nearly 2000 years suddenly becoming mortal and having an immune system that has never had to fight any common illness. Subverted in that his sickness turns out to be due to poison, and he doesn't get sick.
    • "Something Borrowed": Rhys grabs a chainsaw to take on the Monster of the Week... and while he's busy sounding badass, it jams, stalls, or runs out of gas (it's not immediately clear which) — chainsaws may look cool, but this is one of the reasons they're actually really awful weapons.
  • This happens in Jericho in the episode "Termination for Cause" when Jake and Russell were arguing what to do with Goetz, then Stanley drove up and shot Goetz in the head for killing Bonnie
  • The pilot for True Blood goes for this one. Girl saves cute vampire boy from crooks, cute vampire boy shows interest, girl is alone in car park... and gets the crap kicked out of her by the crooks, who ambush her.
    • The series as a whole happens to be one giant deconstruction of the vampire/human romance cliche. It doesn't result in a fairy tale ending or even a happy relationship. The series goes into great detail the complications that follows being involved with a vampire and how dysfunctional it can be. In the end the main female in question ends up with a regular human instead.
    • When vampires come out of hiding, they're unprepared for one key reaction: The IRS going after them for decades of unreported income and unpaid taxes.
    • When Bill tries to fix his will to leave all his belongings to Jessica, he's informed that because he's been legally dead since 1864, he has no standing to do anything and if he dies for good, the government can just take all his money.
    • Bill tries to use his hypnotic glamour on a human only to discover that humans have developed special contact lenses that block the effect.
    • Sarah Newlin, a normal human with no powers, tries a Neck Snap on a woman. Instead of it working instantly, the woman is baffled at the pathetic attempt to twist her head around and shrugs Sarah off.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
    • Cameron does this all the time. She makes it a routine habit to simply and bluntly execute anyone who poses a threat to the Connors, refuses to let loose ends remain untied, and generally acts in what can best be described as the most brutally logical manner possible.
    • Derek's death. He gets in a gunfight with a terminator at close range and no advance warning. And just to really drive the point home, the camera then follows the terminator, effectively making it little more than a background incident. Which, in this world, it kind of is.
    • FBI agent Ellison finally tracks down Cromartie and has more or less concluded that the target is some sort of combat machine. He even goes out of his way to secure an FBI Hostage Rescue Team for the assault. Unfortunately, anti-tank weapons are not included in the standard team loadout, and thus it goes exactly the way of every other police versus Terminator fight in the universe. For added horror, we don't even see the fight, just the brutalized bodies of the HRT as they're thrown into the apartment swimming pool after their conventional weapons apparently fail to deter something with no vital organs.
  • At the end of the first season of Arrow, Detective Lance reveals to his superiors that he has been working with the title vigilante and assures them the hero can be trusted. He's promptly suspended and relieved of his badge and gun. In season two he is demoted to patrol officer and when he reveals to a superior that he is still in contact with the vigilante he is promptly arrested.
    • Also in the climax of the first season is the villain being defeated and exposed and his doomsday device being deactivated. Then he reveals that he simply made a backup, and activates it.
    • The season 2 episode Birds of Prey does this to The Worf Effect/Took a Level in Badass. In their first fight, Helena beats the Black Canary and throws her out of a window. In their second fight where Black Canary decides not to hold back... Helena gets her ass kicked and is in a choke hold in about 10 seconds flat. Remember, kids, fighting skill means little against a trained assassin who let you win!
    • In the third season in response to Sara being murdered Laurel makes use of her self-defense lessons and attempts to become a vigilante. She attacks a known domestic abuser, and promptly gets overpowered, beaten up and hospitalized for her trouble.
    • Throughout season 4, Damien Darhk uses his time as leader of HIVE to indulge in threats, embrace the use of magic and randomly kill any underling or even fellow HIVE "board member" who makes him the least bit upset while using thier resources to try and take over Star City. When Damien is arrested and put in jail, he assumes HIVE will bust him out only to be informed that the organization has decided a magical addict lunatic who kills his own people without good cause isn't the best person to have in charge and they can manage quite nicely without him. Likewise, despite being a powerful mystic, he can still be caught off-guard by attack from behind.
    • Also from Season 4, despite Starling City being renamed to the comic-accurate name "Star City", the rebranding doesn't solve the problem caused by the deaths of the last three mayors (at the start of Season 2, again at the end of that same season, and at the end of Season 3) and the events of the finales of the first three seasons (an Earthquake machine used to level part of the city, Deathstroke laying siege to the city with Super Soldiers, and Ra's al Ghul using the Alpha/Omrga virus on the city), which are causing people to leave the city is droves.
    • When District Attorney Adrian Chase is revealed to be the murderous Prometheus, Oliver faces a nightmare scenario: When it gets out that the Star City D.A. is a psychopathic killer, every criminal Chase put in jail has their convictions overturned and put back out on the street.
  • HeroesSubverted: Near-invulnerable superpowered serial killer Sylar, who's been by far the most powerful character on the show for a whole volume, is dropped mid-monologue by a sudden knife in his weak point from a man he turned his back on... and just gets back up again, because he'd used his new shapeshifting powers to move his weak point.
    • Played straight during the eclipse, when all "specials" lose their power. Not only is Claire suddenly sick with a common disease (her immune system never had to fight germs before), but Sylar (a watch repairman) and Elle (a teenage girl) find themselves completely outclassed by HRG who has special training and a sniper rifle.
  • Surprisingly, several episodes of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon deconstruct the Transformation Is a Free Action trope the original anime made famous in the first place. On a few occasions, the villains manage to take out one of the girls by attacking them before they can finish their transformation phrase.
  • The pilot episode of Bones has one where Brennan confronts the killer, who is dousing a room with evidence in gasoline. When Brennan says she can't let him destroy evidence, he pulls out a lighter and does the whole "try and stop me and we both burn" thing. Brennan immediately whips out her revolver and shoots him in the leg. And in even more ensuing reality, she is promptly arrested for it. By Booth. And later fails to get a gun-carrying permit, because of this incident.
  • CSI: Miami
    • "Guerrillas in the Mist". The bad guy has a weapon that's a Metal Storm with the Serial Numbers Filed Off. In The Teaser, it vaporizes three men. Horatio tracks the baddies down at the airport and comes riding in in his Hummer, which the bad guy destroys. Caine gets out of the burning car and takes aim at just outside of point-blank range. A staredown ensues.
    Bad Guy: You're on the losing side of this one, Lieutenant. I could fire a thousand rounds before you get a shot o—
    Caine: (shoots him, shoots his accomplices. Walks over to the Big Bad's body and removes his glasses) Apparently, it only takes the one.
    • A gang member attempts to attack someone outside of a courthouse with a rocket launcher. He takes up position inside of a modern art piece, which has a small enclosed interior. Its a good position to shoot from... if you did not have to worry about the back-blast. When the CSI team finds him, he's still at his firing position and is now a smoldering corpse.
    • A member of a Western Terrorist organization tries to pull off a We Are Everywhere speech to Caine, thinking he's got the upper hand... only for Caine to point out that the events of the episode have turned everybody that the terrorist is connected to into a person of interest, as is normal for an investigation into a major potential threat to national security. The closing montage of the episode is a barrage of arrests that makes the terrorist eat his words.
    • A suspect tries to bait Horatio into asking for a Motive Rant when he is arrested, but Horatio will have none of that nonsense.
    Suspect: Don't you want to know why?
    Horatio: You just killed four innocent people, you're evil, you enjoy death; I hope you enjoy your own.
  • Orphan Black
    • Sarah impersonates her clone Beth, including doing her job as a Toronto police detective. She initially manages to fake her way through it thanks to everyone believing Beth is traumatized by a recent civilian shooting, but the deeper she gets the more the facade starts to crack, to the point where she has to have 'Beth' quit her job.
    • Sarah's daughter Kira isn't fooled by her clone Alison's impersonation of Sarah for even a moment. Alison has to tell her the truth.
  • Blake's 7 gives us a single ship —admittedly the most advanced in the galaxy— crewed by approximately seven people —admittedly very talented— trying to bring down a gigantic evil bureaucracy (The Federation). They manage to survive for four years, then reality catches up.
  • The series 16 And Pregnant deals heavily with this, as the young mothers-to-be face the reality of their decisions. Turns out that babies do NOT, in fact, make everything better.
  • In the Miami Vice episode "Glades", The Dragon is holding a shotgun to a little girl's head as Sonny Crockett approaches with this pistol drawn and aimed. The Dragon begins threatening to shoot the girl if he's not let go, saying "If I so much as twitch, she's go—" BLAM Sonny shoots him right between the eyes, with the Post-Mortem One-Liner, "Maybe you won't twitch."
    • The whole series pretty much placed this concept on the previous Police Procedural shows where the heroes Always Got Their Man, very few people got hurt, and the protagonist cops seemed to be super-weapons against crime. Except for a (relatively) small number of episodes, every victory was Pyrrhic at best, many times they didn't got the bad guy, and sometimes the Big Bad of the episode managed to swindle a Karma Houdini act by bargaining an informant deal with higher-ups in law enforcement. Overall the message was that, in the War On Drugs, there was no "Decapitated Army" to speak about—the drug runners and criminal capos arrested, no matter how nasty they were, in the great scheme of things were just cogs in the machine; same as the cops that fought them.
  • In the first episode of Battlestar Galactica's second season, Starbuck tries to shoot Sharon for being a Cylon, and then Starbuck and Helo have a tense confrontation where Helo convinces her not to shoot Sharon because Sharon is pregnant and different from the other Cylons. Just in time to hear the engine noise as Sharon high-tails it out of there in Starbuck's stolen Raider - because when your baby's life is at stake, you're not going to stand around and wait to see if the crazy lady with the gun changes her mind.
  • Justified
    • Raylan has been cautioned about killing people after the first episode because he has earned a reputation for it, which doesn't make the police look good, and besides, every time he kills someone it involves more paperwork for him and his boss. As a result there are many situations where he could kill somebody but can't because of his position, so has to find more intelligent ways around it.
    • In a later episode, Loretta really wants to kill Mags, but Raylan (who is behind her), points out that the police are in the room next to her and they will arrest her if she does it (even though the killing is justified by her - and the audience's - standards).
    • In season 3 Raylan has gotten used to bullying the local criminals for information because none of them want the trouble he can bring on them and it would be utter stupidity to kill a US Marshall. However, he does this one too many times with Limehouse who points out that Raylan is alone in a remote mountain community where everyone is utterly loyal to Limehouse. Raylan could shoot Limehouse but then he will be shot down himself by the dozen armed men surrounding them. They can then make his body disappear without a trace and with all the enemies Raylan has, they probably will not be even the main suspects in his disappearance.
    • Raylan is usually portrayed as Made of Iron but it takes him weeks to recover from a gunshot wound and when he returns to duty the act of drawing and firing his gun causes him a lot of pain and completely throws his aim off.
    • This is also invoked in fist-fights. In an early episode, he's drinking at a bar and picks a fight with a couple of local jerks. He refused to back down, despite being drunk and outnumbered, and proceeds to get beaten to a pulp until the bartender comes out and breaks it up. He later admits he was asking for a beating.
  • Chappelle's Show
    • "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong" skits are all about this.
    • The segments featuring what it would be like if movies took place in real life, as seen on a version of Pretty Woman where Richard Gere's character throws out Julia Roberts' character after having sex with her and not listening to a word she said when she tells him about how she became a prostitute.
  • The Saturday Night Live "Hero Song" features Andy Samberg as a businessman singing about how he's distressed by crime in the city and donning a superhero cape and mask to clean up the streets. Until he finds a Distressed Damsel played by Amy Adams being menaced by a mook played by Jason Sudeikis. In mid-line, the singing hero takes a punch to the face, at which point the mook proceeds to beat the hero. Brutally. For over a minute.
  • Blue Mountain State is a comedy series built firmly upon the Rule of Funny. The acts committed by the team shown in the show would get a real NCAA team in serious trouble with the NCAA but hey, it's a comedy, so that kind of talk is brushed aside. Then comes the end of season 3. It turns out that the NCAA has been investigating BMS and the Goats are in serious trouble. They end up with a lot of their players suspended, and proceed to lose the big game badly.
    • Also during season 3, the team's new offensive coordinator bragged that his system was so efficient, it could be successful with an orangutan at quarterback. Then when the team plays in the championship without star quarterback Alex Moran and most of the usual starters, the offense fails to score a single touchdown.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia uses this trope often:
    • In one episode Mac and Charlie attempt to fake their deaths by blowing up a car. Their attempts to do it by invoking various action movie tropes result mostly in the duo injuring themselves. Later it turns out that their attempt to fake their demises failed miserably and that no one but Frank thought they were dead.
    • In "Mac Day" Mac's Crazy Awesome badass cousin, "Country Mac", is established throughout the episode to be a seriously tough guy. Which makes it quite a surprise when he gets anticlimactically killed by crashing his motorcycle. It turns out that even if you are really tough, it's still a bad idea to drive a motor vehicle unsafely while not wearing any sort of protection.
    • "The Gang Broke Dee" is basically an episode dedicated to deconstructing the Butt-Monkey trope by showing just how depressed and mentally ill someone would become from receiving constant abuse at the hands of their supposed friends. It opens with Dee having to get therapy because she's having suicidal thoughts after being repeatedly told how worthless and ugly she is.
  • A short commercial parody (of Snuggle brand fabric softener) on MTV's The State features a woman discussing how her fabric softener has improved the quality of her laundry. Then when she sees a plush bear extolling the virtues of the product, she promptly begins screaming and beats the unnatural thing to death.
  • In the fourth season of Modern Family, Haley gets arrested for (accidentally) injuring a cop and resisting arrest while fleeing a party following a police raid. She has to appear before a college disciplinary board—and is expelled six weeks into her freshman year, with the proviso that she can reapply next year (conveniently allowing the show to bring her back into the Dunphy house and resume her Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry with Alex).
  • Boardwalk Empire:
    • No matter how rich and well-connected he is, Chalky White is still a black criminal in 1920s America. So when he kills a white man, it causes a commotion in town and he gets arrested and charged with murder - despite the fact that the "victim" was a Klansman that had just tried to kill Chalky, and the dead man and his pals had killed four of Chalky's men in an attempt to get at him.
    • The 77-year old Commodore feels rejuvenated after surviving an illness and misses no opportunity to show off his newfound strength. Not so much later, he suffers a stroke.
    • In the second season, Jimmy tries to rob Nucky of his position of power and then tries to murder him. Jimmy realizes that this was bad and offers to make things right in the finale. In a very divisive subversion of Plot Armor, Nucky murders him in retaliation rather than pardoning him, just like he would have done with any other character.
    • Nucky is not an expert shooter, so just shooting Jimmy in the head with a small caliber gun fails to kill him. This forces Nucky to Mercy Kill him.
    • Bullet wounds are not shrugged off: Nucky's hand still hurts a year and a half after having been shot through it, and despite the fact that it looks completely healed. Likewise, Clifford Lathrop has to walk with a cane permanently after having been shot in one foot. Eddie also uses a cane a year after surviving a shot to the gut in extremis and it is clear that it is still very painful. A punch to the gut by other character makes him vomit his entire stomach content at once.
    • A bomb explodes just far enough for Nucky to survive it. Nevertheless, days later he still suffers from the resultant tinnitus and concussion, and the effects only worsen when he refuses to take medication to treat it.
    • Being an Axe-Crazy crime boss like Gyp Rosetti can be seen as an asset in the gangland crime world but it also means that your allies will turn on you as soon as they get a better offer and are no longer afraid of you.
    • Despite common fan belief, Richard Harrow does not make one kill per bullet fired when he takes on Rosetti's gang in "Margate Sands". Being a determined war veteran, he is still ridiculously good compared to the drunk and demoralized untrained thugs he takes on by surprise, but there are several cases where he only manages to injure a target and the same guy comes back to fight him later.
  • Community:
  • In the penultimate episode of Pushing Daisies, Ned and Chuck hide in the trunk of a car and have a conversation at normal volume as the driver drives along a quiet road with the stereo off. They seem to be getting away with it until the driver pulls over, opens the trunk and tells them it wasn't a good idea.
  • Criminal Minds does this to Intoxication Ensues. Reid is kidnapped by a man with three personalities. After the first two torture him, the third drugs him to help with the pain... but said drug is heroin-based, and Reid becomes addicted. He has to struggle to get clean and later episodes mention that he still goes to support meetings. Also, he is several times shown emphatically refusing painkillers despite being in great pain, which many recovered narcotics addicts do to avoid a relapse.
    • In another episode, the UnSub suffers from a delusion that he is infested by insects, and believes there is a government conspiracy to silence him. He finds a girlfriend who also suffers from psychosomatic itching and she quickly accepts his delusions as fact. When he's caught, JJ tries to explain to her that the guy was crazy and killed several people, but the girlfriend refuses to listen. In Real Life, delusional people don't just "snap out of it" when they're told the truth.
    • In a more humorous example, an episode begins with a sexual harassment seminar based entirely on Morgan and Garcia's banter. If you have co-workers calling each other "babygirl" for years on end, sooner or later HR takes notice.
    • One UnSub, as a result of a brain injury as a teenager, Feels No Pain. When the BAU corners him, he rushes towards them and gets shot, stands back up, laughs about how it didn't hurt and gets shot again, this time fatally. Being immune to pain does not equal invincible.
    • Reid's gunshot wound to the leg is not Just a Flesh Wound, but leaves him in crutches and out of the field for almost the entire season. Near the end of the season he lies to Hotch that he was cleared for active duty when in fact he was not. Rather than rubber stamping him so he can return to duty as soon as possible like the authority figure in a typical Police Procedural, Hotch refuses to let him leave Quantico.
    • When the BAU are hunting an UnSub in Vegas, they realise that he will be at a high-stakes poker tournament which requires a significant buy-in. Hotch contacts the Department of Justice and asks them to advance him the money and gets turned down flat, since the federal government isn't in the business of handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money so FBI agents can gamble.
    • "A Place at the Table" is a deconstruction of Easily Forgiven. Five years after Haley's death, her father still blames and very much hates Hotch for it (even though it wasn't his fault), and when it looks like the two men will bond over Haley's son, whom Hotch did save, the father tells Hotch that he will hate him until his Alzheimer's makes him forget Haley.
    • The first UnSub to get away scot-free in the show is likely the most disgusting of all, a pedophilic serial killer appearing in "Into the Woods". He isn't particularly bright or strong (in fact, he has a worsening limp) but he has no relations and knows how to live off the land, so all he needs to evade capture is to shave off and avoid law enforcement until he's back in the wilderness. And since he has been identified already, the BAU's work is done, and they depart without catching him. We never learn if he ever gets arrested.
  • Similar to the first Criminal Minds example above, The Mentalist does this to Mushroom Samba. Jane accidentally ingests some hallucinogenic tea... that is also incredibly poisonous and leaves him in convulsions on the floor, and would have been fatal had he not been immediately rushed to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. He doesn't have "fun" hallucinations either - he sees things like his True Companions betraying him and an aged-up version of his dead daughter, as you would expect from a troubled man.
  • In the later seasons of Friends, Ross and Rachel drunkenly get married in Vegas. Ross claims he has annuled the marriage when they get back to New York, but secretly reveals to Pheobe that he didn't bcause he didn't want to have three divorces. When Rachel finds out weeks later, she insists on filling out the paperwork for the annulment herself, and tries to humiliate Ross by claiming that he is sexually impotent, gay and addicted to heroin. When the judge finds out those are lies, she refuses to carry out the annulment and threatens them with a day in jail if they don't leave her chambers.
    • Also, in Season 4, Monica and Rachel lose a bet to Chandler and Joey where they have to trade apartments as a condition of losing the bet. At first, it seems like Phoebe's sudden pregnancy announcement will cause everyone to forget about the apartment switch, the ending credits scene as well as the following episode prove that yes, Monica and Rachel are indeed stuck in the smaller apartment for the next 7 episodes.
  • In the pilot episode of John Doe, the protagonist is able to quickly amass a fortune by betting progressively larger sums on horse races, since, with his perfect knowledge of statistics he can accurately predict the winner of each race. Then he loses all but $2 when a horse he bets on turns it's ankle and falls, since not even the most accurate statistical models can foresee random accidents.
  • An episode of Frasier deconstructs one of the famous scenes from parent show Cheers, when Frasier and a female co-worker have a blazing row similar to that between Sam and Diane. Except in this case when Frasier says "Are you as turned on as I am?" he gets a horrified "NO!" and his boss demands everyone take a sexual harassment class because of this incident.
    • Another has Frasier take Roz's advice to be more impulsive, and ends the episode booking the same flight as a woman he'd been flirting with at the airport. The next episode starts with her asking why he was going there, him explaining, and her getting a seat change.
  • Burn Notice does this all the time. Gas tanks don't explode when shot (unless one specifically sets them up to), police can't just be ignored and being a spy leaves you with a lot of very angry enemies.
    • Especially being a spy without the protection of some sort of agency. As soon as Michael says Screw This, I'm Outta Here! to Management, Management shows him what the world is like for a burned spy without the Organization keeping bad people away.
  • The Following: Sociopathic Serial Killer Joe Carroll sets up a cult of similarly-disturbed individuals, with himself as the leader and messianic figure, to hear his teachings and do his bidding. However, because it's composed almost entirely of murderous sociopaths, the cult collapses on itself very quickly. Only a handful of Carrollists have enough sanity to hold everyone together, let alone direct them toward any kind of focused activity. Really, if it weren't for the fact that the cult has Carroll's innocent wife and son as hostages, all the FBI would really need to do to is sit back and watch them fall apart.
    • Averted in the second season with Carroll's new cult. He molds a fairly benign religious cult into a new legion of murderous anti-religious extremists without the cult imploding. Reality ultimately ensues again twice, first when Lily Gray's mercenaries kill most of the untrained, inadequately armed cult and then in the season finale when the remaining cultists face off against a night vision equipped SWAT team in a blacked out church.
  • The Goldbergs has Barry often attempting to recreate the plots of movies of the 1980's only to find out how such antics play in real life.
    • In "Barry Goldberg's Day Off," Barry tries to emulate Ferris Bueller's Day Off by playing hookey from school and having fun. He and his friends are hassled by security at an art museum, pelted with food by fans at a baseball game, his dad's car is stolen and never brought back and his mother easily finds out about what he's been doing and grounds him.
  • How I Met Your Mother: Lily, who works as a public elementary school teacher, buys a lot of expensive clothing, especially when she is upset about something. Because of this, she's maxed out credit cards and is in a ton of debt, which caused trouble for her and Marshall when they want to buy a house.
    • Season 2 gives us another example. On a sudden flight of fancy, Lily abandons her loving-yet-staid fiancée and her friends to go to a art course in San Francisco and open her horizons. And then she actually gets to San Francisco, and promptly realizes that she's broken up- in the absolute cruelest way possible- with the love of her life, and alienated her friends. She spends her time away lonely, bitter, and afraid that she's ruined everything for herself. It reads like a deconstruction of Eat, Pray, Love, in that Lily's old life was not 'holding her back' but providing her with love, happiness and stability.
      • And when Lily finally returns to New York, her friends are not happy that she left them so suddenly, and struggle to trust her again.
      • When Lily runs into Marshall, she wants to get back together with him again, only for Marshall to turn her down. Turns out, breaking up with your fiance for an entirely selfish reason and going months without talking to them before suddenly reappearing in their life does not make them want to start dating you again. He even dates other people at least once in that season. While Lily does get him back, it's not until the next half of the season.
    • In the final episode, Lily wanted the rest of the gang to always be there for "the big moments" but the inevitable truth is that they did end up drifting apart over the years and have a hard time getting everyone together due to work, children and other personal matters.
    • When Barney first realizes he is falling in love with Robin, he ... still continues his womanizing ways and sleeps with several women. Someone who is used to living that kind of lifestyle would find it hard to completely change his ways.
    • Ted was left at the altar by Stella on his wedding day and the show took time to show how emotionally devastating it would be to be a Disposable Fiancé. It left him with serious emotional baggage that affected the rest of his future relationships.
    • In the final episode, Barney and Robin get divorced after three years of marriage, due to fundamental differences that they chose to ignoring, namely Robin being Married to the Job and Barney abandoning many of his own interests to be with her that he had nothing to do. They simply rode on the belief that just because they love each other, it would work out.
  • Similar to the first How I Met Your Mother example above, Fran in The Nanny is... well, a nanny, who wears expensive and fashionable outfits. As such she also has crippling credit card debt, and it's revealed that she makes payments via an elaborate ponzi scheme of paying off older credit cards with new ones.
  • In an episode of House Wilson informs a patient that he had earlier misdiagnosed terminal cancer that he won't die after all. Wilson is then shocked that instead of said patient being happy, he becomes furious since he has already quit his job and sold his house to finance a dream trip and now he has no means to get it all back. Later, he sues Wilson for malpractice.
  • Scrubs: Two episodes dealt with JD finding a patient he really liked being diagnosed with cancer and hoping the tests were wrong. At first, this seemed to be the case, but it turned out he was just imagining it and the diagnosis was correct.
    • In "My Lunch" Doctor Cox kills four patients after giving them organs infected with rabies. Earlier, he made a point to JD that once you start blaming yourself for a patients death, it's the end. Doctor Cox blames himself in particular for the fourth patient who could have survived for some time, and JD tries a Rousing Speech that is a Call-Back to the earlier point. Cox simply agrees that he blames himself. Then he walks out.
    • Under Dr. Kelso, who openly didn't care what hospital employees did as long as the money rolled in and he got to enjoy the perks of his job, the Janitor was allowed to torment JD unchecked, to the point of imprisoning him in a watertower for a day. After Kelso retires he is replaced by Dr. Maddox, who actually acts like an administrator. When she sees the Janitor trip JD in the hallway, she is furious and fires him on the spot, when he comes in the next day, she has him escorted out.
    • "My Story IV" shows that the hospital staff's constant antics, left unchecked, distract them from their jobs and put the patients in danger.
    • Ed, one of the interns from the later seasons is incredibly lazy, which annoys Dr. Cox, but he's also the smartest of the new interns. After a few episodes, however, the rest of the interns have caught up and surpassed him, while he still refuses to keep studying. Seeing that he still has no drive, Dr. Cox fires him.
  • Season 7 of Psych: Juliet finds out about Shawn being a Phony Psychic, she is furious and they break up. Juliet hates liars, due to her Disappeared Dad being a lying con man, and finding out her stepfather was also involved in illegal activities; and finding out the truth about what Shawn is doing (most of which is illegal) put her in a very tough position as an officer of the law. When Trout is brought in by the mayor to save money and improve the police department after a very badly handled high-profile case, he fires the Psych team, suspends the chief (and takes her job), and demotes head detective Lassiter.
    • In Season 8, he's fired for endangering the public due to his gung-ho attitude.
  • The opening of FlashForward (2009) has everyone in the world simultaneously losing consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. This results in 20 million deaths and far more injuries due to people blacking out while performing surgeries, skydiving, or simply driving their car.
  • Grey's Anatomy: After Meredith was found out to be tampering with her husband Derek's clinical trial that she was assisting with, Derek is blacklisted by the FDA and none of the attending surgeons want Meredith to work under them (including Derek) so she has trouble finding another specialty and Derek doubts her abilities as a parent because he's convinced she can't tell right from wrong. The only reason she is able to get her job back is because Richard takes the blame, so no one is able to prove otherwise.
    • In a later season, Bailey is conducting her research into using disabled HIV injections to restore a patient's immune system. However, her first human trial is interrupted by parents of a "bubble boy" who are too freaked out by "HIV" to allow it. So Bailey goes behind their backs to save the boy. It works, the boy's immune system is restored, but when the parents find out, they are furious that she gambled with their son's life and decide to sue her. Owen tries to convince them that the ends, in this case, justify the means, only for the father to angrily tell Owen that Bailey is lucky that their son survived. Had he not, they wouldn't have stopped until she went to jail. As it is, she should be thankful that they're only going after her medical license. This gets resolved when Stephanie (an intern) takes the blame, claiming to have forgotten to tell Bailey about the parents' refusal. When asked by Bailey, she explains that, if Bailey took the blame, then her research would be shut down and never used. This way, Bailey can continue her research to find a way to save more lives.
  • Peep Show:
    • In the episode "Holiday," Jeremy has to dispose of his Girl of the Week's dog after he accidentally runs it over. He and Mark attempt to cremate the corpse in the forest, but quickly discover that it's not working, which Mark chalks up to all the water in the dog's body. It's incredibly difficult to completely incinerate living organisms in real life for that exact reason, which is why crematoriums exist in the first place.
    • The entire series could be seen as a Deconstruction of sorts for the concept of Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists. Mark and Jeremy are total assholes, but rather than making them seem edgy or endearing to others, it consistently alienates everyone around them and ruins any chance the leads have at happiness.
  • In Gekisou Sentai Carranger, Dappu appears before the crew of the garage and asks them to become Carrangers. Their response is... to run and hide from the weird alien thing that suddenly appeared before them.
  • JAG: In "Brig Break", a group of right-wing militiamen armed with automatic rifles encounters a Sea Stallion helicopter equipped with armor protection and machine guns. The fight lasts about two seconds before the militiamen are forced to retreat into the woods.
  • Surgical Spirit: A new doctor is hired at the hospital—a new female surgeon, working with a team where there is only one other woman who isn't a nurse or a receptionist. Problem is, she was hired partially because having a black female surgeon looks good and partially because she was qualified… and unfortunately, she isn't quite up to working with the team. As nice as she is and as helpful as she is, a surgeon who can't do the work could kill a patient, so she leaves at the end of the episode.
  • Blue Heelers was regarded by those on the force as as real as it gets and that included the consequences of certain actions. A murder occurs? Mass door knock of the area where the police are sidelined by witnesses reticent to reveal anything. A car chase goes too fast? The police have to terminate, with serious consequences being shown several times when they don't comply (one officer become a paraplegic and a youth is killed for example.) Any discharge of a firearm? Ethical Standards Department, grief counseling and a mountain of paperwork, and likely media and public reaction as well.
  • In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World episode "The Knife", Veronica eventually faces Sir William Gull and Robert Anderson, the two men who were collectively Jack the Ripper, in a Knife Fight. It soon becomes clear that although they were vicious killers, they don't actually know how to fight, and she kicks their asses.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Alison has pissed off so many people in Rosewood, that when she finally returns from the dead, most people are NOT happy. Even her friends are ambivalent.
    • When Aria's family finally found out about her and Ezra, no one was happy due to the fact that he was older and her teacher. Her father is still against their relationship.
    • Nearly all of the girls have had some breakdowns over the situation that they are in, to the point of one of them being institutionalized.
  • Supernatural, Grimm, Teen Wolf and The Vampire Diaries all showcase that some things are very hard to get forgiven for, even if you're using supernatural powers with the best of intentions:
    • Supernatural: While Sam and Dean have been able to overcame a vast majority of their differences, when Sam learned that Dean put an angel in him without his permission, resulting in Kevin's death, he stayed mad at Dean until the end of the season, when Dean died.
    • Grimm: When Adalind came back to town for help with her baby after the Royals came after her, the gang helped out, only to not tell her what they really did with her child (they faked a kidnapping by the Resistance). Her past actions resulted in them not being able to trust her.
    • Teen Wolf: The Alpha twins tried to join Scott's pack after falling out with Deucalion. However, there was no quick forgiveness: Scott and Stiles were unsure whether to trust them, and Lydia broke up with one of them after his part in Boyd's death. Issac was the one who hated them the most, and even tried to murder them at one point to avenge both Boyd and Erica. Meanwhile, no one has forgiven or trusted Peter.
    • A similar situation happens on The Vampire Diaries: no one is close with Klaus, and Rebekah is still hated by most after running Elena off the road and turning her into a vampire. Heck, even Damon is in a similar position: while most tolerate him, Caroline still hates him for his past behavior to the point where she violently opposes his relationship with Elena, and has even nearly ended her friendship with the latter twice.
  • The Vampire Diaries also shows how the losing party of a Love Triangle responds to the outcome: While Stefan stated that he was happy for Damon and Elena and even helped them stay together, in truth he carried a lot of resentment for YEARS. This came out in the open in season eight.
  • In Martial Law, in the first episode when Sammo came to LA, he was robbed by a Russian taxi scam. When he later arrived at the police station, he was asked why he, a senior officer in hand to hand combat and the top cop of Shanghai, didn't do anything. His reply was that they had three guns aimed at him. Even someone as trained as him would get shot before he could do anything. Instead, he reported them to the police and by the end of the episode, they were arrested and Sammo's things returned to him.
  • In the episode of Law & Order: SVU, a lesbian dies and her parents sue her partner for custody of their granddaughter. They argue that the stepmother is molesting the girl, and under questioning, the girl seems to corroborate their story. The protagonists discovered that the grandparents were pesuaded to sue by their homophobic lawyer who is trying to prove gays cannot be good parents. They also discover that he coached the girl to lie, and that she was not in fact molested. The detectives close the case and the grandparents drop their suit, but the partner refuses to forgive them or let them see their granddaughter again after being accused of molesting her daughter simply based on her sexual orientation. Being Easily Forgiven is rare in real life.
    • After Detective Benson helps a nervous elderly woman, a background check reveals she broke out of jail to escape a false charge decades ago. Assuming a new identity she stayed off the radar fearing she'll be discovered and prosecuted. Then she promptly is. Old lady or not she's been on the lam for years. The charges are ultimately dropped but her husband leaves her after realizing she's been lying to him since they met and cost him his chance to have kids.
    • When Casey Novak breaks the law to help the detectives get the evidence they need to nail a criminal she's immediately in hot water. Not only was the evidence obtained illegally and under false pretenses it would be inadmissible in court if not for the judge. The only reason she's not fired is because of the judge, who still hits her with a serious suspension.
    • The team realize a man who has been in jail for 20 years is innocent of the rape and murder he was accused of. The real killer is caught but ends up killing himself before he makes a confession. Thus, despite the circumstantial evidence they have and knowing the truth, the cops and D.A. don't have enough to overturn the conviction and the innocent man must remain in jail.
    • A man makes a business proposal to a woman. She turns him down. The next day she receives flowers from him, with a card reading, "No hard feelings". TV/movie convention would present this as a sweet, endearing gesture indicative of a man's love. But does she find it this? No. As she later tells the detectives, the fact that he found out her address without her having told him scared the hell out of her. And with good reason, as the guy is a suspected rapist/murderer.
  • Suits seems to skirt reality with the plotline as Mike is hired as a junior lawyer at a major firm despite having never attended law school (he makes up for it with his genius at the law). However, the series plays with this by showing the massive consequences that come from the firm engaging in a fraud.
    • It's pretty easy for someone who tries to figure out Mike isn't a lawyer. Jessica figured it out fast as Mike doesn't have a Bachelor's degree from anywhere.
    • While Mike does his best to fake it, he often fails to recognize things any Harvard grad should know from the popular songs to the locations of the best pizza place. Eventually, Louis finally figures it out when Mike fails to know about the "key" Louis (and any real Harvard grad) would have.
    • Rachel kisses her ex-boyfriend, and then struggles whether to tell Mike. Donna tells her not to. She eventually tells him, and he walks out on her. After an episode or two, they do get back together, but he admits he's still not over it.
    • Without Harvey to shield him, Mike's idealism is even less suited for the world of high-stakes corporate finance than it is for high-stakes corporate law.
    • Louis' antics trying to cover his misbehavior, though funny, end up tipping Mike and Harvey off that he's up to something. They figure it out within minutes, and he quits seconds before Harvey would've questioned and fired him.
      • Then it turns out that departing from a major law firm under a cloud doesn't do well for your career prospects, especially since he can't have any of his old clients and he refuses to leave New York. Jessica refuses to rehire him because, in her opinion, he constantly screws up.
      • His secretary is fired for trying to cover his rear.
    • Earlier, Louis' Training from Hell reduces talented associate Harold to a quivering mess. The fact that everyone treated him like dirt didn't help.
    • When he finds out the truth about Mike, Louis succeeds in blackmailing himself to be named as "door partner" and immediately gets ready to fire Mike and Harvey by threatening to reveal the truth. However, Jessica points out what Louis has overlooked: By taking part in the knowledge about Mike to get himself rehired, Louis became part of the fraud and will go down with the rest of them if he exposes it.
    • In season 5, Mike is finally exposed and immediately arrested for fraud. The entire firm faces massive litigation and possible disbarment for taking part in all this. Despite all their hard work, Mike ends up agreeing to a plea deal to get only a few years in jail. Meanwhile, Jessica and Harvey assume their staff will stay out of loyalty. Instead, as soon as the firm's non-compete clause is nullified, every lawyer, paralegal and assistant who isn't a main character walks rather than be associated with a firm engulfed in fraud.
    • Season 6 adds a new wrinkle and Jessica and Harvey learn that they are being sued for every case Mike ever worked on.
    • In Season 7, an opposing lawyer uses Mike's past as a fraud and convict to prejudice the judge against him. Then later, when Mike tries to hand the case over to Rachel, Harvey forces him to roll with it and keep the case, telling him that if he gives up, every opponent he faces will use his past against him.
    • After Harvey becomes managing partner, he allows Donna to become a senior partner and plans to bring in an old friend as named partner to get a big corporate client. Katrina tells him that he is devaluing the firm by just handing out partnerships, and Harvey is forced to rescind the offer to his friend and give Donna the sinecure of COO rather than partner.
  • In Gotham, Bruce begins to train himself to help himself overcome fear. Gordon and Alfred on the other hand see it as unsettling and want Bruce to see a therapist.
    • In "The Balloonman", the titular villain attacks an experienced cop, as opposed to their first victim, a middle aged banker taken by surprise. The Balloonman promptly gets the crap kicked out of him. If Cranston hadn't become distracted by some paperwork the Balloonman was carrying, the Balloonman's killing spree would have ended right there.
    • Bruce wanted to help the homeless children in Gotham and offered money and later clothes. Gordon gently pointed out that these children need guardians, not money. Later on in the episode, the children did get new clothes but are still being sent upstate and still are miserable.
    • People don't just bounce back after a kidnapping. Barbara is traumatized and paranoid after being held captive by Zsasz.
    • Gordon is repeatedly warned that if he goes against the system, he will not last long in the GCPD. Initially, it appears that he is relying on his status as a war hero and his father's reputation, but once his enemies find a viable pretext, he is Reassigned to Antarctica and his supposed allies like Harvey Dent abandon him.
  • At the end of Season 2 of Lois and Clark, Clark proposes to Lois and she reveals that she knows he's Superman. In the first episode of Season 3, she refuses because, although she loves him and can understand why he felt the need to do what he did, she's still hurt and angry that he has been lying to her since they met, and it takes months before she's ready to say yes.
  • 24:
    • Throughout the series, Jack suffers all sorts of injuries and somehow manages to keep fighting the good fight in spite of it. In the final episode of Day 8, he's accumulated several wounds throughout the course of the season such as a stab wound in the gut and a gunshot in the shoulder and is about to be executed by one of Charles Logan's enforcers. He rouses up enough strength to make an escape attempt and starts fighting the guy off... and his injuries prove too much for him keep up with the man, who simply takes advantage of it to overpower him. It's only through Chloe and President Taylor's literal last-second intervention that he gets saved.
    • Also, in Day 8, he murdered a Russian foreign minister. Understandably enough, the Russians want their own revenge on Jack, and on the final episode of Day 9, having mobilized their entire force against him, they succeed at capturing him.
    • At the end of Day 6, rogue Chinese agent Cheng Zhi is taken prisoner by CTU, but defiantly shouts that the Chinese government won't abandon him and will get him out as he's being led away to confinement. In Day 9, we discover that his country did indeed abandon him. It doesn't matter if you were previously a loyal operative to your government, if you start resorting to heinous acts that could be considered acts of war like collaborating with a known terrorist like Philip Bauer or kidnapping and torturing the Secretary of Defense's daughter, your country is going to immediately consider you a traitor and write you off like it's nothing. Unfortunately, Cheng refuses to take any responsibility for this and decides to orchestrate a war between the U.S. and China in retaliation.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • At the beginning, Regina wins, throwing everyone from the Enchanted Forest into the modern world set in a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Several seasons later, an episode features her feelings about this. Turns out, she had no clue what to do after having her revenge and being stuck in a town where nothing really happened was horrendously boring.
    • Mr. Gold, Charming, and Hook each, at different points, try to invoke True Love's Kiss when Belle, Snow and Emma lose their memories. It doesn't work for any of them, and naturally the kiss-ees view it as assault and respond accordingly—Belle screams for help, Snow punches Charming in the face, and Emma knees Hook in the groin.
    • Just because Emma's The Chosen One doesn't mean she's going to immediately believe that an entire town is cursed by fairy-tale characters, especially since the one claiming this is a ten-year-old boy with an overactive imagination. It takes her all of the first season to come around.
    • Even when they try to overcome past issues, Regina and Zelena are still tense given how they've tried to kill each other in the past and just because they're sisters doesn't mean they can forget such a rough past.
    • In the spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Anastasia, the Red Queen has an episode where she has to listen to multiple complaints from her citizens. Despite having to literally claw her to the top, evidently being a queen means more than pretty dresses, jewelry and magic. One has actual responsibilities.
  • In 30 Rock, Tracy is extremely proud of his tendency to "drop truth bombs"; essentially calling people out on racism, rudeness, or other personal failings (real or perceived). Midway through season one Jack points out that this tendency is why he can't get any work outside of TGS; he can't get through any serious negotiation or arguments without accusing someone else of bigotry, with the result that no one wants to work with him and movie backers blacklist in retribution for him being so rude and blunt to them.
    • A recurring theme throughout the series is Liz attempting to mimic Murphy Brown, viewing it as the ultimate ideal of feminism, only to have reality come cruelly crashing down on her when it turns out that the real world doesn't function like a female empowerment sitcom from the nineties. Her Establishing Character Moment has her attempting to make a dramatic stand against a man cutting in line at a hot dog stand and expecting to be praised, only to instead make herself look like a weirdo throwing a childish fit over something completely trivial.
    • In the season 2 finale, Pete shoots the head page in the leg with an arrow to help out Kenneth, whom the page was attempting to restrain to keep him from submitting an important paper. In the first episode of season 3, the incident is brought up and it's revealed that Pete actually got into a lot of trouble for basically assaulting the guy and had to go through two months of anger management and community service to keep his job.
    • Kenneth's feud with head page Donny began when Jenna destroyed Kenneth's jacket, and in order to get a new one, Kenneth had to beat him in a "page off". Every page gathered in a basement to watch them, but just before the contest could start, Pete walked in to shut it down and simply ordered the head page to replace Kenneth's jacket.
      Pete: What, are you kidding me? This is a billion dollar company! Demerits? Donny, give Kenneth the damn jacket!
  • The final episode of Seinfeld is one long invocation of this trope. In it, every single rude, cruel, and illegal thing the cast did through the entire show comes back to bite them in the ass. First they get arrested on charges of criminal indifference after mocking a guy who was being robbed rather than helping him. At their trial they get convicted after a massive landslide of people they've wronged testify against them as well as starting several confrontations in the courtroom. Turns out that being an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist doesn't typically lead to good things in real life.
  • One Brooklyn Nine-Nine episode has Jake trying to pull a cool action movie stunt by running across car roofs to catch a perp. He promptly injures himself badly and ends up being sent home to heal.
    • Brooklyn Nine Nine is essentially the story of an immature manchild trying to live out his eighties action movie fantasies. Due to Rule of Funny, half the time it works, while the rest he gets smacked down hard by reality.
    • The Cold Open to one episode shows Jake chasing a drug dealer through the streets. The guy pulls a motorist out of his car and tries to drive off... only to immediately get stuck in New York traffic, allowing Jake to casually stroll up and arrest him.
    • Another episode acknowledges the waves of scandals that were hitting the NYPD and police forces around the country at the time, with Holt trying to come up with a PR campaign to counter people's mistrust and dislike of cops. Also, his original idea of a simple poster campaign featuring pictures of Amy meets with a huge public backlash and the posters are vandalised with complaints about stop-and-frisk, racial profiling and unlawful arrests, which are all serious issues within the Real Life NYPD.
    • One episode revolves around he trial of a jewel thief Jake arrested. The prosecution case is very weak—the one witness is a convicted perjurer and Jake can't find the thief tools. Jake eventually manages to locate the tools and introduce them into evidence on the last day of the trial, but the thief is still acquitted. Even with the tools there still isn't enough evidence for a conviction, and, as the defence lawyer points out, the police finding critical evidence at the eleventh hour when they were losing hard looks very suspicious, and the jury likely suspected that the evidence was planted.
  • In the final season of Drop Dead Diva assistant Teri helps a friend out of a jam by pretending to be a lawyer to intimidate a credit card company. When bosses Grayson and Kim find out, they have no choice but to report Teri to the cops and she's arrested and spends a few months in jail for practicing without a legal license and impersonation.
    • When Teri is released, Jane is ready to welcome her back only to be informed that there's no way a legal firm can employ an ex-con, let alone one convicted of impersonating a lawyer.
  • Normally, it doesn't matter how beaten up a hero gets in a Tokusatsu show, as he will be all better in the next episode. Not so in Ultraman Nexus, where Tragic Hero Himeya Jun constantly gets injured when fighting as Ultraman against giant monsters, which causes him to get weaker as the series progresses. Another example of this trope is that certain episodes focus on the victims of monster attacks, who are actually fairly traumatized because of said attack.
  • In Family Matters, Myra doesn't like the way Steve has changed over time and breaks up with him, thinking he'll do anything to win her back. Except he realizes that he has outgrown the person he used to be and, consequently, outgrown his relationship with Myra. He turns to Laura, who now has feelings for him, and Myra's attempts to get him back only end up alienating him.
  • The Flash (2014):
    • All throughout the first season, Barry and his friends have been imprisoning superpowered criminals in their secret prison inside S.T.A.R. Labs, because ordinary jails and prisons are not capable of handling supervillains. Late in the season, they realize that S.T.A.R. Labs is no longer secure and that they have to transfer the supervillains to another prison. When Det. Joe West reaches out to an Assistant District Attorney with whom he is friendly to get help with the transfer, she gets very upset, tells him that holding these people without any kind of hearing is a crime, and that he should stop talking to her about it, since she may have to prosecute him for it. It's a nice touch of reality for a superhero show.
    • Its clear throughout the first season that Barry is no match for the Reverse-Flash. During the season finale it looks like he might finally stand a chance after he makes a big entrance and prevents him from escaping to his own timeline. The next scene drops the pretense as it turns into a one-sided beat down like every other time they squared off.
    • The Arrow/Flash crossover shows what happens when an idealistic crime fighter with super powers, works with a much darker Bad Ass Normal vigilante. While initially excited Barry is shocked and appalled when he finally sees the brutal methods Oliver uses against common criminals. Later when Barry falls under the effect of a Meta-human's rage inducing powers, Oliver's fighting skills and gadgets can only do so much against his superhuman abilities. Fortunately Oliver was able to fight Barry to a draw despite Barry's speed, showing that skill and years of experience can act as a leveler against someone with powers but lacking such experience.
    • Barry gets on the better side of this during a brief appearance on Arrow when he turns up in Nanda Parbat to rescue the team who have been captured by the League of Assassins. The League has legendary reputation earned in over three thousand years of existence, is composed of highly skilled assassins, and have among their ranks some of the deadliest individuals in existence in hand to hand combat. Deadliest human individuals. Barry is a metahuman who can run faster than the speed of sound—fast enough to travel though time—and can literally catch bullets. He disables everyone in the fortress within seconds.
  • Catastrophe: Rob and Sharon have lots of casual, spontaneous and unprotected sex. Sharon quickly gets pregnant.
  • Being a Deconstructor Fleet, Kamen Rider Gaim has many. For instance:
    • Kaito and Kouta (Kamen Rider Baron and Kamen Rider Gaim respectively) gain rider forms that include weapons like a spear and a sword. Despite their rider forms giving them extra power, they use them rather awkwardly at first, having no combat experience or training yet. Kaito's Character Tic even reflects this, as he uses weapons in a way that they were not intended, such as slashing with a spear.
    • In several of the early Kamen Rider shows, the Monsters of the Week were often normal humans who had been kidnapped and experimented on by the bad guys. Despite this, the heroes rarely had any qualms about killing them, and the shows almost never presented this as wrong or morally questionable. When Kouta finds out that many of the the Inves he's been destroying were transformed humans, and that he killed one that used to be his friend, he's left traumatized and disgusted over what he's done.
    • In his first battle with Zangetsu, Kouta is nearly killed. While most riders would just get back up and try again, Kouta's never fought in a battle like that before, and is traumatized as a result.
    • Kaito's had the belief that only the strong will survive and the weak will perish for a long time. At the end of the series, even with all the Character Development he's gone through, Kaito still believes the world's like this and wants to create a new world where the weak can live in peace. As with several other examples on this page, people dropping long-held beliefs, no matter how unhealthy, is much rarer than TV would have you believe.
    • After losing a battle with Mitsuzane , Takatora sinks into the sea and is found and taken to the hospital by Mitsuzane a few months later. However, the doctor informs Micchy that Takatora's brain has been damaged as a result of a few months without oxygen, and if it hadn't been for Kouta, Takatora would be dead.
    • After losing his Gridon Rider form, Hideyasu uses the Kurokage Trooper form against the Inago Kaijin to honor the late Hase. While his determination has strengthened over the past few months, it doesn't change the fact that he's not a very good fighter and is using a weaker powerset that he's never had any experience with at all, making the second half of the short battle more in the Inago Kaijin's favor.
  • Played for Laughs in Kamen Rider Ghost. At one point, Takeru has to fight a monster that specializes in electrical attacks, so he goes with a form that uses two swords. He ends up making the fight much shorter, since he was essentially charging at it while holding two large lightning rods in his hands.
  • The entire premise of the Monty Python's Ron Obvious sketch. Ron attempts stunts such as jumping the English Channel, eating Chichester Cathedral, tunnelling from England to Java, splitting a railway carriage with his nose, and running to Mercury. All go as would actually be expected.
  • On Sex and the City, Samantha becomes suspicious of boyfriend Richard's behavior—late nights, unexplained absences from work—and his vague explanations. Coupled with the knowledge of his playboy reputation, she becomes convinced that he's cheating on her. So one day, she decides to follow him. TV convention would reveal that he's actually been planning some sort of surprise for her, but instead, she does in fact walk in on him and another woman. Later, after they reconcile, he cancels dinner plans because of a business meeting. Suspicious, she bursts in on him. . .to find him having a business meeting. But she dumps him anyway, knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before he cheats again, and even if not, she can never trust him again.
  • The Muppets:
    • Miss Piggy tries to play a prank on a woman by getting Scooter to shove her head into a cake and filming it. Not only does Ms. Applegate notice Miss Piggy very obviously sitting completely dressed in black in her suspicious black car, but Miss Piggy gets arrested for filming her.
  • Limitless shows the sheer boring prep that goes into FBI investigations and often Brian imagines the adventures being much cooler.
    • When he confronts a crook on his own, Brian is confident his perfect recall of kung fu movies gives him the advantage. He ends up knocked down in five seconds and realizes it doesn't matter how perfectly you know martial arts moves if you've never had any fight training. When he goes in for some, his trainer lets him know that fighting involves a lot more grounded attacks than flashy kung fu moves.
    • In a subversion of Hollywood Hacking, Brian notes the reason TV and movies do hacking as montages is because "in real life, hacking is boring."
  • Z Nation: The Chosen One may be the person to save everyone. However, thanks to Murphy, we now know that chosen doesn't always mean nice...or good. His behavior over the course of season 2 showcases that, starting with him basically causing a nuclear apocalypse.
  • Despite their outlandish plots, Soap Operas do this fairly regularly. Children have gotten screwed up because of their parents' constant bed-hopping, children resent their parents for sending them to boarding school or to live with relatives, people have come back from the dead only to find out that their ex has moved on with someone else, and infidelity and other stunts have permanently ruined marriages and other relationships:
    • All My Children. Erica Kane cheats on husband Travis with his brother Jack. Daughter Bianca is so upset after walking in on them that she sets fire to the house. When Travis finds out, he files for divorce. Erica loses custody because of her infidelity and it takes years for her and Bianca to repair their relationship, while Jack and Travis never do.
    • The Bold and the Beautiful. It's pretty much acknowledged that the problems Brooke's children, particularly Rick and Bridget, have had, is due to her sleeping around without a second thought as to how it would affect them. Rick has never stopped resenting older half-brother Ridge for the times he was simultaneously his stepfather. Rick even snapped to the point where he shot another stepfather after being completely confused about Brooke running off and marrying a new guy.
    • General Hospital's Bobbie cheats on husband Tony—and he discovers this the day their daughter is killed in a car accident. The other guy turns out to be a jerk who was playing her, and it takes a full year of counseling for them to rebuild their marriage and even then, he's still so emotionally exhausted that it eventually falls apart anyway.
      • Jason Quartermaine sustains severe brain damage in a car accident. When he awakens, he has no memory of anyone from his past life. Rather than some cliched typical storyline of him slowly regaining his memory, he never does.
    • One Life to Live's Max Holden sends son Al to live with his mother so he can return to his shenanigans. When Al returns years later, he absolutely loathes his father for essentially abandoning him and his mother and it takes years for them to even have a remotely cordial relationship.
    • The Young and the Restless. Dru returns from a trip to find her husband Neil carrying on with another woman. So she breaks into the woman's apartment and trashes the place. . .and gets arrested for breaking and entering, destruction of property, and slapped with a restraining order. Later, in another confrontation with the woman, she puts her in a headlock and gets hit with new charges of physical assault and violation of the restraining order. It turns out being the cuckolded spouse does not give you carte blanche to commit crimes.
  • House of Cards (US):
    • Lucas Goodwin believes he's a crusading journalist who will find the evidence to prove Frank Underwood is crooked and bring him down. He takes part in a plan to hack a server farm only to be arrested. He agrees to a plea deal, convinced his fellow reporters will carry on his work to take Frank down. Instead, the two realize there's no way they can fight the Vice-President of the United States who clearly will do anything to keep in power, they have no evidence to use against him and back away, both leaving town and poor Lucas realizes he's stuck where he is.
    • Magnificent Bastard though he may be, when Frank starts to maneuver to become the Vice President, both Linda Vasquez and Raymond Tusk see through his attempts to play them, and by the time he visits Tusk, he's already being played in return.
    • Season 3 is basically a reality check for the series. Frank learns that cheating his way into the White House was one thing but actually being President is another. For one thing, doing whatever you feel like doesn't always go over well with the public, your attitude will annoy the opposing party enough to work against you every step of the way and it's quite likely your own party will feel it's better you not run for re-election as you risk dragging them down. Finally, by the end of the season, Frank learns that treating everyone around you like shit doesn't inspire loyalty.
    • In Season 3, Frank proves rather ineffectual in his dealings with Viktor Petrov, president of Russia. That's because unlike Frank, Petrov is a genuine dictator. An unrepentant veteran of a secret police agency, Petrov doesn't care about leaving behind a legacy or getting adored by his people, and nor is he constrained by things like the rule of law or balance of power that American presidents usually are. Even if Frank will never admit it, the fact is Petrov is way more ruthless and more manipulative than he is.
    • When Lucas is released from jail, he immediately seeks out Heather Dunbar, Frank's likely Presidential election opponent and shares all his information on Frank, assuming she'll use it to take him down with the media. Dubar instead throws Lucas by pointing out that even if she believed him (which she doesn't), accusing the President of the United States of cold-blooded murder without a shred of actual evidence is political suicide.
    • Appointing an ineffectual, indecisive, and easily manipulated person like Donald Blythe to the vice presidency is a good way to sideline someone and have impeachment insurance. It's not assassination insurance, though, as shown when Frank gets shot by Lucas Goodwin, and Blythe is so lost that he only is able to run things by being Claire's puppet.
    • In Season 4, Frank is shot by Lucas Goodwin in an assassination attempt, and requires a liver transplant. Rather than a fast recovery, Frank is shown needing the span of months to get back into shape. Even then, he still finds himself out of breath with his doctors telling him that, re-election or not, he can't keep flying all over the country in his condition.
    • In season 4, Tom Hammerschmidt proves that even a smart politician like Frank who's good at covering his tracks will make tiny mistakes that will get their schemes blown wide open.
  • In the Power Rangers Megaforce episode "A Lion's Alliance", the Rangers arrive at Animarium to ask the Red Lion for help. Some villains find this out and tries to attack the Red Lion, who to note, is nearly thirty-feet tall forty-feet long Zord who is very much self-aware and intelligent, and has all lion-like features like claws and teeth, and the villains attack the Zord while at human size themselves. It ends as well as you'd expect.
  • Full House. Jesse and Rebecca's wedding is held up when Jesse gets himself arrested that morning and Rebecca is forced to drive to the outskirts of San Francisco to retrieve him. After many more mishaps, the wedding is finally held. . .and the reception ends up being held at the house, because that's what happens when you miss the time frame that you chose for your reception venue.
    Danny: (serving champagne and hors d'oeuvres to guests) "Groom was late, we lost the hall"
  • Murder, She Wrote had a series of episodes where Jessica Fletcher didn't solve the case but instead had other characters investigating the murders that took place. One episode was about a showrunner on a TV show who investigated when a coworker was murdered. She found the clue that breaks the case right open, runs into the murderer... and immediately runs screaming for help since no-one else knows about the clue and she's alone in a room with a murderer.
  • Blindspot shows that a mysterious package is dropped off in a public place, it will be treated with suspicion. Even if it is a beautiful woman with no memory of anything. As such, Jane is followed around with a detail and lives in a safe house.
  • Quantico: Simon attacked Ryan during a big argument. As such, he was kicked out of the academy once it was revealed.
  • Supergirl:
    • James getting dumped by Lucy when she realizes that he has feelings for Kara, after Kara told her a story that Jimmy told Kara, but not her.
    • Although Kryptonians are tough enough to survive in a vacuum, they still need to breathe and cannot fly in space, as there is no atmosphere to push against. Any Kryptonian sent into space will float around helplessly until they suffocate or are rescued. Especially jarring considering no other media involving Superman or Supergirl demonstrated this problem before.
    • In one episode, Cat Grant is very reluctant on publishing a story by Siobhan Smythe over Supergirl going rogue. Siobhan goes behind Cat's back and heads for the Daily Planet trying to sell the story to Perry White. Perry, however, is not J. Jonah Jameson and he calls up Cat to let her know what she did. This results in Cat tearing Siobhan a new one and firing her.
    • Siobhan tries to get back by hacking Kara's e-mail and sending a harsh letter to Cat. However, knowing Kara for so long, Cat isn't fooled for a second by this move and figures it was Siobhan.
    • To stop an out of control Kara, Hank Henshaw is forced to reveal in public that he's actually Martian J'onn J'onzz. After he stops Kara, Hank is arrested for being a rogue alien despite heading an organization dedicated to stopping them.
  • Legends of Tomorrow:
    • In a fight between Sara and Heatwave, like the example above for Bitten, Sara may be a better fighter then Rory, but she was going up against someone who was bigger and stronger than she was in an enclosed space where she had no room to make precision moves. Not only that Sara was not her best still recovering from nearly freezing to death. Enclosed space, lessened physical ability means a severe disadvantage against a brawler who has the strength and reach advantage. As a result, while putting up a decent fight she still nearly died.
    • Chronos, a bounty hunter in a high-tech suit of armor and weapons from several centuries in the future, takes on the League of Assassins, a group of ninjas with swords and bow and arrows in 1960. The result: A whole lot of dead Assassins.
    • On paper, Eobard Thawne, Malcom Merlyn and Damien Darkh should make a formidable team, each a fantastic fighter and ruthless killer. However, putting together three men, each seriously independent and used to being the one in charge (not to mention each a murderous psychopath), on the same side means it's only a matter of time before their mutual egos and desire for power leads to serious conflict between them.
    • Rip Hunter, while a badass in his own right, is no match for someone like Sara. So, when he gets brainwashed and meets up with her, what does he do? He just shoots her at point-blank range.
  • Judge Rinder is the British Transatlantic Equivalent of Judge Judy and, as a result, is about real-life cases being heard in a court. As a result lying to him is a really bad idea. Also, cases will be dismissed due to lack of evidence.
    • The very first case heard on the show gives a really good reason why the people who enter the court don't speak until the judge comes out - one woman tried to shame her former partner before Rinder came out and was immediately warned that, had it been a real court room, her case wouldn't even be heard and she'd be dismissed immediately.
    • Engaging in stupid antics because your friends talk you into it and getting hurt as a result? Yeah, you'll win your case... but not all of the money you claimed since you were stupid enough to get talked into the situation.
      • Related to the above case, Rinder threw one of the two defendants out of court because he kept smirking and joking despite the fact that he nearly killed someone, not realizing these cases are Serious Business.
    • The pretty woman who appears next to Rinder's bench is Michelle. She's a law clerk. Before any hearings come before Rinder Michelle researches the cases as well as any evidence presented. So when someone had the bright idea to present forged evidence Michelle wasn't fooled and informed Rinder of this fact, who was absolutely furious. That guy lost his claim, by the way.
  • In The Office (US), Michael has everyone participate in a 5k run, which several people weren't ready for, leading to some disastrous results: Kevin didn't have any running clothes, so his regular clothes got soaked with sweat, Andy's nipples began to get irritated and eventually started bleeding from chafing against his shirt, and Michael himself ends up in the hospital due to severe dehydration from loading up on carbs and not drinking any water prior to running. A few others just decided to ditch the run altogether and go out for drinks.
  • Monk:
    • After helping put away several killers, in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival," Monk applies to rejoin the force. Only for his request to be shot down by Stottlemeyer's testimony to the board. As much as Monk wants to be reinstated, the nature of his OCD would make him incapable of performing the duties required of a police officer.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Badge," Monk finally does get reinstated. However, instead of being put on the case of a five man serial killer, he finds himself riding the desk. When he's finally allowed to run investigations, Monk finds that the burden of proof is different, as shown when a police officer is killed and Monk suspects that he may have been on the take and been double-crossed. Rather than take his claims as fact as would have happened if Monk was a private consultant, he's instead told to keep his mouth shut unless he's 105% sure on his theories. He also finds himself ostracized by his colleagues for refusing to drop his suspicions about the officer.
    • In the novel Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, the Mayor deputizes Monk and Natalie to run the SFPD Homicide Division for the duration of a police strike. Monk is thus made acting captain, and is given a squad of former detectives discharged from the force for various reasons.
      • When murders come up, Monk wants to work each and every one of them. Natalie has to remind him that he can't work each case because too much multitasking could lead to him making mistakes. Thus, Monk has to pick one homicide for himself and Natalie to work, while delegating the other homicides to his other detectives. Additionally, Monk and Natalie find themselves having to roll on every homicide call, not just the unusual ones they normally get called in on.
      • When a police officer is killed, most of the police officers who had gone on strike return to catch the killer. When Monk and Natalie show up at the station after clearing their own cases, the detectives who had been on strike are shown being somewhat hostile to the detectives from Monk's squad, seeing them as scabs. Even Randy shows disgust with Monk and Natalie 'scabbing' for the mayor.
    • In the novel Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, Monk and Natalie suspect that real estate developer Lucas Breen, a member of the San Francisco Police Commission, is responsible for killing an elderly woman, burning down her house, and killing a dog at a nearby firehouse while trying to retrieve evidence linking him to the first crime. While Stottlemeyer is convinced of Breen's guilt as well, Monk's investigative tactics lead Breen to accuse them of harassment, making their efforts to build a case against him that much harder. Questioning Breen again, this time accusing him of killing a homeless man, causes Stottlemeyer to get officially reprimanded by the chief, with the notice to appear at an IAB hearing and explain himself, thus risking a demotion.
  • A running gag on the classic series I Dream of Jeannie. Whenever Jeannie whips up something impressive with her genie powers, it immediately raises unpleasant questions about where an astronaut (especially one working on top-secret government projects) got that kind of money.
  • The Kicks:
    • "Go Big or Go Home" is a "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode that involves the normally straight-laced protagonist Devin being convinced to sneak out with one of her teammates when the eponymous team is away from home for a tournament. They arrive late for curfew, get caught, the team gets disqualified, and Devin spends the next episode being punished for it. Furthermore, the teammate, Mirabelle, finds herself facing the possibility of having to transfer to another school, as this was the latest in a long line of her misbehaviors and her parents have finally had enough.
    • The Season 1 Finale, "No Pain, No Gain" introduces a classic Down to the Last Play scenario: After having been forced to sit out the last game with an ankle injury, Devin convinces Coach Rivas to put her in for one final penalty kick to win the game for The Kicks. She scores the goal, The Kicks win the game, and as they celebrate, she aggravates the ankle injury. The season ends with Devin writhing in pain and her teammates calling for help.
  • Several things through Scream Queens (2015) show precisely the kind of results certain antics on the show would have on the characters in real life. You could easily argue that this is one of the show's biggest sources of comedy.
    • Kappa Kappa Tau has blatant racism in how they traditionally choose the pledges to accept into the sorority as well as several wild parties including one where a guy was fucked by a drunken goat. Had Chanel not been forced to accept Munsch's ultimatum to accept all pledges that year, Kappa would've been shut down.
    • Throwing Off the Disability simply doesn't work. Hester still has to wear her neckbrace for her scoliosis even after her makeover. Subverted as she never needed it.
    • Grace is so busy investigating the Red Devil killings and the mystery of the bathtub baby she nearly flunks out of college.
    • Chad is afraid to go to the police about finding the Red Devil's victims in the Kappa Haunted House because he's a necrophiliac which would draw their suspicions.
    • Chanel is eventually charged over Ms. Bean's death in the first episode. She doesn't stay in jail for long, though.
    • The school is eventually shut down because of how many murders have been committed. Munsch was reluctant to do so... until Jennifer is killed and since Munsch brought her to Kappa in the first place...
    • The entire homicide devision is fired due to their incompetence and replaced by Denise, since she did more for the investigation of several murders than 20-something officers did with little-to-no training.
    • The Chanels are so unlikable that Hester had no trouble framing them for murder.
    • A Fool for a Client is called that for a reason - Hester's Frame-Up would've failed completely had Chanel just shut her mouth but the jury changed the verdict against the Chanels out of spite.
    • The entirety of the Chanel's situation in Season 2 is a result of this - yes, they've been exonerated for murders that they didn't commit but they proved how unlikeable they are that no-one in their right mind wants anything to do with them. Also, they were disowned by their families so they're forced to live in a rundown apartment.
      • Related to the above, Hester's Karma Houdini Warranty is entirely realistic - trying to argue Double Jeopardy for their crimes won't work as Denise explains. Since the Chanels were the ones to be tried by the court and not Hester then Hester can be tried without Double Jeopardy being invoked.
  • The Wire did this often:
    • Most notably with Omar's arc in the final season. An injured man going on a one man revenge spree against the most powerful drug gang in Baltimore is unlikely to end well for him, regardless of how badass or determined he is. After using every shred of street guile he had and sometimes just his fearsome reputation to continue attacking and harassing Marlo Stanfield's drug empire despite his injury, Omar winds up getting shot in the back by a young kid with a gun who wanted to become famous for killing the legendary Omar and claim the bounty Marlo had put on Omar's head.
    • On the restored DVD series, David Simon gives a commentary in "Homecoming" saying that both it as well as "Dead Soldiers" were made because the show's creators became very concerned when seeing that Omar had become too heroic in viewers's eyes, especially those under 21. Knowing the huge favor and commercialism that anti-heroes have these days, the show did not jump at the temptation to milk Omar's popularity for constant audience indulgence or marketability. The creators actually cared about the audience's mind and put in effort to question the validity of Omar's honor. This shows when Bunk sees kids at the scene of Tosha's death imitating the shootout and taking turns "being Omar".

  • Atlanta:
    • Episode 6 has Van trying to find increasingly wacky ways to pass a work-mandated drug test after smoking a joint the night before. In the end, she confesses to her boss, who reveals that the test isn't real, since it's understood that most young adults these days have taken recreational drugs of some sort. She then fires Van anyway, since even if it's an open secret, you still can't officially tell your employer that you're taking illegal drugs.
    • Episode 8 has Paper Boi going to a nightclub run by a sleazy promoter, who then tries to weasel his way out of paying the guys the full amount of money he promised. The guys storm into the club's back office while Awesome Music plays, with Paper Boi smacking around the promoter until he gives up the money. It's initially treated like a Crowning Moment of Awesome, but then the episode ends with a news report saying that Paper Boi is now wanted for questioning in an armed robbery case.
  • In the NCIS: New Orleans episode "Escape Plan," Sebastian is kidnapped by foreign villains to help them orchestrate a prison break. They then demonstrate how serious they are by shooting a prison guard whom they had already taken. Sebastian's reaction is a panicked "Oh my God, you shot him!" which is probably how most people would react in that situation. Especially without the benefit of the Training from Hell that soldiers and LEOs can be expected to get.
    • Sebastian invokes this when the villains reveal they picked him because they need him to break into a prison and saw Sebastian had scored highly in a "prison break" video game. Sebastian points out there is a world of difference between doing this in a video game (no matter how detailed it was) and pulling it off in real life.
  • The Real O'Neals: When Kenny comes out of the closet, his friends and family take it very well, and with a few exceptions, are mostly supportive. Throughout the first season, he doesn't really face any significant societal adversity as a result of being gay, and the school administration even approves of his request to bring a male date to Prom. Then the second season introduces Allison, a young Asian lesbian from a conservative family. Kenny urges her to come out to her parents, but eventually realizes that doing so might seriously endanger her safety or get her kicked out of her house. While the strides made by the LGBTQ movement mean that some kids can now be open about their sexuality without fear of reprisal, that doesn't change the fact that it's unfortunately still fairly common for gay children to be disowned or even physically assaulted by their parents after coming out of the closet. Additionally, in real life, gay white males like Kenny often have an easier time finding societal acceptance than queer women of color like Allison do.
  • On Timeless, Rufus complains that "I'm a black and literally no place in American history will be awesome for me." Sure enough, in their very first mission to 1937, he has to ride the back of the bus and attacked by racist cops.
    • In 1865, black soldiers quickly figure out Rufus isn't really a soldier because his costume looks too new and he can't come up with details on his military past.
    • Rufus is able to save the life of Andrew Johnson in the past. When he gets back to the present, he discovers that it was credited to a white soldier instead.
    • Rufus stands up to Rittenhouse by saying he won't be their spy, saying they can't do anything to him as he's the only one who can pilot the time machine Lifeboat and they need him. Rittenhouse's reply is to order Mason to start training a replacement pilot.
  • Arrested Development: During the second season, a subplot has Tobias separated from his family so he attempts to remain in touch by dressing up as a nanny a la Mrs. Doubtfire. All of the Bluths immediately recognize that it's him in disguise, and the only reason he's able to get away with it is because they decide to humor him, especially since he's at least doing housework this way. In his nanny disguise, he also attempts to emulate Mary Poppins and float down a floor of stairs with an umbrella in front of his daughter Maebe. He ends up crashing into furniture and nearly breaking his hip.
  • In the opening episode of Fargo, Lester Nygard is struck in the hand by a shotgun pellet. He refuses to have it treated by doctors due to it proving he's lied about the events of his wife's death, and as a result it develops an infection which steadily grows worse as the series progresses, culminating in him passing out in a prison cell from fever. He's immediately taken to a hospital, where a doctor outright confirms that had he left it any later, they would've had to amputate the hand.
  • In Flashpoint:
    • The SRU officers often have to cope with that despite doing everything right on paper and by the book, things can still go out of control and people can still get hurt.
    • Regular civilians after being held hostage/threatened with violence take much longer than the trained cops to recover. Recurring character Marina confesses to Parker that even after a year of almost getting killed by her Stalker With a Crush and seeing him shot in front of her, she has trouble adjusting, such as having difficulty dating and having flashbacks when seeing any red flowers.
    • One episode dealt with a man kidnapping a girl whose circumstances and appearance resembled his missing daughter. However, at the end, the girl wasn't his daughter and both him and his wife never get an answer for what happened with their daughter.
    • A well-intentioned mother kidnapped her two daughters after they were Happily Adopted by two different families. After the team gets the girls back, it's revealed that while the family of one girl was willing to allow an exchange of letters and photos, they refused to let the mother see her daughter again directly unless the daughter chose to when she was eighteen. There was no mention of the other family allowing any contact.
    • Untrained bystanders attempting to be heroic and stop the hostage takers on their own usually makes things worse for themselves and the team because they tend to unintentionally antagonize the hostage taker and escalate things without knowing the entire situation.
  • Five Came Back details John Ford, George Stevens, William Wyler, Frank Capra and John Huston's propaganda efforts during World War II. However, it isn't until Part 3 where the horrors of the war sink in for everyone except Capra. Ford starts Drowning His Sorrows after experiencing D-Day, Stevens is emotionally unprepared for shooting the liberation of Dachau, Wyler temporarily goes deaf and fears his career is over, while Huston's documentary, Let There Be Light about Shell-Shocked Veterans is suppressed by the US government until the 1980s.
  • In M*A*S*H, an overzealous colonel with a reputation for recklessness is planning on a mission to take a minor hill simply for the sake of having it. Infuriated by the potential loss of life, Hawkeye plans on taking the colonel out of commission, drugging him. BJ goes along with it at first, thinking it just another harmless prank against the brass, but when Hawkeye reveals that he's planning to remove the colonel's appendix, BJ refuses, accusing Hawkeye of violating his oath as a doctor. Hawkeye, enraged, sticks to his guns and performs the surgery. When Hawkeye finishes, he's bitter, more than aware that he just mutilated a man out of petty anger, and compromised everything he's believed in as a doctor. And then more wounded soldiers arrive, meaning Hawkeye did all that for nothing.
    BJ: You cured a symptom. The disease goes merrily on.
  • In Mad Men, Michael Ginsberg is practically a deconstruction of the Bunny-Ears Lawyer trope. In another series, his erratic and quirky personality might have been a sign that he's really a Genius Ditz, but in this series, it adds up to him being an unreliable pain in the ass, and towards the end of the series, it becomes clear that he is genuinely mentally ill.
  • Vikings often cheerfully runs on Rule of Cool and having larger than life figures, but sometimes this trope shows up.
    • The first battle scene in the show features a large group of Saxons hastily recruited by a local lord trying to stop a viking raiding party which is made up of a number of battle-hardened and experienced warriors. Furthermore, the Saxon battle strategy is pathetically incompetent; they fire a single volley of arrows at the vikings and then wildly charge at them without either a formation or a plan instead of, say, trying to flank the vikings or advance in a shield wall. The vikings, on the other hand, fight together as a unit using legitimate tactics appropriate for the time. The "battle" is intense for a few minutes but in the end it's almost laughably one-sided; the vikings wipe out the entire Saxon force except for a few commanders who flee on horseback while only suffering two casualties.
    • The Siege of Paris at the end of the third season runs headlong into this trope. Despite personal feuds among their leaders and various divisions, the Norse put together a truly impressive army as they look to conquer the city of Paris. With waves of siege equipment, boats, and sheer determination, they launch a ferocious assault on the city... and find out first hand why Storming the Castle was the very last option that was generally taken in a medieval siege. The Norse suffer truly horrendous casualties trying to breach the defenses, only to find yet more defenses waiting every time they overcome an obstacle. For about thirty minutes of the most epic battle footage ever filmed for tv the Norse frantically try to defeat the city's defenders, and while sometimes they're tantalizingly close, in the end they get repelled entirely with not a single member of the army making it further than the city walls.
      • After this, reality ensues for the Franks in Paris. They've beaten the Norse back but despite suffering only a fraction of the casualties the Norse did, the Franks don't have the capability of driving off the Norse, who stubbornly remain camped outside the walls, looking to either starve the city into submission or find a treacherous way to breach the defenses, because after coming all that way they're not turning around with nothing to show for it. Because of this siege, hunger and disease are soon ravaging the city, including the army that would defend it from another assault by the Norse. In the end despite winning the battle the Franks are forced to pay the Northmen to lift the siege and leave, because attempting to wait out the Norse might result in riots within the city, the plague getting even worse, or the Norse learning about the conditions inside the walls and getting encouraged to launch another (more successful) assault that would sack the city entirely.
    • King Horik is a Religious Bruiser and The Fatalist to the point that he explicitly believes that the course of everyone's life is already written and fate is unchangeable. In his view, before a battle even starts, it's decided by fate who will win or lose, and who will die. This makes Horik a fearless fighter who will be right in the frontline besides his troops, but it also makes him a bloody awful commander who disdains strategy in favor of blindly rushing at the enemy. It's implied that Jarl Borg was getting the better of Horik for quite some time in their feud despite having fewer men and resources, and Horik's attempts to raid England led to him clashing with King Ecbert, who does actually give significant thought to battle strategy. Every time Horik and Ecbert fight a battle, Horik loses badly.
  • Life Goes On. Oldest daughter Paige pulls a Runaway Bride on her fiance after they acknowledge that even though they love each other, they're not right for each other. With his blessing, she goes dashing down the aisle to reunite with her true love, only to find that his carefree attitude towards everything led them to fight constantly and very quickly split.
  • In Everybody Hates Chris, Chris doesn't attempt to fight back every time he gets bullied and physically assaulted by Caruso. Chris has lampshaded that he would either get framed by Caruso or beaten. Given the time period of the series (when racism was rampant) and the useless school rules regarding bullying, yep this counts.
  • Throughout the first two seasons of Farscape, the main characters are escaped convicts and wanted criminals with no readily-accessible source of income to fall back on, and the logical consequences of Perpetual Poverty crop up throughout the series: food supplies run low, at one point forcing the crew to virtually beg for provisions lest Zhaan starve to death; the non-Leviathan technology is either stolen or scavenged, and tends to break down at inopportune moments; trading is almost impossible given that the crew barely have anything other than essentials to bargain with; and looking for work usually results in the crew getting either screwed over or mugged. Worst of all, medical attention is limited and heavily improvised - leading Crichton on an insanely risky mission to retrieve compatible donor tissue from a maximum security base when Aeryn begins to suffer organ failure in the wake of a near-fatal stabbing.
    • Plus, since almost everyone on the ship is an escaped criminal, relationships in the first season are extremely tense and nobody's liable to think of the crew as "One Big Happy Family". This ultimately comes to a head in "DNA Mad Scientist" when D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel team up to hack one of Pilot's arms off just so they have something to offer the resident Mad Scientist in exchange for some star maps home. Then, when it turns out that the Data Crystal containing the maps can only be used if two of the other charts are deleted first, the alliance dissolves into infighting, thievery and attempted murder. It takes a long time and a lot of relationship-building escapades for the crew to properly band together as a cohesive group.
    • The Farscape module is one of the most advanced ships produced by IASA and one of the few keepsakes from Earth Crichton possesses - making it his iconic Cool Starship. Unfortunately, it's almost useless in the Uncharted Territories: quite apart from having no weapons or FTL drive, it can't run on any of the fuel available in the region, and it's not much good for long-distance travel because it was built specifically for experiments taking place in orbit around Earth. As such, if Crichton wants to make the module functional, he has to seriously modify it - to the point that when Crichton finally gets back to Earth in season 4, the scientists can no longer understand how the damn thing works. And even after all that, it's not upgraded for combat for the simple reason that Crichton isn't willing to risk his module - possibly his only way back to Earth - on dogfighting.
    • Way back in the first episode, D'Argo resorts to the "Are These Wires Important??" approach to removing Moya's control collar, tearing out every single wire in the nearest console until the collar shuts down. It works and they're able to escape Peacekeeper captivity... but unfortunately, D'Argo also did quite a bit of damage to Moya's internal systems, leaving the entire ship trundling along at a snail's pace until repairs can be made.
    • Rygel's constant bragging about being the Dominar of the Hynerian Empire comes back to bite him in "Throne For A Loss": after attempting to play up his status in front of some Tavleks, he ends up being held for ransom when the heavily-armed pirates take him seriously. Worse still, Rygel has to keep up the pretense once he's jailed, because if the Tavleks realize he's effectively worthless as a hostage, they'll kill him.
    • In the same episode, after a young Tavlek pirate by the name of Kyr ends up getting captured by the crew, Zhaan takes pity on him and tries to help the pirate give up the gauntlet stimulant that he and the other Tavleks are addicted to. It's a long, uphill journey that requires Zhaan to protect herself from physical assault, tolerate a lot of verbal abuse, provide medical assistance when the withdrawal symptoms hit hard, counsel the addict when he resents being off the stimulant, and stop him from getting high on improvised substitute drugs. And at the end of the episode, Kyr is allowed to leave Moya: he's grateful for the help, even speaking up on Zhaan's behalf in the climax... but he still goes right back to the gauntlet. Addiction isn't so easy to shake.
      • In a later episode, the Tavlek leader Bekhesh has a religious epiphany, deciding to give up the gauntlet and spend the rest of his days nonviolently. Unfortunately, once again it's not as easy as it sounds: Bekhesh can't quite shake his addiction and has to keep his gauntlet within reach for a quick fix every now and again, even though he's not using it to hurt anyone anymore. Plus, he decides to temporary give up his vow against nonviolence for the sake of earning a massive paycheck, claiming "it's easier to reform when you're rich."
      • Also, when it looks like Bekhesh isn't going to work with him, Crichton aims to steal the gauntlet and use it for himself, having already used Kyr's gauntlet in "Throne For A Loss." However, Bekhesh is a long-term addict and now suffers from an increased tolerance to the effects of stimulant, so he's had to triple his dosage over the course of the last year; as such, Crichton runs the risk of suffering a fatal overdose - forcing him to make do with Bekhesh's services after all.
    • Exactly one episode after being hospitalized with a massive stab-wound to the abdomen, Aeryn leaves her sick-bed and returns to intensive exercise, insisting that she's okay - only to end up puking blood all over her punching bag. Far from being instantly recovering from her wounds following the end of the previous episode, Aeryn is actually suffering organ failure and fully expects to die.
    • Captain Crais is ruthless Peacekeeper captain with an entire command carrier on his side, and he wants revenge against Crichton for "murdering" his brother (in reality, he was killed in an accidental collision with the module). Sounds dangerous, right? Trouble is, for all the power and resources he commands, Crais is still just a military officer subject to strict review by an extremely unforgiving High Command: the further he neglects his official duties in pursuit of his revenge, the more his position erodes - to the point that he has to destroy official records and murder his own first officer just to stop the rest of his crew from realizing that High Command wants him to return home. In the end, pursuing Crichton to a Gammak base controlled by fellow Peacekeeper commander Scorpius only ends with all the captain's transgressions being dragged into the spotlight: Crais loses his position, his ship, and his freedom. For good measure, Scorpius ends up replacing him as the Big Bad.
    • In "The Hidden Memory," technician Gilina Renaez decides to try and rescue Crichton when he ends up getting grabbed by Scorpius during the climactic firefight; she even gets a very dramatic slow-motion shot as she levels the rifle in Scorpy's direction... but unfortunately, Gilina is not a trained soldier and has never fired a gun in her entire life. Worse still, Scorpius is inadvertently using Crichton as a human shield. As such, she hesitates at the last minute - allowing Scorpius to shoot her in the chest, fatally wounding her in the process.
    • The climax of "Taking The Stone" features Crichton trying to convince the local hedonistic stoners to move out of the caverns and adopt a healthier lifestyle, pointing out that radioactive compounds in the rocks are the reason why they end up turning into the Lost People if they refuse to Take The Stone. He even goes so far as to actually make an impassioned speech in front of the entire tribe and demanding that they hold a vote on the subject. Easy Evangelism breaks down and every single clan votes to remain in the caves: turns out they already knew about the radiation, and didn't care - nor did they care for being condescended to by Crichton.
      • The same episode featured Chiana grappling with self-destructive behavior following the death of her brother, and not only joins the clan, but seriously considers Taking The Stone; desperate to make up for his failure to notice Chiana's breakdown when he had the chance to help, Crichton tries to lead her away from the bad influence that the clan represents - even forcibly sedating her so she can be returned to Moya. However, Aeryn points out that playing Tough Love like this isn't going to work even if it is for Chiana's own good, in part because her behavior has nothing to do with the clan and everything to do with herself: if she wants to kill herself, she'll find a way of doing so no matter where she's taken.
    • Early in season four, Chiana admits that she used her unique vision abilities to win big at a casino seven times in a row. Trouble is, casinos get suspicious about prolonged winning streaks, even if there's no obvious method of cheating. Because nobody is lucky enough to win that many times, the authorities correctly assumed that she had to be cheating: the whole thing ended with Chiana getting arrested and having her winnings confiscated, then being tortured for good measure.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/RealityEnsues/LiveActionTV