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Formula-Breaking Episode

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An installment that departs dramatically from its series' general formula. Events are played out from the point of view of the family pet, or are presented completely out of order, or it's an A&E biography of one of the characters, etc. May feature a Special Edition Title.


A Poorly-Disguised Pilot can be a Formula-Breaking Episode. See also Breaking Old Trends, where smaller trends within a series diverge from what was considered the formula.

Example subpages:

Other examples:

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  • Metro Manners usually involves Super Kind having a Transformation Sequence, performing a song and dance routine about Metro behavior, and then using her super powers to vanquish the villain. But "Wait your turn to enter" instead features the main characters standing around awkwardly while Danny Trejo delivers the aesop instead, with some Lampshade Hanging:
    "There was gonna be a whole song and dance routine about how you should wait your turn to enter the train, but they got me, Danny Trejo, to talk to you instead"

  • Happy Heroes is typically about the main characters, a group of superheroes known as the Supermen, fighting monsters. With that said, Season 2 episode 20 puts absolutely no focus on that formula, instead being about their non-biological father Doctor H. wishing on a genie to be married to his Celeb Crush Miss Peach, only to get some unwanted side-effects from making the wish with no effort.

  • Doctor Who Magazine #428 is a special issue about connections and similarities between Doctor Who and Soap Operas. It's redesigned to look like an issue of Inside Soap, not just in the cover dress (hidden behind a polybag with a more conventional cover, so fans would recognise it on the shelves) but inside, with the regular columns getting "soapified".
  • One issue of MAD had the Fold-In double as the front cover, instead of its usual spot on the inside back cover.

    Pro Wrestling 
  • The Jumping Bomb Angels were definitely this for WWE fans in the late Eighties, as demonstrated by commentator Jesse "The Body" Ventura at Survivor Series 1987.
    "You know, I'll tell you, I have seen a lot of good tag teams, and The Glamour Girls, I'm gonna go on the record, they're in trouble. Because the Jumping Bomb Angels are something else. I've never seen lady wrestlers with the kind of moves that they got. They're like watching a Dynamite Kid or like watching a Randy 'Macho Man' Savage or like watching a Ricky Steamboat with those aerial moves. It was just fantastic, I enjoyed it."
  • Sabu was so much this in The '90s, given his emphasis on using tables in his matches, to the point that he would celebrate winning a match by moonsaulting himself through a table.

  • Due to a player's strike, the 1982 National Football League season was shortened to 9 games. Thus, for the 1982-83 playoffs, the divisional standings that would determine which teams would qualify for the postseason were ignored, with the top 8 teams from each conference getting a playoff berth into a bracket similar to the NBA's playoff system. And for the first time in NFL history, teams with losing records made the playoffs (the Cleveland Browns and Detroit Lions both finished 4-5).

    Web Animation 
  • The OMORIBOY Chronicles: MESSENGER!!! follows up on the previous video's Gecko Ending, and then becomes an announcement that the acapella for "Redditor Too" is being released in the description. No comic posts are dubbed.