Follow TV Tropes


Earn Your Happy Ending / Western Animation

Go To

  • The end of Adventure Time is incredibly heartwarming: Lumpy Space Princess becomes queen, Gunther gets a girlfriend, Sweet P graduates, and some of the most tragic characters of the show such as Lemongrab, Simon Petrikov, and Normal Man are seen having happy lives. If you saw the series from the beginning, you know how much these three characters suffered, and seeing them getting a happy ending is exceptionally heartwarming.
    • Lemongrab smiling happily, as the cracked ceiling of his bedroom that bothered him so much in "The Mountain" is papered over with a beautiful mural by Jermaine. After years of being an unhappy character, he has finally found peace and happiness.
    • Simon Petrikov finally getting the life he always wanted, thanks to Betty's sacrifice.
    • Bubblegum and Marceline snuggling together on a couch.
    • The Crabbit, Maja's much abused familiar from "Sky Witch", finally fulfilling his dream of being a dancer.
    • Advertisement:
    • The final shot of the montage is Finn and Jake welcoming Minerva and the other humans to Ooo.
    • More touching yet? All the musical accompaniment of the scene is the song "Come Along With Me".
    • The final scene of the series: Shermy and Beth, who are implied to be the reincarnation of Finn and Jake in the future climb the now giant Fern tree and pull the sword out from the top branch before striking a pose very much like the one Finn and Jake do at the end of the title sequence, signifying that they are now taking the mantle as the defenders of Ooo. "The fun will never end" indeed...
  • In Aqua Teen Hunger Force, After over a decade of constant abuse from Master Shake, the Grand Finale shows that after Shake's and Frylock's deaths, Meatwad gets married, starts a family, and overall finally leads a happy, normal life.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender: Century-long war? Check. Implacable foe, impossible odds? Check. Last, best hope for peace victory is twelve? Check. Multiple heroes dead already? Check. Countdown to utter, utter defeat? ..oh, guess. Sounds like the sort of situation very few people walk away from alive, right? Wrong. At the end of the Finale, all of the good guys alive at the start of the finale are still here, there are three romantic pairs among them, the war ended without either side getting reduced to paste, Ozai is sentenced to life in prison, Zuko gets to be king, and Iroh gets his tea shop back. Aang is able to make it all happen WITHOUT sacrificing his personal or ethical values. Which doesn't come easy either; his friends, his allies and his prior incarnations - even the previous airbender incarnation that he expected to agree with him - were against him in that matter. Awesome, indeed.
    • Sequel Series The Legend of Korra:
      • Aang and Katara have had kids, some of whom have kids of their own; Zuko has allowed his daughter to take the postion of Fire Lord, she has a son who is an avid fire bender, and Toph's daughter is head of the police force that uses her signature metal-bending style.
      • Legend of Korra's first season. Korra goes through huge amounts of Break the Haughty, culminating in Amon's removal of her bending, after which she breaks down. Then Aang shows up, telling her that she's finally connected with her spiritual side, and gives her both the knowledge of Energybending and her bending back. The season ends with her giving Lin her bending back, showing that all that Amon damaged can be repaired.
      • Throughout the rest of the series, Korra goes through hell: not only do three separate villains violate her body/spirit in horrifying ways, but she suffers from PTSD and mercury poisoning. Her uncle betrays her, her boyfriend breaks up with her, the world's citizens constantly question and criticize her decisions, and she finally ends up in a downward spiral that ends with her fight-clubbing anonymously in various villages. But she ultimately finds a way to get rid of the mercury in her system, rebuild her self-esteem, reconcile with her friends and family (and even one of her enemies), and defeat the show's final villain in a way that demonstrates her growth and maturity. And just to cap it off, she finds Second Love with Asami and the two girls are last seen entering the spirit world hand in hand, off on a new adventure.
      • Asami Sato's mother’s been dead for over a decade and still affects her, the boyfriend (and his brother) she took in off the streets out of pure love and generosity cheats on her with her new friend, her father’s Evil All Along, she’s arrested for heroism, lived in a sewer and ate garbage soup and this was before said father being Drunk on the Dark Side enough to try to kill her and this was just Season 1. Then despite all of the past year’s heroics being publicly known, she nearly loses her company due to guilt by association, screwed over by the man supposed to help her and rekindles her romance with said ex-boyfriend only to be dropped like a bad habit again all through no fault of her own. The company is saved and her personal issues seem over enough to be there for her best friend except said best friend almost dies just as she realizes she’s in love with Korra, and Korra’s out of her life for three years instead of just a couple weeks, she gradually reconciles with her father only for him to die in a Heroic Sacrifice, leaving her truly without a family and is on the brink of a breakdown when Korra’s AWOL after a Fantastic Nuke went off. How does she finally catch a break? Her best friend, Korra, survives the Fantastic Nuke, and she actually reciprocates her feelings. When they are alone, Korra suggests they go on a vacation together, just the two of them - anywhere Asami wants. Asami decides they pay a visit to the Spirit World. The series ends with them holding hands and looking lovingly into each others' eyes.
  • Advertisement:
  • With so many downer endings for the DCAU Batman, the Fully Absorbed Finale for Batman Beyond, "Epilogue", was about as happy an ending as Batman can ever expect but boy, did Bruce, Terry, and the audience have to go through a lot to get it. Terry finds out that Bruce is his biological father and is pissed about it. For most of the episode he's angry and bitter about Bruce, Batman, and fate. But with the help of Amanda Waller (again It Makes Sense in Context), he realizes that he has control over his own life and that he isn't Bruce even if he may be his son. So in the end, Terry is determined to live a happy life and be Batman at the same time while Bruce is left with a protégé he trusts to carry on the/his fight after he's gone and a family he's always been looking for.
  • Bojack Horseman built itself to fame by unleashing a brutal Deconstructor Fleet unto feel-good sitcom tropes and Family Unfriendly Aesops ranging from, "Family is a tar pit" to "Sometimes it's too late to be forgiven" to "The only way live in a cruel, uncaring world is to keep yourself distracted with mindless tasks." But at the end of season 4, a single, far off light is visible in the distance: after losing Hollyhock, the girl he believed was his daughter (actually his half-sister, long story), BoJack abandons his trademark self-centeredness in the hopes he can make her happy, even if he never sees again, by giving information that will lead Hollyhock to her birth parents over to her eight dads. BoJack even says he doesn't care if her dads lie about how they got it, as long as Hollyhock gets it. For his efforts, BoJack and Hollyhock are able to reconnect, and he flashes his first truly genuine smile in the series. Very possibly a far happier ending than most viewers had come to expect at that point.
  • In CatDog, the Grand Finale had some of the most difficult situations the title brothers had to get through, but in it concluded with a satisfying ending (and totally winning for once). They are finally reunited with their delighted parents, the Greasers are eaten by a sea monster, Winslow decides to leave them alone permanently, and the duo learn to put up with each other's problems (Dog's stupidity and Cat's jerkishness).
  • Courage the Cowardly Dog goes through hell (at times almost literally) in most episodes and against impossible odds, often being close to the edge, to save Muriel but most of the time he ends up earning some piece of mind—until next time.
  • The eponymous character from Danny Phantom certainly qualifies. After three seasons of being despised by everyone as a human and a ghost, hunted down, and having a just plain miserable life, in the Grand Finale, it all pays off: He becomes known as a hero to the entire planet, his secret is let out to everyone including his parents thus leading to perhaps a more popular reputation and perhaps becoming closer to his family, and to top it all off, he finally hooks up with his female friend which has been hinted at since the series began. It definitely seems that his future is brighter than it was originally intended.
  • The Dreamstone is something of a Reconstruction, since nearly every episode ended on an Anti-Climax with the heroes winning effortlessly against the Urpneys. On rare occasions however, the larger Sympathetic P.O.V. would be given to the heroes, where they would be forced to use a palpable amount of skill and endurance to stop a Not So Harmless plot. The pilot and "A Day Out" are key examples (especially the former which involved two Disney Deaths).
  • DuckTales (1987) never fits this more than with its five-part "Super Ducktales" episode. Fenton Crackshell gets recruited as Scrooge's new accountant after the Beagle Boys pull a dirty trick that forces him to move his Money Bin, and Fenton welcomes the chance to prove himself as someone. Unfortunately, the poor guy keeps screwing up worse by the minute. Things seemingly get better when he gets a hold of the Gizmoduck suit and gets to turn his fortunes around as a celebrated hero, but then he gets taken over and gets turned into an unwilling criminal that becomes public enemy number one that steals Scrooge's fortune in events that leave ultimately him penniless, homeless, and in prison. Even after Gizmoduck is freed from control and breaks Scrooge out, some Giant Space Robots From Nowhere steal the Money Bin. The two then head into space to finally recover it and Fenton manages to defeat the robots' leader without the use of the Gizmoduck suit, and by the time they return to Earth the Money Bin's not only placed back in its original location but Scrooge, having discovered the Fenton's Secret Identity, gratefully rehires him under both guises. And then to top it all off, all this new confidence leads Fenton to finally ask his long-time crush out.
    • Fenton still has his tendency to screw up though. And unfortunately, Gandra Dee turns out to be an ungrateful shallow bitch. Fenton even has to apologize to her once, when she had refused to help him earlier in the episode!
  • After over ten years of various defeats, setbacks and humiliations from their attempts to earn respect from their peers, Ed, Edd n Eddy ends with the eponymous characters (Eddy in particular had) finally getting their wish in Big Picture Show, being actually liked and respected by the neighborhood kids who had once previously detested them.
  • In Futurama, Zoidberg has been a Butt-Monkey for the whole series, but he finally finds a beautiful kind woman who loves him for who he is, and even adores his horrid stench, and the two drive off together in her garbage truck. Even better, since it's the last season, there's no Reset Button.
  • Goof Troop's ending for PJ, a very loyal friend who selflessly went out of his way to help people out of their predicaments and helped with plans he had good reasons to be dead-set against for no compensation many, many times. He had also been used by his friend, abused by his father, and attacked or overlooked by others since the beginning. In A Goofy Movie, he was the only protagonist not to get a happy ending. In An Extremely Goofy Movie, he achieves his long-time goal of leaving home, meets a girl who is exactly his type (a poet), likes him back, and chooses him over Bobby, asking him out so that he doesn't have to ask her out. In the process he reveals Hidden Depths which finally gets him some respect and goes through Character Development, which boosts his confidence and gives him a more positive attitude—and when they combine, we get "New PJ." After all this, Bradley puts him into a perilous situation, but he survives, and by the very end, he couldn't be happier.
  • Gravity Falls ends a high note; after two seasons and several dozen shorts worth of thrills, spills, hardships and heartaches, the cast finally get what they've been working for; Dipper and Mabel have gone from belittled nobodies to town heroes, Stan has finally reconciled with his estranged brother, Soos becomes the new head of the Mystery Shack, the Author's fight against Bill Cipher finally ends with Bill's destruction, Old Man McGucket has made a fortune selling his inventions, moving from his shack in the dump to an opulent mansion, and Toby Determined is now doing sports on the same network as Shandra Jimenez.
  • The Happily Ever After: Fairy Tales for Every Child episode, "The Frog Princess," has Prince Gavin, who just won his father's kingdom thanks to the Lila, a frog he was forced to marry, and should be happy, but he can't get over his wife being, well, a frog. So she goes back to the swamp, and Gavin realizes that he actually loves her. But in order to find her again, he ends up swimming the longest lake, climbing the highest mountain, and running as far as he possibly can.
  • The Intruder II sees The Intruder come back, assimilate SARA's core, gloat about killing TOM 4, TOM 5 loses an arm, and the Absolution is sacrificed to kill the Intruder—but TOM managed to back up SARA and upload her onto a new ship and one of SARA's first task once she comes back online is to build TOM a new arm.
  • Lilo & Stitch: The Series: Ever since Angel's capture by Gantu, fans were not happy about this ending at all and have made fanfics about how Angel came back. Eventually, there was a canon way in the form of the series finale, "Snafu". The plot: Lilo was organizing her experiment log when she and Stitch suddenly remember Angel, who Lilo promised that they will get back, but she doesn't know where Angel is, so Nosy, who has escaped an episode earlier thanks to Woops, tells them the location. While Lilo and Stitch were devising a plan, Lilo discovers an experiment pod labeled "120", which causes Jumba to explain that 120 shouldn't be hydrated, which Pleakley does accidentally. As the title suggests, Experiment 120 ruins anybody's plans, the protagonists', in particular. However, when Stitch and Angel meet again, The Power of Love saves the day, as well as the several experiments Gantu captured over the course of the show's run.
  • Moral Orel ends in this way, where despite the fact that the main character lives in a Crapsack World of hypocrisy and zealotry and having one of the worst father figures imaginable, Orel ends up growing up to raise a genuinely happy family, with his brothers becoming a fireman and a policeman, though his parents are seemingly doomed forever to misery and hatred. That and throughout the final season it's been shown that there's a few residents of Moralton that have a chance at happiness.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the "The Return Of Harmony" two-parter, the Mane Cast has to do this, especially Twilight Sparkle. Discord breaks and Mind Rapes all of them (except Twilight), turns their homeland into a chaotic World Gone Mad (centered in their hometown of Ponyville, no less), and Twilight crosses the Despair Event Horizon when the Elements Of Harmony won't work because of the previously mentioned events. She was getting ready to pack up and leave before Princess Celestia sends her all the letters she'd sent to her on friendship the past season. She then has to literally fight her friends to let her use her magic to remind them of all the good times they've shared before they can finally use the Elements Of Harmony to vanquish Discord. They saved all of Equestria and restored their friendship but it was far from easy!
    • "A Canterlot Wedding" is another prime example of this. By the time Celestia finally gets around to declaring the real bride and groom formally married, there's no doubt that both of them have earned it after what they've been through. And of course Twilight Sparkle, after having her suspicions blown off by everypony and then having the main villain promptly banish her underground as soon as everypony else has left...ultimately wins back their respect and gains a new Cool Big Sis in the bargain.
    • "Crystal Empire" takes this even further. One scene in particular makes it look like Sombra was victorious, but it turned out it was just an illusion created by the nightmare door. Eventually Twilight realizes that stopping Sombra required accepting help from others to an extent that might deprive her of the credit for saving the kingdom and might mean she fails her "test." In the end, it also turned out that accepting this was part of the test.
    • Twilight's Kingdom Part 2, even more so than previous seasons. Tirek has left most of Equestria powerless and defeated, sent three of its Princesses to Tartarus, and has more or less become a Physical God. Even Discord is left broken and powerless after betraying Equestria to the tyrannical centaur before being betrayed himself. The mane six think all is lost...then get the last Rainbow Key, allowing them to unlock their Rainbow Power forms, defeat Tirek, and restore Equestria, with Twilight finally finding her place as Princess of Friendship. Not to mention that unlocking the Rainbow Power was the culmination of all the Mane Six's hard work, in a subplot that spanned across the entire fourth season. Earned, indeed.
    • To Where and Back Again Part 2, this really takes it up a notch. Queen Chrysalis has had her Changelings kidnap the Royal Family and Elements of Harmony, replaced them with drones impersonating them, has an Anti-Magic throne that prevents all magic but that of the Changelings from being used within her hive and within a large area around it, captured Discord and Trixie, who were part of a rescue team led by Starlight Glimmer, and with Starlight unable to use her magic, prepares to drain the traitor Thorax of his love energy before killing him for treason, veritably leaving Equestria completely leaderless/defenseless for another Changeling invasion. Starlight is able to remind Thorax of how he lost his Horror Hunger by sharing the love he received from the Crystal Ponies, and suggests he share all of it at once with Chrysalis. This leads to Chrysalis' entire Swarm pulling a Heel–Race Turn that leads to the destruction of Chrysalis' throne, freedom of her captives, and essentially destroying any future threat Chrysalis had over Equestria. Once the dust settles, the Royal Family and Elements of Harmony are able to enjoy some rest and relaxation at the Sunset Festival in Starlight's old village, while the Changelings can now co-exist peacefully with pony-kind under their new benevolent leader, King Thorax. After everything Chrysalis put everyone through, they've definitely earned it.
    • In My Little Pony: Equestria Girls – Rainbow Rocks, former villain Sunset Shimmer spends most of the movie being hated by everyone in the school (made even worse by a Hate Plague cast upon it by the new villains, the Dazzlings) and being forced to watch from the sidelines as her friends fight and yet, through it all, she tries her very best to shed her old self and try to become as supportive to her friends as possible. This eventually works out by the end when she joins the Rainbooms in defeating the Dazzlings, leading to her bad reputation beginning to dwindle.
    • After over five seasons of setbacks, humiliations and striving, the Cutie Mark Crusaders finally earn their cutie marks in "Crusaders of the Lost Mark".
    • "The Last Problem" sees Twilight Sparkle ascend to sole ruler of Equestria, with a now full-grown and muscular Spike as her royal adviser. The rest of the Mane Six assist her in the establishment of a Friendship Council that meets once a moon to get up to speed on their post-Elements lives (as her new protegee Luster Dawn gets to witness). The Crusaders become teachers at the new School of Friendship. And Celestia and Luna, the previous rulers (who fused their separate crowns to make Twilight's), have headed off to Silver Shoals for their retirement.
  • The Powerpuff Girls does so for The City of Frownsville.
  • Samurai Jack: After being sent into a Bad Future where the demon wizard Aku rules with terror, the titular hero had to spend several decades fighting Aku and his allies and being denied hard-won opportunities to get back into his own time before he could finally do so, defeat Aku and save the world. In a twist of drama, however, he also pays a great price for his victory - his girlfriend, a daughter of Aku whom he hoped to finally marry, but could not exist since Aku was destroyed. Though after the initial heartbreak, Jack does seem to have found peace.
  • In Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated: during the Grand Finale, after the gang destroys the evil Eldritch Abomination, they find that it was ERASED from history entirely! This creates a new timeline where pretty much everyone's lives are better: everyone who was consumed by the entity (or died in some other manner) is alive and well, Sheriff Stone and Mayor Nettles are married with 4 children (3 boys and 1 girl), Danny Darrow had a better life and is now head of Darrow University, Shaggy is an award-winning chef respected by his parents, Ricky Owens is thin and married to Cassidy, and his company, Creationex, instead of being a polluting nightmare, is an environmentally friendly business, with a sane Pericles as a spokes-parrot, Fred grew up with his birth parents (who help deliver babies and have never touch a trap), Daphne's parents are OK with her and Fred's relationship, and Velma and Hot Dog Water have won many academic awards together. It initially seems subverted for the gang themselves, since without the entity's influence, the mysteries they solved during the series NEVER HAPPENED, and they're mystery solvers in a place without mysteries... until they receive a disc from the new "Mr. E", who also has Ripple Effect-Proof Memory, and after his revelation that timeline switches have happened before, they realize that there's a whole WORLD of mysteries out there, and set out to solve them!
  • Happens in The Simpsons' Treehouse of Horror XXVI segment "Wanted: Dead, then Alive". Sure, Bart Simpson gets impaled, disemboweled, used as a household item and a trophy, bludgeoned to death many times with a sledgehammer, and revived only to become a cosmic punching bag again and again and again; but in the end, he manages to get better and defeat Sideshow Bob with help from his family. Also, as Marge points out, he has been showing responsibility with Santa's Little Helper, which would explain his Undying Loyalty and determination to find Bart. Oh, and did we mention that he hangs out at Springfield University, with Bob as a new mix-and-match critter?
    • In the end of Krusty Gets Busted, Bart got very angry at Sideshow Bob and made a report that it was Sideshow Bob who was responsible on Framing Krusty by Armed Robbing the Kwik-E-Mart. The police bailed out Krusty the Clown and arrests Sideshow Bob. Krusty the Clown was very happy with Bart. After having the picture being taken, We see Bart with new Krusty Merchandise in his bedroom.
  • In The Smurfs: A Christmas Carol , Grouchy does this to avert the Bad Future that he sees of all the other Smurfs being captured by Gargamel on Christmas Day.
  • Star Wars Rebels: After spending the entire series struggling to claim any victory against the Empire, and suffering crippling defeats again and again, Lothal is freed, all of the crew (except Kanan) live, Ezra rejects the Dark Side, and Thrawn is defeated. The Distant Finale shows Hera raising a son, Lothal having been renewed from its previous devastation, Zeb returning home to his people, and Sabine and Ahsoka, both having survived, heading out to find Ezra and bring him home.
  • The finale of Steven Universe season 5 resolves the Homeworld storyline with a lasting peace between humanity, the gems, the healing of all the corrupted gems, and most of all, Everybody Lives. Steven's capacity for empathy and forgiveness, against all odds, redeems everyone and helps them earn their happy ending.
  • South Park:
    • In "Chef Aid", the boys hold a benefit concert for Chef after he is sentenced to jail due to bad legal judgement over the song "Stinky Britches". However, the executive, who claims he is "above the law", tries to sabotage the concert and nearly succeeds, but Johnnie Cochran saves the day in the end.
    • Stan gets to do this in "Asspen", whether he wants to or not.
    • Cartman does this in "Red Sleigh Down" to get on Santa's Nice List.
    • Everybody in South Park does this in "Red Man's Greed". Even after becoming homeless and contracting SARS, Stan helps them earn it with Sprite, soup and Dayquil.
    • After Wendy leaves Stan in season 7, we had to wait until season 11 for this trope to work its magic again. The two of them reunite after exposing a fixed list on who the cutest boy in school is.
    • Kyle earns his happy ending in "It's Christmas In Canada". After having Ike taken away by his birth parents, the boys go all the way to Canada to get the prime minister to change his mind. The prime minister turns out to be Saddam Hussein, who made up those absurd laws for the hell of it, the Canadians beat the crap out of him, and Kyle is finally reunited with his little brother.
    • "Quest For Ratings": The boys' news show is getting low ratings because everyone prefers to watch Craig's stupid show with the dogs wearing hats. The reason? The viewers liked it because they were on cough syrup.
    • An odd variation in "The Losing Edge". The kids are fed up with playing baseball and want to spend summer doing something else. Stan's dad Randy manages to cause their team to lose inadvertently, earning the kids their happy ending.
    • After being brutally injured by Cartman over the fate of Family Guy, Kyle earns another happy ending in "Cartoon Wars", both things happening in part 1 and 2 respectively.
    • The boys let themselves go and spend 2 months on the computer to earn another happy ending in "Make Love, Not Warcraft".
    • The boys, Ike, and every last Canadian earn theirs in "Canada On Strike".
    • Mr. Garrison earns his in "Eek! A Penis!".
    • "Margaritaville": Kyle earns everyone their happy ending. However, Barack Obama was praised for it instead, much to Kyle's dismay.
    • One-shot character Kip Drordy earns his happy ending in "You Have 0 Friends", thanks to Stan.
    • Kyle yet again earns his happy ending in "Crack Baby Athletic Association", with help from Slash of Guns N' Roses fame.
    • Kyle earns yet another happy ending in "Splatty Tomato" after finding his missing brother Ike and capture the president. Kyle also manages to make Heidi Turner, realize what Cartman's abuse has transformed her into and allowing her to break up with Cartman for good. Although its a bit Downplayed than the others since Kyle doesn't get together with Heidi in the end of this episode and the president escapes capture.
    • The ultimate South Park expression of this trope may well be the "Imaginationland" storyline. An apocalyptic war between good and evil (orchestrated by a terrorist cell in order to kill both sides) in the subconscious of humanity! Beloved characters die gruesomely! Kurt Russell gets raped by forest animals! But in the end, it is Butters of all people who pulls victory from the jaws of defeat and saves the day, insuring everyone gets a happy ending. Even Al Gore is vindicated about the Man-Bear-Pig!
  • Toad Patrol does this for both seasons. In season 1, the toads travel to the fairy ring despite several dangers and close calls, managing to all enter the fairy ring with no time to spare. In season 2, their mission to turn the toadstools back into toadlets using magic instruments comes with many setbacks, including the partial destruction of one instrument, the full destruction of another, and the musician of the third turning into a toadstool himself. Despite this, they manage to pull it off and it ends on a triumphant musical number as everyone celebrates.
  • Transformers: Prime ends with the Autobots definitively defeating Decepticons, saving the Earth, and restoring Cybertron to its former glory after eons of struggle and loss.
  • Cameron's ending in the Total Drama Revenge of the Island finale; not only does he say he doesn't need his bubble anymore, but also he shares the prize money to his friends as well as his enemies, making everyone happy.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: