Follow TV Tropes


Gainax Ending / Western Animation

Go To

What were they thinking when the made the endings of these cartoons?

Works with their own pages:

  • Decades before Studio Gainax became known for this stuff, Fleischer Studios loved having totally bizarre, unpredictable endings. One prominent example would be the ending of Bimbo's Initiation, which ends with the leader of the cult "Do-It-Or-Die" be revealed to be Betty Boop, who seduces Bimbo into being a member. Once Bimbo accepts, the other cult members show themselves—and then rip off their disguises, revealing themselves to all look like Betty, and then they dance to the end.
  • The Simpsons
    • In "The Great Money Caper", just before Lisa could explain why the town, media and police officials had "nothing better to do" than show Homer and Bart the consequences of their actions, Otto appears in the courtroom with a surfboard, shouting 'Hey everybody, Surf's Up!', and the episode ends with everyone surfing.
    • In "Missionary: Impossible", Homer jokingly pledges $10,000 to PBS in order to continue watching his new favorite Britcom "Do Shut Up". When the telethon hosts realize Homer doesn't have the money, he becomes a volunteer missionary, and Reverend Lovejoy sends him to Microasia in the South Pacific. Homer, who is not that familiar with religion, builds a Las Vegas-style casino that disrupts their harmonious lives. Soon afterwards, Homer builds a chapel, and when he rings the bell too loudly, an earthquake occurs, starting a flow of lava. Just as Homer is about to be consumed by lava, the cliffhanger cuts to a Fox pledge drive hosted by Rupert Murdoch and Betty White, who urge viewers to keep crude, low-brow comedy programs such as Family Guy on the air.
    • Advertisement:
    • "Rosebud": The episode ends with Mr. Burns curling up in bed with his long-lost childhood teddy bear Bobo. This is followed by a cut to thousands of years into the future, where some ape-people find Bobo among the ruins of human civilization. Then a cyborg with Burns' head in a jar reclaims the ragged, millenia-old plush toy and runs off with it, followed by his lackey Smithers, who's somehow had his head stitched onto the body of a dog, while scary music plays.
    • The ending to "Treehouse of Horror IV". Marge turns out to be the real head vampire, and she's turned everyone in the family except Lisa. They all advance menacingly on Lisa... then after abruptly turning to the audience and shouting "HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYBODY!", it turns into a parody of the ending to A Charlie Brown Christmas, with snow falling while everyone hums "Hark the Herald Angels Sing".
    • Advertisement:
    • The ending of "Treehouse of Horror V" keeps the trend going. After Bart wakes up from his All Just a Dream sequence, the family comforts him until the "fog that turns everyone inside-out" starts seeping through his bedroom window. The Simpsons get turned inside out, and then do a weird Broadway style song-and-dance number about getting turned inside-out by the fog.
    • The episode "Sky Police" ends with the Hindu god Hanuman eating the sun mistaking it for a mango.
    • At the end of "The Frying Game", we learn that the entire episode was a setup for a game show.
    • The end of "The Seemingly Never-Ending Story" reveals that the entire episode (already a bundle of Nested Stories) was just a long-winded excuse Bart made up for why he couldn't do his homework.
  • Most of what seem to be this in Family Guy is often the result of a deliberate joke or subtle parody in the episode, but "Don't Make Me Over" did it for real. The episode ends with Meg reverting to her original appearance and attitude while guest hosting Saturday Night Live. She and the cast gather on stage for the "goodbyes" and the end creditsnote . Then Showtime at the Apollo begins. Suddenly the screen goes dark as if being turned off and we pull back to see Brian all by himself, apparently getting ready to call it a night. Then, he suddenly turns to the camera and defends himself against an unspoken assumption that he only turned off the latter show because he's racist, a Brick Joke from earlier in the episode. It seems to suggest that perhaps Brian is only imagining he's the Griffins' dog.
  • The Sheep in the Big City first season finale "To Sheep, Perchance to Dream" shifts to the Narrator escaping after all the characters are trying to capture him, then the Sheep rescues him, going down the drain, and ends up having Sheep turning out to be an Evil Overlord who can talk. Private Public starts to speak French, and so does everyone else. Then the Narrator gets put into the Narrator-powered raygun with him begging that the whole thing's a dream, then a flying pig appears and says this isn't a dream or else he won't have wings. None of this was brought up in the second season.
  • 12 oz. Mouse: The army of robots destroy the city, Fitz plays pinball, then he wakes up in a mind control center inside a mushroom.
  • In the last episode of The Marvelous Misadventures of Flapjack, the characters turn into a very weird way.
  • Arthur
    • "The Boy Who Cried Comet" certainly qualifies. The episode suddenly ends with the revelation that Arthur and Co. are actually aliens wearing rubber masks acting out the show on a distant planet. Had most of the audiences throwing their hands up in the air and declaring that they can never look at the show the same way ever again.
    • "The Best of the Nest" had a particularly weird ending that only relates to The Teaser of the episode. At the end (before the ending, Brain was convincing the gang to break their addiction of a new game and do something natural, like go on Mr. Ratburn's camping trip. They eventually do that.), Brain asks Muffy and Francine who were the "Best of the Nest" (the game). They say none of them were and Francine also says "Who knew the best way to scare off a bear was to do the Hokey Pokey?" (referring to a Running Gag in which one of the three-answer questions' answers was to do the Hokey Pokey). All of a sudden they actually hear a bear and close the episode nervously doing the Hokey Pokey.
    • "DW's Name Game" features a somewhat odd ending after DW's Dream Sequence. In the dream, DW is on the run from Arthur who repeatedly calls her by her full name (relating to his and DW's name-calling feud in the real world, which ended with Arthur stumping DW by calling her "Dora Winifred"), and meets a dinosaur called the Thesaurus who gives her the word she needs to win in their feud. However, saying the word to Arthur results in him melting into a puddle of sludge, to DW's horror. She wakes up to find Arthur alive and well. After they apologize to each other for their behavior during the day, DW tells he and her parents about her dream and how "You were there, and you, and you, and you were there, too!". The last "you" is directed towards the Thesaurus, who appears outside her window and says "Aw, sheesh..." in response. Cue a bewildered expression from DW as the episode fades to black with no explanation as to how the dinosaur got there.
  • The finale of Æon Flux. The show was already extremely strange, so when Time Travel gets involved, the results are inevitable.
  • The season finales of The Venture Bros. always end on cliffhangers, but the ending of the first season is by far the most inexplicable, where shortly after being bailed out of prison, the Venture twins are suddenly and accidentally killed during a chance encounter with Henchmen 21 and 24. Of course, being the only Adult Swim show with continuity, this leads into a massive reveal in the Season 2 premiere and begins a major theme on the Venture family's treatment of death.
  • Several episodes of The Ren & Stimpy Show end in this way:
    • "Aloha Hoek" has Ren and Stimpy getting stranded on an island. Long story short, it ends with them taking off their disguises, revealing they're really human "Russian" spies (who talk like Fred and Barney for some reason) and riding off in a submarine.
    • "Ren Needs Help!" is even stranger. Ren has a Freak Out at the end, and is restrained by the mental hospital doctors. He's apparently given electroshock therapy, and in the next scene, he's fitted with a suit and tie, placed at a desk on the moon, and addresses the nation as the president of the United States (a nod to a fellow patient's paranoid ramblings), where he launches into a parody of Ronald Reagan's infamous "We begin bombing in five minutes" speech.
    • Neither of those have anything on "Haunted House", though. When the ghost's inability to scare Ren and Stimpy drives him to suicide, he comes back to life... as a big, fat naked black man who drives off in a convertible as a confused Ren and Stimpy wave goodbye.
      Black Guy: I'll see you guys in the next scene.
    • "Ren's Brain" ends with Stimpy fighting to sedate Ren's disembodied brain. The audience watching the episode is so freaked out that their brains explode, and it sets off a chain reaction of head explosions that destroys the Earth. Afterwards, a narrator ominously intones "Thus ended the Republican party as we know it", while Ren's brain drifts through space with a shout of "You eediot!"
    • "Mad Dog Hoek". Ren and Stimpy spend the entire episode in a wrestling match, which their competitors, for no apparent reason, throw in Ren and Stimpy's favor. After the match, the competitors promise revenge. When asked for a response, Ren begins to answer and is promptly thrown aside by Stimpy, who wants to "holler the loud funny words" and proceeds to scream a long ramble about how much he likes his friend Darren. The episode promptly ends. (It is important to note that no one named Darren was ever seen or heard from in the episode.)
    • The ending of the episode "Eat My Cookies," the girl scouts unzip their skin to reveal that they are old men in disguise. Ren takes off his skin to reveal his skeleton and organs. And everyone laughs.
    • "The Cat That Laid the Golden Hairball" ends with Ren crying over the fact that his overworking of Stimpy cost Stimpy his hairball gland and his nephew crying that without Stimpy's hairball gland, it's which point Ren and Stimpy happily proclaim that it's over and the three of them do a happy celebratory dance.
    • Near the end of "Wiener Barons", the development of "synthetic sausage" drives Ren and Stimpy out of the wiener business, and the two end up destitute on the streets, Ren lying wide-eyed on a pile of now-worthless sausages. Then Ren sits up and declares to Stimpy he's gotten a vision from God, a la Noah, that it's going to rain baked beans for 40 days and 40 nights and he needs to build an enormous boat out of wieners. And then it actually happens as the cartoon comes to a close.
  • Some episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast ends this way, like "Chambraigne".
  • Heavy Metal ends on a rather abstract and metaphysical note.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy
    • Up until the last two minutes of "My Fair Mandy", the episode plays like a straight Very Special Episode where Mandy tries her very best to finally outdo longtime rival Mindy in a pageant (something just about unthinkable due to Mindy's popularity and Mandy's surly attitude). All throughout, Grim, Billy, and Irwin tell Mandy that she can't win unless she can smile (a very rare occurrence for her). At first it looks like Mindy will run away with it, but eventually the judges, which include Mindy's mother, start to turn on her. Mandy closes the gap and is neck-and-neck with her rival going into the very last routine. Her helpers remind her one last time via cards that YOU-HAVE-TO-SMILE(-YO). She strains, she struggles, she summons every ounce of will in her small frame... and... AND...... creates a catastrophic maelstrom which rips apart the fabric of reality, and everything goes white. When Grim, Billy, and Mandy come to, they find that they've turned into The Powerpuff Girls. The episode concludes with the familiar flashing-hearts screen and a jaunty "So once again the day is saved thanks to The Powerpuff Girls!" The closing credits reveal that Irwin has turned into Mojo Jojo.
    • The ending of "Billy Gets an A": Grim and Mandy go back in time to stop Grim from changing Billy's test grade to an A but while past!Grim is distracted Billy changes it himself. They go back further to tell him to study, but being an idiot, he still fails. Then they go back to stop him from being born and fail again, then keep going back until they're at the dawn of time and fail to stop a dinosaur with Harold's hair from burping. Grim asks how it will all end; Smash Cut to a "The End!" card.
  • The non-canonical Avatar: The Last Airbender short "School Time Shipping" ends with Katara dating the Blue Spirit. No, NOT Zuko. Zuko stands right there, watching.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • "Mommy Can You Hear Me?" plays out as a normal episode, with Candace trying to bust the boys while they try to send their astronaut friend Sergei, who is searching for wormholes, a birthday message. Long story short, Candace, in her attempt to bust the two, accidentally sends a message to Sergei that leads him to a wormhole. Everything is wrapped up, but Phineas is still bummed that he never wished Sergei a happy birthday. Cut to Sergei, who is now lying in bed as an old man akin to the end of 2001: A Space Odyssey. Ferb appears as a starchild, floats up to him and whispers, "Happy birthday". Sergei responds, "They did remember. Such nice boys."
    • Same thing with "The Curse of Candace". Starts out normal, with Candace thinking she's a vampire, thanks to a teen vampire movie, among other things. She confronts her brothers about this at the end, and they explain the reason behind some of her vampire powers. So thus, they take off the cloak she was wearing, exposing the sun to her and... she turns to dust. A bemused remark from Phineas, and then? Roll credits. Of course, since he said "Ferb, we're gonna need a dustpan and some glue," it could be that they actually managed to put her back together.
    • Parodied in "Tri-State Treasure: Boot of Secrets"; the boys' short film ends with the villain getting taken down by an army of flying saucers driven by past one-shot characters that suddenly appears, then a Shout-Out to the falling banner scene from Jurassic Park.
    • "Cheers for Fears" ends with a look inside Ferb's mind.
    • In "Terrifying Tri-State Trilogy of Terror", Phineas changes his story's Downer Ending to this at the request of his friends. It has Baljeet's cowboy life coach ride in on a unicorn and save the day, then talking grape juice box Officer Concord (voiced by none other than Alex Hirsch) shows up and thanks the kids for saving the factory, then we get a Dance Party Ending with cameos from characters from other stories told in the same episode. It's lampshaded, with the others expressing their disbelief.
    • The credits gag for "This is Your Backstory" reveals that Phineas and Ferb's extra long ping-pong match was so they could build up the kinetic energy needed to open a quantum singularity. It promptly sucks everything in, leaving behind Candace in a white void.
    • The ending of "Night of the Living Pharmacists" reveals that somehow even though Isabella succeeded in curing all of the Doof zombies in Danville, the rest of the world has already fallen and Danville is walled off to keep the rest of the zombies out. It's then revealed that it was all a movie Stacy was watching.
    • By the end of "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", Candace breaks the titular duo out of prison and realizes that they have both become creatively numb. She tries to bring them back and after this, things suddenly get extremely strange. Phineas and Ferb start juggling corn dogs and Lawrence and Linda turn out to be puppets puppetered by a giant Baljeet, who himself turns out to be a giant puppet puppetered by the hallucinogenic zebra who always calls Candace "Kevin". The last straw for Candace is Jeremy proposing to her, and she wakes up bolting upright in her room as she realizes that everything was all a dream. At breakfast, Candace tells everyone else about the dream, which causes them to come to the conclusion that Perry the Platypus is a secret agent. They are immediately surrounded and arrested by OWCA agents, and Major Monogram tells Perry that he will have to relocate - and that's when Perry wakes up and realizes it was all a dream.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • South Park
    • "Royal Pudding": The Royal Canadian Wedding is interrupted when the princess gets kidnapped and Kyle's little brother Ike (who is Canadian) has to rescue her. At the end, Ike rescues the princess and they have the royal wedding, but after the "I do's", the prince tears off the princess' arm and shoves it up his ass.note 
    • "Butterballs": Kyle continually foreshadows Stan "jacking it in San Diego" should he achieve popular success for his anti-bullying video. After his token Woobie—Butters—loses it on national television and causes the entire project to be shut down, Stan ends up... doing what Kyle said he would. The entire ending sequence is a song-and-dance montage that lasts over two minutes, and even in context seems out of left field, with the episode still feeling unresolved despite the logic behind it. To top it off, all this is lampshaded by the Penguin from Neon Genesis Evangelion appearing briefly in one of the shots.
    • The Plot Twist near the end of the "Coon and Friends" arc, when Bradley turns out to be an alien from a planet full of berries that can fuel anything, which he then uses to beat Cthulhu, drag him back to R'lyeh, and close a portal to another dimension, then returns to his home planet.
    • "Goth Kids 3" ends with the reveal that the entire plot of the episode was all part of a prank on a minor character by a game show. Lampshaded by the Goth Kids' reactions.
    • "The Ring": After being embarrassed by an Engineered Public Confession, Mickey Mouse turns into a giant fire-breathing monster and flies to Valhalla.
    • In "The Tooth Fairy's Tats 2000," Kyle gets into some metaphysical reading that leads him to question reality and his own existence. This causes a Mind Screw at the end, which saves the day.
  • Looney Tunes
    • In the cartoon "Riff Raffy Daffy", Daffy Duck ends up tricking Porky into letting him sleep in the department store by taking out a couple of wind-up ducks and presenting them as his "children". In the end, as Porky walks away, it's revealed that he understands what Daffy's going through because his kids are also wind-up toys.
    • It's rarely shown today because of Values Dissonance, but the ending of the short "Fresh Hare" has Bugs Bunny in front of a firing squad. When Elmer Fudd asks him for a Last Request, Bugs randomly starts singing "I Wish I Were In Dixie". Then, everyone turns into blackface minstrels and start singing "Camptown Races."
      Bugs: Fantastic, isn't it?
    • In another Bugs cartoon, "14 Carrot Rabbit", claim-jumper Yosemite Sam chases Bugs to Fort Knox, where he starts robbing it of its gold, only to be immediately arrested for it. A guard turns to Bugs to demand to know what he's doing there. Bugs says he's waiting for a streetcar. Suddenly, instead of a streetcar, however, a huge ship, running on dry land, comes up, and Bugs shrugs and climbs aboard, remarking, "In a spot like this, a boat will do." The short ends with the boat leaving the fort — on dry land.
  • Rugrats:
    • A scary one comes from the episode "What the Big People Do": After Chuckie and Tommy return back to normal, Angelica, for no reason other than scaring the crap out of viewers, says "Oh BOOOOYS! Time to play HOUSE!" Cue Angelica's face morphing back into her adult version, her making an Evil Laugh, Tommy and Chuckie screaming and a hard cut to black. Their screams even echo into the credits.
    • Equally scary is the ending to "Visitors From Outer Space". The episode, which involves Tommy and the other babies being transported into space and Angelica being stranded on a deserted planet, ends with the events of the episode being All Just a Dream being had by Tommy. Everything is back to normal...only to show Angelica still on the deserted planet digging around for something to eat. The episode ends there with no explanation why Angelica is still there. (Or how she even got back, if she ever did.)
  • The ending to the Ed, Edd n Eddy episode "The Eds are Coming," where the cul-de-sac is lifted into space by a spaceship after the previous "aliens" in the episode just turned out to be Rolf and some people from his country.
  • The Chowder episode "Won-Ton Bombs" has a Gainax Ending in which the whole world of Mazipan City just disappears and tears apart to reveal C.H. Greenblatt wearing a wig and nervously writing storyboards.
  • Almost every damn episode of Superjail! ever has an ending like this. The most notable example here is the 2-part season 1 finale "Time Police" which ends with the camera zooming out to reveal... a frying machine. What. Of course, the shot is the same one at the beginning of "Time Police" part 1, implying a Stable Time Loop and that the events would continuously loop back. In that case, the creators intended the ending to be ambiguous as they were unsure of a season 2, and stated that had they not been renewed, the ending would be interpreted as the universe having ended or being trapped in the loop. As they were renewed, the ending was forgotten (easy with the general Negative Continuity in the show) and the events in the "Time-Police" episodes were treated as having been retconned out.
  • The Powerpuff Girls episode "Him Diddle Riddle" has Him forcing the girls into solving all sorts of odd riddles and challenges with the threat that "the professor will pay". By the end of the episode, it's revealed that the challenges were all part of a bet that he made with Professor Utonium so as to see if he did not need to pay full price for a breakfast at a restaurant that Him works at. Keep in mind, this is HIM we're talking about.
    Narrator: So, once again... um... yeah.
  • Several episodes of Aqua Teen Hunger Force end this way, but one that stands out in particular is the season 10 opener "Muscles", where after Shake drinks an illegal performance-enhancing beverage he develops extremely ill-tempered self-aware muscles with the voice of John DiMaggio. To get rid of them, Frylock puts him in a cow pen to wait for the muscles to eventually melt away, and when he, Meatwad, and Carl come back to him 6 months later he's now overweight and thinks he's a cow, and as they decide that he's better off this way and leave him there, he gets mauled by coyotes offscreen.
    • The Grand Finale of the series ends in a pretty straight-forward way: Shake and Frylock die, seemingly for good this time, and Meatwad moves out of the house, gets married and has kids, ending in a Distant Finale. Except that one more episode was aired after that one, not only pressing the Reset Button as usual, but actually acknowledging it with Shake watching his own death on TV and reminiscing about last week, before the episode plays out like a normal episode. Even though Shake and nearly the entirety of the show's Rogues Gallery die and Frylock and Carl have gained immortality, but are in prison for multiple consecutive life sentences, the Reset Button is pressed again during The Stinger, revealing the whole episode is being watched by the main trio and Carl on TV while they complain that this is how the series ends.
  • Teen Titans Go!, being much Denser and Wackier that the original show, has lots of episodes that end in bizarre and nonsensical ways. For example, in "Hose Water", the episode concludes with Starfire and Cyborg embracing their inner child so much, they age backwards, turn into eggs and are taken back to the land where babies come from, and "Serious Business" ends with the revelation that every bathroom in the world is an alien, and they all take off into the sky, to the confusion of the Titans and the audience.
  • In the final scene of the Littlest Pet Shop (2012) episode "A Day at the Museum," the ball Minka and Penny had chased at the beginning of the episode morphs into a dinosaur egg that hatches and reveals their imaginary friend MinLing. (Bear in mind that this has one of the most mundane settings on The Hub, with rarely anything more fantastic than intelligent animals.)
  • Speaking of The Hub shows, Pound Puppies (2010) has been subject to Gainax endings on occasions. In "No More S'mores", Strudel builds a controllable swamp monster in order to scare some junior campers. At the end of the episode the gang agrees on there being no such thing as swamp monsters in reality. Just then the camera pans to an annoyed swamp monster with an extremely camp voice, who says he doesn't eat people, but will eat their s'mores when they're away from the campsite. He then giddily skips away as the episode does an Iris Out.
  • In the Al Brodax cartoon "Coach Popeye", Popeye and Brutus were arguing over who's the best to teach Swee'Pea and Diesel how to play sports. As usual, Popeye and Brutus ended up fighting. Near the end, they generated a fight cloud and, when it disappeared, it revealed them playing amicably as if they weren't just fighting.
  • An episode of The Cleveland Show ended with Cleveland Jr.'s stuffed animal, Larry the Leopard, coming alive and saying he was going to kill Junior.
  • The ending of The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "Sleepless in Retroville" where half of the episode turned out to be a dream of Jimmy's. But then he sees the pillow monsters from earlier chasing his parents and it turns out that Hugh was dreaming. And then he and Judy see Carl being chased by slices of the Pizza Monster and it turns out to be Carl's dream. And then he sees the the Pizza Monster right in front of Sheen. It turns out that Sheen was dreaming. And then he finds himself holding the Pizza Monster who is terrified and it turns out to be the Pizza Monster's dream. The Pizza Monster's wife reassures him that there are no such thing as children and they go back to sleep, ending the episode.
  • In the finale of the live-action The Fairly OddParents trilogy, A Fairly Odd Summer, Timmy falls into a volcano trying to stop Foop from destroying the Abracadabrium and comes back as a fairy.
  • Camp Lazlo has two big ones.
    • The episode "Meatman" ends with the main trio about to be eaten alive by a sentient blob of mystery meat, which turns out to just be a scary story that Lazlo is telling the other campers. Lazlo is then implied to be the Meatman himself in disguise and the episode ends with the worried laughter of the other scouts as they realize what's going on.
    • The Grand Finale. Scoutmaster Lumpus is revealed to be an escaped lunatic who stole the real scoutmaster's identity and lived his life for years. The real scoutmaster? Heffer from Rocko's Modern Life.
  • Being one of Nickelodeon's more surreal programs, The Angry Beavers had a number of episodes ending like this:
    • The episode "Act Your Age": The beavers are turned into children until they finally decide to share a golden acorn that they had been trying to acquire the whole episode. However, sharing it causes them to transform into their various evolutions throughout history until they devolve into single-celled organisms.
    • "In Search of Big Byoo-tox" ends with the reveal that who Daggett thought to be the elusive Big Byoo-tox was actually just a big hairy naked Canadian, and that the whole planet rests on the bum of the real Big Byoo-tox who floats in space.
    • "Brothers...Til The End?" was already a rather strange episode by even the show's standards, but to top the whole thing off, it ends with it being left up in the air whether or not the (frankly rather insane) events of the episode were actually experienced by Norb, Dag, and their friends or if they were all hallucinating the whole thing after drinking some punch Daggett had made.
  • Dexter's Laboratory has had its fair share of Gainax Endings, but the ending of the legendary "Dexter and Computress Get Mandark" (already a Bizarro Episode if there ever was one, being written and narrated by a six-and-a-half year old boy and all) is really out there. Basically, Dexter and Computress's plan to "get" Mandark and shrink his head goes awry and results in Mandark's head continuously getting bigger until it outsizes the planet. The episode ends with Mandark's head getting so big it explodes, which results in Earth being showered in millions of disembodied Mandark heads as Dexter yells at Computress.
    • "That Crazy Robot" ended with Dexter attacking Deedee with Eye Beams somehow.
  • The premise of the Pink Panther cartoon "Come On In! The Water's Pink", involves the eponymous character wowing the masses at a muscle beach with his various inflatable gadgets (such as an inflatable beach-house, inflatable trampolines, and even an inflatable swimming pool) and making a muscleman on the premises jealous. In the end, said muscleman mistakes a large dog for one of Pink's inflatable animals that he is trying to pop with a pin, resulting in the angry dog biting the muscleman and.... it's suddenly revealed that the muscleman was an inflatable object all along and he lands deflated in front of a confused Pink. Pink, at this point, leaves the beach and pulls up the beach sign as he passes by it, and the entire scene deflates; revealing that the entire beach (and quite possibly the entire short) was just one of Pink's inflatable objects all along.
  • Happened on The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat in the episode "Noah's Nightclub", where the ending reveals that the events of the whole episode were acted out by a little girl with bath toys.
  • Hey Arnold!: The premise of "Sid the Vampire Slayer" is that Sid thinks Stinky is a vampire, citing various (and often nonsensical) reasons for why he thinks so. With help from Arnold, though, Sid finds out that everything he thought Stinky was doing had a reasonable explanation behind it and realizes he was stupid for thinking that Stinky was a vampire. Come the last few seconds of episode, though, and we see that Sid was right all along despite all of the previous proof against him, and Stinky apparently really is a vampire. This is never brought up in the series again. (It was likely Played for Laughs.)
    • They actually did this many times. The characters would debunk some supernatural urban legend, only for the real ghost to appear in the end. The fact that the supernatural is real in their world is never addressed in any subsequent episodes. That being said, what made "Sid the Vampire Slayer" a more unusual example than typical for episodes like this was that it directly involved a still living character in the present rather than a person from one of Hillwood's many urban legends.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh had quite a few, believe it or not.
    • The biggest one is the surprisingly dark episode "Sorry, Wrong Slusher". The plot of the episode is that Christopher Robin, Pooh, and several of the others stay up late (against the wishes of Christopher's mother) to watch a "slusher" (read: Slasher) film, only for Tigger (thinking he was ordering a pizza) to accidentally give their house address to an angry sounding man on the telephone. Everyone panics thinking a "slusher" is coming for them and set up traps around the house. To make a long story short, the mess ends with everyone (including the stuffed animals) all getting arrested, at which point the events of the episode turn out to be All Just a Dream Christopher Robin was having; having fallen asleep while watching the slusher movie. Everyone expresses relief until a pizza delivery man suddenly appears at the door with a bunch of pizza, even though the characters ordering pizza had been part of the dream. The scene then fades to a bewildered Christopher back in jail (and in prison clothes).
      Pooh: On March 16th, Christopher Robin was found guilty of leaving his bed when he shouldn't have and was placed in the custody of his friends. Everything you've seen was a dream, and only the names of the animals have been changed to protect the innocent.
    • The episode "Owl Feathers" had a Running Gag of Piglet trying to perform magic tricks and botching them really badly most of the time, possibly because he doesn't understand that that the magic isn't real (or is it real?), although it is ambiguous since he does successfully perform a few tricks that are visibly not real magic. At the very end of the episode, he tries to pull a rabbit out of his hat again, but instead produces a clone of himself, to everyone's shock.
    • In the episode "Rabbit Marks The Spot", Rabbit plays a prank on the others by burying a fake pirate's treasure chest filled with rocks for the others to find. The episode ends with the ghost of the pirate suddenly appearing and asking them if they found his rocks, even though the pirate had probably just been made up by Rabbit and wasn't actually the one who buried the fake treasure. Everyone gets scared by the ghost and runs away, and then the ghost looks at the camera with a confused expression on his face before disappearing.
    • "The Monster Frankenpooh" involves the gang telling a fractured version of the story of Frankenstein's monster with Pooh playing the monster (a giant version of himself). Piglet becomes increasingly frightened by the events of the story as it goes on, but at the end Rabbit tells Piglet that the events of the story aren't real and that Piglet should learn to better tell the difference between fiction and reality. The camera then pans over to Pooh, who now really is giant, admitting that he should do so as well.
    • "Three Little Piglets", another episode involving the premise of everyone attempting to tell a story with hilarity enusing, ends in a similar way with Rabbit suddenly being covered in honey (as he was in the story), much to his displeasure.
  • The Van Beuren Studios shorts starring characters named Tom and Jerry (no relation to the cat and mouse) almost always ended in bizarre and inexplicable ways. For instance, "Redskin Blues". Tom and Jerry get kidnapped by hostile stereotypical Native Americans, but after a brief music number, what seems to be the entire US army, navy, cavalry, and air force comes to their rescue when Jerry sends a signal. The boys are rescued and the tribe's chief is apprehended. As one general lays into the chief for the kidnapping, he accidentally pulls the chief's robe off....revealing the chief to actually be a stereotypical Jewish man (this was made in the 1930s) wearing overalls. The man laughs at everybody and lets a mouse loose out of a box in his pocket, resulting in everybody present (even the big brave army men) running away from this single mouse in a panic as the short ends.
  • For being one of Cartoon Network's more down-to-earth shows, this happens in Clarence a lot. For just one example, we have "Average Jeff". After Jeff's Deranged Animation freak out, the status quo has been restored with the "divided-by-potential" class idea being scrapped. Jeff returns to his desk happy, only to find another kid sitting there. Jeff tells her that she's in his seat...and it turns out that the girl is the tapir he dreamed that he married during his freak-out. The episode ends right there and then with Jeff screaming (which is interrupted by a strange buzzing sound), with no explanation for what just happened.
  • Nobody's quite sure as to what happened at the end of the Archer episode "Vision Quest". After the casts spends the entire episode trapped in an elevator, Ray finally is able to call Malory. It instead goes towards the elevator's phone, playing a voicemail message from Archer, at which point everyone assaults him. A theory supported (but not confirmed) by someone who works on the show is that Archer deliberately set the elevator to get stuck and for calls to Malory to re-route to the elevator phone, but didn't account for Kreiger to install signal-jammers above the elevator, leaving them stuck. It doesn't explain why Lana then accused Malory of deliberately getting them stuck, though.
  • Penn Zero: Part-Time Hero definitely has a Gainax Ending: Phyllis and Phil are revealed to be the same person. They inform the remaining characters that there is no need for part-time heroes or villains anymore, as balance has now been achieved in the multiverse, before merging into one being that suddenly becomes encased in a blocky, blue metallic gorilla form that promises to watch over the main characters. It proceeds to fly off into the sky and takes both the old movie theater and the restaurant with it while everyone else watches in Stunned Silence. At the very end, it is shown in a room full of light on a pedestal, talking to an unseen entity speaking gibberish, who informs the gorilla that Phase One has been completed. After asking whether it was ready to begin the next phase, we cut to a close up of the gorilla's face with a genuine smile and widening eyes as if something amazing is being witnessed. Light eclipses the shot and we fade to credits. That's our Grand Finale, ladies and gentleman.
  • Dave the Barbarian had an episode that ended like this. After the conflict of the episode is resolved, Dave is confused about how they resolved it and asks a bunch of question about what just happen and also one question that is an unrelated Brick Joke. Uncle Oswidge says he will explain it all with a song and then sings a nonsensical song about an egg named Steve, which has nothing to do with any of Dave's questions or anything else that happened in the episode. Dave then says "Oh, I get it," and then everyone sings the song together and then the episode ends.
  • Kaeloo: Episode 122 has an in-universe example, with a bedtime story Mr. Cat made up for Stumpy and Quack Quack. The story starts with an ordinary girl who works as a cashier and then meets her new boyfriend. She then suffers a series of misfortunes, like finding out that her boyfriend isn't the person she thought he was and losing her job, so she takes a walk on the beach... and gets eaten by a kraken. Kaeloo even lampshades that the ending was both stupid and horrible (though Stumpy and Quack Quack found it interesting).
  • In the final episode of The Brak Show, Brak is granted one wish from a god named Generositus. He decides to wish that he was a penguin. Generositus says to come up with a better wish, so Brak wishes that all his family and friends were penguins as well. However, he admits it was a stupid wish, and now wishes that they were no longer penguins and that the show wasn't cancelled. That's when the show ends.
  • The Invader Zim episode "Game Slave 2" ended with guest character Iggins falling down an elevator and seemingly dying. At the end, he re-emerges from the crashed elevator shouting his name, striking a superhero pose. This was actually a weird case of Executive Meddling, as Nickelodeon would not allow the episode to end by implying that Iggins died. Possibly this strange ending was done as a way of Jhonen Vasquez protesting censorship.
  • While Danger Mouse can occasionally come off quite absurd due to its No Fourth Wall, the 2015 reboot episode "Rodent Recall" really takes the cake. The episode is about Danger Mouse and Penfold discovering that they apparently never were agents and worked in an IT service. Long story short, it turns out to be the plans of antagonist Megahurtz, and they escape by Penfold activating a random lever … and it turns out that was the simulation, where they wake up and reunite with Professor Squawkencluck. Unfortunately, Megahurtz breaks out of the simulation into the real world, where he apparently kills the three of them and declares his intentions to take over the world … and it turns out that the whole episode up until that point was a simulation that Squawkencluck designed to keep Megahurtz trapped. And then, at the very end, Norman (someone created for the simulation) turns up. What.
  • The Drawn Together episode "Foxxy vs. the Board of Education" ends with the world being taken over by Nazis riding dinosaurs because of a single gay marriage, as Clara predicted earlier. Of course, for a show that's Negative Continuity incarnate, these endings are to be expected.
  • Goof Troop episode "Dr. Horatio's Magic Orchestra" is about Pete being haunted by recurring nightmares about unpleasant childhood memories of getting stage fright when trying to perform "When the Saints Go Marching In" with his school band, something that is exacerbated by the eponymous orchestra which constantly plays said tune and brings back those unpleasant memories. An already rather strange episode even by the standards of the show ends with all of the events of the episode suddenly being revealed to be the recurring nightmare of a sentient tuba.
  • The Muppet Babies (1984) episode "The Great Muppet Cartoon Show," where the babies draw and film their own cartoons, ends with Gonzo suggesting they quit for the day... only to find that his friends have all seemingly turned into cardboard cutouts. But then the real babies pop out of hiding, revealing that they were just playing a prank on Gonzo (though why did they decide to prank him, and how could they make such perfect cutout likenesses of themselves when all their art up to that point has been crude and toddler-like?). And then Gonzo suddenly finds that he's an image on a TV monitor - a Call-Back to earlier in the episode when he imagined himself as a cartoon trapped on a piece of paper. Muppet Babies could be a weird show, with lines often blurred between what was real and what was just the babies' imagination, but this ending is especially bizarre and out of nowhere.
  • The Back at the Barnyard episode "Dream Birthday" ends this way. After the gang throws the Farmer the best Birthday dream ever, they suggest about getting something else, but Abraham Lincoln asks, "How about a gift certificate so he can get what he wants?". Everyone screams and Otis wakes up realizing it was just a dream as the Farmer throws paint balloons at him. It turns out to be Pig's dream and he was relieved that everything's back to normal except that he finds himself now in outer space. This turns out to be Freddy's dream as a giant Peck gives him a glass of warm milk, much to his horror. Then it turns out to be Pip's dream and Otis tells him to stop eating pickles before bed, only for Lincoln to ask them to keep it down. He turns off the lights and everyone screams once more.
  • The American Dad! episode "Brave N00b World" centers around Stan and his coworkers entering an Overwatch tournament as part of a mission, then botching it at the last minute, resulting in the world being destroyed by nuclear war between the US and China. However, a collision between the two countries' culture pods results in some Chinese mint chip ice cream flying across the universe for a billion years before being found by aliens who, in order to get more of it, simply 3D print a new Earth, returning to the beginning of the episode. This is followed by Bill Nye explaining what happened after and a flash-forward of Steve as a college professor, capped off by Francine, Hayley, Jeff, and Roger showing up to his class still stuck in the Smith house's banister from the episode's B-plot.
  • Tom and Jerry:
    • At the end of "I'm Just Wild About Jerry", after saving Tom's life, Jerry suddenly sprouts angel wings, gains a halo, and flies off. Two ways to interpret this ending: Either Jerry is being rewarded for his good deed, or the wings/halo are meant to symbolize Jerry's goodness. Either way, it's a strange way to end a Tom & Jerry cartoon.
    • "Guided Mouse-ille" ended with a short Stone Age skit involving Tom & Jerry after an explosion. Even The End is followed by question mark.
  • "Hockey Homicide", a Goofy short satirizing the sport of hockey, devolves into complete chaos at the end after the players scoring hundreds of points at once due to an excess amount of hockey pucks in the rink angers the spectators and turns the game into a chaotic fast-paced brawl between the spectators (complete with cuts to Stock Footage from everything from other Goofy cartoons to Pinocchio) all while the narrator narrates at an increasingly breakneck speed and the hockey players from both teams calmly observe the fighting from the stands.
    Narrator: (breathlessly) And that's why ice hockey is considered a spectator sport.
  • Big City Greens episode "Quiet Please" ends with the events of the episode being shown to have taken place within a book titled after the show and episode itself within the Big City library. The library's Scary Librarian then closes the book and puts back on a shelf, shushing the viewers.


How well does it match the trope?

Example of:


Media sources: