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Aesop Amnesia

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"Lying is wrong! I'd know that if only I'd paid attention to anything that's ever happened to me before!"
Stan Smith, American Dad!, "The Phantom of the Telethon"

Some characters have a particular trait or mannerism that's come to be viewed as an overall part of them. Maybe they're stingy, or abrasive, or just like using a lot of profanity. Along comes an episode with An Aesop, and a character learns how good it is to be generous, or friendly, or that they don't need curse words to make themselves known.

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Then, two episodes later at the most, they're back to hoarding their money, snapping at people, or cursing like a sailor. They've just run into Aesop Amnesia.

Aesop Amnesia is a sort of Snap Back that assures that Status Quo Is God from a character development point of view. After all, if you change something about the character that fans find enjoyable or defining about them, they're not going to be happy; and if that character trait provided a valuable foil for other characters, neither will the writers that come after. (Thus, you're much more likely to run into it on a series where writing duties are handled by a rotating set of writers and guest writers.)

And, of course, it allows the character to learn the same lesson all over again later!

In more recent series, this may eventually be lampshaded, especially if the show has a strong comedy element. In dramatic series, not so much.

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A secondary sort is where the same series keeps trying to teach the same moral over and over again. This is slightly different than when the show has a certain theme or Aesop as their underlying premise, but rather where a show with a broad premise just keeps hammering home that one particular one until the viewer wants to shout "I get it already!"

A standard of cartoons, especially those aimed at fairly young children (or where the writers think anyone under thirty is a dope). In comic books, this frequently occurs thanks to the Fleeting Demographic Rule.

This is Truth in Television to some extent. People do not always overcome their flaws as quickly as fiction sometimes would like them to. Contrast Epiphany Therapy, where characters resolve long-standing issues and flaws too quickly. Compare Ignored Epiphany, Remember That You Trust Me and Lost Aesop. A Sub-Trope of Yo Yo Plot Point.

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    Comic Books 
  • Gotham City Sirens manages to impressively forget an Aesop on the same page! Harley Quinn has finally decided to stop pining after the Joker, since her experiences with another former sidekick has taught her that the Joker really does not care about those people he works with, and she has seen first-hand how pathetic and depressing such obsessions truly are. She knows he will never change, and for her own good and the good of her friends she should just move on...of course, he still might change... This is, of course, a major part of Harley's characterization, and a testament to how screwed up she is.
  • Batman has learned to be more open and caring to his children (especially Nightwing) so often that this might as well be called A Batman Family Aesop. Of course, that will happen with seventy-odd years of having been published. One of the things that really pisses off Batman fans (who have dubbed the phenomenon "Batdickery"), is that since the mid-'90s, Batman's character has been stuck in a cycle that goes 1) Batman acts like a paranoid asshole. 2) Horrible things happen. 3) Batman realizes he shouldn't act like such a paranoid asshole. 4) Return to step 1.
  • Likewise, Nightwing and Robin (Tim Drake) take turns learning not to be Batman when it comes to their friends and teammates, although Nightwing tends to be better at it: at least he has a few people he can respect, and his entire reason for becoming Nightwing was because he disagreed with Bruce's methods. Tim, on the other hand, has essentially become Batman however sans the "I work alone" nonsense.
  • It seems every new author wants to write the story where Iceman finally stops being immature. The Human Torch also gets similar treatment. Also from the Fantastic Four, the Thing learns several times over that looking like a monster isn't so bad when your friends still love you. However, this is played more realistically than most other instances of this trope, as the universe keeps trying to prove, in a variety of different ways, that actually, no, having friends who love you even though you're a monster doesn't help all that much, because humans in the Marvel universe are colossal dicks. (Plus, the FF were meant from the start to be a bunch of dysfunctional fuck-ups, so this quality of his was supposed to be a flaw.)
    • A major part of Jonathan Hickman's run on Fantastic Four is Reed Richards learning that he can't solve everything all on his lonesome, and shouldn't be afraid to ask his friends for help when he needs to. And then in Jonathan Hickman's Avengers, a major portion of the plot is caused by Reed Richards (and all the Illuminati, to be fair) deciding they and they alone can solve the problem, and don't bother asking their friends for help even when faced with the destruction of all existence. And when called on this by a super-scientist who could've helped, Reed's reaction is basically "yeah, whatevs."
  • Spider-Man repeatedly wants to ditch super heroics to be a normal guy with a normal family, only to have it drilled into him again that "Great power equals great responsibility".
  • In Green Lantern the Guardians of the Universe once created the Manhunters, a robotic army built to maintain order in the universe. These then went crazy and started slaughtering people, necessitating the creation of the Green Lanterns to replace them. Then, they created the Alpha Lanterns, implanting Green Lanterns with Manhunter programming, and gave them infallible authority over the other Lanterns. Thus far they're shown major Knight Templar tendencies and one of them was possessed by an evil New God, demonstrating they were totally wrong about the whole "incorruptible police force" idea. Turns out they're being controlled by Hank Henshaw. Good job Guardians.
  • Pretty much the entire Civil War was this for the Pro-Reg side. The Super Registration Act might have provoked a nuanced, thoughtful, balanced debate....if the entire flipping Marvel Universe hadn't been telling civilians for the past several decades that treating supers/mutants and normals differently was morally wrong, dangerous, pointless, and comparable to segregation and Nazism. Now, suddenly, everybody thinks it's some sort of valid option, just so a fat juicy Conflict Ball could be thrown into the ring. The biggest Face Palm, however, has got to go to Reed Richards, who once spent an entire issue delivering an Aesop to Congress on why a SHRA was a racist, unenforceable, and moronic idea. (And no, he didn't have any character development that showed him changing his mind.) Arguably the biggest irony is that Mark Millar thought he was delivering a balanced view.
  • The civilians of the Marvel Universe are infamous for their gullibility every time some villain tries to frame a hero for some crime or another. You'd think after the tenth time the guy robbing a bank in a Spider-Man outfit turned out to be Mysterio or the Chameleon, they'd catch on. You'd be wrong.
  • Rodimus in The Transformers: More Than Meets the Eye learns a valuable lesson about taking responsibility and not being such a lazy jackass all the time. He forgets it basically the moment the Dark Cybertron crossover ends and goes right back to napping on the job and pretending to be dead to get out of difficult questions.
  • Azula in the Avatar: The Last Airbender comic books intentionally does this. As what was likely the fourth generation of a toxic culture and mentality started by Sozin; her strict refusal to change (as The Beach showed us, she's got no way to function off the batllefield) puts her at odds with Zuko who desires change. Tragically enough, Azula still hasn't learned that Fear isn't the best way to make friends or get people to work for you; as she still not only has it as her best weapon but in Smoke and Shadow she's completely manipulated Ukano to do her bidding and has plans to manipulate Zuko into a Tyrant like she would have been and how previous Fire Lords were. It's quite difficult to tell if she's legitimately not learning anything or if she's just regressing to maintain some degree of sanity.
  • Since his first solo series, Deadpool has been learning to be more of a hero and kill less. He often succeeds, even becoming a popular Avenger for a time, but he always ultimately returns to being a murderous villain/anti-hero who's hated and feared by the wider Marvel universe.
  • Ultimate Spider-Man: You'd think that, after the fiasco with the enforcers, Spider-Man would know better that jumping blindly into the action without a plan, but no. He goes and does the same against the Kingpin.

    Fan Works 
  • In the My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic fan novel Nightmares Are Tragic, Luna experiences some of this, explicitly, right after being purged of the Nightmare at the end. Specifically, she loses a lot of her self-confidence, won in her successful fight from within against the Night Shadow. Justified, as the combination of the drain to her form from the battle and the damage done to her by the Rainbow of Harmony severely weakens her and causes her to lose some of her memories, especially her memories from the time when she was possessed by the Night Shadow.
  • Rosario Vampire: Brightest Darkness: Kokoa suffers from this at first. In Act I, she's single-mindedly attracted to Dark despite the fact that he's only interested in Mizore, and it's only after Dark explicitly tells her to her face that he has no interest in her, along with the realization that chasing after him has negatively affected her pride, which Kokoa constantly boasts about, that Kokoa realizes her mistake and backs off. Come Act II, she's completely forgotten this lesson and goes so far as to invoke a sacred vampire pact, punishable by death if broken, with Moka in an attempt to have Tsukune to herself; the others even point out how pathetic it is that she didn't learn her lesson in not chasing after boys who are already taken the first time. When Kokoa loses the pact, and subsequently realizes that Tsukune only loves Moka and what she would have taken from him had she won, she finally seems to learn her lesson, and this time, it actually sticks.
  • In With This Ring, Paul learns that he needs to take off the ring and be himself to distance himself from the ring's influence when it started to negatively impact his mind after he was nearly killed in a home invasion. He stops an episode after when he gets caught off guard, though later text does imply that he kept up the practice.
    • Paul and Co. find out through various means that the Belle Reve is highly likely to be compromised and so a mass-escape is also likely to be brewing there. They still let it happen and have to deal with the fallout.

    Films — Animated 
  • Brilliantly avoided by Woody in Toy Story 2. John Lasseter even states that Pixar specifically did not want to just give them amnesia and relearn the same lesson twice, but needed them to grow in a different way. Also, the idea of a Buzz Lightyear who thinks he's real is used in the same movie, but instead of the first Buzz forgetting everything he learned in the first one, it's used with a different Buzz toy who is found in a toy store.
    Buzz Lightyear: "Oh, tell me I wasn't this delusional..."
  • At the end of The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Quasimodo ends up losing Esmeralda to Phoebus, and accepting not just the fact that the two are both in love with each other, but also the fact that it's not his appearance that matters but rather how he is treated in public. In the sequel Quasi is now lamenting about why he has no love interest, and ends up falling in love with a beautiful circus performer.
  • A Goofy Movie has (over the course of a road trip) Goofy learning to let his teenage son grow up and Max learning to appreciate his father's "goofy" tendencies, and by the end of the film they've grown closer. An Extremely Goofy Movie opens with Goofy moping that his son is growing up and Max anxious to leave for college to get away from his embarrassing dad; Max sort of re-learns his lesson after his father helps him win a sporting event, while Goofy never re-learns his lesson and ends the movie as clingy as he started it.
  • This is one of the biggest criticisms for Disney's Beauty and the Beast sequels. In the original film the Beast mainly is a Jerkass but thanks to Belle he is eventually able to take a level in kindness. Both sequels, which roughly take place roughly in the middle of the film, should be after he underwent said kindness uptake, but they're completely ignored to have him be a dick again so he can once again learn his lesson. The second sequel, made up of three unaired episodes for a failed TV spinoff, has him go through this twice.
  • Like with Beauty and the Beast, the endless number of sequels of The Land Before Time have been criticized for having the characters recycle their personalities (even if their personalities barely resemble their original ones.) For example, in the first film Jerkass Cera goes through character development about accepting help from others, that sometimes accepting help is needed, and that being a jerkass won't get you far in life, all while living in a Crapsack World. You'd think that after surviving a incredibly dangerous journey she'd have changed, but EVERY sequel always has her start of a Jerkass and learn to accept help and stop being a jerkass, but no matter how dangerous the journey, she's always back to being a jerkass at the start of the next movie.
  • Timmy in The Secret of NIMH 2: Timmy to the Rescue at least three times over.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • High School Musical is a repeat offender. After every film, all the lessons learned, all of the character growth is completely forgotten and the characters go on to make similar, if not the same, mistakes.
  • In many of The Little Rascals short comedies, Alfalfa has a cocky side to him that always lands him into trouble. Despite the number of times his ego is knocked down a few pegs, Alfalfa can't help but return to his old traits.
  • National Treasure 2, in regards to the Character Development and romance between Ben and Abigail. Especially in regards to Abigail, who turned into a much worse person than she was in even the beginning of the first movie. Are we supposed to be happy that they got back together at the end? They were also Strangled by the Red String in the first movie, so basically they arbitrarily got together, arbitrarily broke up and arbitrarily got back together again.
  • At the end of RoboCop (1987), Alex Murphy's persona reasserts itself and he talks and acts more like a human than a robot. In RoboCop 2, however, he's back to a more stilted robot-like personality for no real reason. Moreover in RoboCop 2 the prime directives that guide his behavior are completely erased from his system. This piece of development is again entirely erased in the third movie with the 3 directives back in place. This one makes sense, however, as after the first and second movies, Robocop/Murphy would have returned to being serviced and maintained by OCP technicians, who would have reinstated his original programming. In 2 and even at the beginning of 3 he's obviously already come some ways from the first movie, being capable of ignoring orders to save his friends, and in the second he seems to be accessing his old memories much easier than in the first.
  • By the ends of Harold & Kumar Go to White Castle and Harold & Kumar Escape from Guantanamo Bay, Harold had learned to stand up for himself and to lighten up a bit, and Kumar had learned that being irresponsible hurts his friends. Two years later in A Very Harold & Kumar 3D Christmas, Kumar's irresponsibility has driven off his girlfriend, and Harold is still worried about appearances.
  • At the end of Osmosis Jones, Frank, the overweight, unhealthy man, as a result of a near-death experience at the hospital thanks to an evil virus the heroes were fighting inside his body, actually vows to stay healthy from that point on. However, by the animated spinoff, Frank's back to his unhealthy ways, and both Osmosis Jones and Drixxenol (a pair of microbes who protect his body) are both carried off from his body by a mosquito bite, and are now living inside someone else that mosquito bit! Now imagine what will happen if a virus like Thrax went inside his body again, and neither Ozzy nor Drix are there to save him...
  • In Spider-Man 2, this happens to J. Jonah Jameson in the course of a single sentence.
    Jameson: Spider-Man...was a hero. I just couldn't see it. He was a-
    *Realises Spider-Man has stolen back the suit*
    Jameson: -a thief! A criminal! He stole my suit! He's a menace to the entire city! I want the wall-crawling arachnid prosecuted! I want him strung up by his web! I want Spider-Man!
  • Superman Returns is based on the idea that after Superman II, the title character flew off into space for five years to search for any evidence of Krypton's survival. The problem is, Superman II has Superman stop paying attention to the outside world for, at most, two weeks and it got conquered by psychotic Kryptionians; one of the last scenes has him promising the president that he will be more vigilante in the future. While the world wasn't outright conquered again in his absence, Superman's disappearance did allow Lex Luthor to wiggle out of jail time and break into the Fortress of Solitude, which leads right into the supervillain conflict of the movie.
  • Tear Jerker example in One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest. McMurphy challenges Nurse Ratched's authority and unfair rules at every turn, becoming something of a hero to the sheepish patients and leading them to explore and regain their own lost individuality...at least until McMurphy attacks Ratched in order to avenge her driving Billy to suicide and is moved to another part of the hospital and lobotomized. The Chief clearly doesn't forget what McMurphy taught him, but all the other patients seem to, and when the film ends, they're all back to behaving as they did before McMurphy arrived.
  • In the original Star Wars trilogy and The Force Awakens, the Galactic Empire and its successor, the First Order, repeatedly create planet-destroying weapons of mass destruction (the Death Stars and Starkiller Base) that have design flaws their antagonists exploit. The First Order at least have the foresight to armour the giant weak point on their superweapon, at least, but in the long run that just means that there's a bit of a delay before the 'splodey.
  • Tyor in Wizards of the Lost Kingdom 2 delivers the line "You've got to trust anyone that beautiful", talking about Amathea...about five minutes after his encounter with Freya, a villainous Hot Witch who worked for one of the bad guys and would have tricked him into giving up his quest and magical amulet had the Big Good not intervened at the last second.

    Literature 
  • Each of the Animorphs seem to have to learn the exact same lesson in each one of the books they star in, only to have the exact same flaw confronted and conquered again their next book. Jake learns not to be so uptight/be a better leader, Rachel learns not to take so much joy in the action/be a little less psychotic, Marco learns to take things more seriously/not be so pessimistic, Ax learns not to treat his human friends as inferior... Tobias is easily the worst, in EVERY book he narrates he laments being stuck, willingly or not, in his hawk form and has to learn to accept his situation for the sake of his friends and the war and move on. The only exception seems to be Cassie, the token pacifist of the group, who seems to always be right from the beginning.
  • The Baby-Sitters Club:
    • A number of examples, but one that stands out in particular is the relationship between Claudia and her genius sister Janine. There were many books where the two of them bonded over junk food, had a heart-to-heart talk, and realized that the two of them were Not So Different. By the next book, their relationship was back to where it was.
    • Also a feature in many Little Sister books, where Karen learns not to be a brat only to promptly forget it by the time the next book comes around.
  • In The Wheel of Time, Faile spends the first few books after her marriage to Perrin constantly frustrated that he doesn't magically intuit the Saldean marriage customs that she never bothered to explain to him, before realizing that she could be meeting him halfway by learning how the Two Rivers handles relationships from any of dozens of female role models who are only too happy to give her pointers. In a Heartwarming Moment, she arranges for a romantic moment for them in Two Rivers fashion and apologizes for being so hard on him. Come the next book, and she's right back to being angry that he doesn't read her mind and treat her like a Saldean husband is expected to treat his wife.
  • Bailey School Kids: The characters take turns between believing a character is supernatural, considering it unlikely, and teasing their friends for considering it, depending on the book.
  • Done intentionally in The Last Continent: Ponder, having spent the book, as always, being totally impatient with the older wizards (not without reason), is suddenly aged about fifty years, and learns what it's actually like to be a senior wizard. Upon his return to normal, a footnote tells us:
    "It would be nice to say that this experience taught Ponder a valuable lesson and that he was a lot more considerate towards old people afterwards, and this was true for about five minutes."
  • In Warrior Cats, no matter how many times the cats learn the importance of working together, by the next book, they'll usually be at each other's throats again.
  • Harry Potter:
    • Ron has learned a number of times not to be jealous of Harry being The Hero. Ron also learned that he's not worthless at Quidditch in two separate, sequential books.
    • Another plot device that J.K. Rowling seemed to really like was having the Hogwarts community, as a whole, turn against Harry (with only a handful of people standing by him). Over the course of the series, the Hogwarts students had to learn at least three or four times that refusing to trust Harry was a bad idea.
    • It's Sirius himself who tells Harry, Ron and Hermione in Goblet of Fire that a good way to get the measure of a person is to see how they treat their inferiors. In that specific case, it was referring to Crouch and his house-elf. Sirius appears to have forgotten this when dealing with his own house-elf in Order of the Phoenix. However Dumbledore points out after Sirius' death that Sirius wasn't particularly bad to House-Elves, he just hated Kreacher because Kreacher represented the house and life he hated. Also Kreacher comes across as a very unpleasant character, with his talk of pure-blood supremacy and insulting Sirius.
    • In Order of the Phoenix Harry doesn't learn that speaking his mind or telling the truth about Voldemort around Umbridge is only going to get him into trouble, or at least gets too angry to act like he's learned this lesson when it matters. McGonagall calls him out on it at one point.
  • Actually a plot point in Peter Pan: as a perpetual boy, Peter literally can't learn lessons. If he didn't have Aesop Amnesia, he'd grow up.
  • In The Princess and the Goblin, Curdie's Character Arc is accepting the reality of Irene's grandmother. By the start of The Princess and Curdie, he's convinced himself it was a dream.
  • In the Hush, Hush series, Nora never seems to catch on wandering alone, in dark, dangerous parts of town is just begging for trouble.
  • Played with in Prince Caspian. When the Pevensies go back to Narnia, Susan and Peter believe that Lucy is either mistaken or lying when she claims to see Aslan, and they don't. Edmund, on the other hand, remembers that it was just in the last book that Lucy's claims of "There's a magical land in the wardrobe" were right, so chances are they should listen to her this time.
  • Sweet Valley High: Jessica would try to pull off some crazy stunt, only to have it blow up in her face and make her out to look like a fool. Inevitably, by the next book or two, she would be trying something new, despite the fact that she was often warned about it by being reminded by others about how badly things had gone the last time. The sad thing is, a handful of these tricks were genuine attempts at improving herself or trying something new—cooking class, music lessons—so it seems a little unfair that those should go as badly as her usual schemes. Additionally, "good" twin Elizabeth would have a moment where she'd realize that she was being very judgmental and self-righteous about someone who would turn out to be a relatively nice person, only to be doing the same ting in a later book. This is outright pointed out by Jessica in one book when Elizabeth has taken an instant dislike to a guy, only for Jessica to blast her for automatically assuming that the guy must be a bad person just because he's rich.
  • In most of the Encyclopedia Brown books, a con artist named Wilford Wiggins tries to bilk the town kids out of their savings in some elaborate scheme or other. Not only do people not stop listening to him no matter how many times Encyclopedia explained Wilford's promises were hot air, Encyclopedia actually comes up with a special policy that he takes cases involving Wilford for free.
  • The Last Dragon Chronicles: Despite seeing the dragons alive at the end of the first book, David's back to doubting their existence in the second.
  • Les Malheurs de Sophie runs with this trope. Every chapters has Sophie committing something forbidden by her mother then getting in problem, her mother punishing her then swearing she'll listen to her next time ...only to do it again in the next chapter. However this is justified by the protagonist being a 8 years old girl and the author treats disobedience as a characteristic of childhood.
  • The major characters of Relativity pretty much agreed that keeping secrets from each other caused all of their interpersonal problems in the first story of the series. That doesn't stop them all from continuing to keep secrets from each other, even though it results in arguments and fights every single time.
  • Quite the achievement in this happens in The Underland Chronicles at the end of the last book. After a horrible bloody war has badly mauled both humans and gnawers (human-sized rats that fight with humans almost constantly), Luxa (now the queen of the humans) decides that in retaliation the rats are to be banished to an inhospitable part of the Underland. The rats obviously don't take this well (since them being driven into places where it's hard to survive was a part of the war in the first place) and both sides are about to go to war again before Gregor puts his foot down and yells at them for being so stupid. Thankfully his speech takes and war is averted when Luxa and Ripred bond with one another.
  • Most of the Mr. Men who are defined by negative personality traits (Mr. Grumpy, Mr. Greedy, and Mr. Noisy, for example) learn their lesson and change their ways by the end of their own story; however, when they appear in another story, they're right back to their old ways (justified, because without those traits, they'd be nothing but Flat Characters).
  • The kids in Little Monsters sometimes get this mere seconds after learning their lesson. For example, Bossy Bethany learns she shouldn't be bossy after a Drill Sergeant Nasty gives her a taste of her own medicine and apologizes to the others, but immediately starts being bossy again.

    Multiple Media 
  • The first three years of BIONICLE gave us several character arcs of the Toa learning that only together can they hope to defeat evil. At first they simply didn't like each other, then they got reckless with their power-ups, then they just bickered for the hell of it, before finally realizing that they had already learned this lesson.

    Newspaper Comics 
  • Anything that the Pattersons learned in For Better or for Worse that didn't entail "My personal happiness is more important than anyone else, even that of my own family!" was quickly forgotten. When Elly nearly lost her husband and brother to a camping trip Gone Horribly Wrong, she appreciated him for about a week's worth of strips before reverting back to her passive-aggressive stewing. Michael never quite learned that "bad things don't just happen to other people", even after Lawrence broke his leg or Deanna was in a car crash.
  • This happens so often in Calvin and Hobbes, it's almost a defining character trait for Calvin. He almost never learns anything from his mistakes, or if he does, he learns the wrong thing, and on a few occasions, will try to ignore what he's learned.
    Hobbes: Live and don't learn. That's us.
  • Luann: Since the strip took her to college in 2014, Bernice has learned at least three times not to be overly obsessive about enforcement of the dorm rules. She always snaps back to her previous characterization by the next time she appears.

    Professional Wrestling 
  • The nature of the Heel–Face Revolving Door is such that reformed heel characters often have to "re-reform" several times, and sometimes don't really reform after all. Just look at Eddie Guerrero, who was such a bastard that his wife left him twice. Matt Hardy's repeated failures to get along with his younger brother also come to mind.

    Religion 
  • The Bible: In the Old Testament, Israel gets into a cycle of rejecting God's commands, turning to false gods, getting attacked by enemies, turning back to God, being saved by a judge, prophet or king God raised up to defeat their enemies, following God's commands again, then rinsing, washing and repeating. It gets so bad that God finally just lets the Assyrians and Babylonians carry them off into exile.

    Webcomics 
  • Misfile: Ash needing to learn that as a female, males now view him differently, has been a plot point more than half a dozen times.
  • In Sinfest, Slick is aware of the problem.
  • Invoked in 8-Bit Theater when Black Mage's realization that he ought to become a real hero as his life of wanton destruction brings him nothing but misery is interrupted by a dumb remark from Fighter.
    Black Mage: Hold it, wait... What was I just thinking about? The only thing I can remember is something about wanton destruction. *Stabs fighter* Well, whatever it was, I'm sure this isn't far off the mark.

    Web Original 
  • In Tales of MU, Steff is particularly prone to this. After stabbing herself with a knife she knew nothing about until it tore out half her soul, she spent several days resting and scared everyone close to her and almost died. Immediately after she was handed another magic item by Dee, a character who herself needs to learn to stop handing out magic no one but her is familiar with. She was told not to use it without lots of physical and mental preparation, and only then carefully. Her decision? Chug the whole thing the moment she's alone.
  • Same for Solange of the Whateley Universe, who still thinks her money can buy her out of anything.
    • Probably because she's not been a focus character since Jade beat her, badly. She DID learn not to screw with Team Kimba directly, however. She was given an option on learning that she wasn't a good Queen, but thanks to incidents with Ayla, Murphy, and Loophole, she's now out of the Alphas. Her current Aesop is probably closer to 'how to be sneaky and cruel'. Averted with the Don, who HAS learned said lesson, as well as Hekate. Whateley villains in general get most dangerous the more they get beaten.
    • Chou, however, definitely qualifies. How many times has she learned to accept being a girl, accept that the Tao is always right, accept that she has to kill sometimes, accept...She HAS learned how to handle romance, though. Except Molly has some summons that might not be nice...
  • From the Global Guardians PBEM Universe, the heroic Robotman learned that he can still be human even if he's a Brain in a Jar. Then his original player left, the character was taken over by another player, and the "my God, what have I become" back all over again.
    • Even though his behavior led him directly to prison time, Corrupt Corporate Executive Lexington Cargill never seemed to learn that being a billionaire wasn't an automatic Get Out of Jail Free card.
  • The Angry Video Game Nerd frequently learns to appreciate his video games rather than complain about them all the time, only to forget about that next episode or sooner. Of course, since the entire premise hinges on him complaining about video games, Status Quo Is God is pretty much mandatory in this case.
  • The Nostalgia Critic will never learn that he's worth more than what he thinks he is.
    • Until the fourth-year anniversary movie To Boldly Flee. And even that got undone.
    • The Critic also spent the entire Moulin Rouge! review learning the nature of Guilty Pleasures, despite having used the term himself several times.
    • Ironic considering he actually referenced Moulin Rouge! in the Mamma Mia! review, but the “guilty pleasures” song appears to have been driven out of his brain. He has huge complaints about women liking The Princess Diaries 2 and Mamma Mia!, even though people who enjoy them usually say they know they're dumb but they're fun popcorn movies usually made for eye candy purposes, and they like plenty of actual good stuff too. Perhaps he sees this is an example of Everyone Has Standards.
    • His stalker Hyper Fangirl lampshaded that she'll never learn her lesson, and told her assassin neither will he because she pays him a ton of money.
  • The Nostalgia Chick will never stop mistreating people, Nella isn't ever going to fully stand up for herself and Dr. Tease won't learn ethics.
  • In The Fantastic Favio Bros, LeTony discovers at the end of the first film that alcohol is bad after it nearly kills him and he makes peace with the heroes. In later movies this aesop is completely ignored, as LeTony goes on to try to addict people to more harmful substances and continues drinking. This is justified by Rule of Funny, though, with explicit references to when they made peace.
  • In Agents Of Cracked Dan constantly forgets that Swaim is dangerously insane and going along with any plan he comes up with will end badly. Despite this he does remember the previous episodes well enough that he objects to the plans at the start.
  • The main reason why the work usually referred to just as Update seems to keep going and going is because the protagonist is incapable of learning anything from previous ordeals or mistakes and does the exact same things again and again.
  • Throughout his Let's Play of New Super Mario Bros. 2, Lucky Seven DX is repeatedly taught the lesson "Greed is bad." After around the third time, he starts lampshading it, but gets no closer to actually learning the lesson.

    Real Life 
  • Given what an Epic Fail alcohol prohibition was, you'd think people would learn would what seem to be an obvious lesson with regards to other drugs. More than 70 years later and we're still waiting...


I'm sorry but what did I just read??

Alternative Title(s): Moral Amnesia

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