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Cinderella Plot

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At least she won't need a dress, since she's already in a tux.
"I had to write something and couldn't think of a plot, so I decided to write a Cinderella story because it already had a plot!"
Gail Carson Levine, speaking about Ella Enchanted.

Cinderella is perhaps one of the most famous fairy-tales there is, and it's a fairy-tale that has been around since 1st century Greece and the story of Rhodopis. Over the years, it has seen its fair share of versions and adaptations, one of the most popular being the one by Charles Perrault and later adapted by Disney in their version. As a result, it's a story that has proven to be easy to tell and adapt, to the point where the basic plot has become something of a stock plot.

Here's the basic run-down: Cinderella is a girl with a Wicked Stepmother and two spoiled stepsisters. She's forced to be a slave to her stepfamily, and has no real means of escaping this life. When there's news that the kingdom's prince is throwing a ball, her stepmother forces her to stay home from it, but either through the use of magic or ingenuity, she disguises herself (sometimes getting The Makeover) and attends. The prince dances with her and falls for her, but to get home on time, she's forced to run away from him before he can learn who she is. In her haste, she leaves behind something, often a Glass Slipper, which the prince finds. Searching the kingdom, he uses the slipper to discover which girl he danced with. Cinderella is found by the prince, and they get married. Variations on the story exist; sometimes she has a father, sometimes she has a Fairy Godmother, and sometimes she has animal friends. Sometimes the story is told in a modern setting rather than a fantasy one, and sometimes there are other characters beyond the core cast. Regardless, this basic plot usually remains the same, and is a broad enough template to work in a variety of situations.

The recognizability of these stories means that even if the plot is varied or twisted, however, the audience will still catch onto the reference being made. As long as enough of the beats are kept, then the rest of it can be entirely unique without sacrificing the basics of the plot. Thus, these stories are ones that thrive on being altered and re-told in different styles; rather than continue to tell the same story, they stick to the basic idea while adding their own flavor. An example doesn't need to rehash the entire story in order to count. If Cinderella only has one stepsister and the story ends on a Be Yourself aesop, it's just as much a Cinderella story as the one where the stepfamily plot is skipped entirely in favor of a story about a girl going to a dance and running away, or the one where Cinderella never gets to go to the ball and the story ends in tragedy. And don't forget about all the parodies!

With that said, these stories still need to be, well, stories, whether stand-alone or as part of a larger whole (often as part of a Fairy Tale Episode). Minor references to Cinderella would go here instead. Also note that while this trope can allow for full adaptations, there still needs to be enough of a spin for it to be a distinct story; works that are just adaptations with nothing added or altered wouldn't count, since at that point it's not a reference or template, but a completely straight re-telling of the story, and thus not this trope.

If the character's name also follows the template, this may overlap with Ladyella.

For another fairy-tale related plot trope, see Beanstalk Parody. Subtrope of Whole-Plot Reference.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Kaguya-sama: Love Is War Official Dōjinshi adapted Cinderella in one of its Fairy Tale Episodes with Maki in the lead role. Of course, since this is Maki, she doesn't end up with the prince because her inexperience with wearing heels caused swelling that kept them from fitting the next day.
  • My Happy Marriage: Miyo is mistreated by her stepmother and half-sister for most of her life and forced to work as a servant in her household despite being the oldest daughter. Her life improves drastically when she becomes engaged to Kiyoka, as he buys her new clothes and treats her gently. Her family kidnaps her back to force her to break off the engagement so that her half-sister Kaya can marry Kiyoka instead, but Kiyoka rescues her just in time and takes her back to home. The first episode even has a scene where Miyo is mocked for having ashes on her face.
  • Every volume of the Snow White with the Red Hair opens with a parody of a fairy tale with the cast of the manga in key roles. The Cinderella story has Shirayuki decide that she doesn't care that she can't attend the ball and going to bed before the fairy godmother even shows up.

    Comic Books 
  • Monica's Gang: One of Blu's comics parodizes classic fairy tales by replacing the main characters with dogs. One of the protagonists is Cindercadelanote , a stray mutt who is turned into a refined dog so she can court the canine prince. When the spell wears off, her pumpkin carriage reverts into a car driven by a Diabolical Dogcatcher, who takes her to a prison-like pound. Luckily, she is identified by the prince when her lost collar fits her neck, thus enabling her to be set free.
  • Spider-Man Comics had a special four-part segment where the characters live in an Alternate Universe that resembles fairy tales. The final story was a Gender Flip of Cinderella, with an orphaned Peter Parker in the title role, living with Norman and Harry Osborn as his cruel guardians as per the Dying Wish of his father and Uncle Ben, both noble knights who fought alongside Norman and died in battle. When the King holds a ball and invites all the knights in the land to win the hand of his daughter, Princess Gwendolyn, Peter makes his own armor and goes to the ball in disguise. Not only are many of the typical roles filled in, there’s an extra character for the story for Mary Jane, who becomes a servant to the Osborns alongside Peter, who is secretly in love with him long before the ball. Sadly for her, Peter and Princess Gwen fall hopelessly in love, and MJ, though broken-hearted, encourages him to go after her. It’s a Bittersweet Ending for everyone though, when Norman attacks Peter and Gwen dies saving her love from his wrath. Though Norman is killed and Peter is officially free and knighted and accepted as the heir, nothing can fill the hole in his heart. The last shot of the story is MJ lying in bed, crying and holding Peter’s webbed brassard.

    Fan Works 
  • Cinderella Rock Girl is a Grojband fanfic where Laney, the Cinderella in question, is the manager for the Newmans, who are complete jerks to her and force her to hide her beauty. Trina, the story's Fairy Godmother, uses the fact that GrojBand needs a new bassist as a way to hook Corey, the Prince, up with Laney with everything come to a head at (fittingly enough) a fairy tale themed dance.
  • A Dream is a Wish the Spark Makes is a Transformers take on the plot. Jazz is the abused step-servant to Starscream, Skywarp and Thundercracker, while Prowl is the bodyguard of noblemech Mirage (not quite a Prince Charming, but still a mech in a higher position of society). Optimus Prime, meanwhile, plays a not-at-all magical Fairy Godmother, as a senator who helps Jazz get ready for the party, where (naturally) Jazz meets and falls in love with Prowl, before losing his visor as he hurries to leave.
  • One of the Fractured Fairy Tales of Pinkie Tales is a retelling of Cinderella with Fluttershy as the titular character. Like the other retellings, Pinkie (and Applejack) is constantly Breaking the Fourth Wall, and differences in the story include the dress that the mice make is so hideous, the stepmother says ripping it apart would actually improve it; the prince is dumb, he can’t remember anything about how his supposed “True Love” looks like, which is why he relies on the slipper test; and the slipper itself fits half the women in the kingdom, including the stepmother and one stepsister.
  • Slightly Cinderella, as indicated by the title, is a version of the story based on the Maribat AU; hence, there's some Revenge Fic elements as well. Marinette not only has to deal with abuse from her stepmother and stepsisters, but also with one of the stepsisters turning all her friends against her and the local lord (Adrien) abusing his position and letting the lower class struggle. She ends up finding solace in Robin, a young man who visits her often; unbeknownst to her, he's also Damian, the youngest son of the king. Tikki takes the Fairy Godmother role, allowing her to go to the ball under the guise of Ladybug, where she dances with Robin and his family and fends off Adrien's unwanted advances. In the end, Robin uses what he learned from Marinette to arrest her stepfamily and strip Adrien of his lordship, and the two live happily ever after.
  • whose woods these are (I think I know.) is a Gender Flip on the story with Miraculous Ladybug characters. In the fanfic, Adrien is abused not only by his Wicked Stepmother, Audrey, but also by his own father, who has disowned him, promised his inheritance to his stepsister, Chloe, and allows Audrey to treat him like a servant in the house he was once meant to someday own. One day, Adrien meets the huntress and heroine Ladybug, who he falls in love with. Plagg the magical kwami in the series, appears in his canon form as Adrien’s Fairy Godmother, sending him off to the ball as Chat Noir, where he dances with Princess Marinette, who unwittingly reveals herself to him to be Ladybug.

    Films — Animation 
  • In Titanic: The Legend Goes On, Angelica is a girl mistreated by her wicked stepfamily, brought along on the Titanic journey mostly to act as their servant during the trip; when she's not with them, she lives in her own lower-class cabin. When doing the laundry, she bumps into the wealthy William, who falls in Love at First Sight with her. At night, there's a party on the ship that she can go to after an old lady hands her a dress to wear, and she spends the night dancing with William for as long as she can. While the plot soon shifts to be about the iceberg, she and William do get to live Happily Ever After and escape with their lives.

    Films— Live-Action 
  • Beast (2017): Moll's life, to an extent. She's forced to act as a caretaker for her father - who has dementia - and as a babysitter to her younger cousin in a beautiful country home. Her mother is extremely strict and controlling and is irritated with her for sneaking out to go dancing, where she meets a handsome stranger who offers her a life of passion and freedom.
  • Every film in the A Cinderella Story series is a different modern day take on the story:
    • In A Cinderella Story, the Cinderella is Sam Montgomery, whose stepmother forces her to do all the house chores as well as slave away at her family's diner. She falls for the Prince, who in this case is school football player Austin, and they communicate through online messages before Austin ever learns who she is. In addition to her stepfamily, she's also tormented by the school's Alpha Bitch and is working mostly to save up money and move out.
    • Another Cinderella Story tells the story of Mary Santiago, an aspiring dancer adopted by a woman named Dominique to do her and her daughter's housework. The Prince is a famous musician named Joey Parker, moving back to the city with his best friend. They meet at a Masquerade Ball, and Mary loses her Zune, which Joey retrieves and uses to find her. The plot continues after he discovers who Mary is, as the stepfamily continue to conspire against her and ruin her new relationship and dancing aspirations.
    • A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song pulls a few twists on the story. Katie dreams of being a recording artist, and is coerced into using her musical talents to help her stepsister fool the Prince, this time a boy at her performing arts school named Luke. She also has a stepbrother, who eventually sides with her when he decides that she's the only one in the family who cares about him.
  • Ella Cinders is a 1926 American spin on Cinderella, with Ella dreaming of movie stardom as a means of escaping her Wicked Stepmother and two wicked stepsisters, and with the "prince" being an ice man who turns out to be Secretly Wealthy.
  • Ella Enchanted, a loose adaptation of the novel of the same name, involves a girl named Ella, cursed with obedience. Once her stepfamily discovers this, they take advantage of it to make her life miserable, such as ordering her into stealing shoes and insulting her only friend. The plot diverges a bit from both the original story and the book, as she eventually leaves to find the Fairy Godmother and becomes friends with Prince Char on the journey, then gets caught by his Evil Uncle, the true villain of the movie.
  • Ever After is a version of the Cinderella story about a courageous young woman, Danielle de Barbarac, who is orphaned within mere days of her widowed father remarrying. She's left to the care of her mentally abusive stepmother, though at least she has the family servants who still love her, and one of her stepsisters is a kind and sympathetic person. Instead of a fairy godmother, this iteration sees her assisted by Leonardo da Vinci.
  • Maid in Manhattan, which features a hotel maid (Cinderella) falling in love with a Senatorial candidate staying at her hotel (the Prince), hampered by two ditzy socialites who also have their eye on him (the Wicked Stepsisters), aides by her coworkers (the Fairy Godmother), with everything culminating at a glamorous fundraiser (the Ball).
  • Rags is a Gender Flipped retelling staring a boy named Charlie Prince, living with his stepfather and his two stepbrothers, one of whom is a jerkass, and the other a much kinder and similarly victimized person. Charlie has to work at the family restaurant while his stepbrothers practice their music act, but manages to get a part-time job at a record label which allows him to pursue his own dreams. He also becomes close friends with popstar Kadee Worth, this film's prince, well before the dance at the Masquerade Ball. At said ball, he performs in disguise as "Rags" and then drops his CD, which Kadee uses in order to find him.
  • Sneakerella is a modern-day, Gender Flip retelling. Teenager El is overworked at his late mother's shoe store by his stepfather and stepbrothers, but secretly aspires to be a sneaker designer. His "prince" is Kira King, the daughter of retired basketball star and sneaker mogul Darius King. With the help of community garden caretaker Gustavo, El and his friend manage to sneak into Darius' charity gala to find her, but are forced to leave at midnight; in the process, El loses one of his custom-made sneakers, which Kira uses to track him down

  • Carrie has been described as a very dark version of the Cinderella story. Carrie is abused by her religious freak mother (not stepmother), her father is dead, and she spends most of her time sewing and being bullied by kids at school. Then she gets invited by a handsome (class) prince, Tommy, to the ball (prom), which she attends without her mother's permission, where he falls in love with her. The role of the fairy godmother is split between Jerk with a Heart of Gold teacher Miss Desjardin who tries to stop Carrie's bullies from hurting her, Sue Snell (who convinces Tommy to ask Carrie), and Carrie herself, as she has magical powers (telekinesis) that allow her to go to the prom. Then it all goes to hell, Tommy dies, and Carrie mass-murders much of her town.
  • Ella Enchanted provides a twist on the story by making Ella cursed into being obedient, thus removing any choice she has to do as her stepfamily demand. However, she manages to work around the curse through Loophole Abuse. In this story, Ella's dad is alive, though he's usually away on business and is a Jerkass when he's around. She eventually leaves to find her Fairy Godmother and make her remove the curse. In this version, she meets the Prince long before the ball, but breaks off their budding relationship to prevent her curse being used against him; the ball is instead the impetus for them getting back together properly (and Ella learning how to break the curse).
  • The Danielle Steel novel Fairytale retells the story, with the only difference being that the Cinderella character has to contend with two wicked stepbrothers instead of sisters and interestingly, the fairy godmother role is filled by her step-grandmother, the mother of the wicked stepmother.
  • Geekerella in the Once Upon A Con series) has the near-exact Cinderella story, but centered around a modern day Fan Convention. Elle Wittimer is a Geek into the fictional sci-fi show Starfield she and her late parents watched together, while the prince is actually the actor playing Prince Carmindor for the upcoming movie, Darien Freeman. The "ball" Elle wants to attend is the cosplay contest of a Starfield convention that her stepmother (who has burned through the insurance money to support her failing wedding business and is trying to sell the house) thinks is a waste of time, and her twin stepsisters push her around; one, Chloe, destroys her costume to prevent her from being in the cosplay contest and steals her tickets so she and her twin Calliope can try and meet Darien. Elle even gets to the ball in a pumpkin—that is, the food truck she works at called "The Magic Pumpkin" by her boss Sage—and leaves one of her cosplay shoes behind when trying to flee back home before her curfew. Darien eventually returns it to her at the country club she's employed at (after being forced to quit working at the food truck by her stepmother). The chapters are occasionally interspersed with scripts from the Starfield show and movie.
  • In Let Me Call You Sweet Heart, Suzanne's backstory is reminiscent of Cinderella's, which she even lampshaded. Unfortunately, Suzanne's story definitely didn't end in a happily ever after, not to mention some of the 'facts' were distorted. Suzanne claims she was raised by an unloving stepparent and that her two stepsisters were always envious of her for her beauty and popularity. It turns out it was the other way around; Suzanne, or Susie as she was originally known, was resentful of her stepsisters' attractiveness and popularity, while she was overlooked. Her stepdad was also not a wicked stepparent but genuinely cared for her and did his best to raise her as his own, but their relationship was always strained. Dr Smith (her biological father) gave her an extreme make-over like the Fairy Godmother, only this make-over didn't end at midnight, given plastic surgery is usually permanent. Suzanne became a glamorous socialite and landed herself a prince...well, a rich architect who built her a fancy house. Unfortunately, Suzanne found out the hard way that good looks and wealth alone aren't enough to make you happy (not helped by her 'Fairy Godmother' becoming possessive over her), starting cheating on her husband and ended up being murdered.
  • The Lunar Chronicles follows a teenage cyborg named Cinder who lives in New Beijing with her wicked stepmother and two stepsisters (a mean one and a nice one). Since her stepmother refuses to work, she is the one who provides the money for the family by working as a mechanic. One day prince Kai visits her shop and they form a connection and eventually fall in love. Meanwhile Cinder learns about a plot against the kingdom and goes to the ball to warn Kai. This goes wrong and Cinder has to flee and the only thing she leaves behind is her cyborg leg.
  • In Mechanica, a girl named Nicolette's mother dies and her father remarries. His new wife and her two daughters are snobby and don't like Nicolette very much, and Nicolette soon develops a crush on a guy named Finn. When a party comes up, Nicolette makes an outfit for herself and a robot horse and rides to the party.
  • The Mister bears some resemblance to Cinderella. Alessia starts out as poor and downtrodden; she doesn't have a wicked stepfamily though her father is quite cruel and controlling. She's forced to work as a cleaner to support herself, until she meets and romances a handsome aristocrat who raises her out of poverty. After Alessia goes missing, Maxim vows to search far and wide for her and make her his bride.
  • Mr. Men: In "Little Miss Shy and the Fairy Godmother", Little Miss Shy is invited to go to Little Miss Splendid's ball. A fairy godmother gives her beautiful glass slippers. At midnight, just when Little Miss Splendid announces that Little Miss Shy is going to receive a prize, the slippers turn back to normal, so Little Miss Shy runs off in shame. Little Miss Bossy and Little Miss Naughty try to put on the glass slipper, but it doesn't fit either of them. It only fits Little Miss Shy, and as such, Little Miss Shy is given pretty ballet slippers.
  • The second story in the Spongebob Squarepants book "Once Upon a Spongebob" parodies "Cinderella". Spongebob is forced to get Squidward ready for Sandy's fancy party, but is forbidden to go himself. A "fairy krab-mother" (a cross-dressing Mr. Krabs) turns a Krabby Patty into a coach pulled by jellyfish, turns Gary into a coachman and turns Spongebob's rags into a fine suit before warning him to be back by midnight. Spongebob karate-dances with Sandy until midnight, then leaves his pants behind as he flees the treedome.
  • Tales of the Five Hundred Kingdoms: The Cinderella Plot is discussed several times. Even for a world where "The Tradition" makes fairy tale stories come to pass whenever the circumstances kind of resemble one, there are a lot of Cinderellas —It's an In-Universe Stock Plot! Despite being fairly innocuous compared to many of the tales that come up, not all of them turn out well. Three examples actually show up during the time covered by the novels:
    • The plot of "The Fairy Godmother" kicks off due to a failed Cinderella: Elena has the abusive step-family, the work ethic, and the beauty; but she's in her twenties and the prince is only 6! Fortunately, the vortex of Traditional power that is trying to make this work has other uses: It can be refined and redirected to give Elena the magical oomph to function as a Godmother.
    • Godmother Aleksia, "The Snow Queen," checks in passing on a Cinderella bubbling away in Copenhagen. She has no intention of intervening, since she judges that the girl will make a good match for the prince, —she claims that if the girl was any sweeter, she'd be sickening— and that the King and Queen won't mind having a daughter-in-law who was raised a commoner.
    • Bella of "Beauty and the Werewolf" has the stepmother and two stepsisters, but they have a decent relationship. Bella's stubborn, control-freak nature keeps the house running like clockwork, and she's firmly set herself up as Cool Big Sis to the twins. Deprived of any hooks upon which to hang the resentment which would begin to warp the characters' personalities, "The Tradition" eventually gets frustrated and dumps Bella into a very different kind of story.
  • In "The Dryad's Shoes" by Ursula Vernon, the protagonist's stepfamily aren't all that wicked, and she spends most of her time working in the garden, where she's happy. Her dryad godmother still insists that this isn't good enough and tries to send her off to the ball in style; instead, she trades all the magical accoutrements to a serving girl at the palace (who's already in love with the prince) in return for a chance to explore the palace gardens while the serving girl goes to the ball in her place. The serving girl marries the prince, the protagonist goes back to her own garden, and everybody lives happily ever after except possibly the frustrated godmother.
  • The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales has the story "Cinderumpelstiltskin (or, The Girl Who Really Blew It)", where on the day of the royal ball, Cinderella is visited not by a fairy godmother, but by a little man who can spin straw into gold. This version of Cinderella is not the brightest, and doesn't see how a bunch of gold would help her predicament, so she turns down the little man's offer of help. She never goes to the ball, never meets the Prince, and to really rub things in, her wicked stepmother and stepsisters change her name to Cinderumpelstiltskin.
  • In Witches Abroad, the witches are actually trying to stop a Cinderella Plot from happening. Villain Lady Lilith, a witch who gains power from stories, has reduced Emberella, the only living relative of the deposed former Baron of Genua, to a servant girl who's guarded by two "stepsisters" Lilith made from snakes. She and the Duc throw a ball fully expecting Emberella to be there, to lose her shoe and to end up marrying the Duc, completing Lilith's rule over the city. They weren't counting on the witches being there to protect Emberella and wreak enough chaos at the ball to defeat Lilith. The Duc ends up transformed back into a frog and Emberella learns her real parentage and becomes queen of Genua herself.

    Live-Action TV 
  • ChuckleVision had a Gender Flip plot where it was the two brothers instead of sisters in the Parody Episode "Barryella" which aired on 6 March 2006. In this reimagining of the fairy tale, Paul steals Barry's ticket for the dance and goes off on his own, but Barry has to contend with a Fairy Godmother who seems Ambiguously Human. This version features a Lincoln Town Car taking Paul to the ball instead of a carriage, and the episode is full of a mixture of anachronisms (Lincoln limousines in the Dark Ages?). However, this is Played for Laughs, and we never see the ball anyway, just the brothers squabbling over it and going to the ball. In general, this was a very unique twist on a Public Domain story.
  • Floricienta is set in modern Argentina. The name mixes the name of the protagonist, "Florencia", with "Cenicienta" ("Cinderella" in Spanish). She works as a nanny for the Fritzenwalden family, composed by several brothers that lost their parents. Federico (AKA the prince) is the older one and was promoted to parent by circumstances. His current girlfriend is, initially unknown to them, Florencia's sister Delfina (AKA the evil sister). Malala is Delfina's mother (AKA the evil stepmother). Florencia has some magical fairies that help her, and the ballroom dance (in this case, a dance during the carnival) was also adapted in the first months, but the story continued after it. Of course, Federico fell in love with Florencia, and eventually rejected Delfina for her.
  • The Toy Castle did a Cinderella episode with the main cast in various roles — the Ballerina was Cinderella, the Soldier was the prince, the Sailor pulled double duty as one of the stepsisters and the fairy godmother, and the Strongman was the other stepsister. The main twist is that the Strongman didn't want to play the role of a stepsister, so he retaliated by being nice to "Cinderella" and arguing with the Sailor over which of them would take her to the ball.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place: In the Fairy Tale Episode, Harper ends up stuck in the story of Cinderella thanks to an enchanted storybook. The Prince is actually her boyfriend Zeke, the stepfamily is Alex's mother and brothers, and the Fairy Godmother is Alex herself, who encourages Harper to keep going through the story to get to the happy ending. Unfortunately, things get mixed up when it turns out that some of the Cinderella pages have been ripped out. The stepbrothers and prince become The Three Little Pigs, and things get weirder from there.


    Video Games 
  • Azure Striker Gunvolt 2: Ghauri's backstory is based on Cinderella, though its basic beats are given an ironic twist. A former victim of prejudice, Ghauri is "adopted" by the Eden organization, where he is provided with the respect he couldn't get anywhere else. His stage consists of him running away from the protagonist, referencing how Cinderella had to flee from the prince's ball. Finally, the prelude to his boss battle is a parody of the story's climax: Copen comes face-to-face with Ghauri, who has reverted to his civilian form. The villain then confirms that he is the one who was being chased, by summoning a battle armour whose most prominent feature is a pair of crystal high heels.
  • In the fifth installment of the Dark Parables series, the main character Katherine is The Final Cinderella of the title. A small side story within the game explains that after their parents' deaths, she and her stepsister Cyrilla were left in the care of an Evil Uncle who forced them to basically work as unpaid domestic servants.
  • In Punishing: Gray Raven, Liv's father remarried, and her new step-family promptly began neglecting her and treating her like a servant, until her fortunes turned around. Though in this case, Liv didn't meet a prince and marry into royalty: she enlisted in the army as a medic in lieu of her step-siblings, nearly died saving soldiers on the frontline, and was transformed into a combat cyborg lauded as a war hero, who is still fighting when the game begins.
  • In Crayon Shin Chan DS Arashiwo Yobu Nutte Crayoon Daisakusen, one of the candy world's levels involves helping Hiroshi, who is Cinderella in his dream, to clean the house, make him a dress and escape the palace before midnight undoes the magic dress.

    Web Animation 
  • RWBY: The Volume 8 episode called "Midnight" is a Cinderella-based plot that explores Cinder's origins. Bought from an orphanage by a wealthy Atlesian hotelier, she is raised as the Madame's step-daughter alongside two biological daughters. The family treats her as a slave, controlling her via a Shock Collar and starving her in the process. A Huntsman who frequents the hotel offers to teach her how to be a Huntress, hoping that the Huntsman Academy will give her a legal escape route from the abuse; the training montages occur in three stages akin to Cinderella's three balls. When Cinder's stepfamily finds out, the confrontation leads to Cinder killing them; she then kills her mentor when he attempts to arrest her. This Start of Darkness is why she wants to be strong, feared and powerful; her image of that concept is Madame, which has led to her current lifestyle of serving the abusive Salem while in turn abusing her own subordinates.

  • A Nested Story in Flight: The Tale of Two Sisters has this plot is featured in a short backstory about the main characters' mother.
  • One Girl Genius sidestory has Agatha as Cinderella, prevented from going to the science fair hosted by Princes Tarvek and Gilgamesh by her evil step-Jaegers (who claim some of her projects as their own work), until she receives aid (and motivation to bother wanting to go instead of just hanging out on the couch eating chips) from her fairy God-Zeetha.

    Web Original 
  • The episode "Thomas and the Fairy God Engine" of the Thomas & Friends Storytime podcast revolves around Sir Robert throwing a costume ball at his castle, with all the engines invited to dress up and join a grand parade for a chance to win a special gold crown. Thomas gets covered in coal dust from filling up the coal hoppers, and is unable to get back in time to dress up due to being too considerate to turn down Salty's request that he listen to a story. After the other engines leave, Thomas's Fairy God Engine appears and rewards Thomas's kindness by turning him into a knight engine with a necklace of feathers around his funnel and two golden trumpets in place of a whistle, then gives him the usual warning about leaving before midnight. Thomas arrives at the ball and wins the parade, but is forced to leave the ball before he can claim his prize, losing his necklace in the process. The Earl finds the necklace and, seeing that it's made to fit only one funnel, searches Sodor for the engine who's funnel it fits, before finding Thomas at Tidmouth and giving him the crown.

    Western Animation 
  • A variant in the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode, "Momma Robotnik Returns"; when Momma Robotnik escapes from the Mobius Home for Really Bizarre Mothers, she disowns Robotnik for failing to capture Sonic, then with the help of an obscure Mobius law, she adopts both Sonic and Tails, making the former her slave and the latter her prisoner. She gives Sonic all the chores, hires Scratch and Grounder to sabotage his efforts, and threatens to send Tails down a trap door unless Sonic does as she says (and to ensure Tails can't fly over it, she chains up his two tails). Although there is no dance, fairy godparent, or love interest involved in the episode, things fortunately do get better for Sonic when Robotnik and Coconuts find another obscure law which frees him, and rat Momma out to a social worker for disowning the former and putting the latter on sewer patrol.
  • Alvin and the Chipmunks: The Chipette's foster mother, Miss Miller, gives each of them chores to do before they go shopping for new dresses for a dance. Jeanette and Eleanor do theirs without complaint, but Brittany, The Primadonna, doesn't do her share and instead primps. As punishment, Ms. Miller makes her stay home to finish her chores while she takes the other two shopping, and tells her that she can't attend the dance unless her chores are done. Upset, Brittany falls asleep and dreams that she's Cinderella, with Ms. Miller as her Wicked Stepmother, and Jeanette and Eleanor as the stepsisters. When the dream ends with Miss Miller refusing to let her marry Prince Alvin, Brittany awakens and finds the real Miss Miller willing to compromise with her, making Brittany realize that she isn't living with a mean stepmother after all.
  • One episode of Bratz saw the girls find Cloe's old copy of Cinderella and read it together, turning it into a re-telling featuring people they know. In their version, Cinderella (Yasmin) is an aspiring singer-songwriter left under the care of her abusive stepmother (Burdine) and stepsisters (the Tweevils) after her fashion designer father is literally force-fed to death. The son of a record producer (Eitan) hears Cinderella's voice as she's out shopping and arranges a ball/talent competition to find her again; while her stepfamily prevents her from going, three girls from her school (the rest of the Bratz) give her a magical outfit and guitar so she can attend.
  • The Cookie Carnival has a similar plot, where one of the protagonists, a poor cookie girl who doesn't have any pretty clothes to wear at the cookie carnival she wants to attend, is helped by a hobo cookie who gives her a makeover and creates a dress out of desserts he finds near her house.
  • DuckTales: In "Scroogerello", Scrooge gets a fever and falls asleep while Webby reads Cinderella to him. In his dream, he is Scroogerello, a servant abused by stepbrothers played by the Beagle Boys and stepfather played by Flintheart Glomgold. To help him and his nephews show up at the ball, Mrs. Beakley as the Fairy Godmother turns his rags into a golden tuxedo and top hat while Webby turns their cookies into a carriage and the nephews into chaffeurs. At the ball, Scrooge dances with Princess Goldie, who introduces him to her father, King Gyro. Just then, Glomgold and the Beagles kidnap her and hold her for ransom, so the ducks give chase. However, the carriage breaks down and their clothes turn back to normal, as fairy magic doesn't work after midnight since it's way past Webby's bedtime. They reach a castle where Goldie is held captive, but a hedge maze is in the way, but Prince Lilypad McQuack shows up to help them. When she's safe, she has all men in town try the gold top hat on that proves they're her true love, eventually finding Scroogerello and him putting it on, but the Beagle Boys show up to kidnap her again and take him, at which point Scrooge wakes up.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: The first segment of the episode "Fairly Odd Fairy Tales" parodies Cinderella. Cosmo is "Cosmorella", while Doctor Rip Studwell and Juandissio are his stepbrothers Umbrella and Mozzarella, respectively. Instead of a ball, Cosmo's fairy "godmother" (a cross-dressing Jorgen) sends him to Princess Wanda's bowling party in a pumpkin taxi driven by Sparky, where he leaves behind a glass bowling shoe.
  • Family Guy: The last segment of "Grimm Job" parodizes Cinderella, by casting Lois as the protagonist, Meg and Stewie as the ugly stepsisters, and Babs as the wicked stepmother. After the villains ruin Lois' dress, she is visited by her fairy godmother (played by Adam West), who gives her a new one and sends her to Prince Peter's ball. The rest of the episode closely follows the plot of Disney's original adaptation, but ends with the narrator's cynical description of the toxic nature of their marriage.
    Narrator: Two people who danced together one time entered an ill-advised, long-term relationship. And they lived happily ever after for seven months and then separated. They got into a huge fight and now they don't even follow each other on Twitter. The end.
  • Garfield and Friends: In the U.S. Acres segment, "Bedtime Story Blues", Orson attempts to read the story of Cinderella to Booker and Sheldon (as it's the only book he hasn't read to them yet), but the twins make numerous changes to the story, much to Orson's ire. These changes include making Cinderella and her stepsisters boys (and the latter ninjas), having Cinderella work at a pet store, making the king's messenger a rap master, making the fairy godmother the richest guy in the world, and having the characters get attacked by dinosaurs. Orson eventually becomes so annoyed with the twins' changes that he reads the story the right way very fast.
  • Jake And The Neverland Pirates episode "Smee-erella" has Mr. Smee play the role of Cinderella when he's forced to stay behind and clean the Jolly Roger before the Pirate Parade. Pip the Pirate Genie serves as the fairy godmother, and Smee loses a gold boot while fleeing the Pirate Convention.
  • Mickey Mouse Clubhouse did this in one episode where Minnie has a dream where she's "Minnie-rella". Clarabelle plays the Fairy Godmother, Goofy is the coachman, Mickey is Prince Charming, and Minnie had to use various Mouseketools to help progress the story.
  • Maryoku Yummy: In "Cinderoku", the eponymous Cinderoku (played by Maryoku) is excited to go to Prince Fij Fij's ball. Ooka the Fairy Yummother shows up and tries to teach her to be "special" by making her act fabulous (read: not like herself at all). Bob the chauffeur falls asleep at the wheel and causes the car to start coasting, so Cinderoku makes the Fairy Yummother make her dress disappear so that she can stop the car. Upon finding out that Fij Fij didn't even need Cinderoku to be fabulous, the Fairy Yummother apologizes for not letting Cinderoku be herself.
  • The Magic Adventures of Mumfie episode "Scarecrowella" has Scarecrow dream about being in a Cinderella-like story after drinking too much hot chocolate. In the story, the Queen of Night has a royal ball and all of Scarecrow's friends have clothes for the ball except for him. That is when his Fair-Eel Godmother comes and transforms him into a handsome prince. He quickly grabs the attention of the Queen of Night, but when it strikes midnight, he leaves his hat behind. Upon Bristle finding out the next day that the hat that was left behind fits Scarecrow, he is allowed to become king, but there are many strict rules he has to follow, making him upset.
  • In the Muppet Babies (1984) episode, "Pigerella", the babies become impatient waiting for lunch, so Scooter and Skeeter sneak snacks from the kitchen against the wishes of both Nanny and Piggy. When Piggy tries to return the snacks to the kitchen, Nanny assumes that she was the one who snuck the snacks, makes her clean the kitchen by herself as punishment, and has Scooter and Skeeter supervise her. As Piggy cleans the kitchen, she complains that she's being treated like Cinderella, and an Imagine Spot occurs where Piggy is "Pigerella", Nanny is the wicked stepmother, and Skeeter and Scooter are the wicked stepsisters. In the end, the other babies help Piggy clean up the mess and explain to Nanny that the mess was their fault, not Piggy's, so Nanny rewards them with a fruit salad for lunch.
  • In the Muppet Babies (2018) episode, "Gonzorella", after hearing the story of Cinderella, Gonzo wants to attend Piggy and Summer's ball dressed as a princess, but the girls insist that only girls can attend dressed as princesses, and boys have to attend dressed as knights. Rizzo takes on the form of Gonzo's Fairy "Ratfather" and gives him a dress so fabulous that his friends won't know it's him in disguise. He also warns Gonzo that the magic will wear off at "Cake-O-Clock". Gonzo has a wonderful time at the ball, and even convinces his friends to do new and more exciting ways of making crowns and dancing in the ballroom, rather than doing things by the book, but when the magic wears off, he runs away in fear, worrying what his friends will say if they find out about his ruse. Rizzo tells him that his friends liked the new exciting ways he did things, and surely they'll accept him for what he did. Sure enough, he's right, as Piggy and Summer decide to no longer do things by the old book, and instead make a new book where anyone can do whatever they please.
  • Pinky, Elmyra & the Brain: "Narfily Ever After" has Brain, against his will, tell Elmyra the "real" story of Cinderella, in which the actual protagonist is an intelligent mouse (played by Brain and dubbed "Cranky Mouseykin" by Elmyra), who invents leather shoes for the people in the Kingdom of Fairyland to wear and has "Cinderelmyra" wear them to the prince's birthday party.
  • Popeye: The cartoon "Ancient Fistory" utilizes the classic tale of Cinderella with Popeye in the role. Bluto goes to the ball for Princess Olive Oil while leaving an overworked Popeye at the bar. Popeye is then visited by a Fairy Godfather who grants him the ability to go to the ball himself. When Bluto notices Popeye, he intervenes brutally until Popeye's chariot turns back into a can of spinach, which Popeye consumes and lays a beat down on Bluto.
  • The Rugrats (1991) episode "Finsterella" takes place after the events of Rugrats in Paris: The Movie, where Chas marries Kira and Kimi becomes Chuckie's stepsister. After Chas tells the babies the story of Cinderella, Angelica tells Chuckie that he has a stepmother and a stepsister just like Cinderella does, and decides to start calling him "Finsterella". Tommy tries to assure Chuckie that Kira and Kimi are nice to him, and not mean like Cinderella's stepmother and stepsisters, but Chuckie starts to believe Angelica is right when he overhears Kira rehearsing her lines for a play about the Old Woman Who Lived in a Shoe and sees Kimi copying Angelica's behavior when she plays a game where she copies whoever she sees. Chuckie also has a dream where he really is Finsterella, and has to do chores for Angelica and Kimi while they get to go to a party. By the end of the episode, Chuckie finds out the truth about Kira and Kimi, who both love him very much and are happy to be a part of his family.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: In "The Play's the Thing", everyone makes fun of Strawberry's raggedy raincoat. Then, they put on a Cinderella play and learn about how it's the inside that makes you beautiful, not what you wear. Strawberry plays Cinderella. Blueberry Muffin plays the stepmother. Orange Blossom and Ginger Snap play the stepsisters. Angel Cake plays the Fairy Godmother. Huckleberry Pie plays the Prince.
  • Super Why!: In "Cinderella", Red Riding Hood is invited to Sleeping Beauty's princess party, but doesn't quite feel like a princess. The Super Readers leap into the book of Cinderella to see how she handles her own princess problem. The aesop of the episode was to Be Yourself, and it's quite Bowdlerized to be appropriate for a preschool audience. There was also a P.O.V. Sequel told from the Prince's point of view.
  • True and the Rainbow Kingdom: The True: Terrific Tales subseries has the episode "Rainbowella", where the titular Rainbowellanote  wants to audition to be the Prince'snote  royal dancer. Unfortunately, she's a horrible dancer, so the Fairy Godkittynote  gives her magical boots that improve her dancing. The boots fall off while she's participating in a dance-off and she runs off. The Prince has Glitzeldanote  try on the boots. They're too big, but rather than prove that she's the owner by putting them on, Rainbowella decides to dance in her own clumsy way. The Prince is amused by her unique way of dancing and decides that she will be his royal dancer.
  • In the Wabbit: A Looney Tunes Production episode "Cinderporker", Elmer Fudd reads a version of Cinderella with Porky as the servant; Sylvester, Pete Puma and Claude Cat as the stepfamily and Petunia as the princess. Porky is forbidden to go to the royal ball, but his fairy "duckmother" (a cross-dressing Daffy) gets him smartened up in a disco suit, platform shoes and an Elvis wig, then gives him a sportscar in order to get to the ball. Porky dances with Petunia and wins her heart, but is forced to flee as the spell only lasts ten minutes, leaving behind one of his platform shoes.


Video Example(s):


Rags Opening Narration

Shawn, the film's narrator, explains the plot of the movie- and likens it to the plot of Cinderella.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (2 votes)

Example of:

Main / CinderellaPlot

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