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Denser and Wackier

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Mr. Howell now has the power to fly
The role of Mary Ann is now being played by Kareem Abdul-Jabar
Ginger is 500 feet high
She is made entirely out of zinc
I don't remember her being
that way in the first season
Radio Free Vestibule, "Something's Wrong with Gilligan's Island"

The Tone Shift a show goes through when its plots become increasingly exaggerated and cartoonish. Most often happens with shows whose initial premise is mundane, and ostensibly could take place in the real world, begin to gradually take in tropes from more elaborate genre fiction until the show is at a point where it no longer resembles its pilot episode at all. This is similar to Cerebus Syndrome, except that instead of working on tone this trope increases the density and zaniness of literal plot elements, often requiring a greater Willing Suspension of Disbelief and viewer concentration level in order to succeed.

This trope is typically used as a ratings grab. For a show that's losing appeal, it's much easier to instantly come up with wacky plot elements than it is to invest time in more complex character nuance. As with much Executive Meddling, this motivation doesn't exactly have much basis in reality — most long-running shows either don't undergo this process at all, or do so only when they're about to be canceled. Oftentimes, fans appreciate good consistency in tone. It must be added that it's very much distinct from Lighter and Softer since it's zany comedy that becomes the dominant trait rather than dropping a dark angle altogether. In fact, depending on the work, it can even overlap with Darker and Edgier if the wackiness takes the form of Black Comedy.

Shows up fairly often in adaptation, particularly Animated Adaptations, as this is an easy way to demonstrate how a show is different from its parent program.

If the author takes advantage of established series elements that have gathered over time, then it's Continuity Creep.

Often a reason for Jumping the Shark, or, in some cases, Growing the Beard.

Compare Hotter and Sexier, Reverse Cerebus Syndrome, Kudzu Plot, Bloodier and Gorier.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • This happened to manga works of Fujio Akatsuka a lot. His comics such as Osomatsu-kun, Moretsu Ataro, and Tensai Bakabon were always comedic (although Ataro was originally more dramatic), but they both started out as being down to earth, but gradually became more and more insane with nonsensical, slapstick-heavy gags. In addition, this happened when all three promoted a Breakout Character and eventually pushed the main characters aside.
  • The 100 Girlfriends Who Really, Really, Really, Really, Really Love You already starts out far crazier and sillier than typical harem series, then the craziness only intensifies as the manga goes on and adds even more girlfriends. The one-two punch of Kusuri's and Hahari's introductions is a major turning point, showing most anything is on the table, particularly girlfriends.
  • The Black Cat manga started out with its deviations from "realism" being mostly limited to creative liberties taken with gun use. Then the plots got more and more convoluted, and by the end science with downright supernatural effects was commonplace.
  • Cells At Work! White Brigade: While some of U-1146's fellow Neutrophils had some silly moments in the original Cells at Work!, White Brigade expands on that idea... and some of these stone-cold killers are utter Cloudcuckoolanders in their down time.
  • In Demon Slayer: Kimetsu no Yaiba, with the Demon Slayer Academy universe being devoid of any serious events and drama found in the main series, the setting was left completely free to focus and expand on the comical bits present in the original source; that way the Academy short segments are pure slice of life and comedy, taken even further by the official spin-off turning it into a full comedy series aimed at little children.
  • The Doraemon Film Series can get pretty dark and serious at times compared to the Slice of Life-manga it's based on, but then there are these:
    • Doraemon: Nobita's Little Space War has the gang traveling to a planet of Lilliputians to help said planet's president reclaim office from a dictator. They shrink themselves using Doraemon's Shrink Ray in order to blend with the locals, only to lose their gadget halfway through (thanks to being stolen by The Dragon), but in the climax the Shrink Ray's effects wears off, at which point Doraemon, Nobita and everyone else turns giant-sized, and the movie becomes a kaiju spoof with everyone stomping the villains' army underfoot. Quite a far cry from previous movies dealing with dinosaurs, sea monsters and netherworld demons.
    • Doraemon Nobitas Diary Of The Creation Of The World sees Nobita trying to complete his summer homework assignment, with a futuristic "World Creation Set" Doraemon got for him just for the purpose. It's a No Antagonist story with Nobita playing God, but because of his carelessness, Nobita's own created world gets overrun by hostile insect-people who somehow escapes into his reality.
    • And then there's Doraemon: Nobita and the Spiral City, an adventure set in a planet of Living Toys, thanks to a gadget called a Life Key bestowing sentience to various inanimate objects. Then Shizuka's stuffed monkey stole the Life Key before using it to animate a Colonel Sanders statue, an election poster, a lab skeleton and a Manneken Pis replica (all who becomes supporting characters and even participates in the final battle). To top it all off, the film ends with the animated Manneken Pis enlarged by Doraemon's Big Light and defeating the villains by peeing on them.
    • Doraemon: Nobita and The Space Heroes, an installment of the series which inexplicably enters Superhero Episode territory. Nobita and friends tries making their own toku, and Doraemon uses a gadget to grant everyone temporary superpowers before they meet an alien asking for their help, which leads to everyone fighting some silly-looking alien invaders (the leader which looks like a human-sized Muppet).
  • Dragon Ball: Zigzagged for Dragon Ball Super. The show is definitely wackier than most of Dragon Ball Z. The sense of humor is closer to the original Dragon Ball and it even has a gag episode. At the same time, Super has some of the darkest moments in the franchise, with the Future Trunks Saga and its Cruel Twist Ending, and the Universal Survival Saga and its premise.
  • JoJo's Bizarre Adventure:
    • The series began as a more traditional shonen manga/anime with supernatural elements and the occasional "Bizarre" feat in part 1 (Phantom Blood). It started taking this approach with part 2 (Battle Tendency) and has kept at it ever since, becoming more self-aware in how bizarre the series and fights actually are.
    • From the creative ways Joseph and Caesar use their Hamon, the fact one of the reoccurring characters is a Cyborg Nazi, one of the villains is a crybaby, and is part of a trio of tall, bulky, Aztec super-vampires that strike more poses than either Dio or Jonathan in Phantom Blood... culminating in the main villain becoming an Aztec, glam-metal-style, screaming bird-vampire who constantly licks his lips.
    • In terms of superpowers, they become progressively more specific and nonsensical. Part 3 (Stardust Crusaders) introduces flashy but tame abilities such as Super-Speed, Fire and magnetism, culminating in a villain that can stop time. Part 4 (Diamond is Unbreakable) mixes things up with powers like weaponized Onomatopoeia and an artist who gains total control over you if you see his illustration of the main character of his best-selling manga franchise. A pair of high school students also eat at an Italian restaurant and after one of them scratched a softball-sized chunk of dead skin off their shoulder, and having their eyes water violently, they figure the chef might be trying to kill them (he wasn't).
    • Part 5 (Golden Wind) introduces a Mafia Caporegime capable of slipping objects into people's hands and mouths without them realizing it, who halfway in 1v2s a dude who rapidly ages anything that isn't cold and his brother armed with a lethal fishing pole. Then Part 6 (Stone Ocean) begins with our protagonist feuding with her cellmate, who proceeds to shrink her and then stuff her body into a dead rat. Later, a prison guard that uses her abilities to give our protagonist an extreme case of short-term memory loss. Also rainbows (that turn people into snails).
  • Lupin III:
    • The art style of the Lupin III: Part III series is this to the rest of the franchise. It says something when a character who is known for being just this side of possible evokes an "Are they smoking something?" feel. While the plots are no weirder than in the past, the new 1980's style made a lot of fans give up before the character designs become more consistent later in the show. Even then, there's still a ton of Off-Model animation that doesn't help.
    • Of the TV specials, Seven Days Rhapsody is a particularly goofy one, with tons of sight gags, zany jokes, and occasional running commentary from the characters throughout the whole thing. Even The Comically Serious Goemon can't keep a straight face at times.
  • One Piece has always been a wacky and whimsical story, but it gets even weirder once the Straw Hat Pirates enter the setting of the Grand Line. In that stretch of ocean, there are far more Devil Fruit ability users and far crazier phenomenon like zombie islands and flora that spew ridable soapy bubbles. It gets taken to an even higher level of strangeness in the New World half of the Grand Line; where islands made of desserts, weather that rains lightning nonstop, and secret laboratories filled with futuristic sci-fi tech all become nigh common sights. In comparison, all the outlandish Grand Line wonders somehow make the story's starting setting of the East Blue look mundane. The adventures only get more unbelievable and exotic as the Straw Hats progress.
  • Pokémon: The Series:
    • Advanced Generation is noted for this, having zanier plots in filler episodes, as well as Meowth having frequent boss fantasies.
    • The Sun and Moon arc is noticeably a cartoony Slice of Life school series filled with Surreal Humor (mainly from Samson Oak) reminiscent of the original series, including the return of the Running Gag of James being attacked by a Pokémon (in this case, his Mareanie) out of affection, as well as Ash's considerably more cartoony characterisation compared to his more serious minded one from the previous XY series.
  • Sailor Moon's third season, S, has a reputation for being the dark season. And it is... but it's also the point where the show's slapstick silliness goes into overdrive, the monsters start becoming ludicrous, and the minions start becoming affable. It certainly helped that this season was directed by Kunihiko Ikuhara,note  who went on to build a career out of making shows with dark and shocking content juxtaposed with ludicrous premises.
  • This is the main reason some people get turned off by Samurai Flamenco. It starts out as a slice of life. After episode 7, being a Tokusatsu hero becomes Serious Business.
  • Most of Sorcerer Stabber Orphen's second season changes the fairly serious tone of the first one for lighthearted adventures and slapstick humor.
  • Yakitate!! Japan, already a fairly comedic series out of the gate, goes completely insane as the series goes on. Originally, really good bread just causes a comedic reaction from the taster, but over time, said reactions become so extreme that it causes the entire fabric of reality to come unravelled, sending people on a round trip to the afterlife, turning them into animals, causing someone to go back in time and prevent the death of his mother, altering the real-life book the chapter is printed in and in the Big Bad's case, turning them into a monstrous human-bread hybrid.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh!:
    • An In-Universe example is the Blue-Eyes Toon Dragon, a Toon version of the Blue-Eyes White Dragon. Seto Kaiba is not amused to have Pegasus turn his trademark monster into an animated abomination with Popeye biceps. There's also Toon Summoned Skull, which is somehow even creepier than the original, especially when it gets flirtatious.
    • The Kaiba Corp Grand Prix filler arc, compared to the other filler arcs, and even the canon ones, which generally have little to no wackiness whatsoever. Not to mention that this is fresh off of the more serious DOMA filler arc. Also, how can you take a non-anthropomorphic wolf dressed in old lady clothes that attacks by eating the opponent's monster in one bite seriously?
    • Yu-Gi-Oh! SEVENS is easily the wackiest and funniest series in the franchise so far. SEVENS has all the trappings of a surrealist comedy, and it shows, particularly when it comes to Large Ham Gakuto and Luke and the thoroughly bizarre decks that are used by the side characters at times (including ramen ninjas, Younger and Hipper versions of older female monsters, and Post-Apocalyptic Mad-Max style beast warriors in the first ten episodes alone).

    Comic Books 
  • The first half of Batgirl (2011) is overly dark and gritty, what with the downcast tone, bloodthirsty, psychopathic villains and Barbara Gordon struggling against her PTSD. The second half is more light-hearted, colourful and whimsical, featuring a recovering, happier Batgirl moving out of Gotham and fighting mostly eccentric baddies.
  • Marville has an example that's weird because the increased wackiness is the result of the comic trying to be serious and philosophical. The first two issues are a Shallow Parody of comic books. From the third to fifth, the protagonists travel back in time looking for God, then find someone who might be Him and witness the origins of life, dinosaurs and primitive humans (with the first man being Wolverine) while spewing nonsensical "science".
  • The two issues of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles Adventures, written and illustrated by Milton Knight, are more cartoony, bizarre, and surreal compared to most of the other issues. The art is like the Fred Wolf cartoon if it were drawn by John Kricfalusi and Max and Dave Fleischer.
  • Big Trouble in Little China is this compared to the movie. There's more of an emphasis on the comedy aspects of the story, Jack Burton is less Straight Man and more The Fool, the Masquerade is so paper thin that it seems everyone must be idiots for not noticing that magic and monsters are all around them, and Jack is able to screw with and get the better of the villains much more easily.
  • Several of the Batman comics from the 1950s and '60s are very bizarre and surreal; some stories involve a magical being named Bat-Mite who's Batman's biggest fan and a Reality Warper, others include stories where Batman becomes a toddler and fights crime, Batman and Robin being turned into paper-thin beings by a multicolored monster, Batman becoming a genie, etc. Justified by the fact the anti-comic book crusade that led to The Comics Code forced DC to tone down the violence and the seriousness of the earlier years.
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye is this compared to IDW's other Transformers titles. The book focuses more on the Ragtag Bunch of Misfits and their misadventures than it does on the plot, and silliness abounds. While there are still plenty of reminders that this is set in the same universe as The Transformers: Robots in Disguise and The Transformers: Dark Cybertron, this is also a book where the universe is saved thanks to a semi-colon, someone is affected by a metafictional bomb that causes him to believe he's a comic book character, the crew reacts to unexpected time travel by watching Back to the Future, and having an existential crisis is considered a rite of passage.
  • Unlike other Transformers and G.I. Joe works, the premise of Transformers vs. G.I. Joe feels very much like a Silver Age comic, including Jack Kirby-esque artwork.
  • Scott Pilgrim was always set in a world with video game-like mechanics, but the early volumes downplay those traits. The first two Evil Exes are the most obvious "superpowered" characters but they only appear in-person in their respective battles. Then Volume 3 alone reveals that the world has save points and extra lives, has a man who gets superpowers just for being vegan, there's a "Vegan Police" after said man for cheating his veganism, and Honest Ed's is treated like some sort of Eldritch Location by the main leads (but the background characters shopping there seem to be just fine). A bonus short strip between Volumes 3 and 4 reveals that Volume 4's Arc Villain has the power to make posters come to life. In Volume 4 proper, the same Evil Ex turns into animals after being sliced in half, one character is shown to be able to slice a bus in half, and an Enemy Without version of the main character is introduced.
  • Vampirella:
    • The Warren run had the "Vampi goes to Hollywood" sub-arc. Technically still horror stories, but... no.
    • The 2017 Dynamite series is even wackier. A lot of bizarre things happen in this story without explanation or context. It's weirder than anything else featured in Vampirella by far.
  • The Unbelievable Gwenpool was already about a superheroine who was actually just a girl from the real world who gets trapped in Marvel's comics, and whose eventual powers turn out to be weaponizing fourth wall exploitation. Yet this already loopy material is tame compared to Gwen's next title, Gwenpool Strikes Again, where she's even more of a Talkative Loon Meta Gal, and uses her fourth wall powers to create surreal situations such as her scaring the artist so his coffee cup would spill on the comic.
  • Clifton is a Franco-Belgian comic about a retired MI6 agent who does private detective work and faces off against Nazi survivors, criminal organizations and the like. Despite the serious, down-to-earth tone, it has some comedic moments, but later albums veer it into territories of weirdness never seen before. A descendant of Napoléon Bonaparte wants to get revenge on England, so he engineers and releases a chemical that forces drivers to drive on the right side of the road. In Napoleon's next appearance, he bombs weddings so that England's population growth will eventually drop to zero.
  • While The Simpsons was already an outlandish and zany show (though that itself was a result of this trope - see the Western Animation folder), the official comic book based on the series went even further, with much more in the way of overtly supernatural or impossible plotlines that the show itself generally doesn't resort to outside of Treehouse of Horror episodes or the occasional throwaway gag.
  • The original run of Captain Carrot and His Amazing Zoo Crew! set on Earth-C was deliberately silly in a World of Pun with call-backs to classic funny-animal comics, but it still followed the basic plots you'd see in other comics. Since the Zoo Crew's reappearance on Earth 26 following The Multiversity, subsequent writers have made them into a Zany Cartoon team instead. To compare, Captain Carrot's first heroic deed in 1982 was stopping an out-of-control plane with pilots incapacitated by Starro from hitting the airport; in a 2019 appearance, an anthropomorphic sun has hypnotized the people of Earth and Carrot solves it by giving it a hug and telling it it's appreciated.

    Comic Strips 
  • Candorville: This is probably better than Cerebus Syndrome as a description of what's happened. Formerly a slow-paced Doonesbury clone with a bit of Magic Realism thrown in, it later introduced vampires, soul-eating demons, and at least two factions competing to rule the world—but even the deaths of characters are still Played for Laughs.
  • In The '60s, Dick Tracy started introducing a ton of sci-fi elements, including "Moon People". Once original author Chester Gould left the strip, they were quickly written out. The only remnant of the era is Honeymoon Tracy, the daughter of the Moon Queen and Dick's adopted son, Junior Tracy, but we don't talk about who mom was. In 2013, creative team Joe Staton and Mike Curtis reintroduced Moon Maid via cloning. The other moon people are gone, though, their city in ruins.
  • FoxTrot went this route. The drawing style was always cartoonish, but in the early years the characters and storylines were well-grounded in reality. Starting in the '90s, the style of humor became increasingly cartoonish and all traces of realism vanished. Interestingly, its creator still resisted ever having Jason's pet iguana Quincy engage in Snoopy-like adventures or "talk" but remain a simple lizard.

    Eastern Animation 
  • Masha and the Bear was never the most realistic cartoon around, but the first two seasons were quite down-to-earth, with a few supernatural things happening like a wish-granting goldfish or a Flying Broomstick. By the end of Season 2, episodes not only became more fast-paced and zanier, but more supernatural things started to appear in the series, like aliens, a Genie in a Bottle, Living Toys, etc.
  • Treasure Island (1988): Unlike the other adaptations, this version of Treasure Island is more comical, featuring a lot of cartoony gags and slapstick humour thrown in.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • An American Tail: Fievel Goes West most definitely qualifies for this trope, what with the rubbery animation and any of Tiger's scenes, both courtesy of Amblimation note . A stark contrast to the first movie, which is a musical adventure about hard times (i.e. immigration, separation, and a war between mice and cats).
  • The Fox and the Hound is a pretty dark and somber movie about childhood friends being torn apart by society's expectations of them, with the only comedic moments coming from a few scenes with the comic relief birds. The sequel, The Fox and the Hound 2 is MUCH more lighthearted with lots of over-the-top slapstick comedy, and the plot is about Copper joining a singing dog band.
  • The Ice Age film series. The first two movies have a lot of comedy and their share of silly moments, but they don't go too over the top. The plots are fairly serious and believable enough (well, as believable as one can get in a movie about talking animals). The second has far less drama than the first one but does keep the dark comedy and the shadow of death over the main characters making it a restrained, partial example of Lighter and Softer. By the third film, they have become this. Even the scenes with Scrat get more cartoony over the course of the films.
  • Tangled has a follow up short, Tangled Ever After, which is 7 minutes of mostly slapstick, while the original spreads out the slapstick over the longer running time.
  • Frozen's follow up Frozen Fever is a lot sillier than the source film, especially given the consequences of Elsa's powers this time causes mischief instead of danger.
  • The Alpha and Omega series starts off with the fairly serious first movie, which focuses on the eponymous social standings within a pack of wolves. The DTV sequels where main characters Humphrey and Kate have three pups, while still starting off fairly grounded in reality, gradually get less so until eventually, the movies carry increasingly odd and cartoonish plots revolving around slapstick, pop-culture references, ghosts, wolf real-estate, and even dinosaurs.
  • Unlike the other adaptations of what is a fairly serious pirate story, Treasure Island (1988) is more comical, featuring a lot of cartoony gags and slapstick humour thrown in.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • The 21 Jump Street movie is much, much more comedic than the series it is based on which was more dramatic in tone.
  • The original Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy is pretty silly, with its lampooning of local news, '70s-related gags and the brawl between the news teams. The sequel, Anchorman 2: The Legend Continues, cranks it up to the max, including a subplot involving Ron Burgundy adopting a pet shark after being blinded, to the final battle, which includes a soul-sucking Stonewall Jackson and Harrison Ford turning into a were-hyena. Needless to say, this trope is in full force.
  • Back to the Future Part II. Although the Crapsack World of 1985-A takes the film into darker territory than its predecessor, II is this for the trilogy. While the first and third movies are relatively straightforward Fish out of Temporal Water stories in existent time periods, II ups the adventure quota with multiple Set Right What Once Went Wrong scenarios that require multiple time jumps. The different time periods here all feature more fantastical elements than in the other movies; it starts with the protagonists journeying into what was then the distant future (with a lot of broad comedy aimed at contemporary '80s culture), then to the aforementioned alternate crapsack timeline, followed by a jump back into 1955 that has two temporal-fish Martys existing at the same time. The film also starts the franchise tradition of the actors playing multiple generations of the McFly and Tannen bloodlines, rather than just playing the younger or older versions of themselves.
  • Beverly Hills Cop is a fish-out-of-water action comedy. The first sequel is more of the same. The third, however, ups the zaniness. The comedy, while there's less of it, is wackier, and often integrated into improbable action sequences. There's even a gadget that's like something from a James Bond film and a novelty gun that belongs in a Bond parody.
  • Blues Brothers 2000 compared to the original The Blues Brothers. While the original is an over-the-top comedy, it's far more realistic than the sequel, which features undead horse riders flying through the air during a musical number, a voodoo priestess who turns several soldiers and police officers into rats, and the band temporarily turning into zombies.
  • The Bowery Boys movies went from gritty urban melodramas with a substantial dose of comedy to broad and outlandish slapstick adventures with plenty of Applied Phlebotinum.
  • Bride of Frankenstein might very well be the first self-aware horror film, and while it's still a dark film with deep themes and genuine terror, it also works as a black comedy. This is a huge change of pace from the original Frankenstein, which is straight horror. Director James Whale purposefully wanted to give the sequel a different tone to stand on its own.
  • A similar trajectory was followed by the Death Wish films; the initial installment was a dark, sobering take on the Vigilante Man, who vomits out of disgust when he first kills a man. By the third, he's mowing down horde of criminals with a minigun.
  • Die Hard has John McClane going from "everyman action hero trapped with baddies" to "Made of Iron action hero wreaking havoc in various places". It gets even worse in the fifth movie, which goes to Russia and barely gives room for John to be a Deadpan Snarker.
  • While Doctor in Clover had begun the Doctor... Series' descent into more physical comedy, Doctor in Trouble has a much different tone to the earlier films such as Doctor in the House (1954), feeling almost like a Carry On film with jokes about scantily clad women, female impersonators, and Undercranked sequences.
  • The Emmanuelle soft-core film franchise started off being based upon an autobiographical book, but later became increasingly wacky, with plots including extreme plastic surgery, time travel, and cannibals. They even made Emmanuelle in Space.
  • Escape from New York has a trashy, indie-comic-book vibe, but is ultimately a science fiction Spaghetti Western with a dark tone and relatively subdued action. Escape from L.A. involves much bigger guns, Snake getting attacked by sharks, Snake attempting to remain alive by playing basketball, and a generally sillier tone where Snake becomes The Comically Serious.
  • The first Evil Dead film is a fairly straight horror movie, playing every scare and monster as a serious threat and highlighting its cast as "normal" college age kids in over their heads. The second movie mixes in more slapstick and cartoony elements, using over-the-top sets in place of actual locations and turning Bruce Campbell's Ash Williams from an everyday guy into a shotgun wielding quipmaster by the end of the movie. Then, in the third film, he's fighting cartoon skeletons and an evil undead version of himself in medieval Europe through the use of Three Stooges-style slapstick and references to '50s sci-fi films.
  • The Fast and the Furious series. The Fast and the Furious is pretty much a straight cop drama that revolves around the world of street racing. Starting with 2 Fast 2 Furious, the focus shifts to the cars themselves, to the point where The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift is almost entirely about the racing. Then, with Fast & Furious, it takes another change in tone, this time becoming an over-the-top action flick, while Fast Five somehow takes it even further, to the point where it's just another completely absurd action movie that's closer to something like The Transporter. They took it even further with F9 literally going into space with some of the cast, putting it in Moonraker territory both in setting and in far-fetchedness.
  • The original Godzilla is a deadly serious anti-war movie which uses a giant monster as a metaphor for the horror of the atomic bomb, obviously a risky subject in Japan just 9 years after WWII. The followup, Godzilla Raids Again, is also pretty dark but not as well-made or successful, so the series was put on hold for a while. When it finally came back after seven years, it was in the form of King Kong vs. Godzilla, which is a very goofy comedy that happens to have giant monsters. The series would flirt with serious themes every now and again for the next two decades, but in general it played up the comedy and silliness more and more as time went on, hitting its peak in the early '70s, which saw Godzilla flying and TALKING, basically turning the franchise into a live-action cartoon. When the series was rebooted in the '80s, it went back to the serious nature of the early films and has mostly stayed there ever since.
  • Gremlins is a dark comedy about frightening, mischievous creatures with plenty of violent and disturbing scenes that, along with Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, was the reason the PG-13 rating was made. Gremlins 2: The New Batch, despite being rated PG-13, is much sillier than its predecessor. It features fourth-wall jokes and pop culture references, and pokes fun at the first movie. The film even starts with the opening shot of a Looney Tunes cartoon where Daffy Duck steals the spotlight from Bugs Bunny.
  • The first Guyver film adaptation is a bizarre half-example. There were clearly two conflicting visions for the movie: one as a straight adaptation of the very dark and violent source material, and one as a more lighthearted, slapstick-y adaptation geared towards children. The result is a film that would regularly and awkwardly transition from violent deaths to goofy slapstick with cartoony music. The sequel treats the first as canon, but all such silliness is dropped (the subtitle says it all: "Dark Hero").
  • A Hard Day's Night is a Mockumentary on The Beatles. Help! has no attempt in trying to resemble something real, with a loony and globetrotting plot about one of Ringo's rings being essential to a cult, that goes surreal at random points (says something the film was made when the band was starting to abuse drugs). And let's not delve into Magical Mystery Tour, a bizarre attempt by the band to make a film by themselves, "a camera in the hand and lots of drugs in the head".
  • The first John Wick movie is a straightforward mafia revenge story about the titular retired hitman who’s hunting down a New York mob boss’s son after said son kills John’s dog (which was his wife’s dying gift). The sequel, on the other hand, is about a member of a SPECTRE-esque world-ruling Shadow Government calling in a Blood Oath as part of a plan to ascend to the syndicate’s “High Table,” and they are being opposed by a organization of spymaster hobos. One of the more memorable scenes has John and a bad guy casually walking through a subway station shooting at each other, nobody else realizing there’s an entire gunfight going on thanks to their Hollywood Silencers. The third movie has a motorcycle chase with katanas.
  • This happens with the villains in The Karate Kid series. John Kreese in the first film is over-the-top but is pretty grounded, basically being an intense teacher having been dialed up to an extreme, while Chozen in the next film is even more over-the-top but it's still believable given who and where he is. Terry Silver in the third film, however, is just a complete cartoon character who acts like a Captain Planet villain pretending to be a James Bond villain who is so ludicrously EVIL and constantly grinning and cackling that it's hard to take him even remotely seriously. Cobra Kai even pokes fun at this when Silver returns in season 4, where even he admits he was out of control, that he was doing all the cocaine at the time, and depicts his return to Cobra Kai like something akin to a mid-life crisis:
    Silver (In Cobra Kai): Back in the 80's I thought conquer the world. And I came pretty close. I was so hopped up on cocaine and revenge I spent months terrorizing a teenager over a high school karate tournament! (Laughs) It sounds insane just thinking about it!
  • Magic Mike is a cynical Slice of Life showcasing how empty the titular Mike's lifestyle as a stripper actually is. The sequel is more of a comedy Buddy Picture with Mike and his old friends going to a stripper convention. Even when promoting the movie, Channing Tatum described it as "what people expected the first movie to be."
  • While previous installments in the Marvel Cinematic Universe had their moments of wackiness, Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) consists almost entirely of odd and crazy set-pieces. It does have its moments of seriousness, but overall the film does not take itself too seriously. Having a talking raccoon and a sapient tree being some of the leads tends to do that.
    • The MCU doubled down on this with Thor: Ragnarok, now lacking the series serious moments and being far more lighthearted than its predecessor Thor: The Dark World. It focuses more on comedic elements and colorful Scenery Porn, making it closer to an 80s sci-fi adventure like Flash Gordon than a modern action movie.
  • Moonraker is a shining example of this from the James Bond films, as is the slow Villain Decay of Jaws from genuinely menacing Psycho for Hire to Dumb Muscle and finally outright comic stooge.
  • The NeverEnding Story III: Escape from Fantasia lacks the whimsy of the first two movies, has absolutely no dramatic weight to it, and the antagonist is, instead of a legitimately threatening menace, Jack Black as the leader of a gang of bullies. However, this movie isn't canon to the original book like the previous installments (each adapts a different half of the book).
  • A Nightmare on Elm Street: The supernatural killer from the first film is named just Fred Krueger, and is taciturn, creepy and imposing. In the sequels he becomes known as Freddy and turns at first darkly comedic and then just comedic, killing his victims in increasingly zany and bizarre ways (the top is probably using the Power Glove to kill a kid who gets sucked into a videogame), and acting much more like a cruel jokester.
  • Piranha 3D is definitely a tongue-in-cheek horror B-movie, but relatively little of it is played for outright comedy; Piranha 3DD, on the other hand, has a lot more jokes and a lot fewer scares.
  • For a sci-fi/action/horror series, the first three Predator movies take themselves seriously and aren't too outlandish (Predator 2 is a bit more over-the-top, but not to a comical degree). The Predator instead has quirky characters (a whole bunch of them are literally on the way to the loony bin), weird plot developments (for starters, an autistic child who manages to understand Predator technology is very important) and an increase in comedic content, particularly in the dialogue being non-stop snark.
  • After the first two Rocky movies, Sylvester Stallone took over as director, leading to Rocky III and especially Rocky IV. The third movie has Rocky fighting Mr. T and Hulk Hogan, while the fourth one starts with a robot at Paulie's birthday party. Then the series gets serious again with Rocky V.
  • Sharknado is already a wacky movie, from the silly premise to the cheesy characters and acting and the over-the-top ways they kill off both humans and sharks. But Sharknado 2: The Second One takes it even further, with ridiculous celebrity cameos, the folks at The Weather Channel giving straight-faced reports on the shark storm, the hero of the first film becoming a badass who at one point is sucked into the Sharknado and forced to chainsaw through the sharks in midair, and an even greater Sharknado of Puns. And that's not counting how Sequel Escalation hit the following movies, with bigger Sharknados that are "enhanced" with environmental effects (including nuclear radiation) and even used for time travel!
  • Aside from the monstrous villains, SHAZAM! (2019) is basically a superhero comedy, acting as this to the rest of the DC Extended Universe movies.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (1990) is fairly grounded and subdued, more resembling the very mature original comic. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles II: The Secret of the Ooze, on the other hand, is basically a live-action episode of the cartoon, down to expy versions of the bumbling henchmen Bebop and Rocksteady - if not worse, as the Turtles don't use their weapons as much as items such as yo-yos and sausage links. The next movies try to be less goofy by comparison (and one is a literal cartoon!), only returning to this sort of cartoonish styling with the 2014 reboot and especially its sequel.
  • Venom: Let There Be Carnage drops the self-seriousness of Venom (2018); thus, instead of being an unintentionally funny straight-up adaptation of the The Dark Age of Comic Books, it's a downright comedic sendup of those 90s comics with Venom, centered around the Odd Couple dynamic between Eddie and Venom, alongside the comedy-horror brought by the unhinged (in both performance and personality) villain Carnage.
  • It's interesting to see how the X-Men Film Series in general slowly gets closer to the source material over time, as the producers feel more confident about their broad appeal. Back when the first X-Men came out, it was at the very start of the 2000s-2010s comicbook movie craze, and rather subdued both in tone and looks despite featuring characters with superpowers: just compare the black costumes adopted by the X-Men and Cyclops making fun of "yellow spandex" to something worn by, say, Olivia Munn as Psylocke in X-Men: Apocalypse, and an early villain like Magneto compared to Apocalypse. Dark Phoenix even brings in aliens. And yet it remains serious, because the anti-bigotry message is always at its core, even when it's not the main plot. So not more comedic, just more cartoonish.

  • The Cyber Dragons Trilogy: As compared to the Agent G series that precedes it. There is a lot more humor related to the worldbuilding, pop culture references, and characters snarking at one another. It also includes a talking electric sheep named Harrison (Ford).
  • Zig-zagged with Discworld. While the series gradually becomes more sophisticated in terms of characterization and theme, Pratchett also begins to riff on a wider variety of subjects. Thus, the humour and story elements move more towards "what would be funny here?" rather than purely commenting on fantasy tropes.
  • Doctor Who Expanded Universe:
    • Doctor Who New Adventures's mission is to push the envelope on stories that can be told in novel form, but none do it quite like the novel Sky Pirates!, which even replaces the usual blurb with:
      Stories deeper, wider, firmer, plumper, perkier, yellower, crispier and with more incredible bad jokes than you can shake a stick at, the New Adventures take the TARDIS into previously unexplored realms of taste and stupidity.
    • The Eighth Doctor Adventures start off full of lush gothic horror and realistic drama. By book five, they start suddenly retconning the TV series and getting a bit... odd. By book six, all realism is unceremoniously thrown out the window and the novels collectively become insane.
  • Robert McCloskey's classic Homer Price stories. The early ones, most famously the one about the doughnut machine, are gentle comic tales of small-town American life...but from there on out the stories keep getting steadily more outlandish, to the point where the final four stories (collected in a second volume, Centerburg Tales) teeter on the brink of surrealism.
  • The Tales of the City series starts off being very slice-of-life. The most outlandish things in the original book are D'orothea's efforts to pose as a black woman and the pedophilic private eye. The second book, in contrast, has a cannibal cult. And then the third book has one of the main characters having a sexual encounter with a real-life closeted movie star (whose name is thus left blank) and a plot involving Reverend Jim Jones.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The first half of the series consists of relatively realistic stories about Greg Heffley, his family, and his school life. Starting with The Long Haul, the series moves away from its realistic tone, including giving the family a pet pig who wears pants and walks on his hind legs, a hot tub crashing through the roof, Greg windsurfing into a nude beach, a camp serving stew with decades-old leftovers, and many Contrived Coincidences.
  • Anne Carson's Red Doc> is this compared to its predecessor, Autobiography of Red. While Autobiography of Red is a work of subdued Magic Realism in which the most overtly weird element is the fact that the main character has wings, Red Doc> verges on Bizarro Fiction: it includes a character named 4NO, a flying musk ox, a psychiatric clinic disguised as a garage hidden inside a glacier, and a colony of "ice bats" who live in a structure called Batcatraz. Interestingly, it's also a bit darker than Autobiography: amidst all the weirdness, characters have to deal with issues like PTSD and the death of a parent.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 30 Rock gets sillier with each season. Back in the pilot, Jack's official job title being "Vice President of East Coast Television and Microwave Oven Programming" is about the only especially unrealistic aspect of the show. In later seasons, Surreal Humor in the form of weird, off-the-wall stuff (up to and including having one character be literally immortal) is a regular feature of the series, and convoluted, interrelated multi-episode arcs are common...and the series is widely accepted to be much better for it.
  • 1000 Ways to Die is initially pretty macabre and makes for somewhat uncomfortable viewing. Later, the series becomes much less serious, portraying the victims as buffoonish punching bags like stoners, narcissists and perverts and having many over-the-top elements to make the tone more comedic.
  • Played for Horror in the Are You Afraid of the Dark? episode "The Tale Of The Wisdom Glass". Allan and Jimmy find themselves trapped in a realm where whimsically attired adults rigidly enforce whimsically bizarre rules.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow starts as a gritty and semi-realistic show before being tied in with more standard superhero spin-offs like The Flash (2014) and Legends of Tomorrow.
    • Legends of Tomorrow starts out similar in tone to other Arrowverse shows, though with more pulp sci-fi, and received somewhat mixed critical reviews. As it finds its own identity, however, the show becomes more and more wacky and comedic, with outlandish plots and characters, all while simultaneously being praised for having better handle on emotionally weighty moments, relationships, and character arcs. Accordingly, the beginning of Season Two is also often cited as the show's Growing the Beard. This was fully cemented in the third season finale, which features a climactic Kaiju battle between a demon and a stuffed animal summoned by the power of teamwork/friendship, complete with wrestling moves and an impact cloud in the shape of a heart. Season 4 continues on the trajectory of silly, despite having monsters, demons, and Hell. Meanwhile, Season 5 starts with a mockumentary about the main characters confronting Rasputin, and culminates in an entire episode worth of television parodies, where the main characters get trapped in a Friends ripoff, a fake Downton Abbey, a sapphic version of Star Trek: The Original Series, and a Mister Rogers' Neighborhood spoof. Despite the silliness of the concept, all of these end up helping at least one character find closure in parts of their season-long character arcs, or resolve relationship issues.
  • The Avengers started off with the intent of becoming a gritty crime drama. Around the time Emma Peel takes over as Steed's partner, plots become a lot more cartoony and the lead spies much quippier. By the time the series shifts to colour, the show features plots like man-eating plants, housecats trained as assassins and an actual shrink ray. Uniquely for this trope, it's the wackier seasons that are more fondly remembered, and any attempts to bring the series back to its 'realistic' roots have been met with hostility.
  • Croatian Friends - inspired sitcom Bitange i Princeze (translated, "Punks and Princesses") is a good example, as it started out as your typical sitcom with wacky misunderstandings, kooky characters and comedic plots. Then, in its later seasons it got more and more wacky, with plots parodying The Da Vinci Code and even H. P. Lovecraft (the Necronomicon was an important part of one episode).
  • Black Mirror. The show, an anthology of cautionary tales about the negative impact technology can have on our lives, makes for quite harrowing viewing most of the time, but even it has some lighter episodes:
    • "USS Callister" explores fantastical technology far removed from contemporary technologies—how humans might mistreat artificial intelligences that are capable of passing the Turing test, and how that would be immoral, and indeed ultimately detrimental—and it throws in cheeky Shout Outs to sci-fi fiction and humour to lighten things up.
    • "Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too" starts as a dark drama about a pair of teenage sisters who feel isolated after the death of their mother. One of the sisters seeks solace in a robotic toy based on her pop idol Ashley O, and it brings out obsessive behaviour that causes friction between the two girls. Meanwhile, Ashley herself is a drugged-up depressive who loathes her current career path, but is kept under the thumb of her abusive aunt/manager. Then Jack blows the little robot's Restraining Bolt and it develops Ashley's full personality, and then the film becomes a Parody of a Disney Channel Original Movie (as well as a scathing Take That! at Disney's past controlling treatment of its former child stars — especially Miley Cyrus, who plays Ashley here).
  • Boy Meets World in Season 7, especially when you compare it to the more serious Season 6. While it has several serious episodes and some realistic plotlines, it also has a lot of convoluted and wacky plotlines, especially the Jack and Eric ones. For example, one plotline involves Eric gaining the ability to see into the future whenever he sneezes and Jack trying to use this power to win the lottery. Luckily, this is the show's final season.
  • Charmed's first two seasons lean more towards Melodrama with the supernatural stuff as mainly a bit of flavouring. Season 3 makes it more action-packed and tongue-in-cheek, with many of the more outrageous magical stuff getting Lampshade Hangings. By the fifth season, several episodes literally revolve around one of the sisters getting turned into a magical creature that requires a Sexy Whatever Outfit. This is reversed in the seventh and eighth seasons which are more serious - but not as much as the first two.
  • Cheers started out as a fairly slow-paced, relaxing, yet witty sitcom. With a lot of the plots in the early seasons being fairly grounded, and most episodes only taking place within the bar. As the series went on however, and especially after Diane left the show, the plots got increasingly more absurd, the jokes per minute increased in numbers, plenty of sight gags started popping up. The show's change in tone is best exemplified in the Season 10 finale "An Old Fashioned Wedding", essentially an over-the-top slapstick comedy with jokes moving at a breakneck speed centered around an utterly ridiculous plot.
  • Community gradually became more outlandish and cartoonish through its first three seasons, with a growing number of genre parody episodes and Greendale descending in to chaos over mundane matters being treated as Serious Business. By Season 3, there was an episode exploring alternate timelines that may or may not have created actual parallel realities and an episode with the gang getting in to a highly advanced video game. Season 4 dialed it to such an extent that when it rolled back in Season 5, they referred to Season 4's events as the "Gas Leak Year." This is all lampshaded when Jeff says that the main characters went in to Greendale as real people and came out as "mixed-up cartoon characters."
  • The transition between William Hartnell's Doctor Who and Patrick Troughton's tenure. The Edutainment stuff is pretty much gone; Series 6 alone features clones, an I Am Your Father twist, memory loss, dinosaurs in modern London and space pirates. The show shifts away from hard sci-fi to focus more on monsters, and elements of psychedelia begin to feature more prominently: This is particularly apparent in "The Krotons" and "The Mind Robber". However, in a zig-zagging move, though the Doctor is a lot sillier under Robert Holmes' pen, horror serials become a lot more common. The First Doctor only had three horror stories in his whole tenure: The Bottle Episodes "The Edge of Destruction" and "Mission to the Unknown", and his very last story, "The Tenth Planet" (which debuts the Cybermen). Conversely, just under half of the Second Doctor's stories are horror-based.
    • Another example is the period in the mid-to-late 70s. Under pressure of having even less money than usual, constant BBC strikes, the prima donna Tom Baker being allowed to do whatever the hell he wanted, a script editor who loved Surreal Humor and would constantly add it to everything he touched, and Moral Guardians cracking down on the usual Doctor Who strategy for generating cheap horror (namely graphic violence and screaming), the writers unleashed a parade of truly demented monster ideas that were selected based on cost-efficiency. Critics of the time found the show's tone too flippant to make you care about anyone, but too dark to be funny. Ironically, one of the stories filmed during this period, "City of Death", is considered to be one of the best, if not the best ever Classic Who story.
  • Downton Abbey starts to do this, after a fashion, in Series 2. While Series 1 is a fairly light-hearted Edwardian comedy of manners, the second series features many Soap Opera elements, including a murder frame-up, interlocking love triangles, miraculous recovery from horrific injuries, and all manner of other bizarre occurrences. Semi-justified in that Series 2 is set during and immediately after World War I—life was strange then.
  • Family Matters starts out as a mundane sitcom, but succumbs to camp as a result of Steve Urkel. It begins with Steve's chemically-induced alter-ego "Stefan Urquelle", and keeps escalating until Steve travels to outer space! In fairness, Steve Urkel being the harbinger of these changes is likely incidental, but the down-to-earth family sitcom nevertheless ends with genetic engineering, cloning, and teleportation being regular elements of the plot.
    • Key & Peele examines this in a sketch called "Family Matters". Carl's actor Reginald VelJohnson (played by Peele) confronts an ABC executive (played by Key) about the changes in the show. At first the exec defends "Urkel-mania" as being good for the ratings, but in the middle of the shouting match, he abruptly shoots himself. It turns out that "Jaleel White" doesn't exist, Steve Urkel is real, and he's an evil telepath who has seized control of the show for his own purposes. The rest of the cast and crew are his terrified hostages for six more seasons.
  • The first season of Fantasy Island has more mundane plots (a woman fakes her death for Attending Your Own Funeral) that a rich man like Roarke could logically pull off with a cast of actors and special effects. Starting in season 2, it becomes clear these people truly are being sent back in time, physically transformed, or thrust into fantastic circumstances, and Roarke may well not be human. By the later years, the show doesn't even bother hiding this is truly magic, to the point an episode can open with people rendered invisible and Roarke and his aides simply accepting it as normal.
  • Farscape starts off as a Wagon Train to the Stars that is only slightly wackier than usual, but from the last few episodes of the first season the writers really started pushing the boat out both in terms of Cerebus Syndrome and in how crazy the situations they put the characters into became. Among mainstream TV shows, it's probably rivaled only by the Doctor Who franchise for how close canon episodes get to what are usually Crack Fic concepts. And it mostly does this while still keeping the stories emotionally significant. According to Word of God, the series was intended to be an anti-Star Trek, kind of like The Real World in SPACE!. The dysfunction was written in from the start, and much of the increasing craziness is a result of the writers testing just how far they could push the boundaries.
  • Frasier did this right — after a first season that was very well-written, but quiet, sensible, slow-moving, and rather Cheers-ish in style, the second season amped the show up into a full-blown theatrical Farce and perfected its trademark blend of ludicrously overblown plots, highbrow wit, and slapstick, which it marinated in (and scooped many, many Emmys for) until it started losing momentum in season nine.
  • Friends gradually becomes this after the Ross/Rachel breakup in S3. The characters become more cartoonish, the plots become sillier (particularly those involving Joey and Ross), and drama is significantly cut down. By S6, the show has more-or-less completed its transformation from "off beat sitcom about six 20-something New Yorkers trying to get by in life" to "fast-paced sitcom about six buffoonish New Yorkers acting silly/goofy for 30 minutes."
  • The last 2 seasons of Full House have several subplots that fall into this trope, i.e. the guys hawking Jesse's new invention that keeps hair out of someone's face, the family getting addicted to Michelle's new Super NES game, Jesse trying to keep his blood pressure down even though there's an ostrich in Kimmy Gibbler's yard, etc.
  • Season one of Gotham is mostly a slightly-odd Police Procedural with Batman Mythology Gags, and its villainies are limited to corporate and municipal corruption, serial killings, mafioso power-struggles and the occasional hitman. By season two it's widened its scope to include multiple Mad Scientist-types, crazy cult conspirators, tech-enhanced supervillains and mutants and, in season three, Hate Plague terrorism and elements of the supernatural. By season four, even over-the-top stuff like Poison Ivy's killer plants feel like Gotham City business-as-usual.
  • Happy Days: The actual shark-jumping episode is a good example. Picture the premise of the show — how the Cunningham family was so gosh-darn swell back in the fifties. Now, reconcile that image with Fonzie water-skiing over sharks to overcome his fear of them, and you can see how Jumping the Shark became a Trope Namer.
  • Henry Danger's first two seasons started out as a mostly typical superhero/crime-fighting family comedy show that you could expect from a sitcom from a Nickelodeon, but from Season 3 onward to its final season, Season 5, the show became noticeably zanier, weirder, and ridiculously quirky and farcical.
  • How I Met Your Mother starts out a mostly grounded sitcom, with only a few really overly silly elements. As it goes on, (roughly around season 2/3), it starts to become a lot more over-the-top and cartoonish, also intentionally banking on the Unreliable Narrator elements to show things Ted were describing in-universe as a lot more outlandish than they actually were. The slapstick and silliness of the plots are ramped up, while the "narrator" excuse is increasingly downplayed, making the wackiness seem more like an inherent part of the world.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia starts off as a fairly straightforward, if dark sitcom with realistic plots. Starting with Season 2, however, the show becomes far more manic and over the top, the violence gets kicked up a notch, the characters all go from somewhat tame Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists into some of the worst people in the world, and the humor gets dark enough to the point where it starts to resemble a less surreal, live-action version of South Park. It also gets way funnier as a result.
  • Kamen Rider Den-O would come into mind. Kamen Rider shows before it are generally more serious in tone.
  • LazyTown: The show is this in relation to the plays which it was based on. Although the original plays were still cartoony in some aspects like the set design, they were much quieter and lacked the slapstick and zany humor LazyTown is known for. Season 4 features many plots that are outlandish and strange, such as going to space ("Let's Go to the Moon"), encountering trolls ("The Baby Troll"), and time travel ("The Last Sportscandy").
  • Lois & Clark begins as a sort of office comedy interspliced with Clark's super heroics. Though the main duo stay more or less grounded in domestic reality, their surroundings become more akin to the Silver Age comics, with goofball villains (including Shelley Long, Drew Carey, Sylvia from The Nanny, and culminating in the guy from Night Court sporting a giant latex head and calling himself Dr. Klaus Mensa), time travel, magic, and clones galore.
    • Smallville followed a similar path in its later run: Whereas the show's first half focused on sleepy Americana life being confronted by X-Files weirdness (even featuring a show called "X-Styles" with disgraced muckraker Perry White), the second half was very much in tune with the old comics.... Though some of its takes on the classic DCU characters were weirdly dark and violent.
  • Married... with Children became this once the second season rolled around, with one episode focusing on Al going to extremes to kill a mouse. The shift in tone becomes more noticeable as soon as Jefferson marries Marcy after Steve left her, and stays that way for the rest of the series.
  • Night Court increasingly becomes more fueled by jokes than by plot.
  • The American version of The Office rolls with this, though not quite as bad as some other shows. The first two seasons (really the first season, but what was technically the first season was stunted) portray a fairly realistic day-to-day workplace with a Pointy-Haired Boss, who, while on the extreme of what should be firing offenses, is fairly realistic in his incompetence, but later seasons see a more ironclad Contractual Immortality take place for many characters, especially Ryan, Michael, Dwight, and (in one case) Meredith.
  • Once Upon a Time's gimmick in Season 1 is that there is a realistic Storybrooke plot to run alongside the fairy tale flashbacks each episode. Once the curse is broken in the Season 1 finale, the fantasy stuff comes to the forefront.
  • Riverdale began as a fairly down-to-earth murder-mystery/teen drama, but as the series went on it introduced more and more outlandish elements like organ-harvesting rings, cults and openly supernatural elements, like superpowers, alternate dimensions, ghosts and time travel.
  • Roseanne famously loses the plot in its ninth season, after the Connors win the Illinois State Lottery, and Roseanne Barr thought it would be clever to make the last season as wacky, farcical, and meta as possible. As Brad Jones put it, imagine if the final season of All in the Family suddenly became a later season of Family Matters.
  • Scrubs started as a very subdued Slice of Life medical sitcom, more similar to shows like The Royle Family and The Office (US) with the nominal gimmick that the lead character narrates his life. Over time, it transitioned into a more standard American sitcom and then into something almost as wacky as The Simpsons.
  • Seinfeld became this once Larry David resigned from writing duties after Season 7. The plots are more cartoonish and fast-paced, the characters are even more jerkish and self-centered, and the humor is less subtle. A good example of how much the show changes in its last two seasons is the Season 8 episode "The Bizarro Jerry", which centers on Elaine hanging out with somebody who's literally Jerry's exact opposite, Jerry dating a woman with the hands of a man, George concocting a manipulative-even-for-him scheme to get into an exclusive women's club, and Kramer getting a job.
  • Space: 1999 had two seasons that were the polar opposites of each other. The first season was slower paced with subdued acting and dealt with cerebral issues, often delving into metaphysics and existentialism. It was more Space Odyssey than Space Opera. Characterization was fatalistic and they often felt powerless and resigned to not understanding the the things that they often encounter. Many episodes ended with more questions than answers. Some episodes had aspects of Cosmic Horror, again with the characters unable to proactively affect a turn of events. Season two upped the action and gave the characters recurring quirks such as Tony's failed attempts to make beer. The characters are far more proactive with John Koenig being a Guile Hero and Action Hero when he needs to be. He and Alan Carter are now Heterosexual Life-Partners when they weren't particularly close in the first season. Helena becomes The Heart and now there also alien comedy relief sidekicks, The Spock and fanservice. Most of the episodes have the Everybody Laughs Ending. The second season had a more Wagon Train to the Stars format for a good reason. Fred Frieberger took over as the executive producer and reformatted the show in the same way he approached the the third season of another famous wagon train to the stars for which he was also executive producer.
  • The affectionately named "Turd Season" of Star Trek: The Original Series. All those fans who wrote letters to keep Star Trek on the air must have been flabbergasted that this was the result of their efforts:
    1. "You're dead, you half-white!" "I'll take you with me, you half-black!"
    2. "Spock’s Brain" is the peak of goofy plot lines, cheesy dialogue ("Brain and brain!") and Shatner going full Shatner. This episode is lampooned in a Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode, "The Magnificent Ferengi", by having an alien die and then his corpse be reanimated via remote control.
    3. That one and "The Way to Eden" (Don't be such a Herbert!) are always the ones people point to as too stupid to watch...
    4. ...but "And the Children Shall Lead" deserves a nomination for guest-starring Melvin Belli, a celebrity defense attorney, as a melting alien known as Gorgan. Speaking of which, Kirk's meltdown in that episode needs to be seen to be believed.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation has Planet Scotland! According to the Memory Alpha wiki, there was a large demographic of middle-aged women that watched TNG; this episode is a failed attempt at rewarding them with something related to their interests. There's really not much to say besides everyone acting like they're from the most cliche romance novels, the accents are abominable, and Beverly Crusher has sex with a space ghost while reading a pornographic story about her grandma. At least they did better than Space Ireland did.
    • Star Trek: Voyager (a.k.a. the one with the salamander boinking episode). First, it's the second follow-up to The Next Generation, starting one year after Next Gen went off the air. Deep Space Nine was running concurrently, but it began before Voyager did. Right off the bat, you have franchise fatigue, because there’s not a lot of ideas that haven't already been covered by then. Second, unlike TNG or DS9, VOY was tethered to a network. UPN’s core demographics were skewed less toward sci-fi and more toward low-brow entertainment. (This is why we eventually got The Rock in an episode, as UPN hosted WWE at the time.) So it not only had to contend with network demands, like getting more visually-appealing actors, but also expectations from a network audience who weren't predisposed to liking Trek. Hence, Voyager skews lighter, with episodes such as Tom Paris buying a spaceship, which has a brain interface (plastic headband) for controls? Which results in him falling in love with the spacecraft, which kidnaps him and tries to kill his girlfriend. Which is the plot of Christine, obviously.
  • Stranger Things: The first two seasons stayed in a zone somewhere between the 80's output of Steven Spielberg sci-fi/fantasy and Stephen King horror. Season three broadens the tone to include a lot more comedy and other material not known for the small town setting.
    • There is increased luxuriating in the 80s setting, with a mall opening up and the characters spending time there as the Local Hangout or Burger Fool. This makes the costuming more blatant and the women (Karen in particular) sporting much more elaborate, brightly-colored hair, makeup, and outfits. Some extras look like they're attending an 80s-themed party.
    • The "Russians under the mall" plot is also a more cartoonish concept, taking cues more from 80's action movies complete with the uniforms and thick accents. Relatedly, Hopper develops a rivalry with a Russian enforcer who is presented almost like a Terminator.
    • One-note comedic characters like Murray and Erica are afforded much longer screen-time, appearing in multiple episodes.
    • Dustin and Suzie singing the theme tune from The Neverending Story in the manner of a musical interlude — pop-cultural touchstones were previously presented much more subtly.
  • Super Sentai has two: Gekisou Sentai Carranger and Engine Sentai Go-onger, both of which are car-themed Affectionate Parody seasons.
  • Supernatural flip flops this trope. While the show pulls no punches in reminding you how crapsack it is it also has its wacky moments when a breather episode comes up. Like when Sam and Dean hunt a Monster of the Week pretending to be Dracula. While in full black and white. Then the Channel Chasers episode, and a crossover with Scooby-Doo. No, really.
  • The Ultra Series has a few as well, most notably Ultraman Taro, Ultraman Max and the two Ultraman Zearth movies. Like Carranger and Go-Onger above, they were both intended to be Self-Parody entries of the franchise.
  • Ugly Betty becomes a full-blown farce starting about Season 3.
  • Played with in Warehouse 13. Many of the artifacts have terrible consequences, and they're never unwilling to be serious. However, some of the artifacts start to become even more and more silly as the series goes on, among them an artifact that traps people inside a Mexican Soap Opera, Walt Disney's pen, and an artifact that summons a bunch of dancing showgirls that chase down people (while singing and dancing.)

  • Autechre's 2014/2015 live sets are this, to the extent that it applies to abstract electronic music. It's their most chaotic and club-oriented release of the elseq era, even sounding at times like their warped take on brostep.
  • Eminem's album Encore is this when compared to his original trilogy of albums. His first two albums are comedic in tone but also exceedingly violent and dark with boundary-crossing bigotry used for humour; his third mostly cuts the cartoonish violence in favour of less exaggerated real violence. Encore is filled with puerile, playground humour inspired by Grossout Shows and plenty of goofy song concepts such as Eminem being a stage hypnotist ("Big Weenie") or delivering weepy childhood confessionals about killing Superman by putting his sticker on his fridge next to Darth Vader ("Rainman").

    Professional Wrestling 
  • Summer of 1999 into the early fall, WCW was beginning to hemorrhage viewers and money. They needed all the help they could get. Vince Russo was brought in as head writer to turn things around. 2000 was the What you are now watching is fake era when people were ripping up scripts, discussing finishes, etc. Russo was in a cage match where he fluked his way into the world title, but he wasn't sold as a threat, and the overarching commentary was, Goldberg won't follow the script! The script for this show which is fake. And it's so fake that the head writer scripted himself to be champion! Another time, Booker T won the World Heavyweight Championship out of a box. The direction was also manic. The Texas Tornado Ladder Match from the November 8, 1999 episode of Nitro lasted only 7 minutes, including entrances. Another show had 9 matches, none of which lasted over 3 minutes, and at least half had run-ins. Russo had to average about 2 ridiculous Gimmick Matches every 3 weeks, including four different varieties of pole matches. WCW 2000 was entertainingly bad, but he kind of threw a concrete block on a drowning promotion which needed a life preserver.
  • Japan Women's Pro-Wrestling, aka JWP Joshi Puroreso, always had lighthearted elements but got wackier in 1992 after the majority of the serious "shoot" wrestlers left to form LLPW, with such highlights as "Princess" title belts, the Non-Ironic Clown Command Bolshoi taking charge of proceedings, and implied romance drama spilling into the build up of open weight bouts. Unfortunately, a lot of crises comparable to the LLPW pullout (and in one case worse) seemed to come upon the promotion at regular intervals, spoiling some of the intended atmosphere. Eventually financial disputes came to a head and JWP seemed to die for good, only for Pure J to rise from the ashes and basically be the same thing.
  • Frontier Martial-Arts Wrestling got a little denser as it incorporated the more outlandish and fantastical gimmicks of rival promotions W*ING and IWA Japan following their unsuccessful "invasions", but really got wacky when Kodo Fuyuki took over and enforced his "Sports Entertainment" vision while also cutting back on the garbage wrestling the promotion was famed for.
  • Jaguar Yokota's promotion, Yoshimoto Women's Pro Wrestling Jd', or JDStar, took this approach after three years of virtual aimlessness following Yokota's virtual abandonment of it, trying to bring a more Girly Girl fanservice alternative to the traditionally serious joshi puroresu scene. (They may have had a point; the first act in Joshi to get over without gaijin aid was The Beauty Pair, even if the Tomboy Crushgals later blew them out of the water.)
  • The "Puroresu Love" era spearheaded by Keiji Mutoh was a drastically wackier shift for All Japan Pro Wrestling, who had the most serious pro wrestling in Japan, possibly the entire world, from a presentation standpoint. Mecha-Mooks, wannabe Mexicans, public kidnappings and Gorgeous Georges suddenly became the norm, all in the name of new advertising and sponsors following the loss of the original network spot to NOAH.
  • IWA Japan itself went this route when its own founder Victor Quiñones basically admitted defeat to FMW and returned to working for them before returning to Puerto Rico to try the IWA brand again there. Rather than continue to fight for the garbage wrestling audience, IWA Japan tried to stay alive by incorporating more comedy into its shows (and to be fair, it did live for another decade or so).
  • Pro Wrestling ZERO1, as a result of losing its direction in the wake of Shinya Hashimoto's hiatus and death, became a very cosmopolitan promotion where anything can be expected. Wagers involving food, or dancing. Wrestlers in bull (or cow) themed armor, a cosmic solider, sumo matches...mostly just straight pro wrestling between "regular" athletes, but by no means limited to it.
  • Carlito from his "Caribbean Cool" gimmick onward. From his overly exaggerated Puerto Rican accent, to his increasingly unkempt Afro, to his tendency to spit apples in people's faces, to a tendency to refer to himself in third person, to his brightly colored tights, to his Talk Show with Fists, this Cabana boy was a far cry from the shovel wielding man in a wife beater who first gained fame in WWC. And Carlito Caribbean Cool only got goofier as he later incorporated elements from his Gorgeous George gimmick (itself an example of this trope). However, when it came time to humiliate or hurt someone, Carlito remained as brutal as he always had been, and in fact got more callous.
  • Michelle McCool got a push in 2007 playing a down-to-earth All-American Face— who was a mostly serious wrestler and personal trainer. Likewise her heel turn in 2009 had her as a Blood Knight who did brutal sneak attacks on Maria Kanellis, Eve Torres and Melina. By the end of the year she and Layla formed LayCool. Initially a generic heel tandem, they became exaggerated versions of Valley Girls, with a more comedic edge. This in fact was better received than her previous persona, as fans found that Michelle had a flair for comedy. Layla in particular became an Ensemble Dark Horse for her affinity as The Ditz.
  • Jillian Hall was a mostly serious character until she adopted the gimmick of a Hollywood Tone-Deaf bimbo. This eventually evolved into skits of her trying to serenade the various celebrity guest hosts— and getting a slapsticky comeuppance each time.
  • Summer Rae was likewise a serious wrestler on NXT— with an undefeated streak and a habit of making sneak attacks. When she debuted on the main roster, it was as a dance partner to Fandango. As such, she changed her character to a superficial bimbo who could only get fluke wins.
  • Inverted for Alexa Bliss who debuted as a glitter-obsessed fairy princess who wore a tutu to the ring. She turned heel to become a more serious Alpha Bitch.
  • Tetsuya Naito ever since he left Los Ingobernables in CMLL, and especially since he started his very own Los Ingobernables de Japon. Best known as a Hot-Blooded half of the hotblooded Tag Team No Limit prior, and for his anti Mexican stint in La Ola Amarilla, Naito suddenly became lazy. To the point he spent more time in matches trying to get away from his opponents so he could spend more time lying down than he did actually trying to beat them. However, laziness also meant he was more willing to strike a foe with a weapon and had no problem with his Ingobernables softening up his opposition, so in a way Naito had become more dangerous.

    Tabletop Games 
  • Spelljammer is much weirder than the other Dungeons & Dragons settings, taking its basic concept of heroic fantasy in space and stretching it as far as they can go. Complete with space clowns, giant hamsters, flying galleons and cosmological concepts lifted straight out of the medieval era.

  • While the '87 Cartoon was fairly dense and wacky to begin with (especially after Executive Meddling set in), the cartoon had nothing on Coming Out of Their Shells. Mutant ninjas who are supposed to keep themselves secret flaunting themselves on-stage in Glam Rock attire? Songs about pizza and stone-skipping? A villain that wants to take over the world instead trying to end all music because of a personal dislike of it? Singing about how much he dislikes music? You get the idea.

  • The G.I. Joe: A Real American Hero toyline was never realistic, but the earliest vehicles tend to be based on existing military hardware with minor changes, and the character design, while athletic, is somewhat restrained. This changed as the franchise headed in the '90s, with characters both new and old clad in bright primary colours, overdesigned vehicles and wacky sublines (such as dinosaur-hunting and ninjas) being the order of the day. For a direct comparison, view the '84 vehicle assortment with the '91 one.
  • Monster High started out as a fairly edgy girls' toyline, with somewhat mature character designs and realistic high-school plots. Over time, the franchise shifted more toward fantasy influences in design and story, and the 2016 reboot softened a lot of its remaining edge.
  • Transformers: BotBots contains tiny Transformers with wacky alt modes, such as food and gardening equipment, while also focusing on their mischief-inducing misadventures. This is a far cry from most other Transformers series, which are often about intergalactic war between two feuding factions.

    Video Games 
  • Alan Wake, a psychological horror thriller, has a downloadable sequel subtitled American Nightmare, which adds more emphasis on gunplay, contains a hammy villain, and time travel shenanigans. It's justified in the fact that the plot (and enemy) come straight out of Alan Wake's old, crappy grindhouse horrors and sci-fi horror. It's best described as Tarantino and Stephen King hanging out.
  • Banjo-Kazooie's huge sense of humor relies very heavily on Breaking the Fourth Wall, with its overall atmosphere being very silly and goofy. Nuts & Bolts still has Breaking the Fourth Wall aplenty, but overall it relies much more on traditional humor than the first two games do (to wit, the L.O.G is a Fourth-Wall Observer, who would never fit into the previous games).
  • Borderlands 2 is considerably wackier than the original, which was more of an Indecisive Parody until the DLC came out. As a good example of just how not-seriously the game takes itself, there's a quest called "Shoot This Guy in the Face". Overlaps with Darker and Edgier, however, given how much of the wackiness is undiluted Black Comedy.
  • The Call of Duty games start out as a relatively restrained and realistic war-time era shooters but grow more outlandish as they go on. An IGN article even says something in the likes of this for why the franchise would be First Installment Wins. The original employs an understated "docudrama" style, with a focus on realism and putting the player in historical battles while "work[ing] hard to make sure you felt like a small part of a bigger story, like the proverbial Cannon Fodder you really were." The current Cash-Cow Franchise goes for instead an overblown macho Summer Blockbuster starring characters that wouldn't be out of place in an eighties action film.
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert Series: The original Red Alert is a more grounded, World War II-based version of The Tiberian Series, with the Soviets as chilling Nazi stand-ins after the actual Nazis are removed from history. Then we have Red Alert 2, which introduces mind control, flying saucers, a giant brain in a tank, attack dolphins and giant squid. Red Alert 3 just drops any idea of being serious and adds in a IFV that launches infantry out of a cannon, Attack Bears also launchable from the same IFV, Animeland Japan with giant mechs, the Mister Freeze Corps, magnetic satellites, S.H.R.I.N.K. beams, and Emperor Takei. Oh my!
  • The Conduit is a first person shooter about a shadowy organization called The Trust, trying to usurp control of the United States government, and the invasion of Washington D.C. by an alien race known as the Drudge, where the main character is a surly, no nonsense government agent. Conduit 2 is a globe-hopping adventure, visiting locations ranging from Siberia to Atlantis, shooting not only humans and aliens, but at one point a giant sea monster, while the protagonist has become a wise guy voiced by Jon St. John. To drive the point home, the game concludes with a cutscene where the protagonist travels to the moon, where Abraham Lincoln steps out of a portal wearing power armour.
  • While the main gameplay of Criminal Case: Grimsborough is still serious enough (investigating murder after murder after murder), the plot quickly became more outlandish by Criminal Case: Pacific Bay, when compared to the relative grounded nature of Grimsborough. For example, Grimsborough has a Mob War, dogs being poisoned, and a Serial Killer terrorising the university, while Pacific Bay has a Church of Happyology brainwashing people, sending an alien back home to prevent his home planet from conducting an Alien Invasion, and a Mad Scientist intending to destroy the city.
  • Dead Rising:
    • With each installment, the combo weapons get more insane - the second features things like a lightsaber made from jewels and a flashlight, chainsaws strapped to boat paddles, and an electric wheelchair with machine guns. The third game allows you to make your own death-machine vehicle, including absurd combinations running on Rule of Cool like combining a motorcycle and a steamroller.
    • Off The Record, the Updated Re-release of 2 features a wacky new area- a theme park called "Uranus Zone" and several out-there combo weapons to coincide with Uranus Zone's outer space theme.
    • The Dead Rising 3 DLC released in 2014, Super Ultra Dead Rising 3 Arcade Remix Hyper Edition EX Plus Alpha, shoots for the highest density of wackiness possible, allowing for four-player co-op gameplay and parodying everything that's ever had to do with Capcom, including Capcom Sequel Stagnation, with a sense of absurdity that wouldn't be too out of place in Saints Row IV.
    • Then there's Dead Rising 4. Some of the weapon combos are much sillier, and Frank constantly cracks jokes regardless of how appropriate it is for the time.
  • While Devil May Cry 3: Dante's Awakening has a more complex plot than Devil May Cry and Devil May Cry 2, Dante himself begins to showcase his now-trademark irreverent sense of humor here, likely as a response to Devil May Cry 2 where he was constantly dead-serious. Compared to Devil May Cry 1 where he mostly had a few one-liners and stunts to demonstrate the Rule of Cool, Devil May Cry 3 features over-the-top scenes such as Dante fighting off demons shirtless while eating pizza, riding a missile like it was a skateboard, and using a motorcycle like a set of nunchucks to fight demons while riding up the side of a tower.
  • Donkey Kong Country 3: Dixie Kong's Double Trouble! has much more wacky moments in comparison to the first two titles, thanks to the Flanderization, funny enemy design, and Kiddy Kong himself. Donkey Kong 64 multiplies the wackier elements by, well, sixty-four. Before the game begins, you are treated to a slapstick-filled rap number that introduces the Kongs. Lanky Kong in particular has sillier abilities such as inflating himself to reach high places. In addition to expected places such as Jungle Japes and Gloomy Galleon, there's also Frantic Factory with its Living Toys and the majority of Fungi Forest.note 
  • Double Dragon III: The Sacred Stones.
    Dr. El Sandifer: The game plays with typical late-NES sequel sloppiness — graphics feel rushed, flat, and lifeless. But conceptually speaking, the game is completely nuts, involving running around the world collecting Rosetta Stones, of which there are apparently several now, so that they can eventually fight Cleopatra. Sadly, the plot was sanitized for the [American] release, not in the sense of censorship but in the sense of adding sanity.
  • Drakengard 3: Is filled with considerably more slapstick and Fourth Wall breaking humor than any prior game in the series, the game's story is still extremely dark, but now more blanced out with sillier moments.
  • Koei's Dynasty Warriors and Samurai Warriors. The launch titles for the "Musou" games, as they're known in Japan, mostly focus on basic armed combat on foot and some mounted combat, featuring entirely reasonable costume design. Come later titles, however, attacks are flashier, new, supernatural abilities are introduced, and costumes are more absurd. Strikeforce is possibly one of the weirdest incarnations of the Dynasty Warriors series thanks to the introduction of what can only be described as powered-up super modes for every character in the game.
  • The original Earthworm Jim is already wacky, but its sequel goes off the deep end - for example, its third level features Jim in disguise as a cave salamander floating through a pinball bumper- and pencil-studded intestine while shooting inflated sheep on his way to a nonsensical game show at the level's end. Thankfully, it actually works. After that, Earthworm Jim 3D on the N64 (developed by a different team) descends into infantile "random" gags and Bubsy the Bobcat-quality puns.
  • Fallout:
    • Fallout is generally a pretty bleak game, and while there is some humor, it's mostly quite dark.
    • Fallout 2 boosts the wackiness factor, with plenty of memes, pop-culture references, fandom in-jokes and Flat "What" moments. However, it also adds a significantly darker villain faction than the first installment's Well-Intentioned Extremist, and puts several extremely heavy themes like slavery, drug addiction, cults, prostitution and racism, that the first game only grazed, front-and-center.
    • Fallout 3, with Bethesda at the helm, tones down the humor to roughly the same level or even a bit lower than the first game (but still has its odd moments).
    • Fallout: New Vegas brings back the wackiness in full force, and even features a Silliness Switch as one of the traits you can pick (and, even without it, there's plenty of wacky elements, such as a gang of Elvis Impersonators).
      • The Old World Blues DLC is this to the rest of the game and its other expansions, being something of a send-up to 50s sci-fi B movies and featuring things like an evil talking toaster, a giant robot scorpion, and a very comedic conversation with the player character's own disembodied brain. That said, much of the humor is still very much Dark Comedy.
    • Fallout 4 is then a bit more serious than New Vegas, but still has tons of silly moments and is generally Lighter and Softer than both 3 and New Vegas.
  • Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon takes the (mostly) serious gameplay from the Far Cry franchise and turns it into an Affectionate Parody of every '80s movie ever made.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy IX compared to Final Fantasy VIII, which has a 'grounded' sci-fi type story with an all-human cast and a very brooding protagonist. IX returns the series to a Medieval European Fantasy with animal people as characters and a much more cartoony art style. That said, it still contains many dark moments and tragedies happening throughout. Its main theme is even genocide, which you get to see enacted on multiple occasions.
    • Final Fantasy X is one of the most somber games in the series, tackling themes like religious bigotry, racism, parental abuse, and a character who is prepared to kill herself to save the world. Final Fantasy X-2 has a much more upbeat, goofy tone, with a peppy J-pop soundtrack, outrageous outfits and Yuna and Rikku becoming Genki Girls.
    • The majority of Final Fantasy XIV is treated seriously with dark tones and a serious storyline. The Hildibrand side quests are so over the top in wacky hijinks and comedy that it wouldn't look too out of place in a cartoon. Word of God says the Hildibrand content was deliberately designed this way so that the player can have some laughs to break up the mostly serious mood of the game.
  • The early Ganbare Goemon games are a slightly whimsical take on Jidaigeki motifs, Breaking the Fourth Wall occasionally. It developed into an anachronism-laden Quirky Work on the Super Famicom.
  • Grand Theft Auto itself zig-zags this. It begins as a rather subdued criminal-to-power story in the 2D games and III, with an '80s soundtrack and more complex plots in Vice City; but really took off in San Andreas with crazy conspiracy theories all over, raiding an Area 51 parody with a freaking jetpack to boot, RC planes being used (albeit quite poorly), a heist on a full-blown casino; and even more. IV on the other hand goes for a more realistic and darker path, but V takes things to back to a wackier state with more conspiracy theories with Bigfoot and aliens becoming realized, complex plots of heists; among other crazy things.
  • Gundam: The Battle Master and Gundam Battle Assault already had the strange setup of 50ft tall walking death machines facing each other in 1-on-1 street fights, but the concept alone was counterbalanced by the heavy weight and feel of the Mobile Suits. Gundam Battle Assault 2 takes what the previous three games started and runs with it full throttle, having a reworked battle system that allows for Street Fighter Alpha 3-levels of action with the amount of crazy juggles and combo mix setups each Mobile Suit shouldn't even be capable of doing in the first place for the sake of Cool Versus Awesome setups. Though one should suppose that's what happens when G Gundam gets directly involved in some capacity.
  • Kuru Kuru Kururin: The sequels are noticably more comical and silly with an updated art style to boot.
  • Left 4 Dead has a group of survivors trying to get away from the Zombie Apocalypse with various special infected cranking up the horror factor in their designs and method of attacks. Left 4 Dead 2 turns up the crazy and silly by having a different group of survivors with exaggerated character traits, use of silly melee weapons like guitars and frying pans, and the new special infected looking goofy and attacking in sillier ways, like the Jockey that jumps onto a survivor's head and humps them.
  • The Legend of Zelda:
    • The Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time is a pretty straightforward, serious adventure of good and evil. Its direct sequel, Majora's Mask, is much weirder. Among other things Link learns a song from tadpoles and stuffs a plant princess in a bottle. All while trying to stop the world from being destroyed by a moon with a face. The finale takes the Mind Screw to new heights. In spite of that, it is also one of the darker installments of the series.
    • While most games in the series are relatively serious, Tri Force Heroes takes place in a kingdom that treats fashion as Serious Business, and where the heroes must save Princess Styla from being stuck in an ugly full-body leotard that she can't take off.
  • Mass Effect 3 is a very serious game about the galaxy fighting a war of annihilation against a fleet of sentient spaceships that the galaxy is losing. The first two DLCs continue this theme. Then comes Citadel, which is a very very wacky adventure where the stakes are much lower, the bad guys are hammy, the plot involves silly sci-fi tropes like evil clones, and the whole thing ends with the characters having a party. There's a reason its Funny Moments entry is nearly as long as that of the core game and the other DLCs combined.
  • Metal Gear plays like a relatively subdued action movie, with some sci-fi elements and a pinch of ridiculous comedy. The action, sci-fi and humour are all generally done more obviously and with more verve in Metal Gear 2: Solid Snake, which adds political subtext to the mix. Metal Gear Solid adds supernatural elements, like psychics and ghosts, that are just accepted as part of the universe of the games. By Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, outrageously complicated conspiracy antics and vampires become involved, and every boss in Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater has some kind of supernatural power (and explodes after being killed). By Metal Gear Solid 4: Guns of the Patriots the setting is pure sci-fi; Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker has Turing Test-passing AI, magic, singing tanks, dragons and other monsters, and MP3 players in 1974. Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes goes Darker and Edgier, with a focus on Cold-Blooded Torture perpetrated by a hideously deformed villain and a realistic prison camp as the main setting, but Metal Gear Solid V: The Phantom Pain, while still Darker and Edgier, brings back the wacky futuristic sci-fi elements in 1984 and the over-the-top conspiracy plots.
  • Metal Slug, while an over-the-top, cartoony Black Comedy, was still grounded in a somewhat realistic military setting and aesthetic, and had some more serious moments. Metal Slug 2 onwards, however, went full zany and introduced aliens, zombies, mummies, animals with guns attached to them, and an enormously Large Ham announcer, all while upping the slapstick humor and blood count.
  • Despite the storyline itself going into Darker and Edgier territory, Mortal Kombat 3 almost completely dispenses with the more serious tone of its predecessors by introducing far more cartoonish and silly Finishing Moves and significantly goofier-looking character designs, putting the series into something of an Audience-Alienating Era it would take a few new installments to get back out of.
  • PaRappa the Rapper, while not in a realistic setting in any way, has down-to-earth themes that would fall under Slice of Life (learning karate for self defense, learning how to drive to get around, working a side job to get money needed to fix a wrecked car, etc) with PaRappa learning that he just needs to be himself and never give up. In the sequel, PaRappa goes on a wacky hijinx adventure that involves saving the town from a guy that wants to turn all the food into noodles and turn everyone's hair into giant afros while PaRappa learns what it means to be mature.
  • While Plants vs. Zombies is already one of the sillier games out there, it balances its humour with some light horror elements, like the menus being set in a dark and gloomy cemetery and the nighttime levels, in some of which you can't see the zombies until they come closer. Come the sequel, Plants vs. Zombies 2: It's About Time, and the wackiness is amped up by making the entire game a time-travel adventure, which is kicked off by Crazy Dave wanting to go back in time to a few moments ago in order to eat a taco. Oh yeah, and the time-traveling is done in Dave's new talking R.V., Penny. Most worlds are set during the daytime and have the zombies wearing silly period-specific outfits, a lot of which are anachronistic for the sake of humor. The king of the silly anachronisms, however, is cavemen (well, cave zombies) existing at the same time as dinosaurs in the Jurassic era.
  • Although Rayman was never serious to begin with, the second game is Darker and Edgier than the first. The third game goes back to being dense and wacky, then the series goes beyond dense and wacky with Origins and Legends.
  • Resident Evil
    • While the first few games did have their moments of Camp, they were still fairly straight-faced Survival Horror games. Resident Evil 4 fully embraces the campiness with far wackier scenarios than in the prior games and a great many silly conversations and one-liners, the tone being more akin to a silly Hollywood action movie than horror.
    • While Resident Evil 7 was an overall very serious game, Resident Evil Village has far more light-hearted and even goofier moments. The main villains act like Saturday morning cartoon villains, The Duke is the Big Fun who will make some occasional quips, various Lampshade Hangings by Ethan (such as his frustrations with Fake Longevity, Back Tracking, and an Implacable Man that keeps chasing him in Heisenberg's factory), and the generally more over-the-top elements of the series return here when they were almost completely absent from the previous game.
  • In Rumble Roses, the storylines are full of anime goofiness, but the actual gameplay is pretty much just Professional Wrestling. For the sequel Rumble Roses XX, the goofiness bleeds over into the gameplay, with such things as Benikage's finishing move being summoning a giant frog to inhale her opponents, final boss Lady X Subsistence turning into a fighter jet, the playable bear, and the "streetfighting mode" which features Cartoon Physics.
  • Saints Row started off as a Grand Theft Auto-inspired sandbox game about gang warfare, but its second installment introduces outlandish minigames like streaking naked, driving a sewage truck spraying gunk everywhere to devalue property, riding a quad while on fire, and so on. The third game goes completely nuts, with a cyberspace level, futuristic VTOL jets and hoverbikes, a vehicle that sucks people up and shoots them out of a cannon, zombies, and so on. The fourth game takes it even further by featuring an alien invasion, superpowers that would make Alex Mercer weep with envy, weaponized dubstep and the main character becoming the President of United States. The preorder DLC pack includes patriotic hardware such as an eagle shaped jet and the "all guns in one" weapon.
  • Though the first Serious Sam isn't exactly serious to begin it with, it still has a relatively realistic art-style and cartoonish but not that out-there Standard FPS Guns. Then came Serious Sam II, which has things like a world based on fairy tales, a kamikaze parrot as a weapon and a redesign for the hero to make him more cartoonish. However, the third game goes Darker and Edgier.
  • Shantae: The first game, while not lacking in comedic moments, was a simple adventure story about a young woman on a quest for magical artifacts that took itself reasonably seriously. Risky's Revenge and onward jack up the silliness to the point that the franchise's oddball, self-referencial, fourth-wall breaking comedy is now its most defining trait. Well, after the cute girls, anyway.
  • The Sims is a typical life simulator with a little humour. Expansion packs add oddities like genies and zombies, and this eventually escalated into a full-on World of Weirdness with The Sims 2 and its expansions. Most of the true weirdness is contained in the expansions, meaning that any given copy of the games will start out as (relatively) normal, and will accumulate supernatural elements as the player installs additional expansions.
  • While the Sly Cooper franchise always had goofy moments, Sly Cooper: Thieves in Time heavily ramps up the zaniness that occurs with its scenarios, ranging from Murray seducing a room filled with guards by disguising himself as a geisha, Sly stealing a shipment of a corrupt sheriff's lollipops in order to get himself thrown in prison, and an elephant gaining hypnotic powers due to a trumpet getting stuck in her nose.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • Sonic Colors, compared to some of the earlier titles before it, is definitely more cartoony and surreal in its plot and dialogue.
    • To a certain extent, Sonic Unleashed. While still relatively serious, the game takes a very lighthearted turn in comparison to previous games, with the addition of Chip, a lot more comic relief, more cartoony cutscenes and humans designed to look more like they came out of a Pixar movie.
    • Sonic Heroes is probably the most egregious example, being much lighter than its darker, more serious predecessors and successors. It goes to a more traditional "stop Eggman from doing bad things" plot for Teams Sonic and Dark (even if the latter does have a more complex reason), and Team Rose is hunting for Sonic, Cheese's brother Chocola, and Big's pet Froggy. Team Chaotix has a more serious story on paper, but in practice it's mostly them doing silly missions like collecting bingo chips with occasional ones related to Eggman.
  • Soul Series: While this fighting game series generally takes the story quite seriously, Broken Destiny and its Gauntlet mode is basically "What if Soul Calibur IV was a gag anime?" Most characters have their personality quirks exaggerated for comedy (Xianghua is a Clingy Jealous Girl, Nightmare is Deathbringer the Adorable), Cassandra and Hilde directly address the player more than once, and the situations are ridiculous.
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • The series exemplifies this trope in that the first games involve fairly realistic (or at least familiar) premises: a carpenter trying to rescue his girlfriend from a gorilla (Donkey Kong), then a plumber clearing animals out of the sewer pipes (Mario Bros.), then a demolition crew tearing down a building (Wrecking Crew). Super Mario Bros. makes this premise a little more epic and strange in that it's a princess being rescued from a bunch of turtle sorcerers, and it involves a journey across eight worlds, but it's still fairly straightforward. Super Mario Bros. 2 goes further into the wackiness side by having a dream world setting, while Super Mario Bros. 3 makes each world wildly different from the others and adds more powerups. Since then, each Mario game seems to try to outdo the last in scale and zaniness, to the point of Super Mario Galaxy, which has the plumber soaring through space and jumping from planet to planet.
    • The two Galaxy games exhibit this. The first game has a more epic scope, with the climax of the game being played as frightening and tragic, and great emphasis is put on the atmosphere and mystery of space, even introducing a new character, Rosalina, who has a melancholy backstory and introduces philosophical ideas about life and rebirth. The second game is more in line with other Mario titles, with a comical hub world and ship captain, a typical Excuse Plot conflict regarding Bowser and cake, and a less dramatic climax, even ending on a comedic note.
    • Super Mario Sunshine is much goofier than Super Mario 64, going beyond the usual Excuse Plot to include an actual vacation story reminiscent of a Saturday-Morning Cartoon. Also, 64 features the darkest, least comedic portrayal of Bowser in the entire series, who makes Mario survive floor traps and endless stairs to get to him, and is accompanied by Ominous Pipe Organ music reminiscent of Freddy Krueger. In contrast, in Sunshine, he's relaxing in a hot tub and complaining about Mario disturbing his family vacation for his final (and only) boss fight.
    • The Mario Party series has many mini-games that were very silly in concept. Mario Party 5 cranks it up quite a bit with mini-games where you are in scenarios like catching falling scoops of ice cream on a dessert-themed Statue of Liberty, climbing a beanstalk to outer space, or swinging a mallet at others in the eye of a tornado or on what is clearly the sun!
    • Super Mario Bros. Wonder tops them all, with some of the wackiest and cartooniest animation in the series, new enemy types such as singing Piranha Plants, and a new power-up that turns the entire level you're playing in into a psychedelic acid trip. Did we mention that Mario can also turn into an elephant?
  • Team Fortress 2:
    • The creators realized that if they wanted their First-Person Shooter's gameplay and art style to match, they would have to drastically distance themselves from the feel of the first game, and take absolutely nothing seriously. It worked.
    • Done in-game after the Pyromania update with the Pyro. Any of the items Pyromania added for the Pyro, or anyone wearing the pyrovision goggles, shows that the Pyro sees their weapons as handing out rainbows, sparkles and bubbles. People laugh as they lay down to take naps while covered in dancing colors, and the landscape (of certain maps) is filled with lollipops and happy clouds.
  • The Tony Hawk's Pro Skater series started out as a fairly standard game with some out there objectives but then the next couple of games became sillier when you can unlock characters like Spider-Man and contain silly background events like a floating magic bum. Tony Hawk's Underground 2 basically combines the game with Jackass and a cartoon with the amount of slapstick and destruction that would seriously kill someone if it was a more realistic game.
  • Twisted Metal: Twisted Metal 3 and 4, universally regarded as the worst entries in the series took this to increasingly greater extremes. Previously established characters from 2 that returned in 3 were turned into cliche stereotypes who's wishes range from completely pointless like "wanting to hang with the homies" to downright silly like "wanting all the candy and ice cream you can eat". 4 doubled down on the wackiness by bringing almost an entirely new roster with such zaniness like a leprechaun driving a toy car bent on world domination who actually wishes to be taller, a garbageman who wants the world to become a dump, to a lunatic exterminator who wants to kill all the bugs.
  • WarioWare: After Mega Microgame$!, the series gradually became sillier with each consecutive installment. Which is impressive, since the first game is already pretty... out there.
  • Watch_Dogs 2 not only moves the action from grim and rainy Chicago to Bay Area, but also gives the new protagonist a meme-spewing hacker collective for friends and sets him, among others, against a movie studio shooting a very campy sci-fi movie involving a Cool Car that you have to take for a joyride.
  • Yakuza: Like a Dragon continues the series tradition of hard-hitting crime drama stories, but the battle system is changed from the usual gritty and violent beat-em-up style of combat to a turn-based JRPG format, thanks to Ichiban Kasuga being a Mr. Imagination who visualizes the scrapes he gets into as Dragon Quest-style battles. The vocations he and his companions take on are akin to a Job System, enemies embody various JRPG monster tropes (and even have an accompanying Pokedex-style phone app), calling for backup plays out like performing Summon Magic, and special abilities are over-the-top bordering on fantastical.

    Visual Novels 
  • Ace Attorney has its share of outlandishness in the beginning, but it becomes notably more extreme as the series went on. The prosecutors are the most affected by this, with Edgeworth's biggest oddity being an outdated sense of dress, while later prosecutors include a literal rock star, a convicted criminal, and a spiritualist monk.
  • Danganronpa: Trigger Happy Havoc has a relatively mundane setting, with everyone being trapped in a large high school, and relatively few plot elements that can be considered bizarre and out-there. Come Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, suddenly everyone's trapped on a series of tropical islands guarded by giant robots and one character transforms into a robot himself, the trial room is reached via a giant Monokuma version of Mt. Rushmore, and Monokuma himself has a sidekick to serve as a comedic foil against (in theory, at least.) The executions are pretty silly and full of Black Comedy in the first game, but in the second they get completely insane, including deep-frying people in active volcanoes and rocketing them into space on a giant rocket arm. The plot is still serious, but the setting is far more outlandish. Which makes sense when you find out it's all a VR simulation. The third mainline game goes for balancing out these competing approaches, both by reducing the zany and raising the darkness, and having it not be a direct sequel. How well this works, and even what type of sequel it ultimately is, will remain hotly debated until definitive answers are given, which may be never.
  • The Fruit of Grisaia started off as a pretty grounded romance visual novel with only a few hints of oddities like a bit about cellular memory being a plot device and Yuuji's often hinted job as a black ops agent. The sequel even retconned away the cellular memory thing when the writers realized it was a discredited theory. However, The Eden of Grisaia contains super soldiers, super serums, cloning, brain uploading and artificial arms though it turns out the latter two were actually lies. Kazuki is connected to the Thanatos computer system rather than it being formed around an uploaded version of her brain and the artificial arm was just a really tasteless joke.
  • While most of Princess Evangile's W Happiness fandisc routes go for the Lighter and Softer path, Konomi's route is this, with every other moment Masaya and Konomi spending together being an incredibly awkward and hilarious moment of some sort, down to Konomi just loudly proclaiming to the other main heroines that she and Masaya had Their First Time the other day.
  • Tokimeki Memorial's Yuina route is this, her route involves fighting aliens and giant mecha-robots, in an otherwise straight dating game.

    Web Animation 
  • Battle for Dream Island's 4th season, Battle for BFDI, is more fast-paced with more impulsive humor, now that episodes are shorter and released biweekly, and Four, the host, whose actions make the Announcer look tame.
  • Benthelooney when his rants/reviews were Un-Canceled. To begin with before the uncanceled seasons, Ben was a straightforward ranter who exaggerates how angry he was and adds an occasional joke, but still focuses on the subject of his rants. In the Uncanceled seasons, Ben takes a Denser and Wackier approach which is a trait flanderized in the second run of Ben Rants to the point of where, starting in 2013, his entire rants start to follow this formula.
  • Red vs. Blue was always silly, but grounded in science fiction that wouldn't be out of place in the Halo games it borrows from. That is, until Season 16, The Shisno Paradox, which introduces time travel, ancient gods and such. The high point is a cyclops portrayed by a live-action person, ensuring complaints from people who preferred how dramatic the show got as it went on instead of an inversion.
  • Sonic for Hire was already wacky to start with, but the story goes on, plot points such as running a mafia and even time travel get introduced and allow for even wackier adventures.
  • YouTube Poops are an art form of Neo-Dada consisting of video remixes that are edited from a large array of video clips. The source material can be mashed all together into a nonsensical Crossover story, or just repeat footage of the characters gesticulating oddly or apparently saying something dirty over and over and over again. By their very nature, these mashups are often edited in a way to be much crazier than their source material.

  • Homestuck started with this trope as a goal and succeeded admirably.
    Andrew Hussie: "There was only one sure thing I knew when starting HS. That was that this thing would go batshit insane in ways I couldn't begin to imagine. In fact, it was practically the mission statement."
  • Problem Sleuth slides from gentle, mildly complicated antics into utter, ultra-convoluted chaos. Some fans consider the change to be where it really picks up.
  • Roomies! wasn't down-to-Earth and serious to begin with, but nevertheless, its early strips deal with fairly realistic personal issues. It starts to go down this route with the introduction of the Aliens.
  • Learning with Manga! FGO starts as a simple, if not silly, parody of Fate/Grand Order... at least until they introduce the udon Servants, at which point the series goes straight into crazy territory.
  • Sluggy Freelance: This happened apparently accidentally with the long-running Guest Strips by Ian McDonald, called "Meanwhile in the Dimension of Pain [or elsewhere]". While the demons of the Dimension of Pain had always been humorously dumb and parodic, their world still looked like a set of caverns with no modern Earthly features (except for the Demon King's fridge — which shows the difference we're talking about here is relative). In the guest strips, it begins to look more and more modern, and they soon have shopping malls. Ian eventually noticed this — perhaps due to the amount of criticism he was getting — and made it into a plot point where an interloping angel is subtly changing the nature of the whole dimension, first to Earth-like and then ridiculously kid-friendly so that it parodies both Teletubbies and Barney & Friends.

    Web Original 
  • You can argue TV Tropes itself has gotten wackier since its inception.

    Web Videos 

    Western Animation 
  • The Amazing World of Gumball interestingly combines this with Darker and Edgier. Season 1, despite the trippy and wacky setting, had fairly realistic Slice of Life plots. From Season 2 onwards, however, the humor becomes more Black Comedy laced, the tone overall more cynical, the plots feature deconstructions of common sitcom tropes, and, eventually, a story arc involving a huge void that erases things from existence as they become irrelevenat to the show. However, the show becomes even more wackier than before, with the surrealism being boosted significantly, there is a noticeable increase in fourth wall breaking, and the plotlines becoming so bizarre that they have to be seen to be believed.
  • While the existence of Roger and Klaus gave American Dad! a sci-fi angle from the beginning, the show's plotlines were initially relatively grounded and down-to-earth, focusing more on political satire and low-stakes family matters with some outlandish gags and subplots around the edges. Over time, the political commentary was heavily downplayed, the characters became crazier and more irrational, and the plotlines became far more surreal and over-the-top, throwing more and more sci-fi and fantasy elements (such as Time Travel, the apocalypse, and alternate universes) into the mix. All this is generally agreed to be for the better and helped to give the show its own identity.
  • Season 3 of The Animals of Farthing Wood compared to the previous two seasons. The first two seasons are more realistic (other than the animals speaking and some of the bipedal animals doing human-like motions), but in season three the art style and animation is far cartoonier, with over-the-top facial expressions, cartoonish gags, and everyone minus the quadrupedal animals moving and acting like people with their paws and wings acting like hands.
  • Batman: The Animated Series was Un-Canceled and given a Retool with Art Evolution to become The New Batman Adventures. The previous series is known for its stronger ties to Film Noir and a bigger effort to explain some of the more outlandish comic book plots. This new season introduces more superpowered villains and Mad Science portrayed as a casual occurrence, in part so it can cross over with Superman: The Animated Series.
  • Inverted with Beavis and Butt-Head; the series started out extremely deranged and cartoony, but as the years went on, the art style and plots (while still rather quite wacky in themselves) gradually became far more down to Earth.
  • Ben 10: Omniverse goes for this after the previous Darker and Edgier sequels Ben 10: Alien Force and Ben 10: Ultimate Alien ended up being Contested Sequels. However, this makes it just as divisive as those iterations.
  • The Boondocks, starting with season 2. The show starts out as an animated series with fairly realistic settings and events for the most part (much like King of the Hill). Once it enters its second season however, the characters become very flanderized, the story-lines zanier and far more outlandish, and the show as a whole much more cartoony and fast-paced (to the point where even the characters seem to be talking a mile a minute at times).
  • The pilot for The Dreamstone is much more dark and actionized (if still cartoony) with a much greater sense of mortal peril for the heroes. The following episodes downplay things into a Harmless Villain series with the Urpneys, with most episodes following their buffoonery or some Epic Fail to take the title stone. Character Focus is rearranged accordingly; the Urpneys become Villain Protagonists, while the genuinely sinister Big Bad, Zordrak, becomes obsolete and is gradually put Out of Focus. The heroes, who are Immune to Slapstick and still play the formula seriously, spend most of the series as Hero Antagonists, though the closing points make Rufus and Amberley more comical and savvy so as to give them more active roles again.
  • The Fairly OddParents! starts to become wackier first after its transition from Oh Yeah! Cartoons, then when the movies are cut down from 90 minutes to an hour, then when Poof arrives, and finally, with the additions of talking fairy-dog Sparky and Parody Sue Chloe Carmichael.
  • Family Guy:
    • The first few seasons are rather realistic in comparison to what the show later becomes — the only really crazy things happen in Cutaway Gags. Starting with the fourth season (after the show was Un-Canceled), however, the plots and the characters become wackier, zanier, dumber, and quite mean-spirited at times.
    • Season 12 takes this trait and amps it up, to the point where every scene is comedic. note 
  • The later seasons of Garfield and Friends, especially the U.S. Acres segments. This is actually a good thing. The last three seasons are the funniest and the wackiest of the series.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy starts out with mostly macabre and morbid Black Comedy, particularly when it was still part of Grim & Evil, but becomes more and more bizarre as it goes along, with several plots involving some very out there concepts.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe (2021): As a whole, the franchise always had its moments of levity, but the newest reboot is much sillier in tone, especially when compared to the 2002 series and Revelation. The setting trades some of its fantastical elements in favor of a Science Fantasy setting, this reboot's version of Skeletor and his minions are much snarkier than the sometimes No-Nonsense Nemesis crew from previous incarnations, and a few episodes feature some absurd plot ideas, such as a Birthday Episode involving Skeletor of all people in the second season, and a "Freaky Friday" Flip in the third season where the titular Masters end up trading minds with a group of sentient radish-like critters.
  • Hey Arnold! starts out as a typical Slice of Life series with a good balance of humor and drama. Once the show switches from cels to digital paint, it puts a bit more emphasis on comedy (though it certainly does still have its serious moments, such as when the topics of Arnold's missing parents and Helga's home life come up).
  • Jimmy Two-Shoes is already a lot sillier than its infamous pilot, but Season 2's Retool takes things further. How exactly is a bit hard to explain to non-fans, but let it be known Season 1 would never have had an episode in which a giant talking sandwich cowboy is central to the plot rather than just a one-off joke. However, some fans believe the increasingly goofy tone cemented the series' Second Season Downfall.
  • Looney Tunes began life as Warner Bros.' answer to the Silly Symphonies, with the more sentimental tone to match. Starting around 1935 with the introduction of Porky Pig (and especially by 1937, when Daffy Duck was created), the shorts became more gag-oriented. By 1938, Looney Tunes would pioneer the Zany Cartoon genre with hits like Daffy Duck and Egghead, Porky in Wackyland, and Porky's Hare Hunt.
  • Later seasons of The Loud House feature increasingly off-the-wall plot ideas and crazier slapstick humor. It reaches its zenith in Season 5 and beyond, which features, from just Season 5 for starters, outlandish plots and plot elements such as Lisa using a working time machine to transport a dinosaur into her classroom, Lincoln going to school in Canada, Lincoln and Clyde discovering that the Loud family's new neighbors are peach-obsessed Georgia natives plotting to destroy all of the cherries in town, Leni running for mayor at 17, Flip being some sort of scientific experiment, Lori trying to banish a ghost in her college, etc, which likely would have just been Imagine Spots (like in "Butterfly Effect") or All Just a Dream (like in "One of the Boys") instead of being unambiguously real occurrences had they been Season 1 or 2 episodes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic grows denser and wackier as it went onwards. Compare "Party of One", probably the zaniest episode of the more down-to-earth first season, with the season 4 Musical Episode "Pinkie Pride" — it's almost like watching a different show. Naturally, this tonal shift follows the show changing creative directors from Lauren Faust herself to someone else.
  • Nature Cat: Over time, the infamous fourth wall jokes the show is known for was increased across the seasons. By Season 4, the show had eventually entered No Fourth Wall territory, such as the characters pulling out the scripts for some episodes and even implying that the characters are even Animated Actors, slightly wackier animation, and more pop-culture references.
  • PAW Patrol was never the most realistic cartoon around, but the first season has the team involved in fairly normal situations, such as when they help a baby whale back into the ocean, with the more zany moments usually being All Just a Dream. As the series progresses, the show begins introducing sillier plots and characters, such as space aliens, a Dick Dastardly Expy and his team of Evil Counterpart kitties who live in a town of perpetual fog, a kleptomaniac Pirate and his dachshund first-mate, the team getting superpowers from a golden meteor, rescues involving living dinosaurs, so on and so forth.
  • Phineas and Ferb from its second season onward is noticeably wackier than the more laid-back first season.
  • While The Powerpuff Girls (1998) had its lot of comedy (especially in the last few seasons), the 2016 revival ups the antics by having everyone act more excitable, exaggerating characterizations (for example Blossom went from The Smart Gal to being a Neat Freak that's Obsessively Organized), featuring Wingding Eyes often, and frequently mentioning memes.
  • The Real Ghostbusters has the Slimer shorts, which begin airing in the fourth season. While the main show has its comedic moments, some episodes are downright dark and scary. Slimer's cartoons, on the other hand, are purely comedic, the character designs are simplified, and most of the plots are about Slimer being assigned some task which leads to wacky and cartoonish antics rather than catching ghosts.
  • Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, while not quite as goofy as the 87 cartoon, is definitely one of the sillier incarnations of the titular team. There's a higher focus on episodic comedy, pretty much all of the characters are Adaptational Comic Reliefnote  and magic and mystic abilities are a major element from episode 1.
  • The first season or two of The Simpsons are very grounded in a quite realistic premise, often bordering on dramedy grounds. In "Bart Gets an F", Bart is struggling in school and makes a sincere effort to pass a test, only to fail miserably and start crying... quite unlike the "anything goes" antics that helped make the show the pop-culture fixture it is today. However, some would say this went too far as the years dragged on, especially during the Mike Scully seasons, where this trope is allegedly used to death. After Al Jean took over, he toned down the wackiness just a bitnote  in attempt to return to its original roots.
  • A notable inversion comes in Sonic Boom. While much more gag-focused, the fantasy adventure plots of previous Sonic incarnations give way to simple Slice of Life affairs like Sonic firing Tails as his sidekick, and Eggman driving Sonic crazy moving in with him for a while.
  • South Park starts as just a vulgar comedy, but by the time season 7 rolls around, the show goes through a Cerebus Rollercoaster by having more dramatic moments once in a while. Season 13 is the only season where the show becomes wackier compared to the previous 6 seasons before it, with episodes such as Mickey Mouse using The Jonas Brothers to shill purity rings to horny preteen girls, confusion over what real wrestling is like, Cartman's insane logic about The Smurfs to get back at Wendy, and apocalypse at a water park involving pee. Some Multi-Part Episodes tend to be rather serious, such as "Cartoon Wars". Ironically, the mostly serious 12th season has a two-part episode about giant guinea pigs attacking. And they are REAL guinea pigs dressed in cute costumes that were integrated with the animation.
  • Space Goofs: The 2005 season takes it even further than the 1997 season due to the increase in animation quality.
  • Sponge Bob Square Pants: The characters become wackier, dumber and rather callous after the movie. The show as a whole also becomes much zanier and more surreal as it goes along. Starting with "Lost in Bikini Bottom", the plots and facial expressions become this trope (emphasis on the word wackier, rather than denser, while trying to keep the show more constant in quality), especially "Company Picnic," "Patrick the Game" and "Food Con Castaways". This is because, according to Vincent Waller on Twitter, he and the artists wanted to make the show cartoony again. Season 10 is Denser and Wackier than most of the entire show, especially "Whirlybrains" and "Krusty Katering." It should be noted that this trope become more pronounced once Waller and Marc Ceccarelli became the supervising producers, even moreso when Ben Gruber joined the show.
  • Strawberry Shortcake: Berry in the Big City zig-zags this. It's much more comedy-centric than the iterations of the franchise predating it, which were largely feel-good shows, but it also drops the supernatural elements like the talking animals and berry people and places the characters in a modern setting.
  • Thomas & Friends has always been a down-to-earth show about the engines of Sodor, but starting with about season 18, the writers start adding more outright comedy and Parental Bonus to the show. The Fat Controller goes from a stern figure to a bumbling Big Fun, and railway realism, while more realistic than the Sharon Miller seasons, starts to waver again, especially in the Big World, Big Adventures seasons. Luckily, the writing team remains consistent in their framing of the characters and the Island of Sodor itself.
  • The Tom and Jerry cartoons started out as a fairly typical 'cat chases mouse' cartoon, which even in the early 1940s wasn't anything new. As time went on though, episodes began taking place in different time periods and settings, and thanks to the influence Tex Avery had on MGM's animation studio, the slapstick violence was cranked up. This of course coincided with western animation as a whole becoming Denser and Wackier in the 1940s, as cutesy cartoons starring Woodland Creatures fell out of popularity, to be replaced by The Prankster and the Karmic Trickster.
  • Total Drama: This series as a whole is a lot more cartoony and zany than its predecessor, 6teen, but seems to get even moreso as time goes on. However, the spinoff Total Drama Presents: The Ridonculous Race, as well as the 2023 reboot, see a significant toning down of the craziness for the most part, with the cast of contestants, eliminations, injuries, and challenges being more in line of those of the first season.
    • The first season was a pretty exciting, relatively realistic, and at times surprisingly down-to-earth "animated reality show" set in a traditional "crappy summer camp" on a small island. Afterwards, as the drama is upped with every season, so is the craziness. The second season takes place in an abandoned movie studio and every episode is a movie parody with much cartoonier antics. The third season has the contestants flying around the world in a rundown jet and singing every episode. The fourth season takes place in the first island, which is now a radioactive waste deposit full of mutants and monsters. The fifth season sees the island restored to normal, but then get destroyed in the finale, while the sixth season is instead set on an artificial island with shifting geography and robotic animals.
    • The way contestants are kicked off the show each season get more over-the-top every time. In Season 1, a boat came to take the contestants off the island. In season 2, a broken-down limousine drove the contestants off the movie set. Season 3 had the contestants sky-dive out of the jumbo jet they were flying in when voted off. In season 4, a giant catapult flung them off the island. And in Season 5? They're flushed down a giant toilet. And Season 6 launches them out of a giant cannon.
    • In the first season, each of the teen contestants were exaggerated teenage stereotypes, but otherwise mostly realistic and very easily recognizable as people you'd have probably known from school or seen in a teen drama or high school movie (e.g., jocks, nerds/geeks, bullies, loners/outsiders, popular kids, etc.). Later seasons mostly moved away from this, with such weirdo characters as a Parody Sue Loony Fan, a Creepy Child with supernatural powers, a Bubble Boy, a boy with Split Personalities, a mute super-genius, a Motor Mouthed compulsive liar, a Crazy Survivalist who believes zombies are real, a wannabe supervillain, a Disney princess parody, a literal Evil Twin, and a homicidally insane Evil Genius. Yeah, not really the kinds of kids you see in high school.
    • This also goes to character injuries as well. In the first season, the worst injury sustained was when Cody got mauled by a bear, though he recovered in the end. In Season 3, Alejandro is engulfed in lava, leading him to become an Expy of Darth Vader for nearly two years. Ezekiel, after being voted off, stows away on the plane, causing him to become feral with his skin becomes ghastly pale, eventually making him an Expy of Gollum. In Season 4, Scott gets mauled by a mutant shark, leading him to become a Captain Pike Expy. Dakota is exposed to radioactive material in a mine, causing her to become a giant, humanoid monster.
    • The challenges get more ridiculous and life-threatening in every season. The first season's challenges were mostly simple or straightforward activities associated with summer camp or high school like canoeing, cooking, talent shows, and dodgeball, with the occasional challenge similar to those of well-known reality shows but cartoonishly exaggerated. But as the series went on and Chris' love of putting the contestants in danger for cheap ratings got flanderized, we get completely insane challenges of which most would either be impossible or illegal in real life like having to escape a giant robotic monster going on a rampage, climb an active volcano to throw a dummy into it, traverse a radioactive mine while carrying bombs on one's back, collect the eggs of giant mutant monsters created by toxic waste, and carry sleeping babies past dangerous animals, an avalanche zone, and a blindfolded Chef with a bazooka that launches globs of pasta.
  • Total Dramarama manages to be even wackier than its parent series. While the setting has been moved to a daycare run by Chef and most of the first season's cast are now pre-schoolers, many of the situations they have to deal with are cartoony, sci-fi elements are firmly involved, there are inanimate talking objects, and the realism is entirely gone.
  • As pictured atop this page, Ultimate Spider-Man is a very comedic approach to the Webhead, especially during Peter's Fourth Wall Imagine Spots.

    Real Life 
  • Taiwanese news outlet NMA (also known as Tomonews) got famous for doing relatively straight, 3D-animated re-enactions of events, such as Tiger Woods's car crash, the JetBlue flight attendant who opened up the emergency slide on the plane, and a cartoonish representation of the fight over The Tonight Show returning to Jay Leno. Nowadays, their videos are completely off-the-wall, have recurring gag characters such as a weed monster, two midget pilots named Sum Ting Wong and Wi Tu Lo (after an infamous incident where an intern gave fake, racist names to a news station regarding a fatal accident at San Francisco International Airport), and a mockery of Ark Music Factory's "Chinese Food". Compare this to this. It was enough to make an intern infamously quit the company (with an equally silly method: an interpretative dance explaining why she left).