A story or show that employs an infinite-loop motif, ending in the very way it was put into motion. The circumstances need not be exact.
The idea is that the events that led to the story are going to lead to a very similar story. If the story ends up back in the same place but the situation has changed, that's Where It All Began. If the story starts and ends with similar scenes for dramatic irony or resolution, then that's Bookends. It also often occurs in looping video game scores.
Differs from Oh, No... Not Again!, which refers to a repeating event in the middle of a story.
A form of Status Quo Is God. See also Yo Yo Plot Point, for individual plot points or concepts, rather than whole episodes, arcs, seasons, or series. If the next iteration of the story happens to the next generation we have Generation Xerox.
Compare with And the Adventure Continues, The End... Or Is It?, History Repeats, Last-Second Joke Problem, and Eternal Recurrence, which does this to the entire 'verse. Opposite of We Are Not Going Through That Again, where the hero refuses to set off on another adventure. Can inspire an "Oh, No... Not Again!" from an exasperated character. If a particularly negative Here We Go Again moment is subverted, that's a type of Shock-and-Switch Ending. Contrast May It Never Happen Again.
Not to be confused with the Ray Charles song; or a "Groundhog Day" Loop, where time itself is repeating as a plot device within the story.
As this is an Ending Trope, beware of spoilers.
- This ad for King Gee overalls starts with workman having a lit cigarette knocked out his lips. The cigarette sets off a chain of Disaster Dominoes that ends with the same workman, who has just lit a new cigarette, having that cigarette knocked from his lips.
- The ending of this Pringles commercial.
- Happy Heroes:
- Season 2 episode 34, about Doctor H. being mistaken for a criminal who looks like him, ends with a news report about another criminal resembling him escaping from prison.
- Season 5 episode 18 ends exactly the way it begins - Big M. gets stuck down a manhole and wants Careful S. to help him up, since he had helped him back up the first time around.
- Episode 5's conflict is caused by Janitoor being so enraged by Pian's mess that he attacks him. The heroes eventually manage to subdue him and get him to help with cleaning up. At the end, Pian's mother accidentally drops a jar of biscuits on the floor, spilling its contents and sending Janitoor on a rampage again.
- It was because Deep impulsively inserted a video game disc into Bitbobeep that Amato and MechaBot got sucked into the game. They return safely, but by the episode's end, Bitbobeep offers Deep to play another game, which he happily obliges to while his friends run over to stop him.
- In Pleasant Goat and Big Big Wolf: Joys of Seasons episode 14, the goats have to go find special immortal grass to stop Mr. Slowy from laughing uncontrollably as a side-effect of having eaten laughing grass. The episode ends with them realizing that they fed him crying grass by mistake.
- Issue 6 of The Bad Eggs ends with Ript and Claude having to find more ingredients to stop the forest from flooding due to the seemingly endless rain. This happens directly after they spent the entire issue finding ingredients to make it rain so they could stop a drought.
- Batman: Black and White:
- "Devil's Trumpet" is about a jazz musician's obsessive quest for a legendary instrument that he believes will make him the best player in the world, which ends in murder and an encounter with the Batman. The story begins with the obsessed musician discussing the legend of the trumpet with an old bluesman, and ends with the same old bluesman having a very similar conversation with a new character, implying that somebody else is now on the same quest.
- "Night After Night" begins with Bruce waking from a dream about his parents' death to a spokesman on the news claiming that there's no way the Joker will escape from imprisonment this time. The Joker escapes, and Batman recaptures him. The story ends with Bruce turning off a news report of the same spokesman claiming that the Joker's definitely not going to escape this time, and going to bed where he has the same dream.
- Bone starts and ends with the three Bone cousins journeying through the desert, with Phoney and Smiley getting into almost the exact same argument both times.
- Bruchbach Serenade's take on Faust ends with Mephisto offering a new deal to Gretchen.
- Disney Ducks Comic Universe:
- In-Universe example in Scrooge McDuck story "Only a Poor Old Man" by Carl Barks. Scrooge enlists his nephews to move his money to a secret location when the Beagle Boys start preparing to launch a heist. (This was eaaaarly Scrooge McDuck, who kept his money in the city and not on a private hill.) After the money is moved, Scrooge is comforted by the thought of his fortune safe...until he learns that the Beagle Boys know about the hiding place. Scrooge once again enlists his nephews for the fight, and Huey, Dewey and Louie sing, "Once more around on the merry-go-round..." as they head off into battle.
- In a Don Rosa story, this is the triplets' reaction when they learn that Scrooge has gotten into yet another petty contest with Glomgold, this time over who can find lost Aztec gold, meaning they're on another treasure hunt.
- Defied in another Don Rosa story, "The Money Pit". After a harrowing incident in which Donald was briefly Buried Alive trying to dig up rare coins in Scrooge's money bin, Scrooge puts him to work dealing with something less likely to get him killed... namely, cataloging Scrooge's old mail. After a bit of this, Donald complains about being overworked, saying that one of the stamps seems to be upside-down. Rather than tell their uncle that he's found a real-life rare stamp and set him off again, Huey, Dewey, and Louie agree with their uncle that he needs a break.
- Another Donald Duck comics story, "The Head of Rama Putra", had Uncle Scrooge receiving only the body of an idol of the (fictional) Indian deity Rama Putra, and sending Donald and his nephews off on a crazy jungle adventure to retrieve his eponymous head. When Don and company get home with the head, they find out not only did the head of Rama Putra arrive as a separate package, but they head they did find belongs to an idol of Ra-men Nu-dol, god of yeast extracts, and now Uncle Scrooge wants them to go back and find the body of the idol.
- Most stories with Donald's Neighbor Jones usually end this way; Once the Escalating War ends, Donald or Jones would say or do something that causes it to start up again. In one story, an attempt of Donald's to borrow Jones' lawnmower results in both of their houses being destroyed by automated cutters. Once he's moved into a new house, Donald notices that his new lawn needs cutting and goes to borrow the mower from his new neighbor...who happens to be Jones!
- "Get Lost," a story with The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy (Cartoon Network Block Party #52), has a dazed Billy found by a policeman who goes through white heat to find Billy's home. When he does return Billy home, Grim and Mandy appeared to have had a bet on how long it would take Billy to return. After debating the time, Grim uses his scythe to zap Billy back to where the story started.
- JLA (1997): Morrison's run ends with all the new members added during the run written out of the team, leaving the core seven back in place. Then a distress call comes in about a supervillain threat, and the League heads off to deal with him.
- In Kick-Ass, one "post-credits scene" at the very end of Volume 3 shows Hit-Girl inviting another bullied kid, just like Dave was at the beginning of the trilogy, to become the new Kick-Ass.
- Marvel NOW! What?! has the story Intervention, about the other watchers staging an intervention for Uatu, who they claim is addicted to intervening in human matters (they're not exactly wrong). However, after Uatu is cured, he points out what they just did is, well, an intervention. The story ends with Uatu being the one making an intervention for the other watchers.
- The Sandman (1989): The original run ends with the rise of a new Dream, but also with Dream looking out upon and recreating his kingdom, which was a common theme in the beginning of the series.
- Superman: Red Son: In the end, American President Luthor outwits and defeats Superman's global communist takeover and ushers in a new era of peace, prosperity, and technological mastery for mankind. For a billion years, Luthor's line of descendants helps make humanity the most advanced species in the known Universe. Eventually, as the Earth ages and the Sun dims to an angry red, Luthor's great-grandson to the power fifty, Jor-L, discovers that the Earth is in imminent danger of being destroyed. His warnings ignored, he launches his only son Kal-L in a tiny rocket back in time to prevent the cold complacency of his society.
- 2000 AD:
- The short strip Life Cycle begins and ends with a child waking up from hibernation, then growing up and heading out to explore the Landfill Beyond the Stars that they're living inside, before ultimately being killed by the spider-like parasites. This is because of a fault in the cloning process of the space station that causes memory loss, forcing him/her to relive the cycle indefinitely.
- Anderson: Psi-Division: One story involved an eco-terrorist dumping some Mutagenic Goo on plants so that they'll grow in size and attack people. She's apprehended, but the last panel shows some of the goo leaking into a crevasse full of cockroaches.
- Vampirella: At the end of "... And be a Bride of Chaos" a looter comes across a coffin and is tempted to lie in it... which was how Dracula Body Surfed his way between hosts.
- One Foxtrot arc saw Jason attempt to shed his usual geeky habits after reading an article that said that girls are more attracted to nerds. At the end, he concedes that he can't change who he is and goes back to his regular personality...and then he lets it slip that Peter read the same article.
Andy: Peter read the article, also?
Jason: Yeah, why?
Peter: Jason, let's go! The movie starts in two hours!
- Baby Boom (based on The Loud House) ends on all the sisters (who'd been turned into babies) now at their correct ages, only now, the pets have turned into a puppy, kitten, pup, and chick.
- Calvin & Hobbes: The Series: "Calvin's Batman Adventure" ends with Calvin putting on a Superman suit, mirroring the opening.
- Children of an Elder God: In the prologue, two main characters get ready to fight Eldritch Abominations. In the final scene, Maya and Ritsuko get ready to fight a new set of cosmic horrors who menace humanity again.
- In the Total Drama story, Courtney and the Violin of Despair, Courtney acquires the similarly cursed Violin of Doom at the end of the story under circumstances very similar to how she acquired the Violin of Despair ten years earlier.
- A Diplomatic Visit: While still early in the second sequel, Diplomacy Through Schooling, this is Twilight's reaction at the end of chapter 5 when Discord tells her that something odd involving magical disturbances is going on in a small settlement, and advises she and her friends to check it out as soon as possible.
- The Kim Possible fic "Equal Romance 02: Obscure Ways to Devotion" opens with Kim and Ron having basically "broken up" because Kim misinterpreted some of Ron's recent actions as an attempt to emotionally manipulate her into having sex. When Ron falls into a coma due to an illness, Kim has to project herself into his mind to save him, which leads to her witnessing his memories and interacting with his subconscious to learn what actually happened and affirm that Ron was never trying to do anything to her. When Kim returns to the real world, she's soon left frustrated when she realises that Ron doesn't remember what they experienced in his subconscious on a conscious level, which means that she has to earn his forgiveness all over again.
- Heavily implied by the ending of Farce of the Three Kingdoms. Historically, it took less than two decades for the Sima princes to start fighting for the throne.
- The Turning Red fanfic Fragile; Handle with Care ends with Tae-young feeling better, only for Jesse to now have a cold instead.
- Friendship Is Magical Girls: Sunset Shimmer gives herself a massive power boost in the second half of the Magic Arc by breaking and absorbing one of the Lunar Seals. During the Loyalty Arc, it is revealed that Gilda is planning to do the exact same thing to further her own plans.
- Nosflutteratu: Just after Twilight manages to get over / become used to the fact that Fluttershy's a vampire, she nonchalantly mentions this to Spike... who did not know either and is just as shocked as Twilight was at the start of the story.
- Nurse Jet ends like this. Sean has recovered from his cold, and is ready to start the day...only to find out that now Jet has a cold, leading into the sequel story Patient Name: Propulsion.
- A Starstruck Phantasmic Romance: Starfire spends most of the early part of the story obsessively chasing after Danny, but eventually settles down to a level he's more comfortable with. Then, during an encounter with Vlad, Starfire loses both her memories of Danny and her self control around him, which causes her to romantically chase him again.
- The Doctor Who fanfic Time Lords Never Get Sick has the Doctor recovered from his three-week cold, only to catch another one from Jackie Tyler.
- At the end of the Ghostbusters (1984) fanfic Under the Weather, Egon has recovered from his cold, but now Janine has caught it.
- The epilogue of The Aldous Lexicon ends by describing events like those which began the books, with Naia's child in place of Alaric/Naia, and a collage made by Naia replacing the sculpture by Alaric's mother. Which raises the question of whether Naia's mother had known about the other worlds, among other things.
- In Alligator Baby by Robert Munsch, it's mentioned at the end that several years later, the parents mistook the zoo for the hospital and brought home baby animals by accident again, and this time, they'd had twins.
- Terry Pratchett's The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents ends with Maurice finding another stupid-looking kid to help earn his fortune.
- Angela Nicely: At the end of "Miss Skinner's Wig!", Angela realises that Miss Skinner doesn't wear a wig, but now she thinks that Mr. Weakly does.
- The first Artemis Fowl book starts with the titular character researching a hunch he has about fairies. At the end of the sixth book, he's gone through a Stable Time Loop back to before the first book with past!Artemis getting mind-wiped to preserve the timeline. The last scene is him waking up post mind-wipe, back in the past, and half remembering "Fairies. Something about fairies."
- The last book ends with one of the characters reciting the first lines from the first book.
- Bear and Mouse: At the end of "The Sniffles for Bear", Bear has recovered from his cold, but Mouse seems to have caught it.
- Bruce Coville's Book of...:
- Bruce Coville's Book of Nightmares: Death's Door ends with the kids, having narrowly escaped an early death, learning that Death is going to try again the next day.
- Bruce Coville's Book of Ghosts II: A Cry in the Night ends with two young sisters falling for the same trick that a horrific ghost initially used to capture and kill the protagonist.
- A Canticle for Leibowitz opens 600 years after a nuclear war between the United States and the Soviet Union. The final third of the book, set 1,800 years after the apocalypse, has humanity in another cold war between two superpowers that ends with another nuclear war.
- Every book in the Captain Underpants series always ends with George and Harold being dragged into another adventure. Yeah, that's how it goes. The savvy kids even comment on this in one book (as pictured above), when one says that he's surprised that they made it to the end of the book without going "Oh no!" and "Here we go again!". Of course, they don't really.
- This even extends to the film adaptation, Captain Underpants: The First Epic Movie. At the end, just when George and Harold comment on how everything is back to normal, the radioactive leftovers that powered the Turbo-Toilet 2000 bring to life an army of talking toilets, prompting an "Oh, no!" from both George and Harold. When the killer toilets interrupt Mr. Krupp's dinner date, he shouts "Check, Please!" and snaps his fingers... accidentally triggering his Captain Underpants persona, who flies in to save the boys from the Talking Toilets as Harold remarks "Here we go again!"
- Ted Dekker's Circle series. The first three books came and it was quite a gripping story that seemed to lead to a happy ending. But then along came Green where Thomas is sent back in time to have another chance to set things right, to the beginning of book 1, with the condition that his memories of what is to happen are erased. Effectively crating a loop, for without the knowledge of what is to happen, he is bound to make the same choices.
- At the end of Daddy Snores, the protagonist's father has stopped snoring... but started talking in his sleep, which implies his wife will have even more trouble sleeping.
- Stephen King's The Dark Tower series uses this as well. The final book ends with Roland making it to the top of the tower, and finding himself in the desert following the man in black - and it isn't the first time he's been sent back to the beginning. There's an ambiguous clue that he might change things this time around, though.
- In the short story "Devil's Marauders" from the Warhammer 40,000 anthology book Deathwing, a squad of soldiers fight their way through a hostile jungle sector to reach an evacuation point before they are bombarded. Once the remnants of the said squadron reach their destination, they learn that the area has been compromised and the evacuation point has been moved, and they have to fight through another area.
- An odd Timey-Wimey Ball variation in the Doctor Who Expanded Universe novel "Borrowed Time"; the opening scene is set during the sub-prime mortgage bubble, and has two mysterious figures in dark suits offer a beleaguered banker a wristwatch that lets him "borrow" time. The epilogue is set during the 16th-century tulipmania bubble and has two mysterious figures in dark doublets and hose offer a beleaguered tulip trader a pocket watch that lets her "borrow" time. Less "Here We Go Again" and more "There We Went Before".
- In-universe example: The Dragaera novels are set in an empire governed in accordance with the Cycle, a system by which each of the 17 Houses rules in turn. The compiled editions of the Vlad Taltos books open with an in-universe poem to illustrate this, that gives every House a line in order, both starting and ending with the House of the Phoenix.
- In The Flea's Sneeze, a flea sneezes in a barn, causing chaos. At the end, a hog says that he is about to sneeze.
- Finnegans Wake is in some ways a more literal example of this trope than most, as it ends in the middle of a sentence that is completed at the beginning of the novel.
- Go the Fuck to Sleep ends on the kid, who had previously finally fallen asleep after much profane pleading from their Unnamed Parent, waking up in the night.
- The children's picture book How to Make an Apple Pie and See the World sets up for an idea similar to the If You Give a Mouse a Cookie books, but actually subverts this. The book begins with a trip to the store for ingredients for apple pie, only for the store to be closed, resulting in a journey around the world. At the end of the book, it's said that apple pie is good with ice cream, so you should go to the store for ice cream. But if the store is closed... you can eat it plain.
- If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, arguably Laura Numeroff's most famous work, begins with the mouse being given a cookie, and asking for various other favors until the end, where he wants a cookie again. Numeroff herself described it as a "circular story."
- Several of Numeroff's other books follow the same pattern, either with the same mouse (If You Take a Mouse to the Movies) or with other animals (If You Give a Pig a Pancake, If You Give a Moose a Muffin).
- I Really, Really, Really Need a Wee/to Pee ends on the protagonist either needing to poo or needing to pee again.
- Lumbanico The Cubic Planet starts with Pirela talking her friend Ustrum and her sister Mela into looking for the forgotten tunnels leading through the Arista range and explore the Enchanted Valley...and ends up with Pirela saying Ustrum and Mela she wants to explore the remainder Aristas and discover whether their inner vales are inhabited. Ustrum angrily replies he is done with travelling and adventuring, but Pirela is completely certain that she will talk them into it once again.
- Another King instance in Needful Things, which starts with a narrator talking to the reader about the new store coming into town and telling us a bit about the town, and ends likewise in a different town.
- "The Nothing Equation": The story ends with Green cracking from paranoia and being replaced by another scientist, Larkin, who is likewise convinced that the same thing won't happen to him.
- At the end of Oh No, Gotta Go, the girl, who'd been having a Potty Emergency for the whole book, needs to use the bathroom again.
- Subverted in Olive Marshmallow. A boy named Archie notices "something different" about his mother. It turns out that she's pregnant, and at the end of the story, she gives birth to a daughter named Olive. At the end, it mentions that approximately a year later (since Olive can now walk but she's still not talking), she and Archie "noticed something different about Mum", and she's seen with a round belly. It appears that she's pregnant again, yet the sequel, Olive the Alien, shows her at her normal size and with no third child, so apparently she'd just grown a gut.
- In the epilogue of Replay, the "Groundhog Day" Loop is happening to someone new, but his replay date is when Jeff's end date was.
- Roys Bedoys: Subverted at the end of "That Website's Not Safe, Roys Bedoys!", where the computer has just been cleared of a virus that Roys accidentally downloaded, but Loys claims to have just clicked on another shady link. However, he was just joking.
- The Walter de la Mare poem "Sam's Three Wishes, or Life's Little Whirligig" ends with Sam in the exact same situation he was at the beginning, and contains some great Fridge Brilliance if you're willing to start the poem all over again.
- Discussed in Squid Sisters Stories, a short web serial tie-in for Splatoon 2. The story ends with Marie realizing that the events of the first game are pretty much repeating (the Octarian Army has stolen the city's Great Zapfish once again). With her grandfather and the previous game's player character busy with another assignment, and her cousin nowhere to be found, Marie remarks that she'll have to recruit a new agent (i.e., the second game's player character) herself. She also decides to do it in the same manner as her grandfather: stake out one of the most popular locations in the city for a teenager who looks capable enough to single-handedly take down an army.
- Time To: "Time to Pee!" ends with "At least, until you get that feeling again."
- A Golden Look-Look Book adaptation of the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Rock 'n Roar" expands upon the episode's original ending. In the book adaptation, after Buster sets Rover, his pet dinosaur free, he picks up what looks like his soccer ball to trick Montana Max into thinking that there was no dinosaur, only to discover that he instead picked up a dinosaur egg that hatches into a baby girl dinosaur. Buster even calls the trope by its name after the egg hatches.
- Todd's TV ends with the sentient TV being turned off so he won't bother Todd and his parents anymore... but unfortunately, Todd gets a computer, which is also sentient.
- The first three Vernon Bright books end like this.
- In the first book Bright de-magnetizes himself only to discover he's become electrically charged.
- The second ends with their "Faster Than Light Machine" creating infinite Bright's
- The third has two. Bright's father has to go and stop a meteor crashing into the planet and destroying all life on Earth and at the same time the gravity machine has inverted and is creating a miniature black hole.
- The fourth book is different because John realizes that the "Frankenstein's Hamster" could just be hibernating...
- Word of God says that this is the basic premise of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time series, although the series only depicts one Age rather than a full turn of the Wheel.
- At the end of Willie Wants a Wee-Wee, Willie no longer needs a number one, but now he needs a number two.
- E.R. Eddison's The Worm Ouroboros begins and ends with the Witchland declaring war against the Demonland, the country ruled by the main characters.
- Alice Cooper's Concept Album Along Came a Spider does this. The prologue begins with "We found his diary today", and the epilogue begins with "They found my diary today". A close listening reveals that the events keep on repeating themselves.
- "All Along the Watchtower" by Bob Dylan has "Two Riders were approaching" as the second-to-last line. This (likely) refers to the Joker and Thief who are quoted at the beginning of the song.
- Bowling for Soup's song "Highschool Never Ends" includes the line 'And here we go again' when listing a few things on how adult life has people in it still acting the way they did in highschool.
- Cher's "Gypsies, Tramps, and Thieves" has the daughter winding up repeating the mother's life.
- Coldplay's Viva la Vida or Death and All His Friends ends with the hidden track "The Escapist" which plays directly into "Life in Technicolor," the first track.
- Donna Summer's Concept Album Four Seasons of Love follows a romance through the four seasons, from its beginning in "Spring Affair" to its end in "Winter Melody". Then the cycle starts all over again with the final track, a reprise of "Spring Affair".
- In Dream Theater's 24-minute epic "Octavarium," the entire theme is coming full circle. In the second section, for example, the narrator wakes up from a 30-year coma. By the end, he has fallen back into the coma.
- The entire album Octavarium is an example of this. Track 1, The root of all evil begins with wavering synthesizer. Octavarium, the final track, ends in the same way.
- Perhaps inspired by Finnegans Wake above, the last word sung on Joanna Newsom's Divers is the first syllable of the word "transcending", and the first word on the album is "sending".
- The Flanders and Swann song "The Gasman Cometh" utilizes this. A man hires a gasman to fix a problem, but this leads to him creating another problem, requiring more tradies, each one causing their own problem necessitating the next one. It ends on the gasman needing to come again.
- In the video for the Foo Fighters song "Monkey Wrench", Dave and the band find an apparent group of their clones singing the song in his apartment. Eventually, they get in to find them running away. So they finish the song, however, we pan out of the apartment to see another group of clones looking inside, wondering what's going on.
- In Harry Nilsson's "Coconut", putting the lime in the coconut and drinking them both up gives a woman a bellyache, prompting her to call the doctor and wake him up. He advises her to put the lime in the coconut and drink them both together, assuring her that "then you'll feel better". And so forth.
- "In the Year 2525" goes to the end of mankind, then starts all over far away.
- Machinehead's "The Burning Red" has the same riff at the beginning and the end.
- "Vice" from Miranda Lambert's The Weight of These Wings is her admitting to her flaws of being The Alcoholic and having meaningless hook ups but she can't do anything to stop it because of her loneliness. The music video also employs this trope: When Miranda is about to make a decision at a crossroad, a car comes up to her and she went to its backseat similar to her position at the start of the video, implying that it will crash like that car.
- Happens in the nigh-universally banned music video for Nine Inch Nails' 'Happiness in Slavery'. A nameless man enters a room with an altar and machine and performs some sort of ritual before being brutally tortured to death by the machine. The video ends just as Trent enters the room and performs the same ritual implying that he's going to meet the same gorey fate as the other man.
- The music video for Peterpan's "Menghapus Jejakmu" features a girl (implied to be Ariel's ex) following Ariel around and copying everything he does. At the end of the video, she stops since Ariel now has somebody else... and proceeds to follow Uki.
- NRBQ's "It Was a [sic] Accident". Guy and girl impulsively have sex, then they're terrified that she's gotten pregnant. They learn she isn't pregnant, they celebrate and end up impulsively having sex again.
- The album BE by Pain of Salvation opens with the birth of a god, the first track beginning with heartbeats and faint whispers of the line "I'm at the line, I see it all." This same line appears in its original form in the second to last song as a space probe begins to gain sentience. The final track begins identically to the first, implying that it an endless loop similar to that in "The Last Question" by Isaac Asimov.
- Pink Floyd's Rock Opera The Wall begins with, at the very first second, Pink saying "we came in?". The very last song cuts off with Pink saying "Isn't this where". Note that the background music in both the last song and the beginning of the first one is the same. So if you play the whole album on a loop, it will be seamless. May be inspired by Finnegans Wake above. The Floyd did this earlier with the heartbeat sound effect (actually a treated bass drum) on The Dark Side of the Moon.
- Radiohead's album OK Computer does this. The first song, "Airbag", describes the aftermath of a car crash. The last song, "The Tourist", features the lines "They ask me where the hell I'm going / at a 1000 feet per second" and "Hey man, slow down / Hey idiot, slow down", suggesting an imminent car crash.
- The song "Stargazer" by Rainbow is a Heavy Mithril anthem about a wizard who enslaves people to build him a tower from which he can fly to reach a star in the sky, only for him to fall and die in the attempt to launch himself from the completed spire. The following song, album closer "A Light in the Black", is about the despair of one of the wizard's slaves, who laments all the years lost on the pointless task. However, during the song's Big Rock Ending:
Look to the sky
There, in the sky
I see a star!
- The Sabaton album "The War to end All Wars" begins with "Sarajevo", which describes the outbreak of World War I. The final track, "Versailles" begins as a Triumphant Reprise of "Sarajevo" describing the end of the war, before switching to the original chorus from "Sarajevo", suggesting that another war will follow.
Narrator: The War That Would End All Wars is over... but not everyone agrees. In the underground, something is growing in the dark. Because for some, the war never ended. War will never entirely die. It will evolve, it will change, and war will return, sooner than we think.
To add an extra chill factor to those words, the album was released just as the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine was beginning.
- Almost identical to the Coldplay example, the AFI album Sing The Sorrow has a hidden track called This Time Imperfect whose ending (deliberately-inserted static) blends seamlessly into the beginning.
- A variation of this is in Snow Patrol's music video for "Chocolate". The entire video revolves around people panicking while an hourglass and digital timer count down to 0. When it gets there, everybody huddles down, only for nothing to happen. The singer walks up and flips the hourglass over, which causes the timer to reset and the panic to resume.
- The children's favorite, "The Song That Never Ends" (aka "The Song That Doesn't End").
- Terrorvision's "How to Make Friends and Influence People" has the same "Tick... Tock... " at the beginning and the end.
- "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza..." ends on Henry realising that he can't fetch the water needed to wet the stone required to cut the knife to cut the straw to fix his bucket, because due to the hole in his bucket, he has nothing to carry the water with.
- They Might Be Giants:
- The video for "Shape Shifter" involves an app on a tablet computer transporting a girl and her boyfriend to the studio of an indie rock band, who turn their heads into various objects for their own amusement. The two escape back to their home and close the portal by deleting the app, but as the video ends it shows malware causing the app to reinstall itself...
- The video for "I'll Be Haunting You" has a guy fall off a ladder and challenge death to a game of ping-pong for his life. He wins, but the video ends with the guy getting hit by a falling toolbox, and having a re-match with Death in the more traditional game of chess.
- Towards the beginning of the video for Tom Petty's "Into the Great Wide Open", Eddie (Johnny Depp) gets a heart-shaped tattoo in his rise to fame as a rock star. In the end, after his fall from fame, he returns to the same tattoo parlor where he finds another man (Matt Le Blanc) getting a heart-shaped tattoo, who'll presumably rise and fall from fame as a rock star like he did.
- "Weird Al" Yankovic's "I Lost on Jeopardy!" ends with:
"Well, I don't know what I was thinking
I guess it just wasn't my night
Well, I sure hope I do better
Next weekend on The Price Is Right
- "Where Have All the Flowers Gone". The flowers have gone to young girls, who have gone to young men, who have gone to be soldiers, who have gone to graveyards, which have gone to flowers...
- Whitesnake has a song all about this:
"Here I go, again on my own..."
- After the teens in the Cool Kids Table game Bloody Mooney are successful in containing Mooney in the government van to stop its rampage, everything seems fine. Then the police they called arrive and try to open the van, leading the story to end as the three teens shout at them to stop.
- The Between the Lions episode "The Lost Rock" focused on The Lion Family helping a rock named Larry find his book. After Larry gets back into his book, a bowling ball rolls down the stair banister and can't find his book, implying that the lions have to start all over again.
- Sesame Street:
- At end of the song "I Heard my Dog Bark.", the dog barks again and wakes up all the other pets in the house.
- "There's a hole in the bucket, dear Liza, dear Liza...". As per the lyrics for that song, it ends with Henry realizing that he still doesn't know what to carry the water in because there's a hole in his bucket.
- The A-plot of Christmas Eve on Sesame Street is kickstarted when Oscar asks Big Bird how Santa Claus can fit down a skinny chimney, as if Santa can't, the presents won't be delivered on Christmas Eve. Big Bird decides to stay up all night in the cold to find out. He falls asleep and misses seeing Santa, but the presents still get delivered anyway. When Big Bird finds out, Oscar asks him how the Easter Bunny hides his eggs in one night, much to Maria's annoyance.
- After Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor settles an argument between Baby Bear and Goldilocks, The Three Little Pigs and the Big Bad Wolf appear, seeking the Justice's assistance, much to the annoyance of both her and Maria.
- Uttered word-for-word by Elmo in Episode 4205 (Season 40). The plot deals Inspector Four (played by Judah Friedlander) threatening to shut down things on Sesame Street unless they have exactly four of something, while Elmo and Telly try to make sure thing stay safe. At the end of the story, he gets promoted to Inspector Five, meaning Elmo and Telly have to start all over again.
- In a sketch involving the Count, the Count goes to a bank to withdraw all the money from his account in $1 bills so he can count them one by one. Eventually, he gets to 1,000,003 dollars, and the bank teller asks him what he's going to buy with all that money. The Count tells him that he's not going to buy anything; he just wanted to count his money. The sketch ends with the Count deciding to deposit his money one by one, much to the bank teller's dismay.
- One "Ernie and Bert" skit has Ernie feeling hot in the middle of the night, so he opens the window. Unfortunately, this leads to him hearing scary noises, so he closes the window... only, now he's hot again.
- Another "Ernie and Bert" skit has Ernie feeling thirsty at night, but he's too tired to get water himself, so Bert gets him water to stop whining. Unfortunately, when he's finally had enough water, he begins rambling about how thirsty he used to be.
- In the "Bert and Ernie's Great Adventures" cartoons, whenever one of their beds tap dances, they go on an adventure. At the end, they always go home, but then one of the beds tap dances again.
- One "Ernie and Bert" sketch has them being kept awake by a dripping tap, which leads to Ernie making more sounds to drown it out, but that only makes it worse. Then, when Bert turns off all the sounds, Ernie falls asleep but Bert is kept awake again when Ernie snores.
- Another "Ernie and Bert" skit, Bert has trouble with his TV glitching out and flashing the letter "H" on the screen. Ernie fixes it, but then the TV starts flashing the letter "I".
- In a Cookie Monster sketch, Cookie goes to the library, where he asks the librarian for various books, as well as a box of cookies. The librarian becomes extremely frustrated when he has to explain multiple times to Cookie that the library doesn't have any cookies, just books. Cookie eventually understands, and decides to ask for a book about cookies... and a glass of milk.
- The House in Cypress Canyon, a horror story featured in a 1946 episode of the CBS show Suspense, concludes in this manner.
- Used word for word in an alternate ending to one of the Gehenna scenarios in Vampire: The Masquerade. This ending, titled "Here We Go Again," involves the Tzimisce Antediluvian being defeated just as it was in the original ending; however, the player characters do not transform back into humans. Not only do they remain vampires, but they appear to have become more powerful than ever before, and their clan weakness no longer affects them: now that the old Antediluvians are all dead or beyond all human concerns, the players have taken their place to start the entire history of vampires all over again.
- The main plot All's Well That Ends Well starts with Helena curing the King of France, being offered the hand of any nobleman she likes in reward, and having Bertram, who she chooses, reject her. At the end of the play, she's managed to win him back with the help of Diana; when she tells the story to the King, he says Diana can have the hand of any nobleman she likes as a reward for helping Helena...
- Avenue Q starts with fresh college grad Princeton wondering "What Do You Do with a BA in English?" By the end of the show, he has matured and gained some life experience when another fresh college grad ambles in singing the same tune.
- The Bald Soprano opens with Mr. and Mrs. Smith having a conversation alone on stage before their maid enters to announce the arrival of their guests, Mr. and Mrs. Martin. It ends with Mr. and Mrs. Martin alone on stage, at which point they segue into the same conversation Mr. and Mrs. Smith were having at the beginning.
- Candide has the comic ballad "What's the Use?" The Old Lady, who operates a rigged roulette wheel, is exploited by her employer, who pays protection to a police chief, who is being blackmailed by a crook, who has a terrible roulette habit.
- Chicago: Moments after the jury finds Roxie Hart not guilty, three pistol shots are heard, and the crowd rushes out to investigate. It seems that another woman has shot her boyfriend and his wife.
- A Gentleman's Guide to Love and Murder: Monty has murdered his way to being the Earl of D'Ysquith, and appears to walk away with no consequences and with both the women he loves. In the finale, the jailor Chauncey, who is also a D'Ysquith with a Black Sheep disinherited parent like Monty, is heard singing "I am standing here with poison in me pocket" before the final "this is not the end" is finished being sung by the rest of the cast.
- Woody Allen's play God ends with the two leads repeating their opening lines, which are complaining about the play not having an ending.
- An Inspector Calls begins with the titular inspector visiting the upper-class Birling family to interrogate them about the death of a young working-class woman, gradually revealing that each of them was partly responsible for her eventual suicide. At the end, it is revealed that the inspector who visited them was not a real policeman. The double-twist comes when Mr Birling receives a phone call telling him that the girl's suicide really is being investigated, and an inspector will be sent round to ask some questions.
- The Man Who Came to Dinner ends with Sheridan Whiteside, having fully recovered from his injury, walking out the front door of the Stanley home and slipping and falling on the steps once again.
- On the Town: Chip, Ozzie and Gabey's twenty-four hours are up, and they return to the ship... but three new sailors get off the ship on their shore leave, singing "New York, New York." (The ending of the film version is the same, and the ballet the musical was modeled on, Fancy Free, had a very similar ending, with the exuberant opening music of "Enter Three Sailors" making a sudden return.)
- The Skin of Our Teeth by Thornton Wilder, ends with Sabina coming out onstage, acting out her first scene of the show. She then stops and tells the audience that the play hasn't been finished yet, and they can go home whenever they like, with the implication that the play-within-a-play is on an infinite loop. This is itself meant to symbolize how human history keeps repeating itself, and that most things don't change in the long run.
- Noah Smith's stage version of The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde ends with Utterson looking thoughtfully at a copy of Jekyll's lab notes while the Greek chorus tempts him to try the formula out himself.
- In Summer of the Seventeenth Doll, Olive is in a long-standing informal relationship with Roo, who comes to town each summer to spend the money he saves up working the rest of the year up north as a cane-cutter. Over the course of the play, they have to face up to the fact that their arrangement can't last indefinitely and sooner or later they will have to either settle down to a steadier lifestyle or fall apart entirely. Near the end of the play, their young friend Kathie, oblivious to the troubled waters their relationship is in, heads out on a date with a cane-cutter her age, hoping it will be the start of a relationship like theirs.
- Tenderloin ends with Reverend Brock moving on to Detroit to try to shut down the Red Light District there. It reacts the same way the one in New York did, with a reprise of their Protest Song.
- Twice Charmed ends with the wicked fairy godfather helping an evil queen being chased by seven dwarfs up a mountain.
- Camp Camp: After the campers finally get rid of Daniel, an Albino Identical Stranger to David who wanted to sacrifice them all for his cult, Gwen pulls up with Jen, an Albino Identical Stranger counterpart to herself who wants to mutilate all of them in the name of beauty. The episode ends with Space Kid cheerfully greeting Jen the same way he greeted Daniel earlier.
- One work-safe Imbapovi video starts with Miku finishing to vacuum her apartment room, then she notices the reverse button and the box of balloons she had received, so she removes the broom. She proceeds to have fun inflating to pop the giant balloons, until she notices that her room is covered with pieces of them. It ends with Miku preparing to clean it up all over again, to her dismay.
- Ollie & Scoops: In "Gimme a Hand," Scoops goes to Dr. Toodles to get (large, disturbing) human hands grafted over his paws. The hands come to life and jump off of Scoops' paws, terrorizing Catlifornia. Ollie and Scoops defeat the hands, only for the audience to learn immediately after that Dr. Toodles has put another pair of hands on himself.
- The first season of Red vs. Blue did this; the first and last episodes began with the camera rising up to view Simmons and Grif having the same conversation. Grif has a different response each time, though. Some of the series' Multiple Endings as well; the canonical ending does the same, albeit with the red and blue team switching roles. Another ending has both teams ousted by an alien invasion, with the aliens starting their own Red vs Blue war and repeating the same conversation Grif and Simmons had in the first episode.
- The "Vicious Cycle" videos sport characters from Team Fortress 2 killing each other in wacky and elaborate ways. At the end of the video, the first character respawns and heads off to start the killing spree again.
- Watermelon: A Cautionary Tale: The short follows the tale of Jimmy, a boy who against the advice of his mom, eats watermelon seeds and turns into a watermelon. It ends with Jimmy cracking into pieces after fully transforming in mid-air and the playground kids eating the watermelon-Jimmy pieces, seeds and all, with cartoon vines appearing over their heads as the screen turns to black, heavily implying that they too will turn into watermelons.
- Bronze Skin Inc.:Just as the coatis are dealt with, the water is stolen again, this time by saguis, who are said to fill in the niche vacated by the coatis.
- City Face's first story lampshaded this. On the bottom right of the last panel, where there would normally be a "The End" symbol, there is instead a box saying "goto #1".
- Dregs (or at least the first book) ends with Chub and Coney returning to work the following week, and the nudist secretly following them with, presumably, the intention of causing more havoc.
- Freefall: Florence has trouble positioning herself for the eye scanner. When she finally gets a successful scan on her right eye, the machine says: "Due to number of failed scans, a second verification is required. Please present left eye to the lens for scanning."
- Full Frontal Nerdity pastiches If You Give a Mouse a Cookie as "If You Give Your Mom Some Memory".
- Penny Arcade gives a single strip-wide example about a cyclical argument.
- The Perry Bible Fellowship: "Reset", on a cosmic scale.
- The Petri Dish: One series of strips involves Gordon Noble Hulking Out whenever he's annoyed due to drinking a serum thinking it was soda. It ends with him cured, but Thaddeus developing tentacles on his head due to also mistaking a serum for soda.
- xkcd, being XKCD, puts a non-orient-able spin on the concept here.
- Atop the Fourth Wall: After Missingno is convinced to kill itself and everything is back to what passes for normal in a That Guy with the Glasses show, That Dude in the Suede is seen playing Pokémon Red, in the process of enacting the Old Man Glitch in order to spawn Missingno..
- The final installment of Don't Hug Me I'm Scared sees the date, which has been June 19th for the past six episodes, switching to June 20th. Besides that and the colors of the main characters, the entire scene is the same as the first episode, and it abruptly ends after the first line of the song from the original Don't Hug Me I'm Scared, implying the series will repeat itself.
- In The Nostalgia Critic's review of Ponyo on the Cliff by the Sea, he incurs the wrath of convention fans when he says he doesn't like the movie. At the end, he manages to calm them down, only to get hated again when he says he doesn't like Howl's Moving Castle.
- At the end of "Bowser Junior Loses Thomas!", Chef Pee Pee finds Junior's Thomas toy and gives it back to Junior. A few minutes later, Junior loses the dinosaur toy he played with at the beginning of the video and calls for Chef Pee Pee to help him find it.
- At the end of "Bowser Junior's Broken Leg!", Chef Pee Pee beats Junior up to the point of breaking his left leg after finding out that he was lying about his right leg being broken.
- In "Bowser Junior's Cookies!", after a whole shenanigans full of sticky notes saying "cookies" all over the apartment and Chef Pee Pee raging, he finally goes to the store and brings cookies for Junior, only to find out that the kind of cookies were not what Junior wanted, and he really wants Chips Ahoy cookies. Junior then starts writing "Chips Ahoy" on the sticky notes and sticks them for a second time.
Chef Pee Pee: Not again!
- At the end of "Bowser Junior Gets Rabies!", a biting Bowser Junior bites Chef Pee Pee, causing him to catch rabies from him, and he later gets the same symptoms Junior had from the disease. Bowser Junior and Cody then start poking him with a stick.
- Subverted in "Bowser's Depression", wherein Bowser goes into a deep depression when his favorite Show Within a Show, Charleyyy and Friends is cancelled and replaced with a spin-off called Fishy and Friends. Bowser eventually gets over it when he watches a video made by Junior and Chef Pee Pee, and later gives the latter show a chance and begins to like it, only for it to get cancelled. When it looks like Bowser is about to go into another breakdown, it is revealed that Charleyyy and Friends was renewed, much to Bowser's relief.