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Fairy Tale Episode

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♫ It seems today that all you see, is missing crystal slippers and wolves behind trees... ♫
Once upon a time, there was this troper who decided to come up with an idea for a brand new trope. This is essentially a trope where different fairy tales are often retold, often in in new or hilarious ways. The most common fairy tales that are told are Little Red Riding Hood, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Three Little Pigs, Cinderella, etc.

If a fairy tale is often derailed and ends significantly different than how they originally end, then this is a Fractured Fairy Tale. If multiple fairy tales feature in the same story, it's Fairy Tale Free-for-All.

Compare: Storybook Episode, Parody Episode, Rhyming Episode, Beanstalk Parody, Cinderella Plot.

Related to Paranormal Episode and Off to See the Wizard

Contrast: Twice-Told Tale

Has nothing to do with Fairy Tail episodes.


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    Anime & Manga 
  • Fujiko F. Fujio has implemented various elements from fairy tales, folklore, myths and legends in his manga:
  • Otoboku - Maidens Are Falling For Me had the OVA titled Tsunderella, which recast Takako as Cinderella while the main protagonist, Mizuho, gets recast as the Prince. Similarly, many other characters from the series get set in roles befitting Cinderella.
  • An early episode of Ouran High School Host Club is titled "Haruhi in Wonderland". Among all things, it features Honey as the White Rabbit, the twins as the twin Cheshire Cat, Tamaki as the Mad Hatter, and others. There are also four actually five Alices: The twins as Alice A and B, Tamaki as Alice C, and finally Haruhi as the 'true' Alice. And at the end we get Mori as Alice D.
  • An episode from the Sailor Moon second season features the Sailor Senshi participating in a Snow White play directed by Mamoru. To their dismay, the four Inners (along with Naru and Umino) get cast as dwarves, Usagi gets cast as the Evil Queen, and Natsumi Ginga (one of the main villains of the season) cons her way into playing the fair maiden herself.
  • Science Fell in Love, So I Tried to Prove it: The second half of S1E07 involves several fairy tales being given a scientific spin courtesy of the cast. Their version of The Tale of the Bamboo Cutter involves Kaguya challenging her suitors to solve Fermat's Last Theorem. The first suitor, who isn't good at math, is stumped. The second, with average ability, feels confident that he can solve it with assistance. The third, who is proficient, realizes that she doesn't intend to marry. After the tale's end, Himuro continues to a spiel on the history of the proof of the theorem before Kanade cuts her off.
  • Volume 7 of What's Michael features some fairy tale parodies:
    • Poppo is Cinderella and Michael is the prince. When she tries on the glass slipper, he finds out the one cat who stole his cake and run away.
    • Shinnosuke is the "ugly puppy" trying to fit in with his cat mother and siblings in a comfortable home.
    • Urashima Shinnosuke gets to go to an exclusive "catbaret" club after saving a kitten. However, when he opens the jeweled box on the way home, he finds a bill of 458,000 yen.
  • One chapter of Yandere Kanojo features the cast in a Cinderella world, with Reina as Cinderella and Nanami and her gang as the stepmother and sisters. She bullies them instead. She also ends up with the Wizard (fairy grandmother stand-in), who is played by Tanaka, instead of the prince (who is played by Shiratori). Turns out it was All Just a Dream from Reina.

    Asian Animation 
  • Happy Heroes, which is about alien Robot Kid superheroes called the Supermen who fight many a Monster of the Week, has an entire Story Arc in Season 4 called "The Fairy Tale Adventure" that gives a focus on fairy tales. The arc, which covers episodes 27 to 32 of that season, is about the Supermen going into the fairy tale world to restore the stories that have been fractured by Big M. and Little M., the series antagonists, as part of one of their evil schemes. The Supermen take on the role of certain fairy tale characters, such as Sweet S. becoming the Witch from "Snow White" and feeding Big M. a cooked apple instead of a poison apple (Sweet S. is a Lethal Chef, so the joke is that she just has to cook the apples to make them taste disgusting).
  • Lamput: "Robinput" has Lamput tell the docs the story of Robin Hood, casting him, Fat Doc, and Slim Doc as Robin Hood and his merry men and explaining how they stole treasure from an evil king.

    Comic Books 
  • 1997 mini-series Daydreamers star Franklin Richards (with reality-altering powers), his mutant friends Leech and Artie, and Howard the Duck. In the first issue, they meet storybook characters based on Marvel characters: Dr. Strange is a mustached Galinda; the Scarlet Witch is the Wicked Witch of the West and her sister; the Green Goblin is the Genie of the Lamp; a purple-hued Hulk is a Tweedledee-Tweedledum gestalt, and the munchkins is a whole race of The Thing.
  • The Marvel Fairy Tales Elseworlds retell different fairy tales from around the world with the X-Men, The Avengers, or Spider-Man in the main roles.
  • In The Mighty Thor back-up-feature "Tales of Asgard", a version is told of Little Red Riding Red. While the Goddess Idunna is taking her golden apples to the Ruler of the Gods Odin and wearing red, the Wolf Fenris shapeshifts into a human to get close to her, then attacks her. However Harokin the Hunter uses his magic sword to banish Fenris to the Netherworld. The story lampshades this by saying it was eventually adapted into Little Red Riding Red.
  • In Soulsearchers and Company #5, the woods outside of Mystic Grove are magically transformed into a fairy tale forest, with all of the attendant threats: including the cannibalistic witch from Hansel and Gretel.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 

    Live-Action TV 
  • An episode of Charmed (1998) has the sisters finding out that at one point in time all fairy tales were actually true, and they have to battle against an evil witch who finds out by asking her magic mirror that she isn't the most powerful witch in the world because the Charmed Ones are. To fix this, she puts the sisters into different fairy tale roles in order to kill them — Phoebe becomes Cinderella, Paige is Snow White, and Piper is Little Red Riding Hood.
  • The whole of the first season of Once Upon a Time is an inversion as it's several fairy tale beings unknowingly trapped in the "real" world thanks to the Evil Queen's spell.
  • Our Miss Brooks has "Cinderella for a Day". A mysterious shoe salesman lends Miss Brooks a custom-made gold slipper until midnight. Miss Brooks is treated to several Cinderella-style presents, from the same mysterious donor, that allow her to attend the masquerade ball at the country club in style. It turns out the shoe salesman was a millionaire gambler who had placed a bet with a expert shoemaker that he could find a feet that would perfectly fit the custom made slippers. The gifts were partly his reward to Miss Brooks, and partly for laughs.
  • Sabrina the Teenage Witch
    • In the Season One finale, a troll kidnaps Sabrina in order to force her to be his bride, he locks her in a tower and its up to Harvey to save her. In true Rapunzel fashion Sabrina casts a spell to make her hair absurdly long and Harvey climbs her tresses in order to get into the tower.
    • In another episode Sabrina drops some magical beans which cause a giant beanstalk to grow in her back yard. Harvey ends up at the top of it but rather than a giant being there, there is an evil witch in a gingerbread house like in Hansel and Gretel. And she is prepared to fatten up and then eat Harvey.
  • The Scrubs episode "My Princess" features a Framing Device of Dr Cox telling his son a story about his day at the hospital, disguised as a fairy tale. JD is the village idiot, Elliot is a princess, Turk and Carla are a two-headed witch, Kelso is a dark lord with Ted as his hunchbacked minion, the Janitor is a giant, Cox himself is the knight in shining armour, the illness takes the form of a monster attacking a helpless maiden and Jordan of course cameos as a Wicked Witch.
  • The Suite Life on Deck had an episode that put the main characters into different fairy tales. They had fallen asleep in class and the fairy tales themselves were all just dream they were having.
  • The Supernatural episode "Bedtime Stories" has fairytale-inspired murders (a nice old woman eats people who got lost in the wood, for example). It turns out to be the work of a comatose girl's projected spirit, who influences people to act like the fairy tales she heard her father narrating.
  • The final episode of Tales from the Crypt is "The Third Pig", a Fractured Fairy Tale version of the Three Little Pigs. It's also animated as well.
  • Ultraman Leo had a six episode arc called the "Japan Masterpiece Folklore Series", which gave classic Japanese fairy tales an "Ultraman" twist. How faithfully the original story was followed varied between episodes, but all of them had the added bonus of a giant monster/alien of the week that fit the fairy tale being told.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place had an episode in which a spell forces Harper to live out the Cinderella story, with Mrs. Russo as the stepmother, Alex as the fairy godmother, and Zeke as the prince. Unusually for this trope, they do nothing to change the characters' appearance or setting, but Harper does get wear a lavish, purple dress for the ball. However, due to pages being ripped out if the book, the universe switches mid-story from Cinderella to The Three Little Pigs, with Max, Justin and Zeke as the pigs, and Mason (Alex’s werewolf boyfriend) as the Big Bad Wolf.
  • The Worst Witch plays with it in the Christmas Episode by featuring the girls putting on a pantomime of Cinderella. A straighter example is the Season 3 finale where the girls accidentally conjure up the Wicked Witch from Sleeping Beauty and Mildred has to summon a Prince Charming to save everyone.

    Video Games 

    Web Animation 
  • Happy Tree Friends has "Dunce Upon a Time" which is a retelling of Jack and the Beanstalk, with Lumpy as the giant.

    Western Animation 
  • An episode of Aladdin: The Series was based on Beauty and the Beast. Some years before Jasmine was born, the Sultan stole a flower from the Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds plant-wizard Arbutus. He vowed to return and steal "your greatest treasure," which turned out to be Jasmine. She doesn't fall in love with him, obviously; but in keeping with her role as Beauty she does try to get Aladdin and Arbutus to reason with each other and when that doesn't work, she's the one to have Sympathy for the Devil.
  • More like Fairy Tale Season; the second season of ALF's Animated Adaptation is re-named Alf's Tales and based around the classic fairy tales played by Melmacians.
  • Animaniacs has the Warner Siblings parodying given fairy tales such as Cutie and the Beast (Beauty and the Beast), Cute First (Ask Questions Later) (Snow White), and The Warners and the Beanstalk (Jack and the Beanstalk).
  • Beany and Cecil presented "So What and the Seven What-Nots" and "Beany and the Jackstalk." In the first, Cecil serves as Prince Chow Mein as his patented slurp wakes So What.
  • Classic Disney Shorts: along with straight adaptations in the Silly Symphonies, the main character series occasionally took detours into storybook land.
  • DuckTales (1987) had "Scroogerello", a Sick Episode which parodied Cinderella - specifically, Scrooge is suffering from a fever, and falls asleep listening to Webby reading, which leads to a Fractured Fairy Tale Cinderella dream sequence.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • "Fairly Odd Fairy Tales" is an anthology of three fairy tales with the show's cast inserted: Cosmorella, The Three Little Fairies, and Snow Wanda and the Seven Fairies.
    • "Goldie-Crocks and the Three Fair Bears" has Crocker and the Fair Bears to act in a play. Timmy's dad, who has blonde hair from using Timmy's mom's shampoo, comes across them, leading to various jokes about the fairytale.
  • Futurama: "Leela and the Genestalk" is one big parody of "Jack and the Beanstalk". Fry has to sell the Planet Express ship to pay for an operation for Leela when she starts to mutate into a tentacled monster. The best he can get for it is two beans, which grow into a giant stalk leading to a floating genetics lab owned by Mom Corp., from which Fry and Bender must rescue Leela. Also a little Rapunzel thrown in the middle, when Leela throws down her tentacles so Fry can climb up a tower she's been locked away in.
  • Garfield and Friends has a lot of episodes that are retellings of fairy tales, sometimes crossing over into Derailed Fairy Tale. These episodes are more common in the U.S. Acres segments, but Garfield has done a few.
    • "Rip Van Kitty": Rip Van Winkle
    • "Hansel and Garfield": Hansel and Gretel
    • "Little Red Riding Egg": Little Red Riding Hood
    • "Hogclues": Hercules
    • "Hamelot": King Arthur
    • "Ben Hog": Ben Hur
    • "Cinderella Cat": Cinderella
    • "Hogclues II": Hercules, again
    • "Orson in Wonderland": Alice in Wonderland
    • "Odielocks and the Three Cats": Goldilocks and the Three Bears
    • "Robin Hog": Robin Hood
    • "A Tall Tale": Paul Bunyan
    • "Orson at the Bat": Casey at the Bat
    • "Bedtime Story Blues": Cinderella, again
    • "The Ugly Duckling": The Ugly Duckling (combined with The Wizard of Oz)
    • "The Wolf Who Cried Boy": The Boy Who Cried Wolf
    • "Jack II: The Rest of the Story": Jack and the Beanstalk
    • "Snow Wade and the 77 Dwarves": Snow White
    • "The Fairy Dogmother": Cinderella, yet again
    • "The Name Game": Rumpelstiltskin
    • "Badtime Story": Chicken Licken
    • "The Pie-Eyed Piper": The Pied Piper
    • "Hare Force": The Tortoise and the Hare
    • "Puss in High-Tops": Puss in Boots
    • "Alley Katta and the 40 Thieves": Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves
    • "The Discount of Monte Cristo": The Count of Monte Cristo
    • "Kiddie Korner": Wee Willy Winkie, Georgie Porgie, Little Miss Muffet, Goosey Goosey Gander and Old Mother Hubbard
  • The Garfield Show episode "Penny Henny" centers on Jon telling Drusilla and Minerva the tale of Penny Henny (a variant of Chicken Little). At the girls' request, Garfield is added to the story, and he ends up saving Penny Henny and her friends from the fox. The episode was adapted from a Garfield book that served as this trope to the franchise as a whole.
  • Many Looney Tunes shorts have the cast reenact fairy tales in their own unique way. To wit:
  • Hanna-Barbera's obscurity Loopy De Loop had an episode with the Three Little Pigs. In spite of his best intentions, it doesn't end well with Loopy because he's a wolf.
  • Magic Adventures of Mumfie: "Scarecrowella" has Scarecrow falling asleep while reading the story of Cinderella to Mumfie, and imagining himself in the story.
  • A Magnificent Muttley installment has Muttley dream he's Jack and Dick Dastardly the Giant in a Jack and the Beanstalk take.
  • The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh: "Three Little Piglets" has Pooh try to narrate the story of "The Three Little Pigs" with Piglet as the main characters, but the story keeps going Off the Rails by him absentmindedly inserting mentions of honey in inappropriate places and Tigger making drastic changes to the story (like turning the Big Bad Wolf into the Big Bad Bunny who happens to resemble Rabbit) just because. The narrated story also can somehow affect the real-world characters, with Rabbit ending up on the receiving end of a honey shower.
  • Oscar's Orchestra episode "Sleeping Beauty" is one of these in-universe -Rebecca has a nightmare and to help her get back to sleep Oscar & co tell her a version of Sleeping Beauty with characters from the show placed in to roles in the story (for instance, Sylvia is the good fairy who weakens the curse and introduces an escape clause). Certain aspects and story divergences (Monty's narration antics, and the fact that the curse has to be broken not by kissing the princess but by kissing the evil witch who cast it) also kinda push it into Fractured Fairy Tale territory.
  • At least four of the Al Brodax Popeye cartoons have done fairy tales, doing Jack & the Beanstalk ("Popeye and the Spinach Stalk"), Snow White ("Olive Drab and the Seven Swee'Peas") and so on.
  • Punky Brewster: "Punky, Snow White and the Seven Dwarves" is Exactly What It Says on the Tin, thanks to Glomer bringing the characters out of the book, including the Wicked Queen. Snow White and Henry both succumb to a tainted apple pie from the Queen, who is later returned to the book. Brandon (Punky's dog) licks Snow White back awake, but it doesn't work on Henry. Punky's kiss eventually wakes Henry.
  • Rocko's Modern Life: The episode "the Yarnbenders" has Rocko and Heffer healing Filbert (who is sick) with a mash up of stories about Hansel and Debbie.
  • The whole point of the Fractured Fairy Tales segment of Rocky and Bullwinkle. A more notable installment using "Sleeping Beauty" had a caricature of Walt Disney using the title beauty as a theme park attraction.
  • Sabrina: The Animated Series has her accidentally switching Harvey with Cinderella, so Cindy is in the real world and Harvey is stuck in the fairy tale world. Sabrina then ventures into the storybook world so she can meet a fairy godmother capable of reversing the magic. While there she meets several fairy tale beings.
  • Samurai Jack has Aku's Fairy Tales that features the ultimate evil trying, and failing, to manipulate children with revised fairy tales that glamorize himself while slandering the samurai. One of his tales involves a little girl with a red cape and GREAT FLAMING EYEBROWS.
  • The Simpsons:
    • A Halloween Episode reimagined the family in a fairy-tale world. It was primarily based on "Hansel and Gretel," but had references to others (for example, Homer passes Rapunzel's tower, etc.)
    • "Simpsons Tall Tales" includes retellings of Paul Bunyan and Johnny Appleseed.
    • "Four Great Women and a Manicure" includes a variant of Snow White, which gets mixed in with Goldilocks.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants has two of these episodes that even share the same Framing Device: Patnocchio and Big Bad Bubble Bass. in both, Karen dresses up as a fairy and uses the show's cast to tell the stories of Pinocchio and The Three Pigs respectively; with their usual antics messing things up, of course.
  • While not a full fairy tale reference, the subplot of the Wacky Races episode "See Saw to Arkansas" had the Ant Hill Mob hiding out from the police in the Seven Dwarves' cottage. When they hear a car pull up (turns out to be Penelope Pitstop), they dress up in the Dwarves' clothes and impersonate them.
  • Yogi Bear and Boo Boo come across the Three Little Pigs, who pawn off their homes to them, knowing full well the Big Bad Wolf will come and blow the houses down. Instead of holing up in the third pig's brick house, the pigs move into Yogi and Boo Boo's cave (saving on all the bureaucracy of building a new structure), leaving the two bears no recourse but to room with them. Little Red Riding Hood, Snow White and Sleeping Beauty also had the Yogi Bear treatment.