Follow TV Tropes


Honesty Aesop

Go To

"If I lie many times, no, no one can trust my word. No more, no more lies. No more lies for me. I will be an honest boy."
Goo-Goo, "No More Lying"

An Aesop that occasionally pops up in media is the virtues of being honest. This is often shown in plots where someone lies to avoid getting in trouble, only for his lie to cause problems for himself and everybody else around him (perhaps via a "Fawlty Towers" Plot or Snowball Lie) until he gives in and confesses.

Related to Be Yourself, when it's about confessing who you really are, and to Honest Axe, in which one is rewarded for being honest. Contrast Brutal Honesty, when social norms force the Broken Aesop, as well as Awful Truth, Lying to Protect Your Feelings, and The Power of Legacy. See also the Third-Act Misunderstanding. Might involve a Rash Promise, Crying Wolf, or a Guilt-Induced Nightmare; it might also involve the Mistakes Are Not the End of the World Aesop, if the character lied to cover a mistake.


    open/close all folders 

  • About Dressy Sally: For not telling her mother that she had one of her gloves replaced by Mr. Kadabra, the wizard makes her do work for him. The stars Sally knits for Mr. Kadabra are said to disappear unless she always tells the truth.
  • Noonbory and the Super 7: In the episode "Big, Bigger, Biggest", Jetybory and Lukybory try to use Hanubi's magic staff to get their ball out of a tree, but this results in them accidentally making the Builderborys grow. Jety and Luky try to hide their mistake so they can fix it on their own, but they end up confessing what they did to Noonbory and returning the staff back to Hanubi.

    Anime & Manga 
  • Subverted in an episode of Digimon Adventure 02 in which Iori/Cody has been taught not to lie by his kendo-master grandfather as part of his approach to the honor and discipline side of the martial art. However he is involved in The Masquerade around Digimon and his inability to tell the truth about this in an emergency really causes him inner conflict. The moral of the episode is the somewhat unconventional for a kids show of "Sometimes it is alright to lie if you are protecting people by not telling the truth".
  • Somewhat spoofed in episode 42 of Dragon Ball Super in which Beerus has to protect his Motivational Lie to Goku about Monaka being one of the strongest people in the universe. The rest of the cast gleefully forces him to go to increasingly awkward lengths to protect this lie, and he ends up sparring with Goku in a hot and embarrassing Monaka costume. At the end of this, he vows not to lie again, while Whis nods as if it was his intention to teach this all along.
  • Spy X Family parodies this after Anya gets embarrassed by lying to her class about her vacation. Her father, uncle, and mother all give her the Stock Aesop about how Lying Is Bad, but the three of them are, respectively, a spy, a member of the Secret Police, and a Professional Killer, all of whom lie constantly in their lines of work. And Anya herself can read minds, so she knows all of them are talking out of their asses. She agrees to try to stop lying anyway, mainly because their convoluted thoughts on the subject make it seem like a hassle.

    Comic Books 
  • The Transformers: More than Meets the Eye has a moral throughout the entire comic, and that is that secrets are wrong and that you need to admit them in order to have a happy life. For example, Cyclonus refusing to admit to Tailgate that he loves him allows Getaway to manipulate him and nearly kill him, Rodimus refusing to reveal that Overlord was hidden caused multiple deaths (including Rewind), and Brainstorm again refusing to admit to Quark caused him to create by accident the Functionist Timeline just to save him. However, after the secrets are revealed, the secret keepers decide to change and become better bots; Cyclonus finally admits to Tailgate his love for him and the two become a couple, Rodimus grows up to stop being a Manchild and becomes a true leader, Brainstorm finds a new love in Nautica, and the crew as a whole become true heroes.

    Fan Works 

  • Fate Revelation Online: Referenced; when an NPC asks what Kirito was promised a reward, Kirito recognizes it as an "honesty gate," and that lying will either result in a quest failure or seeming success, and will bite him later. The problem is, he genuinely doesn't remember how much he was promised, and he doesn't think the NPC is smart enough to accept that answer. Instead, he decides to ask for the random book on magic Numerology that he found while waiting. The NPC agrees, opening up a quest chain for Kirito to learn a new and complex brand of magecraft. It also turns out that this "NPC" is actually Kayaba Akihiko himself, the man who trapped them there in the first place. It's unclear if he always planned to teach Kirito Numerology or if this was just a coincidence that he took advantage of.
  • In Forgiveness is the Attribute of the Strong, Young Hisashi is able to prevent his relationship with his little brother Yoichi from deteriorating like it did in the original timeline by admitting that his mother tricked him into helping her poison Yoichi.
  • Junior Officers: In "The Swell Shark", Shellington is severely ill with the stomach flu, but he lies that he feels fine and goes on a mission. He ends up vomiting, so he is taken back to the Octopod. Captain Barnacles goes to talk to him, and Shellington emotionally breaks down over how he thinks that it would have been selfish of him to call in sick because he already feels like an abysmal Octonaut. Captain Barnacles tells him that it wouldn't be selfish of him to have told the truth since he is a good Octonaut.
  • Played With in The Karma of Lies. Adrien knows that Lila is a Con Artist, but chooses not to warn anyone or support Marinette's efforts to expose her, claiming that she's not really hurting anyone. He changes his tune after Lila manages to steal from him, at which point he confidently goes to the police and tells them everything... including how he knew her true nature all along. This only serves to make the police more suspicious of him. In essence, the problem is that Adrien's honesty comes "too little, too late"; he's only willing to be honest when it suits him.
    • Quite tellingly, even after he decides to be honest with the police, Adrien keeps hiding the truth from the rest of the class. They only find out through a transcript of his interviews that Sabrina swipes for their own investigation.
  • Princess Tales: At the end of "Alone Among the Couples", Jermaine admits to Ariel that he had a crush on her when they were younger. Ariel tells him that honesty's an important part of friendship, praising him for being so open with her; he agrees that it's an important part of any relationship.
  • What It Takes: A Central Theme of the story is that keeping secrets from your loved ones, especially when those secrets involve them, never ends well.
    • One of the biggest reasons Quentin decides to out Laurel as the Black Canary is because he's still angry at her for keeping Sara's death a secret. While his reaction is Disproportionate Retribution, Laurel does acknowledge it was the wrong thing to do.
    • Felicity's refusal to accept this is actually one of the causes of her break-up with Oliver. When Oliver finds out that she's been hiding what's been happening back in Starling City from him and lying to him, he calls her out on it, but she refuses to take any of the blame, trying to justify it by saying that it was the right thing to do in order to protect him.
    • Barry lampshades this after finding out what Felicity did. He notes that he should have never lied to Iris about being the Flash or convinced Eddie to go with it, especially when it didn't make her any safer in the end, and is grateful that Iris still considers him a friend despite everything. It's for that reason that he can't blame Oliver for not being nearly as forgiving to Felicity, especially when her actions could have led to Laurel dying.
    • This idea reaches its eventual conclusion in the heroes deciding to release a recording of Darhk's meeting with the President in order to expose the former as an international terrorist. Nyssa even notes that secrets is how the League of Assassins operated, and now that they're gone, maybe it's time for a new order, and a new way of doing things, to replace them.

    Films — Animation 
  • Aladdin: Genie tries to get Aladdin to drop his princely getup and woo Jasmine by being himself.
  • Inside Out: One of the major themes of the film is honesty and openness about your emotions; not only with others, but with yourself as well. In fact, one of Riley's personality islands is based on honesty.
  • The Peanuts Movie: Charlie Brown becomes a minor celebrity when he apparently scores 100% on a test, but when he finds that his high scoring test paper actually belonged to Peppermint Patty, he immediately confesses to everyone about the gaffe. The Little Red-Headed Girl later uses this as an example of how Charlie Brown is a good person.
  • Pinocchio: The iconic scene where Pinocchio's nose grows when he lies to the Blue Fairy about how he got inside a birdcage.
    Blue Fairy: You see, Pinocchio, a lie keeps growing and growing, until it is as plain as the nose on your face.
  • In Shark Tale, a fish named Oscar wants to be famous due to being bullied for being "a nobody". When Frankie the shark dies, Oscar lies that he killed him and becomes famous for being a "shark slayer". The moral is that being famous isn't worth living a lie.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Dear Evan Hansen: Evan learns at the end of the film that it's a bad idea to use someone's suicide for personal gain and to lie to a grieving family about being friends with the person in question.
  • One of the Aesops of Wonder Woman 1984 is the importance of being honest both with others and oneself. When young Diana is caught cheating to win a competition in the prologue, she's disqualified and reminded that "no true hero is born from lies", nor is there any shame in failure. The Greater-Scope Villain is a god of lies who created a magic stone that grants people wishes at a terrible cost, which Max Lord uses to make himself successful rather than admit his business ventures are failures. Diana saves the day by encouraging Max and everyone else who made a wish to renounce their wishes, saying they must embrace the truth that they can't have it all or take shortcuts to get what they want; Diana herself must accept the truth that her lover Steve Trevor - whom she'd wished back to life - is gone and let him go.

  • Two women decide to make some money by betting on horse races. They come to the track and start thinking which horse to bet upon. After all, they don't know much about the matter. Suddenly, one says:
    Woman 1: Listen, I have an idea. What's your cup size?
    Woman 2: C.
    Woman 1: And mine is D. That's three and four. Three plus four is seven; let's bet on the horse number seven.
    So, they bet on the horse, and at the end, the announcer says:
    Announcer: The winner is horse number... Seven!
    Both women are happy; they won a lot of money, so they split the profits and go home.
    Once they tell the story to the husbands, these decide to bet on the races as well. They, too come to the track and start thinking which horse to bet upon. Then one of them says:
    Husband 1: Listen, I have an idea. How many times a night can you have sex with your wife?
    Husband 2: Four.
    Husband 1: And me five. Four plus five is nine; let's bet on the horse number nine.
    So, they bet on the horse, and at the end, the announcer says:
    Announcer: The winner is horse number... Two!
    Moral: Honesty does pay off.

  • In the short story The Accident, a girl named Martha plays with a hatchet and cuts her toe off. She and her sisters, Annie and May, lie that Martha is OK, but then their father coincidentally tells them a story about the Fibber Owl; an owl who kidnaps fibbers. The girls then hear a rat coming down the chimney, think it's the Fibber Owl, and frantically tell the truth. Their dad tells them that the Fibber Owl isn't real, but they learnt their lesson about telling lies.
  • The original book of The Adventures of Pinocchio has Pinocchio punished with the growing nose, but it is not a real example, because the story doesn't punish Pinocchio universally when he lies.
  • In Arthur in a Pickle, Arthur lies that his dog Pal ate his homework. Due to his guilt (and because Mr. Ratburn told him he was "in a pickle"), he has a nightmare about a world of pickles. The next day, he apologizes to the principal Mr. Haney and admits that he had forgotten to do his homework, so Mr. Haney doesn't punish him.
  • In The Berenstain Bears and the Truth, Brother and Sister goof around with a soccer ball inside despite being told not to and accidentally break a lamp. They lie that a bird broke it, until they get caught because they're inconsistent on what the bird looked like.
  • The Boy Who Cried Wolf is about a shepherd boy who lies that a wolf is coming to get attention twice, so when a wolf really does come, nobody believes him so (depending on which version of the story you're reading) either he gets eaten, the sheep get eaten, or Everybody Lives but the boy gets in trouble and/or the sheep run away.
  • In Deniska's Stories by Viktor Dragunsky, Deniska has to get it twice:
    • In The Hidden Becomes Revealed, Deniska dumps his cereal out of the window and tells his mother he has eaten it. A few minutes later, they find a very unhappy gentleman at the door, on whom the cereal landed. Deniska realises there is no point in lying as lies get exposed and the situation only grows worse.
    • In The Fire in the Outbuilding, or the Feat in the Ice, Deniska and Mishka realise they are inevitably late for school and decide to think up some good excuse, but can't agree which cover story is better. As Mishka gets delayed on his way to school, they arrive in class separately... so Deniska says they were both saving a little girl from a fire, and Mishka says they were both pulling out a drowning little boy from under the ice. Afterwards, Deniska concludes they shouldn't lie anymore, and Mishka offers an Alternate Aesop Interpretation that they should be better at agreeing on cover stories.
  • In the Felix And Fiona book Fiona's Little Lie, Fiona forgets to make cupcakes to bring to school, then lies that three bullies took them. When the teacher interrogates the bullies and finds out that they didn't do it, she changes the lie to say that three monsters who share the names of the bullies took them. No one believes her, so she fesses up.
  • In the Franklin book Franklin Fibs, Franklin lies that he can eat 76 flies at once, but then has to admit he lied after his friends ask him to do it.
  • Help Me Be Good: A Children's Book About Lying teaches the readers what a lie is, how it's different from a story or a misconception, and why lying is bad.
  • Hilda and Richie: In Hilda and Richie's Wizard, Richie doesn't initially tell Hilda of what happened to his silver pendant or his encounter with the wizard Mr. Abra. Unlike other examples of this trope, Richie doesn't outright lie to Hilda; he reveals he was just too scared to tell her the truth. In the end, after Richie completes an Impossible Task for the wizard, he tells Hilda everything.
  • In Howard B Wigglebottom and the Monkey on His Back, Howard tells several lies in a row and feels guilty about it. He then tells the truth and everything comes right.
  • In the children's book The Little White Lie, a girl tells a lie that comes to life as an Anthropomorphic Personification of lies that convinces her to tell more lies. Eventually, she ignores it and tells the truth.
  • Roys Bedoys: In “Stop Lying, Roys Bedoys!”, Roys lies to Truly that there is a spider, to Wen that she is in trouble, and to Maker that he will give him candy. When they don’t believe him when he tells them he’s stuck, he apologises and promises to stop lying.
  • The children's story Sam, Bangs & Moonshine. Sam has a habit of making up false stories and is warned that it will get her into trouble. She tells a little boy named Thomas that her mom is a mermaid who lives in a distant cove. Thomas believes her and goes there (followed by Bangs, Sam's cat) and both are lost at sea in a storm. Sam is very remorseful about their loss and learns An Aesop about not lying to people. Thomas and Bangs are eventually recovered alive, but Thomas is ill from his ordeal (specifically with laryngitis).
  • Inverted in A Series of Unfortunate Events, which says that although the moral of The Boy Who Cried Wolf is not to lie, sometimes it's good, or even necessary to lie.
  • Books based on Sesame Street:
    • Ernie's Little Lie has Ernie get given a picture of a tiger. He wants to enter it in a contest, lying that he drew it, but then learns that you shouldn't say something about a thing if it's not true, so he admits the truth.
    • In Everyone Makes Mistakes, Big Bird accidentally knocks over somebody's laundry and tells a bunch of conflicting lies, before deciding on the truth.
  • In There's a Lion in the Library, a little girl named Lucy keeps going into the library and lying that there's a lion in there. The librarian responds by siccing an actual lion on Lucy, who eats her.
  • In Thomas Breaks a Promise, a book based on Thomas & Friends, Sir Topham Hatt gives Thomas the job of checking all the signals on the new line to make sure they're all working properly. As he goes to check the signals, Thomas finds out that a carnival has opened for one day only. Having had no fun all summer, he decides to go there and finish the job later. Thomas has fun at the carnival, but when he returns to the sheds, Sir Topham Hatt assumes that he was gone a long time because he made sure every signal was working properly. Thomas, realizing he forgot to finish the job, tells him yes, but then feels guilty about it, as he worries that one of the signals he forgot to check doesn't work. Thomas' fears are proven true when the following rainy night, Percy is tasked with delivering the mail, and one of the unchecked signals has a light that doesn't work. Percy sees the signal's arm is down for danger and applies his brakes too late, and the rain makes the tracks slippery. Percy manages to stay on the rails as he crosses a dangerous curve, but one of his mail cars derails and is smashed to pieces, ruining the mail inside it. When Sir Topham Hatt confronts Thomas, Thomas admits to him that he didn't finish the job because he was at the carnival, and as punishment, Sir Topham Hatt makes him re-check all the signals twice. It is at this point that Thomas learns that both safety and keeping promises are more important than having fun.
  • The Truth According to Arthur involves a boy named Arthur and an anthropomorphic personification of the truth, who don't get along. Arthur rides his big brother's bike, which wasn't allowed, and leaves paint marks on his mother's car. He tells his friend Noah that a princess rode the bike, his other friend Lula that an alien rode it, and a younger kid named Frankie that the bike turned into a robot. Then, he looks into the Truth's eyes and decides to tell his mother the truth.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The central theme of Chernobyl is that, no matter how inconvenient, politically inopportune or hard it is for people to accept, the truth will out eventually — and the cost of the amount of lies required to cover it up can be disastrous. In this case, a nuclear reactor doesn't care about a nation's political ideology or military strength and can't be bribed or coerced into working properly; if it's not built properly it'll fail, and lying to pretend that it is will just make the failure even more horrific.
  • Friends: Played for Laughs in "The One With Ross's Grant", when Joey gets upset that Chandler didn't share his audition tape with the advertising company like he said he did.
    Joey: First, you lied, right? Then, you lied about lying, ok? Then, you lied about lying about lying, ok? So before you lie about lying about lying about lying about... lying... (beat) Stop lying!
  • Sons of Anarchy is about truth and lies. To make a long story short: Speaking truth may have consequences, but speaking lies can have even worse consequences.
  • Star Trek:
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation: In "The First Duty", Capt. Picard and the Enterprise crew discovers that Wesley Crusher and some fellow Starfleet cadets had attempted a long-banned flight technique which resulted in the death of one cadet and were suppressing the truth. Picard is incensed when he confronts Wesley about it.
      Picard: The first duty of every Starfleet officer is to the truth. Whether it's scientific truth, or historical truth, or personal truth. It is the guiding principle upon which Starfleet is based. If you can't find it within yourself to stand up and tell the truth about what happened, you don't deserve to wear that uniform.
    • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine: Conversed in "Improbable Cause", as Dr. Julian Bashir and Elim Garak at one point argue about the lesson taught about the fable of "The Boy Who Cried "Wolf". Garak is of the opinion that the actual lesson is not "don't lie", but rather "never tell the same lie twice".

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Big Bag episode "One Little Lie" is about Chelli accidentally breaking an antique music box he was told not to touch until Molly gets back. He lies that Kim took the music box for a school science project, which triggers a Snowball Lie that culminates in Chelli giving up and admitting he broke the music box, followed by Waldo repairing it.
  • In an episode of Bumble, Boo notices that Peek dislikes the story she made up because it's unrealistic, but he likes Fishy's true story. So she thinks that Peek will like her stories better if she said they were true, and tells him a story about how she was "beamed" to the moon on a moonbeam. Peek believes this and waits for a moonbeam to do the same to him outside. The lesson of the episode is that making up stories is fine, but if you try to make someone believe they're true, you're lying, which is bad.
  • The Noddy Shop episode "Telling The Whole Truth" sees Kate, DJ and Warloworth Q. Weasel facing dilemmas where they hide mistakes they made. Kate and DJ accidentally break a clock they were trying to sell Charlene Von Pickings, while Warloworth accidentally breaks a toy elephant and makes a deal with the Crybabies to prevent the truth from getting out. When Noah sees what Kate and DJ have done, he tells them to confess the truth to the customer. Warloworth also confesses the truth after the other toys point out he has been lying.
  • Sesame Street:
    • In one of the "Noodles and Nedd" skits, Noodles breaks Nedd's toy plane and thinks of trying to hide it but then decides to tell the truth.
    • In one episode, Telly lies that his uncle is a circus performer but then feels bad about it and learns to tell the truth.
    • In one animated skit, a little girl named Cookie breaks the window and thinks of lying that Lucy the cat did it. However, she then imagines her family disowning Lucy and then Lucy running away, so she tells the truth.
    • Zigzagged in "Linda Breaks Ruthie's Pitcher". Linda does break the pitcher, but she was deaf, so she didn't hear the crash, and she didn't see it break or feel the impact because she was in a hurry. Elmo forgot that Linda was deaf, though, so when she tells Ruthie she didn't know what happened to it, he thinks she's lying. When Ruthie asks Elmo if he knows what happened to the pitcher, he stammers, so she thinks he broke it. When he asks Ruthie what would happen if "hypothetically" someone she knew broke the pitcher, she mistakes it for an I Have This Friend situation, causing further confusion.
  • Tipi Tales: In "Picking Berries", Great-Grandfather thinks that both Elizabeth and Sam picked the berries for Great-Grandmother's pie together, when in reality it was only Sam, and Elizabeth had broken her promise to help her. Elizabeth does not correct him on this, which makes Sam upset. Later, Elizabeth learns from the Sabe that it's wrong to make empty promises and lie by omission, so she apologizes to Sam and Great-Grandfather.
  • Treasure Island has an episode where the dog is sick but gets lonely staying in bed. He then lies that he's injured, which leads to the others telling him not to lie and reading him The Boy who Cried Wolf.
  • In a Yo Gabba Gabba! episode, Brobee is searching for magic beans, when Toodee claims that she owns magic beans and has several powers including flight. When she's revealed as lying, they ask her why and chew her out in song.

    Video Games 
  • Zigzagged in a Licensed Game for Arthur titled "Francine's Tough Day", where you can make Francine either tell the truth or lie. Sometimes, telling the truth is best, sometimes lying seems best but she feels weird about it, and sometimes both seem wrong.

    Web Animation 
  • In the Dizkis video "The Lie Monster", a girl named Millie spills her drink, breaks her glass, puts her dinner in the washing machine, and walks mud through the house. She denies each one but every time she lies, something gets turned black-and-white by the Lie Monster. When she tells the truth about getting paint on her clothes, the Truth Monster turns everything back to normal.
  • In the online kids' cartoon "No More Lying", Goo-Goo lies that he washed his hands so that he can eat breakfast quicker, but his mother forces him to show her his hands, revealing that they're dirty. Then, he breaks a flowerpot and denies it to his father, claiming his pet did it instead. The father doesn't believe him and tells him off for lying. Then, the parents discover that their garden has been trampled and blame Goo-Goo, even when he says he didn't do it, when it was actually Ya-Ya.

    Western Animation 
  • Parodied in The Amazing World of Gumball episode "The Sock". Gumball and Darwin don't have their homework and tell Miss Simian it's because their dad ate it. Miss Simian sends them to the guidance counselor to learn about honesty. However, their guidance counselor, Mr. Small, happens to be a cloudcuckoolander Hippie Teacher whose lessons in honesty always go south; being told to be honest just makes the boys break into nonstop Brutal Honesty, but telling them they shouldn't tell the truth to make people upset makes them not tell their principal that his head is on fire. Eventually, Mr. Small gives up and breaks out the Silence Snake (the titular sock puppet), which scares the boys into silence. In the end, it turns out that the boys' dad actually did eat their homework, thinking it would make him smart, so Gumball and Darwin were telling the truth the whole time. Their mom is proud of them for being honest, and the boys are let off their punishment. Oh, and they left Mr. Small locked in his filing cabinet.
  • Angelina Ballerina:
    • In "Angelina's Surprise", Angelina is jealous of the attention the Pinkpaws twins' newborn brother is getting and lies that her mother is pregnant. She later learns not to lie when she mistakenly thinks that the Pinkpaws twins' brother's party is her mother's baby shower.
    • In the spinoff series Angelina Ballerina: the Next Steps, set four years into the future, Polly learns not to lie after breaking her grandfather's fiddle.
  • Animaniacs: In "We're Not Pigeons", the Goodfeathers are hunted down by a young Owl who is trying to hunt pigeons. To avoid being hunted, Pesto and Bobby tell the Owl they're macaroni birds and that pigeons look different from them. Squit warns Bobby and Pesto that lying to the Owl will get them in trouble, but Bobby and Pesto don't listen to him. After the Owl catches Pepé Le Pew, a Sewer Gator, and an elephant, the Goodfeathers confess that they're pigeons, but learn from the Owl that the Owls have made a deal with the Godpigeon not to hunt the Goodfeathers. Unfortunately for them, the Owl captures them anyway, believing that since they lied to him about being macaroni birds, they're probably lying to him about being the Goodfeathers.
  • Big City Greens:
    • In "Supermarket Scandal", the Greens open their family market but cannot seem to bring in any customers; when approached by the soon-to-be Big Bad Chip Whistler who offers to fill out a shipment, Bill can only fill out half the order and declines. When Bill is not around, Cricket promises to fulfill the order and he and Tilly make various fake produce out of household objects, and they make a really big deal and Chip pays them. Unfortunately, Bill warns them anyone who eats the fake produce would turn against them and ruin their reputation (which is what Chip himself does in the end), prompting the family to buy back all the fake food and lose all the money earned in return. Bill admits in the end he enjoyed Cricket's showperson pizzazz from the start, and he's free to use it as long as it's honest, prompting Cricket to find a way to sell the fake food after all.
    • In "Hiya Henry", Tilly finds Gramma's old ventriloquist dummy and decides to use such as her talent for Big Coffee's open mic. However, Cricket is increasingly afraid of the dummy and is constantly freaked out whenever it's around, but he cannot bring himself to tell Tilly he doesn't like it because he's worried it would hurt her feelings. His fear eventually gets the better of him and destroys the dummy right in the middle of Tilly's act, which in turn ruins her fun and disappoints her anyway, and she points out that if he told her in the first place, none of this would've happened.
    • In "Rat Tail", Cricket has grown a rat tail in his hair which most of his family finds interesting, but Nancy is irked by such; however, she is afraid to tell Cricket she hates it because she doesn't want to become like her father, who always criticized her new looks. Rather than listen to Bill and just tell the truth, she tries to get Cricket to remove the rat tail herself, but her plans fail (a barber finds the rat tail amazing and he becomes the talk of the town, her Subliminal Advertising inspires him to lengthen it). When she tries to cut it herself when Cricket is sleeping, she accidentally wakes him and he realizes everything, forcing Nancy to finally tell the truth. To her surprise, Cricket respects her hatred and gets rid of the rat tail for good, knowing he will always love her no matter what, but forces her to make a promise to always tell the truth to him from then on.
  • The Chocolix: "The Blue Chocolate Lake" has Chocolyne and Chocomark not being allowed to go to the Blue Chocolate Lake since it's too dangerous. This upsets Chocomark so much that Chocolyne comes up with the idea to go to the lake with Sweetcookie and Max anyway, but by lying to their parents that they're going to be visiting Max's house, and to the bus driver that Max's parents will be there when she mentions children aren't allowed to go by themselves. This leads to the Chocolix and Max almost melting; the only thing that saves them is that Sweetcookie goes to Chocolyne and Chocomark's house to warn their parents.
  • The Fairly OddParents!: In "Dream Goat", Timmy releases Dimmsdale's mascot Chompy and frames Vicky for the deed, causing him much guilt throughout the episode. This escalates to the point where he wishes for a giant monster that won't go away until he tells the truth about Chompy.
  • In the Fanboy and Chum Chum episode "The Tell-Tale Toy", Fanboy accidentally opens an Ultra Ninja toy meant for Chum Chum and breaks it, and he tries to hide the evidence from him so he doesn't find out. When he can't take it anymore, he is forced to tell the truth, but in a surprise "Shaggy Dog" Story, it turns out Chum Chum didn't want the ninja at all — he was going to give it to Fanboy and only wanted the box that the toy came in.
  • Goof Troop: In the episode, "In Goof We Trust", Goofy is named Spoonerville's most honest man, and Pete, who recently got exposed as a fraud on the news, hires him to work at his used car lot to drum up business. When Goofy sells many cars for next to nothing because of his honesty, Pete uses a mind-control helmet to make Goofy as deceptive as he is, but it ends up working too well when Goofy uses Pete's own tricks against him.
  • The "Trooth Ache" segment of the Gravity Falls episode "Bottomless Pit" ends up subverting the usual Honesty Aesop. Mabel becomes upset when Grunkle Stan lies to the police, as she feels that telling the truth is always the right thing to do. She uses Dipper's Journal to locate a magical artifact called "Truth Teeth," a pair of dentures that compel the wearer to always speak with total honesty. Problems begin when Grunkle Stan starts oversharing disgusting facts (including a growth on his back), speaking with complete lack of candor or tact, and openly confessing to committing countless crimes. When he nearly gets himself arrested, Mabel has to lie for him, making the lesson more of a warning against Black-and-White Morality.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy: In "Hog Wild", Billy, rather than facing a punishment for wrecking his dad's motorcycle, uses Grim's scythe to fix it, but it ends up turns his parents and many others into biker monsters. The only way everything can co back to normal is if Billy confesses his lie.
  • In The Jetsons episode "To Tell the Truth", Elroy breaks Jane's favourite pitcher and tells the truth but she's mad anyway. The repairman says to George that lying is better than telling the truth, but then when George tells the truth about why he's late for their date, she's pleased he told the truth.
  • Little Princess: In "I Didn't Do It", the Princess tries to make a den, but spills leaves and water on the floor. She lies that she didn't do it lest the adults take her den away, but then the adults assume Scruff brought the leaves in and peed on the floor, so they lock him in a kennel. The Princess, racked with guilt, tells the truth and demands to be put in the kennel herself.
  • The Loud House:
  • Madeline: In "Madeline and the White Lie", Madeline tells lies to some tourists to make the museum seem more interesting. Despite being told not to by Miss Clavel and the other girls and scolded by museum exhibits, Madeline keeps lying so the tourists will but the old house a new roof. The lies, however, spiral out of control and she learns not to lie because "one lie leads to another, once you start you cannot stop".
  • Muppet Babies (2018):
    • In the episode, "Run Fozzie Run", Fozzie accidentally breaks a flower pot and is afraid to tell Miss Nanny the truth, so he decides to run away into the book of Bombo the Baby Gorilla to avoid having to tell her. However, when he makes his way to Bombo's house, he accidentally breaks a few of Bombo's things and tries to hide them. His friends follow him into the book, and when they, along with Fozzie, accidentally break Bombo's hammock, Kermit tells Bombo the truth and Bombo isn't mad. This gives Fozzie the confidence to tell both Bombo and Miss Nanny the truth about the things he accidentally broke.
    • In "Meatball Mayhem", the Swedish Chef makes meatballs for the babies. When the babies eat the meatballs, they find they taste terrible; but, not wanting to hurt Chef's feelings, they tell him they like the meatballs. Chef believes what the babies said to be true and makes more meatballs, which the babies try unsuccessfully to get rid of. They try giving them to some of their other friends, but they don't like them, either. When they try to get Bunsen and Beaker to use a machine to make the meatballs tasty, it accidentally turns them into a monster. When Chef sees the monster, the babies tell him the truth that they don't like the meatballs, and they realize it's what they should have done in the first place.
    • In "Gonzonocchio", Gonzo borrows a book of Pinocchio from the library. When he puts it down to play hide and seek with his friends, he accidentally loses it. He then lies to his friends that someone stole the book, causing his nose to grow. He accuses the Bad Eggs, a whale with a polka-dot tail, and Bunsen and Beaker's Ping Pong-playing robot of stealing it, and with each lie, his nose grows bigger. When his nose accidentally hits a button on Bunsen and Beaker's robot that makes it go out of control, Gonzo realizes that he should have told the truth to begin with. After he defeats the robot, he confesses to his friends that nobody stole the book and that he lost it, and his nose shrinks back to its normal size.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • Applejack is the element of honesty, and several episodes, notably "Leap of Faith", revolve around her honesty being put to the test.
    • In "The Cutie Pox", Apple Bloom comes down with the titular disease, and the only cure is a flower grown from the "seeds of truth", which can only grow when someone tells the truth to it. This causes Apple Bloom much conflict, because this means that she will have to confess that she got the disease by sneaking into Zecora's house and brewing a potion in a dishonest attempt to get a cutie mark.
    • In "Where the Apple Lies", Apple Bloom accidentally mixes up cider with zap apple jam, and tries to lie so she can fix it herself. Applejack, Granny Smith and Big Macintosh then tell her about how a younger Applejack almost ruined the family business with her lies. The whole situation had taught Applejack that lies only pile on each other and make things worse.
    • In "Make New Friends But Keep Discord," the titular draconequus becomes upset when Fluttershy invites her new friend Tree Hugger to the annual Grand Galloping Gala instead of him. When Discord does receive an invitation (the mailpony got lost in his bizarre, chaos-fueled dimension), he brings along a Blob Monster called "the Smooze" and repeatedly tries to show up Fluttershy, all while claiming he's not jealous. It isn't until the Gala is nearly destroyed by the super-sized Smooze that Discord admits his anger toward Tree Hugger, and Fluttershy firmly explains that if he'd simply told her that he was upset, she could have cleared up the issue.
    • In "All Bottled Up," Starlight Glimmer becomes increasingly frustrated with her best friend Trixie's carelessness and lack of concern about a major problem, but literally vents her anger into small bottles rather than share how she's feeling. The bottles eventually overflow and infect three other ponies with a Hate Plague that leads them to violently attack Trixie, and Starlight is too exhausted from the spell she used to hide her anger to help. It isn't until she tells the truth about the situation that she and Trixie are able to devise a solution.
    • In "The Summer Sun Setback", Tirek, Cozy Glow, and Chrysalis sabotage Twilight and her friends preparing for the Summer Sun Celebration as a distraction so they can sneak into the castle undetected. When Twilight's friends notice all of the chaos that is suddenly going on, they try to hide it from Twilight, out of fear that she will relapse into her old Freak Out habits after finally seeming to put it behind her. When Twilight finally notices how everything is turning into a disaster, she gathers up her friends and chastises them for keeping something important like this a secret. However, instead of freaking out like they expected her to, she calmly manages the situation and assigns tasks to everyone to get everything back on track. Hilariously, Applejack, the one character who tried to tell everyone they should have told Twilight from the start, angrily screams how no-one ever listens to her when Twilight discovers their deception.
  • Oh Yeah! Cartoons: The short "Lollygaggin" is about a young girl whose habit of lying puts her at the mercy of a giant monster who gets bigger the more she continues fibbing. Only by telling the truth to her parents is she able to defeat the creature.
  • The Powerpuff Girls (1998): In the episode "Lyin' Around the House", the Girls continually tell white lies, and eventually, a white creature that is the embodiment of their lies grows to a rather huge size and begins to destroy everything. The girls (and the Professor, who had been fibbing about needing to work) learn that lying is wrong.
  • In Rolie Polie Olie, the episode "The Lie" has Olie lie that he ate all his Brussels sprouts when in reality he ate all but one. However, he dreams that the Brussels sprout grows bigger every time he lies about it, so he tells the truth when he wakes up.
  • Recess: "A Science Fair to Remember" doesn't have this as the main lesson, but it comes into play when the villain Becky Benson intends to pass Gretchen's science fair project as her own. She's nearly caught out when she's asked how it was programmed and obvious doesn't know - and Gretchen is about to bust her but then covers for Becky and explains the process (pretending Becky had told her and was just nervous). When Becky wonders why Gretchen didn't just expose her, she eventually confesses and gives up the trophy.
  • Rugrats:
    • In the 1991 series episode "Angelica Nose Best", Tommy, after listening to an audio tape of Pinocchio, tells Angelica that her nose will grow if she lies. The next day, she blames some of her misdeeds on the babies and pets and a bump on her nose (actually a mosquito bite from the previous night) gets bigger, prompting her to ask the babies to help her learn to tell the truth.
    • In "Cooking With Susie", another episode from the 1991 series, Susie makes Reptar cereal bars for the babies with her new Cynthia Easy-Cook oven. When the babies try them, they taste terrible, but not wanting to hurt Susie's feelings, they tell her they like them. Susie believes what the babies said to be true and makes more Reptar cereal bars, which the babies try unsuccessfully to hide. Eventually, the babies try to hide Susie's oven, and when Susie catches the babies doing this, they tell her the truth and realize it's what they should have done in the first place. The episode's B-plot likewise has Didi learning the same lesson; initially lying that she thinks Stu's new invention is a good idea, she realizes she can't keep lying that way when it continues to destroy parts of the house.
    • Played with in the 2021 series episode "Snake in the Grass"; Angelica tells the babies that he's going to do a safety check on the new bouncy castle. When Kimi comes to visit, she suspects that Angelica fibbed so she can keep the castle to herself, so Angelica decides to tell the truth from now on. As soon as Angelica gets off the slide, she sees something moving in the grass, and Kimi suggests that she tell a grown-up, leading Didi to believe that there is a snake in the backyard and send the babies up to her bedroom to keep them safe. While there was no snake in the backyard, the babies become miserable from having to stay inside. It takes her telling Didi that the snake left the backyard to get the grown-ups to let the babies play outside again.
    • In "Guitar Man", another episode from the 2021 series, Angelica takes a wooden figure of a young Lou playing a guitar from his bedroom and accidentally breaks it. The babies suggest that she tell Lou the truth so that he can fix it, but Angelica is reluctant to do so because she doesn't want to get in trouble. She gets the babies to make a make a mess so she can blame it on a monster. When Stu and Didi return from Dil's checkup, they joke about how Dil will someday play guitar since his fingers have grown so long, which gets Angelica to confess that she broke Lou's figure. Lou isn't upset with her since he knows she didn't mean to break it and he broke the figure once but was able to fix it.
  • Subverted in The Simpsons episode "Bart the Lover": Bart screws with Mrs. Krabappel by replying to her personal ad, pretending to be a man interested in her and then standing her up for their date. Guilt-ridden after seeing her reaction, he goes to his family for help.
    Homer: Boy, you've got to go to your teacher and tell her the truth.
    Marge: No, that would humiliate her.
    Homer: I thought that's what you wanted to hear.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants: In "The Donut of Shame", Patrick believes he took a donut meant for SpongeBob following a party they had last night and is full of guilt, and resorts to hiding it, only to suppress his guilt more and more. When SpongeBob comes over and Patrick finally tell the truth, SpongeBob is not mad he took the donut at all — the donut was revealed to be a gift for Patrick, because the party they had was his own birthday.
  • In the Thomas & Friends episode, "Who's Geoffrey?", Thomas is late delivering a goods train to Brendam Docks, and accidentally bumps into the Troublesome Trucks, causing a shipment of bouncy balls to bounce all over the dockyard. Thomas blames his accident on Geoffrey, an imaginary engine he made up. Things go From Bad to Worse for Thomas, as everyone wants to meet Geoffrey. Thomas goes along with it and pretends to be Geoffrey by hiding in Henry's Tunnel and disguising his voice. He soon gets found out by Spencer when he reaches the other end, and after Thomas admits his lie, Sir Topham Hatt teaches him that it's important to own up to his mistakes, even sharing his experience with a broken teapot as an example.
  • In the short, "Plucky's Dastardly Deed" from the Tiny Toon Adventures episode, "Son of Looniversity Daze", Plucky forgets to study for a test, so to avoid flunking, he swaps his test with that of Egghead Jr., the smartest kid in ACME Looniversity. On his way home, he feels guilty about cheating on his test, and that night, he has a nightmare where he is chased by an army of Foghorn Leghorn clones on graduation day. The next morning, Plucky decides to confess to Foghorn about what happened, but before he can, Foghorn reveals that he accidentally dropped the test papers in a mud puddle, and because this happened before he could look at them, the students have to retake the test. The short ends with Plucky deciding to retake the test the honest way, regardless of how good a grade he'll get.
  • T.U.F.F. Puppy: In "Lie Like a Dog", Dudley lies about having a dental apointment to get out of doing a number of boring and trivial activities at T.U.F.F. HQ, and spends each one doing something fun. However, in each fun activity he partakes in, he ends up stopping a villain in that place while in disguise. These acts of heroism make him Petropolis' new mystery hero. However, since he can't let anyone know he's been lying, he can't reap the benefits of saving the town. When Dudley gets a call that he dentist he had allegedly been going to is really a supervillain, he has to stop the evil dentist when his lie rules against him. Once Dudley gets there, he finds out that the dentist isn't actually evil, but instead a ruse by the other T.U.F.F. agents to get him to come clean. When all becomes forgiven, everyone decides to have some actual fun, but unfortunately for Dudley, he finds out that he really does have a dental appointment.
  • VeggieTales:
    • The episode Larry-Boy! And The Fib From Outer Space has Junior break his father's limited edition Art Bogatti plate. At the same time, he meets a creature called a Fib who convinces him to lie about the situation until the Fib becomes a monster. Larry-Boy is then called to deal with the monster, and is told by his butler Alfred that Junior has to stop the Fib by confessing that he lied himself, which shrinks the Fib down to normal size.
    • The VeggieTales in the House episode "Lie-Monade" has Larry learning a lesson in honesty when he cons the veggies out of their money to buy a video game.
  • The Wacky Adventures of Ronald McDonald: The moral of why it's bad to tell lies is the central premise of the video "Visitors from Outer Space", where the Hamburglar annoys the rest of the McDonaldland gang by lying that there are aliens. When some real aliens show up, Hamburglar ends up joining the alien family on their vacation after lying that McDonaldland is Hamburglarland and that he is the leader, learning too late that the aliens' vacation will last over 3,000 years. When the others eventually come to his rescue, Hamburglar admits that he wouldn't have gotten into this mess in the first place if he didn't fib so much.
  • Xavier Riddle and the Secret Museum: In "I Am Abraham Lincoln", Yadina accidentally drops her friend Annika's toy down the sewer. The gang visits Abraham Lincoln to learn a lesson in honesty. Abe had borrowed a book from his neighbor, but it gets ruined in the rain. To overcome his guilt, he tells the truth about it, showing Yadina she should do the same.



Benny becomes fearful that Todd will be angry with him for losing his mittens.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (4 votes)

Example of:

Main / MistakesAreNotTheEndOfTheWorld

Media sources: