Follow TV Tropes


Comedic Work, Serious Scene

Go To

Everyone loves drama, but when a work is dramatic in nature, a serious scene is par for the course. When a work is generally comedic, it makes the serious moments hit that much harder. This can sometimes result in Mood Whiplash.

The inverse of Serious Work, Comedic Scene.

Often overlaps with Downer Beginning, Downer Ending, or Drama Bomb Finale. Compare Very Special Episode, Black Comedy Burst, Unexpectedly Dark Episode, and Action Film, Quiet Drama Scene. Might lead to Cerebus Syndrome if it causes the work to get darker in tone. Might also fall under a Tear Dryer if it's followed by something happy and/or sweet. Failed attempts may overlap with Narm. Before the scene occurs, the opportunity may be used to Shoo Out the Clowns.


    open/close all folders 

  • Happy Heroes is a light-hearted superhero story with a comedic twist, but will occasionally pull out some legitimately down-to-earth scenes, perhaps the most famous being in Season 7 where everyone mourns the loss of one of the characters after they do a Heroic Sacrifice.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Full Metal Panic? Fumoffu: A light-hearted high-school romantic comedy, Fumoffu plays up Sōsuke's Fish out of Water tendencies and Kaname's exasperation with them. Then there's the episode "The Patient of Darkness". After a series of scary stories fail to impress Sōsuke, he, Kaname, and Mitsuki go to an abandoned hospital as part of a Scare Dare. Mitsuki bails almost immediately after seeing a woman in a 4th floor window. Kaname becomes futher agitated when Sōsuke confirms that the woman was there. The two go through the hospital, seeing a series of strange, unnatural things, which freak Kaname out, but do not phase the Seen It All veteran, Sōsuke, culminating in them coming across a blood-soaked young girl holding a hammer saying "Go home or drop dead." Utterly infuriated by Sōsuke's lack of reaction, Kaname advances on the girl... only for the floor to give way under her. Cut to her lying in a pool of red and Sōsuke worriedly finding a way down to check on her. Fortunately, it turns out the red liquid was a spilled can of paint, and Kaname is unharmed, if a bit dazed. It was the only time we see Sōsuke truly scared, which even he himself admits.
  • Lucky Star is largely a comedic Slice of Life series, but it does have a few moments of seriousness (though most of these are exclusive to the anime).
    • The group attends an Aya Hirano concert, but Konata can't see anything due to her already short stature plus the tall man in front of her blocking her view. Kagami switches places with Konata to let her see the stage, and Konata is in awe of Hirano's performance. Walking home, Konata is uncharacteristically quiet, which Kagami is quick to notice. The scene ends with Konata asking herself what the feeling she's having is.
    • During a class trip to Kyoto, Kagami gets a note from a boy in her class. She goes down to speak to him, thinking that he's going to confess his love to her, and is unsure how she'll respond. It turns out he just wants a keychain she bought, as he was too embarrassed to buy it himself in front of his friends. Kagami hands it over, but it's clear that she's upset by the whole thing.
    • Kagami and Tsukasa return home to find that they'd missed a message from their sister, Matsuri, asking them to buy ingredients so she could make paella. Eldest sister Inori tries to play reasonable peacemaker, suggesting they could make the dish the next night. Matsuri complains that she wanted to make the dish tonight and chastises Kagami and Tsukasa for forgetting, making Kagami storm out in a huff while declaring that she'll buy the ingredients. Inori chastises Matsuri, saying she could have handled it better. Matsuri quietly agrees.
  • My Love Story!! is a romantic comedy about a Huge Guy, Tiny Girl pairing, but it has its serious moments.
    • Episode 4, Takeo and Yamato overhear the latter's friends badmouthing the former. Yamato runs off in tears. Later, a fire breaks out, and Takeo heroically saves the girls who had insulted him.
    • Suna's father has to have surgery. Takeo tells Yamato, leaving her alone on her birthday so he can sit with his friend. They find Yamato in the lobby, making origami cranes as part of an old superstition about granting a wish, which Suna graciously accepts.
  • Ranma ½: There are a few serious moments in the series billed as a "martial arts sex comedy".
    • In one of the OVA, Ryōga was teaching Akane to help her defeat a pair of girls claiming to be Sōun Tendō's illegitimate daughters, he realizes that he would sabotage her if he remained, so he walks off sadly, but with the knowledge that at least he got to be the hero.
    • Ranma being cursed with the "Full Body Cat Tongue", which kept him from being able to resume his male form. Ranma is near tears when he realizes that unless he can beat Cologne, he may be forever stuck in girl form.
  • School Rumble is a zany slice-of-life high-school romantic comedy. That being said:
    • In one episode, Eri is planning to make dinner for her Father, and has bought all of the ingredients. Just as she's about to head home, her Father's limo pulls up alongside her, and he tells her that he's very sorry, but he's being called out of the country on business. He offers her a ride home, but she states she's fine walking. The limo drives off. Cue Gray Rain of Depression. Harima happens by and offers to share his umbrella with her, if she's not going far.
    • Yakumo is menaced by a ghost in one episode (actually her own subconscious manifesting through her psychic powers), that asks her if she hates men, or actually likes them. It's not played at all for laughs.
    • Mikoto finds out that the tutor she was crushing on went and got himself a girlfriend when he went off to college, and she has to pretend to be happy about it, even as her heart breaks.
    • Mikoto comes across Harima, locked out of his cousin's apartment for the Christmas holiday, and pulls a Batman Gambit to get past his pride and get him to stay in her family's dojo for the holidays. This is at the same time that she's also hiding Eri from an Arranged Marriage.
  • Squid Girl: While the show is mostly funny with Squid Girl's ineffectual attempts at world domination, there are some serious moments:
  • Tenchi Muyo!: Largely a comedic series, Tenchi has its moments of seriousness.
    • Sasami is prone to eerie prophetic dreams that often have her waking in tears. This is not played for laughs at all.
    • In one episode, Sasami has to reveal to her sister Ayeka that "the real Sasami" died, and she was an artificial creation of Tsunami. After she falls asleep from exhaustion, Tsunami clarifies that Sasami was actually still alive, albeit gravely injured, and Tsunami was able to save her by binding herself to the girl, but that Sasami is too young to fully understand what happened.
  • Uzaki-chan Wants to Hang Out!: One of the chapters reveals that Hana's younger brother Kiri, known for his tsukkomi tendencies (especially compared to the rest of his family), developed his interest in older women because when he was in middle school he had a female friend he was very close to, but due to his own immaturity he loudly declared he didn't like her all that much upon being teased by his friends. Naturally, she was standing behind him and their previously close friendship disintegrated, with the narration noting he'd never seen such sorrow on someone's face before. His own self-loathing and disgust at his actions caused him to want to be a mature adult as soon as possible, which eventually became a desire to be with someone he saw as an adult. Alas, he happens to meet Ami when visiting the cafe where his older sister Hana works...

    Fan Works 
  • Duran And Kiyohime's Omake Theater: Mostly a series of light-hearted vignettes involving the antics of the titular Duran and Kiyohime, or the romantic hijinks of Natsuki and Shizuru, there are a few serious moments as well.
    • In Chapter 10, Natsuki has just finished all of her make-up work, and Shizuru is treating her to a romantic evening on the beach, when Natsui begins to feel like she's become a case of All Take and No Give, leading to a Big Damn Kiss as she fully commits herself to being Shizuru's girlfriend.
    • Chapter 50. Shizuru made a serious mistake involving her classwork at the University, and so was snappish and short with everyone for about a week. She would quickly reassure Natsuki when asked that she was not the cause of her foul mood. She comes home one night, fully set on apologizing for her bad mood, to find that Natsuki had set up a nice romantic meal for the two of them over which she wanted to gently ask why Shizuru had been snappish lately.
    • Chapter 91. Shizuru teases Natsuki a little too much, and Natsuki blows up at her, then storms out before Shizuru can reply. She's in the Student Council Room, avoiding going home out of a sense of both guilt and lingering anger. Nao points out that there's no reward for holding out, and that one of them should be the grown-up and initiate an apology.
    • Chapter 92, which is set during events closer to the beginning of the story has Shizuru come home to find Natsuki nervously trying to usher her out the door. Shizuru knows Natsuki well enough to know she's not cheating on her, but is concerned about her evasiveness. It turns out she was still in her fear of being All Take and No Give, and had been working on a poem about how she loved Shizuru, and the living room was strewn with balled up early attempts. Shizuru holds back tears of joy to comfort and reasssure Natsuki that the effort alone pleases her.
  • The Loud House fanfiction It's Not a Date is mainly a comedic story about the Loud sisters doing wacky Shipper on Deck instances. However, it does feature one scene of Lincoln being extremely mad at his sisters, even wondering if he hates them.
  • Peeking Through the Fourth Wall is generally an MST style comedy, but Episode 5 has a scene where Everybody Cries while reacting to a sad scene in the story, and it's played completely seriously.
  • Pound and Pumpkin Cake's Adventures (and Misadventures) in Potty Training is generally a comedy fanfic, but the end of the chapter "Diaper Shortage?" reveals that Apple Bloom has been stealing Pound's diapers and putting them on as a desperate attempt to remember her parents, who died when she was a toddler.

    Films — Animation 
  • Most of Frankenweenie is horror elements played comedically, but what kickstarts the plot is when a dog named Sparky is hit by a car and dies. This causes a lot of sadness for the Frankensteins, especially Victor, which is what causes him to reanimate him.
  • Home is a comedic film about a girl and an alien going on a trip across the world, but it has several poignant moments, such as Tip breaking down in tears after her failed attempts to find her mother, and Tip sobbing when Oh appears to have been crushed by the Gorg's ship.
  • The Loud House Movie is largely a comedy, with a bit of action thrown in. However, towards the beginning, Lincoln sings a slow, sad song about how he hates how "ordinary" he is.
  • Madagascar: This is a comedic flick about four zoo animals getting stranded on an island and getting into all kinds of shenanigans, but after Alex loses it from starvation and scares everyone off, he runs off in shame, horrified that he nearly hurt his friends. This leads to a Sad-Times Montage of Alex getting injured and later gloomily sitting on a rock alone and it's shown that his friends miss him.
  • Moshi Monsters the Movie is mostly a comedy, but the scene just before "We Can Do It" is pretty bleak — Poppet, Katsuma, and the pets are trapped in an ice cave, both of the pets are hypothermic and Poppet notes that there's danger of them "not making it", and Katsuma, who's normally very enthusiastic and cocky, is reduced to tears.
  • The Nut Job: This is a mainly lighthearted and somewhat action-y movie about a squirrel named Surly planning a raid to collect nuts from a store, but after the climax, Surly appears to have died after falling over a waterfall and Buddy breaks his silence to whisper, "Best...friend..." as Precious lets out a Howl of Sorrow. Then Surly wakes up, much to everyone's relief.
  • The Simpsons Movie is mostly a farce about Homer's stupid, impulsive decisions pushing Springfield to the brink of ecological ruin... up until the family learns that because of Homer's stupidity, the US government plans to bomb Springfield off of the map, while the Simpsons hide out in Alaska. Appalled by Homer's selfishness and unwillingness to take responsibility for his actions, Marge takes Bart, Lisa, and Maggie and abandons him, leaving behind a gut-wrenching videotaped message in which she confesses that she doesn't know why she keeps putting up with his behavior. Taped over their wedding video, no less.
    Marge: Lately, what's keeping us together is my ability to overlook everything you do. And I overlook these things because... well, that's the thing, I... I just don't know how to finish that sentence anymore.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Julian getting taken away in Big Daddy. The film is an Adam Sandler comedy through and through, but the relationship between Julian and Sonny is fairly heartwarming, and the scene in question is Played for Drama.
  • Birds of Prey has several examples:
    • Harley bringing her roller derby friends margaritas, only to overhear them talking about how she's inevitably going to run back to Joker because she (presumably) can't stand being on her own. She runs off in drunken tears.
    • The life of Mr. Keo's daughter is not spared by Black Mask after the latter had a sudden change of mind. His reason for doing it (he got grossed out by a snot bubble she had when she was crying in utter terror), and his method of killing her (cutting her face off), made it all the more horrible.
    • Harley confides in Dinah about her and Joker's split with what starts as an amusing drunken ramble but turns into a teary, bittersweet confession, talking about the role of a harlequin, reflecting how lost both women are feeling. Rather than being Played for Laughs, the scene is very serious in tone, showing how sad Harley is inside.
      Harley: Do you know what a harlequin is? A harlequin's role is to serve. It's nothing without a master. No one gives two shits who we are, beyond that.
    • Helena Bertinelli saw her whole family being gunned down when she was still a child.
    • Roman cruelly humiliating a woman in his club for thinking she was laughing at him. It even makes Dinah shed tears.
  • The Best/Worst day scene from City Slickers certainly qualifies. The film is very much a comedy, but the characters' conversations about the best and worst days of their lives is very heartfelt and earnest.
  • Deadpool is a superhero comedy whose titular Anti-Hero is a master of Breaking the Fourth Wall. The scene in which Ajax tortures Wade to unlock his mutation is Played for Drama.
  • Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a pretty typical Mel Brooks parody, but Lucy's funeral is appropriately somber and serious. The discovery of Lucy's first victim as a vampire is also played for horror, but her attempt to seduce Harker and subsequent staking go back into comedy.
  • Ed Wood is less of a straight biopic and more of a comedy about making a B-movie. After learning his friend Bela Lugosi has died, Ed mourns him by watching and rewatching the last few minutes Ed filmed of him outside his house for Plan 9 from Outer Space. It's a very poignant moment, especially when Ed asks the projectionist to run the film again.
  • Emergency (2022) is a Black Comedy throughout, but it turns deadly serious in the climax, when Kunle and Sebastian finally succeed in getting Emma to a hospital. Though they're genuinely just trying to do the right thing (and could've abandoned Emma at numerous points with nobody but them knowing, as Sean points out), they're held at gunpoint by the cops. The experience leads Kunle to a Heroic BSoD.
  • Encino Man is a goofy comedy about a caveman who gets thawed out in 1990s America, but the scene where Link visits the museum and realises that everyone he knew from his time is seemingly dead is a genuine Tearjerker.
  • (500) Days of Summer: The climax sees Tom's expectations of getting back together with Summer shattered as he realizes he's at her engagement party.
  • Galaxy Quest: A fun romp that is an Affectionate Parody of Star Trek, which George Takei once called "a frighteningly realistic documentary." There are, however, a few somber scenes.
    • When the cast finish rescuing Jason from the planet, they find that Sarris has taken over the ship. He forces them to watch as he tortures Mathezar, then, to really twist the knife, forces them to reveal that they are actors.
      Sarris: He doesn't understand. Explain to him as you would a child.
      Jason: [looking pained] We pretended. We lied.
    • As the cast start to actually rise to the occasion and turn the tables on Sarris, it looks like it's going to be laughs again. Then...
      Quellek: I—I am shot...
  • Happy Madison comedies often attempt to have at least once scene that's not Played for Laughs.
  • Ray's attempted suicide in In Bruges is an absolutely heartwrenching scene in an otherwise darkly comedic film.
  • Kaamelott: Premier Volet:
    • Arthur Pendragon coming back to reclaim Excalibur from its stone.
    • Arthur's memories from when he was training in the Roman legion in North Africa and had a big crush on a local woman (who ended up having a tragic fate).
    • After defeating Lancelot in the climax, Arthur just lies down on a table as if he wanted to let himself die in the collapsing of the castle.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service: While the movie is very comedic, the scene where Valentine shoots Harry Hart with Arthur and Eggsy both watching is Played for Drama.
  • Dwayne breaking his silence upon learning he is colorblind and therefore can't become an Air Force test pilot in Little Miss Sunshine is as heartbreaking as the rest of the movie is funny.
  • The Marvel Cinematic Universe makes frequent use of this trope.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron remains one of the more comedic entires in the MCU, but the aftermath of Hulk's rampage shows a scared and regretful Bruce horrified by what he has done. Later, Pietro's death is also Played for Drama.
    • The opening scene of Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) is absolutely heartbreaking, especially compared to the scene right after it. The opening scene has young Peter Quill (later known as Star-Lord) visiting his mother in the hospital, who is severely ill with cancer. She gives him a walkman and mixtape before dying, and in his heartbreak, Quill runs out of the hospital before a spaceship abducts him. The next scene shows an adult Star-Lord dancing to music and even using an alien rat-like creature as a microphone.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 is just as dense and wacky as its predecessor, but the scene where Gamora and Nebula find the corpses of Ego's other children is Played for Horror, and Yondu's death and subsequent funeral are Played for Drama.
    • Thor: Ragnarok: The film is quite a bit Denser and Wackier overall than the previous two Thor movies (Thor and Thor: The Dark World), but there are several serious and emotional scenes as well. Some of the most dramatic scenes include Thor and Loki meeting their father Odin for the first time in years, only for him to die of old age, The Hulk's reaction to being told that Earth hates him, and the flashback to Valkyrie's backstory in which we find that she's the only Valkyrie left due to an attack that killed the rest of them, including her lover.
    • Thor: Love and Thunder:
      • Gorr confronting a restrained Thor, Jane, and Valkyrie is played completely straight.
      • In fact, the entire black and white sequence is mostly serious and contains few comedic bits.
      • Jane having cancer is consistently treated seriously, and no jokes are made regarding it.
      • The deaths of Jane and Gorr are very much Played for Drama.
  • Mystery Men is an Affectionate Parody of superhero movies. The scene where Roy/Mr. Furious walks Monica home and has a heart-to-heart conversation with her is genuinely heartwarming.
  • Planes, Trains and Automobiles: For a comedy-of-errors film about the misadventures of two strangers working together to make it home for Thanksgiving, the reveal toward the end that Del is a widower is a real downer, especially when flashing back to his, "My wife likes me" during his earlier rebuttal of a The Reason You Suck speech from Neal.
    Del: You wanna hurt me? Go right ahead if it makes you feel any better. I'm an easy target. Yeah, you're right, I talk too much. I also listen too much. I could be a cold-hearted cynic like you... but I don't like to hurt people's feelings. Well, you think what you want about me; I'm not changing. I like... I like me. My wife likes me. My customers like me. 'Cause I'm the real article. What you see is what you get.
  • Shaun of the Dead is an Edgar Wright comedy, but it tugs at the heartstrings when Shaun is forced to kill his zombified mother.
  • SHAZAM! (2019) is a mostly lighthearted and comedic superhero flick, but the scene in which Billy finds out that his mother abandoned him and she is implied to be living with an abusive boyfriend is Played for Drama.
  • Space Jam opens with a very young Michael Jordan practicing in his family's backyard court. When his father asks why he's up so late, Michael spells out his aspirations: to play at North Carolina University, then in the NBA, then play pro baseball, just like his father. All these aspirations come true, as shown during the opening credits, up to the point that Jordan has completed the Three-peat with the Chicago Bulls, and is announcing his switch to baseball at a press conference. Then the scene pans into the sky, into space, and thence to Moron Mountain, where the lunacy begins.
  • For all the darkly hilarious moments in The Suicide Squad, the fight between Peacemaker and Rick Flagg is Played for Drama, and the former threatening to kill Cleo is Played for Horror.
  • Seth and Evan's Platonic Declaration of Love in Superbad is Played for Drama, and it's one of the more heartwarming examples of this trope.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990): After an overnight stay at April's apartment (during which we see Michelangelo doing a few impressions and April managing to crack an Actually Pretty Funny one involving Splinter), the turtles return home, only to find their den ransacked and Splinter missing. Raphael ends up taking it the hardest, realizing that his earlier rescue of April is what lead Splinter's abductors to their home.
  • Tommy's dad's death in Tommy Boy is a genuinely sad moment in an otherwise comedic film.
  • Tucker & Dale vs. Evil is a dark comedy in which Accidental Suicide is frequently Played for Laughs, but it has a few scenes that are Played for Drama, including when Allison tries to negotiate peace between her friends and the titular duo.
  • Unlike most of the movie, the scene in The World's End where it's revealed that Garry attempted suicide is not played for laughs.
  • Zombieland is a horror/comedy with an emphasis on the comedy, but the scene where Tallahassee reveals the truth about Buck, who was not his dog, but his son, definitely qualifies.


    Live-Action TV 
  • Barry is a comedy at heart, but it still has plenty of examples, such as the end of Season 1, in which Barry kills Moss to stop her from exposing his secret.
  • Birds of a Feather is usually a comedic series that focuses on two sisters living together after the arrest of their husbands. However, "Women's Troubles", which concerns Sharon falling pregnant, ends with a scene Played for Drama in which she breaks down whilst admitting to Tracey that she has just had an abortion.
  • Season 2 Episode 2 of Bizaardvark is about Frankie not getting much time in with her father, who is a doctor. She actually breaks down crying in the end, and her and her dad have to talk things out. And on Episode 1 of the same season, her friend Paige easily integrates into the high school scene, but she doesn't. Paige didn't even realize that Frankie was the odd one out. Frankie had to tell her. She got her hair stuck in her locker twice and struggled to open it back. No one helped her. People stared blankly at her jokes but cracked up at Paige's, and when she spilled her lunch in the cafeteria, again, no one offered to help her. She recieved blank stares again. This episode was mimicing the Real Life abandonment that someone can feel when going to a new school with old friends. (Her other friends were not present to help her either.)
  • The series finale of Blackadder may be the ultimate example of this trope, where, after a whole series of Blackadder launching wacky schemes to get himself out of the trenches before the Final Push, the order finally comes down for him and his men to go over the top. It wouldn't have ended any better even for a unit that does not include the dimwitted Baldrick and naïve George.
  • The Brittas Empire is usually a Work Com which treats subject matter as grim as death and suicide as Black Comedy. However, "The Last Day" features Brittas sacrificing himself to save Carole from a falling water tank. Although lightened by some jokes (such as the reveal that Julie has a Dartboard of Hate for Brittas and Brittas being eventually Kicked Out of Heaven for being too annoying), the staff's reactions to his death and Brittas' funeral are played dead seriously otherwise.
  • Cheers: The season 2 finale "I'll Be Seeing You" has some jokes, but the final moments of the second part are Sam and Diane's relationship going into meltdown. While there are a few gags in there, much of the scene is completely serious.
  • Despite being primarily a comedy, Community isn't afraid to get serious when it has to, and episodes like "Abed's Uncontrollable Christmas" often tackle serious subjects in interesting and often unique ways.
  • Derry Girls is usually a comedy focused on the exploits of four Northern Irish teenagers during the 1990s which treats the events of The Troubles as Black Comedy, but it does have its serious moments:
    • The final episode of Series 1 ends with a scene of the Quinns watching a report about a violent bombing that killed twelve people that isn't Played for Laughs at all, a scene emphasized by it being intercut with a happier scene of all five friends dancing to "Like A Prayer" at the school talent show.
    • The final scene of Series 3 has Claire's father dying of an aneurysm, right after Claire has her first kiss with another girl, something which is clearly devastating to Claire.
  • Frasier, despite being a sitcom with a studio audience, would - especially early on - often have completely serious scenes with no jokes, including the first episode having a vitriolic argument and mostly humorless argument between Frasier and Martin. This got pretty heavily downplayed after the first season, and the show generally made more of an effort to blend the show's comedy with the dramatic beats. Did still show up from time to time, such as the Season 10 arc where Niles goes in for heart surgery.
  • The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air is a very comedic show that even breaks the Fourth Wall at times. In the episode "Papa's Got a Brand New Excuse", Will's father returns after 14 years, and Will is heartbroken when he leaves again.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia is a Black Comedy centered around five Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist "friends" who are horrible people. However, the episode "Mac Finds His Pride" deals with Mac trying to find himself as a gay person and it's played very seriously. The episode ends with him finally coming out to his dad and performing an interpretive dance to express himself but is rejected. But it also has Frank, seen as the most depraved member of the group and who in the entire episode has been uncaring in Mac's plight, showing legit empathy for Mac and applauding his performance.
  • Night Court is a comedic look at a New York City arraignment court (which, ironically enough, was once called the most realistic court show on T.V. at the time). Harry's frequent pronouncement of "Fifty Dollars and time served" was almost his catchphrase. One case even featured Wile E. Coyote put on trial for harrassing the Road Runner (it was that kind of show). However, lest anyone think it was all laughs:
    • One early episode had Harry reveal that he'd once stolen a car and taken it for a joyride. He'd intended to take it back, but he lost control and crashed into a liquor store. His (we would later learn) adoptive father never lived long enough to see that Harry matured and became a judge, instead of a hoodlum.
    • Harry is left with no choice by existing law but to evict a mother and son from their apartment. The son is subsequently shot trying to rob a liquor store. Harry is nearly driven to quit. It's ultimately Dan who convinces Harry not to quit with a rather moving speech about Harry was a good, impartial, and fair judge.
    • Hooker with a Heart of Gold Carla B thinks Harry is interested in her because he's nice to her, and waits for him in his chambers in a state of undress. When she thinks she's been made a fool of, she threatens to jump from the window. It takes a sincere and heartfelt talk from Harry to bring her back down again.
  • Red Dwarf is generally a goofy Fantastic Comedy about a group of mismatched misfits in deep space, but "The Promised Land" involves a scene where Rimmer is Driven to Suicide after the Cat points out that, as he is a holographic creation of the real Rimmer, he's merely a computer simulation. What follows is a scene played almost dead seriously as Rimmer admits that he feels unloved in Red Dwarf and Lister tries to stop him from shutting himself down, eventually succeeding in doing so by using moonlight as a metaphor.
  • The generally lighthearted nature of Scrubs gives serious episodes like "My Lunch" — in which the doctors discover that the donor whose organs they just gave to several patients died not from a drug overdose, but from rabies, and they had no idea because checking for rabies is not a standard test a much bigger impact.
  • That Mitchell and Webb Look is usually a humourous Sketch Show, but the final sketch is a shockingly bleak look at the future life of Sherlock Holmes, who is suffering from dementia and is well aware of the mental degradation that he's going through.
  • The Thin Blue Line: The episode "Kids Today" from the first series has two serious moments, when Fowler is very grave indeed, and nobody else is laughing: when Fowler speaks to Goody about punching a handcuffed teenager, and later when Fowler addresses the teenagers on the camping trip about abandoning a baby.
  • Titus is a Black Comedy about the titular comedian's Hilariously Abusive Childhood, but occasionally, it does have its more serious moments.
    • "The Pit" has Titus, desperate to restore his shop's reputation, try and drag race Jay Leno as a publicity stunt... and then at the end, his car explodes, badly injuring him and putting him in a coma.
    • In "Life Forward", Erin badgers Chris into attending a seminar with a motivational speaker to deal with his unaddressed trauma from his accident. When the speaker finally breaks through to Titus, he remembers just how close he came to dying in the accident, and ends up more traumatized than before.
    • In "Tommy's Not Gay", the Running Gag of Tommy's incredible effeminacy is given a lampshade; his dad Perry is a closeted gay man and Tommy unknowingly picked up a lot of his mannerisms. When the old man finally comes out, Tommy severs all ties with him, blaming Perry for his growing up to be a Butt-Monkey.
  • 2point4 Children is usually a Dom Com about the bizarre occurrences which happen to the Porter family but there are some moments that aren't Played for Laughs:
    • "Birds on a Wire" and "Thank Your Lucky Stars" feature David being at death's door from Tetanus. Although the state of the NHS is used for Black Comedy, David's condition isn't, especially when he reveals to Bill's motorcyclist friend (now a ghost since the beginning of Series 2) that he's thinking of succumbing to Death by Despair because of the belief that his family doesn't love him, although he rebounds after his father tells him that he loves him.
    • "You Only Live Twice" features the destruction of the Porter family house in a House Fire. Although most of the family's reaction is played for laughs, mainly involving them hoping to take advantage of the insurance to get more stuff, Bill's isn't, and it's genuinely heartbreaking seeing her faced with the destruction of her home.
  • Upstart Crow is a comedy about William Shakespeare. Will's rants about travelling home from London are a regular feature. Then, in one episode, he stomps in as usual and his exasperated rant is met by stony silence. It takes him a minute to register the change in tone. And then he finds out that his young son Hamnet died while he was away. It's not Played for Laughs.
  • Worzel Gummidge:
    • The majority of "The Scarecrow Wedding" is just as comedic as most of the series, but when Aunt Sally changes her mind about marrying Worzel, he cries. He then has a philosophical discussion with the Crow Man about how he's able to be sad despite wearing his "happy head", even wanting a "miserable head".
    • "The Scarecrow Hop" is mostly a funny episode, and even Aunt Sally being sad at the beginning was somewhat played for laughs, but towards the end, there is a serious, poetic moment where the Crow Man says that Worzel and Aunt Sally should not get married, since they're better off dreaming their dreams.

    Video Games 
  • Conker's Bad Fur Day: The game is loaded with sexual humor and swearing, but at the end, Don Weaso shoots Berri to death, and Conker forgets to bring her back to life when the programmer suddenly causes time to stand still. Conker is crowned king, but he's still miserable without Berri, the one he truly loved. He notes that, sometimes, you might take what you have for granted until it's gone as the screen fades to black and the credits roll.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Colors is generally the most lighthearted and comedic 3D game in the series, but the scene where Sonic and Tails discover the machine that Eggman uses to convert what looks like thousands of aliens into energy is one of the game's more dramatic and upsetting moments, especially when Tails comments when he hasn't seen their alien friend in a while.
    • The tone of Sonic Lost World is all over the place, but often keeps things on the comedic side. There's also plenty of dramatic or downright dark moments, including Eggman threatening the Deadly Six, Tails accusing Sonic of trusting Eggman more than him, Tails getting captured by the Deadly Six and Knuckles and Amy getting their life force sucked out of them.

    Web Original 

    Web Videos 
  • Kid Time Storytime:
    • The scenes before and after the readings are usually jokes involving Eileen (a.k.a. Storyteller) and her puppets/toys having silly conversations. However, after the reading of "The Jester Who Lost His Jingle", Eileen turns dead serious and tells the audience about how the book's author died of cancer.
    • The video reading "Dodos Are Not Extinct, They're Just in Disguise" is mostly just as comical as the other videos, but at the end, Eileen turns serious and notes that some extinct animals died out due to human intervention. She then adds that while some humans don't care about animals, she does, and she hopes her viewers do too.
  • VivaLaDirtLeague did a mini-series about mental health that was played far more for pathos and understanding than it was for comedy.

    Western Animation 
  • Archer is an Affectionate Parody of spy media, but it's not afraid to get serious from time to time.
    • "Stage Two" ends with the reveal that Archer still has Cancer.
    • "Crossing Over" ends with Archer realizing that his actions have consequences when his absence from Nikolai Jakov's safehouse allows Barry to kill Jakov unopposed, preventing Archer from ever knowing for sure whether or not Jakov was his biological father. Unlike the rest of episode, this realization is Played for Drama.
    • "Arrival/Departure" ends with Lana telling Archer that he is the father of her newborn child, and it's Played for Drama.
    • "Deadly Velvet Part II" ends with the reveal that the body floating the pool is not Archer's cyborg copy, but Archer himself.
  • Bluey:
    • "Copycat" starts off comical when Bluey annoys Bandit by copying everything he does, but then it becomes serious when they come across a badly-injured budgie. They take it to a vet, but it doesn't survive, and Bluey is saddened by this. The episode becomes somewhat more lighthearted afterwards when Bluey tries to reenact the entire day, including the budgie's death, with Bingo playing as the budgie. However, Bingo didn't get the memo that she's supposed to pretend to be dead, and so she continues flapping about. Bluey accepts that there's nothing she can do about the miscommunication, much like there's nothing she can do about the budgie having died.
    • "Rug Island" is about Bluey, Bingo and Bandit's antics when they pretend to live on a desert island, but then it becomes sad when Chilli gives Bandit his bag and he says he has to leave the island. Bingo and Bluey decide to let him go back to his old "home". It may be just a game, but it's still portrayed as poignant.
    • "Yoga Ball" is about the sisters and Bandit playing rough, goofy games, but there's one serious moment when Bingo lies down under the tree's porch and silently weeps when she feels like Bandit's been too rough towards her.
    • "Daddy Robot" is a silly episode about Bandit pretending to be a robot, but at one point, he "powers down" while sad music plays. It's quickly followed by the Mood Whiplash of Bandit farting loudly.
    • “Onesies” is about Chili’s sister Brandy visiting and buying the girls onesies to wear and Bingo attacking everyone pretending to be a cheetah, then comes the reveal why Brandy was so reluctant to visit, because she can’t have children of her own and seeing her sister’s daughters reminds her of that, especially since Bingo looks just like her when she was a pup.
  • Futurama is mainly a wacky, satirical sci-fi comedy, but it's not afraid to pull at the heartstrings on occasion.
    • "Leela's Homeworld" introduces Leela's parents, who turn out to be mutants who gave her up and passed her off as an alien so she could have a normal life. When Leela discovers them, she assumes that they killed her real parents; her parents don't contradict her, and are willing to have their own daughter kill them rather than burden her with the terrible truth. Fortunately, Fry comes just in time to straighten things out, and Leela is just happy that she finally met her parents, no matter what they are.
    • "Jurassic Bark" might be the best known example. Fry discovers the fossilized remains of his beloved dog Seymour, and wants him revived. Just as he's about to, Prof. Farnsworth analyzes the fossil and determines that Seymour lived a long life. Fry assumes that meant he went on with his life and forgot about him. The ending reveals that the opposite was true: Seymour never forgot Fry and spent his entire life just sitting outside his home, waiting for him to return.
    • "Game of Tones" revolves around Fry having to go into his memories of December 31st 1999 to remember a tone he heard which would be needed for saving the world. At the end of the episode, as a gift from Nibbler for doing so, he's given an opportunity to see his mother again (which he had wanted to spend time with all episode) in her dreams. The end of the episode ends with a heartwarming moment of them having a final moment together.
  • The Little Rascals: Early in "Cap'n Spanky's Showboat", Captain Smokey tells Darla and the boys the sad story of how declining tourism led him to retire from steamboat piloting. Cue Pete's Howl of Sorrow.
  • Many Looney Tunes shorts make use of this.
  • The Loud House:
    • "A Grave Mistake" is mainly a Black Comedy episode, dealing with the death of a chicken and his botched funeral. However, when his funeral is redone, it's played seriously, complete with sad song by Luna.
    • "Insta-Gran" is mainly a funny episode focusing on Pop-Pop (the Loud children's grandfather) getting an overly-nurturing girlfriend. However, one scene towards the end reveals that the reason she's overly-nurturing is because she has never had friends or children all her life despite wanting them desperately.
  • Dragons: The Nine Realms: Despite its generally light-hearted tone, depictions of characters, especially Tom, nearly dying do happen from time to time.
  • Ready Jet Go! is usually goofy and light-hearted, but "Beep Has the Blues" is rather sad and one scene in particular stands out as being quite serious. The kids find that their rover pal Beep doesn't feel like playing. Via video call, they find out that she has a sister on Mars named Boop, who is really sick, and the two of them are unsure about their future. This is the reason for Beep's sadness. Everyone is properly worried about the situation, even the happy-go-lucky Jet. This scene adds depth to the show because it demonstrates that robots have feelings too; it makes you feel sorry for a pair of rovers.
  • The Simpsons:
    • In the early days of the show, Bart was noted for being "an underachiever and proud of it." This actually bites him in the butt in "Bart Gets an 'F'". He is in serious danger of failing and being held back. For the first time in the series, we see real fear and frustration from Bart, who actually puts in the effort. And when that doesn't pay off, and he gets an "F" on his test, there probably isn't a dry eye in the audience, and Bart is crying, to the point where even his archnemesis teacher, Mrs. Krabappel is sad for him. Fortunately, he shows applied knowledge, and it earns him a couple of extra points, allowing him to pass. You can see it here.
    • The two-parter "A Serious Flanders" is a parody of quirky "prestige" crime dramas like Fargo. While it has its fair share of laughs, the overall tone is more serious and dramatic than the typical Simpsons episode, with several regular characters getting killed in gruesome ways.
    • "Pixelated and Afraid" has Homer and Marge getting lost in the woods and having to survive in the wilderness. While there are a few jokes, the situation is largely Played for Drama.
  • South Park: This is a show that is well-known for its raunchy, over-the-top sense of humor, but it's not afraid to be serious sometimes.
    • "Woodland Critter Christmas" is a parody of a typical Christmas special, but there's a sad moment when Stan is tricked into killing a mountain lion who keeps foiling the birth of the Antichrist. Then her cubs show up and mourn over her, much to Stan's horror.
    • "Stanley's Cup" has some dark humor because of the fact that the fate of Nelson the Littlest Cancer Patient depends on whether or not his hockey team will lose, but the Detroit Red Wings win and beat the shit out of the team. Nelson then mutters, "No...hope..." as he passes away right then and there.
    • "Broadway Bro Down" is mostly comical with the plot about musicals that convince women to give their partners blowjobs, but there's a short, somber scene with Shelly weeping in her room after her boyfriend Larry has drowned in the theater thanks to a flood that Randy accidentally caused.
    • "The Cissy" is mostly a silly episode, dealing with Cartman pretending to be transgender to get a private bathroom, and Randy pretending to be Lorde without anyone knowing who he really is. However, it takes a turn to being more serious when Stan finds himself confused over where he belongs due to the new bathrooms and Randy's double life. Sharon talks to Randy and says that people should be allowed to express themselves in a way they feel comfortable with — which (somewhat) fixes Stan's problems.
    • "Put It Down" deals with Tweek's anxiety and Cartman constantly threatening that he will commit suicide, while never actually doing it. The first half of the episode is relatively comedic, but then a young boy is graphically run over by a distracted driver and dies. The next day, everyone mourns his death at school. Later on, the scene where Craig talks Tweek through his anxiety, and he finally processes his emotions, is played completely straight.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: "The Pizza Delivery" is a mostly humorous episode, but when SpongeBob finally delivers the pizza to the customer, the customer is a Jerkass to him and complains he didn't bring his drink and rejects the pizza. This causes SpongeBob to burst into tears, so Squidward gets revenge on the customer by throwing the pizza in his face.
  • What If...?:
    • The episode "What If... T'Challa Became Star-Lord?" is a generally humorous episode, like one of the movies it's based on. However, the scene in which T'Challa finds out that his home world was never actually destroyed and that his crew had been lying to him all this time so he'd stay with them is a rather emotional moment.
    • The episode "What If... Thor Were an Only Child?" is the most comical episode of season 1, which is about Thor throwing massive parties across the galaxy. However, the ending takes on a surprising turn when Infinity Ultron and several of his robot minions come crashing through a portal, causing even Uatu the Watcher himself to react with shock.