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Literal Metaphor / Western Animation

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Literal Metaphors in western animation.

  • In The Adventures of Jimmy Neutron: Boy Genius episode "Crouching Jimmy, Hidden Sheen":
    Jimmy: It's Yoo Yee's temple, alright. And it's crawling with ninjas!
    [cut to the ninjas literally crawling on the ground]
  • Adventure Time:
    • From "It Came from the Nightosphere", just after Finn and Marceline have started going after her dad, Finn asks how he can kill her father.
      Marceline: Finn! You can't kill my dad!
      Finn: Oh, right, I'm sorry—
      Marceline: No. You literally can't kill my dad. He's deathless.
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    • In "His Hero", when Finn and Jake convince Billy that fighting evil with violence isn't so pointless, Billy tells them "It's as if your words are filling a hole in my very being... Wanna watch?" He then parts his beard to show that a literal hole in his chest is being filled in again.
  • Aladdin: In "Shark Treatment", Genie does this accidentally when Aladdin is turning into a shark.
    Genie: Al, you look a little green around the gills. [Aladdin starts gasping and puts his hands around his throat] Since when does he have gills?!
  • Due to its absolute weirdness, The Amazing World of Gumball is chock-full of these. Here are few examples:
    • For Penny, a sentient peanut, the term "coming out of your shell" is quite literal.
    • In the episode "The Nest", in search of mysteriously missing people, the Elmore police literally "leave no stone unturned."
    • In the episode "The Night", the Moon says "When everything is tired and bleary, they spoon together snug but weary" as the cutlery literally spoons together.
  • American Dad!:
    • This exchange:
      Steve: We don't have an instrument for Jeff.
      Bob: He could play the skin flute!
      Steve: [bursts out laughing]
      Bob: [holds up a flute bound with animal skins]
    • On one occasion, Francine is completely fed-up with Roger's jerkishness, and screams at him "Would it kill you to be nice for a change?!" As it turns out, members of Roger's species have to let out their innate "bitchiness", or it will fester in their bodies, poisoning and eventually killing them. So, yes, it would kill him to be nice.
  • In the Animaniacs short "Video Revue", the Warner siblings are in a video store, fleeing from a T. rex that came out of a Jurassic Park video — so they decide to drop some "bombs" on it, including Heaven's Gate, Ishtar, and Howard the Duck.
  • Aqua Teen Hunger Force, after the gang gets a dog:
    Master Shake: [annoyed] Oh great, our little canine friend left a "present" on my chair. Yyyyep... looks like someone delivered some baked goods.
    [Shake suddenly becomes happy and lifts a tray of muffins from the chair]
    Master Shake: How did he know I love baked goods?!
  • Archer:
    • Double Subverted and played straight in the same episode. Charles and Rudy are two gay guys trying to help Archer seduce a gay spy named Ramon:
      Rudy: I'd try The Cockfight.
      Archer: A cockfight?
      Charles: It's the name of a gay bar.
      Rudy: But they do have actual cockfights there.
      Charles: Latinos... you take the bad with the good.
      Rudy: Look at slut just getting home!
      Charles: Well, I guess our advice worked.
      Archer: No! It didn't! Ramon blew me off.
      Rudy: Then where were you all night?
      Archer: Way the Christ out in the Everglades, burying some Dominican guy's rooster!
      Charles: Fun!
      Archer: [beat] Wha...?
      Charles: Oh, you meant literally.
      Archer: Yes!
    • In the episode "Lo Scandalo", Kreiger is called in to dispose of a corpse in Malory's apartment.
      Malory: And is Krieger... hard at work?
      Archer: He literally might be, yes.
    • In "The Honeymooners", when Archer steals Malory's limitless credit card, and proceeds to waste money:
      Malory: [calmly] I am literally going to kill him.
      Gilette: Well figurati—
      Malory: LITERALLY. I'll lure him to my condo in Miami, drug his steak au poivre, drive him out to the middle of the Everglades, slather him with rancid chicken fat and then toss him to the gators!
      Gilette: [shocked] That's pretty specific for a hypothetical...
      Malory: Oh he is going to pay for this... literally.
  • From Avatar: The Last Airbender: "The Waterbending Scroll":
    Uncle Iroh: [stops Zuko and a pirate captain from fighting] Are you so busy fighting you cannot see your own ship has set sail?
    Prince Zuko: We have no time for your proverbs, Uncle!
    Uncle Iroh: It's no proverb!
    [cut to pirate ship being hijacked]
Later, Zuko's ship gets hijacked! "Maybe it should be a proverb..."
  • Batman: The Brave and the Bold got a creepy example in "Deep Cover for Batman". While Batman is in a Mirror Universe where heroes are villains, the alternate version of Blue Beetle, Scarlet Scarab, comments that he has the heart of a hero. An eavesdropping Batman wonders if he's a possible ally... only for Scarab to add that he keeps it in a jar in his closet.
  • Done a fair number of times on the Beetlejuice cartoon, with its love of visual puns. In one episode, Beetlejuice is hosting a Show Within a Show and excuses himself for "a few words from our sponsors"... the words turn out to be "BUY!", "NEW!" and "FREE!"
  • Bob's Burgers:
    • In "The Deepening", the rampaging mechanical shark ends up in Bob's basement and comes up through the floor of the restaurant. As Bob desperately reaches for something to throw at the shark and slow it down, he tries to reach for the straw dispenser yelling "I am literally grasping at straws!"
    • In "The Gene and Courtney Show", Mr. Wheeler brings up the events of "The Unbearable Like-Likeness of Gene", when Gene dated Courtney and broke her heart... literally, since Courtney has a congenital heart defect and their messy break-up caused her to have a cardiac episode.
  • The Cleveland Show:
    • Mr. Waterman is trying to find the rest of his Santa costume:
      Mr. Waterman: Where's my beard?
      Mrs. Waterman: Right here. [beat, then holds up a Santa beard]
    • In "Hustle 'n' Bros", Cleveland realizes he's metaphorically on a Snipe Hunt:
      Cleveland: Chasing these wild geese is like some kind of wild goose ch— son of a bitch!
  • The main characters in Courage the Cowardly Dog live in the middle of Nowhere. It's an actual place called Nowhere which is located in Kansas, the actual middle of the country.
  • In Doug, Doug is unable to sell any chocolate bars door-to-door because everyone he asks says they taste like cement. When he goes to the candy factory to complain, they discover that a mis-parked cement mixer is pouring its contents into the chocolate mix.
  • DuckTales:
    • In DuckTales (1987), when we first meet Fenton Crackshell, he's a literal "bean counter", as in, he actually works in a bean factory counting beans that get put in jars.
    • This happens in DuckTales (2017), during an argument between Scrooge and Donald in the first episode.
      Donald: Oh, here we go! Getting on us like he's the richest duck in the world!
      Scrooge: I am the richest duck in the world!
    • During the second half of the premiere, Donald has to let go and trust his nephew, Dewey. Except in this case, he literally has to let go of the holes in the wall he's plugging so that the room can fill with water, trusting that Dewey's right about a gem on the "ceiling" being the power source.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Three Squares and an Ed" Edd and Eddy are trying to bust Ed out after he's been grounded. When Sarah discovers Ed's not in his room...
    Sarah: ED!!!!
    Eddy: Duh, Ed, we heard her! Just keep your shorts on! [Ed's shorts are around his ankles] No, seriously, keep your shorts on. [pulls them back up]
  • In the first episode of the obscure series The Fairy Tale Police Department, the female officer Chris gets a call from her male partner informing her that he's been attacked by the Three Little Pigs (very long story) and she responds "You're pulling my leg!" He remarks "Funny you should use that phrase." as one of the pigs pulls his leg.
  • Family Guy:
    • This one:
      Man: Wow, Lois Griffin. Hey, I love your act! Nice melons.
      Peter: Hey, listen pal!
      Lois: Peter, I'm holding melons.
      [she's holding two watermelons]
      Peter: Oh.
      Man: And her hooters ain't bad either.
      Peter: Now hang on a second there!
      Lois: Peter, I'm holding hooters!
      [she has two owls perched on her arm]
      Peter: Oh, sorry.
      Man: No problem. [beat] Your wife's hot!
      Peter: All right, that's it!
    • In another episode, Peter is trying to organize Stewie's first birthday party but one of the only things he could find was a "big-ass piñata"; pan over to show a large papier-mâché butt. Brian responds "I sure hope candy comes out of that."
    • After finding out that Cleveland's wife cheated on him, Peter and Brian agree that the last thing they want to do is tell Cleveland about it. Smash Cut to Peter and Brian, having now accomplished everything else on their agenda, telling Cleveland.
    • A Cutaway Gag from "Grumpy Old Man" depicts the way every pizza place ruins a salad. It turns out the restaurant is called Every Pizza Place.
  • The Flintstones: Done in the episode in which Barney Rubble and Fred Flintstone meet Dr. Sinister.
    Barney: Hey look, Fred. The volcano's flipping its lid!
  • Futurama:
    • An example from when the crew are floating in space collecting Chronotons:
      Leela: All right, cool your jets, hotshot.
      Fry: C'mon Leela, why won't you go out with me? We both know there's something there!
      Leela: No, I mean cool your jets. You're melting Bender's face.
    • And another when Zoidberg is trying to do standup:
      Zoidberg: Good evening ladies and germs.
      Zoidberg: That wasn't a joke! I was talking to Dean Streptococcus!
    • Bender's middle name is actually "Bending".
    • In "The Bots and the Bees", as Bender drinks at popular club The Hip Joint, he overhears the following from a robot bar patron:
      Robot: I need to loosen up, give me a screwdriver.
      [bartender lays a flathead screwdriver on the bar in front of her]
    • In "A Big Ball of Garbage":
      Talking Bart Simpson Doll: Eat my shorts!
      Bender: Okay!
      [literally eats doll's pants]
      Bender: Mmm, shorts...
    • In "Bender's Game", an ordinary outhouse is occupied by a wizardly version of Farnsworth.
      Farnsworth: Just a minute. [closes the door]
      Bender: [waving around his nose] Methinks he's casting a powerful spell indeed.
      [Farnsworth opens the door to reveal a large cozy room]
    • Wanting a subject for his experimental growth ray, Farnsworth announces that they'll need a guinea pig. Cut to an actual guinea pig, which Farnsworth uses as bait to trap Zoidberg so that they can experiment on him.
    • In "A Taste of Freedom", Zoidberg's prosecution for eating a flag leads to his Decapodian brethren enslaving the Earth, and Fry's ancient heat-seeking missile fails to demolish the Decapodian Mobile Oppression Palace because "All Decapodian technology is cold-blooded, like us!". Zoidberg saves the day by burning a flag "to preserve the freedom it represents" because he's not just expressing his free speech, but also using it as a beacon for the missile.
    • At the end of "The Late Phillip J. Fry", Fry finally makes it to his dinner date with Leela after going through two iterations of the universe in a one-way time machine and accidentally killing an alternate version of himself. When Leela expresses disbelief that Fry would make it on time, he casually remarks "That was the old Fry. He's dead now."
    • From "The Devil's Hands Are Idle Playthings":
      Bender: Though you may have to metaphorically make a (Air Quotes) "Deal with the Devil." And by "devil," I mean Robot Devil, and by "metaphorically," I mean "get your coat."
    • In "Love and Rocket," Fry gives Leela his oxygen when she unwittingly starts to run out. She tries to resuscitate him and he coughs up a candy heart. The inscription?
    • In "A Head in the Polls," Bender's detached head informs everyone that he sold his body.
      Farnsworth: Sold your body?! Oh, Bender, I've been down that road. I know it's glamorous and the parties are great, but you'll end up spending every dollar you make on jewelry and skintight pants!
  • Garbage Pail Kids Cartoon:
    • "Green Dean Goes Out of His Bean" had Elliot Mess express his disbelief at Patty Putty's claims of a plant monster with a voracious appetite being on the loose by telling her to stop pulling his leg. Because Elliot's limbs are scrambled, Patty actually was pulling on his leg while dragging him along.
    • The "Garbage Pail Groaner" segment of the episode "Heartless Hal" had a boy attempt to swipe cookies from a cookie jar. When his mother catches him, she states that she caught him red-handed. The boy disagrees on the grounds that his hand isn't red, but finds to his shock that his hand actually has turned red, causing his mother to say "I told you so".
    • The final episode had a segment where a boy's mother scolds her son with common figures of speech and the boy then undergoes a transformation following his mother's words literally. For example, when he is warned that making a face will cause his face to freeze that way, his face literally becomes frozen solid.
  • Gravity Falls:
    • In "Headhunters", Dipper interrogates Manly Dan Corduroy trying to find out who vandalized a wax dummy of Dipper's Grunkle Stan. Dan's alibi is that he was punching the clock.
      Dipper: So you were at work, then?
      Manly Dan: No, I was punching that clock! [points out the window to a broken street clock]
    • In "Irrational Treasure" Quentin Trembly, the 8th and 1/2 President of the United States, is said to have won the election in a landslide. Said landslide buried everyone else running, leaving him the only suitable person for the role.
    • In "Land Before Swine":
      Mabel: That's kinda sappy.
      Stan: What?! That's how I feel!
      Mabel: No, I mean—(indicates that his hand is stuck in tree sap)
      Stan: Oh, yeah.
    • In the episode "Little Gift Shop of Horrors", Dipper advises Stan against taunting the fortune-telling Hand Witch, to which Stan loudly refers to Dipper as a wet blanket to everyone in earshot. Cut to Toby Determined selling actual wet blankets.
    • In the Grand Finale "Weirdmageddon 3: Take Back the Falls", Mabel finds Stanford, who's been turned into a gold statue by Bill Cipher, and calls out "I found Ford, and he's golden... but not in a good way."
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy:
    • "It's Hokey Mon!": Grim has created chaos after being badgered into bringing kids' Hokey-Monster cards to life, and Mandy puts a stop to things by making her own monster for Grim to bring to life, which she describes with the phrase "Makes toast out of all other monsters." In this case, Mandy's monster literally turns its enemies into slices of toast.
    • "Brown Evil": Billy accidentally makes a batch of brownies that taste terrible to humans, but are irresistible to monsters. Instead of throwing them out like Mandy ordered him to, Grim decides to stash the batch inside his skull. Unfortunately, the smell of the brownies attracts a horde of zombies to Billy's house, and Hoss Delgado ends up coming in to investigate. After determining that the zombies aren't interested in brains or human flesh, Hoss detects the smell of the brownies and finally figures out what's going on:
      Hoss: [points at Grim] It's all in his head!
      Mandy: You mean Grim's imagining all this?
      Hoss: No, I mean whatever's attracting those zombies, it's inside his head.
  • Jackie Chan Adventures:
    • Jade once used the Snake Talisman to sneak in during one of Jackie's missions. After he's complimented for defeating some bad guys "alone", she complained by asking if she was invisible. Duh, as she said once she realized she was indeed invisible because of the talisman's power.
    • In "The Jade Monkey", Jade uses the Monkey Talisman to turn the Dark Hand enforcer Ratso into a rat and herself into a monkey to avoid the other enforcers. When Jackie realizes this, we get this line:
      Jackie: Jade turned Ratso into a rat and herself into a monkey? I'm a monkey's uncle.
  • Justice League Unlimited:
    • Brainiac 5 and Green Arrow find the Fatal Five waiting for them.
      Brainiac 5: Shoot.
      Green Arrow: I know. I was hoping they'd be out looking for us.
      Brainiac 5: No, shoot!
    • Also, when the Leaguers went to New Genesis to seek the help of the New Gods, they meet someone who says that the Gods were above them. A few seconds later, they look over and see the floating city that the New Gods live on.
    • And when Green Lantern captures Firefly and Volcana in a giant green bell jar, and they try to burn their way out, he says "Sure, knock yourselves out!" A few seconds later, they've used up all the oxygen and fall unconscious.
  • On KaBlam!, Henry says the ending to one "Sniz and Fondue" cartoon was so sickeningly sweet that he lost his lunch. He then grabs the bag with his meal that he dropped.
  • Kim Possible: Drakken and Shego go "shopping":
    [salesman describes the features of a weather machine they're looking at]
    Drakken: We'll take it!
    Salesman: Great! Hey, why don't we step into the office.
    Drakken: No, I mean we'll take it. Shego!
    [they steal the weather machine]
  • In an episode to King of the Hill, Cotton puts Peggy through a miserable, abusive Training from Hell so she can learn to walk again after her skydiving accident. He also spends the episode fighting to secure a final resting place in a veterans' cemetery. When he finally succeeds, he goads and hectors Peggy to climb up the hill so that she can literally dance on his grave. She makes it, and she and Cotton dance in celebration.
  • In the Lite Sprites special, the sprites are lost in a cave, and Meadow begins to glow. The other girls try to tell her this, but she takes it as a compliment instead.
  • Looney Tunes:
    • Marvin the Martian's "Earth-shattering kaboom" in "Hare-Way to the Stars" was a literal metaphor. Then it became metaphorical again — the Trope name for the explosion of a whole planet or moon (or humongous spacecraft), not just the Earth.
    • Played straight in "Knighty Knight Bugs" where Yosemite Sam is the Black Knight, who owns a fire-breathing dragon who tends to sneeze a lot, breathing fire uncontrollably when it does. At the climax, Bug manages to lock Sam and the dragon in a tower full of explosives. Sam desperately tries to keep the dragon from sneezing, shouting, "No! No! Don't sneeze, you stupid dragon! Or you'll blow us to the moon!" Unfortunately for him, the dragon does sneeze, and the tower takes off like a rocket, towards the moon. (With Sam growling, "Dragons is so stupid!")
    • There was also the time Bugs dressed up as Rocky's boss and threatened that it was "coitins" for the mobster, just before gifting him with a set of actual curtains.
      Rocky: "...Aw, they're adorable!"
    • In "Compressed Hare," Wile E. Coyote has Bugs trussed up. Bugs quips:
    Bugs: I'd like to stay for lunch but...(chuckles) I'm a little tied up this morning.
  • Ski-Nose, the Bob Hope caricature in the Bakshi Mighty Mouse episode "Bat With a Golden Tongue," greets the audience at an awards ceremony as "ladies and germs," and sure enough, the tables are populated by ladies and germs.
  • In an episode on My Gym Partner's a Monkey, Adam wants to try a game at a carnival where you have to knock over pins; the carnie tells him, "Sure kid, knock yourself out." When Adam tries, the ball ricochets back, and beans him in the forehead, knocking him to the ground. The carnie says, "You know, kid, usually that's a figure of speech..."
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes:
    • In the premiere episode "Let's Be Heroes!", Carol has to take K.O. to work with her because his regular babysitter, Punchin' Judy, is fighting the flu. Cue Judy going by, fighting a giant germ.
    • In "Plaza Prom", K.O. decides to liven up Rad's failing dance by telling Enid, who's acting as DJ, to stop playing mediocre popular music and play what's in her heart. Enid proceeds to literally reach into her chest and pull out a vinyl labelled "Good Music".
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Used a couple of times in the episode "Comet Kermillian". While at the park, Candace's screams of "I have Squirrels in My Pants!" are misinterpreted by a couple of performers, who think she's referring to her crazy dance moves. After a musical sequence, the squirrels get out, and one of the guys comments, "We just got served." Later on, when steaks are falling from the sky, the same guy catches one and comments, "We keep getting served."
    • Parodied in "Let's Take a Quiz".
      Phineas: You're on fire, Candace!
      Candace: Woo hoo. [beat] I'm not actually on fire, am I?
      Buford: Nah, you're good.
    • In "Brain Drain", Dr. Doofenshmirtz ends up busting a rap about being controlled by Perry the Platypus turning his mind-control device against him. Vanessa's friends all think "There's a Platypus Controlling Me" is a metaphor for "whatever's keeping you down".
      Doofensmirtz: I'm not speaking metaphorically, the platypus controlling me is underneath the table!
    • In "Mind Share", Dr. Doofenshmirtz has Perry be his wingman for a date at a square dancing hoedown. When Perry is told to sit with a group of wingmen, they are not just there to help their friends get dates, but they are also dressed like fighter pilots, even with a fighter jet parked behind them. In military jargon, a wingman refers to a pilot who is responsible for supporting their flight leader.
    • In retaliation to people telling him not to make a mountain out of a molehill, Doofenshmirtz tried to do it literally in "At the Car Wash".
    • In "Picture This!", the boys literally turn the garage upside-down looking for Ferb's favorite skateboard.
    • When Doofenshmirtz is told he doesn't have a green thumb in "Moon Farm", he takes it literally and buys a can of green paint to make himself green. Ironically, because of how he held the can, his thumbs aren't painted. Only later, as he explains his plan to Perry, Doof finally understands the metaphor.
  • In The Pink Panther series where Pink isn't silent, there was one episode where a bad guy was illegally drilling for oil in an Alaskian village. A villager told Pink he was threading on thin ice. After Pink told the villager he agreed with the metaphor, the villager explained he meant it literally.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls episode "Beat Your Greens" the Broccoloids intend to hypnotize people through spores placed in broccoli. The girls inspect the field where the broccoli came from but hide in a scarecrow when they see an approaching spacecraft. They jump out to fight, with Blossom wearing the scarecrow's hat, Buttercup the shirt, and Bubbles the pants and shoes. The girls scream after seeing the aliens regenerate and Bubbles jumps out of her extra attire, saying that scared the pants off her.
  • The Ren & Stimpy Show:
    • The episode "Sven Hoek" ends with Ren taking a whiz on Sven and Stimpy's copy of "Don't Whiz on the Electric Fence", generating a short circuit that blows the three of them straight to Hell... as in, they end up in a fiery pit, where a Big Red Devil admonishes them with "So, you whizzed on the electric fence, didn't ya?"
    • An inversion of the metaphor; in "Lumber Jerks" Ren and Stimpy's attempts to become lumberjacks is briefly foiled when they can't find any trees because of the giant forest in the way.
  • The Golden Girls is spoofed on Robot Chicken when Sophia describes her encounter with a high school basketball team: They run a (model) train on her and she gets their (basket)balls in her face.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In "A Star Is Burns", When Lisa is talking about guest-star Jay Sherman:
      Lisa: I like him! He's smart, he's sensitive, he's clearly not obsessed with his physical appearance —
      Homer: My ears are burning.
      Lisa: Uh, I wasn't talking about you, Dad.
      Homer: No, my ears are really burning. I wanted to see inside so I lit a Q-Tip.
    • In "A Fish Called Selma", when members of the Legitimate Businessmen's Social Club catch sight of Troy McClure.
      Louie: Hey, I thought you said Troy McClure was dead.
      Tony: No, what I said was: "He sleeps with the fishes". You see...
      Louie: Uh, Tony, please, no. I just ate a whole plate of dingamagoo...
    • In "The Great Money Caper":
      Homer: How'd you get wise to us?
      Abe: Are you kidding? They used to call me Grifty McGrift. I Wrote the Book on flimflamming.
      [Bart looks at the back of the book he and Homer have been using and sees a picture of a young Abe]
      Bart: Wow, he did!
    • In "Make Room for Lisa", at a traveling Smithsonian exhibition, Homer sits down in Archie Bunker's chair to read the Bill of Rights. When the armed guards tell him to get out of Archie Bunker's chair, Homer used the Bill of Rights to shield himself against the guards, complete with the line, "I am so sick of people hiding behind the Bill of Rights!"
    • In "Insane Clown Poppy" Homer gives advice to Krusty about being a father. Krusty asks for more help after he alienates his daughter by losing her violin in a poker game. Homer asks Marge if he can play Devil's Advocate. After playing the pinball game with that name, Homer decides to talk to Krusty.
    • A major plot point in the two-part special "Who Shot Mr. Burns" is Burns literally trying to take candy from a baby.
    • In "And Maggie Makes Three", a Flashback shows Homer quitting his job at the power plant and burning his bridges both metaphorically (with a Take This Job and Shove It moment for the ages) and literally.
    • In "D'oh-in' in the Wind," Homer tries to convince two aging hippies to partake in a freak-out and asks where their bus is. They reply that, in a way, the 60s ended the day they sold their hippie bus: December 31st, 1969.
  • Used to the point of a Hurricane of Puns in the Tex Avery short "Symphony In Slang", where Noah Webster and St. Peter try to interpret the slang-filled life story of a new arrival at the Pearly Gates.
  • South Park:
    • During one of the show's many repeated running gags (in this case, the famous "Jared Has Aides" episode), the title character repeats the joke while literally beating a dead horse.
    • Stan's mom has an actual Aunt Flo who visits about once a month and stresses her out. In Stan's words, whenever her monthly visitor Aunt Flo arrives his mom turns into a real bitch.
    • Tom Cruise is so upset that the reincarnated L. Ron Hubbard (Stan) doesn't like his acting that he locks himself in Stan's closet, refuses to come out, and denies that he's in the closet at all.
    • In "Bass to Mouth", some of South Park Elementary's faculty enlists Eric Cartman to help them, but then things quickly go wrong.
      Mr. Mackey: Maybe there is a way out of this, but we're gonna have to throw Eric Cartman under the bus.
      Mr. Adler: How do we do that?
      Mr. Mackey: We get a bus, and then we throw Eric Cartman under it.
    • In Sons of Witches, we learn that all the dads in town like to dress up as witches for Halloween week. When one of the dads falls under a curse and starts kidnapping children, the other witches urge the town not to let it degenerate into a "witch pursuit-thing".
      When things are going bad and there's people you need to confront,
      Just be sure it doesn't turn into a witch-pursuit thing.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In "Missing Identity", Mr. Krabs threatens that whoever doesn't pass his inspection will get the boot, as in they'll have to wear a smelly boot all day.
    • In "Imitation Krabs" Mr. Krabs warns SpongeBob to keep a watchful eye on Plankton's tricks.
      SpongeBob: Don't worry, Mr. Krabs, as long as these pants are square, and this sponge is Bob... [lifts his arms up] I WILL NOT LET YOU DOWN!
      Mr. Krabs: Uh, SpongeBob? [camera zooms out to reveal SpongeBob holding Mr. Krabs above his head] Could ya let me down?
    • In "Something Smells", when SpongeBob thinks people are avoiding him because he's ugly, Patrick tells him "you're never gonna feel better 'til you get this thing off your chest"... and then the camera zooms out to show a strange, pulsating octopus-like creature stuck to SpongeBob's chest.
  • The backstory of Star vs. the Forces of Evil, as revealed in The Magic Book of Spells, includes one of the title character's ancestors creating a spell to break her abusive husband's heart. Instead of doing what she intended, the spell gave her husband a fatal heart attack.
  • Used in Stroker and Hoop to turn protecting the sword of the fire lotus into a "Shaggy Dog" Story, when all it did was light up.
    Villain: The ancient scrolls said its power shone like a lantern... We always assumed it was a metaphor.
    Stroker: Yeah... I guess it must have seemed a lot cooler before they invented flashlights.
  • In Trollhunters, Claire reads the letter Jim leaves him when he thought we would die from his battle with Draal and thinks that the "monsters" and "world-ending" he mentions was all just elaborate metaphors. He goes along with it not to sound crazy. She eventually realizes that he meant it literally.
  • In the Uncle Grandpa episode "Bad Morning", it's eventually revealed that Uncle Grandpa's bad mood was caused by him literally getting up on the wrong side of the bed.
  • In the Whatever Happened to... Robot Jones? episode "Politics", Robot states that he is confident he'll win the election because he has nerves of steel, then states that he really does have nerves of steel.


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