"Man, it sure would be nice if things worked out the way they do in cartoons."
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- The songs and/or musical notes Finn and the others start with tend to sound horrible and have lyrics that don't make any sense whatsoever, like how someone who was trying to make up a song on the spot would actually sound that's more likely to occur, as opposed to songs that conveniently sound great and have meaningful lyrics.
- In "Storytelling", when the wizard realizes Finn has actually improved the forest animals' lives by disrupting the natural order:
Finn: So does this mean I get to go free?
Wizard: Your cage is made of sticks, Brother. Just kick it apart.
- Unusually for the hero of a children's cartoon, Finn actually ages like a normal human. In the Season 1 episode "Tree Trunks", Jake tells Tree Trunks "Finn can handle it. He's twelve". In the S2 finale, Finn says "13? That's how old I am!" And then we have "15 YEARS AGO", "I'm 16!", and so on...
- The Ice King is under a curse that acts as a thinly veiled Alzheimer's metaphor. Despite the show being exactly the kind of setting where The Power of Love and The Power of Friendship should prevail in that situation and recover his mind... it doesn't. Just like with real Alzheimer's patients, no amount of reminders or familial caring can make him recognize his loved ones or remember the person he was, and it only ever ends with the loved ones in tears and onlookers either baffled or starting to cry themselves.
- In "Up a Tree", Finn explains to a porcupine that getting pricked with needles doesn't actually lead to jumping really high.
- In the episode "Davey", Jake tries to make Finn quit being Davey by dressing like a robber and robbing someone. Instead of breaking character and being a hero, he calls the police and Jake gets arrested.
- Several episodes show that Finn's Precocious Crush on Bubblegum is immensely painful to him. Unrequited love hurts even if you're still friends with that person, and despite starting a relationship with Flame Princess, his feelings don't magically go away. They still linger despite his best efforts to move on.
- In three words, the end of "Lady & Peebles" shows a common consequence of long term relationships that most children's shows rarely mention: "I am pregnant!"
- "Candy Streets":
- When Finn and Jake ask Anne if she's seen any suspicious characters coming into her pharmacy, she points out to them that there are so many people who come in and out on a daily basis that the odds of her picking out a specific one as suspicious and remembering them are very low. Subverted when she does exactly that anyway.
- When Finn and Jake chase a suspect into a train station, they get arrested for trying to board without a ticket.
- In "Lemonhope", the titular character repeatedly refuses to rescue his siblings from the tyrannical Lemongrab despite the urging of Princess Bubblegum. Eventually, the guilt causes him repeated nightmares, so he finally fulfills his destiny, defeats Lemongrab and is apparently set to become Castle Lemongrab's new Earl... only for him to leave again, since he only did it to get rid of the nightmares. Doing something to soothe your conscience doesn't turn you into a hero.
- The episode also works on showing what a supposed Kid Hero would do when given that kind of heavy responsibility. In reality, not every kid is going to be like Finn, who is all for helping people no matter what. Instead, some are going to be like Lemonhope, who hated his supposed destiny and only wanted the freedom to live like the kid he is. The sole reason he fulfills it in the end is not because he felt it was the right thing to do, but because he didn't want to deal with the weighing guilt any longer. He just wanted his carefree life back.
- "Frost & Fire" shows that Finn being the Last of His Kind is problematic when he has... weird dreams that not even Jake can explain.
The Amazing World Of Gumball
Happens fairly often for a show that relies heavily on Toon Physics.
- In the second season finale ("The Finale") the Wattersons were fined by the city for the millions of dollars worth of damage they caused in previous events, half of the people sued them for their reckless behavior in the past, and Gumball and Darwin were forced to restart school from kindergarten for causing trouble and never doing any work. Larry (who has a different job every episode) was revealed to have so many jobs to pay for all the damage the Wattersons caused that he was blamed for. So how do they try and fix this? They break out of prison and end up destroying the town again, in the hopes that making things worse would make everything would work itself out like it usually does. When this doesn't work, the entire town breaks into their house and tries to kill them, ending the episode (but strangely, not the series).
- In "The Prank", Richard breaks three ribs doing an Impact Silhouette.
- In "The Quest", as Tina Rex-an anthropomorphic Tyrannosaurus rex-is chasing the Watterson kids, Gumball tells Darwin and Anais to stand still because she can only see things that move. Tina promptly informs him that that only works in movies.
- In "The Check", Anais' fantasy about what she'll do with a check for $5,000 is that she'll use it to obtain all the money in the world, destroy it, and have everyone live peacefully in the wilderness, until it's pointed out that with them becoming non-violent they'll have no way to fend off predators.
- In "The Pest", Gumball and Darwin find out that Anais is being picked on at school and try to help by telling a teacher. However, when they tell Miss Simian, she really doesn't care, and she points out to them that since Billy isn't actually breaking any school rules, she has no obligation to do anything about it.
- In "The Parasite", Anais assumes that she'll be Easily Forgiven for brainwashing Jodie into being her friend and then trying to take over her body. When she regains her sanity, she suggests to Jodie that if they got to know each other, they could be friends for real. By the time she's finished speaking, Jodie ran away.
- In "The Slide", Rocky's attempt to win over Brydie with a Grand Romantic Gesture backfires horribly, and Brydie rejects him because she's horrified by the creepy and deranged superficially romantic things Rocky went through to reach her. It also turns out that she thought he was creepy from the moment they met, and the only reason she sent him an invite on Trawlr is because he was using a profile photo that was doctored beyond recognition.
- When Francine discovers that the fireman who supposedly sacrificed his life to rescue her from a well when she was a child was still alive, she tries to readjust him to normal civilization, but he just can't handle it and dives back into the well. The narrator then explains that Francine was completely unaware that he died on impact due to diving head first into the well.
- After Roy Family locked up the Smiths and hundreds of others inside Familyland Theme Park, the people were divided into factions based on the part of the park that they enjoyed the most, with Stan, Steve, Roger, and Hayley being the leaders of those factions. War and chaos broke out among all of them, with many people being slaughtered and killed left and right. People were even killed just from the initial lockdown. When Francine was finally able to set the people free, they sued the crap out of the park and turned it into a memorial for the dead.
- One episode had Terry's homophobic father disown him after learning of his marriage and surrogate child to Greg. Stan, who was homophobic but grew past it after meeting the couple, ran the gamut of finding out why he's homophobic, ranging from Freudian Excuse to Armored Closet Gay. At the end of the episode, nothing happens. Terry's father is straight, manly, and is just a bigot because he's just a bigot, and refuses to change his ways or take back his disowning of Terry despite the explanations Stan and Greg give him.
- In another episode, Stan crashes his car while rubbernecking, since he doesn't want to admit it to Francine he claims that he swerved to miss a cat, which he also puts on his insurance claim. However, the insurance agent investigates and finds evidence that Stan was girl-watching and he's arrested for insurance fraud. At his trial, Stan manages to convince everyone that rubbernecking is normal and win back Francine. And then the judge sentences him to six years in prison, since Stan not only failed to defend himself for insurance fraud, he also tacitly admitted to it while apologising to his wife. Of course, everything's back to normal by the next episode.
- Similar to the Archer example, the Tap on the Head doesn't work in one episode. In fact, not only were the victims not knocked unconscious, they were also clearly injured and needed to be sent to the hospital. Strangely, this trope has been played straight in other episodes.
- In one episode, Francine fakes a kidnapping of Roger to prove that Stan really cares for him. Stan knew the whole time since he has Caller ID, and Francine called from her cell phone.
- In another episode, Greg and Terry decide to have a baby, using Francine as a surrogate. Stan fears what will happen to the baby if raised by a gay couple so he kidnaps her to take her to Nebraska where gay couples don't have parenting rights. He ends up having a Heel–Face Turn after meeting a couple of kids raised by a lesbian couple who are perfectly normal, so he returns the baby and apologizes. Instead of being Easily Forgiven, Greg and Terry both angrily punch him and then put a restraining order on him.
- In the episode "Four Little Words," Stan and Francine set Stan's boss, Bullock, up on a blind date with Francine's friend Melinda, only for Bullock to accidentally kill her; Stan is so determined not to hear Francine say "I told you so," since she knew said blind date would end badly from the start, that he tricks Francine into thinking that she killed Melinda during an argument. Francine is so torn up by the guilt that she leaves home and goes to India to help out refugees. After a month of this, however, Stan realizes that he can circumvent this by simply admitting his guilt before Francine has a chance to say it, and does so. Like the above example with Greg and Terry, instead of being Easily Forgiven, Francine is absolutely furious with him for tricking her into thinking she killed her friend for such a stupid reason, especially considering all the misery she suffered in India:
Francine: Do you know what super-diarrhea is, Stan?! Do you have any idea how much you've SCREWED UP MY LIFE?!
Archer often plays the various injuries encountered in Spy Fiction (more) realistically:
- Whenever a character is exposed to explosions or gunfire, they suffer temporary deafness, sometimes accompanied by a loud ringing noise. It's happened to Archer so many times, he mentions that he thinks he's developing tinnitus.
- When Ray gets knocked out via a Tap on the Head, he has to see a neurologist.
- Barry had his leg broken so many times by Archer that his femur is held together by metal pins. Until he gets rebuilt as a cyborg.
- Traintop battles are noted to be noisy, filled with 100 mph winds, and *spit* bugs getting in your mouth constantly. Archer doesn't know why people like them so much.
- Ray, fresh from having his legs roboticized, tries to lift a jeep in order to get it out of a ditch, believing that his cyborg Super Strength will get it out. He winds up critically injuring himself because while his legs are augmented, his spine isn't.
Archer: Are you shitting me?! Bionic legs, and you lift with your back!?
- While Cheryl's insanity is usually played for laughs, in "Sea Tunt, Part 1", her brother Cecil is horrified at her behavior and is secretly recording the ISIS crew's statements about Cheryl to get her committed: not just to get access to her half of the fortune (which he needs since his charitable ventures have bankrupted him) but also because he sincerely believes Cheryl has become a legitimate danger to herself and others. When the others find out, they agree, to the point that Lana flat out says that he could have just talked to them instead of resorting to subterfuge (though it turns out there was another reason for it...).
- Archer develops cancer as a result of frequent exposure to radiation from nuclear devices and materials owned by the bad guys he fights. He does eventually beat it, but his recovery is shown rather realistically, including surgery and a course of chemotherapy, with all the attendant side effects.
- In a wide number of episodes, Archer points out how stupid it is that everyone he runs into seems to think the Bottomless Magazines trope will play straight, and mocks the cast's tendency to not pay close attention to how many shots they have left. One of these times Ron and Archer are on the run from a bunch of crazy fetishists (It Makes Sense in Context) and Archer threatens them with his handgun, but Ron dares Archer to actually shoot them. Archer then points out that he had emptied his only clip shooting at the goons that were chasing them a while back and was bluffing. While the two resume running Ron wonders how he could be out of bullets so fast, to which Archer points out that a handgun not only holds a finite number of bullets, but also a very small amount because of its relative size. In another episode, Mallory (who taught her son his secret agent skills), when preparing to go up against her son for dating a defected Russian agent, beats his ability to count shots by leaving one in the chamber.
- Similarly, "Spray 'n Pray" Lana goes the opposite direction. Usually she empties her guns within seconds of a fight, not entirely helped by the fact that she prefers automatic weapons and tends to not aim. One of her former classmates even notes that she's also not good at reloading either and successfully predicts how long he can stand out in the open without getting shot by her.
- In "M For Mother", Archer, being influenced by a chip in his brain, goes to Mallory's house with the intent of murdering her with a knife. When he pulls the knife, Mallory immediately shoots him in the chest.
- In "White Elephant" we see what happens when you try to run a privately owned freelance spy agency: the FBI storms the place and arrests everyone for a laundry list of charges, including treason. Then it's revealed it was a CIA operation all along.
- In "Heart of Archness Part I", Archer leaves a seaplane on autopilot, then finds out autopilot only maintains course and altitude. It doesn't find the only refueling strip in the area and land before the plane runs out of fuel.
- In "The Figgis Agency", Archer winds up blowing the team's cover during a burglary when the owner of the home finds the trail of blood he's been leaving from an earlier injury and immediately calls the guards. As the team makes their escape off a cliff-side, Lana chastises Archer by noting how they're all going to get shot, only for Archer to point out that since the guards are using silenced weapons note , they can't really hit them since they've moved out of their effective range.
- In the same episode, the team subdue the guard dogs of the condo by feeding them tranquilizer-laced doggie treats. The following episode reveals that the dogs had a bad reaction to the tranquilizers and had to be taken to the vet for treatment.
- In the episode "The Shot", while making a movie about his Tragic Hero Secretariat, BoJack is furious that a powerful and dramatic event from the Secretariat's life was cut in favor of some schmaltzy, sentimental, and innaccurate scene. BoJack then convinces the director to film the original scene anyway (even having to resort to breaking and entering to get the proper set) and show it to the producer. After all, once he sees it, he'll realize his mistake and back down in favor of their artistic vision, right? That is incorrect. Even without being aware of the illegal hijinx involved in shooting the scene, the producer has the director fired for the insubordination alone and replaces her with an utter hack of a director who turns the movie into an even bigger schmaltzy Hollywoodized mess.
- Played for tragedy when BoJack attempts to make peace with his former friend Herb. (Herb was BoJack's best friend and the guy who created/wrote the show that made BoJack a star, but when Herb was outed as gay in a sex scandal, the Moral Guardians worked to get the studio to fire Herb, and the studio execs talked BoJack into cooperating instead of trying to save his friend.) The end of the episode made it clear that Herb will never forgive BoJack, not just for betraying him, but also for cutting him off as a friend afterward and never speaking to Herb again until Herb was about to die from cancer. Which shows that an apology doesn't magically make everything better, and some people will just never forgive you, no matter how genuinely apologetic you are, or how painful a rejection of your sincere apology can be.
- A more humorous example happens when a couple of paparazzi photograph BoJack having sex with his former co-star Sarah Lynn and try to blackmail him. After spending multiple episodes trying and failing to contact him, they finally get through to his agent...who proceeds to inform them that blackmail AND taking pictures in private property without authorization of the owner are both illegal and threatens to press charges unless they hand over the pictures and walk away with nothing.
The show loves doing this in its cutaway gags. It's almost like the writers flip a coin to determine if a specific action will play out according to cartoon logic, or have reality ensue.
- When Peter goes to the Peter-Copter and the Hinden-Peter in "The Cleveland-Loretta Quagmire", he promptly crashes them into Joe's house, causing substantial damage. Joe lampshades this by asking how Peter can afford those things.
- A later episode shows how Peter pays for all his shenanigans, by robbing banks and killing witnesses.
- In one episode they watch a deconstruction of Looney Tunes, where Elmer Fudd approaches Bugs Bunny. It starts off with the basic "What's up, doc?" but then Elmer shoots Bugs repeatedly with his gun and Bugs dies a slow and painful death before Elmer casually snaps his neck and carries away the corpse.
- When Joe manages to tackle a robbery suspect and severs his spine in the process Peter jokes about the man's resulting paralysis, but Joe casually informs him that the man died.
- Also, when Joe went after the real guy who crippled him, he kneecaps him in an ironic punishment. After thanking his friends for believing in him, Joe turns around, and realizes the guy bled out, as Joe apparently shot him in the artery. They then push the body into the downstream to flow over into Mexico (as the guy tried to escape by crossing the border... which kinda happened anyway).
- In "Petarded", upon finding out that he's legally mentally retarded, Peter uses it as an excuse to do whatever he wants without punishment. This lasts until he tries to steal a deep-fryer for a restaurant and drenches Lois in boiling oil, putting her in the hospital, after which Child Services take Meg, Chris, and Stewie away because Peter's actions have proved that he's mentally unfit to be a parent.
- When pretending to be the The A-Team in "Brian Goes Back to College", Peter and friends expect the workers demolishing the park to flee in panic, crashing their vehicles in the process and then slinking off in shame, defeated. The foreman educates them how even if they weren't killed outright by the reckless shooting or vehicle crash, even a minor fender bender can result in serious neck injury and partial numbness.
- In "8 Simple Rules for Buying My Teenage Daughter", Stewie forgets about his babysitter's boyfriend whom he locks in the trunk of Brian's car. When he remembers after 3 weeks it is clear that the person has died.
- In "PTV", the clown that Peter has kept in the ceiling somewhere in order to pop up when Lois admitted Peter was right. Unfortunately, this hasn't happened for years, so when it finally does, all Peter gets is a skeleton in a colorful wig. This is a throwback to an earlier gag involving Peter having bought Meg a pony in preparation for his screwing up.
Peter: Oh... oh right, ponies like food, don't they?
- In "Lottery Fever", the family wins the lottery, and one of Peter's decisions is to buy a giant room full of gold coins and dive into it a la Scrooge McDuck.
(cue the room, Peter dives into the coins, only to bloodily hit them hard)
Peter: Aaahhh!! It's not a liquid! It's a great many pieces of solid matter, that form a hard floor-like surface! Ahhh!!
- In "Family Guy Viewer Mail #1", the family is exposed to toxic waste, get superpowers, and start oppressing the town. Mayor West decides someone needs to stop them, finds some toxic waste, and rolls around in it. He gets lymphoma. This does, however, make the Griffins realize they're being dicks, and they vow to stop. And West says the doctors told him he'll be fine.
- In "Tales of a Third Grade Nothing", Peter accidentally sets fire to the pediatric wing of a hospital, killing 19 children. It seems like a throwaway gag until his boss passes him over for a promotion because of it. Why she led him to believe he was still in the running for the promotion up to that point is unclear. Judging by her tone, she may have been surprised by the fact that he hadn't figured it out himself. (Then subverted when Peter's sentence was only until next Sunday.)
- In one episode, they watch a deconstruction of Home Alone. The thugs easily dodge Kevin's traps and shoot him as soon as they see him.
- In one sketch parodying Dirty Dancing, Johnny, a 41 year-old man, is arrested and sent to the state penitentiary for dating Baby, who is in her mid-teens.
- A cutaway in "Fast Times at Buddy Cianci Jr. High" features Peter telling Brian that he's made a water slide in the house by simply turning a hose onto the stairs. He then proceeds to fall down the staircase and (presumably, judging from how he lands) breaks several bones, where he's left screaming in agony, which Brian refuses to do anything about.
Brian: "I'm not going to call the hospital, because you won't learn anything if I do."
- In "The Tan Aquatic with Steve Zissou", Stewie falls asleep in a tanning booth and gets Embarrassingly Painful Sunburn from it. When Brian points at that Stewie had a mole develop after he peeled, it created a melanoma scare.
- In "Whistle While Your Wife Works", Quagmire brings a bunch of fireworks up and he and the Griffins start playing with them. Peter joins several of them together and sets them on fire. His fingers get blown off (with fairly realistic blood and bone splinters too).
- In one episode parodying The Karate Kid showing how bullying won't be Easily Forgiven as Daniel cursed at Johnny for nearly breaking his leg.
- In "Airport '07", Peter's shenanigans cost Quagmire his pilot's license, so Peter hatches a plan whereby he and his friends drug the flight crew of a plane Quagmire is on, so that Quagmire can use Engineered Heroics to land the plane safely and get his license back. The plan works (although not in the way that Peter intended), but Peter is arrested for hijacking and thrown in prison.
- The aforementioned shenanigans is also an example. Peter thinks putting airplane fuel into his truck will allow it to fly just like an airplane. Quagmire calls him out on this stupidity with a very angry Let Me Get This Straight.
- In "Three Kings", an episode spoofing movies based on 3 Stephen King books, the endings of all three segments follow this trope. In Stand by Me, in the climactic scene where Ace (Adam West) and his gang corner Pete and his friends, Pete fires a shot from a gun and aims it at Ace, only for him to inform Pete that he can get a gun the following day and kill him if he wants. Since they both live in the same town and will undoubtedly meet again, Pete gives in after a brief thought and lets them take the body back with them. Then there's "Misery", in which an author, Paul Sheldon (Brian) is being held hostage by Stewie. It goes much like the movie, however, once Paul finishes re-writing his book, he demands that he be freed, only for Stewie to say no, as he knows he'll go to the police the 1st chance he gets. And finally, there's the ending of "The Shawshank Redemption", in which after escaping the prison, Andy (Peter) escapes to Mexico, in a town that he told Red (Cleveland) about earlier in the story. He waits for Red while enjoying freedom in this small, Mexican town, however, as Red forgot the name of the town he was staying in, he never shows up.
- While it was satisfying and cathartic for Peter to beat up Chris' bully to a bloody pulp, Peter got into trouble because as much as an obnoxious brat the bully was, he's still a minor, and Peter's a fully grown man.
- After Peter gets a vasectomy in "Sibling Rivalry", Lois starts putting on weight due to a diminished sex drive. She and Peter then have fat sex and realize it was one of the best things they ever tried. Peter helps Lois stay fat but the reality kicks in when she has a heart attack while they make love.
- "Road to India" has Brian trying to earn money to pay the dowry for his new Love Interest by participating on Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? like in Slumdog Millionaire, with Brian failing at his first question since he knows nothing about Indian pop culture, particularly the sport cricket.
- One episode has Peter steal the Statue of Liberty's foot as a gift for Quagmire. When Quagmire says he doesn't want it, Peter goes on a long-rant about how incredibly hard these kinds of shenanigans are to pull off.
- In "Herpe, the Love Sore", Peter, Joe and Quagmire are getting their asses handed to them in a fight. Peter attempts to even the playing fields with a can of spinach. But it takes him a minute to get the can open and prop the lid up so he can get the spinach out (cutting his thumb in the process), and when he finally does eat the spinach, it ultimately does nothing for him.
- Brian takes up running and begins to become obsessed with it. Stewie even warns him that there's such a thing as too much exercise. Brian ends up breaking a leg when he tries to run a marathon because he never took some time to give his body a chance to recover and strengthen.
- Immediately after Wendy has a nasty break up with Robbie in "Boyz Crazy", Dipper asks her if she wanted to go bowling with him and Stan. At this, Wendy chews him out for asking her out right after the break up and asks why guys can't just leave her alone.
- The show also... well, shows that the Precocious Crush trope just doesn't work out, with Wendy kindly turning Dipper down after hearing his Anguished Declaration of Love.
- In "Gideon Rises", Lil' Gideon has taken control of the Mystery Shack and forced out the Pines family. They can just hang at Soos' grandma's place until they get it back, right? It doesn't work that way. Soos' grandmother can't afford to take in the family, especially since both Stan's and Soos' income came from the Mystery Shack. Stan realizes this and decides to just send the Twins back to their parents.
- In the beginning of "Into the Bunker", Stan is shown rebuilding the Mystery Shack after the zombie attack. However, since he is rebuilding with insurance money, he has to answer questions with a representative, and since no sane person would say zombies, he is forced to bribe the representative to believe his dumb story about a woodpecker.
- In the episode "Sock Opera" Mabel believed the audience would fall for the cliche that her and Bill-possessed Dipper's fight is All Part of the Show and would start cheering, but they boo and leave in disgust instead. After Bill possessing Dipper began hurting himself, controlling a sleep deprived 12 year old boy's body caught up to him.
- During "Not What He Seems", after Stan gets arrested, the twins are immediately taken to Child Protective Services.
- At the end of "The Stanchurian Candidate", even though Stan received a majority of the votes to become mayor, he is still disqualified due to his extensive criminal record.
- The last episode sees the Northwest family rendered broke after Weirdmageddon. For about ten seconds, until Nathaniel liquidates some of his real estate. This is why old-money families rarely go bankrupt in real life.
The Legend Of Korra
- One of the overall themes is to show that the original Team Avatar didn't live happily ever after. They went on to live very realistic lives, complete with personal and family issues. These issues ultimately affect the lives of their children and grandchildren; Bumi and Kya are resentful towards Tenzin due to Aang's favoritism of his only airbending child, Lin not knowing her father makes her angry at her mother, her and Suyin growing up without parental supervision messed up their ability to form relationships, etc.
- The first episode has the title character stopping some thugs from getting tribute money, only to be immediately arrested for property damage she caused. Earlier she tries to get food for Naga, but unfortunately she has no money. Having been locked in a compound for the majority of her life meant that she didn't know she needed to carry money around. Trying to catch fish from the pond likewise draws the attention of the police; that pond is the city's property.
- The Korra/Mako/Asami Love Triangle in season 1 is a typical "plucky teen heroine wins boy away from girlfriend who doesn't deserve him" plotline. In season 2, the constant lies necessary to uphold it leads to a lot of lingering strain between them, Korra and Mako face difficulties in actually maintaining a relationship, Mako and Asami still have remaining feelings for each other which creates problems, and Korra and Mako eventually break up entirely, as a Belligerent Sexual Tension romance is not usually a good basis for a successful relationship. In season 3 everyone finally stops lying and talks it out, allowing them to deal with and move past the problems, and although Mako needs some space all three remain friends despite the fiasco.
- The first episodes of season 2 show that The Hero would not be happy if The Mentor hid important things from them "for their own good", would likely develop serious trust issues, and would probably get pretty annoyed about being constantly bossed around and told that they are The Chosen One.
- In Season 3, Korra and Tenzin's efforts to recruit new airbenders hits a snag when they begin to realize people aren't too keen on leaving their lives behind to adopt an entirely new culture away from their homes and families, new powers or not. One of the issues created by said airbenders refusing to accept the monks' lifestyle is that they're not trained to hold back for the sake of only fighting in self-defense. This shows how absurdly dangerous control over the air itself can be when one goes entirely on the offensive, as a group of untrained airbenders working together can easily create a tornado, or tell the air not to enter someone's lungs and asphyxiate them (as the Earth Queen finds out the hard way).
- The second season ends on an uplifting note with Korra's speech about looking towards a new future. The third season quickly reveals that a lot of people are mad at the changes that have come about as a result of spirits living in the material world and all. This leads to another Aesop that part of making decisions is making peace with them, no matter how difficult.
- Then Season 4 begins with a newsreel showing that the area the spirits took over is now a major tourist attraction, intercut with scenes of people and spirits getting along peacefully. People can pretty much get used to anything.
- Korra learns a Be Yourself Aesop at the end of Book 2, but over a decade of identifying mainly as the Avatar isn't brushed away so easily.
- In "Long Live The Queen", Bolin and Mako are imprisoned in the Earth Queen's dungeons. Mako tells Bolin to metalbend the doors, gives him a speech about how this is his time and gets the whole cell block to cheer him on. Bolin digs deep, focuses... and achieves absolutely nothing. You don't instantly gain a very difficult and specialist skill because people believe in you.
- This is an Exploited Trope by Zaheer:
- In the same episode, Zaheer points out that trying to hold Korra prisoner would bring unwanted international attention upon the Earth Kingdom.
- If an authority maintains order over the masses through iron rule which is heavily disapproved of, things will get ugly when that authority is bumped off. This is exactly what Zaheer and his team wanted.
- The Arc Villain Zaheer is an Instant Expert at airbending but has only had his powers for at most a few months (and seems to use moves based off firebending he probably picked up from P'li), and when he faced Tenzin (who's been an airbending master nearly all his life) he got creamed until his teammates arrived to Zerg Rush Tenzin. Similarly in the third season finale, Bolin's new Magma Man abilities do take away a good portion of Ghazan's advantage, but the older lavabender still has the upper hand from experience until Mako joins in.
- The Avatar State doesn't cure poison, so Korra's battle ends up being short-lived once the poison gets the better of her determination. It's definitely not something one can bounce right back from, as by the beginning of season 4, she still hasn't recovered mentally. Her physical recovery took years and a lot of willpower, too.
- When Korra loses a fight in an underground Earthbending ring, she is smacked around in possibly the most brutal curb stompings in the show, which depicts her injuries fairly realistically and demonstrates just how painful being on the receiving end of what is essentially a beating with flying rocks would be in Real Life.
- The duel between Korra and Kuvira in "Battle of Zaofu" has a double example. Korra may have just cured herself of mercury poisoning, but she's spent most of the last three years recovering from it, and hasn't had much chance to practice fighting during this time. As a result, Kuvira — who's spent the last three years fighting to stabilize the Earth Kingdom — easily kicks her ass. Unfortunately for Kuvira, reality then ensues in the opposite direction. Flippantly goad a Physical God to invoke her Super Mode during a duel, and she may end up doing just that, blasting you halfway across the field before crushing your prone form with a massive boulder.
- In her final battle Ming-Hua (an armless waterbender who fights by creating temporary prosthetics) lures Mako into a pool of water, giving her a decisive advantage. Or at least, she thinks. She dies seconds later when Mako puts himself on dry land and just zaps the pool with lightning.
- Toph explains to Korra the futility of her job. Even if she stops one bad guy, there will always be others waiting to take his place. Tenzin admits she has a point, but offers a less cynical view of it. Of course, Toph lightens up later on in this matter, realizing that while evil never gives up, neither should the forces of good.
- Opal isn't Easily Forgiving towards Bolin when he returned to Republic City to warn about Kuvira's new spirit vine weapon. While she is glad that he's alive, she's still upset with him and he needs to work to regain her trust again. On the other hand, his friends forgive him easily, because they're like his family, and have known him far longer than Opal has.
- Zaheer's anarchist revolution is brutally crushed by a well organized military push, and Kuvira has shown herself to be even worse than Hou-Ting ever was, which Korra calls him out on. All Zaheer's ideals about freedom though chaos were just that, ideals. This was actually foreshadowed when Asami and Bolin were playing Pai Sho in Book Three while staking Aiwei out. Bolin, who was playing fast paced Pai Sho, lost pretty much every time to the strategic and calculating Asami (he nearly won once, but Pabu scattered the pieces). While chaos may be effective in the short term, order tends to win out in the long term, especially when safety is threatened.
- Despite the huge technological strides made between The Last Airbender and Legend of Korra, large swathes of the Earth Kingdom are shown to look much the same as they did seventy years ago. This is a fairly realistic look at how economic and technological development would spread through a country as huge as the Earth Kingdom- the rest of the world is relatively much smaller and could introduce new technology faster and easier, but the sheer scale of the Earth Kingdom would make that a logistical nightmare. Add to that the devastation of the war and the comet, and the general ineptness and selfishness of the Earth Queen, and it makes sense that there would be huge areas of the Earth Kingdom set away from the railroads which would be just as isolated and underdeveloped as they were decades ago even if the nation as a whole is wealthier and more modern. There are many historical examples of this such as the USA in the century or so around the Civil War, late Tsarist Russia/early Soviet Union, and modern-day China.
- At the end of "Operation Beifong" Toph saves her family but announces she's going back to her home in the swamp. When questioned, she points out that while she is powerful, she's pushing ninety and can't perform the same large-scale heroics she could when she was younger, and also notes that this is why Katara stayed out of the Water Tribe Civil War in Season 2. (This one ends up looking like a big Hand Wave, as being old never stopped Iroh, Bumi and the rest of the Order of the White Lotus fighting.)
- Toph finally reveals the long-awaited identity of Lin's father. Turns out it was just some guy named Kanto, a name that has absolutely no importance to anyone, including the audience. Missing parents are not automatically indicative of a special lineage, and just because the audience know the two characters doesn't mean they'll hook up together.
- The two part Grand Finale features The Colossus. While the airbenders give it a lot of trouble and are able to dodge the beam itself they are still blown away by the shockwave it produces. It's mostly hollow, save for the framework, and its spirit vine power core is the size of a house, which makes sense when you consider that something that big must need a lot of power to function. And even though they managed to take it down, it and the opening of the new spirit portal still did immense damage to the city.
- Also, the Earth Empire only managed to make one. The Colossus was untested technology that required a lot of time and effort to create. In fact, it took so much platinum, so many workers and so much time to create that there's no way a second one will ever be rebuilt. Besides, since the Earth Empire ultimately fails to take Republic City, it's not like anyone's going to let them try.
- Though Kuvira surrenders and apologizes to Su, she isn't Easily Forgiven by the older woman.
- Though the plan to take Republic City ultimately fails, the Earth Empire doesn't just automatically all disappear because their leader was captured. However, reality ensues on them when, due to the aforementioned resources needed to make the Colossus all being gone, they're completely unprepared to deal with the counterattack, and get taken down pretty swiftly.
- In the opening of Season 4, Korra is severely mentally damaged after the mercury poisoning effectively taking away her status as the Avatar. Being raised your entire life to believe you are the chosen one had serious mental repercussions and self esteem issues inflicted upon her as now she has no self worth.
- Guts Man throws a monorail train at Roll, who Mega Man pushes out of the way and is promptly crushed. One used to super hero robot cartoon shows will probably think that Mega Man is damaged, but back on his feet within minutes. Nope. He is not only badly damaged, but his injures are so critical that he has to be rush back to Dr. Light who isn't even sure if Mega Man will make it. From the time lapse, it took an entire day to repair him. Even with super fighting robots, the train still wins.
- In the episode "Bot Transfer" Mega Man has a "Freaky Friday" Flip with Snake Man. For almost the rest of the episode Mega Man has a major freakout and can barely think straight. He actually tries to run to the police for help, forgetting that he is in the body of one of Wily's Robot Masters.
- The episode does this with an element from the games: teleportation. While only used for rapid transit in the games, the series shows how easily this could be abused, with Wily developing chambers to abduct scientists for ransom, as well as doing the "Freaky Friday" Flip.
- The episode "The Day the Moon Fell" gives a realistic look of what would happen to the world if the moon was moved closer to Earth's orbit. The results are not pretty.
- Could be a meta example, but Mega Man seems to run out of energy a lot, especially since no other Robot Master runs into this problem, not even his brother Proto Man. Although, considering all the fighting he does (he is often fighting five to seven Robot Masters at once), it would make sense he would drain his energy fairly fast.
- Some episodes have addressed the fact that Dr. Wily doesn't have Offscreen Villain Dark Matter and needs money to fund his operations.
- The robots are programmed to think and act like humans, having unique personalities. Some episodes have shown that this ability and the resultant personalities, such as Proto Man's ego, have ruined Wily's plans.
- Mega Man has to touch other Robot Masters to absorb their powers. Whereas most of them simply stand there looking shocked when Mega Man does so, Pharaoh Man infamously responds by punching Mega in the face.
My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic
For a TV show that's about magical talking ponies and The Power of Friendship, the writers dish this out a lot.
- In the series premiere, Nightmare Moon shows up at the Summer Sun Celebration and begins harassing the other ponies. Twilight Sparkle then confronts her in front of crowd and announces that she knew about the prophecy of her arrival. While a brave move, it suffers a few big drawbacks:
- Twilight loses her nerve pretty quickly against the larger and more powerful pony, and it's not long before NMM escapes and shoots down most of the Royal Guard.
- Rainbow Dash gets suspicious about how Twilight knew exactly when and where Nightmare Moon was going to show up, so she thinks that Twilight might be in cahoots with the villain and aggressively confronts her at the library. Fortunately, Applejack shows up, defends Twilight, and gets Rainbow to back off. However, Twilight's not let off the hook; since she still knew what was going to happen (not to mention the fact that Princess Celestia went missing) she's forced to explain that she discovered the prophecy back in Canterlot and was trying to find the Elements of Harmony in order to save Equestria.
- Also, Nightmare Moon now knows that somebody is working to bring her down, so she decides to keep tabs her and her friends during her quest, so she reached the Elements at the same time the group did.
- In "Applebuck Season", Applejack is bound and determined to personally fulfill all of her obligations and complete a seemingly impossible workload by virtue of sheer Heroic Willpower. Instead, she works herself half to death, and becomes weak and incoherent enough from prolonged exhaustion that she endangers herself and everypony around her. Also, Applejack completely underestimates how much time and effort it would take to fulfill that workload, because just as she thinks she's done, Big Macintosh points out that she's only completed half of the field.
- In "Over a Barrel", Pinkie Pie's song-and-dance performance solves absolutely nothing. It doesn't make the Appleoosa's ponies and the buffaloes stop hating each other, nor does it solve the land dispute. In fact, at one point, it actually makes things worse.
- When Twilight participates in the Running of the Leaves in "Fall Weather Friends", Rainbow Dash and Applejack assume she'll come in last. When the two both tie for last due to their attempts to sabotage each other and see Twilight with a medal, they assume she came in first. She tells them that she actually only came in fifth. She had never been in a race before, after all.
- In "The Best Night Ever", a night at the Grand Galloping Gala goes south for everyone. The gala turns out to be much less easygoing than the hard partying Pinkie thought, the guests are upper crust and unaccustomed to Applejack's food, the celebrities Rainbow Dash and Twilight wanted to hang out with are more busy with everyone else, the royal prince Rarity wanted to impress just looks down on her and everyone else, and the animals at the royal zoo turn out to have no experience dealing with outsiders, even one as non-offensive as Fluttershy, which turns her Love Hungry.
- "The Return of Harmony, Part 1" has Discord set up a game for the ponies to play in order to beat him, involving separating them in a maze and using More Than Mind Control to corrupt them into the opposite of their true selves. Then comes Fluttershy, who resists Discord's mind games and remains herself... and Discord corrupts her anyway. What, did you expect a Mad God to play fair?
- Given how The Power of Friendship seems to solve everything, "Hurricane Fluttershy" is much more this trope than the usual formulas. No, someone can't just "get over" long-term childhood bullying and it will often leave big emotional scars, but they can still work against it and it doesn't have to rule their life. No, a Training Montage won't suddenly make someone an expert at what they failed at before and they will only improve slightly, but it's still an improvement and still something to be proud of. No, pushing you and your team harder won't let you break the record you wanted when a chunk of your team is missing, but you still have people depending on you and that's more important than some record.
- In "The Crystal Empire", King Sombra — unlike most of the other villains — is a complete enigma with limited screentime and dialogue, and his only real highlight is his Crazy-Prepared defenses. Evil isn't always hammy and/or flashy; it can often be mysterious and/or practical as well.
- In "Flight to the Finish", Scootaloo finally becomes insecure and upset enough about her disability to undergo self-imposed Training from Hell in order to learn how to fly. It promptly — and completely — fails, because no matter how badly she wants to succeed, her wings simply aren't developed enough to keep her aloft.
- In "Filli Vanilli", Fluttershy manages to overcome her stage fright enough to sing with a quartet in front of her friends. She's offered a spot to join them, but turns it down, since one performance onstage for her closest friends doesn't completely cure her of stage fright.
Fluttershy: Baby steps, everypony... baby steps.
- Twice in "Appleoosa's Most Wanted":
- The Cutie Mark Crusaders cause a town-wide scare when they sneak out in the middle of the night despite being told earlier in the episode not to wander off again. This gets worse when they lead the local law enforcement into believing they were kidnapped. After they confess, they are forced to clean up after the rodeo as punishment.
- Trouble Shoes finds his true calling as a rodeo clown but he still apologizes for the other rodeos he accidentally ruined due to his klutziness. Sheriff Silverstar says he still has to serve time for the damage he caused and Trouble Shoes doesn't even protest.
- In "Amending Fences", Twilight's last-ditch effort to apologize for snubbing her ex-friend Moondancer's party from the first episode is to throw her another party, even bringing her "secret weapon" Pinkie Pie, whose immediate answer to nearly any problem is a party. Moondancer's response? To rip into Twilight for thinking a party could possibly make up for all the heartache she felt since that day, since that party was meant to help her lower her guard and make new friends. Fortunately, Twilight went the extra mile and invited other ponies who care for Moondancer, including her librarian, bookseller, and sister, to prove that one failed attempt at making friends doesn't mean she has none, which convinces her to accept Twilight's apology.
- A few times in "Made In Manehatten":
- When Applejack and Rarity first arrive in Manehattan, the fashionista spots a mare about to buy an ugly hat, so Rarity steps in and gives one of her own hats free of charge. While a good moment of generosity, Rarity ended up getting the vendor EXTREMELY pissed off at her because that cost him his customer, and she and Applejack have to get away from him before things get ugly.
- Rarity and Applejack hope to get other businesses to help with the theater production Coco Pummel is putting on, but naturally a lot of people refuse because of being too busy, among other reasons.
- While Rarity and Coco finish putting together the costumes, Applejack volunteers to straighten up the overgrown park for the program. But even though Applejack was born and raised on a farm with a huge work ethic, she can barely clean even a section of it in the few hours before the event's about to start. They ultimately decide to build a stage on the sidewalk for the actors.
- In "Brotherhooves Social", Big Mac - a very large, heavy set stallion with a very deep voice - decides to dress himself up as an Apple family female cousin called "Orchard Blossom" in order for Apple Bloom to compete in the Sisterhooves Social when Applejack gets called away for the previous story. It subverts the Paper-Thin Disguise, because nobody falls for it, especially not the judging committee. Fortunately, they all realize Big Mac is just trying to help out his little sister and decide to play along with it. When Big Mac and Apple Bloom finally do get disqualified, it's because the former showed poor sportsmanship in the race, instead of his disguise falling off at the finish line and "turning out" to be a stallion.
- Also, due to Big Mac being a last-minute replacement and not having as much practice, he and Apple Bloom don't really do well in any of the competitions. The race was Big Mac's last chance to earn a blue ribbon for Apple Bloom, and he blows it by being way too reckless.
- In Crusaders of the Lost Mark, Pipsqueak and Diamond Tiara are both running for class president. Despite threats of blackmail and bribery, Pipsqueak wins by a landslide, with only Diamond Tiara having voted for herself, since everyone is so fed up with her being an Alpha Bitch, even her best friend Silver Spoon.
- On the other hand, Diamond Tiara points out that Pipsqueak doesn't have the funds to fulfill his promise to renovate the playground. Sure enough, later Diamond Tiara's warning comes true and everyone is forced to turn to her family's money to fund the renovation.
- Pinkie Pie's usual Cloudcuckoolander hijinks and No Sense of Personal Space tendencies are usually brushed off by her friends and the townsfolk of Ponyville, because they all know her well enough to realize she usually doesn't mean any harm, and it's just "her being Pinkie". However, in "The Gift Of the Maud Pie," the citizens of Manehattan (apart from Rarity and Maud, who are visiting the city with her) are either annoyed and/or disturbed at her usual antics since she's a total stranger. A police officer even asks Pinkie to stop making a scene at one point.
- Twice in "Newbie Dash":
- In an attempt to not only impress her new Wonderbolts teammates, but to also rid herself of the Embarrassing Nickname "Rainbow Crash", she attempts to emulate her friends in a disastrous attempt to take their advice in treating the Wonderbolts like them. It comes off as incredibly unsettling for the team and Spitfire reprimands her for it.
- In a last-ditch effort to remove the nickname, she ends up breaking formation and trying to pull off a dangerous stunt which only hurts her in the end. While she did earn sympathy from the team over why she did it and let her know she is not alone in having such names, she did disobey orders and is given a month's probation and cleaning duties for that time.
- In general, reformed villains like Discord and Starlight still do bad things from time to time (i.e. using magic and coercion to get what they want). Because even a genuine change of heart doesn't mean you immediately drop the instincts and habits of a lifetime.
Nearly every Robot Chicken episode has at least one instance of a cartoon's characters coming face to face with a problem that would be faced by ordinary people, and having no idea of what to do.
- This sketch, when G.I. Joe is deployed to Afghanistan during The War on Terror, and they all get massacred when they use their cartoonish tactics on the Taliban. This leaves Duke wondering aloud who will protect the world from Cobra. After that, Seal Team Six goes to Cobra's command and riddles them full of bullets.
- In one sketch, a woman wants her husband to ravish her like Captain Jack Sparrow. She asks him to be realistic... and he proceeds to (in his smarmiest Jack Sparrow voice) romantically talk about the disgustingly bad hygiene practices that pirates in the time of the Black Pearl would commit. Needless to say, the wife finds herself extremely turned off soon after.
- In the "Revenge on the Revenge of the Nerds", the nerds' antics land them in prison since they committed what amounts to illegal surveillance, identity theft and rape, among other things.
- In a Sailor Moon sketch, the Monster of the Week gets a Raging Stiffie after Serena transforms into her Fanservice-y outfit. He's embarrassed when he notices and tells Serena he doesn't feel like fighting anymore before retreating.
- A skit parodying Back at the Barnyard lampshades the oddities of the farm animals (i.e. Bessie pointing out that male cows don't have udders and Otis telling Abby that cows don't have blonde hair). When Otis points out that a cow cannot walk on two legs because of the weight, all of the cows' legs break and they cry out in pain.
- In one episode, the nerd has a dream and starts entering his favorite comic book shows. When he's on Arrow he attempts to non-fatally wound a couple of mooks. He accidentally kills the first two by shooting them in the eye while trying to shoot them in the leg, and finally succeeds in hitting the third in the leg... and severs the guy's femoral artery, causing him to go into shock and die from blood loss very quickly. Turns out that in real life arrows don't have pinpoint accuracy, and that Just a Flesh Wound is usually a load of crap. Also lampshaded in the conversation he has with Green Arrow before trying to shoot the mooks.
- Green Arrow: We need to take out those guards if we're going to rescue Felicity!
Nerd: Cool! So is this season 1 where you kill every motherf*cker with a pulse, or is this season 2 or 3 where you just give people crippling injuries that will make every day of the rest of their lives a Hell on Earth?
- One episode subverts Joker Immunity by having the Trope Namer get executed for his numerous murders.
- Similar to one episode of MAD, one sketch shows the aftermath of Pinocchio becoming a real boy: he's hospitalized after finding he now has a peanut allergy, which closes off his urethra and requires him to get a catheter. Because he's been alive for only a day and has an underdeveloped immune system, the catheter gives him a staph infection, and he goes into shock and dies.
- Double Subverted in Robot Chicken/DC Comics 3: Magical Friendship: during a parody of Crisis on Infinite Earths, the 60s version of Batman battles the Arkham series versions of The Joker, Harley Quinn, Killer Croc and The Penguin. He defeats the first three as easily as he does the villains on his own show, but then Penguin just kills him by spraying him with anthrax.
- One short has Gargamel put on trial for attempted genocide.
- In "The Homer They Fall", Homer Simpson has a condition which renders him largely impervious to the effects of head trauma, which he uses to gain success in amateur boxing by tiring his opponents out. He winds up getting set up in a fight with an expy of Mike Tyson, who pummels him so hard that he forgets where he parked his car.
- When Lisa befriended a beached whale in "The Squirt and the Whale" and Homer came to the rescue with helicopters to save it... But it turned out that it was just Lisa's Hope Spot, and the whale died like many beached whales do.
- In "Bart Gets an F", Bart goes through the usual "study or be held back" plot. Supposedly Bart will knuckle down, become a hardworking student, and pass with flying colors. The reality is that Bart is a lazy kid, and even being on the verge of failing a grade can't undo this fact. He does knuckle down and really tries to apply himself, but he still gets an F. Ms. Krabappel only bumps him up to a D-minus because she sees that he really tried to study, and was able to apply some of what he learned (and because she feels sorry for him).
- In "Bart vs. Australia", Homer tries to get in a kangaroo's pouch only to realize it's not a pocket, and actually full of mucus.
Bart: Ewww! It's not like in cartoons!
Homer: There's a lot more mucus...
- In "The PTA Disbands", a tour guide in Fort Springfield is giving a lecture on a "fully restored and in ready to fire condition" Civil War cannon aimed directly at the base of a manned lookout tower. She mentions that these cannons are "very sensitive and that the "slightest jolt" can set them off as the Springfield Elementary bus starts swerving towards the cannon. The bus hits it and... one of the cannon's wheels falls off.
Tour Guide: Of course, for safety reasons, we don't keep the cannon loaded. That's just common sense.
- In "Missionary: Impossible", when Homer builds a church on an island, he imitates The Flintstones by using a pelican as a cement mixer; as he encourages it to do an Aside Comment, the bird just falls on the ground motionless.
- In "Homer to the Max", the Show Within a Show Police Cops features a character called Detective Homer Simpson, who is heroic and suave in the pilot but becomes a fat, bumbling idiot in the series proper. Humiliated, Homer decides to sue the producers for improper use of his name, which the judge immediately throws out as individuals do not own exclusive rights to their names, and simply sharing a name with a fictional character does not give you the right to sue over how that character is used by the creators.
- In "Rome-old and Juli-eh", Homer bankrupts the family by turning his basement into a recreation room. To cut his budget, he removes the engine from his car and removes the floor so he can drive it Fred Flintstone style. Turns out he can hardly move a metal car with just his feet.
- "Homer's Triple Bypass" acknowledges that Homer's lifestyle would cause major health problems, as he suffers recurring heart attacks that require major surgery. Also, as he has no health insurance, he can't afford the expensive surgery and has to go to back alley quack Dr Nick.
- "The Boys of Bummer" has the overused plot of the town mocking and attacking Bart over losing a ball game. The sad twist is that Bart attempts suicide as a result. When he survives, Marge gives the town a well-deserved and epic call out which makes everybody realize that they pushed it WAY too far.
- In "Homer Goes to College", Homer is convinced that college is nonstop Wacky Fratboy Hijinks, and he learns the hard way that's not true. When his prank of kidnapping a rival school's mascot goes awry, his nerd classmates get expelled.
- "Das Bus" (the episode in which Bart, Lisa, Milhouse, and their classmates stranded on a Deserted Island) isn't an Affectionate Parody of Lord of the Flies, instead being its Spiritual Successor. It, like Golding, shows that trapping a bunch of kids alone on a deserted island is more likely to lead to slow, agonising madness than quirky misadventures. In particular, much of their negative behavior from their society carries over here, such as blaming others for their situation, picking on certain individuals they don't like and generally bickering amongst themselves.
- "Homer's Enemy" is a cruel lesson that just because someone works hard their whole life, doesn't mean they'll have more success than someone whom doesn't work as hard, or doesn't try as hard. Frank Grimes couldn't handle that reality. Simultaneously, it's about what would happen if a realistic character found themselves in the world of the show.
- In "The City of New York vs. Homer Simpson", after his car is stranded in the middle of Manhattan, Homer tries to remove the boot on his car with a jackhammer. He ends up damaging the car even more, breaking the windows through the force of the vibrations and filling the car with holes when he misses.
- In "Homer vs. Lisa and the 8th Commandment", Lisa forces Marge to admit she ate two grapes to a grocery store clerk. Rather than comically overreacting, the clerk does not care and openly mocks Marge for asking to be charged for them.
- In "Large Marge", Marge mistakenly gets Gag Boobs thanks to a mix-up at the plastic surgeon's office. She begins having back pains and is sexually objectified and harassed by every man in town; reconstructed when she flashes the crowd to distract the cops from getting ready to shoot Stampy the elephant (who had Homer, Milhouse, and Bart in its mouth) and makes Krusty out to be a hero.
- A minor example on "Homer Badman", in that what makes the whole ball start running is the fact that Marge is (understandably) horrified at Homer's decision to leave the kids home alone while they go to a candy convention.
- In "Simpson Safari", the family wind up in Africa, and after a trip downriver they fall into a large flower that closes its petals around them which causes Marge to exclaim that it's trying to eat them. Homer casually tears one of the petals open and walks out.
Bart: Wow dad, how did you do that?Homer: (deadpan) It's a flower.
- In "Bart's Girlfriend", Bart enters into a relationship with Jessica, Reverend Lovejoy's secretly mischievous daughter. When Bart tells his friends, they don't believe him, and Nelson punches Bart in the gut for besmirching an innocent girl's name. With Bart in serious pain, Jessica gives him a kiss... only for him to still remain in agony. The writers were eager to show getting belted in the stomach isn't something you walk away from.
- "Bart Gets an Elephant" shows that an elephant would be far too expensive for a middle class family to keep as a pet, and a good portion of the episode is about Homer trying to sell it. Not to mention an elephant is a plant-eater and a diet of peanuts (which, nutritionally speaking, are closer to meats than to vegetables) would only make it sick.
- In "Simpsons Roasting on an Open Fire", Homer spends what little money he has on the dog track in a last-ditch effort to afford Christmas gifts for the family. Homer ignores Barney's advice and chooses the last-minute addition, Santa's Little Helper, believing the name to be a sign of a Christmas miracle despite the dog's horrible track record. Ultimately, Santa's Little Helper comes dead last, the Christmas miracle doesn't happen, and Barney's pick ends up winning the race. And this was in the very first episode! However, the family gets a happy ending after all when the track owner fires Santa's Little Helper and the Simpsons get to take him home as a pet.
Bart: It doesn't seem possible, but I guess TV has betrayed me.
- Another Christmas episode, "Marge Be Not Proud":
- Bart sees a TV commercial for a wildly popular and ultra-violent video game called Bonestorm, and decides he wants it for Christmas. The musclebound Santa Claus who is the ad's pitchman demands in a "professional wrestler" voice, "Tell your parents: 'Buy me Bonestorm or GO TO HELL!" Bart walks into the kitchen and tries just that—and it doesn't work. Instead, Marge scolds him for using profanity... and Homer scolds him for not saying "please."
- Having no money of his own to buy Bonestorm, Bart goes down to the shopping center and sees some other kids stealing merchandise. After struggling against temptation, he finally gives in to it and swipes a copy of Bonestorm from the rack. He hides it under his coat and dodges the lenses of the security cameras, somehow managing to make it outside undetected. As he steps out into the street, he gloats about having gotten away with his crime—only to be immediately grabbed by the store's security guard, who had apparently witnessed the theft on a security camera.
- Following Bart's arrest, Marge temporarily loses all respect for him. He decides to make amends by getting her a special Christmas gift of a framed photo of himself (which he does pay for, keeping the receipt to prove it), hoping that by doing this he'll earn his mother's forgiveness. And in fact, Marge does begin respecting him again, and to show her gratitude for the holiday photo gives Bart a video game wrapped in Christmas paper, saying that the store told her it was the game all the boys want. Bart eagerly opens it, expecting to see Bonestorm—but instead it's a boring golf-putting game. But of course: no matter how good or contrite you are, if you're 10 years old, your parents are not going to buy you a game containing graphic violence, especially if you were willing to break the law for it.
- In that same scene, when Bart walks in with his present, he's hiding it in his coat. Naturally, a distrusting Marge and Homer immediately assume that he's stolen something else and try to catch and punish him.
- In one future episode, a jealous Milhouse told Bart's charitable girlfriend that Bart was only pretending to be nice so he can be with her and told Bart's true nature. She's first seen angrily frowning, but then Bart begged the girl to stay with him, despite his nature, since he changed it for her. She then smiles, thinking she'll be with him for the rest of the episode (like the other girls Bart dated for periods of time). But then, it goes back to the angry frown, and the next shot is of Bart crying, lamenting about how the girl broke up with him. A mere apology won't change any of that.
- In "Dude, Where's My Ranch?", Lisa falls in love with a young cowhand. She endangers the boy's sister, originally thinking she was his girlfriend. When Lisa confesses, Luke, rather than touched, is appalled that Lisa put his sister in harm's way and burns bridges with her.
- In "The Cartridge Family", Homer gets a gun and joins the Springfield branch of the NRA. But when they witness the full extent of Homer's Reckless Gun Usage, such as shooting his TV on and opening cans of beer by shooting the tops off, he immediately gets kicked out.
- In "Halloween of Horror", Lisa becomes terrified of Krustyland's Halloween show, and despite the fact that she knows everything is objectively harmless, she is traumatised by the incredibly realistic effects and too scared to celebrate Halloween, seeking comfort in an old stuffed animal. Lisa might be smart, but she's still eight, and she doesn't have the emotional maturity to handle scary stuff, even if she knows they aren't real.
- The series frequently shows All Animals Are Domesticated and Herbivores Are Friendly do not apply in real life. One example would be "Little Big Mom" where Lisa tries to approach a herd of deer because she finds them adorable, but the deer ferociously try to attack her when she gets close enough.
- In "A Milhouse Divided", after Kirk and Luanne get divorced (due to years' worth of mutual unhappiness on both parts), Homer starts to worry that his marriage may be in danger. Severely overthinking the situation, Homer starts doing some unusual things to assure Marge he still loves her (much to her confusion), then ultimately files for divorce...so they can have a second, much better wedding note . Inspired by Homer and Marge, Kirk sings a heartfelt - but horrible - song to Luanne, then asks her to marry him again. She flat out refuses.
- "Selma's Choice" has Bart sneak onto a roller coaster he's too short for. He soon realizes that the safety bar can't properly secure someone under the minimum height limit.
- Neither shivving a person in the neck nor shooting oneself is easy, quick or painless.
- In "Child Abduction Is Not Funny", the town hires the City Wok owner, Mr. Kim to build a wall and guard the town from kidnappers. It doesn't work because one person alone cannot guard a town, as he finds out the hard way when he gets distracted and ambushed by the Mongolians (and the kids). Then he builds himself a home-made missile launcher to fire at the Mongolians but they launch a flaming baseball to distract the missiles and hit the wall instead. Then he sees a trojan horse and goes Leeroy Jenkins on it, only to fall for the trap, and the Mongolians break another hole in the wall. Then he dresses himself in ancient Chinese armor for battle and does a war dance, but while he is doing this, the kids wheel a large cart laden with explosives in behind him and blow up the wall.
- "Good Times With Weapons" treats us to some very abrupt Mood Whiplash during the stylized anime battle between the boys and Professor Chaos. The make-believe fireballs and energy blasts aren't working, so Kenny tries his magical shuriken and scores a direct hit on Professor Chaos. Cut back to the normal art style, with poor Butters shrieking in pain and terror while blood streams from the throwing star in his eye.
- In "Stanley's Cup" Stan leads his Pee Wee hockey team against the Detroit Red Wings, firing them up as a battle against all odds to cheer up a cancer-stricken friend. The team is completely crushed by the professional players, 32-2 as little kids have no chance against adult hockey players.
- In "Cartmanland", a typical child's dream of owning a private amusement park for their personal use is turned on its' head. Cartman realized that he needed someone to get rid of unwanted guests like Stan, rides break down over time and needs someone who can fix it, and someone who can operate the complicated machinery. So he needed to hire security, repairman, and operators to run the park respectively. In order to do so, he needed to allow patrons to provide income to pay his workers, something that Cartman never wanted. By the end of the episode, Cartman sold the park to the previous owner but had all of his money taken away by the I.R.S for not paying taxes.
- In "I'm a Little Bit Country" Cartman constantly attempts to induce a flashback to the American Revolution to get out of doing a history paper. He first attempt (dropping a big rock on his head) led to a bruise on his head. His second attempt (electrocuting himself after recording history shows) result in him getting hospitalized. And he ended up flashing back anyways.
- In "Go God Go" Cartman ends up freezing himself so he wouldn't have to wait three weeks for the Wii, and ending up being frozen for hundreds of years. When he's thawed out in the future, he takes one from an old museum, only to find that the old VHS output no longer exists since the technology would have changed after five centuries.
- In "Up the Down Steroid", Cartman pretends to be mentally disabled so he can enter the Special Olympics and win, believing that being non-handicapped would give him an advantage. However, he fails to realize that, in spite of their handicaps, the other athletes had months of training for the events and were in great shape while he is in terrible shape and possesses no athletic ability. Therefore, he finishes last in every event (which gets him the "Good Try" award: a gift certificate to Shakey's Pizza, which he's actually okay with).
- In "Free Willzyx" a prank that goes horribly wrong leads the kids to think that a whale at a water park is really an alien from outer space who lives on the moon, and they struggle to get it back to its home, eventually succeeding. Despite the fact that the audience knows it's a prank, given the fact that the show has had several bizarre things turn out to be true, it looks like it's setting things up for a joke where it turns out there really is a civilization on the moon... only for it to cut to the whale's lifeless body on the barren rock.
- "The Snuke" features an invasion of the British fleet secretly invading the USA, only that the British fleet are using weapons and equipment (except for a cell phone) from The American Revolution. When the American jets arrived, the result of the battle is expected when you match muzzle-loading muskets and wooden sail ships against jets and missiles.
- In "Lice Capades", the children all decide to try and find out which among them has lice, as Mrs. Garrison is unwilling to reveal whom due to school policy. The witch-hunt finally escalates to the point where Kenny is singled-out and forced to undertake a painful humiliation for it...only for Mrs. Garrison to reveal that all the children in the class, boys and girls, had lice, and that all the boys just went through with the witch hunt to try and blame someone else for it to spare them the embarrassment.
Mrs. Garrison: Lice spreads fast, ya dumbasses.
- Many episodes in the first season are based around Steven (and thus the audience) learning that his guardians aren't just one-note caricatures who are only there to support his own story. They have their own fears and insecurities, their own trauma that they deal with, and raising a child who's also unique in the universe is sometimes immensely stressful for them. This culminates in "The Test", when Steven overhears them realizing that they may be failing as caretakers and in upholding his mother's legacy.
- Steven's confusion about his mother, Rose Quartz, pokes some holes in Deceased Parents Are the Best. Yes, Rose was amazing and left him a legacy, cool powers and several emergency contingency plans. None of these can replace a dead parent you never knew. Steven's feelings for her are VERY complicated given how little he knows about her and is deathly afraid that he can't live up to her example, even nursing a dread that the Gems might secretly blame him for her loss. What we've learned about Rose also shows she wasn't perfect and likewise had her own goals, flaws and trauma beyond just dying to give Steven his powers and some angst.
- This comes to a head in "Storm in the Room", where Steven reveals he feels a great deal of resentment over Rose lying to the other Gems and abandoning them, leaving him to deal with the consequences of her actions, and openly wonders if he only exists to deal with the mistakes Rose left behind.
- Steven's confusion about his mother, Rose Quartz, pokes some holes in Deceased Parents Are the Best. Yes, Rose was amazing and left him a legacy, cool powers and several emergency contingency plans. None of these can replace a dead parent you never knew. Steven's feelings for her are VERY complicated given how little he knows about her and is deathly afraid that he can't live up to her example, even nursing a dread that the Gems might secretly blame him for her loss. What we've learned about Rose also shows she wasn't perfect and likewise had her own goals, flaws and trauma beyond just dying to give Steven his powers and some angst.
- In "Arcade Mania", Garnet has become entirely absorbed in a DDR-like game called Meat Beat Mania, to the point that she's ignoring a monster fight happening a few yards away. Garnet is clearly indicated to be playing with superhuman ability, while Steven plays roughly like a human child. Steven decides that the only way to break Garnet's trance is to defeat her in the game. Steven dramatically picks up the controllers, shouts his determination to succeed — and is soundly and immediately defeated.
- In "So Many Birthdays", Amethyst eats a five-year-old burrito... and almost immediately gets food poisoning.
- In "Coach Steven", Steven tries to train himself extra-hard so he can get strong faster. The only thing that happens is that Steven is so sore and exhausted the next day he can barely move.
- In "On the Run" Steven and Amethyst decide to try life out on the road, similar to an expy of The Box Car Children. He quickly finds out hay isn't terribly comfortable and living on your own, riding in a box cart, etc., isn't very fun.
- In "The Return" the Crystal Gems use all their tools and skills to defend Earth from the Homeworld Gems... and lose spectacularly after all of their attacks are completely No Selled. Going up against a hyper-advanced enemy using technology that's 5000 years out of date tends not to go well.
- "Say Uncle", a crossover with Uncle Grandpa, has the reactions from the Crystal Gems when they see what Uncle Grandpa is capable of. Instead of being mystified and whimsical about it, they're downright terrified, and quickly decide that he's a threat to not only Steven but also the world. Indeed, Pearl in particular seems to slowly Go Mad from the Revelation.
- "Cry for Help" both shows and lampshades the fact that a serious betrayal of trust is not something that could be dealt with in the span of time it takes for a single TV episode (Amethyst provides the above quote). The next three episodes are all about each of the gems finding a way to deal with their feelings about the fallout and it is only in the fourth after, "Friend Ship," that forgiveness can happen.
- Also in "Friend Ship", Peridot uses an old, abandoned Gem starship to set a trap for the Crystal Gems, and while she does almost kill Garnet and Pearl with it, the ship is shown to be in a state of severe disrepair after several thousand years of neglect with most of its systems not working properly. Furthermore, Peridot, a modern Gem, struggles to figure out how to operate the archaic and severely outdated Gem technology, which leads to her almost getting captured by the Crystal Gems.
- In "Nightmare Hospital" Steven and Connie try to hide Rose's sword by disguising it as a coat rack. Connie's mom sees through it almost immediately.
- Multiple episodes demonstrate that romance and relationships require understanding, communication, and hard work, and can't just be built on the feelings of one person or even both people. When Jamie tells Garnet that he's in love with her in "Love Letters", Garnet outright tells him that Love at First Sight doesn't exist and that his infatuation with her is just that. And even though Greg and Rose's first meeting in "Story For Steven" appears to be Love at First Sight it's ultimately deconstructed in "We Need To Talk", showing how openness and honesty are much more important to a healthy relationship than a big Love Confession.
- "We Need To Talk" also does this to Interspecies Romance. Neither Greg nor Rose have any idea how the other thinks or what they expect from the relationship, and it's only when they acknowledge these differences and break down the miscommunications that they gain some understanding.
- In "Back To The Barn" Pearl tries to deliver a dramatic kick to Peridot. However, Peridot grabs her mecha's leg and bashes her against the ground. On the other foot, Peridot assumes winning their duel will grant her instant respect and show she is superior to Pearl in the group's hierarchy, only for the Crystal Gems to instead rally around Pearl for the good fight she put up.
- Played for Laughs in "Catch and Release" when Peridot tries to escape from the Crystal Gems by flushing herself down the toilet. It doesn't work.
- In "Super Watermelon Island", Malachite keeps an upper hand during her fight with Alexandrite and even manages to get the latter on the ropes. If it weren't for the Watermelon Stevens distracting her, she most likely would have won. Yes, Alexandrite may look intimidating and is technically composed of twice the amount of gems as Malachite, but Malachite is composed of a quartz soldier who was literally made for fighting and was able to outmatch Garnet (nearly twice) and an errant terraformer who was able to handle all three Crystal Gems at the same time with her gem cracked and can fly. Keep in mind also that they fight on an island surrounded by water. Alexandrite on the other hand is composed of a common Mook, a diplomatic Seer who clearly wasn't made with fighting in mind at all, an Unskilled, but Strong, lazy quartz soldier, and a servant previously used as a status symbol. While each are badass in their own right, they don't have the best team chemistry because of their contrasting personalities. It was extremely lucky their fusion was able to pull through in the end.
- In "Laser Light Cannon", Steven manages to get said cannon to destroy the Red Eye... and then pieces of the Red Eye start raining down on Beach City, doing a lot of damage. Though this example is also sort of played for laughs.
- Peridot has been taught for her entire life that fusion is useful only in combat, and that fusion between different types of gems is the ultimate taboo. It takes nearly a month for her to come to accept Garnet as a fusion, and even she backs out of fusing herself when Garnet offers in "Log Date 7-15-2". Deeply-ingrained beliefs like that don't just magically go away. The same goes for Peridot's beliefs regarding Rose Quartz and her own beliefs regarding Earth and the Rebellion, in "It Could've Been Great".
- Peridot's whole redemption arc smacks of this. Her attempt to come clean and tell the Crystal Gems vital information for an Enemy Mine? Initially shot down, the gems bubble her without listening, assuming she is lying due to desperation. Steven goes to talk to her about it anyway? She's maybe willing to work with him, but sees the others as captors she doesn't want to cooperate with. Peridot then assumes she and Steven can handle the Cluster situation on their own, without the Crystal Gems, only for him to shoot that down by pointing out they do need the others. Her prejudices cause instant friction with the group, whether she's being intentionally dismissive with Pearl or trying to become friends with Amethyst but saying the wrong thing. Even after she's pushed to a breaking point by Yellow Diamond refusing to listen to her and not letting her Take a Third Option, siding with the Crystal Gems is not a triumphant moment, but instead leaves her curled up on the ground groaning in distress before having an emotional breakdown afterwards as the gravity of what she did hits her. She later admits in "Gem Drill" that part of her will always miss Homeworld and be sad, even if she's learning to accept things and move on.
- Steven and Connie attempted to take a selfie once. However, Connie kept on missing the button, due to her holding the phone from the backside.
- The Cluster is at the center of the Earth, so when Peridot and Steven drill to it in "Gem Drill", it takes them several hours and at points they go through magma, not just solid dirt/rock.
- When Steven and the Crystal Gems return home for the first time after dealing with the Cluster, one of the first things Steven does is go to the fridge to get some food... only to immediately keel back in disgust when he realizes all of it has spoiled in their absence.
- "Barn Mates" subverts several tropes, such as This Is My Side and Easily Forgiven. When Lapis Lazuli sees a redeemed Peridot as a Crystal Gem with Steven at the barn, she was not happy to see her again at all. When Steven, who told the two Gems that he saw this on an episode of a TV show, tries to divide the place for Lapis Lazuli and Peridot to share half of the barn, Lapis outright refuses and explains to Steven the problem isn't space, but rather being near Peridot herself, because she was the reason she was dragged back to Earth. When Peridot wants to make Lapis see her better self through several attempts, Lapis didn't magically become happy for her in any of these attempts for Peridot's convenience. Only with Steven actually calling her out for this behavior, informing Lapis Lazuli to give Peridot a chance, as she wasn't pretending to be Lapis' friend just to use her again, whom Lapis violently told to leave, without any incident with Peridot, who just walked away without delay, the latter being endangered by a Roaming Eye, and Lapis saving Peridot from said Roaming Eye, does she begin to show actual concern for her.
- It is quite unrealistic for every member of The Empire to be Always Chaotic Evil. Of the Homeworld Gems that have been shown, only a very few, such as Yellow Diamond, have been genuinely evil. Lapis was a civilian who has gone through Hell, Peridot was an indoctrinated civilian who has been lied to her entire life, Centipeetle turns out to have simply been a soldier doing her job with neither anger nor malice towards her enemy, and the entirety of the Quartz crew for the Human Zoo turn out to be just as friendly and playful as their "cousin", Crystal Gem's Amethyst, keeping the inhabited humans under control when something goes wrong by reasoning with them and providing comfort, as well as regularly taking abuse from Holly Blue Agate for their origins from Earth and outright helping the Crystal Gems with their rescue mission. Likewise, it eventually turns out it is equally as unrealistic to expect every member of La Résistance to be Always Lawful Good, with the reveal of Bismuth, who while not evil, had some very extreme and dangerous views and has become unstable to the point of trying to kill her own allies if she must to kill the enemy.
- Steven has always been a Wide-Eyed Idealist, believing that showing an enemy kindness can help them reform and change. While it has worked for Peridot and The Cluster, the second half of Season Three forces Steven to learn that not every enemy can be talked down and will listen to reason (like Bismuth and Eyeball), just because you offer somebody a chance to reform doesn't mean they'll automatically accept it (like Jasper), and while pacifism is an admirable trait, it doesn't always work and some enemies can only be brought down by violence.
- Jasper imprisons a bunch of corrupted Gem monsters to serve as her 'army'. As soon as they're accidentally freed, they all run for the hills because they want nothing to do with her, and when she fuses with one to attack the Crystal Gems, it breaks the fusion and bolts, having been forced into a fusion it didn't want to fight a battle it wanted no part in.
- In the same episode, Peridot tries to use her new metal powers to control metal bars. She can make them wobble, but she can't break them free of the stone they were set in, and given that she was previously shown to be able to control only small things, trying to move something much bigger without much practice likely strained her powers. She only manages to use one as a weapon as a last resort.
- Also, Jasper's fights with Amethyst show that being Unskilled, but Strong can only take you so far, especially fighting an opponent who is not only physically stronger than you, but has years of combat training under her belt.
- Likewise, this episode shows that being indoctrinated to be a soldier from birth can have noticeable, detrimental effects to one's sanity. Jasper, in her very own words, had been fighting since the day she was born and as such, she puts her entire self-worth in her fighting ability. When she's finally defeated and about to be corrupted, she violently and completely rejects Steven's assistance, feeling that she is a failure who truly deserves what she gets.
- As noted by Pearl, while everyone in Beach City knows that the Gems are actual aliens, that doesn't mean that everyone else does, meaning that while Pearl has been on Earth since before cars were even invented, she can't legally obtain a driver's license since no one would believe that she's from another planet or her exaggerated age, and thus can't afford to get pulled over while driving.
- Also, "Gem Harvest" reveals in a throwaway line that because of the above, Greg and Rose couldn't legally marry and had Steven out of wedlock.
- In "Three Gems and a Baby" Greg tells the story of when Steven was first born and how each of them handled it. To put it bluntly: Horrible. Steven being a Half-Human Hybrid meant that no one from either side understood how his biology worked or how to properly take care of him, especially when his Gem starts glowing. This culminated with the Gems kidnapping Steven and Pearl going so far as to almost vivisect Steven in an attempt to get Rose's Gem out of his stomach.
- Throughout the entire series, the Gems have been keeping secrets from Steven because they don't think he's ready to know them, but these have a tendency to reveal themselves at the worst time. Steven finally gets fed up with this in "Steven's Dream" — especially in light of learning that his mother shattered Pink Diamond — and procedes to chew them out for never telling him important things he deserves to know.
- Steven and the Crystal Gems have constantly tricked the Rubies, sent them into the empty void of space, and stolen their ship. In "Room For Ruby", Navy crashlands back onto Earth, and appears to pull a Heel–Face Turn; but it turns out that she was simply taking advantage of Steven's Defeat Means Friendship beliefs so that she can find out where the ship was and steal it back from the Crystal Gems to save her squad. This subverts Easily Forgiven by showing that of course she doesn't want to become friends with the rebels who caused her misery and separated her from her crew.
- Ćon Flux:
- Done with enormous Mood Whiplash in the original pilot. It starts off with Aeon running around shooting faceless goons, making daring escapes, and infiltrating a base to heroic music... then switches to said faceless goons dying in pools of blood and corpses as Aeon runs by shooting at random. Faceless goons proceed to gain faces and tragic deaths, and we're left realizing that we assumed Aeon was the hero for no other reason than the tropes and the music.
- There's quite a few instances where Aeon tries to do something typically action-packed and awesome, only to slip up/do something stupid and get herself killed.
- In one of the original shorts, Aeon is having a shootout with a bunch of mooks, and dispatches all but one of them, who manages to get the drop on her and has her dead-to-rights. Aeon then spreads her legs and licks her lips seductively. The mook realizes what anyone with half a brain would do realistically, that she's seducing him just to make an opening to kill him, and promptly blows her brains out. Not Distracted by the Sexy, indeed.
- Done humorously in a American Dragon: Jake Long episode: one-shot villain Yan-Yan whips out a complex and acrobatic kung fu move she says to have learned at the Shaolin monastery, but she ends up telegraphing her attack to Fu Dog and exposing herself to a simple but very powerful punch.
- The Animaniacs short "Little Old Slappy from Pasadena" had Slappy Squirrel race her car through town at an enormous speed, causing indirect inconvenience to some of the passersby. At the end of the short, Slappy ends up surrounded by a bunch of cops ready to arrest her for exceeding the speed limit and being a public nuisance.
- An episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force parodied the superhero genre, and had Master Shake expose himself to radioactive waste in order to give himself superpowers. The plan fails, and instead he just gets radiation poisoning. Throughout the episode, you can see his condition gradually worsening.
- Avatar: The Last Airbender:
- After two episodes of turmoil, Aang finally unleashes his Avatar State. The assaulted army stops, watching in awe as the Avatar prepares to unleash his spiritual wrath upon them—and then he gets shot down immediately. With Azula, transformation is NOT a free action.
- "The Firebending Masters" subverts Durable Deathtrap by revealing that the Sun Warrior civilization still exists, and that they were maintaining and resetting the traps.
- In "Sokka's Master", Aang tries on a ridiculously oversized suit of Scary Impractical Armor. He can't even move in it, falling over after a single step.
- In "Bitter Work", Aang is having trouble learning Earthbending, and Toph is being incredibly hard on him. Meanwhile, Sokka gets stuck into a hole, and is waiting to be rescued. When Aang finally passes the test Toph gives him and earns her respect, he finds Sokka in the hole. With his newfound Earthbending skills, he steps up to plate... and Toph stops him, and says that if he tried, he'd probably break Sokka's neck by accident. She then gets him out. Just because you passed the test, doesn't mean that you're an Instant Expert.
- In "The Siege of the North", Chief Arnook comes up with a plan to infiltrate the Fire Navy by using old Fire Navy uniforms... and Sokka points out that the Fire Navy has updated its wardrobe in the 85 years since the Water Tribe got the uniforms.
- In Batman: Gotham Knight, when Batman tries to close the range on Deadshot by charging, Deadshot doesn't suddenly become a graduate of the Imperial Stormtrooper Marksmanship Academy. Deadshot promptly lampshades the stupidity of trying to charge at a gunman.
- Megatron in Beast Wars is a Combat Pragmatist, and he'll do anything if it means his goals are met.
- When his plan to simply kill off the proto-humans fails and he later finds the Decepticon battleship Nemesis, the first thing he does with it is try to blow all proto-humans off the face of the Earth. Even when Dinobot II tries to tell him that it's an overkill to use giant ship-to-ship lasers to kill a primitive tribe of organics, Megatron pretends to consider it for a second, and then pushes the button anyway.
- Reality ensues again when after spending half the episode shooting anything that moves, Megatron loses everything when he doesn't have the energy for a shot when he actually needs it.
- A scene seemingly parodying the one from Raiders of the Lost Ark: Optimus is going all over the place showing off his sword moves, and Megatron just shoots him.
- In an episode of Ben 10, Grandpa Max and Enoch are both seeking an ancient superweapon. When Enoch gets the MacGuffin and grabs it, it comes apart in his hands. As it turns out, ancient artifacts are not always in the best condition.
- Ben 10: Alien Force: the Highbreed in the first two seasons are despicted as essentially alien nazis: a Master Race who see themselves as pure, consider every single other species in the Universe as impure and are obsessed with preserving ther purity. In the finale, it's revealed the multiple generations of inbreeding caused by this way of thinking ended up making them progressively weaker, more vulnerable to sickness and eventually sterile.
- On Clone High, Skunkie-Poo's acts of violence against Scudworth using such cartoon staples as dynamite and an anvil, while non-fatal, cause otherwise serious and extremely painful injuries.
- In Dan Vs. "The Parents", Dan engages in an epic fight with the hippies to save the kid he bonded with from being adopted by them. Then the adoption agency lady arrives with a cop and tells him that his background check disqualifies him from adopting the kid. Dan lets the kid go back to the hippies, but not before making him promise to steal from them at every possible opportunity.
- Daria: Daria and Tom get into college at schools in two different towns, and after she tells him that they won't be going to the same college, she adds that she thinks they should break up. Tom objects, saying that their colleges aren't that far away so they can still see each other. But Daria points out that their relationship is already stressful for both of them since they're from two different worlds and have virtually nothing in common; being so far apart and only seeing each other occasionally will just make the strain worse. Tom concedes the point and they part on friendly terms.
- In "Jane's Addition", Jane meets Tom and starts dating him. Daria reacts badly to this, because Jane's the only real friend she's ever had and she dislikes how she and Jane suddenly aren't spending as much time together and how Tom occasionally ends up intruding on what time they do have. It takes a while for her to warm up to him- a full season, in fact- and because Tom also warms up to her, Jane concludes that they're interested in each other and things just get worse. The resulting fight nearly destroys their friendship, and not only is it not resolved by the end of the episode, it's only fixed at the end of Is It Fall Yet?
- Kevin's incompetence throughout the series has proven quite remarkable. He can't solve basic math problems, and as a high school senior, flunked a social studies test that was intended for first graders (all he had to do was list the colors of the American flag. He wrote down "yellow"). It's mentioned that the only reason he had gotten so far in school was due to the fact that he was an incredible football player, and teachers would simply pass him so he could stay off academic probation and play on the team. The series finale reveals that even that won't always save him, and he ends up flunking his senior year while everyone else graduates.
- In Detentionaire, every time a character tries to do a Paper-Thin Disguise, they always try their best to turn peoples' attention away from it by telling typical lies, such as "This person is my cousin" and the like. The result? Everyone around them sees through the horrible disguise in mere seconds, and the plan backfires as a result. Notably, obvious disguises never work out in the show and it's only when a character actually puts a lot of effort into changing appearances and voice do they get away with it. But even then, it doesn't fool everyone for long once they slip up.
- Dexter's Laboratory:
- In the episode "Tuber Time" Dexter discovers that potatoes can generate electricity and plans to power up his lab, but discovers that a single potato can only generate a small amount of electricity. So he buys potatoes from grocery stores and fast food places just to name a few by the truckloads. The large amounts of spuds did power up his lab... for about a day, as the potatoes go rancid and rotten over time, and Dexter's lab was left with a pile of spoiled mush. Instead of giving up on the idea, though, he just creates a giant super potato in space so that it would stay frozen and not spoil.
- In another episode Dexter invents a machine that can speed himself up to give him more time in the morning to go about his routines. He rather quickly finds out that while he's sped up, nothing else is. The water from the shower is traveling at a snail's pace. The toaster is still cooking the toast at its normal time, and he can't finish his homework because moving at such high speeds causes extreme friction burn that sets his homework on fire.
- In the Donkey Kong Country cartoon, anyone with a gun, even if the gun in question is a miniature cannon that you can hold in your hand, is treated as a real and serious threat.
- This is the premise of the show Dragons: Riders of Berk, Sequel Series to the film How to Train Your Dragon, as the Vikings learn how to live with big, fire-breathing creatures with no sense of the boundaries they should respect. Dealing with problems caused by the new status quo is at the center of a number of plots in the first part of the series.
- Drawn Together: Toot Braunstein is known for subverting Acrofatic, demonstrating how pathetic a grotesquely out-of-shape person really would be. In "Mexican't Buy Me Love", she attempts Wheel of Feet, even uttering a Road Runner-like "BEEP-BEEP!" — and collapses on the road one second later, completely out of breath. She also performs some lunges and squats while wearing her tight dress — and we hear the sound of said dress quietly ripping. On the other hand, Toot's weight problem is also often exaggerated for humor, such as when she is literally depicted as Jabba the Hutt.
- In one episode of DuckTales, Huey, Dewie, and Louie discover a way to make more money by using a duplication machine invented by Gyro. The boys eventually found out the hard way that the duplicated money caused an inflation to the economy to the point that even the cheapest items costs millions of dollars.
- Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy:
- In "No Speak Da Ed", Eddy's Korean pen pal sends him an envelope full of money, but of course the money is also Korean, so when Eddy tries to use it to buy jawbreakers the store owner kicks him out.
- The beginning of The Big Picture Show deconstructs when their scams go awry, with nearly every kid in the Cul-De-Sac out for their blood. Near the end of the film, it turns out that living with a bully of a brother made Eddy who he is.
- In the aliens attack special, all the kids settled their differences aside to prepare themselves for the invasion. But Ed, despite being a B-Movie fan and comics is still just a Jr High student, is scared out of his wits when he thought the invasion was real, and panicked at the last moment. Speaking of just a kid, the kids themselves are woefully unprepared for the invasion and preparing for the last minute with Bamboo Technology without testing and training, made it a complete disaster.
- In The Emperor's New School episode "Unfit to Print", Kuzco attempts to land a rocket on the Sun, and his Kuzco's Doodles segment for the episode depicts him surviving with no problems and dancing with a giant sun woman. Malina then takes over and changes it to Malina's Doodles, where she depicts Kuzco turning to ash immediately upon entering its exosphere.
- In Frisky Dingo, Killface and Xander run against each other for presidency for most of the second season before it's pointed out that neither of them are eligible, as Killface wasn't born in the US and Xander is under 35.
- A group of animal rights activists are protesting the consumption of animals. Leela accurately points out to them that animals eat other animals. One of the protesters tries to counter that saying they taught a lion to eat tofu. The camera then pans over to reveal a very sickly looking lion.
- In one episode, Leela's parents fall out and separate, so her father decides to pursue his youthful dream of surfing the world's greatest sewers. Leela gets Bender and Fry a man with a one-thousand year old immune system to accompany him. Later in the episode, Fry is seen getting endless shots from a pile of syringes to combat the huge array of diseases he caught in the sewers.
- In "The Birdbot of Ice-Catraz", the animal rights activists form a human chain around the Planet Express spaceship to try and prevent it from leaving with its cargo of dark matter. The ship just flies right over the protesters.
Leela: When you were planning this peace ring, didn't you realize spaceships can move in three dimensions?
Free Waterfall Sr.: No, I did not.
- The eponymous heroes always have to explain to their human allies that they can't actually fly; they can only glide, meaning there are often situations where their wings are of no use, like falling into pits and having to climb out.
- In one episode, Broadway accidentally shoots Elisa. You'd think she'd be fully recovered by the next episode, but she spends the next episode on crutches (she's fully recovered in the episode after that after the Gargoyles move into the clock tower above the police station she works on). It truly drives home how dangerous guns can be.
- In an episode of Green Lantern: The Animated Series, Hal and Kilowog try to pose as a pair of Atrocitus' guards. The problem is, once they knock out some guards and steal their uniforms, they realize that the armor was meant for average humanoids, not the super-burly Kilowog. Another group of Atrocitus' men happen by and catch Kilowog struggling in vain to cram himself into the armor.
- Hey Arnold!
- When Arnold and Gerald go to a baseball game, they only have enough money for the tickets, until they buy some tickets half-price from a scalper. They buy the cheap tickets, overload on merchandise... and when they get to their seats, they're an obstructed view, and in the worst part of the park.
- In one short from House of Mouse, Ludwig von Drake demonstrates his latest invention: a "Money Increaser" that prints out dollar bills. But then he soon gets arrested for counterfeiting.
- Inspector Gadget: As the title character found out the hard way in his backstory, slipping on a Banana Peel is extremely dangerous, and in his case, the injuries were so severe he had to be transformed into a cyborg afterwards.
- Early on in the second season of Jackie Chan Adventures, the bad guys are distributing the Talismans among each other. Finn gets both the talisman that bestows Immortality and the one that gives its user a Healing Factor. Feeling that healing is redundant to an immortal, he trades it to one of his fellows for a different talisman. In the ensuing Traintop Battle, Finn ends up getting slammed into a mountainside at top speed. Being immortal, he survives the blow... and is completely sidelined for the rest of the fight and is unable to do anything other than pathetically whimper that "immortality hurts."
- The arc of the third season involved the talismans being destroyed, and their powers being transferred to the noblest animals across the world. At the end, Jade learns that the plan is not to keep them, but to remove their powers and return them to where they were found. As Jackie notes, several of the animals do have owners (or at the very least, natural habitats).
- One episode of Jem involves Jerrica as a candidate for winning an Oscar. She's the protagonist so she has to win, right? The opposite is what really happened. The award goes to an older, more experienced actress instead. Jerrica has no formal training in acting; she's a singer and businesswoman before anything else.
- In Justice League: Crisis on Two Earths, the Badass Normal or low-powered heroes like Batman or Black Canary are shown struggling against the super-powered villains. On the flip side, the Flash easily takes down Black Canary's evil counterpart with one hit.
- In the Justice League Unlimited episode "The Great Brain Robbery", Lex Luthor and The Flash end up switching bodies. While stuck in the Flash's body, Luthor takes the opportunity to find out his secret identity. He goes to the bathroom, stands in front of a mirror, takes off his mask... and has no idea who he's looking at. Even the DVD Commentary lampshades this, with the creators saying that they wanted to do this joke for a while since not even criminal super geniuses like Luthor would know everyone in the world. And not every superhero's civilian identity is going to be famous like Bruce Wayne or Clark Kent.
- When Batman confronts Cadmus for its clandestine nature and ethically questionable methods, he tells her that they are watching them. This threat is turned on its head when Amanda Waller tells Batman that the reason Cadmus exists is because of the Justice League. The government had every reason to fear the Justice League: from the giant orbiting death laser capable of destroying any target on Earth, to the massive army of super powered heroes, and the fact that in one universe the Justice League assassinated the democratically elected president while the government couldn't do a damn thing. It's nice and dandy to trust the Justice League but if on some flip of a coin the Justice League went rogue, the government calculated that their chance of defeating the League was zero. While Cadmus does incredibly questionable things, historically speaking the Government has a track record of doing such things if it means that they have a chance at defeating an enemy that presents a real threat. Just because of the superhero setting of the show exists, does not mean that the government will simply sit on the sidelines while men who can easily annihilate regular humans with ease roam free. This argument leaves even the Batman stunned and deeply affects his mentality about the purpose of the Justice League, it's not just a one episode thing either. The rest of the season is peppered with Batman's doubts on the function of the League, and even later agrees with Waller's assessment that human governments have every right to be afraid of the Justice League.
- Throughout season 2, Superman becomes increasingly paranoid as a seemingly reformed Lex Luthor's presidential campaign gains steam. Superman might be The Cape, but he isn't going to forgive and trust someone who spent years and millions of dollars trying to kill him, and watching that man get closer to the White House is going to be stressful to say the least. His conflict with the more idealistic Captain Marvel over the matter eventually results in them coming to blows, and the two Flying Bricks lay waste to an entire city block between them. Also, the fight is pretty even until Superman manages to push Captain Marvel into the path of his own lightning bolt, reverting him to Billy Batson, Billy shouts "Shaza-", only for Superman to simply cover his mouth and say "Fight's over son".
- Shayera isn't exactly Easily Forgiven about being a mole for the Thanagarians. Sure she had no idea they had planned to destroy Earth, and alerted the rest of the League upon finding out, but after the battle, everyone was left to wonder if she could ever be trusted again. It was ultimately put to a vote whether or not she could stay in the League, and while she was welcomed back, it wasn't a popular decision. Many people saw her as a traitor. Batman noted of quite a few "I Hate Hawkgirl" websites all over the internet. Even in the League itself, there were a few people who still didn't trust her, notably Wonder Woman, who especially felt betrayed and held a grudge against her for some time. While the two of them did finally learn to overcome it and work together without being at odds, they never fully became friends again.
- Kaeloo: Almost every time something unrealistically nice is about to happen on this Sadist Show, it will be cut short. For example, one episode has Stumpy try to get a girlfriend on Fakebook (parody of Facebook), with no luck. When he finally does meet a potential match, the person asks for his bank account details (which he gives out) and said person steals all his money.
- Kim Possible:
- There are repeated subversions of Offscreen Villain Dark Matter, showing all the things that a world full of supervillains would need, like expos advertising the latest Doomsday Devices and Death Traps, magazines for aspiring supervillains, and even Hench Co, for all your henchman needs. Drakken, perpetual failure that he is, is constantly strapped for cash and when he can't just get Shego to steal things for him he struggles to get basic supplies; at one point he had to resort to a time-shared lair.
- In the "Fearless Ferret" episode, Ron takes the mantle of the retired TV superhero (voiced by Adam West himself). Not only was Kim not fooled and saw Ron through his disguise, but Ron wasn't trained to fight crime or put any effort to act differently at all. And even if Ron did, Kim knows Ron from childhood, and it wouldn't made any difference.
- In one episode, Ron pleads with two kidnapped scientists how to stop a group of rampaging robots. One of them explained that they're both astrophysicists and don't know anything about robotics. It's pretty jarring when almost every scientist is an Omnidisciplinary Scientist. A funnier example similar to that happens in another episode, when Jim and Tim asked their dad if he can fix their TV (Who's a rocket scientist) Mr. Dr. Possible said he can send it to orbit, but doubts it will work.
- In the episode that introduced Dementor, Kim is surprised she didn't hear about his act of villainy in the beginning of the episode (she stumbled upon him whilst tracking Drakken). Wade explains that authorities are investigating... they just thought they didn't need Kim's help.
- A common plot in the late 90s animation was a run-in with the Department of Child Disservices where a set of coincidences convinces the social worker that the family's children are being abused. King of the Hill uses this plot for its pilot, then subverts it by having the social worker get chewed out by his boss and Reassigned to Antarctica for jumping to conclusions, and nearly having Bobby taken away from a very obviously loving family. It turns out all of the "evidence" the social worker had was circumstantial anyway, and could have cleared up everything if he had just talked to Bobby's Little League coach.
- The Looney Tunes Show:
- Yosemite Sam can't carry his pistols anymore due to gun control laws.
- In "Semper Lie", when Bugs tries to hurry Speedy to make Porky's pizza faster, Speedy angrily tells Bugs that just because he can move fast doesn't mean that his pizza oven is fast.
- Mighty Max: In one episode, a barbarian has recently rampaged through a village, killing everyone. Max the Kid Hero goes inside a house to check the carnage and immediately hops out, vomiting. He's seen gore all the time on television, but realizes it didn't prepare him for this.
- In Mike Tyson Mysteries, in the episode "Is Magic Real?", when a professional gambler needs one million dollars to participate in a poker game, Mike Tyson, despite being a famous retired boxer, doesn't have that type of money and he even points out that him going to far places to solve mysteries for free is not profitable to him.
- Moral Orel:
Nurse Bendy: We all need people who aren't mean to me, or that act like they only care about doing... dirty, awful things to you. We need family because they care that I'm a real person who has thoughts of sadness, sometimes, along with happy thoughts or... scared, or aloneness thoughts.
- The episode "Alone" show what kind of psychological damage the town bicycle might have after years upon years of being used and abused sexually. And this was after her earlier characterization as a Hospital Hottie.
- One of the major themes that develops as the show starts to veer into Cerebus Syndrome is that no town is so saccharine and perfect. The citizens forcing themselves to be Stepford Smilers and give off the appearance of a Stepford Suburbia has made nearly every single person in the town incredibly screwed up in various ways.
- Clay and Bloberta both hate each other with a burning passion, but refused to get a divorce out of the embarrassment it would cause, since the whole town is very religious. But their constant arguing and obvious denial makes it hard for the whole town to ignore it.
- Phineas and Ferb:
- In the pilot episode "Rollercoaster", Dr. Doofenshmirtz' plan is to cover the entire Tri-State Area in tin foil, and then, using a high-powered magnet, use the tin foil to pull the Earth, reversing its rotation. He activates the magnet, which starts pulling on the tin foil... and instantly rips it all off the buildings it was covering, sending a massive tin foil ball heading his way.
- Pinky and the Brain:
- In one episode, Brain's plan was to become the most beloved children's television character in the world, then freeze himself and Pinky until his fanbase had become adults and were in positions of power. Once they are, Pinky and the Brain (or "Big Ears" and "Noodle Noggin" as they had dubbed themselves) would have their fans help them take over the world. At the height of their popularity, Brain announced that they were leaving the show, shocking all their fans. They then freeze themselves until the appointed time as planned, go to a broadcasting station, and summon their now-adult fans to come to them. Their fans come to them alright... and they're mad at them for leaving when they did, as it seems that doing so traumatized their fans and caused them to develop some deep emotional scars that have affected them into adulthood. Their fan base demand that Pinky and the Brain pay for all of their therapy bills, then proceed to chase them.
- In another episode, Brain planned to become the Arts and Crafts counselor at "Camp Davey", a summer camp for the world leaders' children. He plans to have the world leaders' children make pencil holders embedded with mind control devices that he can use to manipulate the world leaders into making him ruler of the world. When they get there, Brain finds he's stuck at the bottom of the chain of command since he just showed up. Brain decides to eliminate all the counselors ranked above him one by one. However, by the time he's ready to become the Arts and Crafts counselor, it's time for the world leaders' children to go home. Brain leaves the camp with Pinky, disappointed that he couldn't implement his plan. On his way out, however, he runs into all the former counselors he eliminated, who proceed to chase after him and Pinky.
- In yet another episode, Brain decides to increase the masses' intelligence so that they realize that having him rule the world is best for everyone. This leads to the restaurant patrons he tested his machine on to realize Brain is a mouse and call the exterminator.
- In another episode, Brain hatches an elaborate plan to break into Fort Knox and steal the gold located there. While they do manage to get in, gold is very heavy and they're both mice. They can't pick up a single gold bar.
- Just about every episode Popeye eats his spinach to defeat Bluto. In at least one cartoon, Bluto cuts Popeye off from spinach and proceeds to utterly kick Popeye's ass just as you'd expect given the size difference between the two.
- In one cartoon Popeye gets into a fight soon after donating blood. He loses the fight because of the handicap.
- The Powerpuff Girls:
Mayor: Let me tell you some words. At what point did it seem like a good idea to blow up the Citiesville Bridge?
- A rather jarring example when, after moving into the gritty, more realistic Citiesville, the girls' attempts to fit in are all met with either laughter or cold dismissal. The final straw was when the mayor of Citiesville called them in after they had stopped some bank robbers - not to congratulate the girls, but for blowing up a bridge to stop their getaway:
Mayor: NO! Do you realize the two crooks that you caught stole approximately four hundred dollars? Do you realize that you did over three MILLION dollars in property damage to that bridge?! IT'S NOT REPLACEABLE!
- When Rainbow the Clown suffered an accident that turned him into the sound-and-color-hating "Mr. Mime." He almost succeeds in turning Townsville into a silent, monochromatic wasteland, but the girls set everything right with The Power of Rock. Rainbow's mind is freed from the evil and he thanks the girls for saving him - at which point they beat the tar out of him and have him carted off to jail, because... well... he kinda attacked a lot of people, including the girls.
- The same thing happens in another episode. One of the Gangreen Gang joins the Powerpuff Girls hoping to later betray them. He later puts them on train tracks, only to remember how nice they were and pushes them off. He still gets his ass kicked, since Becoming the Mask does not mean you are easily forgiven.
- In an early episode, three criminals successfully frame the girls using a Paper-Thin Disguise, and the Mayor mistakenly has the real girls arrested. The girls break out of prison, defeat their imposters, and prove their innocence, but since breaking out of prison is still a crime, the actual Powerpuff Girls wind up immediately getting arrested again.
- Rick and Morty, to quote Pan-Pizza from Rebel Taxi:
"The style of humor in this show is getting a cliché or something cartoony and giving it real-world consequences. Example: A freeze ray anywhere else would stop a person in place; in Rick and Morty, if someone tips a frozen person over, they're dead.
- The sequel to Rugrats, All Grown Up!, subverts the common cliché in fiction that personalities stay mostly stationary your entire life (Character Development aside). For example, Tommy lost most of the courageous, adventure-loving attitude he had as a baby.
- The Spectacular Spider-Man:
- During Tombstone and Spidey's first tête-à-tête confrontation, the crime boss offers Spider-Man a chance to work for him. Spider-Man refuses and calls him out to "finish this". "Very well," sighs Tombstone... and then calls the cops and accuses Spidey of invading his personal space, attacking his guards and threatening him.
- His fight against Sandman and Rhino, where Spidey uses Rhino's weight against him. rather than fighting him directly.
- Speaking of the Rhino, Peter attempted to use the old cartoon cliche of knocking over a shelf and tripping him with the contents. Rhino just steps on them. Spidey even lampshades it.
Spidey: Television can so not be trusted.
- Also, while Rhino's armored skin protects him from harm, it also prevents his skin from perspiring (He can't sweat), turning his armor into a virtual oven. Thus, during his first fight with Spidey, he has to constantly stop for a drink of water. Spidey ultimately defeats him by luring him away from any water and using the sewer's steam pipes to beat him.
- When Spider-Man decides to make picture of himself being heroic to sell to Daily Bugle, it turns out shooting fast-paced action with an amateur camera is very hard, especially when the photographer is a part of the action. Peter blows through a lot of utterly unwatchable pics, before he can produce some half-decent ones, and even then. the editor admonishes him for the sub-par quality and advises him to invest in a better camera.
- In an episode of Spider-Man: The Animated Series, a disfigured former actress plans to kidnap Mary Jane and use a device to transfer her mind into Mary Jane's young and beautiful body. Despite Spider-Man's best efforts, she succeeds... but then the device does nothing. Mysterio tells her that what she wanted was scientifically impossible.
- SpongeBob SquarePants is a show that typically plays fast and loose with logic and realism, so it can be particularly jarring when it suddenly decides to follow the rules it so often disregards.
- Case in point: in one episode, Sandy Cheeks is dared to eat a Krabby Patty in one bite. She takes the patty, opens her mouth wide, and splatters it all over her diving helmet.
- Plankton turns Krabs into a baby, but still needs SpongeBob's help to get the door to the Krusty Krab open. While SpongeBob reaches for the door with the key, Plankton gloats about his plan in a close-up, then the camera pulls back to show that Spongebob heard the whole thing, on account of him being about a foot away, and the yellow fry cook promptly yells for the police.
- When Patchy the Pirate decides to throw a party, he sends some invitations for SpongeBob and Patrick. However when they do receive them, they can't read it because the ink smeared underwater. Then they decide to throw the invitations into a fire.
- The episode "To Love a Patty" features SpongeBob falling in love with a patty and refuses to let anyone eat it. By the end of the episode, the patty became completely rotten.
- Star Wars: The Clone Wars
- Sometimes, clone troopers are seen attacking battle droids bare-handed when either in close-quarters or they are out of ammo, but will end up spraining their hands doing so and then in worst-case scenarios, getting shot.
- Predating The Force Awakens, a few episodes in Season 2 and 3 show that using a lightsaber is not the same as knowing how to fight with one.
- "Holocron Heist" has the Clawdite Bounty Hunter Cato Parasiti infiltrate the Jedi Temple to help Cad Bane steal a holocron. When Ahsoka comes across her she's disguised as Jedi librarian Jocasta Nu, and they get into a lightsaber fight. However, as noted by one of the episode documentaries, Cato's put on the defensive due to her lack of experience with a lightsaber and is trying to avoid accidentally cutting herself. The fight ends when Ahsoka Force-pulls a chair into her path and trips her over, something a Jedi would be able to reflexively avoid.
- In "Lightsaber Lost", Ahsoka loses her lightsaber to a pickpocket, and eventually circulates into the hands of killers. The last person to get the lightsaber, Cassie Cryar, has trouble knowing how to turn it on until partway through the Chase Scene. Even further, when another Jedi, Tera Sinube — a seemingly slow and kooky old man — ambushes her, he manages to knock the stolen lightsaber out of her hand with ease.
- Cad Bane is one of the deadliest non-Force-sensitives on the show. However, at the end of "Hunt for Ziro", during a duel with Obi-Wan Kenobi and Quinlan Vos, he manages to get a hold of the latter's lightsaber, but only gets to wield it for a seconds before getting knocked out of his hand. Being a Badass Normal doesn't make one an Instant Expert with every weapon they get their hands on.
- The series occasionally uses the Air-Vent Passageway trope, but two particular instances demonstrate that air vents are air vents first and not always meant to be crawled through.
- In "The Citadel", the infiltration team has their originally intended entrance into the titular fortress blocked by a shield. Ahsoka points out the airvent, but Anakin points that the adults are too big fit through it. Ahsoka, a girl in her mid-teens, isn't too big to fit through, but just barely and she has a little trouble moving through it.
- The second story reel of the unaired Utapau arc, "In Search of the Crystal", has Anakin and Obi-Wan aboard the ship of Sugi Arms Dealers, who then receive orders from Count Dooku to kill the Jedi. Anakin tries the usual idea of having him and Obi-Wan escape through the air vents, but not only do the Sugi simply shoot into the ducts, the ducts are cramped enough that the two Jedi have to use the Force to move each other around.
- In the Umbara arc's second episode, "The General", Fives and Hardcase hijack some Umbaran starfighters to use against the enemy. However, neither of them are trained pilots (not mention they are working with non-standard alien technology) and end up flying them out of control, only seizing victory for the 501st out of sheer luck. Next episode, Hardcase figures out the controls for the fighters in depth, but not without some massive trial-and-error that causes some damage in the hangar (and keeps them from officially being allowed to carry out an attack against a supply ship delivering long-range missiles).
- In "Massacre", the Nightsisters attempt to battle General Grievous and his droid battalion (robots who are wielding guns and tanks) using spears, bows, and their fists. Instead of gaining a totally badass underdog victory, they all get slaughtered, with the droids just shooting them to death when charged at or using artillery to attack from a distance. Things seem to be going well for the Nightsisters when they receive support from an army of undead Nightsisters and they destroy the Defoliator (the artillery), but things go back to square-one for them once Grievous kills the necromancer.
- Star Wars Rebels:
- In "Fire Across the Galaxy", the Ghost crew manage to get a signal and major victory that leads to more sympathy to the Rebel cause from the populace of the Lothal system. When we cut back to Lothal in season two, it's revealed that this backfired, since without any solid organization or structure the encouragement of rebellion just led to more violence, terrorism, and instability in the system. This in-turn leads to the Empire dedicating more military presence to Lothal and controlling things even more tightly than they were before, as the region has become dangerously unstable.
- Kanan never formally finished his training, as Order 66 occurred when he was still an apprentice. When he fights Darth Vader in "The Siege of Lothal", a Curb-Stomp Battle ensues that demonstrates the vast, almost laughable power level difference between the two men. A similar situation occurs when he faces Maul in "Twilight of the Apprentice", with Kanan only managing to win by surprising Maul after having been written off as a real threat due to his blindness.
- And shortly after beating Maul in his blindness, Kanan has to ask Ezra and Chopper for help getting around. Despite pooling all his Force talents to beat a former Sith, he's still in a reduced state.
- At the end of "Visions and Voices", Maul discovers that Obi-Wan Kenobi is still alive, on Tatooine, living in the desert. When we see him again in "Twin Suns", he's been on Tatooine for months, and has yet to find Obi-Wan because Tatooine is all desert.
- Also from "Twin Suns": When Obi-Wan and Maul finally duel, Obi-Wan wins in three strikes because Maul has been physically and mentally deteriorating in the desert for months, and is thus in far worse shape.
- At the end of "An Inside Man", Grand Admiral Thrawn, newly made aware that there is a traitor in the Imperial remarks, implies that he already knows it's Agent Kallus. The later episode "Through Imperial Eyes", however, shows that while Kallus was definitely one of Thrawn's top suspects, Thrawn is not omniscient and cannot go around using theories based on mere suspicion alone, as he would get in trouble with his superiors and may be detrimental to his plans.
- Stroker and Hoop:
- One time, the heroes hide from the suspect on the slanted ceiling, he walks in, sits at his desk, and calls for security to get them out of his office.
- A Bad Boss keeps killing his ninja mooks for random failures, only to find that he killed all of them by the time the heroes showed up.
- Hoop and his ninja girlfriend fight, jumping high like the wire-work in Wuxia films, and fighting on the vertical face of a building, right up until Stroker just shoots her in the back from the ground.
- In one episode Stroker solves the whole "Which is the real one" cliché just like you would expect someone to in Real Life: he just incapacitates both people so that the good guys can figure out which is which at their leisure, without having to worry about making a mistake (and still screwed it up).
- In one episode, Stroker is attempting to sneak into a facility. He knocks out the guards outside the building, and proceeds to sneak past the security guard who watches the security monitors. The security guard asks who he is, so Stroker disguises his voice in hopes of fooling him. However, the security guard reveals he was messing with Stroker, and watched him knock out the guys on the security monitors. Stroker was apparently counting on him to be asleep on the job. The security guard responds by saying he just really likes his job.
- One episode has Stroker and Hoop mug two camera men for a disguise, with Stroker breaking a bottle on one guy's head, with the other freaking out, when the first man no longer moves. He convinces them not to knock him out (and possibly give him a concussion), by pretending to be unconscious. The two proceed to waste a lot of time getting the guys out of their clothes (with the conscious guy having to loosen his belt), and Hoop insisting on putting on one's underwear. The guy they're supposed to spy on gets mad when his "Camera Crew" turn up almost an hour late.
- In the episode "Just Voodoo It (a.k.a. For Whom The Bear Tolls)", before going into a fight against zombies, Double-Wide wires C.A.R.R.'s AI to a shotgun mounted on a helmet that Double-Wide wears to the fight. As soon as C.A.R.R. starts shooting, Double-Wide realizes the drawback. Namely, the kickback from the shotgun causes Double-Wide's head to snap back hard, injuring his neck. Near the end of the episode, Double-Wide is seen in a neck-brace.
- Sym-Bionic Titan fights the first Monster of the Week in the city and causes major damage. For the rest of the series, the city is shown being rebuilt, while the team tries to draw away future monsters out to the country where they're less likely to do harm.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1987):
Donatello: Look's like we're out of fuel.Michelangelo: Well what sort of juice does this crate take?Donatello: Uh, plutonium, I think.
- In their first battle on the Technodrome, the Turtles immediately realize that they were trained to fight people, not exotic combat machines.
- Episode 5:
- The episode is the fifth part of the original miniseries. The destruction caused in the previous episodes, which culminated in Manhattan almost being destroyed, has put the turtles in the military's cross-hairs. Raphael even states that April has to reveal them to the world to keep the authorities from interfering in the final battle. Even in the aftermath, April comments in her news broadcast that public opinion is divided.
- In episode 2, Krang suggests using animals stronger than normal rats and turtles to make more powerful mutants. While Dumb Muscle, Bebop and Rocksteady are a credible threat, to the point that the turtles don't fight the two head-on and rely on out-smarting them.
- The turtles try and use a car the Neutrinos left behind in the previous episode, which runs out of fuel seconds after take-off. Not even Donatello can figure out what's wrong with the flying machine from another dimension.
- In one episode, a race of aliens have machines that can create gold, but only use it for building material as they absorb nutrients from gold-reflected light. The aliens want to move to Earth, but the turtles realize that their gold-makers would wreck havoc on the economy.
- Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2003):
- During one fight with the Foot Clan, Donatello attempts to emulate a scene from The Matrix Reloaded by doing a spinning kick around a virtual wall of Foot Ninja using his bo staff as leverage. The only thing that happens is him embarrassingly falling right to the ground.
- The Teen Titans Very Special Episode "Troq" is surprisingly realistic about the nature of racism. Alien superhero Val-Yor befriends everyone on the team except Starfire, since he's horribly racist against Tamaranians, and calls her "troq" when he acknowledges her at all. Despite his disrespect, she saves his life in the episode's climax. In other cartoons, this would be where the former bigot learns the error of his ways and does a complete Heel–Face Turn. Instead, Val-Yor says she's "one of the good ones". The other Titans quickly call him out on his backhanded compliment, and when he remains unrepentant, they tell him to leave. The episode ends with Starfire explaining that most bigots aren't going to just change overnight, and that she'd rather value her friends' kindness than hope to be validated by some racist jackass.
- ThunderCats (2011) shows what happens when a civilization in Medieval Stasis armed with swords, shields, arrows and the occasional sorcery goes up against a Higher-Tech Species armed with laser weapons, tanks, and rockets. Thundera gets absolutely slaughtered in one night.
- In the Tiny Toon Adventures short "Sticky Fingers Duck" (contained in the episode "Best O' Plucky Duck Day"), Plucky and Hampton shop-lift an ACME Super-Duper Munch & Crunch candy bar (with almonds) from a convenience store (having blown their funds on arcade games). However, guilt gets the better of them and they quickly return the candy bar to the store. Upon returning the candy bar, the clerk present applauds Plucky and Hampton for their honesty, causing Plucky to wonder if the employee will let them keep the candy bar as a reward for being honest. Not so; ultimately, the clerk threatens to call the police on the boys if they show up to pull something like that again.
- The Tom and Jerry short, Sorry Safari features Tom getting punished by his hotheaded owner by wrapping the gun around Tom's head and firing it. This results him him going temporarily deaf. It is pretty jarring where Amusing Injuries doesn't come to play in a cartoon like Tom and Jerry.
- Sadistic reality show host Chris McLean from the Total Drama series pulls off a lot of insanely dangerous stunts with no repercussions, since nobody is ever permanently harmed (well, maybe a few). He takes it to a new level in Revenge of the Island, though, dumping tons of biohazardous waste on the island, and bragging about it—on live TV, remember. At the end of the season, authorities wait until the contestants are safe, then arrest him for creating a hazardous environment.
- During the All-Stars season, Duncan, in a bid to regain his bad boy rep, blows up Chris' opulent "cottage". He's not only eliminated, but also arrested. Duncan assumes he's going back to Juvenile Hall, but for what amounts to an act of terrorism, Chris has him sent to "Big Boy Jail".
- In the first episode of Transformers Animated, Starscream manages to throw Megatron through a black hole and assume leadership of the Decepticons. The Decepticons basically flounder for decades under his incompetent leadership, and Megatron's first act upon returning is to immediately kill him.
- The Venture Bros., in keeping with the show's Deconstruction of Jet-Age Boy Adventurer stories.
- In the episode "Ice Station Impossible," where Doctor Impossible flies Doctor Venture out onto the tundra to kill him. Impossible is actually gloating and telling Venture exactly what he's planning to do along the way, but since they're in an Expy of the Fantasticar, complete with open cockpits, Rusty literally can't hear a damn thing, due to the ambient wind noise.
- In "Tag Sale, You're It!", one of the devices Rusty is selling in the titular sale is a prototype Laser Blade. As he explains, he canned the project because the Army has no use for melee weapons and toy companies aren't interested in something that costs over two million in parts alone. It's also completely useless as an actual weapon. The blade is a beam of light, so it doesn't behave like a solid object, as #24 discovers when he attempts to fight Brock Sampson with it.
- One of the show's repeated themes is how horrifically traumatizing the boy adventurer lifestyle is. Rusty is a prime example of this, having become a pill-popping Jerkass failure in his adulthood. The episode "Self-Medication" takes this even further with Rusty attending a therapy group for former boy adventurers (including grown-up expies of Jonny Quest and The Hardy Boys) and coming to the conclusion that he was the most well-adjusted of the group.
- In one of the flashbacks, a clone of Hank dresses up like Batman, jumps off the roof of the Venture Compound using an umbrella and falls to his death.
- Wander over Yonder
- In "The Liar", Wander tries to rescue a nest of baby birds and their mother from a volcano. As soon as Wander gets close enough to grab the babies, the mother bird attacks him. Do you seriously think a protective mother animal in real life would let her babies be handled by a large, unfamiliar creature?
- The season 2 premiere shows what happens when someone neglects their duties for one goal. Peepers reveals that Hater has wasted so much time and energy chasing Wander that the his empire has fallen apart from neglect and has been snatched up by other villains. Later, when Hater demands to know why they don't have all of Dominator's weapons, Peepers reminds him that he wastes so much money on things like a hot tub, an arcade, and a food court that they can't afford it.
- In the episode "The Axe" Lord Hater decides he could do better without Commander Peepers and fires him. He actually does better at conquering, and manages to gain back the territory he lost to Sourdough in record time, only to realize that he never actually secured the planets and Sourdough could just take them back without a fight.
- Despite his attempts Wander can't make friends with Dominator who constantly rebuffs his friendly gestures throughout season 2. Even at the end of everything, she still refuses. Sylvia even lampshades it, telling him some people are just like that.
- We Bare Bears:
- During the basketball game, Ice Bear distracts the opposing player with fancy dribbling skills ala The Harlem Globetrotters, the opposing player simply steals the ball away.
- In "Food Truck", Ice Bear builds a food truck so the bears can sell his calzones but by the end of the episode the park ranger gives the bears a ticket for selling food without a permit and driving an unregistered truck.
- In "Burrito", after spending several days with it without eating it, Grizzly's burrito eventually goes bad and smells.
- The episode "Primal" is kicked off by Grizz taking Panda and Ice Bear into the woods, deliberately getting themselves lost to "be one with nature". This results in the bears getting attacked by ants, and Panda and Ice Bear nearly starving because Grizz can't pull up any fish in a polluted lake.
- In "Chloe" the teacher scolds Chloe about the bears' awful presentation and it nearly drives her to tears. Chloe may be smart enough to get into college, but she's still just a little girl.
- In "Panda's Daydream", Panda is waiting in line at the video game store when the guy in front of him lets his friend cut in line in front of Panda. After several Imagine Spots of confronting the line cutter, Panda ultimately does nothing.
- In The Wild Thornberrys, Eliza spends an entire episode wanting to meet and talk to a komodo dragon, and when she finally slips away from camp and finds one, it tries to eat her. She spends the entirety of another episode trying to get a Cheetah cub back to its mother during a drought, and when she finally does get them back together, they both try to eat her out of hungry desperation.
- Depending on the animal, Eliza knew never to mess with them. Lions were fine because they don't normally prey on humans, so she could be around them long enough to speak with them and get them on her side. Crocodiles were always one of the animals Eliza never even bothered sharing words with, since she knows they're opportunistic predators and would eat her words or no words. Even bears and wolves she'd generally avoid unless she pulled an Androcles' Lion or was helping their family.
- In a short of Wile E Coyote And The Roadrunner, the coyote dresses in a Super-Costume and then jumps off a cliff expecting to fly like Superman, only to plummet to the ground.
- Willy the Sparrow has a couple of examples during the final act.
- When Red tries to take two of Willy's feathers as punishment for his allegedly screwing up the flock's trip to the barn, Willy, protesting his innocence, refuses to part with any of his feathers, and so Red duels him. However, Willy, having once been a human and having been in fights with other humans before, has the physical advantage over Red and thrashes him soundly and fairly easily, becoming the flock's new alpha in the process.
- Unfortunately, Willy's fighting skills are nowhere near enough to save him from Blackie; after all, Willy is a sparrow at the moment, Blackie is a cat, and cats eat birds, not to mention that cats are bigger than birds, and Blackie is a hell of a lot tougher than Willy, to boot. All Cipur's Big Damn Heroes moment is able to do is buy him enough time for Sparina, the Sparrow Guardian, to show up with a more effective Big Damn Heroes moment of her own, thrashing Blackie soundly enough to ensure he'll never bother the sparrows again.
- In Xiaolin Showdown, after Jack and the monks work together to take down a common foe, the idealistic Omi is delighted to think they're now allies. Jack bluntly tells them that's not the case.
- The very premise of Young Justice involves the JLA sending their sidekicks on missions that would otherwise get the League into serious trouble (such as infiltrating sovereign nations), given the realistic political climate.
- In one episode, Cheshire replaces a female server at an Asian tea ceremony by stealing the woman's dress. Aqualad sees through the disguise immediately.
- Kid Flash breaks his arm during the battle with the Injustice League, and subsequently spends the next few episodes wearing a cast.
- It's established that since Kid Flash's Super Speed burns an inordinate amount of calories, he requires a constant stream of nourishment in order to function. He's almost always shown snacking on something when out of costume, and usually takes protein bars with him on missions.
- All the League's bad publicity in season two is because of actual secrets they kept being exposed to the public, and the public not being happy that they have things like a space station.
- The show would go in detail just how dangerous getting into battle with super villains are. They have no moral code against killing and heroes have died while fighting The Light and their fight with them is as close to a full scale war as you'd get.
- The series doesn't take light on Megan abusing her psychic powers. For instance it caused a huge strain on her relationship with Superboy because he cant trust Megan around him without trying to peek into his mind.
- When you put a group of kids involved in a war with super villains whom have no qualms over hurting or killing them then expect long term psychological trauma each group would suffer as a result. They had to go as far as to seek therapy due to the trauma they suffered over a practice mission gone wrong. The League even began to question if they went too far in putting The Team in dangerous missions as Diana flat out pointed that they're being treated as Child Soldiers.
- Having someone work as a double agent can have serious consequences as the Team found out the hard way. Aqualad was working as a mole to try and uncover Black Manta's plans, and made his supposed betrayal to the Team seem all the more realistic by faking Artemis' murder. Unfortunately, the only other ones who knew the truth were Nightwing, and Kid Flash, leaving everyone else out of the loop. Megan, later on encountered Aqualad and was still furious with him think he had killed her friend, and fried his brain as a result, compromising the mission. When Superboy found out the truth, he ripped into Nightwing for not telling anyone and for the consequences it caused.
- Surprisingly happens in The Adventures of Rocky & Bullwinkle during the first episode of Peabody's Improbable History. Mr. Peabody invents the WABAC machine, and uses it to take him and Sherman to ancient Rome, but when they get there, everyone is speaking in Latin and Sherman can't understand what anyone is saying. Peabody can, but rather than having to go through excessive translating he goes back and tampers with the WABAC machine a bit until it's able to translate everything into English.