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Harsher In Hindsight / DC Animated Universe

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  • Batman: The Animated Series has a few:
    • Relating to Batman: Arkham Series:
      • The interactions of Joker and Penguin inside Penguin's night club, The Iceberg Lounge, in "Joker's Millions" become this in one of the "Arkham Stories" during Batman: Arkham City.
      • Just try watching "Over the Edge" after Batman: Arkham Knight and season 3 of Arrow, and knowing what was All a Dream in the former is mostly reality in the latter two, as all three involve similar plot points: the daughter of a cop ends up having something bad happening to her (DCAU!Barbara/Sara Lance getting killed/Arkham!Barbara Gordon ends up getting kidnapped and seeming commits suicide after a dose of fear toxin), her father (DCAU and Arkham!Commissioner Gordon/Quentin Lance) ends up getting pissed at someone (DCAU and Arkham!Batman/Ollie and Quentin's other daughter Laurel) for keeping a secret (Barbara's double life as Batgirl and Oracle/Sara's death itself) from him and decides to cut off ties from the hero, and the hero's identity gets outed (DCAU!Gordon learning the truth from Barbara's computer/Arkham!Scarecrow forcing Gordon to remove Batman's mask on live TV/Arrow!Ra's al Ghul decided to frame the Arrow and tell Quentin Ollie's the Arrow). In "Over the Edge", the whole thing turned out to be a nightmare that Barbara had after getting dosed with Scarecrow's fear toxin; in Knight, Bruce was tripping on Scarecrow's fear toxin and hallucinated a similarly-dosed Barbara committing suicide, only to learn the real Barbara was still alive, but the rest really happened; and in Arrow, Ollie is saved when Roy, in part due to guilt for killing a cop due to a Mirakuru-fueled rage, decided to take the fall for Ollie and Sara would later be resurrected. But perhaps the worse thing isn't from an Alternate Continuity, but from Sequel Series Batman Beyond, as the episode "Eyewitness" sees Barbara herself getting tricked into thinking Terry killed Mad Stan by Spellbinder and go to the very lengths she feared her father would go before Terry cleared his name.
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    • Relating to Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker:
      • In "Make 'Em Laugh" the Joker uses microchips to alter the minds of innocents to make them criminals. Then comes RotJ.
      • In the episode "Be A Clown", Mayor Hill's son Jordan is kidnapped by a disguised Joker and tricked into performing criminal acts against Batman. Jordan is horrified when he finds out. In Return of the Joker, the Tim Drake Robin is manipulated by the Joker via Mind Rape into becoming Joker Jr., later taking on the role after he unwittingly kills the Joker in a freak accident; and causes chaos in Gotham in the years that followed.
      • The ending of "Harley's Holiday," in which Batman and Harley Quinn share a tender moment with each other sympathizing over each other's respective bad days becomes this as despite this moment, Harley still ends up helping out Joker with his plan to kidnap and brainwash Tim.
      • Another episode worsened by Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is "I Am the Night", where Batman angsts over the possibility of his friends and allies being hurt...including Robin (at the time of the episode, Robin is Dick and not Tim, but still).
      • Yet another one episode worsened by Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker is "Joker's Favor". Charlie Collin's Heroic Heelization Speech is horribly right, because Batman will not be the one who brings out Joker's demise.:
      Charlie Collins: ... I found this blown out of the van. (reveals a Joker bomb) This is how it ends, Joker. No big schemes. No grand fight to the finish with the Dark Knight. Kinda funny. Ironic, really." Looks like Tim destroyed a man's dream.
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    • Batman's origin story in this continuity (as well as others), as of July 20, 2012. In this continuity, Batman's parents were murdered by a thug (implied to be Joe Chill, but he was never named) shortly after seeing a film. The film he saw? Gray Ghost, which was the in-universe inspiration for that continuity's Batman. Flash forward to July 20, 2012, several people were killed by a madman in a shooting at a Century theater in Aurora, Colorado. The movie that was being shown on that date? A midnight showing of The Dark Knight Rises.
    • In "Paging The Crime Doctor", Rupert Thorne needs heart surgery. His actor, John Vernon, died in 2005 of complications from heart surgery.
    • In "The Laughing Fish", The Joker tries to have his Joker Fish copyrighted, and the patent guy tells him he can't copyright food. Twenty years later, Monsanto wants to do just that.
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    • Meta example from "I Am The Night" - Batman laments the fact he's merchandised to death, on t-shirts and action figures, despite his intent. Not only was the cartoon used to sell a toy line, but not long after Warner began a massive ad campaign to push Batman toys, shirts, and other merchandise onto children.
    • Batman: Mask of the Phantasm:
      • The film showing how Bruce is seemingly fated to be alone looks even worse when Batman Beyond shows this really will be the case for him.
      • The Justice League Unlimited episode showed that Andrea didn't give up being the Phantasm, becoming a hitwoman.
      • The scene where Bruce visits his parents' grave is an extra twist of the knife when you think of the DC Rebirth storyline The Button, in which his father (from another timeline) tells him personally to stop being Batman and find happiness.
  • Superman: The Animated Series:
    • The second episode has a passenger plane hit with a missile and nearly crash into Metropolis. To make it worse the missile was fired by a terroristnote . Similarly, the first part of "The World's Finest" has a scene where terrorists take over Air Force One.
    • The finale of "World's Finest" has the Joker firing missiles on multiple buildings, sending them crashing to the ground.
  • Batman Beyond:
    • The Jokerz are a gang of youths inspired by The Joker to commit crimes, including murder. Well, we ended up getting a real life example with the infamous shooting massacre of a movie theater in Aurora, Colorado in 2012 — and the theater was showing The Dark Knight Rises.
    • Henry Rollins playing a quasi-suicidal mad bomber, after he severely hurt his reputation in 2014 with an article where he viciously insulted anyone who commits suicide, in response to Robin Williams doing it (and while he was currently on a show with Williams' daughter Zelda, to boot).
    • King completely forsaking Melanie/Ten (as well as hitting Jack for even mentioning her name) and cheating on his wife in "King's Ransom," unfortunately reflects on his voice actor George Lazenby's marriage problems with tennis player Pam Shriver in August 2008 that led to a bitter divorce and custody battle that involves Lazenby's alcoholism and violence towards his young children according to the court evidence brought on by his eldest daughter Melanie.
    • The episode, "Last Resort", became much more relevant and frightful in current times since the ongoing controversy over teenage rehabilitation camps with series of mistreatment and question methods on its clients.
    • During the earlier Batman series, Dick, Barbara and Tim were all excited and eager to join the "Bat Family". Even going as far as to continue to fight crime despite Bruce pointing out several times that the life of a crime fighter is both dangerous and taxing. Forty years down the road, all three blame him for all their suffering, even claiming Bruce "manipulated" them into joining the fight on crime. Harsh...
    • The hints of a past relationship between Bruce and Barbara were enough for viewers to react with Squick and No Yay. The film adaptation of Batman: The Killing Joke takes their relationship Up to Eleven with a Narm sex scene, which earned the film a great deal of negative criticism for prioritizing Fanservice over characterization.
    • Stephen Collins voiced a Villain of the Week who kidnaps his own teenage daughter for himself is more chilling considering the revelation of his real-life repeated statutory rape crimes he has committed. Also, the fact he plays an estranged family member that is driven to commit crime by the separation is much more wincing due to ugly divorce proceedings with his ex-wife Faye Grant that lead to said crimes being made public.
    • Batman Beyond: Return of the Joker:
      • The shootout in the nightclub is this, given the Orlando nightclub shooting.
      • What Tim goes through here in the flashback, given that the backstory for Batman: Arkham Knight has Jason Todd go through the same thing and end up assisting the Scarecrow in, what is for all intents and purposes, a terrorist attack on Gotham.
  • Static Shock:
    • In one episode, Adam Evans insists on using fireworks for his concert despite the warnings from his crew about using them on a small stage. When the fireworks goes off, they end up setting the place on fire. This became a whole lot harsher when the Rhode Island nightclub "The Station" got set on fire in February 2003 during a Great White concert, and killed at least 100 people, due to a combination of polyurethane insulation and the band's use of pyrotechnics on a smaller then normal stage.
    • Hawkgirl hitting John Stewart's head in "A League of Their Own". Especially when you know what happens in "Starcrossed".
  • Justice League:
    • Batman dodging Darkseid's Omega Beams. It didn't go so well in the comics.
    • When Wally is almost taken by the Speed Force but is saved by his friends. It didn't turn out as well for his Young Justice counterpart.
    • In Part 1 of "The Savage Time", an alternate-universe Batman leads a resistance to fight a regime, and is helped by the other members of the League. Same thing happens in Injustice: Gods Among Us, except some of those League members are leading the regime.
    • In Part 2 of "Hearts and Minds", John Stewart complains to Hawkgirl that Katma, his old instructor, still thinks of him as a raw recruit. Hawkgirl calmly notes that "we tend to cling to images from when we knew them best, forgetting that they do change". This comes off a bit harder to take after Shayera's own ordeal with this in "Starcrossed",
    • The League calling out Batman on his I Work Alone attitude becomes a bit harsh when in Justice League: Doom he goes through with quitting the team.
    • Robert Foxworth voicing a character who bares Fantastic Racism against the Justice League and part of an opposing secret government agency would eventually become ironic as Foxworth would later voice Ratchet in the Transformers Film Series and unfortunately would end up on the receiving end of the wrath of a Fantastic Racist government agency who would eventually kill him around the beginning of Transformers: Age of Extinction.
    • In the episode "In Blackest Night", when The Flash offers to speak for John Stewart, who is being accused for the destruction of a planet, the alien judge reminds him that if the accused is found guilty, anyone representing the accused will share the same penalty. Sounds exactly like the Defense Culpability Act, doesn't it?
    • "Kids' Stuff" was a largely lighthearted episode dealing with a child making the world a sort of Neverland, but any negative side effects of losing all the adults on the planet for an unknown period of time isn't really addressed for the sake of that tone. When Klarion the Witch Boy pulls a similar stunt in Young Justice we actually do see exactly how terrifying (and dangerous) it was for both sides of the adult/child split.
    • Jeremy Piven voicing the Elongated Man, given both Identity Crisis revealed that Ralph's wife Sue was raped by Dr. Light and the allegations of sexual assault levied against Piven.
    • In "Savage Time", Diana crosses paths with Steve Trevor while having an escapade in World War II. The two are forced to part once Diana and the League complete their mission and return to the present day, but Diana searches him up and reunites with him at a retirement home. Come Wonder Woman (2017), where we already know that Diana lives to present day, and we see that Steve never lives to old age, Diana witnesses his death, and in the present day, all Diana has left of him is a photograph.
    Steve: I wish we had more time. I love you.
    • In the episode "Far from Home", there's a subplot where it's feared Supergirl would die after traveling to the future. Sequel film Justice League vs. The Fatal Five, Star Boy travels back to the past and unlike Kara, who merely chose to stay in the future, Thomas really did die in the past, far from home.
  • Justice League vs. The Fatal Five sees Batman complain to Miss Martian that he doesn't want to work with teenagers because of their lack of experience. In response, Miss Martian reminds him of Robin (Tim Drake), to which he concedes to. Let us not forget of the guilt he will carry over what will happen to Tim while on duty in the near future...
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