In Dan Vs., who's Dan going to destroy this time? How far will he go? How much pain can Chris be put through? Is Dan's Imposter coming back? And how villainous can the things Dan's fighting actually be? Seriously, the first season alone has Dan swearing vengeance against New Mexico, Canada, George Washington, etc. At some point, even the most mundane titles have you on the edge of your seat. Like "Reality TV". Or "The Boss". Or "The Telemarketer" (especially the Telemarketer).
The Running Gag in Archer with Brett getting shot. The most recent case involved multiple ricochets and the bullet going down a flight of stairs before hitting him.
Or giving Ray severe injuries, enhancing him with bionic parts, then accidentally re-crippling him. At this point, having been rendered quadriplegic, he's about one step above being a head floating in a jar.
Megas XLR should be called "Serial Escalation: The Series." How strange will the buttons and weapons get? How badly will they backfire? How much can Coop eat? How badly will the world get screwed over as a result of the hero's actions?
Regular Show: How angry can Mordecai and Rigby make Benson? How bizarre can the adventures get? How will J.G. Quintel and company make the censors cry this time?
Someone tell us that there is no challenge between the writers to make Quagmire from Family Guy progressively squickier in his sex mania.
The fights with the giant chicken; the one in "Internal Affairs" involves time travel, cloning and a space shuttle, among other things, and the fight between Peter and Homer in "The Simpsons Guy" involves the two getting radiation-induced superpowers.
One episode has Homer coming home with a truck and claiming that it Fell Off the Back of a Truck; A "truck-truck". Cue Bart driving up with a truck-truck, claiming it fell off of a truck-truck...truck. Cue Maggie driving up in a truck-truck-truck...
Cartman's Self-Serving Memory in "Fishsticks" results in his flashbacks becoming more and more outrageous, from being calling "handsome and not at all fat" to slaying a dragon and even fighting a robot army as an Expy of the Human Torch.
And in the early seasons, Sheila's over-the-top protests, ranging from mass suicides outside of a network studio to throwing a parade for a lady with a conjoined fetus. They seemed to have stopped after the war with Canada.
In "Death" the boys ask various people about their thoughts on assisted suicide. When they ask Mr. Garrison, he says he's "not touching that one with a twenty-foot pole" and with each person they ask, the figurative pole grows another twenty feet.
And what line will Doctor Rockzo cross next to get more cocaine?
Not to mention the size of the Tribunal's meeting room.
Similarly, Moral Orel went from being a dark comedy mocking religion to a flat-out depressing dramedy over the course of 3 seasons...and fans loved it, despite that [adult swim] regretted telling the show creator to amp up the dark humor.
Avatar: The Last Airbender does this with its titular bending. Katara, for instance, goes from requiring a water pouch at all times, to bending her sweat, to bending the water in her opponent's bodies.
Justified in that the characters all spend massive amounts of time in training. Ability escalation is to be expected when you work hard and practice constantly.
With each passing season, the series basically does this with the powers of every major character.
The sequel series, The Legend of Korra, has this with Lin Beifong. In just about every episode she is in, she continues to be more badass. From swinging on her metal cables in the Pro-bending stadium to save Korra in Episode 6, to outright tearing apart a Mini-Mecha on her own in Episode 7, and then being an outright One Woman Army and saving her men from an Equalist base in Episode 9.
The entire series is this in term of each Wham Episode. From episode six onwards, every single episode has counted as one', going from a terrorist attack to a full-out civil take-over of the city. Finally it tops it off with with The Reveal of Amon and having an on-screenMurder-Suicide on a Y-7 show. The latter is more towards the darkening of the show, which is Serial Escalation in its own right.
Invader Zimloves this trope. Some of the best examples? There's Zim flooding an entire city because Dib hit him with a water balloon, there's Dib hacking into advanced Irken machinery from his laptop, there's GIR knocking Dib through a brick wall with a projectile sandwich... It just goes on.
He didn't just flood the city. He used Irken space-based technology to vaccuum ALL THE WATER ON EARTH INTO ONE WATER BALLOON and deploy it from SPACE onto Dib. He flooded EVERYTHING ON THIS SIDE OF THE PLANET.
He piloted a goddamn planet. In a duel against Dib.
Time Squad: It's like the writers sat down during the pitch meetings for season two and said, "Guys, let's ramp up all those gay jokes we had about the Larry 3000 to the point that people will wonder if this show is supposed to be on [adult swim]note "Day of the Larrys" and "Ex Marks the Spot". Heck, let's throw in some jokes featuring Otto being abused and neglected as wellnote "Hate and Let Hate," "Out With the In Crowd," and "Orphan Substitute". Cartoon Network is probably going to cancel us, so if we're going to go out, let's go out with a freakin' bang!"
The Ho Yay centered on Larry went from being barely noticeable in season 1 to being a character trait in season 2. The Ho Yay count kept on rolling into Refuge in Audacity territory, with Larry and his feelings for Tuddrussel being the prime target. The idea escalates to the season 2 episode "Ex Marks the Spot", where Larry acts like a jealous housewife and tries to sabotage Tuddrussel's and his ex-wife Sheila's dinner after seeing them act rather unusually cool towards each other. When found out, and Tuddrussel casually laughs it off, Larry bitterly tells him he's sleeping on the sofa.
"Day of the Larrys" was another season 2 episode that seemed to exist as a challenge to the writers to pack as many gay references as possible before the censors catch on. Maybe they did ask Dave Wasson (Time Squad show creator) to tone down some parts, but that episode got away with a gay cowboy Larry openly hitting on Tuddrussell in front of Otto at a gay disco (that looks like the one from the Simpsons episode "Homer's Phobia"), so, unless Dave Wasson reveals behind-the-scenes secrets either in a podcast or on a documentary, there's no way of knowing what the sacrificed scenes were.
And on yet another meta note, how much more fluid and detailed can they make the art and animation? It has reached dazzling levels as of season 3, showing off the best of Adobe Flash especially with the season finale's quality being the very best of the show so far, which is saying a lot.
Also, how much more evil and powerful can the villains get? No matter how powerful, the magic of friendship WILL beat them.
And on the Real Life level, how many more other fandoms can the bronies become sworn enemies with? note The list of rivals in Fandom Rivalry previously took up a fifth of the Trope's page in Western Animation alone, and due to constant growth has been spun off into it's own subpage. Yes, you read right, it's the only Western Animation entry in Fandom Rivalry with it's own subpage. There's separate entries in Toys and even Inter-Media. And that's just the known rivals. In general, fans of other shows that was/is on The Hub/Discovery Family generally have some vitriol towards bronies, as do fans of shows that had a history with crew or the production houses that are related to DHX Media, or fans of cast members that are related to The Ocean Group. This extends towards fandoms of shows that're on other channels like Boomerang as well due to the show airing on Boomerang outside of the US. And of course some fandom take offense to being crossed with FIM, and some bronies are just so obnoxious that they start wars with other fandoms just because.
In the Robot Chicken episode "The Rambling of Maurice", a Batman skit features Two-Face getting his face burnt again, turning him into Three-Face. He then gets burnt a third time and becomes Four-Face, and the skit ends before we see the aftermath of him getting burnt a fourth time.
In terms of creepiness. Name anything creepy about this show—the Mind Screw ending of "Tree Trunks" and "Evicted!", the Nightmare Faces Marceline, Peppermint Butler's desire for flesh—it doesn't matter. ALL of that was topped by this.◊ Holy. Freaking. Crud. According to Adam Muto, this is just the beginning.
They did it again with those three freaking scary fruit witches in "Dad's Dungeon", two of whom ate the third voraciously.
A separate example from above from the Season 5 two-part opening: How much worse is it going to get for Alternate Universe Finn in Farmworld? First he is forced to sell his pet to pay back a gang, then tries to find a way around it, then comes across the Ice King's crown which an elderly and insane Marceline warns him to avoid, then gets it stolen by Big D, the gangster threatening his dad, then finds that while he was fighting Big D to get it back, the gang set his hometown on fire, then goes home to find that his house is burning with his family in it, then in desperation puts on the crown, which saves his house by freezing it but drives him insane, then he tries to stop the town from burning and sets off the atom bomb,then finds his family but has to send them away so he can't hurt them (even though they are probably going to die of radiation in the next few hours), then finds that he's killed Jake with the bomb as he's in a pool of radioactive goo, and then has to fight him as he is turned into the Lich via radiation. It would presumably get even worse had Jake not cut it off by wishing them back home.Nice Job Breaking It, Hero!!
Rick and Morty: The parallel dimensions in "Close Rick-Counters of the Rick Kind" become increasingly absurd variations on a theme, from a world where slices of pizza order human delivery, to a world where phones sit on pizza and order chair delivery on human phones, to - finally - a world where chairs sit on inanimate humans and order phone take-out on pizza. Rick and Morty even visit an Italian restaurant and purchase some edible phones for themselves.
Arguably the entire show, on a high concept sci-fi scale. The first episode starts with the most ridiculous thing being that Rick has created a flying car from garage junk, and introduces the concept of the multiverse. By episode six of the first season, the titular characters have replaced alternate universe versions of themselves who managed to solve a problem our Rick and Morty couldn't, and also coincidentally died around the same time. The Council of Ricks in Episode 10 escalates this even further, and by the beginning of Season 2 we're in full-blown mind-fuck territory, if we weren't there already. And it escalates further from there.