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Shown Their Work: Western Animation
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender often does this in regards to the Asian culture behind the show, most prominently with the martial arts from which the Bending arts are derived. The staff actively took lessons in the various arts in order to get a better feel.
    • Also all the Asian script in the series actually says what the characters read. An expert in ancient Chinese calligraphy was part of the staff.
    • Also, the various bending arts are inspired to actual martial arts: Waterbending is Yang Style Tai Chi Ch'uan, Earthbending is Hung Gar (Toph's style, being self-created, is a different art, Southern Praying Mantis), Firebending is Northern Shaolin (with the ancient Dancing Dragon form being based on the Dragon Dance technique of Northern Shaolin), and Airbending is Baguazhang with a hint of Hsing Yi.
    • There's a tumblr devoted to pointing out the ludicrous level of loving detail the show's creators and animators put into even background things. The architecture, the furnishings, the art, the meanings of names, clothing, hairstyles, foods... The night sky in "The Waterbending Master" matches the star map from "The Desert". It's astonishing.
  • Kim Possible has several Game Boy Advance games. The second and third ones especially put a lot of effort into getting all the little details right; from the ridiculous Drakken plot to Ron dancing like the Oh Boyz, they nailed the look and feel of the episodes.
  • Transformers Animated has won over many of its detractors not only with a well-written plot and episodes, but also through lots of shout outs, small and large, That show that the writing and animation teams do in fact know and care a lot about the series' that came before.
  • Kung Fu Panda was so well praised in China for getting their culture so dead on in a great movie that the Chinese government set up meetings that essentially asked, "Why can't we make an animated film about China that good??"
    • In fact, one of their lead animators was a martial arts expert, and eventually all the animators actually took kung fu courses to help them better draw the moves of the various characters and stay true (for the most part) to the different styles. Other research shows in the authentic Chinese landscape, art, and architecture.
    • For even more evidence of this, Exhibit A: The Art of Kung Fu Panda. You'll be blown away by the extreme attention to detail in absolutely everything. There's the landscape (example: the visual team looked to the works of traditional Chinese paintings for inspiration, and when designing the sugarloaf mountains in the Valley of Peace, they made sure to choose the right number of peaks to represent both openness and security, as well as emphasize mist because of the Chinese concept of beauty in emptiness). Then there's the architecture of the Jade Palace, where the roofs are not only properly designed to allow maximum light in any season and for rainwater runoff, but there are even dougongs, or interlocking wooden brackets, tucked up under the eaves that the audience will never even see. And there's the character designs, such as Tigress's stripes being incorporated into her costume, Mantis having a real Chinese robe design put on his carapace, and Viper's coils being tattooed with Chinese poetry. For added fun, listen to the directors' commentary where they wax eloquent on the color theory and symbolism of different parts of the film. All in all, it does seem to be crossing over into Doing It for the Art territory.
  • Freakazoid!'s "villain" Fanboy once drove the eponymous hero nuts with gobs of detailed information about Disney movies.
  • For a movie sorely lacking in proper research and mired in Politically Correct History otherwise, Pocahontas does manage to get one detail correct. The settlers fly the Union Jack that was the English standard from 1606 to 1800: the modern one, but without the red stripe on the cross of St. Andrew. For those who don't know, the Saltire (St. Andrew's Cross) with the red St. George's Cross superimposed represents the union of Scotland and England. The second red cross added later represents Ireland (now just Northern Ireland).
  • Another small Disney moment: Apparently, the animators watched chefs preparing food at a local Benihana to properly animate Long John Silver preparing food in a short animation in Treasure Planet. Disney staff may not always do perfect research, but when they do, they do it right.
  • The Lion King also deserves a shout out due to two things.
    • During the process of designing the characters, the animators brought in lions ranging from small cubs all the way to adults even bringing in a baboon to hold a stick in order to figure out how to animate Rafiki. To add to this, many field trips to the local zoos were involved to better understand animal anatomy. The zoos that are credited include the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the Miami Metro Zoo
    • In order to understand the landscape of Africa, a select group of animators were sent to Kenya to tour the reserves and learn about the culture. It's thanks to this trip that the catchphrase "Hakuna Matata" is so commonly used nowadays.
    • Come to think of it, many Disney films are extremely rigorous with animal anatomy. Two other examples are Bambi and Brother Bear.
  • The commentary for Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas claims a lot of this. From the rigging on the ships to the design of the lock and dam system, a lot of details were taken into consideration.
  • While Godzilla: The Series had Artistic License in force for obvious reasons, most of the material seen and talked about had basis in the sciences at the time of the show's airing. Even a few non-science subjects are presented accurately, such as Mendel Craven using his sock to filter water for drinking purposes in one episode, a real life wilderness survival technique. In fact, this show is actually much more scientifically accurate than the film that preceded it.
  • In Turtles Forever, several details about the continuities are thrown in. Such as the fact that Mirage Leonardo's dialogue is peppered with actual dialog used in the first issue. There are a few other noteworthy examples, such as that thing that sniffed out the Turtles lair actually is from the old show, most of the other continuities also get a Shout-Out, in the form of a hologram made by the Technodrome, showing almost every continuity, (yes, even the OVA's) with notable omissions being Ninja Turtles: The Next Mutation due to Laird's issues with it and the various video games, as well as that, Tokka and Rahzar also make an appearance for a few seconds. While the 1987 Turtles personalities were exaggerated, though, the Mutagen's effects are still quite accurate, with a fly mutating to Hun turning into, as he calls "Mutant Turtle FILTH!"
    • There is also a very literal version of showing their work when the universe starts to be destroyed. It fades to black and white, then blue outlining, before turning to blank white—The exact process (in reverse) of sketching, inking, and coloring an animation cell.
  • One scene in Titan A.E. shows that the producers did their research on vacuum exposure.
  • The Wild Thornberrys is actually a very insightful series that puts great detail into describing the behaviors and facts of animals: female lions do most of the hunting, woodpecker finches use tools to catch insect larvae in trees, elephants can communicate through infrasonic rumbles and the adult females live in herds led by a matriarch, komodo dragons use their tongues to smell, stoats use a hypnotic dance to lure rabbits and change fur color in winter, spotted hyenas are ferocious hunters and not cowardly scavengers (and its scientific name is Crocuta crocuta), basengi dogs cannot bark and are used by the tribal Pygmies of Africa to hunt more stealthily, camels store fat in their humps and not water, emus are hunted by wedged tailed eagles, octopi are highly intelligent and can solve complex problems, female hornbills stay inside dens in trees to hatch their eggs while their mates give them food, baby orangutans are dependent on their mothers, hippos have to keep themselves submerged in water during the day because they have no sweat glands and are also the most dangerous animals in Africa and not the cute, lazy bums as Eliza's cousin, Tyler, erroneously thought. Not to mention Small Taxonomy Pools is averted.
    • Not only did the show go out of its way to teach kids facts about animals, but it also attempted to accurately depict the various peoples and cultures the family encountered around the world, such as the !Kung and Maasai of Africa in the episode "The !Kung and I" and the Incas of Peru in the episode "Nigel Knows Best". In one episode, Marianne and Debbie are puzzled to find the coastal town of Ha Long Bay in Vietnam deserted and shops closed. After a weary day of walking aimlessly around the town, three total strangers invite them into their house in the middle of night and are given flowers, food and gifts, to their confusion. In the end, it's revealed that it was a lunar new year called the Honor of Tet (or Tết Nguyęn Đán) where all first visitors after ten get food and gifts in hope that they bring the family good luck for the rest of the year.
    • Hell, they even put historical geography right in the freakin opening credits by pointing exactly where the family is on Earth right down to the local counties!
  • The Penguins of Madagascar actually delved into this a lot, usually brought up by Kowalski, the most intelligent penguin of the group and the most analytical. In one episode, a raccoon scares the usually fearless penguins into running away when he shouts "leopard seal!". Assuming they are adelie penguins, they are a common source of food to Leopard seals in the Antarctic. Another episode had the penguins betting against King Julien and his lackeys in a game of catch the flag, and fail every time. They finally get the upper hand when they realize the lemurs can move so quickly because lemurs travel by the tree-tops, rather than on land.
    • One chimpanzee on the show uses sign language. The staff has consulted with sign-language experts to make sure that each sign and facial expression is accurate.
  • All Grown Up!, "Runaround Susie": Part of the plot, Susie participating in a language competition, seems to be begging for As Long as It Sounds Foreign. To be fair, some of the words we hear do sound like such. But the overwhelming majority of them are correct.
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog has one episode where Muriel suddenly de-ages into a 3½-year-old girl from being sucked into a tornado. Courage's snarky computer tells him that the only way to turn her back to her original age was by throwing her into a tornado spinning in reverse. When courage asks whether tornadoes do spin in reverse, the computer replies, "Only in the Southern Hemisphere, you twit." While the de-aging power of tornadoes is total fiction, the fact that tornadoes in the Northern and Southern Hemispheres spin in opposite directions (counterclockwise and clockwise, respectively) is generally true.
  • Somewhat surprisingly, South Park. For example, the episode "Le Petit Tourette" actually goes out of its way to point out excessive cursing is only one possible symptom of the disorder and shows characters with other tics. Episodes addressing controversial issues like politics and religion are also generally well-researched, as are their numerous parodies. Though of course, Rule of Funny can cancel anything out.
    • The episode where the boys go to Afghanistan is correct in having most of the Afghan characters speaking Farsi (albeit with accents that sound Iranian). But in keeping with the Rule of Funny, bin Laden speaks a random collection of insane gibberish and has the other characters lapse into English when the plot requires it (with Lampshade Hanging).
    • Henrietta's room after she becomes emo in "Goth Kids 3: Dawn of the Posers" is filled with visual puns and inside jokes about emo culture that must have taken some research on Parker and Stone's part. Besides a conversation about Fall Out Boy playing the Super Bowl when emos take over the world, easy emo culture jokes are avoided, with a Shout-Out reference going to obscure emo pioneers Sunny Day Real Estate.
  • Say what you will about the old Mega Man TV show, they did a fairly good job at researching the games; most of the character designs, while changed quite a bit, at least kept most of the unique design aspects, and sometimes the entire design. Designs aren't where they stopped, Mega Man's name was "Rock" before he became, well, Mega Man; this fact is somewhat more well known nowadays, but it wasn't back then. Heck, it looks like they paid attention to the fingers of the characters, as in a Bad Future episode, a Mega Man fan actually does this, at about 0:09. People deride the show for being inaccurate, but that's incredibly far from the truth.
  • Gargoyles was very accurate and detailed in many of the mythologies it referenced, though it changes a lot. Scottish history is also heavily important to the show's backstory—Macbeth's flashbacks, for example, basically combine the historical king's real life with some elements of the famous play (mainly the Weird Sisters) and the show's own themes.
    • Barring, perhaps, the episode The Hound of Ulster. Good episode, and while not entirely inaccurate, anyone with a passing knowledge of Irish mythology will be scratching their heads.
  • Futurama: Writing a mind-swap episode is way too easy. Let's create a real mathematical theorem and prove it to explain our body-swap episode. This sort of thing is what happens when one of your writers has a Ph.D in Applied Mathematics.
    • Futurama may have the most highly educated writing staff on TV (there were at least 4 Ph.Ds on staff during the original run).
  • Metalocalypse's animation is often carefully synced to the music, with the chord positions and fingering of the guitar parts shown in some detail.
  • Especially before its original cancellation, Family Guy would often work in references to people, places, products and events that one could only truly appreciate if one was a native of Rhode Island or had lived there for a length of time.
    • On the other hand however, the show's never been too good on getting the shape of the state right on maps.
  • Surf's Up lists multiple surfing consultants in the credits. Who would have thought that a CGI film on surfing penguins would go the extra mile?
  • Some of the background animals in Almost Naked Animals are a furless tiger with faint stripes imprinted into his skin and a furless bear with black skin and whitish hair strands all over his body.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, for all its Funny Animal-laced nature, goes well out of its way to depict all the animal movements as realistically as possible. Even the ponies move like real horses, and pick things up with their mouths instead of their hooves as the ones from the show's predecessors did. (although quite often Pinkie Pie, Applejack, and ESPECIALLY Rainbow Dash will use their hooves instead).
    • That's only scratching the surface. One pony raises his hind leg and glares after being mocked, a very real sign of irritation in horses. The ponies scratch their front hooves on the ground and flare their nostrils when violence is forthcoming, again, a real horse behaviour. The resident Magical Negro is a mountain zebra, complete with behaviours mountain zebras have and ordinary zebras don't. The former Big Bad who spent a thousand years on the moon speaks perfectly grammatically correct Flowery Elizabethan English. Rarity's dress-making song indicates a quite deep understanding of equine anatomy. Several blackboards in the backdrops show accurate complex mathematical equations... it goes on and on.
  • Despite being a PBS Kids show, Dinosaur Train is more accurate than most documentaries.
  • Rather an Enforced Trope for Fireman Sam, seeing as it delivered An Aesop about fire safety or something related Once an Episode. If they deviated from reality at all it was only as a concession to the limits of their special effects and/or to provide a subtle PSA about what the viewer should do in that situation.
  • A language consultant was brought in to invent the Atlanteans' language in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. It has a full vocabulary, at least one relevant to their culture, a character system, and consistent grammar and syntax. The only time in the movie this ever becomes relevant is the fact that Milo can read ancient Atlantean whereas the Atlanteans themselves have long forgotten how.
    • While the shield runes are done using a letter-by-letter English cipher, an equivalent to the I_eland letter string is in the time-and-culture-appropriate names for Iceland and Ireland.
  • The Tinymon episodes of Johnny Test. The first episode grasped a great many mechanics from Pokémon such as evolving by happiness. The second episode has references to more obscure Pokémon games (most notably Pokémon Colosseum), fandom terminology, and even Digimon.
  • Tales of Hungarian History is an animated adaptation of Cronica Pictum (with some episodes drawing from the Gesta Hungarorum or legends of various Hungarian saints), and will follow its source materials instead of actual history. Nevertheless, when the plot gets too derailed in terms of historical accuracy, a bald history teacher will show up to tell his version (at one point even getting into a fight with the narrator).
  • Adventure Time displays a very good understanding of the complicated play dynamics of Magic: The Gathering in their card game episode. For instance, land cards are used to summon creatures, creatures are tapped to activate their abilities, and the spell cards used have effects present in the real game.
    • The writers actually created the whole card game in real life so that when Jake and Finn played it, it would seem like a real game and not just a load of nonsensical gibberish. The game has since been released in real life, with decks for Finn, Jake, BMO and Lady Rainicorn. Interestingly, a game with Finn and Jake's decks is unlikely to play out as it did in the episode.
  • Nearly any time The Simpsons features a foreign language, the staff does its best to make sure it's portrayed accurately.
    • In an episode, Homer and Marge are starting to kiss when Marge has to bail out fast. As he sees his lips still locked for a kiss, Homer decides to put them into use by pulling out a trombone from under his bed and playing Greensleeves. Any trombone player in the audience will notice the animators accurately replicated the moves a real player would make on the instrument's slide.
    • In "Two Bad Neighbors" (first aired January 14, 1996), Homer pranks George H.W. Bush with cardboard cutouts of "George Bush Jr. and Jeb Bush". The DVD commentary claims that the writers had no idea that George Bush, Sr. actually did have a son who shared his namenote , but if you believe that, you'll believe anything.
  • The archery contest in Brave. There's a blog post from an archery coach pointing out that not only is Merida's form perfect, not only are the physics of the slow-motion shot dead-on, but the three suitors who mess up their shots make legitimate amateur-archer mistakes.
  • Some of the hand-to-hand fights in Sym-Bionic Titan are very well choreographed and use a lot of authentic kung fu, specifically in "Fortress of Deception" when Lance fights and uses moves taken right out of Wing Chun and Jeet Kun Do.
  • Wreck-It Ralph not only manages to avert Pac Man Fever. It's obvious the writers either did an incredible amount of research on video games or knew and understand them not only with the Easter eggs but with how video games worked complete with Kill Screens and Dummied Out content showing up in this movie.
  • The producers of Ratatouille got authentic Culinary Badass Thomas Keller, acknowledged by damned near all other professional chefs to be the greatest American chef alive right now, who owns and runs several high quality restaurants (he's the only chef in America to earn a three-star rating for two separate restaurants simultaneously) and is the author of several high-caliber cook books, to show how the craft works, and used Colette's mentoring montage to show off that research. That sequences serves not only to establish verisimilitude in that story, but also to develop Colette's character and encourage the heroes' and the audience's respect for her.
    • They also actually cooked some of the recipes used in the movie themselves, so that they could accurately render how foodstuffs look and react when being prepared via various cooking techniques.
    • The ratatouille variant that Rémy prepares for Ego at the end was invented for the film; Chef Keller was asked what he would do if a critic like Ego were to suddenly enter his restaurant and, in a moment of inspiration, created the dish.
    • If one looks closely, one can see that the chefs have small burn scars on the undersides of their forearms. Some real-life chefs also have these, from accidentally touching hot pans while cooking.
    • One of the animators jumped into a pool wearing a chef's uniform, so they could accurately render what such a uniform would look like soaking wet.
  • For a show about one of the world's most irresponsible secret agents, Archer is very good about gun safety. Firing or setting off explosives without proper protection usually renders someone deaf (and usually Archer, going around saying, "Mawp? Mawp?"). One episode shows Cyril being irresponsible with a gun and accidentally setting it off; when Lana takes it from him, she clicks the safety off, ejects the clip, then ejects the round from the chamber, just in case.
    • Most of the anecdotes about espionage history and "proper" tradecraft are also either accurate or closely based on the truth before the characters mess it up.
  • Frozen includes a montage of historically accurate ice harvesting techniques, which is particularly impressive considering that Real Life ice harvesting died out in the middle of the 20th century.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series Episode "Judgement Day", Harvey Dent develops a third personality called "The Judge" that suffers a vigilante complex separate from his other two halves and eventually declared the dominant Harvey "guilty". People with Dissociative Identity Disorder/Multiple Personality Disorder very commonly have more than one extra personality living in their mind, and it's also not unusual for one or more of the identities to want to kill one another.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • In "Day of the Living Gelatin", Ferb describes that gelatin is extracted from cartilaginous fibers of the bovine patellar structure.
    • The Tsiolkovsky rocket equation gag from "Out to Launch". With the obvious exception of the bomb/smiley face punchline, that is what the Tsiolkovsky rocket equation looks like.
    • Take this line from the song "X-Ray Eyes".
    Sometimes photons behave like a wave,
    But they're particles when you reflect 'em.
    • The Lion-Tiger-Bear Guy from "The Wizard of Odd". No, it's not just a pun on the famous quote, there is an animal in the original Wizard of Oz book that is a hybrid of all those animals.
    • In "Tour de Ferb", it's noted that holding a wombat close to one's face is not a good idea. Considering how strong and aggressive wombats can be in real life, this is Truth in Television.
    • In "Doofapus", Doofenshmirtz mentions that platypuses are in the genus Ornithorhynchus and come from eastern Australia.
    • In "Where's Perry?", Ferb accurately describes the discovery of the platypus by European scientists, even mentioning that it was George Shaw who wrote the description of the species in 1798.
    • The bird that comes to perch on the rhino agent in "What'd I Miss?" is a yellow-billed oxpecker, a species that is actually known to be symbiotic with rhinos in real life. What it was doing in North America, on the other hand...
      • Considering there was a rhino in North America, Rule of Funny is probably responsible.
    • "Primal Perry" mentions platypuses having venomous spurs and shows Perry using his bill to probe the bottom of a pond.
    • The show sometimes notes that platypuses sweat milk. As female platypuses do not have teats, they secrete milk directly from the skin on their belly, thus, in a way, sweating milk.
    • Many of the facts stated about bee biology in "Bee Day" and "Bee Story" are correct.
    • The documentary Candace watches in "Perry Lays an Egg" mentions the scientific name of the green sea turtle, Chelonia mydas.
    • "The Return of the Rogue Rabbit" has several characters identifying rabbits as lagomorphs and specifically saying that they are not rodents.
    • Though the cave salamander in "Save Summer" is colored more similarly to a surface-dwelling salamander, external gills and lack of eyes are common traits among cave salamanders in real life.
    • "Belly of the Beast" mentions sharks having cartilaginous skeletons.
    • In "Druselsteinoween", the moat around the castle has a hippopotamus which attacks Doofenshmirtz when he fell into the water. Makes sense when you realize how aggressive and territorial hippos are in real life.
  • A subtle example: In the beginning of Oggy and the Cockroaches: The Movie, Oggy evolves from a microbe into a cat. If one looks closely, after he becomes a jellyfish, he evolves into a worm-like thing (Possibly a Pikaia) and into an eel (Possibly an Agnathan fish).
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has shown a few times and even used as a plot point the fact that Spongebob and Patrick can regrow their limbs, which both sponges and starfish can do IRL. In another episode, Squidward mentions eating his own tentacles if starving, which is what octopi sometimes do in real life.
  • Unlike the other animated adaptions, The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 gets a surprising amount of detail right from the games. The power ups work exactly as they're supposed to unlike The Super Mario Bros. Super Show, right down to referencing rare power ups like the P-Wing and the Kuriboh's Shoe. The disguises Mario and Luigi wear in "Reptiles in the Rose Garden" bear a great resemblance to the Hammer Suit as well. They even had the rulers of Desert Land, Giant Land, Sky Land and Ice Land make appearances, though they're given different appearances from the game. Several episodes even refer to King Koopa as Bowser, making it the only Mario cartoon to ever use his American name, once by Bowser himself! Series concept art even revealed plans to incorporate the Tanooki Suit into the show, but it never came to pass.
  • The Disney Hercules tv series adaptation may be a disneyfied version of Greek myths, it lays off the mention of the incest between the gods, but it satirizes Greek culture and myths relentlessly.

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