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A Lesson Learned Too Well

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"We should be careful to get out of an experience only the wisdom that is in it - and stop there; lest we be like the cat that sits down on a hot stove-lid. She will never sit down on a hot stove-lid again - and that is well; but also she will never sit down on a cold one anymore."

A person is taught a lesson and takes it to heart very well—too well, as it turns out. There are two variants (which by no means exclude the other):

  1. The person takes it to heart so well that the lesson is applied even to his or her own detriment (even the teacher may notice).
  2. The person applies the lesson to the teacher's detriment.

This trope can even go into Gone Horribly Right territory.

This can result from a few things:

  1. Accidental Aesop—there was An Aesop being taught, but the recipient learned the wrong one.
  2. The recipient learned the intended message, but it was the teachers who didn't think about the Aesop enough. This includes lessons that have deeper or longer-lasting effects than expected.
  3. The recipient disagrees with the Aesop and through its application, Shoots The Message.

See also Advice Backfire. No Matter How Much I Beg plots always feature this one. Can overlap with Ironic Echo when the words that the teacher used for the lesson are repeated by the recipient, or May It Never Happen Again if a character is going next-level on what they learned to avoid a repeat of the plot.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Ayakashi Triangle: When Matsuri considers following the Second Law of Gender-Bending just to maintain his Gender-Bender Friendship with Yayo and Lu, Suzu tries treating him like he's a girl, and gets him to admit he still sees himself as a guy. Later, once Suzu and Matsuri confess love for each other, Matsuri is so insistent his "real" self is a guy, he refuses to date anyone until he's male again. Since Suzu was partially motivated by being more attracted to Matsuri's male form, but ended up deciding she didn't care, she realizes she may have shot herself in the foot in the long run.
    Suzu: Shoot, did I ruin my chances?
  • The Doctor Slump chapter "Citizen Arale" starts with Midori telling her class to "bring a lost item to the police" as part of her lesson on "how to be good citizens". It ends up Gone Horribly Right, as Arale spends the whole episode taking everything she considers "lost" to the police station, starting with a book Midori drops, and it only escalates from there. By the time the chapter ends, she has brought to the police loads of poop she finds on the roadside, plus every car, house, and mountain she sees and takes to the police (Arale is able to move all those things without trouble due to the Super-Strength she possesses as a Robot Girl), making the police station and its surrounding area look like a junkyard as a result.
  • As revealed in her backstory, Homura from EDENS ZERO used to be a Shrinking Violet who struggled to so much as introduce herself to others as a child until her teacher encouraged her to use her words more. Just as her teacher meant, she became the more confident and outspoken person she is in the present—but she also took to vocalizing absolutely every thought that crosses her mind, making an effort to keep her own mouth shut.
  • Monster Rancher downplays this early on. Genki initially dismisses the dangers Moo poses and takes a strict approach to raising Mocchi because he views the world he's been transported to as being just like his favorite game series. After it starts sinking just how serious things are, he considers leaving Mocchi behind with a friendly couple rather than taking him along on such a dangerous journey. His failure to explain his reasoning and just bluntly telling Mocchi he should stay causes Mocchi to assume Genki just hates him, though they manage to clear things up eventually.
  • One Piece:
    • The chivalrous "Red Leg" Zeff passed on his firm belief in never striking women to his protege, Sanji. Presumably, he only intended for Sanji to not use his fighting skills to abuse women; instead, Sanji adheres to Zeff's code so zealously that he has refused to fight back against and attack powerful Action Girls to the extent that, on several occasions, he has survived only due to sheer luck. Even Nami, Sanji's female crew-mate, has declared Sanji's intentions admirable but his execution idiotic. In total fairness though, the fact that Zeff literally threatened to castrate the young Sanji and then kill himself if he ever heard about his adoptive son striking a woman does very much explain why Sanji is like this.
    • In the flashback of the "Fishman Island" arc, Queen Otohime's Last Request on her deathbed was for her children not to hate whoever it was that shot her. Shirahoshi kept that promise to the point that she didn't tell anyone that she knew it was Hody Jones who killed her mother. Unfortunately, this ends being Not Quite the Right Thing as it had allowed Hody and the New Fishman Pirates to carry out their plans unimpeded, something which Hody smugly rubbed in her face.
  • Trigun eventually discusses this with Vash's pacifism, a result of Rem Saverem teaching Vash that all life is precious. While it's a highly admirable thing that Vash has kept his moral code after living several decades in the Crapsack World that is Planet Gunsmoke, the moment that Vash's Omnicidal Maniac brother Knives and his psychotic followers the Gung-Ho Guns pop up and start causing massive amounts of death and destruction just to make Vash suffer (and even their own lives are fair game) Vash's companions take a little while to ponder if preventing the loss of so much human life wasn't a good enough reason for Vash to, you know, put a bullet in the Gung-Ho Guns' heads the moment he got a clear shot.

    Comic Books 
  • An issue of Cartoon Network Action Comic Packs’s tie-in strip for Ben 10: Alien Force has Ben’s parents allow Albedo into the house because Ben showed up late. After the real Ben shows up and chases Albedo off, he warns his parents not to let anyone in unless they’re sure it’s him. In the final panel of the strip, Ben tries to enter his house, only for one of his parents to say “I’m not falling for that one again.”.
  • Irredeemable: One of Plutonian's many foster parents taught him not to use his powers for personal gain. As such, he never told his foster father that his foster mother had cancer until it was far too late because it would have been a personal gain.
  • Spider-Man: Peter Parker gets told that "with great power comes great responsibility." Cue years later, where his family and friends never get any personal time, because he can't let go of his mission to protect the general public by stopping super-villains.

    Comic Strips 
  • One Calvin and Hobbes strip has Calvin standing at the door shouting for his mother. When she tells him that he should come over and talk to her rather than shout, he thinks about it for a moment before walking across the living room and saying "I stepped in dog doo, where's the hose?"
    Bill Watterson: (In the anniversary collection) Right lesson, wrong time.

    Fan Works 
  • Better Bones AU: In the rewritten version of Power of Three, Lionblaze learns from fighting to help the Tribe that the right way to use one's strength is to help others. He takes this lesson too far by pressuring his own children into working to save the Clans in ways that are dangerous or traumatizing.
  • A Case Study in the Sturdiness of the Rookie 9: Kakashi assigns Team Seven a false C-Rank mission to befriend Genma, with the intent of betraying his trust by luring him into a prank. While Shibi finds out about it and forces Kakashi to cancel it, he still unintentionally taught the trio that it's perfectly fine to deceive your own allies for the sake of achieving your goals. They later put this into practice during the Chuunin Exams, tricking and backstabbing Team Ten in order to steal their scroll, and unwittingly setting a lot of nasty dominoes off. Kakashi is horrified upon realizing his mistake, especially when the trio happily report what they did to him, expecting him to be proud of how they put his teachings to good use.
  • In Fluttershy's Night Out, a teenaged (and very innocent, even by her own later standards) Fluttershy is seduced and abandoned by a smooth-talking stallion. One obvious moral? "Don't trust strangers." As we know from the series, a few years later when Twilight Sparkle meets her, Fluttershy is terrified of strangers, and well on the way to becoming the Equestrian equivalent of a crazy cat lady.
  • In Harry's New Home, Snape tells Harry he should be careful and not trust Dumbledore because — good intentions or not — Dumbledore was responsible for Harry being placed in an abusive home. Harry takes his advice and starts to fear Dumbledore more than he does Voldemort, to Snape's horror.
  • When Goh Fujihachi goes through a Nightmare Sequence in Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, a dream construct named Zeno attempts to teach him that his obsession with Mew has led to him losing his bonds with everyone he was ever friends with, including Chloe, Tokio, Ash and Raboot. Zeno does this by showing him various scenarios, some of which where he got what he thought he wanted, such as a Chloe who never boarded the Train and was ultimately Driven to Suicide from despair. Other scenarios attempt to teach him how easy it might have been to make things better if he'd simply empathized with others a bit more. While this successfully triggers a Jerkass Realization for Goh, it also leaves him convinced that he's incapable of fixing anything, leaving him so broken that he's committed to a suicide ward.
  • In Pokémon Reset Bloodlines, Sabrina's father teaches her that nobody can improve unless they push themselves. Not a bad lesson, and she takes it to heart. Unfortunately, after an argument with her dad, she decides to make the people of Turquoise Town improve themselves by giving them motivation. Her chosen motivation? Fear. So she starts terrorizing the townsfolk, hoping that somebody would be motivated to stand up to her.
  • Us and Them: After trying to peek on his older sister Remi while she's changing and Aeris giving him a lecture on the need for privacy, Raz refuses to let his brother Sam into the bathroom while he's taking a bath, even though Sam's having a Potty Emergency. Eventually, Sephiroth convinces him to unlock the door then hide under the bath bubble until Sam's done.
  • With This Ring: Played for Laughs but Firebrand failing to get through Paul's obliviousness taught her that she needs to be more overt when courting someone. So once she realizes that Marie Logan reciprocates her interest, she comes on to Marie. Naked.

    Films — Animation 
  • During the long voyage of the RLS Legacy in Disney's Treasure Planet, John Silver teaches young Jim Hawkins how to tie secure knots. After the film's climax, John Silver, intending to escape, ties a longboat in place with a slipknot. Jim Hawkins redoes the knot with a proper hitch, which would thwart Silver's escape. "I taught ye too well," Silver muses.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • In one movie based on A Christmas Carol, after Scrooge opens his loan business, his old manager and teacher goes to get a loan from him, in order to get money to help his failing business. Ebeneezer tells his old manager that he taught him that "when a business is down, it stays down", and refuses to give him a loan. The manager then remarks "I taught you too well".
  • Godzilla (1998): In a major subplot, Audrey Timmonds has gone absolutely nowhere with her attempt at making a career as a TV reporter, so her friends "Animal" and Lucy Palozzi tell her that her fault is that she is a nice girl, Nice Guys Finish Last and she needs to be more aggressive at finding a story. When Godzilla begins his rampage through NYC, Audrey notices that her old flame Nick is one of the researchers of the project to destroy Godzilla, so she meets him (she also is pretending to be a reporter by stealing her sleazy boss' press pass) and steals information from him (the few tidbits Nick discovered during their meeting and a classified VHS tape recorded by French Intelligence) to air. Audrey is utterly shocked when Charles Caiman (said sleazy boss) steals the credit and Nick gets kicked out of the project because of the leak (leaving Nick's discovery that Godzilla is in Manhattan to nest as a literal afterthought by the military — that one very barely becomes a literally apocalyptic blunder at the climax). Two scenes later, Nick called her out on what she did and Audrey is crying her eyes out at the Palozzis' apartment while Animal and Lucy are arguing over who is going to take the blame for it.
  • The Green Hornet movie starts with young Britt Reid getting in a fight at school trying to defend a kid from bullies. His father angrily tells him that if he couldn't do it right, he might as well not bother. A few years later, Britt is now a womanizing, aimless, parasitic party animal with no moral sense whatsoever. Way to go, Mr. Reid.
  • In Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Harry throws back "I must not tell lies" at Umbridge when, captured by centaurs, she begs him to tell them she means them no harm.
    • It happens again in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows when he and Hermione infiltrate the new Voldemort-aligned Ministry of Magic, where Umbridge is persecuting Muggle-born wizards in a Kangaroo Court. Harry says "You're lying, Dolores, and you must not tell lies." before stunning her and making off with the Horcrux they came to steal.
  • In Top Gun: Maverick, one of Maverick's mantra is "Don't think, just do", a lesson he continually tries to drill into Rooster to overcome his hesitations and to act on the spot. After Maverick gets shot down trying to save Rooster's plane, he is dismayed by Rooster coming back to rescue him and getting shot down himself, leading to the following dialogue:
    Maverick: What the hell were you even thinking?!
    Rooster: You told me not to think!!

  • One variation on the common fairytale premise of the princess who never smiled (a premise that forms the basis of many distinct stories in the genre) centers around a simple-minded young man who gets a job working for a farmer. At the end of the first day, the farmer gives him something from the farm as payment for his work, only for the young man to mishandle it in such a way that he loses it. When he gets home to his mother, she tells him what he should have done to prevent this and he agrees to do it next time... only the next time he gets paid with something different for which her advice is completely inappropriate, but he does it anyway, and then the cycle continues as she tells him what he should have done that time (for example, the young man gets paid in eggs, but drops and breaks them, and his mother tells him he should have used his hat to carry them, so when the farmer pays him the next day with a bottle of milk, he promptly pours the milk into his hat, so his mother then tells him he should have left the milk in the bottle, and he therefore tries to fit the next day's item (which, of course, is far too big) into a milk bottle, and so on). The story ends with the sequence ultimately producing a result so ludicrous that it causes the eponymous princess to laugh at the sight of it, leading to some great reward for the young man that makes the whole thing worth it.

  • More nuanced Stranger Danger Aesops tend to be aware of this as a danger. The Berenstain Bears book about Stranger Danger had the entire later part of the plot being about Sister having learned the lesson too well.
  • In the short story By The Numbers by Ray Bradbury an abusive dad who made a living as a pool caretaker taught his son to never move unless he allowed him to in hard-core Drill Sergeant Nasty way, even slapping the kid a few times when the kid moved thinking that it could be justified (like saving his dad's watch when it fell in the pool — the father just deadpanned that it was waterproof before punishing him). So when he orders the kid to stand still for a whole hour and falls into the pool and begins to drown while begging for help, the kid stays there hoping his father will yell at him to move so he will save him. The command to move never comes, so he lets his father drown. He spends the next ten years drinking himself into a stupor while wondering if he is wicked because of his inaction.
  • "Clever Hans"/"Prudent Hans" by The Brothers Grimm: Every time Hans gets something, he carries it home wrong, and his mother tells him how he should have done it. He then applies the lesson to the next thing he brings home. (For instance, he brings home a knife in his sleeve; his mother tells him he should have put it in his pocket; he brings home a goat in his pocket; his mother tells him he should have led it home by a string; he drags home a piece of bacon by a string; and so forth.)
  • A Clockwork Orange has a program that makes violent offenders sick at the thought of committing violence, leaving them helpless against their attackers.
  • One of the criticisms leveled at the book I Kissed Dating Goodbye was that youths in churches that greatly vetted the book went from teens who didn't date to adults who didn't marry.
  • One short story in a Disney story collection, based on The Lion King (1994), had Nala confiding in Simba that she was afraid of mice. Simba accidentally told this to Mufasa, and Nala felt hurt by it, so Simba promised to keep secrets from then on. However, Nala then told Simba she was secretly going to explore a cave and didn't return, but Simba refused to tell the adults where she was because of his promise to keep his secrets. He eventually relented in time to save Nala.
  • Monstrous Regiment: Jackrum thinks he's convinced Blouse that a heroic frontal assault on the enemy fortress is not only suicide, but useless suicide (their squad is literally all that's left of their country's army). So Blouse goes to make a speech on how they will not be attacking the fortress (with Jackrum grinning all the while), but infiltrating it disguised as washerwomen (the grin disappears).
  • In Mostly Harmless, we meet an Alternate Universe version of Trillian who didn't go off with Zaphod because she had to go back for her bag, and has therefore made it her personal motto that "If there's one thing life's taught me, it's that you never go back for your bag." Then she fails an audition when she couldn't read the autocue because she left her contact lenses in her bag.
    As she dabbed each tiny plastic cup into her eyes, she reflected that if there was one thing life had taught her it was that there are times when you do not go back for your bag and other times when you do. It had yet to teach her to distinguish between the two types of occasion.

    Live-Action TV 
  • It's About Time: In "To Sign or Not to Sign", Captain Mackenzie and Lieutenant Canfield teach Gronk and Shad how to sign their names. The two end up signing up for a large variety of goods and services sold by door-to-door salespeople.
  • In the "Hold Back the Wind" sketch on The Benny Hill Show loosely spoofing Tennessee Williams, Benny is an older southern man whose catch phrase is "cut out the middle man! That's how I made my money, by cutting out the middle man!" Towards the end of the sketch he has a heart attack and tells his idiot son to call the doctor. The son comes in and says he called.
    Father: Did you call the doctor?
    Son: No, I called the undertaker.
    Father: The undertaker? What did you do that for?
    Son: I finally did like you said. I cut out the middle man!
    Father: That's my boy! (dies)
  • Doctor Who has this central to Series 9. In "The Girl Who Died", the Twelfth Doctor finally realizes why he has the face he does after Ashildr dies helping to defeat the Monster of the Week and he is lamenting his inability to change things and the inevitability of loss in his lives. He has the face of the patriarch of the family Donna Noble convinced his tenth self to save in "The Fires of Pompeii" even as he insisted he couldn't save anyone from that disaster, and he realizes his subconscious chose this when he regenerated into Twelve to remind him that he should always save others if there's a chance to do so — in fact, that saving people is his mission in life as The Doctor. Unfortunately, the only way he can save Ashildr has the side effect of making her immortal, and this paves the way to him being betrayed by her and captured and tortured by his own people and also the death of his beloved companion Clara, leading to a Season Finale in which he temporarily becomes a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds who believes that honoring his "duty of care" to another is worth risking the space-time continuum.
  • I Dream of Jeannie: In "Never Put a Genie on the Budget", Jeannie, not understanding modern credit, buys $2000.00 worth of goods. Major Nelson insists she go on a strict budget. She overdoes it, taking in hippies as boarders and splitting a T.V. dinner for supper. Things go south as Major Nelson is expected to entertain a visiting Russian Cosmonaut.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • Regina learns the hard way from her mother, Cora (who expects her to marry up), that love makes her vulnerable, when Cora rips her boyfriend's heart out in front of her and orders her to marry the king. She thinks that she made her daughter the perfect future queen, and afterwards, Regina tries not to be vulnerable because of her feelings. So she ends up trying to kill her mother because she doesn't want to have a weak spot when her Revenge starts.
    • Cora learned this one from Rumpelstiltskin, who took her in and taught her magic when she was a poor miller's daughter looking to get even with the haughty nobles who laughed at her. "Don't stop until they're on their knees," he said. Then, she double-crosses him when she gets the chance to become royalty and doesn't need him anymore, taking out her own heart to make sure she can't be blinded by any inconvenient empathy or feelings toward anyone, even her mentor or her daughter. Cora was a weapons-grade sociopath from the start.
  • The Twilight Zone (1985): In "To See the Invisible Man", the state sentences Mitchell Chaplin to a year of invisibility for the crime of coldness because he is not emotionally open with his family or co-workers. Mitchell initially relishes the opportunity to do anything that he wants with no repercussions as everyone must ignore him or face the same punishment themselves. However, the incredible loneliness eventually gets to him, and he longs for ordinary human interaction. Six months into his sentence, he begs an invisible woman to talk to him, but she refuses as she does not want her own sentence to be increased. Four months after his punishment has ended, the same woman approaches Mitchell and pleads with him to acknowledge her existence and ease her suffering. While Mitchell is initially reluctant, he soon hugs the woman and assures her that she is not invisible and that he cares about her. His own experience of invisibility taught him how difficult it is and led him to comfort another person in pain instead of ignoring her.
  • In season 5 of The Wire, Michael is taught by Chris to "get there early" and scope out the scene before pulling off a job so he doesn't get caught off guard. When Marlo's crew is being locked up and it's thought it was because Michael snitched, Michael is sent on a job with Snoop to hit somebody. This is a ruse to really kill Michael. However, he gets there early and sees Snoop acting really friendly with the guy they're supposed to hit. This causes him to sniff out the plan and get the drop on Snoop. He quote's Chris's advice shortly before killing her.

  • This trope is mentioned by name in the Brooks & Dunn song "Cowgirls Don't Cry".

    Tabletop Games 
  • In the lore of Battletech, The Clans settled a cluster of planets that were inhospitable to life and extremely resource-poor: As a result, they designed their society entirely around maximum efficiency and minimal waste. This included all forms of warfare and conflict, which essentially became a system of Combat by Champion backed by a Proud Warrior Race Guy Code of Honor that minimized the amount of personnel and materiel needed to solve a conflict and bound all participants to the outcome no matter their feelings on the matter. While this system allowed Clan society to thrive for centuries, it proved fatal when they attempted to invade the Inner Sphere: While inferior in technology and skill, the Inner Sphere could afford to think beyond the scope of individual battles and eventually ground The Clans to a halt on the operational level.

  • John Finnemore's Souvenir Programme: Spoofed to pieces with an exploration of what happened after the end of The Emperor's New Clothes. Traumatised by everyone laughing at his nakedness, the emperor becomes panicky whenever someone comes to his court with a brilliant new idea, figuring they're just trying to make him look stupid. Several more humiliations follow, usually ending with a little kid laughing at his "winkie", until many years later the Emperor finally learns the proper lesson; when presented with a new idea, subject it to analysis and proof it works first.
  • Our Miss Brooks: It happens a couple of times when Miss Brooks tries to make Mr. Boynton less Oblivious to Love:
    • In "Poetry Mix-up", Miss Brooks encourages Mr. Boynton to read Cyrano de Bergerac to make him more romantically-inclined. It backfires when Mr. Boynton postpones a date so he could finish reading the book.
    • In "Mr. Boynton's Mustache'' Miss Brooks encourages Mr. Boynton to grow a mustache; she also encourages her female colleagues to compliment his appearance. This was an effort to make Mr. Boynton less shy. It works too well. Mr. Boynton starts dating three other women.

    Video Games 
  • Fire Emblem:
    • Fire Emblem: Awakening: Inigo used to be just as bashful as his mother Olivia, but at the time of the game he's an outgoing Casanova Wannabe. In their supports together, he attributes this to Olivia telling him that the best way to get over his shyness was to talk to women, which led to him becoming the flirt he is now.
    • Fire Emblem Fates: Forrest is a Wholesome Cross Dresser, much to his father Leo's embarrassment. In their supports, Forrest explains that it was Leo calling him adorable after seeing him in one of Elise's old dresses that led to his love of women's clothes and tailoring.
  • In Horizon Zero Dawn, Ted Faro's company was the cause of humanity dying out in the old days thanks to a glitch in one swarm of his self-replicating, biomass eating, unhackable robots that made them go rogue. There was a project, Zero Dawn, he bankrolled (thanks to blackmail) to rebuild earth's lifeforms and atmosphere after the machines have eaten everything and gotten shut down by a code cracking AI. When he went crazy and decided new humanity would be better off without the knowledge of the old world, he was able to delete the knowledge repository the Zero Dawn system had to educate the new humans. He did this through a permission override (Omega Clearance) he had built in to the project. Unfortunately for everyone else on the project, he learned from his mistake with the robot swarm to always have an override/backdoor in security just in case.
  • In StarCraft, Infested Kerrigan is told by Protoss general Tassadar that as long as she stays predictable, she'll be her own worst enemy. Years later during the events of the Brood War, as she betrays the heroes during their Enemy Mine she mocks Fenix and the Protoss for being so predictable they're their own worst enemy. Fenix observes that he remembers Tassadar teaching her that lesson long ago, and Kerrigan freely admits that she took the lesson to heart.

    Web Comics 
  • As revealed in Flashback, when Durkon of The Order of the Stick was little, he tried to take the dishes from his mother to be helpful, and ended up dropping them. She explained to him that it's good to help people, but you should ask if they need help first. Early in his adventuring career with Roy, Roy got attacked by a monster and Durkon stood back, trying to find out if Roy wanted help, even though Roy wasn't really in a position where he could answer questions. Afterwards, Roy told him that in a situation like that, it's okay to just jump in.
  • Stand Still, Stay Silent family history, personal history and a Had to Be Sharp environment has caused Lalli to be told in no uncertain words that he can't afford to make mistakes. Years later, it causes him to land on the wrong side of the Determinator trope when trying to fix a mistake he made while scouting a route on the expedition, which concretely means trying to fix it while half-asleep and putting himself in a Power-Strain Blackout in the process.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of The Adventures of Super Mario Bros. 3 had King Koopa teach Cheatsy how to lie and cheat by tricking the heroes into thinking he'd given up, then catching them in an inescapable trap unless the Princess signed over the kingdom. Cheatsy took the lesson to heart and tried to backstab Koopa and take control, accidentally freeing the heroes in the process and ensuring neither of them got what they wanted.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball: Throughout "The Move", Gumball and Darwin repeatedly try to teach Clayton not to lie. This backfires when, after Clayton knocks out Tobias using the "Finger Touch Heart Disintegrator" move they believe he didn't know, he ultimately refuses to go along with their plan to frame Jamie for it, getting the two of them in even more trouble than he is.
  • In an episode of American Dad! Francine tries to get Stan Smith to stand up to his boss and say "no", but the message doesn't click in until the end... when his boss has been critically wounded and he tells Stan to get him some help. Then Stan says "no" and refuses to get help, no matter how much Francine tells him that this time it's OK to do what he says.
  • Chowder: In "The Thrice-Cream Man", when Chowder's obsession with thrice cream interferes with the catering company, Mung Daal decides to teach him a lesson by giving him a thrice cream man who would feed him thrice cream until Chowder was sick of it. Unfortunately, it worked too well as when the thrice cream man went berserk over being rejected and filled the kitchen with thrice cream, Chowder was unwilling to eat the stuff, resulting in Mung and Schnitzel eating it until they got Brain Freeze.
  • The DuckTales (1987) episode "Duck to the Future" has Scrooge impress on Huey, Dewey, and Louie the importance of making real money after he saw them running a lemonade stand and was dismayed at the feeble revenue it created. When Scrooge is transported into a Bad Future where Magica DeSpell is in charge of Duckburg and the boys are her partners, Scrooge sees the three have taken his lesson to heart too well, making piles of money in every cheating, crooked way possible as Corrupt Corporate Executives. This is really bad for Scrooge, who prides himself in the fact that he was tougher than the toughies, smarter than the smarties, and made his money square. When Scrooge returns to his own time, he encourages the boys to make money honestly.
  • There's a Grossology episode where Abby and Ty help Lab Rat get over his germophobia, only for him to turn into The Pigpen at the end.
  • King of the Hill: Defied. In "Rich Hank, Poor Hank", Bobby mistakenly thinks that his father is rich, wastes a lot of money with an emergency credit card, and works hard at his punishment and adopting Hank's attitude towards the value of a hard day's work and an honest dollar. At first, Hank is happy and proud of Bobby. Then they try to sell the nonrefundable jet ski to a rich father buying it for his spoiled son Eric, and Hank becomes uncomfortable that Bobby is so eager to please Eric, who treats him like garbage. This prompts Hank to decide they'll hold off on selling the jetski for a year and enjoy it in the meantime.
  • Several episodes of Moral Orel have Orel taking what an authority figure says to its "logical conclusion" and doing something bizarre.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the episode "Putting Your Hoof Down", Fluttershy takes an assertiveness seminar and ends up crossing the line to outright aggressive and ends up having a My God, What Have I Done? moment after she viciously insults Rarity and Pinkie and they run off crying. Luckily, by the end of the story, she shows that she has learned that one can learn to stop being a pushover without pushing others over.
    • In "Frenemies", Grogar, in an attempt to force Tirek, Chrysalis, and Cozy Glow to learn to work together, sent them on a mission to retrieve the Bewitching Bell. The trio was successful alright, both in claiming the Bell and learning teamwork. So much so that they decide to join forces behind Grogar's back and plot to conquer Equestria themselves. What's more, the finale reveals that Grogar was actually Discord in disguise as part of a convoluted ploy to help Twilight prepare to become Equestria's new ruler, meaning that the trio wasn't meant to be an actual threat in the first place.
  • OK K.O.! Let's Be Heroes: In "Legends of Mr. Gar", Enid recalls on her first day working at the bodega, Mr. Gar helped her deal with a pushy Unsatisfiable Customer and taught her not to worry too much about what the customer thinks, which seems to be part of the reason she became such an Apathetic Clerk.
    Enid: And that's pretty much why Mr. Gar is so great. He helped me be myself, without any regard of empathy for my fellow man.
  • The Owl House: In "Watching and Dreaming", Luz, Eda and King decide to show The Collector how to form genuine friendships, and that sometimes, all people need is kindness and forgiveness. The Collector takes this lesson to heart, and decides to apply it to the next hostile person he meets. Unfortunately, this person is Belos, who is not only not interested in redemption and reacts very poorly to being told he's in the wrong, but who is in that moment possessing the Titan, giving him a gigantic Kaiju-form that can blast corruption lasers from its mouth. As soon as the Collector turns their back, Belos tries to blast them away with one of said lasers, forcing Luz to fly in and take the bullet.
    The Collector: But... I thought I was doing the right thing!
    Luz: No, no, you did good, Collector. But this is a little more... complicated.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In "Helter Shelter", Bubbles has a bad habit of bringing animals home, namely a beached baby whale that she finds. When Professor Utonium discovers the whale, he tells her that animals are meant to be set free so that they can be with their families instead of locked up. At the end of the episode, Bubbles sets every animal from the zoo free.
    Narrator: Oh, Professor, when are you gonna learn you can't teach an old dog new tricks?
  • Rugrats (1991):
    • In "Naked Tommy", Tommy decides to take off his clothes when he sees how much fun his dog, Spike has not wearing them, and entices his friends to do the same, much to the ire of both Stu and Chuckie. At the end of the episode, Tommy learns how important clothing is and decides not to take his clothes off again, not even when he takes a bath.
    • In "Mr. Clean", Chas means well when he tries to teach Chuckie about germs after catching him playing in various dirty places, such as in the garbage can, under his bed, and in a mud puddle. However, the excessive baths and Chuckie's worried nature lead to Chuckie having a nightmare where the germs come to life and attack him, resulting in Chuckie becoming Terrified of Germs, donning a germ-proof suit, and trying to keep his friends from playing in dirty places.
  • The Simpsons:
  • The South Park episode "Chickenpox" has Kyle stay over at Kenny's house and later ask his father why some people are so poor. Gerald (who just got in a fight with Kenny's father) explains that the world runs on a hierarchy of "gods and clods". Kyle later comes up with a plan to improve society by eliminating all the "clods" (Kyle's family is Jewish). This does cause Gerald to have a My God, What Have I Done? moment, however.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "Walking Small", Sheldon Plankton teaches SpongeBob SquarePants to be more assertive. SpongeBob takes the assertiveness lessons too far and becomes such a Jerkass that he drives everyone away from Goo Lagoon - which was Plankton's plan all along, so that he could bulldoze everything and build a larger Chum Bucket. SpongeBob then counters by being "aggressively nice" and bringing everyone back, foiling Plankton's plan.
    • In the episode "Mrs. Puff, You're Fired", Mrs. Puff is replaced by a Drill Sergeant Nasty who puts SpongeBob through Training from Hell, going so far as to force him to drive blindfolded. Due to the harsh drills and very specific teaching methods, SpongeBob can drive while blindfolded... and only while blindfolded.
    • In "Born Again Krabs", Mr. Krabs suffers a near-death experience and is warned by the Flying Dutchman to change his money-grubbing ways. Believing he's just dreaming, Krabs takes this lesson to heart and becomes overly generous to his customers to the point of not charging them for anything. This leads to the Krusty Krab facing bankruptcy and Mr. Krabs returning to his greedy ways to recoup his losses.
  • In the Thomas & Friends episode, "Saving Time", Samson tries to save time by pulling twice as many trucks of stone. The strain is too much for him to handle, and even with help from Thomas and Paxton, he ends up at Brendam Docks very late and gets scolded by the Fat Controller for keeping Thomas from doing his job. At the end of the episode, Samson apologizes to Thomas and decides to pull a shorter train this time around, this one consisting of only one stone truck.

    Real Life 
  • The Marxist intellectual Theodor Adorno (of the Frankfurt school) agitated during the years around 1968 and repeatedly told his followers — mostly German students — to criticize everyone and everything and trust no authorities, ironically becoming kind of an authority himself. And then, some guy discovered that in 1934, Adorno had written a text in an official newspaper of the Hitler Youth and spoken well about HY leader von Schirach, and Goebbels. Presumably he ceased to feel the same way shortly after writing said article, but mob mentality took over and led to a lot of protests against Adorno, with some people even claiming they helped cause his death shortly after in 1969.
  • In 1904, the coastal ocean liner Clallam struck a reef in a storm. Her captain ordered the lifeboats be lowered immediately – women and children first. However, the storm was so powerful that the first few lifeboats were sunk, leaving the ship's male passengers to watch helplessly as their wives and children drowned in front of them, even as the Clallam remained afloat long enough for other ships to come to her aid. A similar event played out with the Valencia in 1906, when all of her women and children passengers were killed when virtually all of her lifeboats were lowered immediately and without the captain's order. It's believed that the Clallam, the Valencia, and stories like them may have resulted in the wrong lessons being learned.
    • One view from such shipwrecks was that lifeboats were unreliable. After all, in the early 1900s they were small wooden, open-topped boats that wouldn't have a prayer in stormy weather. So ships were instead encouraged to rely more on emerging technologies like watertight bulkheads and wireless radio to make sure ships stayed afloat long enough for a rescue operation to be affected, with lifeboats being used mainly to ferry survivors to a rescue ship.note  Of course, in 1912, this backfired when the Titanic struck an iceberg in such a way that her watertight bulkheads were circumvented, and while a number of ships responded to Titanic's SOS, they were too far away to get there in time; even the closest, the RMS Carpathia, was over four hours away. As a result, despite Titanic actually having more lifeboats than regulations at the time required, there just simply wasn't enough for all of her occupants. Additionally, the perception of lifeboats as risky meant that in the early stages of the evacuation, many passengers didn't want to get on them. It wasn't until the true scope of the disaster became clear that people realized the lifeboats were their best chance, and by then, a substantial number of lifeboats had already been launched at well below capacitynote . Experts have estimated that as many as 500 more people could have survived if every lifeboat had been fully loaded.
    • Later, in 1918, another coastal liner in the Pacific Northwest, the Princess Sophia, also got stranded on a reef in a storm. This time, her captain decided not to abandon ship immediately, opting to wait until weather conditions improved, even as other ships came close to her. Many have speculated that he had the Clallam's sinking on his mind when he made this decision. But unlike with the Clallam, the storm only grew worse, and by the time other ships could get close again, the Princess Sophia had sunk with the loss of all 364 of her passengers and crew.


Video Example(s):


A little more complicated

The Collector took Luz, King and Eda's lesson that sometimes, kindness and forgiveness is all you need to heart. When Belos possesses the Titan's body and starts wrecking shop as a massive Kaiju-esque monster, the Collector decides to give him a hug and show him that same kindness. However, Belos is in no way interested in redemption, and Luz has to save the Collector from getting shot in the back with an energy beam.

How well does it match the trope?

4.62 (21 votes)

Example of:

Main / BeyondRedemption

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