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  • In the 2 Stupid Dogs episode “Show and Tell”, a girl in class is shown in close-up saying, “And when you pull on this cord, it purrs!” You would think she has a toy cat or something, but when the camera backs out, it turns out she actually has a chainsaw!
  • In the Alvin and the Chipmunks episode "The C Team", Alvin and his brothers meet Mr. T having lunch at a diner. At one point, his food flies off the table he is sitting at. Theodore grabs his bag of French fries and is about to eat them when Mr. T butts in and says, "You can't eat those fries!" Theodore gets into his usual apologetic mood until Mr. T follows up what he said with: "...without ketchup."
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  • The Amazing World of Gumball has one in "The Test", as it seems like a The Bus Came Back moment for Rachel, only to subvert it:
    Tobias: I'll just ask my genius sister for help. Anais!
  • In the American Dad! episode "Family Plan", Francine's biological father mentions that his wife had died offscreen. Apparently, it was from a car crash, but she wasn't in it; she saw someone else in one and had a heart attack, then at the hospital, she contracted a flesh-eating virus and beat it, only to hang herself shortly after.
  • Animaniacs:
    • In Slappy Squirrel's debut cartoon, "Slappy Goes Walnuts", Doug the Dog sets out a xylophone for Slappy to play that's set to explode when she hits a specific note. Slappy decides to play "Those Endearing Young Charms", and the viewer is set to believe she'll keep hitting the wrong note, which is a joke that's been done to death in the Looney Tunes franchise. The thing is, she actually does hit the correct note, and the explosion ends up going off on Doug the Dog.
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    • One Hip Hippos sketch has the hippos in an American Gladiator spoof. After a number of contests with an athletic duo, the score is tied (the hippos' lack of athletic ability in some events made up for by their bulk giving them unexpected advantages in other events). The final tiebreaking event is to eat their way across a swimming pool full of beans and hot dogs. Easy hippo win, right? Their opponents sure think so and are ready to throw in the towel, but decide to give it a shot anyway. And the human opponents win easily, when the hippos deliberately throw the event. They're the Hip Hippos, remember? They'd never eat something as common as beans and hot dogs.
  • In the Batman: The Animated Series episode "Mean Seasons", one-shot antagonist Calendar Girl wears a White Mask of Doom to conceal her face, and there are rumors that she'd tried to hide signs of aging with plastic surgery that had gone wrong. When she's unmasked at the end of the episode, she screams for people to not look at her face... which is perfectly normal, even lovely, but which she perceives as hideous because of the way the modeling industry had rejected her because she's gotten "too old".
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  • In the CatDog special, “The Great Parent Mystery”, there is a segment where Cat and Dog go to a sanctuary where cats and dogs live together in peace and harmony. They find a female cat and a male dog with color schemes very similar to them and assume they are their parents. However, when they come up to them, the Greasers show up as well, and we find out those two were actually Lube’s parents.
  • The Cleveland Show episode "'Til Deaf" when two kids placing the letter R over the "ELECTIONS TODAY" sign outside the high school. They actually placed it over the letter I.
  • In the pilot episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, the Delightful Children from Down the Lane say at the end that the girl they chose to prevent the Kids Next Door from taking their birthday cake (that they refuse to share) was a horrible choice that they never should have used. The girl makes this face and gets angered, not because of what the Delightful Children said, but because the Delightfuls' cake was coconut flavor, which she hated.
  • In the Cow and Chicken episode "The Day I Was Born", Cow asks multiple people about the day she was born, but each tells her a completely different story. It turns out the Red Guy told her the true story. The story is shown in flashback with Chicken and his Dad in the waiting room at a hospital, and they hear the Red Guy yelling, "Push! Push!" You would think Mom is in there giving birth to Cow, but then suddenly Mom appears right next to Dad asking what's going on in the room! The Red Guy was actually telling himself to push the cart he was wheeling out which Cow was laying on.
    • The Red Guy also did this to Cow and Chicken in "Perpetual Energy", in the role of Rear Admiral Floyd. He announces he'll be taking Cow and Chicken to The Pentagon, but it then cuts to having taken the siblings to a pentagon-shaped tent, to which Floyd announces "Welcome to the Tentagon!" Chicken points out that Floyd had previously said "Pentagon," but Floyd dismisses it with a "Walk This Way!" (with his distinctive butt-walk).
  • Dexter's Laboratory:
    • In the episode "Unfortunate Cookie", Dee Dee comes into Dexter's lab to tell him about a Chinese finger trap she found in her box of fortune cookies. Dexter responds by saying, "How can it be?" and begins a mathematical lecture about what we think is the possibilities of that happening, but it turned out he was just complaining about how Dee Dee keeps coming into his lab.
    • In the episode, "G.I.R.L. Squad", Dee Dee and her friends come into Dexter's lab to ask him what "Lick crime" means. Dexter gives the girls a tour of stuff they might need to help them with their mission, which eventually leads to a teleporter, which Dexter winds up using to teleport the girls out of his lab so they won't bother him.
    • In the episode, "Dexter is Dirty", Dexter starts yelling at Dee Dee after she fails to help him up while he's laminated. She starts to look sad and imagine herself out in the snow, but it turns out she's picturing herself sledding down a mountain, and this gives her the idea to use Dexter as a sled.
      • Subverted: What Dee Dee ends up doing causes Dexter to destroy the living room in the house. Mom comes in an angrily yells, “Dexter!” She walks up to Dexter, and then suddenly changes to a happy mood and says, “Just look how clean you are!”
    • In the episode, “A Hard Day’s Day”, Dexter’s Mom in an angry and shocked tone yells at Dexter. She says this as Dexter is standing outside, butt-naked, covered in mud, and has a bird nest with live birds in it on his head, and what is the one thing Mom is mad at Dexter about? “Dexter! Where are your glasses?”
    • In the episode "Coupon for Craziness", Dee Dee is about to give Dextor (Dexter's hyper counterpart) a cookie, but he says he's not allowed to have sweets. Dee Dee says, "Oooooooohhh!" That means...she gives Dextor the other cookie!
  • In Dragon Tales as the dragons are searching for Max and Emmy who got shrunken by shrinking violets. As the search continues...
    Wheezie: AHA!
    Zak: Aha?
    Cassie & Ord: Aha?
    Wheezie: A purple button! I just LOOOVE purple! And I especially LOOOVE purple buttons!
    Zak: I thought ya found Max and Emmy!
    Wheezie: Oops. Sorry.
  • A trailer shown in theaters for DuckTales (2017) started out as the intro for the cartoon... before a cell phone goes off before the chorus, causing everyone to stop what they're doing and complain about whose phone is going off.
  • Lampshaded in The Emperor's New School. Kuzco claims to have the perfect way to get into a store he's been kicked out of. Cut to a llama with a head and feet that look suspiciously like Kuzco's walking into the store. Kuzco then jumps out from offscreen and attacks the guard. Kuzco then stops the show and says, "You're probably wondering what that llama that looked just like me had to do with my plan: absolutely nothing."
  • In an episode of The Fairly OddParents!, Timmy's parents congratulate him on being a local hero after he pretends to capture the Goatnapper, leading to this exchange.
    Timmy: Uhhh... guys? You'd still love me even if I wasn't a hero, right?
    [beat; both parents look at each other]
    Mom: Well of course we would, honey.
  • Futurama:
    • Bender has been rigged to a bomb which is set to go off on his most frequently used word. As it goes through the list, it starts to get to his catchphrase, "Number 5:Bite... Number 4: My... Number 3: Shiny... Number 2: Daffodil..."
    • In "Bender's Game", when the characters enter a cave called the Cave of Hopelessness:
      Frydo: Mr. Wizard, why is this place called the Cave of Hopelessness?
      Greyfarn: Oh, fear not, lad. 'Tis named for its discoverer, Reginald Hopelessness...
      Frydo: Whew!
      Greyfarn: ...the first man to be eaten alive by the Tunneling Horror.
    • In "The Problem with Popplers", the crew wants to find a name for a new food:
      Bender: They're tasty, right? Let's call 'em "Tasty-cles".
      [collective groan]
      Leela: We can't call them that.
      Bender: Why not?
      Leela: It sounds too much like those frozen Rocky Mountain oysters on a stick. You know, Test-cicles?
    • The Mars University Professor Fisherprice Shpeekenshpell (a robot with a Mattell See 'n Say for a head) continually talks with programmed lines like "The cow says 'Moo'" (apparently he proved that 50 years ago and had been coasting on it ever since). When it comes time to vote on Amy's doctorate:
      Professor Katz: We shall now vote, "Yay" or "Nay". Nay.
      Wernstrom: Nay!
      Bubblegum: Hell, nay!
      Shpeekenshpell: The horse says, "Doctorate denied".
    • From the first episode.
      Cop: Keep you big nose out of this, Eyeball!
      Leela: No one makes fun of my nose.
    • From "Anthology of Interest", when Bender approaches the WHAT-IF machine, asking it to show a hypothetical scenario:
      Bender: As a robot living among humans, I've never really felt accepted at parties or nude beaches. So I've always secretly wondered: What if I was 500 feet tall?
  • In The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy/Codename: Kids Next Door crossover, Billy spills mustard on his father's pants. He reasons, out loud, that there's only one group of kids who can help solve his problems, and grabs the phone... where he calls the cast of Ed, Edd n Eddy... who then tell him to call the Kids Next Door.
  • The Jem Bizarro Episode "The Day The Music Died" begins with Jem's sister Kimber breaking the fourth wall to tell you that she's "gone". This, combined with the episode title referencing the famous death of several musicians, makes it sound like Jem is dead. Nope, she really is just gone. Jem ran off with Riot and never returned.
  • On Jimmy Two-Shoes, just before Jimmy is about to perform a particularly irresponsible stunt, Beezy tells them to be careful not to break his dad's Priceless Ming Vase. Jimmy performs the stunt...and misses the vase entirely. Beezy dances around and celebrates... and spikes the vase.
  • In the Justice League Unlimited episode "This Little Piggy", Wonder Woman gets turned into a pig by Circe. Toward the end, Batman offers to bargain with Circe to get her back.
    Circe: I want something from you that's very precious. Something you've worked very hard to conceal. Something when gone, you can never reclaim. Something... soul-shattering.
  • Kaeloo:
    • In the Pilot, Stumpy needs to touch a wall before Quack Quack can get there, when he sees a pair of roller skates lying next to a chainsaw and gets an idea. Instead of using the roller skates to skate to the wall, he activates the chainsaw and puts it on the ground so it drags him along.
    • In one episode, Olaf captures Kaeloo and Mr. Cat, and tells them to "prepare to suffer"... before turning on some music and singing.
    • In the episode "Let's Play Market Vendors", Mr. Cat and Stumpy rob a supermarket, and Mr. Cat threatens to shoot anyone who moves. Kaeloo starts waving her arms and yelling for help. Gunshots are heard. It's then revealed that Mr. Cat shot Quack Quack, not Kaeloo.
    • In "Let's Play Gangster Poker", Mr. Cat says he has a surprise for Quack Quack, and leaves some yogurt on the table in front of him. Quack Quack reaches out for the yogurt, and then Mr. Cat whacks him on the head with a baseball bat and yells "Surprise!"
    • In Episode 85, Stumpy and Quack Quack, both having a Potty Emergency, reach the bathroom at the same time. Stumpy says that there is "one final solution" and they both raise their fists... to play Rock–Paper–Scissors.
  • In The Legend of Korra, incest is teased between Creepy Twins Eska and Desna when it's mentioned that there is only one bed in the hotel room they are staying in. Eska clarifies that it is not a mistake. "Desna sleeps in the tub."
  • Looney Tunes:
    • There is a classic short that ends with this. Bugs Bunny has to deal with some hillbilly hawks. The short ends with a series of gags that end with one of the hawks shooting the other every time he hears the word "four" (or any homonym of that word). At the very end, it shows Bugs dressed like a golfer about to yell out "Fore!" but then he stops himself by saying, "Nah. Why should I get in on the act?"
      • Subverted: Bugs starts to sing the first couple of lines of "I'm Looking Over a Four Leaf Clover". On repeat.
    • A clip from a Warner Bros. gag reel (not meant for public release) shows Porky Pig hitting his thumb with a hammer. He starts to stammer "Son of a b-b...!", but in his usual fashion, he changes what he's going to say after he finishes stuttering. In this case, he changes it to "Son of a gun!" However, the real switch is, Porky goes Breaking the Fourth Wall and says to the audience, "You thought I was gonna say "son of a bitch", didn't ya?"
    • In an episode of The Looney Tunes Show, Daffy tries his hand at inventing. His speech indicates he's invented a time machine... but he's invented a suitcase.
  • In the The Loud House episode, "Pasture Bedtime", Rusty accidentally mistakes some hot sauce for ketchup and puts it on his sandwich. However, rather than the expected stereotypical gag wherein a character would suffer intense heat from having ingested hot sauce, Rusty instead turns out to be allergic to the stuff.
  • In the Martha Speaks episode "Dogs from Space", Martha opens a refrigerator and takes out bread, Bologna, pickles, ketchup, mustard and mayo and says, "I know exactly what to make out of this!" What do you think she's going to make? A sandwich, right? No! She makes what she calls "a delicious mess"!
    • In "Martha Smells", while Martha is trapped in a box, she sees Weaselcraft and Pablum talking about a talking dog they are trying to catch, and she says to herself: "I feel bad about that talking dog they are after...Wait a minute!...I gotta finish that peanut butter!"
    • In "Dog Fight", while Alice and T.D. are quarreling with each other, Martha interrupts the fight by yelling, "Stop it!" Alice and T.D. stop thinking Martha was talking to them, but she was actually talking to a flea that she was trying to scratch.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In "Mare in the Moon", Twilight Sparkle has been told by her mentor to make some friends, but she has absolutely no interest in doing so. However, every pony she interacts with makes some kind of "we're gonna be friends" comment, causing her to have a reaction of some sort (spit take, eye twitch, etc.). When the last pony, Pinkie Pie, throws her a party so "now you have lots and lots of friends," Twilight nearly hurks her drink... not because of Pinkie's comment, but because she accidentally took a big sip of hot sauce.
    • In "Discordant Harmony", while Discord and Fluttershy are having a tea party, he compliments Fluttershy on how she cut off the crusts on the sandwiches for him. He starts to reach for a crustless sandwich, but then shifts his hand over to another plate that has all the crusts, one of which he takes and eats.
  • Happens sometimes on Phineas and Ferb, a show full of Running Gags:
    • In "Voyage to the Bottom of Buford", Candace uses a disposable camera to document the boys' adventures; meanwhile, Doofenshmirtz has invented the Media-Erase-Inator. That seems to fit perfectly, but the ray actually ends up erasing a stop sign, causing a traffic accident which knocks over a water tower, and the resulting wave of water destroys the camera.
    • In "Gaming the System", Candace gets sucked into Phineas and Ferb's video game when she was in the middle of getting ready for a date with Jeremy. Meanwhile, Dr. Doofenshmirtz has created a laser that puts fancy dresses on anyone who is shot with it. Right before Jeremy shows up, Perry and Dr. Doofenshmirtz fight and cause the laser to accidentally go off and shoot... everyone in the yard except Candace. Soon after that, Perry gets out of the dress he was wearing and it falls on Candace (and somehow does her hair).
    • "S'Winter": Doofenshmirtz creates the Meltinator ray, leading one to think that it will melt the boys' mountain of snow. Instead, it shorts out the city's power when he plugs it in, shutting off the fans that kept the snow cooled, and the snow melts on its own.
    • One unrelated to the show's running gags occurs in "A Real Boy". Candace gets Stacy to hypnotize her into not wanting to bust the boys anymore, with the result that the phrase "Holy guacamole!" will make Candace give up her urges to bust her brothers, and "Leaping lizards!" will make her go back to normal. When Candace heads off on her date with Jeremy, the two of them spot a literal leaping lizard, and Jeremy rattles off several treacherously-close synonyms for the code phrase, which actually ends up being said by a passing kid.
    • In "Flop Starz", Candace attempts to show her mom a building with an ad for the band Phineas and Ferb started. Then Doofenshmirtz's robot building starts going towards the building, making it look like it's going to crush it. However, Perry manages to turn it away at the last minute. Then it turns out that the building was scheduled for demolition right at that moment anyway.
  • In the Pound Puppies (2010) episode, "Beauty is Only Fur Deep", Champ tells the Pound Puppies the story about how he lost his fur and his self-esteem in a flashback. As he tells the story, he keeps coming to parts where he could have possibly lost his fur. For each one, Niblet interrupts by saying, "Is that how you lost your fur?" but it wasn't. It turns out he lost his fur...from eating a piece of boysenberry pie! (He's allergic to boysenberries.)
  • The Powerpuff Girls: At the beginning of "Just Desserts", the narrator talks about how Townsville is safe from crimes. He talks to a random guy who acts like he doesn't know what keeps Townsville safe from crime while the girls are playing behind him. The narrator then tells the man to look behind him, but it turns out he (the narrator) was actually referring to a prison that's located further out in the distance.
  • Ready Jet Go!:
    • After a full season of Mindy not being allowed to go to space with the older kids, came the episode "Mindy in Space"... which is about the kids pretending to take Mindy to space, complete with Mindy singing the take-off song.
    • In "Mars Rock for Mom", when Sean shows his mom the rock he found, Dr. Rafferty comments that she knows where it came from. At first, Sean is worried that she knows that it came from Mars, but Dr. Rafferty says that she knows that it came from Sean.
  • Done in the bloopers sketches on Robot Chicken.
    • A man tries to fix a lawnmower while his wife tells him not to hurt himself and that it would be better for a mechanic to do the job. The man tells her he can do it if she would just be quiet. Then their daughter announces she's pregnant.
    • Footage is shown of the actors playing Cylons in Battlestar Galactica having trouble moving around in their costumes. In the final segment one Cylon moves slowly toward a banana peel on the floor… only to be hit by a wrecking ball.
  • Recess: Throughout the episode "Parents' Night," Spinelli does all she can to prevent her friends from meeting her parents or knowing anything about them. Finally, she reluctantly brings them to Parents' Night – they're a pair of rude, trashy bikers who stay for only a minute, demand that Spinelli pay them for coming, and then turn her upside down and shake her to get the money from her pockets. For a moment seems like we're watching a Very Special Episode about Abusive Parents... but then it turns out that the trashy couple were strangers Spinelli hired to pose as her parents, and then her real parents show up. They're perfectly nice and loving, but amazingly embarrassing, and that's the real reason why she hid them from her friends.
  • In the "Rick and Morty" episode "Rick Potion #9", the world has been almost completely turned into Cronenburgs, and Rick tells Morty that he has one last plan. It then cuts to the world, having apparantley been restored to normal, only for Rick and Morty to die in an explosion and be replaced by their C137 counterparts.
  • South Park:
    • In the early episode "Mr. Hankey, the Christmas Poo", Kenny (who dies horribly in almost every episode) is continually subjected to a series of extremely hazardous situations. But nothing ever happens and he survives to the end of the episode for the first time.
    • Another example is the episode "Mecha-Streisand". Instead of being trampled by the giant metal Barbra Streisand, Kenny gets strangled playing tether-ball.
    • Happens multiple times in the more recent episodes when you expect Kenny to die like being held at gunpoint, but doesn't.
    • If there is an episode where the preview involves anything that will get a large portion of the fanbase going "Ha ha, they're making fun of X" the actual episode will likely portray X in a much more endearing manner, while those that see it as cheap, Acceptable Targets will be the ones on the receiving end of a Take That!. These episodes typically center around Cartman. One notable example is "Poor and Stupid", with regard to NASCAR and its fanbase.
    • Part 2 of "Cartman's Mom is A Dirty Slut!"... WILL NOT BE SHOWN TODAY to bring you this special showing of Terrance And Philip! (To explain, this episode was supposed to reveal Cartman's father after the previous episode left fans hanging for SIX WEEKS. Fans were not pleased.)
    • In "You Have 0 Friends", the whole sequence of Stan trapped inside the world of Facebook is a homage of TRON, and it appears that everything is all set for the inevitable Lightcycle race... when the bikes are abruptly replaced with a game of Yahtzee.
    • In "#HappyHolograms", the last few minutes of the episode seem like they're going to be bringing in Mr. Hankey to save the day, but it ends up being PewDiePie, instead.
    • In "You're Not Yelping", the father of the new Mexican family hopes their restaurant does well so they won't have to move back to "that horrible place". It later turns out he was talking about Boise, Idaho.
  • Overlaps with Black Comedy Burst in the SpongeBob SquarePants episode "Are You Happy Now?", where in one scene it looks like Squidward is about to hang himself, then it turns out that he's just hanging a birdcage.
  • Star Wars Resistance: In "The Disappeared", Kaz and Torra need to get into a turbolift guarded by two stormtroopers. Cut to CB-23 pushing a cart laden with crates up to the door. The troopers note that this isn't a routine delivery and open the largest crate... to be greeted by a number of gorgs, which hop out and attack the troopers. While they're distracted, Kaz and Torra come out of the spot they were hiding in down the hall and sneak into the lift.
  • Teen Titans Go!:
    • "The Return of Slade" brings up the titular villain in the first few minutes, then according to a transition card he's defeated offscreen over the course of 3 episodes and a made-for-TV movie.
    • "Batman vs. Teen Titans: Dark Injustice" was almost entirely this, for the episode was about April Fools Day pranks.
  • Tiny Toon Adventures:
    • In "Hare-Raising Night", The camera moves up to a castle atop a tall mountain, with a mad scientist saying, "It's alive! It's alive!", implying that that castle is where Dr. Gene Splicer lives. Buster then interrupts and says, "No, no, no! Wrong show! Splicer's lab is back there!", and the camera moves down the mountain to a rather mundane-looking office building.
    • In the short, "Bat’s All Folks!" (part of "Inside Plucky Duck"), when the BatduckMobile leaves the Duck Cave, a view of what looks like it driving down the road is shown. However, the camera zooms out, revealing it to be a video game that Hamton is playing, and the BatduckMobile to be stuck in traffic.
    • In the short, "I Was a Teenage Bunnysitter" (part of "The Acme Home Shopping Show"), when Duncan first appears, he appears to be a huge hulking kid... but then we see him in full and he barely comes up to Babs' waist.
    • "No Toon Is An Island":
      • The episode begins with what looks like Plucky in the desert, desperate for water. However, Buster points out that they, along with Babs and Hamton, are actually on the beach, and Plucky is acting up.
      • Towards the end of the episode, Buster, Babs, Plucky, and Hamton escape from Booty Island with the treasure and the X-Bird. Buster, Babs, and Hamton ride atop the X-Bird as Buster says, "Hey, this is the only way to travel!", making it appear as if the X-Bird is running as they ride her. The camera then pans to reveal that Plucky is still carrying the X-Bird, and he says, "That's easy for you to say!"
    • In "Kon Ducki", when Plucky’s ship is being assembled, a close-up of Plucky straining is shown, making it look like he’s assembling his ship. However, the next scene shows that he is on his lunch break and was struggling to open a bottle of mango juice.
    • At the beginning of the second act of "Thirteensomething", Buster reads a newspaper with a headline that says, BABS BUNNY HEADS TO N.Y., and says, "I can't believe it!". He then points out that he was actually referring to an ad for a carrot sale.
    • Near the end of the short, "Ducklahoma" (part of "Buster’s Directorial Debut"), as retribution for having him get hit by many anvils, Plucky tries to drop an anvil of his own on Buster, and a shadow casts over Buster, making it appear as if he is going to get hit by it. The anvil lands on Plucky instead.
    • In the short, "Party Crasher Plucky" (part of "A Cat’s Eye View)", when Plucky and Shirley ride a car to a party, it looks as if they are riding inside the car when it is shown from the right side. When the car's left side is shown, they are actually riding on the car's fender.
    • In the Spring Break Special, when the Tiny Toons bus arrives at Ft. Lauderdale, it stops at what appears to be a luxury hotel. However, it is only revealed to be a billboard on a truck, and when it drives away, it reveals the run-down Spring Breakers motel behind it, much to the disappointment of most of the Tiny Toons.


Example of: