Main Family Un Friendly Aesop Discussion

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06:53:43 PM May 2nd 2015
Would an accidental Family-Unfriendly Aesop still count as this trope, or would that be something different?
06:38:50 AM May 3rd 2015
Well... considering accidental Family Unfriendly Aesops are listed in the Darth Wiki, as Warp That Aesop, i guess that the answer is "no".
01:17:51 PM Jan 19th 2016
I suggest that the "family-unfriendly aesop" page be broken into two separate tropes: "dubious aesop" (a wrong aesop like in Ayn Rand literature) and "unconventional aesop" (like in "Inside Out").
12:59:45 PM May 6th 2016
Why? While the trope in and of itself is simply stating that the Aesop is not conventional thing you would usually get, what you are suggesting would clearly seperate examples into morally good and morally bad. Why would that be preferable?
01:18:50 AM Mar 8th 2015
Removed this example from the Justice League Section:
  • While some of this episode goes into Fantastic Aesop territory, the Justice League episode Fury has an Aesop that would likely set a number of feminists' teeth on edge; in summary, "Yes, women do need men to keep civilization going." When the world is infected with a virus that kills only men, society is shown falling to pieces. While the women are no damsels in distress as they're shown doing what they can, their best efforts aren't enough to stem the chaotic breakdown of civilization. In the very end, after the very Anvilicious display of treachery by the villain's accomplices to demonstrate the further Aesop that yes, women can be evil too, the villain's former mentor (Queen Hippolyta, It Makes Sense in Context) reveals that were it not for a man literally dying to save her, the misandrist villain wouldn't even be there in the first place. (This itself goes into Unfortunate Implications, since the villain's misandry actually was a valid conclusion to draw from her universally bad experiences with men, having seen no counter-examples; yet she ends up on Themiscaria, which isn't exactly friendly to masculinity for its own valid reasons, and has no opportunity to go any place where she could see the better side of masculinity we're being shown).

The episode didn't really have an Aesop, and even if the Aesop actually was "Women need men for society to function", I'm not sure how that's controversial. Society would break down pretty quickly either way if a virus was killing off an entire gender, male or female. Even in that extended format, borders on space whale aesop.
03:03:29 AM Mar 8th 2015
Doesn't sound like an aesop to me, anyhow.
12:39:19 AM Aug 25th 2014
I'm not sure the TRON: Legacy one belongs on this page. It seems less like an aesop and more like a nuance. Either way I thought bringing it up was more appropriate and would allow people to weigh-in.
02:36:26 AM Aug 25th 2014
It strikes me like a nuance as well. Nevermind that it's not clear to me what the aesop in question is (the entry sounds like a refutation of an aesop).
06:40:05 AM Sep 25th 2013
I pulled the following examples:

None of these are examples for the following reasons:
  • The message given in The Abrasive Side, problematic though it was, was "don't try to be someone you're not".
  • Stuck in the Wringer was supposed to be comedic— Patrick rightly says "crying won't solve anything", then in a twist it solves everything.
  • Patrick Smart Pants was attempting to say it's better to be dumb and nice.
  • what the ugly barnacle wasn't a moral are you serious
07:15:48 AM Sep 25th 2013
More stuff:

  • Captain Planet
    • One of the most ridiculous examples is the episode "Wheeler's Ark": The Planeteers have developed a habit of picking up injured and endangered animals on their missions and bringing them back to Hope Island. Gaia, naturally, finally tells them this is impractical and orders them to take them all back. Fat chance — they just pick up more at every location, all while Wheeler tries to tell them this is bad idea. Instead of the others learning what could have been a perfectly valid Green Aesop about how you shouldn't take exotic species out of their natural habitat, Wheeler just learns "If you don't want to take a wild wolf pup home with you, you're a heartless jerk."
    • The episode "The Numbers Game" is perplexing already (Wheeler learns a lesson that he already knew, while his friends disagree with him and learn nothing), but even that aside, it's an episode about how it's wrong to have more than two kids. Aimed at little kids. Now, imagine watching that if you're the third child in your family...

I removed the first bullet entirely. Even though the Planeteers did drag more animals home, Gaia doesn't change her stance. The Planeteer alert even preaches the opposite moral TV Tropes assigns to the episode.

As for Numbers Game, I worded it a little more neutrally. Wheeler tells Linka he doesn't want more than 2 kids, not that "it's wrong to have more than 2 kids". It's more about planning your family in advance.

Now never make me watch Captain Planet again.
10:55:22 AM Sep 23rd 2013
What was wrong with Marital AIDS in the Theater section? The meaning of bisexuality may be debatable, but the cheating is pretty valid.
11:00:53 AM Sep 23rd 2013
Yeah, that looks like it can go back in.
04:35:56 PM Sep 23rd 2013
edited by
I removed it because I felt that it lacked context - the example states what the aesop was, but not how it was shown in the play. With the rampant misuse of this trope, I want to be sure that every example is using the trope correctly, and that means they need context. It also seems like an Unfortunate Implications entry as it stands, though that might fix itself once there's more elaboration.

The key point about this trope that many tend to overlook is that an example has to fit the "Aesop" bit as well as "Family Unfriendly". I'm assuming that the play involves a married man who enters an extramarital relationship with another man. Are his actions presented as "good", or at least understandable/inevitable? Or does the play simply show his choices without commentating on their morality, or leave it ambiguous? It has to be the former to qualify, and the example should incorporate how we know this is the case.

If you want to add it back, can you please add more context (e.g. the action of characters, relevant plot summary, dialogue) to show that the trope isn't being misused?
06:11:10 PM Sep 11th 2013
I've cut the Star Trek examples from the main page. Some of them seems to be correct, others are clearly misuse, and there were quite a few that I can't decipher. I think it will take a bit of time to clean up, so I'll put this here while I try to slog through it all.

  • Star Trek turned the Prime Directive from the moral of "don't mess with cultures far less advanced than you" to "don't save less advanced people about to die even though we can." Whether this is unintentional or a second family-unfriendly aesop about even well-meaning traditions becoming dangerous over successive generations as they turn to dogma is an exercise left to the reader.
    • Star Trek: The Original Series had the episode "City at the Edge of Forever", where the main plot is that an idealistic, visionary young woman in the 1930s must be allowed to die, or else she will found a pacifistic movement that will hinder the USA from entering World War II, meaning that the Nazis will be develop atomic weaponry first and conquer the world unless she dies. While more realistic, "peace is an ideal, but there are times when people must fight" is a lot more cynical than is usually used as the moral. It's especially striking because several episodes in that first season alone are quite staunchly pacifism promoting.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation started this with "Homeward," where Worf's brother was treated as in the wrong for saving a tribe of people whose home planet lost its atmosphere, and that he would only do such a thing because he knocked one of the natives up, not for simply humanitarian reasons.
      • They did a similar plot even earlier in "Pen Pals", when Data communicates with a pre-warp society whose planet is dying and Picard agrees to help her family survive against the guidance of the Prime Directive.
      • It's really a complete reversal from the TOS where they nearly crippled the ship trying to stop an asteroid from destroying a planet and it's American Indian-like inhabitants. It could be an exception since they stated the planet had to have some sort of asteroid deflector given it's location. It did, but the guy who knew how to operate it died before passing on the knowledge to his successor.
      • From TNG's two-part episode "Birthright", "Children should learn about their heritage, and if it includes hatred/animosity towards others, then they should accept that as part of their heritage".
      • In "Hide and Q", Picard actually says that Riker was right for choosing not to use the power of the Q to save a little girl who'd been killed in a mine-collapse. We already knew that Picard hated children, but damn?!
    • Star Trek: Enterprise also did this with no prime directive in "Dear Doctor." SF Debris tore into the episode for not only the bad moral, but the completely wrong notion of evolution that justified it.
      • SF Debris would later do a 15 minute video tearing apart the Prime Directive and comes to the conclusion it's been warped into a pseudo-dogmatic justification for the Federation to act like complete assholes towards alien cultures they believe to be inferior.
    • Star Trek: Voyager: Janeway embraces the Prime Directive almost as though it were an infallible diety that choses those who can and cannot be saved. In "Time And Again", after being thrown back in time, when Paris suggests warning the people they will be destroyed in less than a day, Janeway states they cannot since they don't know what the consequences would be. When Paris points out that the consequences have to be better than destruction, her response... is to pull rank and simply order him not to interfere!
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine had several throughout its run:
      • "Improbable Cause": Garak complains that no-one believes him even when he's telling the truth. Bashir tells him the story of The Boy who Cried Wolf to convey the moral that it's because Garak lies all the time. Garak promptly points out that's not the moral of the tale at all: it's actually teaching the lesson "never tell the same lie twice".
      • "For the Uniform": Use terrorist tactics against terrorists if you want to beat them.
      • "The Darkness and the Light": It's perfectly fine to kill civilians to force Occupiers Out Of Your Country.
      • "In the Pale Moonlight": Sisko describes how sometimes the end justifies the means, and how political assassinations, lies, and guilt are all a small price to pay to win a war. Although his delivery show's that he's trying to convince himself they were the right thing to do, not that he's OK with what he did.
03:15:50 PM Sep 27th 2013
Another big example that I'll need some time to sift through:

  • King of the Hill has a JARRING Family Unfriendly Aesop in season 2's "Husky Bobby." Bobby becomes a male model for a husky boys' clothing store and loves it. Hank is horrified at his son's newfound hobby and wants to him quit so he wouldn't be humiliated. Hank and Bobby actually get into a argument right before Bobby takes the runway to a husky boy fashion show, with Bobby finally confronted his dad about him not being supportive to which Hank simply dismisses. In the end, Hank succeeds in pulling Bobby out the show... right before hooligans start pelting the husky boy male models with donuts. And Bobby thanks his father for pulling him out the show and keeping him from being embarrassed. The moral? "It's not worth doing what you like or being different if you're subject to humiliation." This is especially jarring considering all the difficulties Hank and Bobby have building a relationship and Hank's disapproval of almost all of Bobby's activities.
    • The episode where Bobby becomes the school mascot certainly applies. In the episode, Bobby becomes terrified and wishes to quit when he finds out that it's a tradition for the mascot to be beaten up by the other team. So, how do the other characters react? They verbally harass him and call him a coward, up to and including the teachers at his school. So the moral is "Tradition and commitment are more important than the physical and mental well-being of a child."
    • Another one that should have taught Hank religious tolerance: "Won't You Pimai Neighbor?" Hank, who continually says he's not a redneck, refuses to allow any religious freedom in his house when Bobby is thought to be the reincarnation of lama Sanglug, and tries to force the Buddhists to stop making him a religious figure. This is made all the more upsetting by the revelation that Bobby may actually have been the re-incarnation of the lama.
    • In "Business Is Picking Up," Bobby is late to sign up to job-shadow program, and ends up being left with the one local business person no other kid signed up to work with: a man named Peter Sterling (played by guest star Johnny Knoxville) who owns his own waste removal service, cleaning up dog droppings and similar. Hank is horrified when Bobby takes to the apparently very profitable work and has plans to start his own business based around vomit removal that seems to have promise. He convinces Sterling to help dissuade Bobby because he doesn't have Sterling's charisma and might be ridiculed for it.
    • In yet another episode Bobby starts reading tarot cards and hanging around some people who did the same. Hank is horrified and tries to get Bobby to stop because he thinks people will laugh at him for having such an unusual interest. So the moral is "If other people disapprove of something you do, you MUST give it up no matter how much you enjoy it."
      • It also provides the family-unfriendly aesop of "If someone likes something unusual, it means they're freaky cultists that engage in creepy activities". Gets worse in that the little deviants drink dog blood, like... everyone... who reads tarot cards.
    • In one episode, Hank is upset that Bobby and his teammates leave the football team which has a blantantly abusive coach to join the soccer team. By the end of the episode, Bobby realizes how wimpy soccer is and says, "C'mon guys, let's play some football!" The only apparent moral is that football is better than soccer.
      • According to the episode, soccer players don't get hurt or bruised while playing, their practices consist of walking a little ball around cones at two miles per hour, soccer moms are all alpha bitches, and in soccer a tie means everybody wins! The episode also shows some things which are meant to make soccer look bad and football great which, even if taken seriously, have the opposite effect. Football players make awesome graffitti on public property trash-talking their opponents? Soccer wimps clean it up. And That's Terrible.
      • It also seems to say that while having an abusive coach is bad, having a milquetoast coach is even worse. So always go for the lesser of two evils.
    • As a counterpoint, most of the ones based on Hank can be chalked up to Values Dissonance. If you are a strongly Christian man, then your son converting to Buddhism and saying that he's a reincarnation of Buddha is as dangerous to his soul as playing with dynamite is to his body. Same goes for tarot cards.
      • The show occasionally acknowledges Hank's values dissonance by having him assert whatever value as a joke. It only becomes offensive in the many times where the plot gets involved, and Hank becomes a Black Hole Sue.
    • In the series finale, Hank and Bobby finally bond when Bobby finds out he has a knack for testing meat for flaws to near perfection, despite it all, the only thing Hank openly felt proud about his son doing was something he thinks is perfection, the fact that Bobby enjoyed it is a sweet bonus footnote, but still doesn't mesh well with all the other stuff he shot down.
09:36:26 PM Oct 22nd 2013
Some are misuse, parts are valid. The main example, the "Business Is Picking Up" are better since those morals are the point of the episode.
02:54:26 PM Sep 7th 2013
edited by
I took this one off. I don't think that it's accurate.

  • Season 2 of Once Upon a Time seems to be devoted to showing that, as Blackadder once put it, "bad guys have all the fun." The show keeps trying to portray the moral compromises of the heroes as a bad thing that weighs on them, but it's hard to ignore that those compromises are always a last resort after more acceptable means fail, and they always work.

If anything, it was the opposite. By giving into his impulses, Rumplestilskin lost that chance to reconnect with Bae and only realized it after Neal had been shot.. By the same token, Regina's actions nearly cost her Henry's faith. Cora's actions got her killed by Snow and inadvertently her own daughter. Cora's death has brought Snow nothing but guilt and Regina nothing but pain and misery.. So, no, I don't think the bad guys are having any fun right now.
12:33:31 PM Sep 4th 2013
Alright, so, this trope is really confused. The description seems to say that it's for morals which are both (arguably) true, but make people a bit uncomfortable. But the actual example are full of things that aren't even really arguably true, and cases where the intended meaning was obviously changed not by intent but by poor execution. Aren't those different tropes? Or am I wrong? If I'm not, this page needs a huge scrubbing. I'll do it myself if I can get confirmation that I'm not missing something.
01:05:47 AM Sep 5th 2013
edited by
The description is right, and the examples that don't fit are misuse. I'm doing a cleanup (see this thread), but there's only so much that I can do alone so if you can help, that would be great.
09:30:52 AM Jul 18th 2013
Before the Super Cider whatever thing turns into an edit war, I just wanna say that I (for one) agree with Taylor on this one. There's nothing wrong with telling kids that adults aren't always right. In fact, I'd argue that if a show's moral was to always, blindly obey your elders despite your own personal feelings, then that would be a Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
09:40:32 AM Jul 18th 2013
Personally, I thought that Taylor deleted it because he didn't agree, but looking back, there's nothing family unfriendly about that aesop so I guess it doesn't belong.
01:55:40 PM Dec 13th 2012
Uh, about the Wishful Life example. Wasn't the reveal at the end that Jorden basically made up all the good things that would have happened if Timmy never existed, and that the real point was to teach Timmy a lesson for his earlier Jerk Ass behevaiour? I mean, yeah, the method was pretty heavy handed, but "try being grateful for once in your life" hardly seems family unfriendly. A Space Whale Aesop, yes, but not family unfriendly.
03:52:56 AM Apr 17th 2013
Except Timmy, in this episode, wasn't being a Jerkass or ungrateful. Everyone else was being an ungrateful Jerkass to him.
06:31:37 AM Apr 17th 2013
Yeah, I don't know what the creators were thinking about that episode. Being kind doesn't stop you from being a burden so be selfish and allow yourself to exist so that you can hurt everyone around you? Nice.
02:16:40 PM Sep 7th 2012
edited by VVK
I removed all of these, because ALL of them contain natter suggesting it wasn't really like that (with which I pretty much agree myself). Open for further debate, of course, but not on the main page.

  • In My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic, the Giggle at the Ghosties song has An Aesop about how you're supposed to laugh at your fears... So if a scary looking guy comes up to you you should laugh at him.
    • More accurately, it was about laughing at the scary things kids see in the dark.
    • More recently, Luna Eclipsed, for which Luna spent most of the episode trying to win over the population that was afraid of her (despite her Heel–Face Turn) ends with her instead deciding to instead go along with it and be the pony who scares other ponies to entertain them. A lot of viewers compare this to the concept of a deformed character joining a freak show just to try to get more approval from society.
      • Though to be fair, Luna decided to go to Ponyville on the Pony equivalent of Halloween, named for her. They were expecting to be scared. While many characters seemed genuinely afraid of her, a number of other characters (Pinkie Pie and Applejack from the main cast, amongst others) show that they never WERE afraid of her, and thought that she was just playing up being scary because of the occasion.
    • Even more recently, The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000 has the moral of "Sometimes it turns out that you were right all along and the other guys were wrong." Which is entirely true, but also entirely atypical for for a kids' show.
      • The whole episode is somewhere between Broken aesop, Space Whale aesop and idiot plot since the only reason the Apple family could beat the Flim-Flam brother's machine was because they got help from another 5 ponies who worked to exhaustion, the machine would have eventually defeated them if there was no time limit, and the whole town was going to let a couple of strangers to take over the city's main food supply. Not to mention that the whole conflict could have been evaded if someone had the insane idea of negotiating a fair price for both sides.
      • The episode was more or less a jab at corrupt business people, and the actual aesop was a restatement of a lesson Applejack learned much earlier in season 1, that you shouldn't be afraid to ask for help. Plus, it's a nice subversion of how there's usually a new lesson learned per episode, instead applying a previously learned lesson to a different situation. But it's possible to read too deep into a TV Show.
      • The (apparent) "actual" moral was supposed to be along the lines of "It's better to do a job right than to do it fast." Everyone outside of the Apple Family were all for Flim & Flam's cider, until they turned off the quality control so they could churn out more cider. But the only reason they did that was because the rest of the Mane 6 showed up to help the Apple family, thus tripling their work force after the contest started. But they only did THAT because the machine was run by a couple of unicorns who put literally no effort into it aside from pushing a button and magic-floating apples into the hopper. And to top it ALL off, the contest was only started because they started by wanting to drive the Apple family out of business, then simply "compromise" by buying the apples from them and giving them a percentage. Which still would have likely gotten them more money in a season than their old fashioned way would have, but would have gone against their integrity.
    • The episode Dragon Quest has one at the end. At the end of the episode, Spike adopts a phoenix he names "Peewee" after refusing to smash the egg when Teenage Bully Dragons make him go on a raid. This is supposed to parallel how Spike was adopted as an egg and raised by something outside his species (IE: Ponies). One tiny little problem. No one knew who Spike's parents were, and it's explicitly stated that they just found him as an egg, implying his parents either died or abandoned him long before Princess Celestia found him and gave him to Twilight Sparkle. Spike, on the other hand, is well-aware who Peewee's parents are and knows where they live (IE: The Everfree Forest). Plus, he had plenty of time to go after the Phoenixes and return their egg to them. So, erm, kidnapping is fine as long as you intend to raise the child as your own?
      • It is implied that the phoenixes' family left that place forever, after being disturbed by the teenage dragons. Counting the fact phoenix seem to be even more rare than dragons in Equestria, even if Spike wanted to give Peewee back to his family (or even another one) it would've be almost impossible.
02:11:13 PM Aug 25th 2012
Apparently the ponies can't agree on this, so sort it out here.

  • In Elements of Harmony, the cast, especially Twilight, learns that they must neglect any selfish and otherwise misanthropic attitude towards life in order to overcome their hardships in their journey in order to survive. Alas, as benevolent that sounds; this trope plays out by the fact that Friendship is used in order to defeat someone. In other words, you can use people as a means to an end; Friends are merely a tool one can utilize in order to achieve one's goals.
    • Further more, at the end of the episode, Twilight says : "I wish to stay here in order to study the magic of Friendship."
    • I.E: I want to weaponize friendship.
  • In Over a Barrel, the show goes over the history of the Americas and the indigenous residents of the time, the "Indians"; but the moral of "sharing" is concluded with over-the-top lust for luxurious food. Yes, the "Buffalos" gave up on their culture, their land and traditions as a whole because of pastries. Remember kids, greed and violence is always the answer!
02:14:40 PM Aug 25th 2012
Ok, the first one is just completely false. The original poster somehow took an introductory tale about opening up, accepting friendship, and redemption, and somehow twisted it into "friendship is only good as a weapon." How the hell do you get to that conclusion?

And as for "Over a Barrel", the Buffalo agreed to alter their stampede path in exchange for the pies. They get to complete their annual stampeding, Appleloosa gets to stay in the pie business, and everyone's happy. There's no "giving up of culture or traditions", unless you count slightly altering the stampede path as "selling out".
05:19:00 PM Aug 25th 2012
05:24:13 PM Aug 25th 2012
No kidding. My guess is that the original poster looked way to far into the episodes. :/
06:21:59 PM Aug 25th 2012
edited by tsstevens
You'd think he has to be trolling. Between the rude edit reasons and posts and You Fail Logic Forever.

"Remember kids, greed and violence is always the answer!"

Really? Really? Really? *sigh* Face Palm.
12:03:27 AM Aug 26th 2012
Really. I can see how Elements of Harmony can be seen as BOTH optimistic and Pessimistic, you can say that "The protagonist was taught the importance of group-effort in contrast to struggle as an individual for an ego boost". Alas, in the show; the protagonist exhibited only the nihilistic intellectual approach towards knowledge, and the protagonist still holds that property; when faced upon the final boss each and one of them had a role to be played out; Now, does 'friendship' really just comes down to being useful, or does it have anything more? Nope, being friends is a powerful force which fuels others for success. Without being productive to others your ability to be friends is butkecs. BUT, even if you cannot see that point; the fact the protagonist rose up and said "I want to study the magic of Friendship"; it holds a world of wrong in that one bloody sentence. As if friendship is something tangible, corporeal that you can manipulate and shape for your own utilization.

Over the Barrel resolves the conflict of the indigenous folks had with the settlers in the most manipulative disgusting way. They solve it by greed. It's not like the two parties came into a consensus between one and another, the indigenous Americas gave up on the very thing they pulverized an entire city just a few moments ago for pies. An interest point which topples an other.

It's like saying these people gave a fair farewell to their tradition and culture for a bargain of goods; they basically traded who they are away. Just a few scenes prior to the climax, they say : "It's a sacred ritual we practiced for generations"; which translates into : "It's something we can bargain for, because we're really all full of shit"

What? Did the show seriously just say that the indigenous mindset is completely fragile and broken? It's not like they were FORCED by a massacre to forsake everything they know! Heavens no, they solved it by realizing how super-special-awesome these settlers are, and how illogical all of their long line of traditions really are. These indigenous silly-willies! Only consumerism, materialism and capitalism really matters in life! Okay, I took it a tad far by that last statement; but you get my point.

02:31:36 AM Aug 26th 2012
Okay, here's one for you. Buffy the Vampire Slayer. One story was how a god was going to use her sister's blood to open a portal that will destroy the universe. Well she succeeds. However since Dawn's blood is also Buffy's blood she sacrifices her life to save everyone.

See anything wrong with that? At all? Look carefully and get back to us. We really want you to analyze this, so you can see how easy it can be to read too much into things.
05:30:19 AM Aug 26th 2012
edited by Solipsi
I can't claim anything as that sounds, slightly ambiguous. Especially as Buffy the vampire slayer does not even attempt to reach an aesop; that means having a crap-sack world or any other message would be fine. I might even go as far as saying it would be expected.

Again, I can see how Elements of Harmony may be seen as both optimistic and pessimistic; pseudo-god forbid I claim absolute truth on it because it really tries to be optimistic, even though in the process it dumps ton of plot-holes in the way of reaching it, which is an other problem of it's own.

I may, however, claim that my opinion is correct; on a different trope I believe, the over-excited happy restart of the history of the US is completely bogus; so if you won't see into the utilization of people; or even ignore my previous case on the indigenous pips: it's clearly because of interest dissonance; I'm fishing at the wrong section. So if anyone thinks it may fit somewhere else, go ahead.

P.S: My spiced retort in the history section was due to my greenhorn, got no info about the reason of why someone deleted over 7 lines of text beside "Oh come on" and received no response via PM considering 'why'. Sorry if I was a dick, but don't let it cloud your judgement over my words.
06:23:13 AM Aug 26th 2012
Okay. The issue you were looking for in this example was one the Parents Television Council used to claim Buffy was the worst show on TV: she killed herself. Doesn't matter if it was to save the world, in their view she committed suicide.

Another example? Okay. Mick Foley wrote a Christmas story and the PTC tore it apart. One of their issues had to do with an illustration of kids in line to see Santa with wish lists. What could be wrong about that, you may ask? One girl had on her list, if you look closely, a action figure for WWE wrestler Chyna. She posed for Playboy you see, and the PTC were furious at her being involved in a children's book.

You see, you can read too much into things. You can take pretty much anything and twist it around to support your views.
07:08:59 AM Aug 26th 2012
edited by Solipsi
But pseudo-god forbid they will claim that presenting tangible presents for good behavior promotes consumerism, which is a bad thing; or rewarding prizes for the marvelous achievements of acting slightly better than the retard kid next door. Any sort of life-lesson TV attempts to shower at children I say 'bullshit', as children are showered with so much random crap they stop listening(Spongebob, powerpuff girls, Ben10..etc), becoming lethargic tumors of the living rooms. All I can do, is to note the poor attempts to teach them anything; especially one which disregards their own violent, gruesome history for a bloody aesop which does not even add up. It's like I will shoot someone, and by next year I will use that same story to explain why and how we should get along! at least TimeSquad tried a little.. Although..

I may be reluctant to say anything regarding Harmony, but Over the Barrel is fucked up in the head, pips. I have no idea how many times I have to type it out so anyone won't treat it like an overreaction.
07:26:08 AM Aug 26th 2012
It has to be asked, do you have a agenda to portray morality in childrens works to be bad?
09:40:26 AM Aug 26th 2012
edited by Solipsi
Not really, but I will lie if I will say I do not find it entertaining to spot plot-holes in mediums. Some times I watch bad cinema specifically for that matter. When it's so bad it's good, you know?

So if I haven't said enough, I try to find the negativity in EVERYTHING. I am a huge skeptic and a pessimist. But that does not mean I attempt to say : "These shows are malicious to our innocent youth!" If anything, it's because kiddie shows are so horribly written that they make an easy target, especially one which attempts to educate people. (If not BECAUSE it attempts to teach, it deserves to be ridiculed) So to your question of if I strawman my arguments in order to achieve an extrinsic agenda? The answer would be a 'no'. What does it say regarding my opinion of Over the Barrel? Take your pick, but I got to it by objective means; if you can argue I have subjectivism in there, go ahead and let me know how.
09:07:06 PM Aug 26th 2012
Does the Buffaloes altering their stampede so as not to destroy a town, in exchange for pies, really destroy their heritage? It's destroyed because they do not wipe out the town?
11:41:07 PM Aug 26th 2012
edited by Solipsi
Yes. In the chronological manner in which the show exhibits information, they portray the Buffalo as prideful people who care only about their own traditions to the point of fighting for it.
  • It's a sacred ground of our forefathers
  • We had have done this for generations
  • We're going to topple this entire city as an ultimatum of noncooperation.
More examples I cannot remember~

So - why is their newly made resolution so offensive? Mainly because it's abrupt; The two parties fought each other, and the Buffalos stopped because they went : "Hey, wait a minute..These pies are delicious! ... For What were we fighting again?" They show that their resolution was not only flimsy and weak, but their reasons were idiotic and non-existent for them to switch deals so quickly. They show that the Indigenous had no reason to fight in the first place.

What would you say if...The Christian Crusaders who fought for Jerusalem, instead of attempting to take over their precious city, they would suddenly go : "Know what, never mind that silly goal we killed for. This other macguffin is so much better!" It's like changing fads among teenagers from earrings to nose-piercing, from pop to rap to metal to Bob Marley music in a short period of time. The non-existent resolution and the ability to switch it in a heart beat shows that what they fought for was not just stupid; but it did not matter at all for them. You go ahead and tell me someone can change their religious traditions on a heart beat like that, and willingfully!! I am aware some Indigenous pips sold their entire land just for a bowl of soup in real-life, but that's a post-massacre scenario; after they were completely forced and backed off to the corner to surrender. Live or die.

01:37:15 AM Aug 27th 2012
It could also be argued that they had made progress in being able to give up the old ways, which were seen to be destructive. I remember an old X-Men story where Indians were leaving for jobs, which concerned some people. However after an attack by Sabertooth they were more welcoming of the new ways. Was it better for them to remain ignorant?
02:29:05 AM Aug 27th 2012
edited by Solipsi
You'd have to ask yourself what exactly they replaced their old ways with; if it's bad or good it's completely relative-subjective; again, these examples are nice and good but it's not enough info for me to say anything, it's too ambiguous. And by the way, in Over the Barrel; it's not like the natives were enlightened in any way or fashion regarding their ways; they were just bought out. They practically replaced religion with materialism. How is that any better I have no idea. (Concerning your example)

I won't even argue that the natives have an axiom right for the land just because they were there first; the land belongs to everyone, any sort of ownership leads to violence and war. But; the coercion of their status-quo upon the indigenous was the violation of their right as free people; they trampled upon a location without any regard to it's natives; and did not even attempt to renegotiate. Everyone wanted their own way to happen and just said to one and another : "Fuck you, I am right and you are wrong".

So how did they solve this violent conflict? Not by realizing everyone has the right to live and prosper within their own rights, and thus live together in harmony(not in the abstract); they fought and fought until one party basically offered something which apparently, made them completely change their mind. This is no peace-summit, it's a yard sale of ideals.

Now, the thing is; why did this conflict derail to violence?
  • Because the Settlers would not respect anyone but themselves, and told the indigenous folk to get lost.
    • Which forced the indigenous folk to resort to violence in order to maintain their long-line of life-style instead of peaceful approach
      • Which lead to an all ought war of interests between two groups which were so obstinate, so inert, they could not see themselves outside of their way of living they thought it was worth dying for.
But then, the indigenous folk gave up on a part of who they are because the settlers had materials which apparently values alot more than one's religion and traditions. If you managed to catch my drift, I'm saying everyone is at fault. But as history tells us, the settlers are by far alot worse. And somehow, due to some nerve, this show portrays the settlers as the good guys. (They merely want to protect their harvest against exterior forces! They want to survive! It's not like THEY were the one who invaded, pillaged and assaulted an entire continent-worth of people) I don't even see this as the evolution of ideas by exchanging one for an other, it's like saying that when a church over-collects taxes from the people it's fine and even virtuous for the greed of the priests; they merely replaced their religion with a way of dominance upon other people. Is it bad? Is it good? I sure wonder.

P.S: Here's a thought exercise: You are living in a modern world, the current status-quo is of the democratic-libertarians. Your environment believes in the freedom of speech and action, yet also believe that when stepped out of line; the state has the right to apply violence against their people in any fashion they see fit. A legitimized mafia. Your environment believes in the right of freedom and or equality; so they ensure it by collecting taxes from the people, if you don't pay the paycheck raping fees; policeman visit your doorstep as a criminal and coerce you to give up every right you "had" by incarcerating you.

Now, the "evolution of ideas" of this scenario, would be to diminish the violence part, no? One would say a true free society would be one without a violent governing body. If I would tell you now, in face of the current status-quo; that I support Anarchy against Democracy, how would you react?

I am positive you would react with contempt and rejection; any sort of notion against your status-quo which you lived all of your life in would be horrendous. Who is this great evil who comes in and changes my way of life? Or who is this great good who comes in and elevates my way of life in a fashion which is outside of my point of view? Which one is more realistic?

I'm saying all of that because your comment seems to be driven by self-interest, you speak out of your own perspective that how you currently live is by far alot more better than how the Indigenous had have lived; and that change we brought upon them was for the better.
03:04:38 AM Aug 27th 2012
To counter your point, we live in a Crapsack World and Zasze in Arkham City is a serial killer to free them of this world. He must be doing a good thing because those he kills no longer have to suffer.

I do think you are reading far too much into it, but if you disagree post in Ask The Tropers for consensus.
03:11:21 AM Aug 27th 2012
edited by Solipsi
To counter my point? To free people in a sick violent society, with violence? You think that defeating evil with greater evil is virtuous?

That's a complete contradiction to any morality I have shown in my posts, especially the previous. I even shown how it is relevant to the value. P.S: If I had the 'ask the tropers' option to begin with, why on earth were we discussing this over here?
05:25:22 AM Aug 27th 2012
Because it's about this page. Ask The Tropers was called because your additions are barely comprehensible.

In any case, the fact that nobody agrees with you and that we can't comprehend your argument are excellent reasons to keep your examples off. YMMV tropes like this can't be used for shoehorning in weird things that we can't understand. I'll read through the arguments to try and get a perspective.

If you want to get that example, try to write a rationale that is shorter than your current ones.
05:39:19 AM Aug 27th 2012
Also, the idea of buffaloes shifting their path slightly to avoid destroying a town - completely ridiculous is what I say about calling that Family-Unfriendly Aesop. It's the lesser harm (taking everything into account), especially with no proof that it did harm them.
07:40:07 AM Aug 27th 2012
I'll cut it short because I am as well getting tired of this long fruitless debate.
  • Buffaloes changing their traditional routine on a whimsical premise of pies are better than previous resolution is bogus.
    • Neither party had any peace in mind, and never attempted to reach it. One party changed their opinions due to sudden change of interests.
      • The pastries are not a Black Swan of good will, it's a Black Swan of bad writing. A deus-ex-machina to solve the solution swiftly and abruptly. It would be a good solution if they tried to renegotiate; but they just wanted to kill each other, and there was not even a scene of 'what have we become' to reach some dramatic moral conclusion that violence is bad.
The only reason the Buffaloes are not killing the settlers is because the settlers are providing them with luxurious food.

Actually, if more than anything; this is a fridge-logic moment. What will happen when the settlers will become more powerful in magic and technology and will spread more by population? Will they keep providing the natives with food? Or will they cut it off and keep more for themselves; knowing that the natives cannot fight back? (Shit, I made this long anyway)
11:43:16 AM Aug 27th 2012
Fridge Logic doesn't go here. And is "running over the village" really traditional? Even if it were, that is "obviously bad stuff" and that can't go under Family-Unfriendly Aesop.
01:50:10 PM Aug 27th 2012
Hey, now you guys are strawmanning this argument..It's not traditional to hurt others; hurting others is a means to an end to accomplish their traditions due to lack of option. Sigh..This is getting silly.
08:50:06 PM Aug 27th 2012
This can be made a lot easier. Would there be a source that supports your views?
09:13:04 PM Aug 27th 2012
edited by JapaneseTeeth
Just popping in to say that I think neither example is valid. The first one is pretty much entirely wrong; the only reason the Friendship Cannon worked is because Twilight realized that having friends is awesome, and that's why she stayed in the town.

As for the second one, as has been said, it's bad writing, not a bad moral. I should point out that the buffalo specifically wanted to stampede through where the orchard was, not through where the town was. In the end their tradition was entirely intact because enough trees got moved for them to resume their old stampede route. The entire point was that they should have talked things out from the get go rather than resorting to violence. Yeah, the pie thing was a Deus Ex Machina, but the lesson is totally valid. If they had just explained the situation to the ponies to start with, they could have come to that on their own. I'd also like to point out that the ponies never knew why the buffalo were so adamant about getting rid of the trees. Braeburn explicitly says that he has no clue why the buffalo want the trees gone. It's a lesson on communication; if the buffalo would have explained the situation everything would have been defused at the start.

Also, stating that "the buffalo gave up their land and traditions for food" is a gross overstatement. At the absolute worst, they had to change their stampede route a little. It's not like the ponies booted them out of their homes or something.
01:26:14 AM Aug 28th 2012
edited by Solipsi
It's not entirely true to say they did not knew why they wanted the orchard out; the new visitors, our heroes, explained everything to them and at some point in the episode one of the natives even say : "The ponies refused to move their trees", suggesting they did try to communicate on some level; but they still declined. Regardless of that, the stage is yours with that point. With such a disgusting dues-ex-machina to solve anything, the level of writing is positioned at an all time low. They fought the whole episode, but suddenly they are okay with each other. What?

My problem with this is; why did they suddenly change their minds? They had no reason to do so. The pies gave them the ability to renegotiate? They done so from the first place. The pies gave them the ability to move the trees which previously was said to be impossible? So why do they listen to each other NOW? Seeing this as merely poor writing is not good enough. If this is not a Family Unfriendly trope; it has to be something else, besides the Deus Ex Machina; that final line of one of the natives really threw me off the chair : "Hey..This is delicious, I have a much better idea!" oh, do you? Now? Why are the settlers cutting their trees now. Why. How does that benefit the settlers? Why? Why? Explain show. You just said they have no where to relocate the orchard. So why are they doing it now? Why? WHY DOES PIES SOLVE EVERYTHING!?

If anyone wants the reference to my .. BIG ISSUES with this episode, watch the final showdown and how one party treats it. Combine drooling over the settlers's culinary output and their abrupt compromise. I will agree that Family unfriendly Aesop might be less relevant, but the correlation is there; as they changed their minds not by communicating, but by a sense of greed to motivate them to to relocate some of those dang trees (but I digress).

A good example would be to construct a peace summit by offering the leaders money.

P.S: What do you mean source? As the episode? Search for 'over a barrel' in youtube and you'll find it.

P.P.S: If it's not Family-Unfriendly Aesop (even though greed -> solutions), I do believe it should go somewhere else. DuelsDecideEverything, DeusExMachina perhaps?

P.P.P.S: Okay, guys. This one is definitely a Broken Aesop. A moral lesson which is reached by a deus-ex-machina; a very forced and contrived one, at that..
04:41:30 AM Aug 28th 2012
What I mean is, has this been pointed out by Native Americans for example? Have others felt slighted about the episode seeming racist or insensitive? Could you even get a second opinion to back up your views?
04:59:04 AM Aug 28th 2012
I have no such source to support my words, such research is beyond me. And even if I would, I bet I would get : "It's a bloody cartoon, dude." I'm not trying to be offended for the indigenous, I'm being offended for the writers; that they shamelessly erase their history like that.

I took it on as an objective observer, and you can take it or leave it; I can keep my previous claims and keep them to my self, but we reached a sorta-consensus that this is a Deus-ex-machina, and I believe it is a Broken Aesop because the moral comes out of that deus-ex-machina; and the deus-ex-machina itself is standing on an immoral pedestal(greed).

Did we reach anything, here? Or should I still take this to Ask the Tropers?

05:35:26 AM Aug 28th 2012
I doubt it would achieve little, to be perfectly honest. I think it would only get you upset if people don't agree with your views.
06:37:07 AM Aug 28th 2012
edited by Solipsi
Again, I was not "outraged" at this because the writers took a dump over the indigenous pips, at least not as much as; It annoyed me that anyone is willing to take something so serious, and just so bluntly abuse it for an Aesop that does not even make any coherent sense. They pretty much reduced an entire genocide to a pie fight, how did that pass reviewing I have no idea. My aggravation is born from taking something, and totally abusing it. The same would go for a horse which has been killed, buried, dug up, buried again, resurrected, performed before a live audience of loud-mouthed college brats, OD'd and buried again.

There are things that people should not touch, unless they are willing to portray EVERYTHING as it was. I wouldn't want to see MLP's take on the holocaust; the risk of fucking it up are way..WAY too high. But for some reason, the genocide and forced take-over of a group of people..Is totally fine to rip to shreds and be used as a mere plot device for a bloody Aesop. o_0 Do I need the approval of anyone to state how it is being so bluntly and obviously conveyed? I do not. I am simply trying to portray the absurdity of "legitimatized" use of aging-occurrences/events/facts as a cheap measure to say anything, it's worse if the writers are trying to convey something. Besides, they used that plot for a reason. They wanted to teach some history; but they fucked it up, hard; and I'm here to share it with ya'll.

Just for the love of anus, I may have gotten THIS trope wrong (Although abrupt solution by greed = variation of a bad Aesop, but whatever); but please for fuck's sake, just say where it does fit because I could not find any trope for the life of me. Besides BrokenAesop, but I do not want to start another chain of comments like this clusterfuck.

Now, if you will excuse me. I am going to cry alil' at the corner.
01:21:45 PM Aug 28th 2012
Any response to this should address the issues, not the personalities of those involved.
08:03:26 PM Aug 28th 2012
The best I can think of is Unfortunate Implications but it still doesn't fit. If it bothers you that much you can post it under Dethroning Moment of Suck.
08:17:41 AM Aug 29th 2012
10:39:57 AM Aug 29th 2012
Solipsi, you do realize that if you do post this over on the DMoS page, it'll likely be removed for being factually false, right?
02:13:45 PM Sep 7th 2012
edited by VVK
(Edit: Ugh, never mind, I have my tropes mixed up.)
08:25:58 PM Sep 8th 2012
Was it ever presented as an aesop in the first place?
01:07:22 PM Aug 10th 2012
Do you think we should split this? It's approaching the 350,000 mark.
08:00:48 AM Jul 26th 2012
  • Dr. Seuss's Green Eggs and Ham has a perfectly nice Aesop about not deciding you don't like something until you've tried it. However, it delivers said Aesop in the form of a little creature named "Sam I Am," who stalks and harasses the protagonist until he finally breaks down and agrees to try the eponymous meal. An additional Aesop seems to be "Peer pressure can be good for you, as long as it teaches you something positive." This is in fact Truth in Television, as there is a thing called positive peer pressure.
So it's An Aesop about peer pressure, but only in a narrow circumstance that is indistinguishable from the book's actual Aesop?
11:43:01 AM Jul 24th 2012
edited by insanoflex
Mr Woodcock has a real whopper. The message seems to be "If your mom loves the man who abused you as a child, you should forgive him, and not carry a grudge."

Removed. Forgiveness is a very common moral. I don't see how this one is unorthodox. How this one found it's way on this page is beyond me.
10:52:02 AM Aug 28th 2012
It's debatable; just because the man is your relative's new spouse does not grant automatic forgiveness; it's a horrible lesson because it permits more of the same negative behavior because you forgave someone who did not earn it; the forgiveness came from you, not from him; allowing him to act as he wishes. This sort of ingratiate, obsequious behavior is the flaw upon the individual; not a virtue.
03:36:39 PM May 8th 2013
"Forgive people for actions done long ago" is a Stock Aesop and doesn't belong here.
11:11:31 PM Feb 3rd 2014
I think context is important here. If the man is clearly sorry for what he did to the kid years ago, then that fits the standard stock aesop. However, if the moral is "That was ages ago, you should stop being a baby and get over it" then thats pretty unfriendly.
01:50:23 AM Feb 4th 2014
edited by
Actually, context is not important . The stated moral is important. Beyond this, as noted, forgiveness is a really common moral... including when the character being forgiven is not sorry.
07:42:28 AM Jul 9th 2012
Though there would be endless bickering forever, it seems like we really need a split here between 'family unfriendly' and 'politically incorrect' aesops, as the two are usually mutually opposed.
04:31:12 AM Jul 7th 2012

  • It's not family-friendly anyways, but the basic moral for Drag Me to Hell is that you'd better be extremely generous and supply a person with an extension to their mortgage, otherwise, that person will curse you to Hell for it. Even if said person has failed enough times to not be trusted with a mortgage extension (failing to pay it off twice, at least).
    • Also, if you piss off a "gypsy", you will be smashed in the face with a curse. Because, y'know, the Roma aren't people, they're walking stereotypes. And somehow this is still an acceptable point of view; thanks a mint, Raimi.

The aesop isn't being accurately described. The main character refused the extension for selfish reasons, not because the gypsy woman didn't deserve another chance. Her boyfriend tries to support her by saying that the bank had given the woman enough chances, but she admits that that wasn't the reason she denied the extension. She just wanted the promotion and went against her morals for her own self-interest.
04:26:50 AM Jul 7th 2012

The most basic form of the aesop is: Don't steal something even if you think you deserve it more. A lot of people disagree with the aesop and find it overly simplistic, but it's not family unfriendly at its heart.
04:12:01 AM Jul 7th 2012

  • Twilight is rather infamous for these.
    • If your boyfriend knows better, he should be allowed to do whatever he believes is necessary for your protection.
    • Sometimes, you just have to take matters into your own hands when the object of your affections refuses to realize that you're better for her than her significant other is.
    • Self-destructive behavior is a reasonable way to express grief.
    • True love knows no barriers. Twelve days is all the time in the world to decide that you can throw away everything else in the world to be with your significant other, since it's true love.
    • It's all right if a stranger stalks you and climbs into your bedroom without your knowledge or consent while you're asleep. It just means that he's trying to protect you. The same for if he sabotages your car, constantly spies on you, and has you essentially kidnapped by his family while he's away and unable to continue to spy on you. After all, it's just for your own protection.
    • If your boyfriend dumps you, it's completely fine to engage in dangerous activity that could potentially kill you. In fact, engaging in said activity will bring your boyfriend back for good.
    • Only those in your personal inner circle matter. The deaths of people you don't know - even if they are completely innocent, and even if the inner circle's actions directly contributed to the person's demise - are unremarkable and need not distract you from endlessly pondering your relationship, and of course there is no expectation that you might make any actual effort to save them. And yes, this is the "good" guys. (Examples: human tourists killed by the Volturi in New Moon whom Edward and Bella don't even try to warn, poor Bree Tanner who no one even tries to save after promising to help her in Eclipse, Irina, and the humans who are killed off-screen by the vampire allies who are given permission to borrow Cullen cars so they can go people-hunting in Breaking Dawn.)
    • Possibly one of the biggest - finding and being with your soul mate completely justifies any shitty behavior you engage in in the process.
    • The main point of the Twilight series is either just sit there and two of the best looking boys in school will suddenly pine after the new girl no one else likes or HOW GREAT IT IS TO HAVE A BOYFRIEND but what do you expect from a book where the main character is a Mary Sue of a girl who dreamed of having a boyfriend in high school.
    • If your boyfriend breaks up with you, don't decide that it was for the best and get over it in a healthy, mature way. Threaten to kill yourself so that he'll be forced back into a relationship with you, because your true love justifies it! It's also okay if you manipulate well-meaning people along the way, because true love justifies everything!
    • And it's OK to hunt and drink the blood of endangered wildlife, because it's immoral to hunt humans.
    • Also, most children's or YA books and movies about Fish out of Water moving to rustic locales show those characters learning to overcome their snobbery and to value the local citizens they initially misjudged (Lightning McQueen in Cars, Mary in The Secret Garden, etc., etc.). Twilight essentially says, "You're right, Bella. Those people who have been falling all over themselves to be kind and welcoming to you as a new student in Forks ARE total losers. I mean, they try and include you? They ask you to PROM? You are too special for this, and only need to be considerate of equally special people. Like vampires."

I've never read the Twilight books, but this giant section smacks of bitching about a series you don't like. Some of these examples just sound like plot points rather than aesops that the books are trying to convey. Someone with a better understanding of the books should go through a pick out the actual aesops that the books make and re-add them.
10:53:48 AM Feb 23rd 2012
edited by FryDaddy
From the Hey Arnold! entry:

  • Happened In-Universe in the episode Eugene, Eugene!, where Mr. Leichliter gives the title play an Alternate Ending where The Bad Guy Wins, the lesson being Nice Guys Finish Last (heck, Arnold's character, the Big Bad, even had a Villain Song called that). The kids take it upon themselves in the end to perform the real, happy ending during the live performance.

Frankly, I'm not convinced there's an Aesop here to begin with, but, given that the performance was reverted to the standard happy ending, the potentially family unfriendly Aesop is completely averted. This leaves the possible Aesop as something having to do with standing up to authority figures when they are in the wrong; protecting an artistic work from being corrupted, vandalized, etc.; simply not being pessimistic; or some similarly conventional message. Consequently, this is not an example. I'm removing it.
03:38:59 PM Apr 19th 2013
It's talking about the in-universe play, not the show.
02:00:38 AM Feb 4th 2012
In Spongebob Squarepants episode abrasive side spongebob was a spineless person who couldn't say no to anyone because the plot required it, so he orders a product that (called an abrasive side) that lets him tell people no, unfortunately it makes him a huge jerk. in the end [[Anvilicious he tells us the aesop]], which is that he should just let people take advantage of him because that is just part of who he is. do you guys think this is a family unfriendly aesop?
03:39:53 PM Apr 19th 2013
I haven't seen the episode, but this being Spongebob Square Pants, I would guess that it was meant to be humorous.
01:39:41 AM Nov 15th 2011
I removed the How I Met Your Mother entry. For one thing, it was a Lost Aesop example and not a Family-Unfriendly Aesop, since it involved 2 episodes where Marshall makes opposite choices. But for another, "Understand that not everything needs or has an Aesop. A depiction is not an endorsement.", it really didn't provide opposite Aesops anyway - it just had Marshall change his mind.

11:34:10 PM Nov 13th 2011
I think this should be deleted:

The Aesop behind the Phineas and Ferb episode The Wizard of Odd is that you should ignore the explicit directions of trust-worthy, responsible people and instead take the more interesting route.

It's completely false. Isabella was not responsible, given that she was telling everybody to take the yellow brick road. In fact, the road led to some incredibly dangerous places. The Aesop was more along the lines of "It's okay to have fun every now and then" or "Don't limit yourself to one path just because one person told you to, especially if it leads you to creepy forests".
09:31:18 AM Sep 18th 2011
I edited out some natter from the Rumpelstiltzkin bit, the text of which is here:
  • So, the only reason we need to take a child away from its mother is that there is no actual proof that the person kidnapping it will cause it harm? After he got the promise from her when she was in danger of her life? Given that he had accepted a ring and a necklace earlier, the price is exorbitant. At law, this is called an "unconscionable adhesion contract" and the court can refuse to enforce it on that grounds.
    (Note that in The Three Spinners, where the women who save the heroine get what they asked for: to be treated at the wedding as relatives of hers. They aren't trying to cut her off from her child.)

There is a good point being made here, and some good information, but it belongs HERE, not there.
07:37:41 PM Jun 19th 2011
Despite the page saying "Family Unfriendly", there are some example from adult works. I think we should take those examples and move them to a new trope called Cruel And Unusual Aesop. We already did that to Family-Unfriendly Death, so I think we should to that to this page too.
03:40:41 PM Apr 19th 2013
This isn't a kid's show trope, so that's unnecessary.
07:03:47 AM Feb 28th 2011
Removed the Avatar example because that was not an example. It only counts as an example if it was blatantly trying to teach that lying was good, not just showing a character lying without facing consequences
09:01:14 PM Jan 24th 2011
I'm going to advocate that the 'Zatch Bell' example be included in here, because it really irked me when it happened in that the series and I think it narrowly fits.

Sherry after going to such desperate measures to 'free' Koko from any mind-control or manipulation so she could be true to herself, just goes ahead and forces Zofis to manipulate her anyway? How is that NOT hypocritical? Well Koko's unconscious and has no say in it, before or after she's brainwashed the 2nd time?

Just like the digimon example, it's teaching that manipulating and (in that case) lying to people is ok as long as they don't hurt themselves. So forgetting your troubles and being oblivious is preferable to dealing, striving with your problems like a regular human being? (Sans those who aren't intoxicated in mind-numbing drugs and alcohol)

It's detrimental to Sherry because she's holding back Koko's potential for development by over-coming or coming to terms with such a thing, and thus better allowing her to appreciate what Sherry did for her. It's detrimental to Koko because it's not having her face reality, it's just keeping her ignorant of what happened to her instead of just realizing that it wasn't her fault and it could have gone a million different ways. And it's detrimental to the entire cast because they all just watched and went along with it rather than anyone questioning whether re-brainwashing Koko would be right or not.

Did anyone even consider that Koko well being controlled, was technically still human and not some doll or puppet, (Like the others) and could probably be reasoned or talked to once her book/power was stripped from her? That even under mind control, she still had emotions, (abit warped) and was still capable of feeling love or anguish? (Which she did express with her misinformed view earlier) She was shown eating in one episode, so she still needed food didn't she? That wasn't something that stopped happening. So obviously she still needed the things any other human being would. And Sherry/Zofis stripped her of many of those things when they decided to choose the outcome of her life for her. I have thought and dismayed over this particular topic for so long, and at the very core of it, it's so wrong ,even it it's not a black and white issue. It's essentially negative character-development which people accept for a character that barely got any in the first place. (Despite being the prime motivator of one of the main characters which only served to make her motive all the more shallow)
05:57:49 PM Dec 23rd 2010
Wait, what about TV Tropes Wiki? There are some tropes that teach bad lessons. Take Ambition Is Evil for example. That trope teaches viewers that trying to improve your lot in life is something only bad guys do.
03:41:59 PM Apr 19th 2013
Tropes Are Not Good and Tropes Are Not Bad. We are not saying that ambition is evil, we're just saying fiction often portrays ambition as evil.
12:48:51 AM Sep 5th 2010
The other moral is "Logical fallacies work."

have we got anything better? it doesn't ever make sense.
09:28:23 AM Sep 23rd 2010
I don't see why it doesn't make sense.

But this would certainly fit the Warp That Aesop page!
12:09:24 AM Aug 22nd 2010
  • The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy is hilarious, but it has to be admitted that from the destruction of Arthur's house at the start of the first book, to the Vogons destroying all possible Earths at the end, that overriding theme, the overriding message, if any to be found, is that bureaucracy is absurd, stupid, and not minutely evil... but always wins. Indeed, it is perhaps the most consistent theme of Douglas Adams' oeuvre.
    • Perhaps the message is more "Good/Smart doesn't always win", basically disproving the converse of "Might makes Right". At one point during the series, one of the character remarks about "the incompetent malevolence of the universe." That little phrase seems to sum up the world of Hitchhiker's Guide perfectly.

I'd say that anything based on the final book can't really serve as An Aesop for the series; it intentionally broke the rest of it, and bureaucracy is defeated many times through the series.
12:00:51 AM Aug 22nd 2010
  • Starship Troopers in the film section, above? Okay, now imagine it's not a satire. The book actually is a love letter to militarization. Unless you serve in the military, you are a second class citizen in the eyes of the government. What's more, not only does no one find this abhorrent, it's presented as some kind of great cultural achievement by the characters. Of course the movie flipped the aesop by taking away the power-armor, super-mechs, and tanks, and turning the MI into cannon fodder.
    • The internal political organization of the human Federation is an utterly trivial matter compared to the REAL Family Unfriendly Aesop of the book: "Racial survival is the only universal morality." In other words, life in the universe is essentially a zero-sum struggle for Lebensraum, and when that is at stake, no species has any rights that any other is bound to respect. Peaceful coexistence is not an option. This is actually part of the doctrine that Federation officer-candidates are taught at the Academy. It cannot be stressed enough that the book, unlike the movie, presents this without the slightest trace of irony or satire. It is plain, pure Author Tract on Heinlein's part.
      • Whereas the Starship Troopers military was well in advance of the 1950s in admitting people of all races, and well in advance of the 2000s in allowing women to serve as combat pilots.
      • Indeed. At worst Starship Troopers in book form could be accused of being anthropocentric in that it made clear that mankind's survival was of greater importance to the body politic than "good relations with aliens." But the book also made very, very clear that absolutely nobody could be denied entry into public service (note: it is public service, not the military, the book states clearly that only a small minority of those who enlist for service do military duty), the protagonist is apparently Filipino (named Juan Rico, speaks Tagalog, so maybe Spanish/Filipino?), and women are not only permitted to do service, but eagerly sought after as pilots. The only conclusion is that Your Mileage May Vary on whether this is really a family unfriendly aesop; after all, being dutiful, patriotic, and egalitarian, and working for the good of humanity, aren't exactly considered family unfriendly morals in most circles.
        • It is disputed as to whether "Federal Service" is "Military Service" or just "Public Service". Word of God, as stated many years after the publication of the book, states that it is more like civil service, but it has been argued that there is little support in the text for that position, implying the Heinlein changed his mind on the issue sometime after publication.
      • To be more fair, the book does not portray the bugs as evil or the humans as good. They are described as being unable think the same way at a species level due to the differences in their biology. Note that both the humans and the bugs ally with the skinnies, who can apparently understand the thought processes of both. And the humans have planet killing bombs that they rarely use, because they want the bugs to capitulate instead of wiping them out. Humans aren't the good guys but this isn't exactly Warhammer40000.
    • Not that any of this is new, of course; it's just the concept of the citizen-soldier, one which dates backs to Classical Greece, with the relationship between service and citizenship altered somewhat. Traditionally, citizenship comes first and military service is a duty resulting from citizenship, while in Starship Troopers citizenship is a reward, of sorts, for entirely vountary military service. Given that much of Europe made us obligatory military service in the post-war period, that Israel continues to do so today, and that even fairly progressive states like Sweden and Norway make use of an obligatory form which includes non-military service, it's not quite as hellish as it sounds.
      • As of July 1st 2010, Sweden no longer has obligatory military/civil service for either gender, and even before that, the end of the Cold War brought about a severe decline in the number of draftees, to the point where military service was essentially voluntary, though the physical and mental tests were not.

Pulling out this mess of Natter and trying to make something readable out of it.
11:55:39 PM Aug 21st 2010
edited by Ununnilium

You guys know you don't have to justify the stuff here, right? Tropes Are Not Bad. Similarly, from the Robert Silverberg entry: "Not necessarily a bad Aesop, mind you, but rather an unconventional one."
11:50:49 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • The perennial picture-book favorite If You Give a Mouse a Cookie seems to teach that you should never give anything to anyone, because if you do, they'll just keep freeloading off you until you stop giving them things. It's like Ayn Rand for kindergartners.
    • This was parodied in an incredibly over-the-top manner in Robot Chicken, where a mother tells her kid a version of the story where giving the mouse a cookie ended up cases a nuclear apocalypse. She then tells him she killed his dad for giving mouse a cookie.
    • The point may be to discourage kids from feeding mice and other stray animals, which can be fairly dangerous for a kid.
      • It's fairly dangerous for the wildlife, too. At best, it leads the animal to lose its ability to fend for itself and what is, overall, a healthy fear of humans if the animal is not going to be domesticated. In its usual form? Well, they're having to kill wildlife for being really dangerous when a human does not cough up the obligatory handout/tribute—which they'd never have been demanding if somebody hadn't started feeding them. You thought those "Don't Feed The Bears" signs were just because the Park Guards were "Stop Having Fun" Guys?

Apart from the long tangent, this seems to fall under "Just because it happens in a story doesn't mean it's An Aesop".
11:48:19 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • The Dr. Seuss story "Daisy Head Maisy", which was never published until after his death and was subsequently made into a direct to video cartoon, was about a little girl with a daisy growing out of the top of her head. She becomes a minor celebrity for this, but eventually faces a good amount of hostility from her parents, teachers, peers, and even the local government to remove the flower since it is "unnatural" and strange. After the flower is gone, everything goes back to normal for her. This could be interpreted as "celebrity/notoriety isn't all it's cracked up to be", but it seems more like if you're different, you might get some superficial attention for being "exotic", but you are ultimately unacceptable as an actual person within your community and you must conform. This is probably why the story wasn't initially published, even though it was written several years before Dr. Seuss's death.
    • It might also be that Authority Figures will never let you be who you are and will oppress you into thinking that Status Quo Is God.

Um, yeah; considering the oppressors aren't treated as in the right at any point, methinks it's the first one.
11:30:58 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • The Marquis de Sade wrote two books, Justine and Juliette, which are practically made of this trope. The message is, to an extent, "morality and virtue are overrated." Given that this is the man from whose name we get the word "sadism", it isn't that surprising.
    • The Marquis de Sade was a libertine. He saw no use in morality. Also, ever heard of The 120 Days of Sodom?
    • De Sade was much better person than he is given credit. He deliberately delivered Broken Aesops that represented what he actually saw around him: ruthless exploitation of the weak by the strong, and near-masochistic submission by which the weak reacted to this state most of the time. He didn't write about how things should be, but how they are. In his letters he among other things demanded a full range of rights for all women in the 18th century! He didn't hate morality itself, but how the conventional morality serves the strong and keeps the weak in their place.
    • During the French Revolution, De Sade was appointed an official of the revolutionary government (since he'd been in the Bastille, he must have been a political prisoner, right?) He quickly resigned in protest against the inhumane and unconscionable crimes of the revolutionaries.

If these are intentionally Broken Aesops, then this is Not an Example.
11:29:36 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • Ice Princess falls prey to Disney's infamous issue with the moral of obeying your parents because your fifteen years of life has given you far more knowledge and experience than their forty-something. In this one it's okay to give up a place in a really good college and a chance to use your brilliant mind in a well-paying job! Who cares that in a few years after you're too old to look good in an ice skating outfit you'll be left jobless and potentially broke, at least you did what you really loved.
    • Thankfully there's at least a partial subversion at the end when its revealed that not only will the girl be going back to college she will still be able to ice skate. It does mean that at least the next four years, and maybe 8, will be ungodly difficult since she will pursue a math degree and attempt professional ice skating.

Again, "do what you love" is a conventional Aesop, even if it's not done well in this case. This trope is not Complaining About Shows You Don't Like.
11:23:12 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • Any Coming of Age/High School comedy or drama where the lead is an outcast fringe-dweller who just wants to be accepted and popular, date the shallow Jerk Jock (who often then becomes the Jerk with a Heart of Gold) or The Libby, and/or get chosen as best in a popularity contest (Homecoming royalty, study body president, etc.); and manages to achieve it by dropping his or her "weirdness" or nerdiness, turning away from the "freak" crowd he or she is hanging out with, and becoming a conformist and adopting the looks and/or attitudes of the popular crowd. Which is the vast majority of them, especially those aimed at a younger crowd. Often combined with an Unnecessary Makeover; it's usually a failed attempt at a Coming Out of the Shell plot.

First of all, I've hardly ever seen this; rather, I've seen this happen a hundred times... ninety-nine times ending in it all going wrong and the actual Aesop being Be Yourself. Second, if it's "any", it's probably a conventional Aesop.
03:23:56 AM Mar 10th 2011
edited by ading
Your two reasons contradict each other.
11:14:16 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • The primary message in the 1939 film version of The Wizard of Oz is "Never dream of a better life. Just accept things as they are, even when your life is full of suck."

...what? Um, no. At what point does anyone dream of a better life - or explicitly not do so? At what point do people get punished for doing so, or rewarded for not?
05:04:02 AM May 28th 2011
edited by dagnytheartist
The message was that you should except your life and make the best of it as opposed to wishing for a life "over the rainbow." That's a family friendly moral to me. Also, Dorothy does learn to stand up for herself to get Toto back, when she has to overcome her fears to go back to the palace that would have her killed.
11:12:57 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • Crossing Delancey: After your dreamboat turns you down, settling for the nice schlub that your meddling grandmother has tried to pair you with is the key to happiness.
    • Not really. The message is more like, "Your dreamboat could turn out to be an egotistical jerk and the guy you think is a schlub could turn out to be a soulful romantic."

Yep. And a fairly conventional message at that; thus, Not an Example.
01:45:53 PM Nov 17th 2013
Considering she was the one who turned him down...
12:17:35 PM Nov 18th 2013
Mind you some reviewers have come up with a better example, something along the lines of "there's no point being an independent modern woman who decides things for herself, you'd best be sticking with tradition and your elders who know best."
11:01:05 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • The Pagemaster apparently is meant to give small children the impression that being interested in math instead of sports is bad and that if a father wants his son (who has a fear of heights) to go into a tree house then the son should go into the tree house. Also it's apparently alright for creepy old men to put children in serious danger as long as they learn to love fiction.

No, it's that you shouldn't be scared to experience things, living your life based on dry, mathematical second-hand accounts. And I'm not even addressing that last sentence; it's a Completely Missing the Point for the entire kids' fantasy genre.
10:52:29 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • The Disney version of The Little Mermaid is full of such gems as "It's prefectly all right to run away from home at age sixteen to get married, especially if this person is someone you barely know" and "The best way to get a man is to have a beautiful singing voice, but barring that, you must be extremely beautiful. Actually getting to know the person and having a conversation is completely un-necessary."

Neither of these is An Aesop. Ariel gets in trouble because she runs off stupid, and the Prince gets in trouble because he only pays attention to humanmode-Ursula's voice.
07:06:55 PM Oct 15th 2011
Well, to be fair to Prince Eric, it's definitely implied that Ursula put a spell on Eric when she came up in humanmode (the gold light entering his eyes, and him not acting like himself afterwards), rather than him "getting in trouble because he only paid attention to humanmode-Urula's voice", but other that that IA.
10:43:07 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • Nightmare Before Christmas has "Going against your nature/set place in life will result to destruction."
    • The monsters DID start to understand what "real" Christmas was like when Santa gave them snow for the first time, but we never hang around long enough to find out if they managed to see past their own Halloween-myopia.
    • Talk about Completely Missing the Point. Wasn't the reason Jack caused destruction is because he give gifts that attacked the kids?! So the moral is more "going against your nature/set place in life without knowing what the hell you are doing will result to destruction", which is a pretty Family Friendly Aesop.

Yeah, Not an Example.
10:39:45 PM Aug 21st 2010
From the Frog Prince example:

Interesting WMG, but doesn't belong here.
10:34:59 PM Aug 21st 2010
edited by Ununnilium
Should any of the Fairy Tales be in here? It seems more like Values Dissonance, since these are long-ago cultures.
07:29:51 AM Oct 11th 2010
They were invented long-ago, but they are still told and retold in our time. They are still part of our culture and help shape it.
03:31:31 PM Aug 21st 2010

I don't know - Aesops about skill and honor seem pretty conventional, even if they are in a family unfriendly setting.
03:31:54 PM Aug 21st 2010

Yeah, "follow your dreams" and "do what you think is right" are pretty conventional.
06:57:01 PM Aug 21st 2010
  • A Silver Age Superman story ("The Amazing Story of Superman-Red and Superman-Blue") has a doozy. Superman splits into two copies of himself due to a Freak Lab Accident, each with a vastly enhanced intelligence. They invent an "Anti-Evil Ray" that hypnotizes people into behaving "good." They then set up an entire satellite array of the things, hypnotizing the entire planet into following their prescribed ideals of right and wrong. Even aliens like Brainiac, the Phantom Zone Villains, and Mxyzptlk are affected. What makes this even worse? Everyone, including the narrator, treats this like a good thing. The issues of free will and brainwashing are never discussed.

The troper who wrote this doesn't seem to understand how the Silver Age worked. It wasn't a ray that hypnotized people into following moral standards. It was a ray that literally removed the evil from you. Evil, in this viewpoint, is something that can be inserted or removed from one's mind without otherwise changing one's personality. Naive? Well, yeah. But not brainwashy.
11:04:43 PM Jul 3rd 2010
Cutting this:

The aesop only "works" because of the fantastic element, but even so it's missing the point. When Oskar follows Eli's advice, he does get some time off the bullies, but it's only temporary. If she didn't appear at the right time, he'd be either drowned or with an eye less(which is the reason he asked "but what if" after she gave him that advice).

In short, the real aesop here would be much family friendlier: don't answer violence with violence. Or maybe the less friendly "bad people will be always bad".
05:38:18 AM May 26th 2010
Doktor von Eurotrash: Cut this from the Music section:

  • The whole Chris Brown/Rihanna domestic violence situation is full of this, suprisingly. Because Rihanna was the initial aggressor in the incident (hitting him first), many people feel she doesn't deserve much sympathy because "you shouldn't start fights in the first place, so you being beaten is your consequnce." The aftermath saw a lot of people also forgiving Chris Brown (who actually had a very good reputation before the incident) saying "You should always give people second chances no matter what they've done," which is on the Idealism side of the sliding scale.

Real Life events don't have An Aesop.
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