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Interrupted by the End

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No, not that The End. Or that one. Or even that one. Or to some extent that one.

The characters are about to do something, but are interrupted by the end of the episode, often in the form of a "The End" card. This isn't a Cliffhanger that will be resolved when the characters finish their plans next episode; either the end of the episode actually prevents them from ever getting it done, or they at least express dismay that the episode's ending has stopped or delayed them.

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Often overlaps with Smash Cut and The Unreveal. Often used for a Curse Cut Short.


Examples:

    open/close all folders 

    Anime & Manga 
  • Bobobo-bo Bo-bobo: The last episode of the anime has absolutely no lead-in to the ending, which is simply announced by the narrator while every character is about to charge into a fight. No-one is pleased.
  • This is a running gag in the Negima! Magister Negi Magi anime's "Baka Rangers" shorts. Baka Pink's introduction always gets cut off by the segment ending, and the one time the others let her go first she gets crushed by a giant robot.

    Fan Works 
  • Turnabout Storm: The Stinger in the final episode has Princess Celestia talking to an unknown person. After some cryptic dialogue of which only Celestia's side is heard, the princess asks the other person's name. She then answers: "My name? My name is...". Cue ending. Subverted since the end gives the answer by giving the credits for Princess Celestia and Mia Fey.

    Films — Animation 
  • In the very last scene of Ed, Edd n Eddy's Big Picture Show, Jonny, AKA Captain Melonhead, has turned to evil after the other kids beat him up for beating up the Eds. He vows to rain terror on the cul-de-sac as The Gourd, only for Plank to tell him that the movie is over.
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    Films — Live-Action 
  • The Stinger of Birds of Prey (2020) has Harley Quinn about to reveal a secret about Batman. She begins by saying, "Did you know that Batman f-" only for the film to abruptly end right there and then.
  • The ending of The Lost Boys cuts off right before the cast reacts to grandpa who apparently knew that vampires existed in the town.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron ends with Captain America calling for the new team of Avengers to assemble, but is cut off by the end credits as the A from "assemble" is emerging from his mouth.
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming ends with Aunt May seeing Peter in his Spider-Man outfit and managing to get out "What the fu-" before the credits start.
    • In Spider-Man: Far From Home, the film ends with J. Jonah Jameson showing a video to the world of Mysterio declaring that Peter is Spider-Man. Funnily enough, he has the same reaction as his Aunt May did in Homecoming: "What the fu-".
  • Monty Python
    • The 1972 film ''And Now For Something Completely Different" starts with the How Not To Be Seen Sketch, the opening titles and a sudden "The End" card. Terry Jones comes out to apologize for the brief film length and goes on to a man with a tape recorder up his nose before the film resumes.
    • Budget shortfalls necessitated the fourth wall-breaking ending of Monty Python and the Holy Grail, in which Arthur's climactic attack on the castle is interrupted by the police, who shut down production.
  • Muppets Most Wanted has Nadya attempt to sing a solo verse in the ending song, "Together Again Again" - but the movie cuts to the credits before she can begin.
  • Though it also appears in an earlier scene, My Fellow Americans ends with a verbal cutoff. One character distracts the other and seizes a microphone in front of a large audience. As the latter begins "My fellow Americans," the former sees he's been deceived and mutters "you son of a--"
  • Patriot Games: Cathy Ryan is on the phone with her doctor, who has just told her whether her unborn child will be a boy or a girl. After she gets off the phone, she grins and savors the moment as Jack and Sally anxiously stare at her waiting to hear the answer. Cue credits.
  • The film The Rules of Attraction ends mid-sentence. It also begins mid-sentence. The book did the same thing with the exact same two lines.
  • Saria is about the Real Life events that led up to a tragic orphanage fire in which 41 girls were killed. The fire breaks out while the girls are locked in a room, the evil guard smirks and turns back to her phone—and boom, the film ends, just like that, without showing the end of the fire, much less anything that followed.

    Literature 
  • The great prophet Zarquon, whose second coming has been long awaited in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, is interrupted not by the end of the episode, but by the end of the universe.
  • "Behind the Painted Smile," a 1983 essay by Alan Moore on the origins of V for Vendetta ends:
    So anyway, that's where we get our ideas from. I was going to go on from this point and tell you exactly who V really is, but I'm afraid that I've run out of room. The only real hint I can give is that V isn't Evey's father, Whistler's mother, or Charley's aunt. Beyond that, I'm afraid you're on your own.
    England Prevails.
  • The David Lodge novel Changing Places ends with one of the characters arguing that film is a superior medium to literature, because you can always see the end of a novel coming by the fact that the book is running out of pages. Movies have more potential for surprise, he argues, because they can end at any moment, sometimes with no explanation. As he is saying this, the book abruptly cuts him off in mid-sentence and ends.
    • Just to drive the point home, the last chapter is written in the form of a movie script, while all the previous chapters had been done in normal prose.
  • The Crying of Lot 49 is about a woman who suspects she has discovered an enormous Ancient Conspiracy of mailmen. One of her clues is that an old stamp collection is up for auction, and she believes that - if the conspiracy is indeed real - someone will show up to bid on it very heavily. Looking at a program, she sees that the stamps have been designated as the 49th lot to be cried at auction. Not only are we cut off from The Reveal, but The Crying of Lot 49 ends seconds before the crying of lot 49.
  • Bret Easton Ellis's novel The Rules of Attraction, as noted above under the film adaptation, ends in mid-sentence on exactly the same two words it began with.
  • James Joyce's Finnegans Wake also ends in mid-sentence, with the words "Away at long at last the" implying that the real story is just about to begin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • The series finale of Everybody Hates Chris has Chris dropping out of school. He has to take General Educational Development test to get a job. When the family gathers for dinner, Chris' dad prepares to read the test results, but the end scene cuts out before the score is revealed.
  • The Good Luck Charlie episode "Dress Mess" ends with the doctor about to tell Bob the gender of the soon-to-be-born fifth Duncan child, but it cuts right to the Vanity Plate before he finishes the sentence.
  • Used in the Spanish Inquisition episode of Monty Python's Flying Circus; when the three cardinals finally reach the courtroom where they are most definitely not expected, the screen goes black before Cardinal Ximenez can finish announcing their presence, prompting him to cut himself off with "Nobody expects - oh, bugger!"
  • The final scene of Mimpi Metropolitan is Melani, after sending her scholarship application, calling Bambang to tell him something. What exactly is that something is not revealed as the scene is cut off by the ending quote.
  • Several seasons of The Morecambe And Wise Show would end with a harmonica player walking onstage after the closing credits had rolled, and being cut off after playing a few notes.
  • In the Buffy the Vampire Slayer episode "Doomed", when Spike discovers the chip in his head only prevents him from hurting humans:
    Spike: What’s this? Sitting around watching the telly while there’s evil still afoot. That’s not very industrious of you. I say we go out there and kick a little demon ass! What, can’t go without your Buffy? Is that it? Too chicken? Let’s find her! She is the Chosen One, after all. ... Come on! Vampires! Grrr! Nasty! Let’s annihilate them. For justice... and for... the safety of puppies – and Christmas, right? Let’s fight that evil! ... Let’s kill something! [Fade to black.] Oh, come on!
  • The Sopranos finale "Made in America" infamously ended with the middle of the lyrics of "Don't Stop Believing" as part of its Gainax Ending.
    Don't stop—
  • The Community episode "Pillows And Blankets" has a mock telethon for a closing credit tag. Troy tells the audience "We need the funds to keep up from getting pulled off the air which could literally happen at any..." Fade to black.
  • During one episode of Top Gear, the guys mentioned that they would be ending a minute early for a soccer match. During the end, Jeremy continued to ramble on while Richard and James begged him to stop while reminding him of the early ending. He says "What are they going to do? Cut us o..."note 
  • WandaVision features an episode where Wanda attempts weaponize this by ending an argument by rolling the credits while she says she's going off to bed. Vision refuses to end the argument causing the credits to fizzle out.

    Music 

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    Web Animation 
  • In the final episode of Every Faggot Ever, after being thrown into a cell, the black man in there asks the faggot what he's in for. The faggot can only force out the n-word, and the "FIN" screen cuts him off before he can finish it.
  • The Zero Punctuation of 50 Cent: Blood in the Sand sees Yahtzee regularly insisting that he isn't racist, going so far as to include "subliminal" messages about his lack of racism. He ends the review with an inspiring speech about how we should all put aside our differences and work together to build a better world. "Not that they'd know anything about work, the lazy nig—" *CREDITS*
  • This is actually a Running Gag for Dick Figures. In many episodes characters that say the last sentence after a crazy amount of mishaps, they often get their speech interrupted at the end. However one of them is subverted in "Pussy Magnet" after this gem.
    Red: How'd it go?
    Blue: Next time, I'm asking Lord Tourettes.
    Lord Tourettes: (Appearing from the side of the screen, giggling) You know, all you really need is a biiig DI-
    (Credits roll)
    Blue: Figures...
  • Homestar Runner:
    • In the very first Decemberween cartoon, Homestar Runner cuts off Strong Sad, claiming they're out of time, but a few seconds then pass before the end screen actually appears.
    • Another animation called "Strong Bad is a Bad Guy", which is done on Mario Paint, has Strong Bad, Strong Mad, and The Cheat talking about tattoos, but they are all interrupted by Homestar Runner, who tells them about his design for a perfect tattoo. When Strong Mad realizes that Homestar cannot have tattoos because of his lack of arms, he yells out "YOU DON'T HAVE AR-" but the episode ends.

    Webcomics 

    Web Video 
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! The Abridged Series:
    • In one episode, Bakura is about to begin some Bakura-style Fanservice — but to his dismay, the closing credits arrive and stop him.
      "Now it's time for some Bakura Fanser-oh bugger!"
    • In a variation, in one episode Ishizu predicts that another guy will be interrupted by the opening credits.
      "In five seconds you will be interrupted by the opening credits."
      "What the hell are you talking ab—?"
  • RedLetterMedia's video game show Previously Recorded ends every episode with an abrupt edit to the word "End" that fills the screen and often cuts someone off mid-sentence.

    Western Animation 
  • One episode of Futurama had Zoidberg try to start up his own musical routine at the end (copying Hermes who had one earlier in the episode):
    Zoidberg: Now it's time for Zoidberg's song — When I was two there was a tidal wave...
    (Credits start)
    Zoidberg: Awww...
    • Played with in another episode where Fry and Leela go on a private vacation where, unbeknownst to them, they're secretly in a zoo on a planet of intelligent apes being watched by hundreds. Amy, Zoidberg, and Bender become aware of this but, despite being angry after seeing footage of Fry and Leela bad-mouthing them behind their backs, decide to keep it a secret to spare their feelings. Then the two push their luck a little too far, Amy angrily gives permission to tell them the truth, and it fades to the end credits. Then abruptly cuts back to Bender screaming "YOU WERE IN A ZOO!!!" at a shocked Fry and Leela, and then cuts to the credits for real.
  • The Simpsons:
    • At the end of the fourth-season episode "Homer The Heretic", Homer convinces God to tell him the meaning of life as they stroll through Heaven together. God gets as far as "The meaning of life is—" before the credits cut Him off. The writers thought that when the episode aired, the end would be immediately followed by a Fox promo (rather than just the credits). The idea was that the viewers would be pissed off by having a revelation from God being cut off by a promo. Ironically, on the episode's original broadcast Fox didn't run a promo over the credits for once.
    • Used in the episode "22 Short Films About Springfield," when Professor Frink showed up too late.
    • "Pygmoelian" has Moe complain about the absurdity of the Reset Button: A prop wall fell on him, magically reversing the plastic surgery he underwent back to his original appearance. He asks how this could happen, and points out he should have looked like a third face, but is hushed by the credits.
    • "You Kent Always Say What You Want" ends with Homer trying to tell Lisa an awful truth about Fox, only for his dialogue and Lisa's response to be dubbed over. When Homer protests against this, it immediately cuts to the 20th Century Fox logo, then to a white screen where he says "Now, what I was trying to say was-" before it cuts to the Gracie Films logo, and then the episode credits.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • Used in the episode "Krusty Krab Training Video". The episode documents the history of the Krusty Krab restaurant, safety and etiquette and the like, all dragging to finally how to make a Krabby Patty. As the narrator says "Okay! The secret formula i—", the episode cuts off. Many fans speculate the episode ends this way because, In-Universe, it is a fail-safe to protect the formula in the event Plankton gets his hands on the tape.
    • Done in the very end of "SpongeBob's Big Birthday Blowout" when Patrick asks SpongeBob how old he is. SpongeBob responds with "Well, as of today, I am-" it then cuts to static and the episode ends.note 
  • South Park:
    • In the episode "Here Comes The Neighborhood" Mr. Garrison convinces others in town to got rid of all the rich blacks, with methods such as burning a lowercase "t" on their lawns and scaring them by dressing as ghosts. At the end he states they can now become rich themselves by selling the homes only for the others to point out that what they did was meaningless since there will still be rich people. Garrison says "Well, at least we got rid of those damn ni—".
    • The episode "Trapper Keeper" had Cartman constantly make fun of Kyle, who saves him in the end. When Stan demands Cartman to apologize, he utters "Kyle..." before the credits roll.
  • One episode of House of Mouse was about Goofy attempting to sing the national anthem because Mickey Mouse and friends are preparing to start a show about sports and focusing on athletic Disney characters such as Casey at the Bat, Hercules, and Mulan, but ends up singing other patriotic songs like "America the Beautiful", "My Country, 'Tis of Thee", "Stars and Stripes Forever", and "A Grand Old Flag" instead. Eventually Goofy finally finds out that the national anthem is actually "Star-Spangled Banner", and is about to sing it only to find out that the episode is over. The episode ends with him singing the first few lyrics of the anthem, but is then cut off.
  • Space Ghost Coast to Coast often ended this way. This was lampshaded in one episode when the show was hijacked by an angry fan, who among his demands wanted "at least one episode of Space Ghost to have a decent ending, not one that just is abruptly interrupted by the theme—" *credits roll*
  • Family Guy
    • One episode doesn't feature Meg until the end. When she does appear, Brian says "Oh, hey, Meg. What did you get up to today?" Meg opens her arms to explain animatedly and a huge smile comes to her face...BAM. Credits.
    • Happens again in one of the Thanksgiving specials centered around Kevin Swanson having deserted from his unit in Iraq. After the plot has settled and Joe and Kevin have made peace, a second Kevin shows up claiming that the other Kevin is an impostor. Peter says that he doesn't think they have time for that story, and is followed by the credits.
    • After an episode has an All Just a Dream reveal, Brain questions Stewie on whether the audience might find that an unsatisfying cop-out. Stewie gets indignant and says "At least it's not like The Sopranos where they just cut to black in the middle of a sen—"
  • An early 50s Mighty Mouse cartoon has Pearl Pureheart in a predicament and Mighty Mouse in flight on his way to save her as the cartoon starts to Iris Out, as the narrator entreats us to catch the story next week. The iris suddenly stops and the picture frozen. The narrator says "Gosh, we can't wait till next week. Won't you show us what happens now? Please?" The cartoon resumes.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • The episode "Princess Spike" ends with Spike, having been handed a bouquet of dragon sneeze flowers after the successful reassembly of the Citizens of Equestria Statue, about to sneeze right in front of said sculpture, but before he can do so, it goes right to the credits.
    • The episode "Magic Duel" ends with Pinkie Pie interrupting the Iris Out and pointing out she still doesn't have her mouth. Twilight comes in and restores Pinkie's mouth, and Pinkie inhales to speak... then the credits immediately start rolling.
  • When Hilda becomes a troll at the end of "The Stone Forest", at the end of Season 2, Hilda is confused by this revelation and when she asks what's happening, the episode ends. Luckily, "Hilda and The Mountain King" is available for reading for those that are wanting to know the answer.
  • Dave from Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts finally asking the obvious question about the three blind goat's cheese that no one else seemed to think about, only to be interrupted by the credits.
    Dave: Wait, where did you guys get the milk? (Cue end credits.)
  • The classic scene from the classic Daffy Duck cartoon "Duck Amuck," where Daffy pleads "Let's get this picture started!", only for the animator to iris the scene out and plant a "The End" card on screen. Averted in that this is not the end of the short as Daffy pushes the card off the screen and the madness continues.
  • Phineas and Ferb:
    • Throughout the Musical Episode, Major Monogram's attempts to sing a song about himself are always cut off. During The Stinger, Carl convinces him to give it one more go...only for the Vanity Plates to cut him off.
    • In "The Great Indoors", Candace uses Phineas and Ferb's Big Idea as the chance to find out what Jeremy likes about her, but he keeps getting interrupted. At the end, he is finally about to reveal the answer, she smiles and he opens his mouth to speak... but then it suddenly cuts right to the Spanish soccer game.
  • Teen Titans Go!: After the events of "Nostalgia Is Not A Substitute For An Actual Story", Robin begins to discuss the flaws he found with the Titans' adventure in the 80s. Cut to credits.
  • In The Stinger to the series finale of Kim Possible, Dr. Drakken is asked how his skin turned blue and he starts that "It was on a Tuesday..." only to cut to the Vanity Plates.
  • The Secret Show: At the end of "The Secret Thing", we're about to learn what the titular MacGuffin is only for the episode to abruptly end.
  • Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: At the end of "One False Movie", Bloo is complaining about his movie losing the film festival, which Mac points out is because the movie had no ending (due to Eduardo taping over it with a show he was trying to watch). Bloo then explains that his movie was still great and as long as the rest is good, you don't need an end- Cue The End title card.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball, "The Worst":
    Nicole: No, no, that's the problem! Men just don't listen! Women always get cut off in the middle of their s— (episode ends)

The most important thing to remember about this trope is that...

...The End is not the end.


 
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SpongeBob SquarePants

"The secret formula i --" (Episode ends)

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