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These things in western animation TV shows are 100% real. We promise.


  • The Simpsons has its own page.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: The episode "The Love" begins with Elmore's resident robot Bobert claiming that a virus has infected his system, with the name ILOVEYOU.exe. Gumball and Darwin assume this means Bobert must be in love with someone, but there is a real virus with the name ILOVEYOU, and it's a quite destructive one at that, causing billions of dollars in damage.
    • The episode "The Console" involves Richard buying a bootleg Game Boy for Gumball titled a Game Child. The Game Child was actually a bootleg console made in the Game Boy's heyday.
  • American Dad!:
    • In one episode, Stan is offered an inhalant called "jenkem" by a homeless man, which is his own waste in a paper bag. One might be surprised to learn that this wasn't just another instance of the show using Toilet Humour. Jenkem is a real thing, and was widely believed to be a real hallucinogen manufactured by fermenting human feces (though consensus nowadays seems to be that the usage was more scaremongering than anything else, and that any hallucinogenic effects stemmed from asphyxiation caused by inhaling ludicrous amounts of methane and carbon dioxide).
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    • During one of the Christmas specials, Hayley mentions having all the Charlie Brown specials, "from the one where he learns the true meaning of Christmas to the one in the '80s where he meets the kid with AIDS." While this sounds like your typical Seth MacFarlane-style Black Comedy, the joke actually has some basis in reality. While there wasn't a Peanuts special about AIDS in the '80s, there is a lesser-known special from 1990 that dealt with cancer called Why, Charlie Brown, Why?. Notably, this special was one of the first (if not the first) children's cartoons to tackle the subject of cancer.
    • In another Christmas special, Stan encounters a young Martin Scorsese in 1970 and tells the director he is a fan. Scorsese incredulously asks Stan, "You've seen my six-minute film about a guy shaving?" That's not just a joke about the fact that Scorsese had yet to become famous in 1970 (having only directed one little-seen feature), but it's also a reference to The Big Shave, his 1967 short experimental student film that's rather accurately described.
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  • In the Animaniacs (2020) episode "WhoDonut", one of Wakko's donuts had squid ink flavoring. While this seems like an odd flavor to most Western viewers, certain Asian countries use squid ink as food coloring to make foods look black.
  • Archer:
    • One two-episode story arc involved Archer getting breast cancer. Men getting breast cancer does happen.
    • Pam's bamboo repeating crossbow in Comparative Wickedness is based on a real weapon used by Sun Tzu of all people. Historically, it is believed to be one of the first semi-automatic weapons, although Sun Tzu's version had a lever instead of a traditional trigger.
  • Arthur:
    • In "Arthur's Cousin Catastrophe", the Reads host a family reunion with one activity being charades. One of Arthur's uncles tries and fails to act out the title On The Bridges of Medieval Paris: A Record of Early Fourteeth-Century Life by Virginia Wylie Eggbert. While this seems like a joke about Pop-Cultural Osmosis Failure, that's actually a real book. Lampshaded when his wife chides him for not picking a more well-known work, to which he replies "Well, all my friends have read it!"
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    • It would be easy to forgive someone in the show's target age range for not knowing the Pet Rock was a real fad when it is brought up by Grandma Thora in "Arthur Rides the Bandwagon". This Parental Bonus moment happens when Arthur is lamenting his inability to jump in on the fictionalized fad in-universe, further making it easier to mistake it as something made up for the episode. That said, when the episode first aired, it was a lot more likely that the parents watching with their kid would have lived through said fad and probably why it was thrown in.
  • Batman: The Animated Series: Fans of the series are usually surprised to hear the song Harley Quinn sings in "Harlequinade" is an actual song from a 1944 movie called Meet The People, and Harley was singing the actual lyrics. It's really a comedic tune about a man trying to murder his girlfriend, who is ignorant of his disdain and just wants a happy romance.
  • Batman Beyond: One episode features Terry trying to see "Batman: The Musical". At the time, Jim Steinman was working exactly that project for Warner, though it never came to fruition.
  • Beavis and Butt-Head: One of the stranger episodes featured an appearance by "Sterculius, the Roman god of feces". A particularly childish instance of Toilet Humour? Yes, but Sterculius was an actual Roman god (he was in charge of making sure the fields were fertilized, so he was more important than you might think). It's pretty astonishing that the two actually know the name of a Roman god, and proves that they are actually capable of learning stuff if it's associated with bodily functions or sex.
  • The Boondocks
    • A hamburger with donuts instead of buns and full of bacon? Surely that was the show's invention! Nope, it's called The Luther Burger, is very, very real, and may or may not have been actually invented by Luther Vandross. Either way, you'll probably die if you try to eat it.
    • In The Red Ball, Ed Wuncler tells the story of how kickball was a game invented in ancient China by monks, which his ancestor discovered on an expedition to the country. The modern game of kickball is an American invention, but the earliest known form of association football (soccer) was invented in ancient China. Its name? Cuju (蹴鞠), which literally means "kick ball".
    • Soul Plane is a real movie based on Airplane!, something that quite a lot of people weren't aware of until the Freemans were watching a trailer for a made-up sequel.
  • The Trope Namer is A Charlie Brown Christmas, where Lucy requests that Charlie Brown find a large pink aluminum Christmas tree for her stage play. Such trees were real back in 1965 when the special first aired, and were seen as just a common piece of Christmas memorabilia. This would end up causing an inversion of The Red Stapler effect; because of the special's strong anti-consumerism message, aluminum Christmas trees would be gone from the marketplace by the time 1970 rolled around.
  • Class of 3000: Kam is revealed to have been born without sweat glands in "Study Buddies." While not an exact match, there is a real medical condition that can prevent the sufferer from sweating.
  • Clerks: The Animated Series: In one episode, there's a HUGE fanbase and following for a sitcom called The Secret Diary of Desmond Pfeiffer, about a kidnapped African man who became Abraham Lincoln's valet. Many people have thought it was just a fake show, but it turns out it was actually real. The reason you've probably never heard of it is because it only aired four episodes (out of nine produced) before it was pulled due to bad ratings and terrible reviews.
  • The Cleveland Show: Mutton busting, as seen in "Ain't Nothin' But Mutton Bustin'", is a real thing in the southern part of the United States; it's used to introduce children to rodeo sports.
  • Code Monkeys: In the episode "Trouble in the Middle East", a Middle-Eastern king steals all the Impalavision consoles in America in order to drive up demand of them for Christmas and "Jew Christmas", then resell them in discount stores. U.S. intelligence (and Dave, initially) mistakenly believes that he wants to link them together to build a military supercomputer. While it sounds bizarre, this is a reference to a real-world urban legend that Saddam Hussein imported a bunch of Playstation 2s from America to do the same thing, which was why there was a shortage of them. There's really no proof that it happened (even the importing of them to Iraq can't be corroborated), but there WAS a massive shortage of the consoles right after launch... Plus, it really is possible to hook PlayStations together into supercomputer clusters, which is itself an example.
  • The sunken couch area in Danger Mouse doesn't just exist to turn into a lift down to the car. It's called a "conversation pit", which have been around since the 1920s and became particularly fashionable in the seventies.
  • In the Dexter's Laboratory Justice Friends segment, there’s a superhero called White Tiger, who you’d think was meant to be a Black Panther parody. However, Marvel comics does in deed have a superhero called White Tiger who debuted in 1975
  • Dora the Explorer: Despite it being framed as a mythical creature, the coquí is a real species of frog with major cultural significance to Puerto Rico, and its singing is based on a legend surrounding its mating call. Granted, real coquís don't carry guitars, and they're significantly smaller than shown on the show, but the point stands.
  • Drawn Together: One episode centers around Xandir coming out to his parents. The other housemates help him prepare for it by staging a scenario. In the scenario, Clara's character of Xandir's old girlfriend is given the surname "Slutsky." To most, it would probably be assumed that it's just a Punny Name. However, "Slutsky" is actually a real surname, of Russian-Jewish origin.note 
  • El Tigre: The Adventures of Manny Rivera has Zebra Donkey, the mascot of Manny's school who, as his name suggests, is a mix between a zebra and a donkey. In real life, zebras and donkeys are in fact capable of producing hybrid offspring (usually called "zedonks", though this name is essentially just short for "zebra donkey") which actually don't look all that different from Zebra Donkey himself, although they're usually bigger, even as babies.
  • The Fairly OddParents In one episode, Adam West does the trope that was named for him by playing a version of himself who thinks he's Catman. One might be surprised to learn he isn't just being a Captain Ersatz of Batman (1966), but is actually modeled after a small-time Batman villain of the same name.
  • Family Guy:
    • In the episode "Petergeist," after Stewie returns from the Other Side, he says that he met Jesus. Jesus, he says, is a Chinese man with the surname "Hong" who "has no idea where people are getting 'Christ' from." What seems like the typical bizarre throwaway joke is actually a reference to Hong Xiuquan, a nineteenth-century revolutionary who led the Taiping Rebellion against the Qing Dynasty and believed himself to be Jesus' brother.
    • In the episode "McStroke", Peter claims to be a businessman from Asia looking to invest in Mc Burger Town, as a way to spy on his local franchise. When the restaurant employee tells Peter that he doesn't look Asian, he says "Well, I guess we'll just take our millions of dongs elsewhere". While most people probably thought that this was just Peter being stupid or a penis joke, dongs are a real currency (pronounced "dough-ng") in Vietnam. Additionally, when the episode first aired, a million dong was a bit under $61 USD, so it wasn't far-fetched for Peter to have millions of them.
    • The German bedtime story in the episode "Business Guy" was just a play on the stereotype that Germans are aggressive, or perhaps poking fun at the fact that the original versions of various fairy tales were often way more gruesome, right? Wrong. The Story of Little Suck-a-Thumb is pretty much exactly like it's portrayed in the episode, the only difference being that the person who cut off the boy's thumbs was a tailor his mother warned him about, rather than the mother doing it herself. The designs of the characters were even based on the story's illustrations from the book that it originally appeared in.
    • "Life of Brian" features a cutaway gag of women voting for the first time in the 1920 Presidential election. The leader among them tells them to remember that "Warren G. Harding is way the cutest!" causing the rest of them to squeal and then break out in a pillow fight. Harding was actually considered very handsome in his day, and it's generally accepted that this was a large contributing factor to his election win.
    • Chico's Monkey Farm (seen in "Peter's Sister") was a real tourist trap in Richmond Hill, Georgia (rather than Rhode Island as in the show's song). Unfortunately for Peter or anyone else dreaming of going, it closed its doors forever in the early 1980s because they couldn't keep attendance up (not for any monkey-related incidents, as the show suggests).
    • The writers probably didn't know this, but Samsung really does make cars... sort of. They don't transform from a phone into a car as seen in "Candy Quahog Marshmallow!", nor does Kia have anything to do with it, but there have been Samsung-branded cars built and sold in Korea since 1998. Samsung branched out into the automotive field with a little help from Nissan (all of the early models were rebadged, Korean-built Nissans) just before the 1997 Asian financial crisis, which ultimately resulted in Renault buying a controlling stake of the automotive arm in 2000. Renault changed the name to Renault Samsung, and today sells various, mostly Korean-built Renaults. Samsung still owns nearly 20% of the division.
    • In the episode "How the Griffin Stole Christmas", Peter has the Quahog Concert Hall perform the Kars4Kids radio jingle. As many people on the East Coast of the U.S. know, Kars4Kids is a real organization and the jingle is arranged with 100% accuracy.
  • In one episode of Freakazoid!, Freakazoid got trapped in a virtual reality arcade game featuring players running around a checkerboard floor shooting at each other while a low polygon pterodactyl flew around snatching them up at random. Sounds like the sort of nonsensical, out of date representations of video games seen in most media... except it's real. Even the machine is drawn accurately.
  • Father of the Pride: The Secret Garden really did house a white lion named Sarmoti (albeit a female one).
  • Futurama:
    • "Three Hundred Big Boys", which features the government paying everyone $300 to spend, was a satire of a genuine government stimulus going on at the time. Of course, the episode was written shortly before the September 11 attacks, so the policy had been overshadowed and forgotten by the time it went to air.
    • In "Jurassic Bark", Fry's fossilized dog and Bender are able to survive submersion in magma because they're partially made of dolomite, a "tough black mineral that won't cop out when there's heat all about". The description is mostly a joke about the film Dolemite, but dolomite is a real mineral with a very high melting point, though it isn't black and is unlikely to be alloyed in any kind of metal.
    • Omicron Persei is a real star system (and yes, it is 1000 light-years from Earth) that many people believe was made up by the writers. Currently, we do not know how many planets Omicron Persei has, so we do not know if Omicron Persei 8 itself exists and, if it does, what it looks like.
    • "All the Presidents' Heads" has the Planet Express Crew going back in time to stop Professor Farnsworth's ancestor David Farnsworth, a loyalist spy, from engaging in a plot to destroy the US economy using counterfeit money. There really was such a person with that name. The episode additionally nods to inventor and television pioneer Philo Farnsworth and colorblindness test developer Dean Farnsworth as members of the fictional Farnsworth's family tree.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • In the episode where Billy has the ghost of Lord Byron coming out of his mouth, there's a gag about Byron having a clubbed foot, and Billy is mildly disturbed to learn that that was in his mouth. Those unfamiliar with Lord Byron may think this is just an example of the show's humor, but he really did have a clubbed foot and walked with a limp for the majority of his life because of it.
    • One of the best-known episodes is the Halloween special where Grim's scythe is stolen by a villain named Jack O'Lantern, an immortal prankster who'd been beheaded and replaced his head with a pumpkin. This character wasn't invented for the show and is actually based on a relatively obscure mythical figure called Stingy Jack.
    • Another Halloween special shows a chocolate ear as one of the candy items Billy and Mandy get while trick or treating. Chocolate ears are real.
  • Harley Quinn (2019): The Queen of Fables being trapped in a book of tax codes wasn't made up for the show - that was actually how the Justice League defeated her in the comics. Since she draws power from imagination, Zatanna thought it best to trap her in a book that was utterly dry and devoid of creativity, so that Fables would be completely powerless.
  • Infinity Train: The season one episode "The Past Car" sees a character in a flashback use a whistle to make free calls on a pay phone, which is based on a real practice pioneered by the famous hacker John Draper. It only worked on American phones prior to the discontinuation of in-band signaling during the 1980s though, so don't bother trying it on the off-chance you do stumble upon a modern pay-phone.
  • Invader Zim: In "Megadoomer", the titular Chicken Walker has no batteries and thus has to rely on an extension cord that Gir has to constantly replug once Zim strays too far. Funny as it is, power supply is a real issue when it comes to Powered Exoskeletons, with most needing a battery or engine that isn't quite as mobile that they plug into with an extension cord.
  • Jem:
    • "Jerrica" isn't a name made up for the show. It's an alternate spelling of the rare name "Jerica".
    • Many fans make the mistake of thinking "Kimber" is a nickname for "Kimberly", but "Kimber" is a real name that actually predates "Kimberly".
  • King of the Hill
    • Some people are surprised when they learn that not only is Chuck Mangione real, but "Feels So Good" really was the name of his best-known song - a Top 5 hit in 1978, to be exact.
    • In the Halloween Episode "Hilloween", Junnie Harper, a religious fanatic, takes Bobby and several other kids through her "hell house" to show what happens when people stray from God's path, such as dying from having premarital sex, and an ape eating its baby grandchild for believing in evolution. Such places do exist and spring up around Halloween, particularly in Southern states (like Texas, where the show takes place).
    • A lot of viewers outside Texas were shocked that not only is Whataburger real, but it's actually a very large chain that's incredibly popular in Texas.
    • In "Hank's Unmentionable Problem", Hank gets an x-ray of his colon after consuming excessive amounts of beef, which, in the later episode "Love Hurts, And So Does Art", gets presented in an art exhibit; he sues for it and ends up getting it taken down, not because it was submitted without his consent, but because it's illegal to defame beef in Texas. It seems like a joke about the state's prominent cattle industry, but this is an actual law that exists - notably, Oprah Winfrey was sued around the time the episode aired for making comments about beef consumption and mad cow disease.
    • "Just Another Manic Kahn-Day" has a subplot of Bobby discovering a comedy album from a comedian named Ray J. Johnson, Jr. His entire bit consists of nothing but someone else addressing him with "hey Johnson," which leads him to rattle off every possible variation of his name, culminating with "but ya doesn’t hasta call me Johnson!" A lot of people were surprised to learn that not only was Ray J. Johnson, Jr. a real comedian (sort of; he's a character portrayed by comedian Bill Saluga), but his "you can call me Ray, or you can call me Jay..." bit was also real, and yes that was his entire act. He was popular in the 70's, appearing in commercials and on shows like Laugh-In and The Gong Show, and he even released a disco single in 1978.
  • The Legend of Korra:
    • The zig-zag paintjob on Varrick's battleship, the Zhu Li, may look ridiculous, but it's not so ridiculous to those who've heard of dazzle camouflage, which was used on real-life battleships during World War I and II. The strange patterns made it harder to judge the distance, heading, and speed of a ship and thereby throw off the enemy's aim.
    • Some fans have complained that it seems like technology advanced too quickly in the Avatar-verse in the 70-year timeskip between the two series. However, when looking at the historical Industrial Revolution and the advances of the early twentieth century, technology advanced more swiftly in real life than it did in the show... if anything, The Legend of Korra is lagging behind.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Many people, especially those outside America, believe that the Road Runner is just a species made up for the Road Runner and Coyote cartoons. The truth is, there is an actual ground-dwelling bird named roadrunner living in North America. It doesn't help that the studio took great liberties with the bird's characteristics. (They're actually very small and sand-colored, not to mention they have a top speed much slower than that of a coyote.)
    • Similarly, the Tasmanian Devil is also often believed to be a fictional creature, rather than an actual species of marsupial. Though to be fair, the only things the Looney Tunes character and the real animal have in common are their loud, grunting vocalization and ravenous appetite.
    • In the 1944 short, "The Old Grey Hare," Elmer Fudd journeys to the distant future year of 2000 AD, where he reads a newspaper headline stating, "Smellevision Replaces Television." While this may seem like a fanciful fabrication to modern audiences, there were attempts in the first half of the 20th century to create scent-enhanced entertainment experiences (such as Smell-O-Vision, appeared in 1959).
  • The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack: This series gives us the character known as Doctor Barber. At first glance, his profession might seem completely random in terms of pairing, but Barber/Surgeons were a very real profession in Medieval times, for obvious reasons. Even as recently as the 19th century, many barbers (especially in the wild west, where dentists were few and far between) would pull and drill teeth... usually with only a bottle of whiskey to dull the patient's pain.
  • Martha Speaks: In the episode, "Ronald Is In", Ronald uses a psychology book to screw with Helen and friends and diagnose them with various fake ailments. While "worryitis" & "arrange-o-mania" are fake, "decidophobia" is a legitimate condition that people suffer from (though Alice didn't have it, obviously).
  • Metalocalypse: Pickles' plan to use bleach to pass a drug test in the episode "Dethhealth" and the gang's general acceptance of the idea was just an example of their idiocy, right? Nope, you actually can put bleach in a urine sample to kill traces of many drugs (though you'll end up failing it anyway because doctors and lab technicians can tell if someone has put bleach in it, and it goes without saying that drinking it like Pickles suggested is a bad idea).
  • Miscellaneous Disney Shorts: In "Would You Eat A Blue Potato?" (one of a series of educational shorts themed around Walt Disney World's EPCOT park, released in the 1980s), Figment (from Journey into Imagination) serves blue potatoes and other oddly-colored foods, and talks about how colors tie into imagination. Blue potatoes actually exist in the real world.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In one episode, a newspaper claims that Fluttershy has tail extensions. Many viewers will be surprised to learn that not only are tail and mane extensions real products, but using them in certain competition formats would be a scandal.
    • There is also the popular theme among the fans of depicting the ponies in socks. A lot of the fans think the idea is cute but absolutely ridiculous, and are a little more than shocked to learn that socks for horses are a very real thing.
    • In addition, Daring Do's nemesis, Ahuizotl, is actually a fairly accurate (albeit Lighter and Softer) portrayal of a mythical Aztec creature.
    • Similarly was Fluttershy's taming of Cerberus. Yes, being able to "tame" that Cerberus was actually part of the myth, albeit it involved bribing him with cakes rather than attempting to give the dreaded creature a tummy rub.
    • Fluttershy's house has a Sod roof — which is actually something that Nordic people have had for centuries.
    • Pinkie Pie's sister, Maud, is dull, boring, literal-minded, and obsessed with rocks, up to and including having a pebble for a pet, named Boulder. It's funny because, well, all she talks about is rocks and she has one for a pet, but Pet Rocks were a legitimate fad in the mid-1970s.
    • Pinkie Pie's characteristic hopping-on-all-fours gait is actually performed by some real-world ungulates, including ponies, and is called "stotting" or "pronking" (though they don't make "boing" noises while doing it).
    • As is Pinkie Pie's "frolicking". Horses do that all the time, albeit to scratch themselves and shake off bugs rather than for having fun.
    • Those feeding bags that the Wonderbolts wear in "Rainbow Falls" are a real horse accessory; if you've been to a city that has horse-drawn carriages, you've probably seen them.
    • Hooficures are performed in real life, on even-toed ungulate livestock as well as equines.
    • Horse-drawn railways like the one in "Over a Barrel" did, in fact, exist prior to the advent of the steam locomotive, and horses continued to be used for shunting well into the 20th century. They wouldn't be pulling full-length trains, though.
    • Carrot hot dogs are an actual thing.
    • Fluttershy's fear of Nightmare Night is not just exaggerated for Rule of Funny: Samhainophobia, or the fear of Halloween, is a real phobia that finds its roots in the Celtic festival of Samhain.
  • Neo Yokio:
  • The Owl House has a mild running gag that giraffes are actually mythical creatures that escaped into our world. Sounds like just a joke about how giraffes look weird, right? Well, back in the medieval era, giraffes really were thought of as a strange magical monster; most famously, the Questing Beast of Arthurian Legend, described as a combination of snake, leopard, lion, and deer.
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero: Professor Evil Professor says he has a Ph.D. in Evilness. Turns out that is an actual scientific field of study.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • Lingonberries are a type of berry that only Buford seems to know about. In real life, it's just an uncommon name for wildberries.
    • There are Mexican-Jewish festivals, as Mexico has a decent-sized Jewish population. Granted, these are often local-level events within a Jewish community that has Mexican ties.
    • Some viewers of the show were surprised to learn that the platypus is a real animal, including co-creator Jeff "Swampy" Marsh's mother-in-law.
  • The opening to the Pinky and the Brain episode "Inherit the Wheeze": Think strapping a mouse into what looks like a medieval torture device and forcing him to smoke cigarettes is a cartoonishly outlandish way of studying the effects of smoking that real scientists couldn't actually do? Well, take a deep breath and get used to nightmares, because that's actually exactly how they do it — all the animators did was slightly censor what the device looks like.
  • The Powerpuff Girls: The city in which the girls live is called "Townsville". There are existing cities in real life with that name situated in Australia and North Carolina, as well as a similarly named "Townville" (no "s") in Pennsylvania.
  • Regular Show: In the episode of the same name, Tants are a bizarre gift Pops gives to Mordecai and Rigby, pants that double as a table. Turns out, someone had actually already made a similar product in real life called Pic Nic Pants...and they arguably look more ridiculous than Tants.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show: At the end of "The Great Outdoors", Ren comes down with an ailment called "Beaver Fever" after drinking water that beavers have been in. Beaver Fever (or Giardiasis, its proper name) is a real disease and that is one of the ways it is transmitted to humans. Although, obviously, it does not turn the sufferer into a beaver.
  • Rick and Morty: The episode, "M. Night Shaym-Aliens!" has, at one point, Rick telling Morty to mix "Plutonic Quarks, Cesium, and bottled water," in order to create a substance the Zigerions were trying to get their hands on. It turned out to be a fake simulation, and when the Zigerions tried to replicate it with those ingredients, their whole ship exploded. Sounds like sci-fi babble, right? Well, the Plutonic Quarks is, but the Alkali Metal elements (first column in the periodic table) are highly reactive to water, and Cesium is the most reactive element among them that exists in significant quantities (the most reactive element would technically be Francium, but that barely exists in nature). Recordings of the resulting explosions are easy enough to find online.
  • Robot Chicken: An early episode features a mashup sketch between The Golden Girls and Sex and the City in which a man dies during sex with Blanche as one of the jokes. There actually was an episode of The Golden Girls where a man dies in bed after sex, although it was with Rose rather than Blanche.
    • In a Fantastic Four sketch Dr Doom is revealed to have put his mask on too early and thus gets scarred, as would happen to his “southern region” with the codpiece. While the codpiece bit was actually just a joke in the comics Doom really did put his mask on too soon and became scarred because of it.
  • The Scooby-Doo Project. Not anything from it, the actual special itself. It was serialized once for a Scooby-Doo marathon and then never re-aired again, with the only evidence that it existed at all being taped recordings. Quite a few 90s kids were left with vague memories of this bizarre Scooby-Doo special where the gang hunt a Blair Witch Expy and die horribly at its hands, spreading descriptions and rumors about it online. The widespread belief was that it was just a Candle Cove-esque Creepypasta that took on a life of its own... until those taped recordings of it got shared online, revealing to a great many shocked people that, yes, this thing really existed.
  • Smiling Friends: In "Frowning Friends", the titular characters convince 3D Squelton to not pursue his balloon-making dream by telling him that the world will run out of helium in 20 years. As it turns out, there is legitimate concern about a helium shortage, something that Charlie even remarks on.
    • Century Eggs as seen in "Who Violently Murdered Simon S. Salty?". It’s a very real Chinese dish that is prepared by being buried underground for a long period of time. it makes his final request to Charlie a lot more understandable.
  • South Park:
    • In "Turd Burglers" Yes, Fecal Transplants are very much a real medical procedure. Admittedly, the bacteria from the stool is separated and put in a suppository pill, but the procedure itself is very real and yes, people have tried to do DIY versions of it as well.
    • In "Trapped in the Closet", a disclaimer noted that Scientologists really do believe that all our problems are caused by nuked alien ghosts, which they really don't tell their minions until they're quite involved. It's hard to believe that all that is necessary.
    • "Casa Bonita" features Cartman tricking Butters that the world is coming to an end just so he can take his place when Kyle and his friends go to Casa Bonita. What some people may not realize is that the place isn't a figment of the creators' imagination, but rather an actual restaurant in the Denver, Colorado area. They have everything featured in the episode, from the more sopapillas flags to professional divers. The Denver location is the last remaining Casa Bonita. In 2021, Casa Bonita filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, and was saved by series co-creators Trey Parker and Matt Stone, who purchased the restaurant.
    • The Jonas Brothers spraying foam on preteen girls in season 13 premiere "The Ring"? That's real too. The little girl saying "My giney tickles" was also based on a daughter of a member of the production staff saying it when she was at one of their concerts.
    • A lot of people would be surprised to learn that South Park, Colorado, itself is in fact a real place (as is Park County). While there is no town in Colorado by the name of "South Park", it is a basin adjacent to Middle and North Park.
    • Judging from YouTube comments, many people saw the parody of the Adam Sandler movie Jack and Jill in "You're Getting Old" before they saw the trailer, and didn't think the movie was real.
    • P Diddy's 'Vote or Die' campaign in "Douche and Turd" is real.
    • Quite a few Europeans were more than a bit surprised that Honey Boo Boo was an actual child pageant participant, not being familiar with American television.
    • Unfortunately, NAMBLA (the "man-boy love" one) from "Cartman Joins NAMBLA" is, in fact, a real group. Even Trey and Matt said on the DVD Commentary that they couldn't believe an organization like that exists. Unfortunately, the "North American Marlon Brando Look-Alikes" do not exist.
    • Thanks to the extremely fast turnaround time for Parker and Stone to make episodes, they can cram in the issue of the week in the very next episode. This leads to many moments when people watching some episodes years after the fact think that Parker and Stone made up some plot points out of whole cloth (if they're not outright Unintentional Period Pieces).
    • Mexico really does have a space program (as seen in "Free Willzyx"), but it's not called MASA, and they haven't launched any satellites or rockets. The actual name of the organization is Agencia Espacial Mexicana (AEM), which directly translates to Mexican Space Agency.
      • Additionally, the word "masa" is meaningful for Mexicans - it's a type of corn flour used to make many of Mexico's staple foods, such as tortillas.
    • In one episode where the boys become talent agents, their primary client is a New Zealand woman of Hong Kong descent called Wing, who sings covers of American pop tunes in a humorously tone-deaf fashion, has poor musical timing, and (based on her tone) has a limited understanding of the English language. It's so unrealistically bad that clips of her singing on YouTube usually have comments from viewers surprised to find out she really exists. In fact, she provided all of her singing in the episode, and there's a graphic at the end of the episode informing the viewer that Wing is a real person and providing a link to her website.
    • In one episode Cartman looks as though he's going to shoot himself only for him to literally bite the gun's barrel clean off and eat it before revealing that the gun was actually made of chocolate. Believe it or not, chocolate guns actually exist.
    • The season 19 episode, "Sponsored Content", has the PC frat boys getting girls to sign "consent forms" before having sex with them. While it may seem like another example of Political Overcorrectness, which was a constant theme of that season, sexual consent forms are real and will probably sound more out-there with the passage of time.
    • While the titular camp of "The Death Camp of Tolerance" is fictional, the Museum of Tolerance is not something the episode's writers made up.
    • "Cartman Sucks" features a camp that attempts to forcibly convert the mistaken to be homosexual Butters straight, which is depicted as a cruelly depressing prison where suicide is a Running Gag. These places actually exist, and while South Park definitely played up the atmosphere for the sake of satire, they're incredibly notorious for causing people who go to such places to suffer depression and suicidal thoughts, and are illegal in 20 states of the US.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • One of Squidward's favorite foods, canned bread, actually does exist in reality.
    • In one episode, the French narrator says that for SpongeBob, every day is a holiday, even if he has to make one up, and then SpongeBob is shown dressed as a viking for "Leif Erikson Day". Believe it or not, this is actually an observance in America, celebrated on October 9.
    • Goo Lagoon, a beach set on the ocean floor made of denser water that sinks to the bottom, is based on an actual phenomenon underwater known as brine lakes. Brine lakes even have waves, a shoreline, creatures that live in and around it, and objects that can float atop the water.
    • Bubble Bass' Overcomplicated Menu Order from "Pickles" makes use of actual Hash House Lingo, although the result (a 24 patty multi-layered burger) isn't even close to the one SpongeBob made, and is unlikely to ever be actually served outside of its constituent parts; a half-dozen four-patty burgers sandwiched between four pieces of toast each. Binging with Babish recreated the order for those who want to see what it would look like.
  • Steven Universe:
  • Sym-Bionic Titan: In one episode, Ilana and Octus organize a food tasting party, one of the foods prepared for it (they're also seen with it before and Lance serves it after the party) is fu-fu... which some fans of the show were surprised to discover was a real West African dish, although it's anyone's guess why a recent visitor from the place where it is common would feel the need to comment on the apparently high quality of an equivalent to mashed potatoes or a bowl of rice.
  • In the episode, "Permanent Record" of Teen Titans Go!, when Robin makes all the Teen Titans have a day of class as if they're in school, they take a trip into outer space to learn about astronomy. Starfire asks why the sky is blue and Robin tries to explain to them that the sky is blue because of the sunlight reflecting the blue color of the oceans, but Beast Boy corrects him and explains the real reason why the sky is blue is because the sun blows out a multi-colored light, of which the innermost color is blue; and the gaseous particles in the Earth's atmosphere tend to reflect the blue part of the sun's light more than any of the other colors. Robin gets angry at Beast Boy for interrupting him and even thinks that he is wrong for the answer he gave, but it turns out Beast Boy is actually correct. In addition to that, this is actually a real-life scientific fact: The sky is blue (and to a certain extent, the oceans too for that matter) because of the concept of Raleigh Scattering, which means that when the sun's light reaches the Earth, the smallest wavelengths of light tend to scatter easier, and because blue and purple (and to a lesser extent, red and orange such as at dusk and dawn) have the smaller wavelengths of the other colors of the sun's light, and because of electromagnetic radiation coming from the sun's light, the Earth's atmosphere and the oceans reflect this blue light better than any other color from the sun's light and it is easier for us human beings to see these blue wavelengths on the visible light spectrum, better than any of the other colors.
  • Titan Maximum: In one episode, Willy picks up Clare's sword and declares it to be made of "aggregated carbon nanorods", a substance harder than diamonds. A disclaimer appears on-screen adding that despite this being a sci-fi show, this is a real substance.
  • Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race
    • There really is a golden mall called "The Gold Souk" in Dubai.
    • Perhaps even more surprising, there really is an ice cream flavor made from gold. It's called Black Diamond, and at $817 US a scoop, is the most expensive in the world.
    • "Brazilian Pain Forest" had a challenge in which contestants had to place their hand in a mitten full of stinging bullet ants to retrieve the ticket for the next challenge. While this sounds like one of the typically over-the-top sadistic reality show challenges common to the franchise, it's actually a real-life warrior initiation rite some South American tribes use on young men (who sometimes have to do it repeatedly over the course of many months).
  • Fans of Young Justice may be surprised to find out that "whelmed", before Robin co-opted it to mean calm ("try to stay whelmed"), was already a word. It just saw little use because it, funnily enough, is synonymous with overwhelmed (as in, overcome with emotion). If someone was "overwhelmed", it meant they were very whelmed. Stan Lee once used it to mean excited, in Origins of Marvel Comics, a Compilation Rerelease from The '70s.

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