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-y 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 dispatchas 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 in real life with half a brain would, that she's seducing him to make an opening to kill him, and promptly blows her brains out.
Family Guy loves doing this and it is almost like the writers flip a coin to determine if a specific action will play out according to cartoon logic or will generate realistic effects.
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 he 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).
When pretending to be the The A-Team, 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.
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.
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 one episode, the family wins the lottery, and one of Peter's decisions is to buy a giant room full of gold coins and dive into ita 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 a What If? mini-episode, the first Viewer Mail special, 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 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 features Peter telling Brian that he's making the stairs into a waterslide by simply turning a hose onto the stairs in order to make them more "slippery". He then proceeds to fall down the staircase and break several bones (in which the water made the fall even more dangerous than it already was) and screams in agony for Brian to help him, which he refuses out of principle.
In one episode, 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.
Quagmire once brought a bunch of fireworks up and he the Griffins started playing with them. Peter joined several of them together and set them on fire. His fingers were blown off.
In one episode, 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.
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.
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.
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. Spider-Man probably suffered cognitive dissonance at that point from the fact that the villain was legitimately siccing cops on him, the hero!
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.
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 NOTa 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.
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 love triangle is essentially a reality ensues for Zutara. Many of the shippers saw Makorra as the ship reborn and its failure shows that even if the creators did put Katara and Zuko together, Belligerent Sexual Tension and conflicting personalities do not lead to good relationships.
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.
Korra learns a Be YourselfAesop 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.
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 VillainZaheer 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 creameduntil 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. Even after she fully recovered, the episode "Battle of Zaofu" shows that Korra is rusty from recovering all this time while Kuvira spent three years stabilizing the Earth Kingdom.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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 Ganggreen 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 forgiven.
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.
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 really drives home how dangerous guns can be.
In the episode "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, 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 on the verge of failing a test can't undo this fact. He does knuckle down, but he still gets an F, and Ms. Krabappel only bumps him up to a "D" because she sees that he was able to apply 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.
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.
When Homer builds a church on an island, he imitates the Flintstones by using a pelican as a cement mixer; as he gives it a pat, the bird just falls on the ground motionless.
"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.
The Frank Grimes episode is a cruel lesson that just because someone works hard their whole life, doesn't mean they'll have more success as 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 "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 Flinstone style. Turns out he can hardly move a metal car with just his feet.
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 "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.
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.
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 mostly because he 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...).
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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, and the citizens forcing themselves to be a Stepford Smiler 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 embarrassment for the whole town. The thing is, their constant arguing and obvious denial makes it hard for the whole town not to ignore.
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 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 and still linger despite his best efforts to move on.
In three words, the end of "Lady and Peebles" shows a common consequence of long term relationships that most children's shows rarely mention: "I am pregnant!"
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.
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 can't hear a damned 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 2 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 the 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.
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.
In the first season finale a day at the dance in the royal 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.
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 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 "Over A Barrel", Pinkie Pie's song-and-dance performance solves absolutely nothing. It doesn't make the Appaloosa's ponies and the Bison stop hating each other, nor does it solve the land dispute. In fact, at one point, it actually makes things worse.
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.
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 "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 everyone around her.
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 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.
Neither shiving a person in the neck nor shooting oneself is easy, quick or painless.
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.
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 "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.
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.
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.
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 aren't always in the best condition.
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.
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.
Similar to the Archer example, the Tap on the Head doesn't work in one episode. In fact, not only did the victims weren't knocked unconscious, but became pissed and need to be sent to the hospital.
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. 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.
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.
Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987: In their first battle on the Technodrome, the Turtles immediately realize that they were trained to fight people, not exotic combat machines.
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 The Day the Moon Fall 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.
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 Protoman's ego, have ruined Wily's plans.
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.
Immediately after Wendy has a nasty break up with Robbie, 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 goes to show that the Precocious Crush trope just doesn't work out, with Wendy kindly turning Dipper down after hearing his Anguished Declaration of Love.
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.
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 byAdam 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 Dexter's Laboratory 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.
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.
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 effected 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 a summer camp for the world leaders' children "Camp Davey". 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 their, 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 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.
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.
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.