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Anvilicious / Live-Action TV

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  • Our Miss Brooks: "Mr. Whipple" sees Miss Brooks and her friends try to help an old man whom they believe is destitute and starving. It turns out he's a rich tycoon on a diet. However, the generosity of Miss Brooks and her friends so affects Mr. Whipple that he takes them out for dinner, and decides to lobby for a new school gymnasium.
  • Penn & Teller: Bullshit! runs on this, given the premise. The most extreme example probably being the animal rights episode where they basically say the head of PETA supports arson. On the other hand, they admit up-front that they aren't even trying for fairness, and they usually aim at providing proof (for example, with the above claim, they note several financial links between PETA and animal rights extremists like the Animal Liberation Front).
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  • NCIS season 5 episode "Tribes" had a rather heavy-handed religious tolerance message that was hammered home 3 different times over the course of the episode.
  • Literally just about every sitcom or drama since 1970 has had at least one "Drugs Are Bad, mmmkay?" Very Special Episode. Many have had several.
  • Full House invariably ended in someone learning a lesson. Usually 'it's okay to pick on Kimmy Gibbler'.
    • Family Matters was just as bad, especially during its first six or so seasons. With the episodes "Like A Virgin" and "The Gun" being the most Egregious examples.
  • Babylon 5 had a really terrible habit of giving things away by dropping literary references and allusions that bludgeoned the viewer with the message.
    • The first season even has an episode ("Infection") where the captain defeats an alien super soldier made by an ancient race of Space Nazis by lecturing it while it's shooting at him until it realizes that yes, clearly Space Nazism is a flawed ideology. The episode is widely regarded as the worst episode of the show, period. It was the 4th episode shown, but the first one written and the first one shot. Even the JMS felt that it was too anvilicious, and said that if they'd had enough scripts to be able to do so, he probably wouldn't have shot it at all. Clicky
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    • Just how obvious did those literary references get, you ask? Well, the Earth Alliance's shift to fascism featured the creation of a new, frightening political department: the Ministry of Peace. No, they didn't change the name or anything.
    • J. Michael Straczynski was very blunt in how he much he hated children or anything cute that would supposedly ruin the show, evident by how they were all instantly killed in quite jarring ways. Even a teddy bear given to him as a joke.
    • Historical references, too: In one episode, after signing a treaty with the Centauri an Earth diplomat says, "There will be peace in our time." Three guesses as to what happens next.
  • Boy Meets World had many anvilicious aesops, particularly of the Can't Get Away with Nuthin' variety. Perhaps it was the force of all those anvils that led the main character to be so unhinged in the final seasons.
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  • Virtually anything written by Ben Elton feels the distinct need to tell rather than show. The good ones are funny enough to still be entertaining, the bad ones...
  • An episode of Quincy, M.E. when the guy pauses for effect... then declares the cause of death as Punk Rock.
    • An Episode? Every episode!
      • "But Sam don't you see? This is so serious I'm going to quote a load of statistics at you so the audience know how serious it is."
  • Pick an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Generally it will have a hamfisted moral about how using magic to solve your problems is immoral unless you're not Sabrina. Surprisingly, the Animated Adaptation is far less so. The format allowed a lot more outrageous situations, which make the moral of each episode make some sort of sense.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • The original series was unique for its era in that it was likely the only show in which no one smoked. Gene Roddenberry had originally cast Majel Barrett as the second in command of the Enterprise, a feminist first for the time, but was put under pressure by his producers to put cigarettes into the show. He refused, so they gave him the ultimatum, cigarettes or Majel. Majel did finally make it in in a more traditional role as Nurse Chapel.
    • Another tale mentioned in several sources (including Shatner's autobiography Star Trek Memories) has it that the network's ultimatum was the alien Spock or the woman officer. Roddenberry went with Spock.
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", concerning a race where people who were black-skinned on the left side of their face and white-skinned on the right, were persecuted by the people who were white on the left and black on the right. Anviltastic!
    • "The Omega Glory", described rather accurately by as "It's common for aliens in the Trek universe to be metaphors created to address contemporary political or cultural issues, but in the case of the Kohms and Yangs subtlety was set on fire, strapped to a dump truck full of dynamite and rolled off a cliff."
    • At the height of The Vietnam War, "A Taste of Armageddon" was set in a planet whose two nations were involved in a decades-long, computer-simulated war: citizens of both nations, when "killed" in a simulated attack, obediently marched into disintegration booths. Body counts are bad, mmmkay?
    • Another Vietnam-oriented episode was "A Private Little War", which has two native cultures fighting against each other. It would be a "Prime Directive" issue, except the Klingons are supplying one of the tribes with weapons...just like China with North Vietnam. It gets to the point that Kirk and McCoy even discuss The Vietnam War (with all the names conveniently left out), and note that the best solution would've been to supply the South with weapons and advisors (basically, Kennedy's approach—and what would later become known as the "Reagan Doctrine", instead of fighting the war for them.
    • "The Cloud Minders", in which a culture is divided into a working class and an upper class. The working class living on the surface, working in the mines, and believed to be stupid and therefore inferior, while the upper class live in a floating city in the sky, living like aristocrats and considering themselves superior in every way. When the Enterprise enters the action, the working class is in a state of revolution, and it's discovered the ore they're forced to mine makes them stupid, but otherwise they have the same potential, and thus should be afforded the same privileges, as the upper class, with Kirk championing their cause when he discovers it. The anvil in this episode - an allusion to wealth inequality and Marxist class theory - might even be more applicable in the 21st century than in the 1960s.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • The first season is packed to the point of parody with scenes where a main cast member gives a Take That! to "how we used to be"...which more often then not involves 20th-Century humanity. But "Hey, we're not like that anymore!" Fortunately, the second season on dropped this.
    • The episode "The Neutral Zone" went anvilicious against the capitalists of the era on its way to demonstrating through Picard's actions that what Kirk did in the corresponding TOS episode was wrong. Gets Funny Aneurysm Moments from later events; Data proudly announces that the Federation has no television—but it will eventually come out that holodecks are, in their way, worse.
    • Also ironic is that a couple decades before this episode established a non-monetary economy for the Federation, an early draft of The Trouble with Tribbles had the following exchange (according to Word of God):
    Baris: After all, my taxes pay your salary. I'm your boss.
    Kirk: Then I'd like a raise.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis", where Species A is saving Species B from a deadly virus that hasn't existed in centuries by selling them space crack, and we learn that doing drugs is bad. It even includes a bonus speech to Wesley about just why drugs are bad. The speech is hilariously taken out of context on YTMND, where it appears Tasha appreciates drugs.
    • In "The Drumhead", we get an entire episode focused on an overzealous Starfleet admiral going on a witch hunt in the Enterprise to find an accomplice of a spy working for the Romulans, accusing an innocent crewman who has the misfortune of being the grandson of a Romulan, and even accusing Picard. A blatant Aesop against those same witchhunts. (Leading to an anvilicious but awesome speech by Picard on the subject of the state placing limitations on a person's liberty and how a stand must be taken to prevent the state from going too far. Bonus points was that Picard was quoting the admiral's father.)
    • "Force of Nature" about warp drive being dangerous to the fabric of the Universe. Comparing the ozone hole to the destruction of the universe. Real subtle, guys.
    • Yet another TNG episode, "The Outcast", had a member of an androgynous species fall for Riker. Turns out she identifies herself as female, which on her planet is considered a psychological disorder. Naturally she's found out and gives a long, cliched speech about how she shouldn't be considered a "deviant", and how you can't dictate "how people love each other".
    • Noting that all the androgynous aliens were portrayed by women notes: "The episode's message ends up completely garbled. Intended as a condemnation of homophobia, the episode instead comes off as the story of one woman's brave quest for cock in the face of lesbian tyranny." Even Jonathan Frakes commented that it would have been more convincing if his love interest had been played by a man.
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • A network enforced example: an episode was such an Anvilicious AIDS parable that they went and plugged an AIDS website after the episode.
    • An Enterprise episode featured religious fanatics whose planet was a smoking ruin because of a schism over whether creation was nine days or ten. The Aesop being, of course, "The little stupid differences are nothing compared to the big stupid similarities!", but worked in with a loud thudding sound. Also note that this was pretty much a remake of the above-mentioned "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield."
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "In The Hands Of The Prophets" is an anvilicious reference to the nonsense of religious dogma and the detrimental effects of having it influence politics. While lip service is played to tolerance, Winn quickly went Jumping Off the Slippery Slope to the point of terrorism.
    • The two-parter "Past Tense" was so Anvilicious about the homeless being ignored that when Sisko was delivering his lines at the end of the episode asking how society could get that far, it seemed that he was going to look right in the camera and start addressing the audience directly.
      • Earlier in the episode, there's a lot of lip-service paid to support of FDR's Federal Employment Act. Also, Sisko's line of how the people need work and not to "depend on handouts" can easily come across as a conservative Take That! to the welfare/entitlement system.
    • "Melora" was blatantly Anvilicious, repeatedly hammering home the point that being in a wheelchair doesn't make you any less of a person. You'd think seeing all those alien races would make such a disability seem positively ordinary.
    • "Far Beyond the Stars". It seems that America was pretty racist in the 1950s. Sisko has a vision of himself as someone else in the past, and each of the main characters has a counterpart in his vision. All of the black characters either comment on or demonstrate the oppression against them, and it comes complete with a Large Ham (Benny himself) and N-Word Privileges!
  • Norman Lear practically pioneered the trope for American prime-time TV. All in the Family, Maude, Good Times, Sanford and Son, One Day at a Time, and The Jeffersons were all thick with Anvilicious plots and Points To Be Made. So were his later series, but by then people had become less tolerant of his anvils. Then again, All in the Family, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons had highly sympathetic bigots, which lightened the intended anvils in those series. Which in many ways led to the extreme right-wing and/or racist Misaimed Fandoms that followed Archie, Fred, George, etc. to the point where paid-up Democrat Carroll O'Connor lampshaded and subverted the trope in an anti-racist Public Service Announcement for B'Nai B'rith in 1990.
  • The New Zealand TV soap Shortland Street does this all the time. The 1998 episode in which Jenny Harrison appeared on a television show to rant about the poor state of the New Zealand health service is probably the most anvilicious scene of Shortland Street in its 16-year history.
  • You can include the entire Degrassi franchise in this, the result of creator Linda Schuyler trying to make a series that would showcase the effects of certain issues on children. Famous examples of Anvilicious behaviour in the franchise include Dwayne having to deal with AIDS and Shane (a.k.a. "Canada's national baby daddy") dropping acid and jumping off a bridge in Degrassi High, and Manny getting an abortion in Degrassi: The Next Generation. So someone jumps off a bridge and/or has an abortion every episode? Pretty much. It gets worse in the spinoff, at least when Emma was always there to deliver a "The Reason You Suck" Speech.
  • Green Is Universal, a concept so heavy-handed and self-righteous that it couldn't be contained on just one network. Indeed, this bi-yearly theme appears on every cable and broadcast channel owned by NBC. NBC in turn is owned by General Electric, a polluter so massive and frightening that even Captain Planet would fear to confront it. The irony is so thick and juicy that you could cut it with a steak knife.
    • Bonus points awarded for extending it to, of all things, their sportscasting when they thought it was a good idea to make the guys sit around in the studio with their lights off.
    • Except that they paid whatever minuscule environmental benefit all back, with massive interest, by flying to the Arctic to film a promo. Unless they faked it (the reporter's breath has no fog), in which case they're scamming the audience.
    • 30 Rock, being set at NBC and with a character (Jack Donaghy) meant in part to mock this kind of corporate thinking, has made a tradition of lampshading/parodying this every year (in the same way as it lampshades/parodies Product Placement).
    • Season 1's "Greenzo," where David Schwimmer is a mascot who tries to put a positive spin on GE's corporate practices; he ends up going actually environmental.
    • Again the following year, when Jack mocks the idea of NBC acknowledging the environment, and even calls attention to the fact that one of the only noticeable differences during the week is that the NBC logo turns green.
    • General Electric stands to make a huge profit off of manufacturing "Green" products (e.g. high-efficiency home appliances and low-emission aircraft engines and locomotives). Thus, they are promoting their own products by telling consumers that they should be green.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Beer Bad", in which a group of college students and Buffy are turned into Neanderthal-like cave people by spiked beer, was also anvilicious, but at least had the decency to hang an amusing lampshade on that aspect of the episode:
      Xander: And was there a lesson in all of this? What have we learned about beer?
      Buffy: Foamy!
      Xander: Good. Just so that's clear.
    • Ironically, the episode was intended to have a clear moral, as the writers participated in a competition to write a storyline that (realistically) brought up the dangers of drinking... and were disqualified, because every complication is caused by supernatural influences rather than the beer itself.
    • The moral still came.
      Giles: I can't believe you served Buffy that beer
      Xander: I didn't know it was evil!
      Giles: You knew it was beer!
    • The drugs/magic episode, "Wrecked", is probably the most blatant metaphor in the whole show.
  • Doctor Who:
    • During the years that Andrew Cartmel was script editor (1987-1989) had a tendency to be a bit on-the-nose about how 'right-on' the show was. In 2010 this was admitted by people who worked on the show and who claimed they had filled the McCoy/Seventh era (1987-89) with attacks on the Thatcher government. This "revelation" was largely treated with derision, firstly for the sheer hubris of those involved (the show's days as a national favourite were well behind it and the audience by the late '80s consisted of hardcore fans and kids, neither of whom were a large voting block) and secondly because this was barely a secret since the attacks on Thatcherism had all the subtlety of, well, an anvil. Add in the fact that a LOT of shows were attacking Thatcher, so it was also a bit of "yeah, you and a thousand other blokes."
    • Yeah, painting the TARDIS pink in "The Happiness Patrol" was probably a bit on-the-nose...
    • In "The Beast Below", there is a the "Doctor = Space Whale" parallel.
    • Who can forget "Nightmare of Eden"? A four-episode long PSA about the dangers of doing drugs and the evils of drug smuggling, hidden behind a somewhat mediocre story. The story's article on the TARDIS Data Core even states that "narratively, it was notable for its anti-drug theme, delivered in an unusually unvarnished way for Doctor Who. Though the drug was given a 'sci-fi' name and origin, it was nevertheless a direct commentary on drug use and trafficking."
    • To a lesser extent, if you started a drinking game about how many times Rory being a nurse got brought up, you'd be drunk very quickly.
    • "The Doctor, the Widow and the Wardrobe" has a thumpingly unsubtle Motherhood Is Superior message, especially when the tree people reject males (even the Doctor) as their vessel because "You are weak", but accept females - Madge in particular - as "the mothership". British journalist Caitlin Moran figured that having spent the day corralling the family and making Christmas dinner for everyone, mothers would appreciate the boost "Yeah, we're the USS Enterprise".
    • "Kill the Moon":
      • Humanity gave up on space exploration, and then found they were in desperate need of it.
      • Part of the reason for the angry reaction to the pro-life Aesop is that the episode is not exactly subtle when it continually refers to the creature as a 'baby'. The episode then tries to pass itself off as pro-choice by giving all the female characters the choice to kill the creature while the (all-knowing) male character takes off with a casual "It's not my moon read ." Clara makes the choice not to kill, and everything turns out okay, with all the natural disasters and deaths caused by the creature being forgotten about.
      • Even if it not necessarily an anti-abortion episode, it is still a very heavy-handed Thou Shall Not Kill story.
      • Danny advising Clara not to make a big decision over a "bad day."
    • "In The Forest of the Night". Trees are good. Don't bother them. Also if a child is hearing voices, don't give them medication to stop them as they may be alien tree lifeforms.
    • In "Oxygen", the Doctor goes anti-capitalist with the subtlety of a jackhammer outside your window at 3 in the morning.
    • "Rosa" - Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped and to hell with subtlety. Cross a Pakistani and a Black British Companion, The Deep South in 1955, land the TARDIS smack into the Montgomery Bus Boycott, completely avert Politically Correct History, add a batshit crazy time traveling bigot trying to Make Wrong What Once Went Right, play Been There, Shaped History for a massive gut punch, and the end result was Anvil Hiroshima.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth delivers one of these about School League Tables, when they are used to determine the worst ten percent of the nations' children to round up to be taken away and used as drugs by a hostile alien race. Yes, that's right, ranking schools results in mass murder (of a sort at least).
  • 24 often runs afoul of this, whenever the show is focused on anything other than Jack Bauer kicking ass. One long-running anvil throughout the latter half of the series is the message that not all Muslims are terrorists. This began in Season 4 with a filler episode where Jack Bauer and Paul Raines (on the run from paramilitary commandos working for a defense contractor) hole up in a downtown L.A. sporting goods store, which is guarded by a pair of Muslim brothers who repeatedly state that they are not terrorists, and that they will protect America at any cost. This was followed by a PSA in which Kiefer Sutherland opined the same message. In Season 6, preachy side characters (including a government informant and a CTU analyst named Nadia) were also added to the cast to hammer home this message.
    • As Ben Shapiro noted in Primetime Propaganda, this was actually due to Executive Meddling, as CAIR had started to raise holy heck when Season 4 established a central part of the season's "threat", from the beginning, as an Islamist sleeper cell... and the Big Bad is NOT a white Corrupt Corporate Executive like in Season 2.
  • The (very short-lived) The Weird Al Show, thanks to a rampaging case of Executive Meddling, had one specific lesson for each episode to teach, and that lesson was mercilessly repeated to the point of drawing attention to it in voice-overs before each commercial break. Half of the enjoyment of the DVD release comes from the scathing commentary of Al and others on the anvilicious display of insipid points.
  • Now and Again lasted only one season but it still had its own offender, "There Are No Words", about how good it is to read (and write). It features characters who comment at length about their affection for books, and an obligatory book-burning scene.
  • Supernatural: "Life sucks, get a helmet."
  • Eleventh Hour: The episode with the Flesh Eating STD.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): Several episodes written by Rod Serling come off as terribly heavy-handed today ("The Gift" is an egregious example, made worse by casting with Unfortunate Implications)— but given that Serling created the show due to Executive Meddling with his more socially conscious scripts (the story about his script based on the lynching of Emmett Till is a doozy), it may just be that one generation's subversive social commentary is the next generation's dropped anvil. It's easy to forget that Emmett Till's funeral was recent at the time of the script, and that having a righteous black man surrounded by corrupt racists was, well, so out of the ordinary it is amazing it aired. Sometimes it's difficult for those who grew up in the 80s and 90s to remember that some of those classic programs were on the air before (or at the very start of) the civil rights movement. It's jarring to remember that, at the time, showing non-whites as stupid, worthless, and/or actively evil was generally considered just fine.
  • While the cable anthology horror series Masters of Horror tends toward good old-fashioned gore and nudity, Season One's Homecoming, directed by Joe Dante (of Gremlins and The Howling fame), is anvilicious to the extreme. For no clear reason, the soldiers killed in Iraq rise from their graves as shambling zombies — not to eat us, but simply to vote against the current president. The supporting characters are all pastiches of Real Life political heavyweights (Karl Rove becomes "Kurt Rand," Ann Coulter is "Jane Cleaver"). When the zombies garner enough sympathy to sway public opinions, and the election outcome favors the opposition, the zombies' votes are thrown out to skew the results (in Ohio and Florida, natch). Of course, the zombies won't stand for this, and suddenly all of America's war dead (all the way back to the Civil War) rise from the grave to get revenge. Particularly egregious when one considers how thoroughgoing George W. Bush's support among soldiers is, even to this day and especially among the "combat arms" soldiers who actually prosecute war as opposed to supporting the war effort.
  • Stargate Atlantis drops an anvil by having Rodney McKay say that the real solution to global warming is "everyone doing their part". Then it goes Space Whale Aesop.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager does this on an episode-to-episode basis about sex, and a scene-to-scene basis for the moral of the episode.
    "Just because you're having a baby together doesn't mean you two are right for each other"
    "You shouldn't be with Ricky just because you're having his baby."
    "The parents of a baby aren't the people who created the baby, but the people who take care of it."
    ... etc.
    -Various people during the Very Special Episode about baby daddies.
  • The final scene of the final episode of Battlestar Galactica (2003) is a ridiculously anvilicious message about the dangers of overdeveloping modern robotics. Or maybe "Treat your creations with respect", or "do not enslave artificial lifeforms".
  • This is a hallmark of Aaron Sorkin's writing whenever it has to do with public affairs.
    • The characters in The West Wing display at times a tendency to really try and hammer the point they're trying to make home.
      • The season three one-shot episode Isaac and Ishmael drew a lot of criticism for this, managing at the same time to be patronizing towards non-radical Muslims and to gloss over the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
    • The Newsroom has this as one of two primary criticisms: many critics argue that Sorkin seems to be just lecturing everyone about the "proper role" of the news media without really knowing what he's talking about (apparently, his "ideal" news show involves the host being... a highly opinionated commentator), and belittling the actual work of journalists by having his fictional ones make long, elaborate speeches about what to do and always be right. (The other criticism is a failure to write strong, convincing, and convincingly strong female characters.)
  • Homeland starting in season 6. Due to complaints from Muslim groups, the show took a serious anvil turn. The bad guys were no longer the radical Muslim terrorists who want to kill us. No, the REAL bad guy were the US Intelligence Services. It's really funny to watch now because the plot of the US Intelligence Community trying to take down the FEMALE president (at a time everyone KNEW Hillary would be elected) became reality now that we know they actually DID try that against Trump.
  • seaQuest DSV featured an annoying episode involving Lucas and condoms.
  • Subverted by the premise of Seinfeld, which relied on the mandate "No hugging, no learning." Demonstrated especially in the last episode, in which the four characters end up in prison specifically for being assholes completely lacking in empathy, and pretty much continue to behave in the same way they had throughout the series. And of course, this angers the audience into one great big What the Hell, Hero? reaction.
  • An episode of Ugly Betty basically had the message "cults are bad, they'll take all your money, and they'll drug you for no real reason." Most episodes have at least one kind of social message that the writers pound into our heads repeatedly, but this one was just really blatant (and annoying).
    • Scientology.
  • The House Day in the Life episode focused on Dr. Cuddy is subtle as a brick in its criticism of the current healthcare situation of America.
  • Grey's Anatomy might as well be titled Grey's Anvils given how the writers love this trope to death and have never heard of the word "subtle".
  • Glee personifies this trope. It has a theme practically every episode and does not hesitate to beat you over the head with it. Violently.
  • By season 6 of Lost, what with all of Jacob's speeches (the most anvilicious of which was the whole thing where he doesn't assist the islanders in seeing right from wrong because he wants them to figure it out themselves, blah blah), we'll be damned and roasted on a barbie if Jacob isn't some sort of metaphor for God.
    • He wasn't intentionally God?
  • CSI: NY once did an episode about how Nazis and neo-Nazis are evil, and the Holocaust was bad. Not only do they beat you over the head with how horrible the Nazis were at every opportunity, but the climax, where Gary Sinise argues with the episode's culprit (an elderly-Nazi played by Ed Asner) might make you feel like you were hit in the gut with a sledgehammer.
    • Then after that whole episode seeming fully researched and every little detail being accurate to history, instead of referring to the national socialists in the finale of the final interview he shouts "JUST SAY IT, YOU WERE IN THE HITLER PARTY WEREN'T YOU"
    • Then there have been eps where Gary Sinise worked in his passion for US troops. Case in point: 'Fight Night', where a cage fighter fakes his death with the charred body of a homeless vet he may or may not have killed. Mac and someone else talk, and Mac launches into a talk about the problem of America's homeless veterans.
  • Pick any Very Special Episode of A Different World. The one-hour LA Riots episode that's a borderline roundtable in a Sitcom, the Musical Episode that spoofed the 1992 Presidential election, The Rashomon episode involving Ron, Dwayne and other students from a rival school...
  • Law & Order and its spin-offs are not noted for subtlety. Law & Order: Special Victims Unit is probably the crowner. This is particularly sad because it deals with such a sensitive subject and while the writers do mean well, a little subtlety now and then wouldn't hurt them any, one example is how there is more anti-abortion violence shown in the series then there has actually been in real life.
  • Without a Trace employed this trope in an episode made all the more anvilicious in that it painted tens of millions of Americans as terrorist sympathizers. The disappearing person in this episode was a woman who was hiding out because a decade before she had bombed an abortion clinic with the help of her husband. Their crime was pretty plainly modeled on scumbag murderer Eric Rudolph's bombing of a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, complete with a horribly maimed nurse and dead security guard, just like Rudolph's attack. From the moment the FBI agents become aware that she was "anti-choice", the anvils were flying, and all of them were engraved "All people who oppose abortion want to kill abortionists. A lot. I mean, really, really a lot". There was even a scene in which Malone meets with a deep cover informant infiltrating "the pro-life movement" (not some splinter group, but the pro-life movement, a movement made up of tens of millions of Americans) and she tells him the husband and wife bomber team are "heroes" to pro-lifers.
  • News and news commentary in general can get pretty bad with this trope, but television news is worse. Televised news commentary takes the cake for anviliciousness, as sending a message about opinion of current events is practically the entire point of the genre.
  • This trope is subverted in the Scrubs episode "My Mentor," where J.D's attempts to get a patient to stop smoking are futile. Dr. Cox tells him that the only thing he can do is keep treating whatever messes people get themselves into, rather than trying to "save" them.
  • The US version of Queer as Folk was a tutorial on how to be an "acceptable" gay person in the US, running along the lines of: get married in Canada, don't be bi, don't be angry at homophobes, remember that God loves you after all, adopt children and be nice to your mother.
  • Harry's Law tends to shoot anvil-firing guns at the viewers, with most of the main characters' arguments tending to be far more aimed at the audience in front of the TV than the audiences in the courtroom. However, Strawman Has a Point tends to flipflop, where the characters will often be right, but the defense will also put up some legitimate points, making their arguments stand up a little more.
  • Critics have been universally fulsome in their praise for Mad Men. But they have a lot of good-natured fun pointing out that the show is way too insistent that women were treated poorly in the late '50s and early '60s, and that was awful, OK?
  • Saturday Night Live pointed out the same thing in an episode hosted by Jon Hamm. Hamm played his Mad Men character in one sketch, and fellow Mad Men actors John Slattery and Elisabeth Moss guest starred. Hamm asked Moss for the time, and she said, "Oh, I'm just a woman. I'm not allowed to wear a watch in this day and age."
  • 7th Heaven is pretty bad with hitting viewers over the head with morals in nearly every episode. The most notable example would probably be from the episode "Tunes". When Simon starts taking a liking to rap music, he (and the audience) has to endure lectures from everyone in his family about how rap music promotes violence towards women. At the end, Simon stops listening to rap for this reason. This episode basically stated that if you listen to rap, you're supporting abuse towards women so you need to stop. Needless to say, it left a bad taste in the mouth of many viewers (especially the ones who WERE women that listen to rap music themselves).
  • Early on in Fringe's fourth season, the dialogue is filled with unsubtle commentary on how it feels like something is missing and there's a void in the world. As if we're going to forget that one of the main characters got erased from existence without the other characters talking about it.
  • M*A*S*H could be bad about this, especially with any scene with Hawkeye in it. In the Mad Magazine parody, when Hawkeye starts a speech about how War Is Bad, one of the other characters yells "Someone stop him before they start flashing telethon numbers on the screen!"
    • Fortunately, the morals were often carefully implanted into the plot and required some digging to reveal, which had the uncanny way of uncovering a character's Hidden Depths- in a very dark and plausible manner. One episode had a soldier who was starving himself to death and refused to eat anything. This poor guy was actually traumatized by one horrible battlefield tragedy- his platoon celebrated a Thanksgiving feast in a foxhole. He ate fast to get seconds... only to discover all his friends were killed by an artillery shell right after he left the foxhole. In his words, he would be dead too, if he wasn't such a pig.
    • Another episode involves a stuttering soldier getting heckled by everyone in his platoon. When Winchester catches ear of this, he suddenly comes unhinged and dumps a cascade of pure anger on all of them. Later in that episode, he hears from his sister on a tape-recorded message sent to the 4077th, and we learn what brought on Winchester's fury: his sister suffers the exact same speech impediment.
    • The episode where every main character had a nightmare was a way of interpreting how war had affected them all. Margaret was wounded when her ex left alone to suffer. Sherman wants to return back to the bliss of a long-passed childhood. B.J. feels war is tearing him away from his wife Peg. Charles knows that while people think he's perfect, he's no magician- people will die no matter what he does. Father Mulcahy believes the voice of war is silencing the voice of God, which won't change even if he's the Pope. Klinger finally realizes escaping to Toledo will leave him racked with guilt for abandoning his friends, torn up like the war casualties. Hawkeye feels outright helpless to do anything to stop the killings.
    • The penultimate episode was a flat-out tribute to all the things war entails- those who never got home, girls that were left behind, boys who became men, and miracles of life.
    • The finale of M*A*S*H* deconstructed the concept of War Is Hell by having a mix of traumatic and heartwarming events befall several of the main characters to show that war will have its mark on them, as it does to all who suffer (or enjoy) it- and it gives us a stark reminder of what it's really like to say goodbye for good.
  • This College Humor video parodies the trope.
  • How I Met Your Mother is ramping this up with Martin Short as Marshall's new Save-the-Environment Boss, and Marshall having to pull him back to the path of righteousness. The Narm was very thick.
  • Aftermath has two episodes like this.
    • "World Without Oil" has all of the oil reservoirs in the earth disappear overnight. Given the world's dependence on oil, everything goes to shit as the oil-dependent social infrastructure crumbles. It's a large dose of horror and Paranoia Fuel that is obviously meant to get viewers to want something done about the oil crisis as soon as possible. After all, with only a few hundred years supply left before it gets too expensive to burn, we'd better do something quick.
    • "Population Overload" has the world's population suddenly double overnight to 14 billion, causing earthquakes from the large-scale buildings built to accommodate the extra people, smog from the large amount of cars being used, and ruination of the water supply due to strains on the plumbing and attempts to grow enough food to feed the whole world. The narrator even points out the number of people who have died over the years leading up to the "good future" we see at the end of the episode, as well as the fact that some say that 7 billion people is already too many for the planet to support. Kinda narmful though, given that in order for the population to actually double overnight, most or all of the world's women of reproductive age would all have to be simultaneously be pregnant with multiples and give birth to them around the same time, and obviously, each country would have Too Many Babies.
  • Criminal Minds:
    • "Snake Eyes" was pretty much an hour-long statement of how gambling addiction can cost you more than just money.
    • "The Pact" established David Rossi as a pro-military man, giving up his vacation days to military men who the character says could use it more than he could. Rossi's military background is expanded in "The Fallen" where he rescues his old Vietnam sergeant, who had become homeless, and helps him get back on his feet (without mentioning the other homeless victims they helped). Although it fits Rossi's character, the episodes' message was contrived and forced, with the underlying message, "support our troops at all costs."
  • Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns is chock-full of them: shoplifting, carrying a gun to school, growing marijuana, birth control, drinking, molestation, teen pregnancy, credit card over-reliance, and tons of others. At some point, they made it too obvious to miss. "Meet the Interrogation" touched on how lotto addictions bleed you dry. "Meet The Christmas Spirit" went as far as to play up the Christmas spirit cliche by having an angel befriend Joaquin. But the real hum-dinger was "Meet the Big Payoff," sugarcoating that texting while driving will get you killed, which was basically a thinly-veiled obligatory public service announcement.
    • House of Payne was the same way: drug use, the pitfalls of teen sex, teen pregnancy, STD's, HIV/AIDS, domestic violence, sexual abuse, divorce, cancer, choosing family over career, going back to school at an older age, pursuing your dreams ONLY AFTER your family is grown and out of your house, autism, interracial relationships, the evils of single parenting, not being a selfish Jerkass, guns, skipping school, the importance of having the Christmas Spirit (complete with a visit from Madea), death, etc.
  • Dragnet was loaded with anvils, often purposely by Jack Webb.
  • The act of British TV impressionist Rory Bremner used to involve satirical skits that poked fun at members of the British government. However, after Britain's commitment to the Iraqi war in 2003 the majority of his shows turned into anvilicious anti-war bashing of everyone involved. Whole segments involved Bremner simply standing in front of a microphone and talking mostly in his own voice to criticize then-Prime Minister Tony Blair and his cabinet.
  • The season one finale of Arrow dropped it really heavy; speeding through a virtual riot in the middle of the night, with cars and people screaming and running in all directions to escape an artificially-made earthquake that's set to level an entire portion of the city in a matter of minutes, one character is seen using his phone while driving, only to be chastised by his girlfriend that "It can wait!" (the current slogan of an anti-texting and driving PSA campaign), and grabbing the phone out of his hand saying "it's not worth the risk!" They might as well have flashed the campaign logo up there and had one of them break the fourth wall to tell us to call a hotline for more information.
  • MacGyver had several of these episodes. Mostly about the environment.
  • Power Rangers Megaforce has the episode "Robo Knight" where the Rangers are appalled that humans are polluting the earth, the monsters of the week are created as a direct result of a toxic factory polluting the earth, and the Sixth Ranger is introduced whose sole mission in life is to punish those who pollute the earth. About every third line hammers home the message, just in case kids didn't get it.
    • Super Megaforce isn't off the hook, either. Have the Rangers made it clear yet how awesome Humans are? Don't worry, they let EVERYONE know. Every episode.
  • Power Rangers Wild Force already had the very anvilicious message of protecting nature, pollution is bad and similar to begin with. Then a little kid who turns out to be Animus reborn starts to get a lot of the spotlight, constantly talking about how "Pollution is bad; the humans are terrible for causing it and nature is better". He's a literal anvil, given human form. Animus doesn't fare much better with those messages.
  • MythQuest was an edutainment show, but usually avoided these kinds of messages. However, "Be yourself, and don't go to crazy lengths to be beautiful" was spelled out several times in one episode. "Feeling beautiful on the inside" was actually said verbatim by one character.
  • Black Mirror could be retitled "Charlie Brooker spends an hour yelling at you about how technology is ruining the world". Also, humans apparently inherently suck and tech is making it worse. It's a wonder Brooker hasn't just burned his house down and taken over the Unabomber's old shack by now.
  • Dinosaurs was notoriously anvilicious as they depicted their characters seemingly being the first living beings on this Earth to deal with issues that are today nearly cliche. But as the series reached its end, it got Darker and Edgier, and even more anvilicious. This led to a Kill 'Em All Downer Ending where lead character Earl Sinclair had a hand in wiping out not just dinosaurs, but all life on Earth. While a few chalked it up to Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped with a message on irresponsible business practices, many more felt the ending was entirely too dark for what was originally advertised as a sitcom even considering dinosaurs ultimately meet their end anyway.
  • Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: The episode "Intimidation Game", which is based on the #Gamergate controversy, goes out of its way to demonize misogynistic gamers by depicting them as being members a ISIS-like cell that kidnaps and tortures women and who can't tell video games from reality. It show got ripped apart by both sides of the issue for doing so, and critics called it the Reefer Madness of its generation.
  • The Orville: Three out ten episodes in the first season ("Krill", "If Stars Should Appear" and "Mad Idolatry") could instead be titled "Seth Macfarlane spends an hour mocking and criticizing certain religions and those who follow them". Also, every positive example of religion, religious people or religious teachings seems to have disappeared.


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