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Once per Episode
aka: Once An Episode

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"Ohh yeah, right. I remember now, it's like from... every other episode..."
Kronk (reacting to a Running Gag), The Emperor's New School

A relative of the Running Gag. This is an event that, instead of happening several times in one episode, happens one time in just about every episode of a show.

There is an entire genre of jokes that exists to take advantage of this trope: "Remember that one episode of _____ where...". A common example: Remember that one episode of Gilligan's Island where they almost escape from the island, but Gilligan screws it up? (Though that one is a clear case of Cowboy BeBop at His Computer, as the vast majority of episodes do not feature a potential chance to get off the island.)


Compare Signature Style. If it happens at the end of an episode, it's Every Episode Ending. If everything is like this, it is Strictly Formula.

Also compare Once a Season, where a certain plotline or character story gets a yearly invite. May also overlap with Different in Every Episode if the series follows a specific formula for its references and plots.


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  • In most commercials for Big Red chewing gum, in addition to all of the couples kissing regardless of what's going on around them, there is a scene where at least one of them usually has the guy tearing themselves away from their significant other in order to catch a train, or a bus, or have to rejoin a parade, etc.note 
  • Until the 2000s or so, each commercial for Post's Pebbles has Barney Rubble trying to use a different Paper-Thin Disguise in order to trick Fred out of his Fruity / Cocoa Pebbles cereal, all with the same result:
    "BARNEY, my pebbles!"
  • It isn't consistent, but many commercials for Kool-Aid have the Kool-Aid Man smashing though a wall, and then saying his catchphrase:
    "Oh YEAH!"note 
  • Something always happens in LEGO City commercials! And the team need the set in the commercial to solve the problem!
    [zoom out to show giant pile of bricks where the set should be]
    [Art Shift to CG versions of the minifigs]
    Minifig: HEY!
    • In one of the commercials, however, the fire station mentioned in the commercial is shown being built from the get-go. Thus, the fire trucks are ready to rush out of the garage!
      [one of the fire trucks bumps into the closed garage door that was neglected to be opened]
      [Art Shift to a CG version of the firefighter minifig]
      Minifig: HEY!

    Anime & Manga 
  • Following Episodes 3 and 4 of Ange Vierge, every episode seems to follow this trend:
    • The episode starts off with a protagonist's flashback involving Amane before going on to the opening sequence.
    • There may or may not be a bath scene.
    • A comedic skit involving Ageha and Mayuka, which has its own Stinger.
    • The team member faces off against the Brainwashed and Crazy villain. One battle ends with the villain escaping, the other ends with her defeat. For the latter, it ends with the other Brainwashed and Crazy antagonists lamenting the current villain's defeat and the end of the episode.
  • Most chapters of Ayakashi Triangle have Shirogane, a cat ayakashi, giving the reader a frontal view of his testicles.
  • In each episode of Black Butler:
    • Ciel says, "This is an order!"
    • Sebastian will say, "A Phantomhive butler who can't [insert X task — usually an improbable one — here] isn't worth his salt." and "I am simply one hell of a butler.".
  • Pinoko in Black Jack presses her cheeks together and yelling, "Acchonburike" (which has no actual meaning except for being translated it as "Ohmigewdness") once per episode whenever something surprising happens.
    • In Black Jack 21, a game was made to try to find the image of Sharaku in each episode. Some being more obvious than others.
  • Early on in Bloody Cross, Tsukimiya gets groped in almost every chapter. It starts happening less often later.
  • CLANNAD: After Fuko's arc concludes, she makes random appearances in accordance with this trope.
  • Code Geass R2 has, amazingly, turned the Wham Episode concept into a Once an Episode occurrence. Seriously, literally, once an episode; R2 is made up of nothing but Wham Episodes.
  • In every episode of most Cutey Honey incarnations (except the recent The Live TV series) someone would ask Honey who she is, to which she would laugh, list her different costumes for the episode (usually three) and finish by "but the truth is... Honey Flash!" (cue transformation sequence) "Cutey Honey! The Warrior of Love!"
  • Delicious in Dungeon: Team Touden encounters a monster, Laios squees over it, they kill it, Senshi cooks it into Food Porn, Marcille freaks out over eating it.
  • Excel♡Saga:
    • Someone (usually Pedro) gives a Big "NO!" each episode.
    • Nabeshin appears in every episode, even if it's just for a second.
    • Excel getting dropped through a trapdoor by Il Palazzo. One time the rope he pulls to spring the trap has a sign saying "obligatory" hung on it.
  • In the first half of Final Fantasy: Unlimited, Kaze pulls out his Magun summon weapon, and saves the day. In the second half of the series, he pulls out the Magun and it malfunctions.
  • Franken Fran has the titular Fran shout "Commence the operation!" just before starting that week's horrific surgery. This gets less common over time, as other characters (such as her younger sister Veronica) receive greater focus, and Fran herself gets into misadventures outside of someone coming to her mansion for surgical assistance.
  • In Ghost Stories, the main characters read a book for sealing spirits whenever they encounter the Monster of the Week.
  • There's a Running Gag in .hack//Legend of the Twilight about Shugo getting bashed in the face and losing a tooth every episode. Fortunately for his dentistry the damage isn't permanent or cumulative, since he is in virtual form when it happens. The gag is dropped in the last few episodes which take a more serious turn.
  • Nishizawa of Hayate the Combat Butler eats something while (after her introduction in Episode 12) thinking wistfully of Hayate. (She still appears doing it even before her official introduction.)
  • Most episodes of Hell Girl climax with somebody getting sent to Hell.
  • In the Hidamari Sketch anime, someone, usually Yuno, soaks in bath salts... even if she and the others have already been to a sentō that day. This may or may not end the episode, but it's always at least close. It took a few episodes to get it to its most common form (underwater shot of bath bombs; colored water swishing down the floor drain; the bather in the tub), but the main aspect is once an episode.
  • THE iDOLM@STER — The shot of the front of the 765Pro Office.
  • In the series Infinite Ryvius, one will spot Kibure Kikki, a strange female student in a dinosaur costume at the first episode. Each episode after that one can usually find her in a blink and you miss it scene of her trying to find the parts of said costume throughout the ship. Many fans have even made into a Where's Waldo? type game to try to find her in each ep.
  • Jojos Bizarre Adventure has recurring trends for each season, usually related to the anime adaptation.
    • Once near the end of each season, the opening sequence includes sound effects.
    • In another opening-related trend, Parts 3-5 have the Big Bad use his time manipulation powers on the opneing. In Part 3, DIO stops time near the end. In Part 4, Kira uses Bites The Dust to rewind the opening. In Part 5, Diavolo uses King Crimson to "erase" several seconds of time (shown by several blood splatters appearing on the ground below Giorno's cut finger) to deliver a monologue, although Giorno intrrupts him with Gold Experince Requiem in the third vrsion of th second opening.
  • Kamichama Karin: "Mr. Glasses Man!" "I am not 'Mr. Glasses Man'!"
  • Kanon: Ayu runs into Yuuichi, literally or not, in every episode except for the ends of the other girls' arcs.
  • Kimi ni Todoke typically starts each chapter with Sawako coming up behind a pair of her classmates to greet them, only for them to freak out from her scary appearance.
  • Lupin III: Part 1 has someone catching fire every episode, even if only for a short gag.
  • Once per Story Arc variation in Lyrical Nanoha: The major battle near the end of an incident will be capped off with Starlight Breaker. As StrikerS Sound Stage X showed when Teana did it, this rule is followed even if Nanoha is absent.
  • The Mazinger saga:
    • Mazinger Z: Every episode Kouji shouted "Pilder On!" and "Mazin Go!" to dock in its Humongous Mecha and activate it. In some episodes he shouted it even more times if he had to sortie often.
    • Great Mazinger: In the same way and with the same purpose, Tetsuya shouted "Brain Condor!" and "Mazin Go". And Jun shouted "Queen Star On! Venus Go!" every episode after the third one.
    • UFO Robo Grendizer: Every episode Daisuke jumped from a hatch and shouted "DUKE FLEED!" -his real name- to morph his clothes into his Latex Space Suit, and "Dizer Go!" to start Grendizer.
  • Every single episode of the Medabots dub found an excuse for Ikki to shout "Metabee!". Also: "Medafighters Ready? Medabots... Robattle!"
  • In Miss Machiko, Machiko's panties are shown without fail throughout all 95 episodes, not to mention that she will be disrobed at least partially.
  • Mnemosyne has Rin asking Mimi for water every morning, only to get vodka (which, in Russian, is the diminutive of the word for "water") instead.
    • Not to mention Rin getting mutilated and/or killed, which on average, actually happens closer to thrice an episode.
  • In My Teen Romantic Comedy SNAFU, there is a shot of the club room sign with a new sticker added each episode. The only exceptions are the episodes set at a summer camp.
  • Natsu no Arashi!: At least once per episode, sometimes more, there's an anonymous chap in the back calmly asking for salt. A few episodes he comes close, to salt and happiness, only to have it whisked away not unlike Charlie Brown's football.
  • In every episode of Nerima Daikon Brothers, someone in the band needs to take out a loan, and the band goes to the Rental Shop to get a Plot Coupon from the director.
  • On The Noozles, Osgood the lizard pops up out of nowhere at least once an episode to comment on what is going on.
  • One Piece (the manga) always contains an appearance by Pandaman in almost every arc (or, in one place Pandawoman); sometimes it's obvious but most of the time it's not.
  • Pokémon:
    • "Looks like Team Rocket's blasting off again!" Averages once an episode. There are episodes where they don't blast off at all (like the first-season episode where Ash got the Thunderbadge, for example), but on the other hand, there are also episodes where they blast off twice, so it all evens out. In addition, Wobbuffet had been seen, or its cry was heard, in every episode since his introduction save two of them. At least, that is, until he was left behind with the other Pokémon at the beginning of Best Wishes. He's with them again as of XY and the gag is back too.
    • Not to mention Team Rocket's motto upon revealing themselves, although a few episodes did not feature it with them instead opting to sing a song.
    • Brock meets a cute girl, immediately proposes to her, and is then dragged off by Misty/Max/Croagunk/whoever. On rare occasions, however, this would turn the other way - the odd episode had Misty gushing over a Water Pokémon (or something related to a water-type) and Brock would drag her away, and one occasion had the cute girl of the week proposing to Brock, leaving him completely dumbfounded. Both are now gone as of Best Wishes, as Brock was finally Put on a Bus, and Team Rocket Took a Level in Badass and now only blast off of their own will....on jetpacks... At least until the Kalos series started up, where they're back to their usual incompetent selves.
    • In Best Wishes we have Cilan going into one of his long-winded explanations/speeches each ep, usually accompanied by Iris looking bored and making a "there he goes again" type remark.
    • Iris herself has one in the original Japanese, telling Ash he's such a child at least once.
    • Clemont's invention of the week seems to end up Gone Horribly Wrong.
  • In Ranma ½, Ranma's transformation initially is this, but is increasingly averted or implied to happen offscreen. At the very beginning, the threat of it being revealed was once an episode. They didn't so much waste a perfectly good plot, more one of their best gags, not to mention plenty of perfectly good Fanservice opportunities.
  • Revolutionary Girl Utena: Though they aren't uniformly every single episode, there are several repeating scenes that happen in almost every episode with accompanying Stock Footage and catch-phrases, including ones specific to each arc, such as:
    • A meeting of the Absurdly Powerful Student Council, who take a dramatic elevator ride up to their terrace.
    • An absurd play put on by the Shadow Play Girls, which is the most recurring of all the segments.
    • Most episodes have a duel with the Villain of the Week or Brainwashed and Crazy Victim of the Week, which is accompanied with a recurring stair climb (or later, elevator ride) up to the dueling arena and other recurring framing scenes.
    • In the Black Rose arc, the Victim of the Week attends the Mikage Seminar.
    • In the Akio arc, a character is taken on a drive in Akio's car.
  • Rizelmine: main male character making her cry her explosive tears, although that was backed off a bit in the second season when things got a little more serious. But the dog was still there in every episode.
  • The Robot Romance Trilogy:
    • Combattler V: To combine their vehicles -needless to say, it happened every episode-, the team yelled "Let's combine", and if they were ready to combine correctly, Ropetto authorized the combination repeating: "Combine OK". And then you have the Finishing Move ("Choudenji Tatsumaki" and "Choudenji Spin") that were used every episode.
    • Voltes V: Again, the Five-Man Band every episode yelled "Let's Volt In!" to combine in Voltes-V. And every episode they killed the Monster of the Week with the V-Slash.
    • Daimos: Every episode, to transform and activate Daimos, Kazuya yelled "Daimos, Battle Turn!", -pretty uselessly- as performing a kata with his arms.
  • Sailor Moon: Usagi's transforms into Sailor Moon in almost every episode, and in almost all of the other episodes she is already transformed when the episode starts. Also, Sailor Moon defeats the Monster of the Week with whatever that season's attack is, if it's not a final battle that involves some more serious moon juju or one of the rare episodes where one of the other Senshi defeats the monster without her.
  • In the Yuri Genre series Sakura Trick, Haruka and Yuu kiss at least once in every manga chapter. The anime adapts two chapters per episode, so there's a bare minimum of two kisses per episode.
  • Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei:
    • Itoshiki-sensei says "I'm in despair!" (or "Zetsuboushita!" in Japanese) at least once after a short clip of him looking surprised/afraid/overly-dramatic in different directions. Usually, he'll give the full line: "I'm in despair! ''X'' has left me in despair!"
    • Lampshaded several times in the anime when other, usually minor, characters declare "I'm in despair!" and Itoshiki promptly replies along the lines of "Thats MY line."
    • Kaere also gets a panty shot every episode, and there are smaller things like a stork showing up in the background. These are all lampshaded when Itoshiki-sensei tries to explain all the once-per-episode elements to new viewers. He can't come up with a good reason why they're all there.
  • Science Ninja Team Gatchaman: Once every episode either Ken the Eagle, one of the other team members, or even all of the team members would scream "Bird Go!", "Transmute!", "G-Force Transform!", or "Eagle Mode now!" depending on the version (or, if you watch the Spanish dubbing, "Mutación", although this is not an accurate translation -mutación=mutation- but sounds even cooler)" to change their civilian clothes into their super-hero costumes.
  • Serial Experiments Lain: The opening Aspect Montage. Showing Lain on the street outside her house where the shadows aren't quite right.
  • In Star Driver, various members of the Glittering Crux Brigade yell "Open the cybercasket!" once an episode in order to summon their Cybodies. Also, there's a Transformation Sequence each episode when Takuto becomes the Galactic Pretty Boy.
  • Tamagotchi! Yume Kira Dream has Yumemitchi and Kiraritchi undergo transformations not unlike what you'd see in typical Magical Girl fare in every episode.
  • Tokyo Mew Mew: Magical Girls have to transform once an episode, but in Tokyo Mew Mew, it got bad enough to be an in-joke with fans — hey, there aren't even monsters around! What's Mew Ichigo doing exactly?
  • Trigun features a cat skittering across the screen every episode, some times more obviously than others. Said cat is named Kuroneko-sama ("Lady Black Cat"), and was actually the first character designed for the series.
  • All episodes of the Animated Adaptation of Wasteful Days of High School Girls have Tanaka stop Ota and Robo in the beginning of each episode — in one case, pulling off Ota's earphones — to talk about something she thinks as "Amazing", which is usually pretty lame.
  • In Zatch Bell!, before Ponygon was introduced as a character, he would often be shown walking across the screen for no explicable reason once an episode.

    Asian Animation 
  • The Happy Heroes mini-season Happy Heroes and the Magical Lab features a segment in every episode called "Explain This!" where Doctor H. provides details on how an important component of a given piece of technology functions, with said component having been magically removed from all relevant machines by villain character Huo Haha earlier under the command of Big M. after having a less-than-amusing experience with that kind of machine.

    Comic Books 
  • Diabolik tends to have The Big Damn Kiss at/near the end of every story, usually a Smooch of Victory between the titular Villain Protagonist and his lover Eva.
  • During Mark Waid's run on The Flash, every issue started with the lines "I'm Wally West — the fastest man alive," or some variation thereof. On rare occasion, especially when Wally or a member of his family needs to deliver a speech with emotional punch, other writers still riff on this.
  • Groo the Wanderer has featured many once-an-issue gags in its time, from the fairly subtle 'hidden message' in each issue (usually something helpful such as 'This Is The Hidden Message'), through the ever-changing job titles given to co-writer Mark Evanier (What, Exactly, Is His Job?), to the Everyone Chasing Groo ending, complete with Spoof Aesop.
  • Matt Fraction's Hawkeye always starts with Clint thinking "Okay, this looks bad" or some variation of it.
  • Marvel Comics' Mr. Immortal dies in all of his appearances.
  • Every issue of Spider-Girl opens with "Your name is May 'Mayday' Parker, and you are the daughter of Spider-Man," or some variation of it.

    Comic Strips 
  • Krazy Kat: Ignatz Mouse attempts (with varying degrees of success) to acquire a brick and hurl it at Krazy Kat. (Okay, this only happens in maybe 75% of the strips, so maybe it should go under Running Gag.)

    Fan Works 
  • The majority of the videos in The Bugger Anthology have a Dalek say "Bugger!" at least once, whether it be out loud or conveyed via subtitles.
  • The Dragon Ball Z Kai specials for Dragon Ball Z Abridged (except for the April Fools' Day special) each has a character giving similar self-descriptions:
    Nappa: I am hilarious and you will quote everything I say.
    Guru: (dying) I am hilarious... and you will quote... everything... I... say.
    Adroid 16: I am hilarious and you will birds birds birds Goku.
    Perfect Cell: I am perfect and you will quote everything I say.
  • In Infinity Train: Blossoming Trail, the Author Appeal of food is brought about with a variety of food being described in each chapter.
  • Ranma ½: The Abridged Chronicles has several once-per-episode gags, as stated by the creators. This list includes a scene with Genma as a panda with flashing yellow text exclaiming something about the panda, a boot to the head, a musical interlude (usually to draw out fight scenes), someone exclaiming "Son of a bitch," and of course, Ranma getting turned into a girl, usually without a top on. While not all of these happen each episode, they occur enough to qualify.
    Ranma: Stupid one-topless-scene-per-episode contract!

    Films — Animated 

    Films — Live-Action 
  • American Pie: The three main movies feature Stifler coming into unwanted contact with one kind of human excreta or other, Jim getting caught masturbating in a ridiculous way, and Finch having sex with Stifler's Mom. Averted somewhat in the fourth movie, American Reunion: while Jim still gets caught masturbating, Stifler makes someone else come into unwanted contact with his feces, and he has sex with Finch's mom.
  • The Back to the Future trilogy:
    • All three movie feature a wide overhead shot of Marty walking into the town square, looking astonished as he sees his hometown in a different time period, along with a clear shot of the town clock's current state in that particular era.
    • All three movies include a confrontation between Marty and a Tannen (Biff/Griff/Buford—all played by Thomas F. Wilson) in a diner/saloon, followed by a major Chase Scene.
    • In all three movies, Marty gets knocked out, initially wakes up assuming his recent time travel was All Just a Dream, but realizes it’s not when his mother/great-great-grandmother (both played by Lea Thompson, even though the two characters aren’t related) assures him he’s back in 1955/Biff’s casino/on the McFly farm.
    • The first two movies also had Biff being covered in manure (not the same instance) while the third movie has his ancestor be covered in manure, and telling how they hate manure.
  • The Three Flavours Cornetto Trilogy has many:
  • All three Daimajin films have similar premises: evil feudal lord oppresses Japanese peasants, the eponymous god takes a physical form, evil feudal lord's castle gets destroyed and the god turns back to a statue. The climactic destruction also features some poor bastard getting stepped on.
  • Jonathan Crane, a.k.a. "The Scarecrow", is the only villain to appear in every single film of The Dark Knight Trilogy.
  • Every installment in the Dirty Harry series has Harry running into someone committing a robbery and stopping them.
  • Home Alone:
    • The first two films:
      • Kate upon realizing Kevin's absence- "KEVIN!!".
      • Kevin being sent to the Third Floor after being provoked by his older brother Buzz.
      • The family oversleeping and barely making their flight.
      • Mistaken Identity plot setup: In the first film, the boy who lives across the street is counted during the pre-departure head count, resulting in a correct count which the adults take to mean that every member of the family is present. In the second film, Kevin loses sight of his family while rushing through the airport, spots a man wearing the same overcoat as Peter who he mistakes for his father and follows him onto a plane bound for New York instead of his family's flight to Miami.
      • Kevin looking around for his family members as they are nowhere to be found.
      • Kevin's enthusiasm after a beat when he realizes what has happened to him:
      • First film: "I made my family disappear"
      • Second film: "My family's in Florida, and I'm in New York"
      • The scene that follows each realization.
      • The Wet Bandits targeting something meaningful to Kevin: His family's home in the first film, and the money for the Children's Hospital in the second.
      • Kevin watching How the Grinch Stole Christmas!.
      • Kevin finding himself on the wrong side of the law: In the first film, while attempting to purchase a toothbrush, he encounters Old Man Marley (who is believed to be a dangerous serial killer), and runs out of the store with the unpaid toothbrush while being confronted by the store clerk as well as a police officer. In the second film, the Plaza Hotel concierge discovers Peter's credit card, which he used to pay for his room, has been reported stolen, and intends to report Kevin to the police.
      • The rest of the family sitting around with It's a Wonderful Life on TV dubbed in French in the first film and in Spanish in the second film.
      • Kevin's initial fear of the Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold: Old Man Marley in the first film, the Pigeon Lady in the second film. Kevin has a heart to heart with each during a Christmas music program (The church choir in the first film, Carnegie Hall in the second film.) In each movie, this is who saves him from the Wet Bandits.
      • Kevin laying out his traps in anticipation of the Wet Bandits.
      • Harry's scalp being set aflame by Kevin's blowtorch trap.
      • The Wet Bandit's finally trap Kevin and attempt to harm him in each film, and the Misunderstood Loner with a Heart of Gold shows up to rescue Kevin.
      • During the arrest of the Wet Bandits in each film: Marv spelling out "W-E-T" in the first film and attempting to spell "Sticky" in the second, as well as Harry telling Marv to "Shut Up!"
      • Kevin watching Old Man Marley reunite with his estranged son in the first film and giving the Pigeon Lady the Turtle Dove in the second. Each scene is interrupted by the last line of the film, which is spoken to Kevin by one of the other Mc Callisters about some mischief that Kevin had gotten himself into: In the first film, he is called out by Buzz for having (accidentally) trashed Buzz's bedroom. In the second film, it is Peter who calls him out for racking a huge room service charge on his credit card.
  • Indiana Jones:
    • Every film will include Indy fighting a big strong henchman (in the first three, played by the same actor) who'll end up being killed in an extraordinarily violent fashion.
    • Every movie involves the Big Bad trying to harness a powerful magical (or seemingly magical) artifact, only to have it backfire on him/her in the end due to hubris.
  • Most (but not all) James Bond films have him say "Bond. James Bond." Which is a problem if you are playing the drinking game. He also usually gets involved with two or three women per movie, and in many of the films at least one of them gets killed off (this, however, is a stereotype as many Bond films do avoid killing off the characters). Also, the Bond Gun Barrel and the animated credits are always there, even if altered a bit sometimes (at least in the EON Films series). (see also the series' entry on Strictly Formula)
  • The Swedish comedy movies Jönssonligan always had Sickan say "Jag har en plan" ("I've got a plan").
    • The Danish comedy movies Olsen-Banden, of which Jönsonsligan is a Swedish remake, had Egon Olsen in jail at the beginning of a story, and he'd come out of jail with a plan wrapped in brown paper, and he'd say "Jeg har en plan". And the wonderfully brilliant plan would somehow misfire and Egon would be arrested, usually in the place of the real crook.
  • 11 of the 12 Marx Brothers films had Chico play the piano and Harpo play the harp.
  • Jurassic Park:
  • Almost every official Marvel Comics movie has a Creator Cameo by Stan Lee up until his death in 2018.
    • X-Men: Hot dog vendor on the beach when the now-mutated senator escapes Magneto.
    • X-Men: The Last Stand: Man watering his lawn in Jean Gray flashback. Bonus points for including Chris Claremont in the same scene, as Stan's neighbor.
    • X-Men: Apocalypse: Man in neighborhood with sunglasses on watching the nukes fly up into space. The shot zooms in on his sunglasses showing the nukes in the lenses. Bonus points for the woman with him being his real life wife.
    • Spider-Man: Old man shielding little girl from falling debris during the Goblin's parade attack.
    • Spider-Man 2: Old man pulling woman away from debris during the battle on the clock tower.
    • Spider-Man 3: Talks to Peter while both are reading a news bulletin about Spider-Man.
    • Hulk: Security guard; bonus points for being alongside Lou Ferrigno.
    • Daredevil: Old man almost hit by bus.
    • Fantastic Four (2005): Mailman Willie Lumpkin (the first time he played one of his own characters).
    • Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer: Denied access to the wedding, despite claiming to be Stan Lee.
    • Iron Man: Mistaken for Hugh Hefner at the casino.
    • The Incredible Hulk: Accidentally drinks soda laced with Banner blood.
    • Iron Man 2: Mistaken for Larry King at Stark Expo.
    • Thor: Truck driver who unsuccessfully tries to tow Thor's hammer from a crater.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: General at the award ceremony.
    • The Avengers: Interviewed about the heroes in the ending (and, ironically, the only random citizen to claim the idea of "superheroes in new York" is "ridiculous").
    • The Amazing Spider-Man: Working in the school library while listening to music on headphones, which renders him oblivious to Spidey and the Lizard tearing the place apart.
    • Iron Man 3: As a beauty pageant judge.
    • Thor: The Dark World: A patient in the psych ward Selvig is attending.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: The security guard in the Smithsonian at the Cap exhibit.
    • The Amazing Spider-Man 2: Graduation guest.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy: "Xandarian Ladies' Man."
    • Big Hero 6: In a portrait at Fred's house and in a post credit sequence where Fred finds his secret room.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: Attends a party with the Avengers and gets drunk on Thor's mead alongside his WWII veteran buddies.
    • Ant-Man: A bartender in one of Luis' stories.
    • Deadpool: A DJ at a strip club.
    • Captain America: Civil War: a delivery man at the Avengers base.
    • Doctor Strange: a passenger in a bus that Mordo and Doctor Strange land on top/on the side of. He doesn't notice, given that the two are in the Mirror Dimension.
    • Noticeably absent in Logan. Justified in that it really, really wouldn't have fit the tone of the movie. He does appear in the online version of the Deadpool 2 teaser that aired before Logan (although not in the version of the teaser that actually aired before Logan): when Deadpool finally comes out of the phone booth, Lee remarks that Deadpool has a nice suit. Deadpool tells him to can it.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Having a conversation with The Watchers about his previous incarnations.
    • Thor: Ragnarok: The old barber that cut's Thor's hair on Sakaar.
    • Black Panther: A Thirsty Gambler (per the credits) in the Korean casino.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Peter's school bus driver (who is unfazed at the idea of spaceships invading New York City).
    • Ant-Man and the Wasp: Old man whose car is shrunk by an errant disk fired by the Wasp.
    • Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse: The owner of a comics shop who sells Miles his first Spider-Man costume.
    • Captain Marvel: As himself riding the LA Metro, reading the script for Mallrats. As the franchise's first movie after his death, the Logo Joke is also redone in his image, with his past cameos and promotional appearances taking the place of the heroes.
    • Avengers: Endgame: A hippie in 1970s New Jersey.
  • Every Phase 2 Marvel Cinematic Universe movie or series involves someone losing or having lost a hand, as a Shout-Out to The Empire Strikes Back.
  • Similarly, from Phase 2 onwards, every movie had the loss of parental figures as a plot element, ranging from Zemo using The Reveal of who was responsible for killing Tony's parents to drive him over the edge in Captain America: Civil War, or the multitude of Mentor Occupational Hazard victims over the course of Phases 2 and 3: Yondu, T'chaka, Frigga, Odin. Then Avengers: Infinity War inverted the theme by having Thanos lose Gamora and Tony losing Peter.
  • In the MCU, every Captain America movie has Bucky using Steve's Captain America shield in some capacity.
    • Captain America: The First Avenger: Bucky picks it up after Steve drops it and uses it as a regular shield while shooting his pistol.
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier: As the Winter Soldier, Bucky manages to get it off of Steve, and wields it much more efficiently, using it to beat Steve, while also throwing it a few times.
    • Captain America: Civil War: When Steve and Bucky fight Iron Man in the film's climax, the two share use of the shield, and Bucky is skilled enough that he can now throw the shield in the same way Steve does, bouncing it at deliberate angles to attack Tony and pass it to Steve.
  • Thor and Loki in the MCU also find themselves in the same situation in most films:
  • Every single Avengers movie ends in a huge battle between the Avengers & their allies against a villain and his armies.
    • The Avengers (2012): The original six Avengers (Captain America, Iron Man, Thor, the Hulk, Black Widow, and Hawkeye) vs. Loki and his Chitauri fleet.
    • Avengers: Age of Ultron: The above six plus War Machine, The Vision, Scarlett Witch, Quicksilver, and Nick Fury's helicarrier against Ultron and his army of drones.
    • Avengers: Infinity War: Captain America, Black Widow, Bruce Banner, the Vision, Scarlet Witch, Bucky Barnes, War Machine, The Falcon, Thor, Rocket Raccoon, Black Panther and the Wakandan army vs Thanos, the Black Order, and the Outriders.
    • Avengers: Endgame: The original six Avengers (minus Black Widow), Nebula, War Machine, everyone who was dusted in Infinity War, Ant-Man, the Masters of the Mystic Arts, the armies of Wakanda, Pepper Potts, Captain Marvel, Valkyrie and the Asgardian army, Korg and Miek, Kraglin and the Ravagers, and Howard the Duck vs Thanos from the past, the Black Order, the Outriders, and the Chitauri.
  • All three films in the MCU Spider-Man Trilogy have a Parker yell, "WHAT THE FU-?!":
    • Spider-Man: Homecoming ends with Aunt May stumbling upon Peter in his Spider-Man suit and yelling the phrase before getting cut off by the credits.
    • Spider-Man: Far From Home ends with Mysterio exposing Peter's identity as Spider-Man in front of the whole world, and Peter is the one who yells the phrase before getting cut off by the credits again.
    • Spider-Man: No Way Home picks up where Far From Home left off, and thus starts with the same "WHAT THE FU-?!" as the end of that film. This time, it's cut off by a car honk.
  • Mission: Impossible:
    • Just like the series, every movie has a mission briefing that ends with the device giving them their orders self-destructing. Jokingly played with in the fourth, where one device fails to detonate and Ethan has to slam it to get it to work.
      • Also foreshadowing since from that point on, pretty much anything than can go wrong with the mission, does.
    • Every movie has somebody (usually Ethan) doing a "Mission: Impossible" Cable Drop. While the first movie has a reason for the sprawled position (making sure not to touch the weight sensitive floor) the other films don't have any such justification except as an internal homage. Played with in Ghost Protocol: Brandt is seen in the signature pose, but no cables are involved; instead he is actually being pushed up by a large magnet below him and a magnetic suit he's wearing.
    • All of the movies feature spies who turned rogue as villains, except the fourth which bucks the trend. Usually the spies in question are former IMF Agents.
    • All of the movies also feature someone revealing themselves as an IMF agent in disguise by removing a mask. Sometimes the villain of the movie does this too.
    • Every Mission Impossible movie since III has featured an action sequence of Tom Cruise running full out for minutes at a time to either escape or catch someone.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean:
  • Lampshaded in Pulp Fiction when Mia says that her character would have told one joke every episode, if her Pilot actually worked out.
  • Spider-Man Trilogy:
    • Every movie includes a cameo by Bruce Campbell, as well as an in-movie performance of the 1960's TV show's theme.
    • Honest Trailers noted that every film, perhaps unintentionally, involves Spider-Man struggling with his powers, breaking up with Mary Jane and battling a villain who eventually kills themself.
    • CinemaSins also commented that each film has a shot of Peter attempting to call MJ and having to leave an awkward voicemail while MJ stands next to the phone at the other end listening to him record it with her arms folded.
  • Star Wars has many, due to the formulaic nature of the films.
    • Every film has the phrase, "I've got a bad feeling about this." Much Expanded Universe material homages this practice, with the video game Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order going as far as suggesting the player should save their game every time it gets uttered.
    • Every film also has the phrase "May the Force be with you" or a slight variation.
    • Every movie through The Force Awakens (even The Star Wars Holiday Special) includes the Wilhelm Scream, a stock sound effect famous enough to have its own trope page. But then, almost every action movie features the Wilhelm Scream — a lot of them as a Shout-Out to Star Wars. Lucasfilm changed to a different stock scream in 2016 (starting with Rogue One).
    • Every single film contains a Big "NO!", some bigger than others.
    • All Episodic films (though not the Anthology films) begin with the opening narration scrolling against a starry sky. When the narration ends, the camera pans to a ship flying through space.
    • Every film introduces a new Force power:
      • A New Hope: Mind trick, Force choke, Force sense, oneness with the Force
      • The Empire Strikes Back: Telekinesis, telepathy, Force jump, Force vision, Force ghosts, precognition
      • Return of the Jedi: Force lightning, mind reading, and (unintentionally) Force Kick
      • The Phantom Menace: Force speed, Force push (offensive variant of telekinesis), Force-induced pregnancy (Anakin's parentage)
      • Attack of the Clones: Force avalanche / Force reflect/absorb (when Yoda turns Dooku's lightning back on him, and later absorbs a second one)
      • Revenge of the Sith: Force reflect (Yoda first blocks Palpatine's lightning at close range, when the two of them come to contact a deflagration ensues)
      • The Force Awakens: Force stasis, a more invasive form of Force mind reading, and a more immersive version of the Force vision
      • Rogue One: Force stasis reflect (when Vader freezes a rebel's blaster bolt, and then throws it back at him.)
      • The Last Jedi: Force bond (expanding from telepathy shown in Empire), Force bubble (to survive briefly in the vacuum of space), Force ghosts being able to use Force powers, and astral projection.
      • The Rise of Skywalker: Force healing (used by Rey and Ben, though this may have been seen in A New Hope), matter transportation through Force bonds (hinted at in The Last Jedi), and Force drain (used by Palpatine)
    • All films have an ending sequence with music and no dialogue.
    • Starting with The Empire Strikes Back and every film chronologically after it there’s a big Long-Lost Relative revelation:
      • The Empire Strikes Back: Luke’s father is Darth Vader.
      • Return of the Jedi: Luke and Leia are brother and sister Separated at Birth.
      • The Force Awakens: Kylo Ren is actually Ben Solo, the son of Han and Leia, in a Tomato Surprise.
      • The Last Jedi: Subverted, when the film seems to be building up to a big reveal about Rey’s parentage, but it turns out they were “nobody”.
      • The Rise of Skywalker: The Last Jedi is reconned by making Rey the granddaughter of Palpatine.note  Rey being descended from “nobody” is “true from a certain point of view” as her father was Palpatine’s estranged sonnote  who tried to live anonymously.
    • Count on at least one lightsaber battle between Force-users to go down in a Skywalker Saga film, usually towards the end:
      • A New Hope: Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Darth Vader
      • The Empire Strikes Back: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader
      • Return of the Jedi: Luke Skywalker vs. Darth Vader
      • The Phantom Menace: Obi-Wan Kenobi and Qui-Gon Jinn vs. Darth Maul
      • Attack of the Clones: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Anakin Skywalker and Yoda vs. Count Dooku
      • Revenge of the Sith: Obi-Wan Kenobi vs. Anakin Skywalker, Yoda vs. Palpatine
      • The Force Awakens: Rey vs. Kylo Ren
      • The Last Jedi: Luke Skywalker vs. Kylo Ren (One blow in a flashback, and also in the climax of the film but subverted as Luke is revealed to actually be a projection and lightsabers never clash).
      • The Rise of Skywalker: Rey vs. Kylo Ren (twice), Luke vs. Leia training in a flashback
    • These lightsaber fights almost always end in someone losing a hand as well:
      • A New Hope: Ponda Baba losing his arm to Obi-Wan in the Cantina
      • The Empire Strikes Back: Luke to Vader on Cloud City
      • Return of the Jedi: Vader to Luke on the second Death Star
      • The Phantom Menace: Several droids get their arms chopped off by lightsabers, and Maul gets his legs (well, really his whole lower half).
      • Attack of the Clones: Anakin to Dooku at the end
      • Revenge of the Sith: Dooku to Anakin during the beginning (and then some, since the poor guy lost both hands). Mace Windu also loses his hand before getting flung out a window by Palpatine. And finally, Obi-Wan cuts both Anakin's left arm and legs.
      • The Force Awakens: The rare exception. Kylo Ren takes a lot of injuries including one that causes him to drop his saber during the battle, but this time it seems that he doesn't actually lose a hand, or at least it isn't cut off. Moreover, no lens flare can be accused of hiding it, when the camera focuses on Ren lying in the snow. He does, however, take a pretty nasty slash across the face. Unkar Plutt, does get his arm ripped out of its socket in a deleted scene, by Chewbacca, of course.
      • The Last Jedi: Snoke's Praetorian guards lose limbs to Kylo Ren and Rey. Not to mention Snoke himself who, while having a hand cut off, was also cut in half by Ren. Luke would have been cut in half by Ren as well, but his presence on Crait was astral projected.
      • The Rise of Skywalker: Ben Solo is cutting up the Knights of Ren while Rey is slicing limbs off red troopers in the arena
    • Every film with the Millennium Falcon, save Return of the Jedi, has a character disparage the ship at some point, comparing it to garbage or similar:
      • A New Hope: Luke calls it a "piece of junk", Leia, upon seeing it for the first time says, "You came in that thing?"
      • The Empire Strikes Back: Leia refers to it as a “bucket of bolts”
      • Return of the Jedi: The only exception, though Han refers to the stolen Imperial shuttle as a "piece of junk" so at least a ship gets disparaged
      • The Force Awakens: Rey calls it "garbage"
      • The Last Jedi: Kylo Ren calls it junk.
    • In the modern, Disney era of the films, every subsequent film has pulled off an increasingly insane stunt with a spaceship's hyperdrive.
      • The Force Awakens: Han jumps the Falcon to lightspeed from inside a starship hangar, and later, exiting hyperspace within a planet's atmosphere.
      • Rogue One: K-2SO does almost the exact opposite of Han's stunt in TFA, jumping the Rebel U-Wing to lightspeed from within a planet's surface, while said surface is cracking to fiery pieces.
      • The Last Jedi: Admiral Holdo jumps the Raddus to lightspeed directly through Snoke's flagship.
      • The Rise of Skywalker has Poe lightspeed skipping the Falcon to evade pursuers. The tactic damages the ship enough to cause it to be on fire and infuriates Rey to no end.
    • Every Disney era film to date has also included a surprise cameo by a legacy character:
      • The Force Awakens: Luke Skywalker
      • Rogue One: R2D2, C3PO, Darth Vader, and Princess Leia
      • The Last Jedi: Yoda
      • Solo: Darth Maul
      • The Rise of Skywalker: Palpatine,note  Han Solo in Ben's vision, Wedge Antilles manning the Falcon's turret, as well as the vocal cameos from Qui-Gon Jinn, Mace Windu, Yoda, Obi-Wan Kenobi, and Anakin Skywalker/Darth Vader.
    • All three sequel trilogy films have featured the line "I know what I have to do", always spoken by Kylo Ren at a hugely significant moment for his character.
      • The Force Awakens: An anguished Kylo tells Han Solo "I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it", before murdering him to prove his devotion to the Dark Side.
      • The Last Jedi: Kylo tells his master Supreme Leader Snoke "I know what I have to do", with conviction and resolve, before betraying and killing Snoke with Anakin's lightsaber.
      • The Rise of Skywalker: On the verge of tears, he repeats the phrase "I know what I have to do, but I don't know if I have the strength to do it" to a vision of his father, Han Solo. But this time, instead of stabbing his father with his lightsaber to complete his transformation to the Dark Side, he throws that same lightsaber into the sea to complete his journey to the light.
    • Every episode has C-3PO and R2D2 appearing.
    • A rather dark pattern of the three sequel trilogy films is that a member of the original trilogy's Power Trio ends up dying in each of them. In order...
      • The Force Awakens: Han Solo is murdered by Kylo Ren in an attempt by the latter to prove that he's fully committed to the Dark Side.
      • The Last Jedi: Luke Skywalker passes away after spending his life force to create a projection and protect the Resistance's remnants.
      • The Rise of Skywalker: Leia Organa dies as a result of using the Force to spiritually connect with her son Kylo Ren.
  • All Terminator films have someone shouting "Get Out!" as they take over a vehicle. Two other phrases almost qualify: "I'll be back!" (all but T3, which instead features "She'll be back" and "I'm back!"), and "Come with Me If You Want to Live" (T3 features "Do you wanna live?! Come on!!").
  • The Transformers films capping off with a Linkin Park song. At least for the first three films, anyway.
    • All five films also feature Optimus and/or Bumblebee saving the main characters from the antagonists (usually with some variant of the Autobot's theme playing in the background)
    • In addition, all films feature a fight between Optimus and Megatron.
    • All films (with the exception of Dark of the Moon) feature government members in antagonistic roles
    • All films feature an opening and/or closing narration (usually by Optimus Prime) note 
    • The first four movies have a mojor Autobot from the first movie be killed by that films Big Bad note 
  • Almost every Troma film since Sgt. Kabukiman N.Y.P.D. has used the same shot of a car flipping over and exploding.

  • Animorphs: There will be a meeting in Cassie's barn.
    • With a few exception, the first few pages of each book are spent explaining of the series' premise[[note]]Puppeteer Parasites are invading the Earth, they could be anyone, we can turn into animals but have to keep it a secret or they'll kill us, beginning with the line "My name is (Rotating Protagonist)." If you've read this once you can pretty much skip it in any other book.
  • Discworld: Death has at least one cameo in almost every book, except the ones he's the main character, Snuff, and The Wee Free Men the one book that is actually all about bereavement, strangely.
  • The Dresden Files: Harry Dresden has an alarming tendency to end up underdressed and beat to crap every book. Lampshaded by Bob in the tabletop RPG rulebook.
  • There are several bits you can always count on being in every single Encyclopedia Brown book:
    • The opening chapter has Chief Brown bringing a case home to dinner which his son is able to solve.
    • The second chapter has Encyclopedia helping a kid out with Bugs Meaney.
    • The next chapter has Bugs trying to set up Encyclopedia and Sally for a crime. This will usually involve a retelling of how Sally punched Bugs' lights out years before and thus he wants revenge.
    • Wilford Wiggins will call a big rally for his latest get rich quick scam that Encyclopedia busts.
  • Save for the last one, every Harry Potter book has the following elements:
    • The Dursleys having an unfortunate encounter with magic at the start of the book.
    • Harry leaving the Dursleys, though each time using a different method of travelling (car, flying car, knight bus, floo network, broom, apparating and finally a flying motorcycle).
    • There's a new Defense Against the Dark Arts professor in every book. They always end up somehow playing a significant role in the book's greater plot and wind up attacking Harry. It turns out this is because Tom Riddle cursed the position after their application for the job was rejected a second time.
    • Before Half Blood Prince, every book had one scene where Harry and at least one of his friends wound up in the Forbidden Forest, even though it was off limits to students.
  • In P. G. Wodehouse's Jeeves and Wooster stories, particularly the early ones, Bertie and Jeeves disagree about something about Bertie's attire, and Bertie puts his foot down. Then, after Jeeves has saved the day, Bertie relents.
  • A Mage's Power: A bird will poop on Nolien in every chapter he appears in.
  • In the Rainbow Magic series, once per series (usually), the girls travel to Jack Frost's Ice Castle to retrieve an especially guarded item.
  • An alarming number of The Shadow novels included The Shadow or one of his agents (usually Harry Vincent) being temporarily captured by the novel's villain. In at least one instance note , the villain managed to kidnap The Shadow's entire network of agents.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, every novel begins with a prologue chapter from a new or minor character's point-of-view who dies at the end of the chapter, or shortly thereafter.
  • Stephanie Plum gets a car destroyed.
  • Each book in the Uglies series begins with party crashing.
  • All the Wayside School books (except for the arithmetic ones as they are not structured like the other books) ended with the last sentence being, "Everyone (Word That Rhymes With Ooed)".
  • Every main series book in Wings of Fire except for The Dark Secret features the protagonist running into some scavengers and deciding to spare their lives due to noticing they're more intelligent than they seem and/or they're very cute.

  • Old Crow Medicine Show seems contractually obliged to record at least one song about drugs per album.
  • Metallica, DragonForce and quite a few other Metal artists seem to have a "one ballad per album" rule.
  • Almost every Pink Floyd album of the Roger Waters era had at least one song Fading into the Next Song and nearly each album was a Concept Album.
  • Type O Negative had at least one Cover Version per album on every album apart from Slow Deep And Hard and Dead Again. (the rerelease of Slow Deep And Hard features their cover of Hey Joe (Called Hey Pete) as a bonus track, however).
  • Iron Maiden had one or two Epic Rocking tracks per album until they decided to make every song on the album an epic from A Matter Of Life And Death onwards. They would also make sure to have at least one historical song named after a war film.
  • Fun Lovin' Criminals admit they have to include at least one 'stoner jam' on each album (the song they were referring to was Rewind from Classic Fantastic)
  • Crowded House claimed to have included a reference to a kitchen on every album. It was true until they regrouped in 2007.
  • All of The Beatles albums have a track where George Harrison sings lead (mostly the ones he wrote) and all but two have one track allowing Ringo Starr to Step Up to the Microphone.
  • All the Garbage albums end with a depressing ballad.
  • Every Grottomatic album casually mentions bees at least once. There is also at least one song in every album about My Little Pony.
  • Brad Paisley usually has an instrumental (as he is a virtuoso lead guitarist as well as a singer-songwriter), a gospel song, and, at least from the second album, a track featuring old-time country singers or comedians he is a fan/friend on most to all of his albums. Usually, they're all located towards the end.
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic:
    • His new look (as of 1998) brought about a new trend of featuring one 'epic' track on every album, including "Albuquerque" (Running With Scissors), "Genius In France" (Poodle Hat), "Trapped In The Drive Thru" (Straight Outta Lynwood), "Stop Forwarding That Crap To Me" (Alpocalypse), and "Jackson Park Express" (Mandatory Fun). Before this, epic tracks were fairly scattered - "Nature Trail To Hell" (In 3D) and, several albums later, "UHF" and "The Biggest Ball Of Twine In Minnesota" (both UHF).
    • With the exception of his self-titled debut album and Even Worse, each album has a "polka medley", which consists of many popular songs performed to a polka tune.
  • Every In This Moment album has the lyric "in this moment" in at least one of the songs.
  • Every studio album by The B-52s apart from (the EP) Mesopotamia and (the reunion album) Funplex includes a song about animals - Rock Lobster, Quiche Lorraine, Big Bird, Juicy Jungle, Junebug and The World's Green Laughter. This is because all of its members are animal lovers.
  • Zac Brown Band always includes a beachy up-tempo song on every album: "Toes" on The Foundation, "Knee Deep" on You Get What You Give, "Jump Right In" on Uncaged, and "Castaway" on Jekyll + Hyde. As a bonus, all four were released as singles in the summertime.

  • How Did This Get Made? has Second Opinions, where Paul Scheer read 5-star reviews for the movie that the hosts have spent the last hour or so tearing into.
  • The first few seasons of Mission to Zyxx require C-53 to recite the same intro for Nermut's call.
    C-53: I have an incoming transmission from Junior Missions Operations Manager Nermut Bundaloy.
  • Kevin and Ursula Eat Cheap:
    • The opening, typically consisting of a disclaimer that the show is not for children, a recounting of the animals in the kitchen ("This podcast is recorded in front of a live kitchen beagle..."), and Ursula greeting the audience with "Hello out there in Internet land!"
    • Sponsor segues, generally terribly off topic, almost always starting with "You know what won't [insert random comment here]...?" Apparently this has become so prevalent in their household at this point that they respond to any question with that opening with "Sofa Wolf Press!" There is an extensive list here.
  • Mystery Show:
    • Each episode begins with Starlee meeting with her client to get a run-down of the case.
    • Each episode contains creative commercials for the show's sponsors, Kind Snacks and Square Space.
    • Each episode ends with Starlee giving a cryptic clue about the next episode, except for the last one, where she gave an explanation for the previous one.
  • The hosts of Relative Disasters introduce themselves in each episode with humorous false credentials that relate to the episode's theme somehow.
  • Every episode of Sugar, We're Goin' Down Podcasting! has Jo and Caitlyn consult the website Genius to glean some understanding of Fall Out Boy lyrics, with them asking the site to sponsor them for their continued shoutouts.
  • Welcome to Night Vale:
    • Every episode opens with an ominous Non Sequitur, followed by a Title Drop.
    • "And now, the weather", followed by a song from a special musical guest.
    • Every episode closes with Cecil telling the audience "good night".
    • "And now, a word from our sponsors", usually followed by a cryptic and ominous monologue, ending with an unrelated corporate slogan.
  • Well There's Your Problem:
    • Each episode opens with the line "Welcome to Well There's Your Problem, a podcast about engineering disasters", followed by an introduction of the hosts with pronoun checknote .
    • The first slide of the episode will inevitably show the aftermath of the episode's disaster, usually with Justin pointing out what is obviously wrong with the picture and adding some variant of "it's not supposed to be that way."
    • Each episode ends with the hosts promising that the next episode will be about the Tacoma Narrows Bridge Disaster.
  • Who Back When:
    • The BISCOW (Bite Size Chunk of Who), which gives a quick rundown of the current Doctor Who episode being reviewed before beginning the synopsis proper.
    • The hosts' reviews, followed by their reading any reviews for that episode sent by listeners, conclude each episode.

    Puppet Shows 
  • The Big Garage: The taxis would always sing a song related to what's going on in the episode at some point (for example, Mimi sang a song about her going to the Big Garage for the first time in the episode "Welcome to the Big Garage"), and they would give the song a reprise near the end of the episode.
  • Blue's Room: Every episode begins with Blue spinning the playdate spinner to determine the theme of the playdate for the episode.
  • The Sesame Street UK Spin-Off The Furchester Hotel has three:
    • A monster banging a gong, at which monsters appear out of the rooms, shout "Tea time!" and collide with everyone in reception in their hurry to get to the dining room.
    • Either the song "A Furchester Never Gives Up" or "A Furchester Catastrophe". (Season 2 adds "We Can Solve Any Problem".)
    • The characters coming up with a solution to the problem of the week by "putting our furry heads together".
  • The Mr. Potato Head Show: Most episodes had Betty the Kitchen Fairy appear to deliver an aesop and call out the characters on jerkish behavior. If there's a problem like a monster chasing the characters, though, she won't intervene to save them. Most episodes also have a song in them.

  • Sometime close to the bottom of the hour on NPR's Weekend Edition, usually just after the sport segment, host Scott Simon shoehorns a connection between the next story and the fact that B. J. Liederman wrote their theme music.
  • I'm Sorry I Haven't a Clue featured many, including the game Mornington Crescent (usually preceded by reading a fan letter from Mrs Trellis) and the introduction of the pianist Colin Sell:
    Humph: When music experts hear Colin's compositions, they say he could have been another Berlin, Porter, or anybody else employed by the German State Railway.
  • In Old Harry's Game the majority of episodes will have the Professor and Satan making a bet, most commonly about morality and something bad would happen to Thomas.
  • Every episode of Marcus Brigstocke's The Brig Society opens with Marcus explaining that he was at his local library and Maureen from Volunteer Services inspired the theme of the show. (In series 1 the themes were actually allocated to him as voluntary positions, in series 2 Maureen's influence is less direct.)

  • In Destroy the Godmodder, every game an Eldritch Abomination called "The Glitch" starts breaking down reality itself and threatens to destroy wherever the players are. In addition, there's usually an early-game Ravine bridging event, a usually early-game event wherein the Battlefield is divided by a massive Ravine with unusually powerful gravitational forces to prevent attacks from affecting other factions. This crevasse must always be bridged to complete the challenge and resume attacking the Godmodder.

  • In the US, at least, most major sporting events begin with the playing of the national anthem. In the NHL, many games start with two anthems—league rules require that when US and Canadian teams play one another, both anthems are played. The Buffalo Sabres, located in a city on the border and enjoying a significant local fanbase on the Canadian side, play both anthems regardless of the opponent.
  • Basically all matches involving full national teams, whatever the sport, start with the playing of both national anthems, with the home team's last. An exception is at the Ireland national rugby union team's matches held in the Republic of Ireland, when three anthems are played—the away team's anthem; the Republic'a anthem of Amhrán na bhFiann; and finally "Ireland's Call", an anthem specially composed for the Ireland team, which includes players from both the Republic and the North.note 
  • At every Notre Dame football home game, without fail, the 1812 Overture will play at the end of the third quarter, after which an Indiana state trooper will dispense safety advice that concludes with an incredibly lame pun.
  • At the end of the third quarter of every Wisconsin Badgers home football game, "Jump Around" is played over the sound system. The home fans... do just that.

  • In the Farndale Avenue plays, each presented as a production by the disaster-prone Farndale Avenue Dramatic Society:
    • Mrs Reece walks on stage, realizes she's left a prop behind, and gestures into the wings for a stagehand to pass it out to her. The stagehand gives her an accordion.
    • At the end of the interval, Mrs Reece leads a competition with audience interaction.
    • Mrs Reece remarks that she noticed audience members leaving hurriedly/muttering that they can't take any more, without realising that they're reacting to how bad the production is.

    Video Games 
  • Each game in the Ace Attorney series has a stepladder that can be examined. If it is examined, both the main character and his assistant will have an argument on whether it should be called a "ladder" or a "step-ladder". The Great Ace Attorney has a similar Running Gag with the spade(or shovel, depending on who you ask) in Sholmes' attic, as well as a stepladder that can be seen in Madame Tuspell's wax museum in the second game.
    Maya: Look, a ladder!
    Phoenix: That's a 'step'-ladder.
    Maya: So? What's the difference? You need to stop judging things based on narrow-minded cultural assumptions, Nick!
    Phoenix: R-right... sorry. (This girl is out there!)
    • On a more serious note, the final case of each game in the series, except for Apollo Justice and the first Great Ace Attorney game, will have a different prosecutor preside over the case than the main prosecutor of the game.note 
      • On a related note, the first trial of every game is against a different prosecutor as well, typically a member of the Payne family.
    • Every game in the series, sans Dual Destinies, has you speak with a victim before their demise.
    • Maya is accused of murder and must be defended in every game she appears in, even in the crossover with Professor Layton, and only once was she not the immediate suspect.
  • Ao Oni: In every version of the game released so far, there's always someone who has a Heroic BSoD and hides in a cupboard (usually Takeshi), and there's always a character who refuses to move from the room they're hiding in until the end, a requirement has been met, or they die (always Mika/Megumi). Also, the jail cell and rope ladder cutscenes.
    • Every version starts the same way: the gang hear a loud noise and the main character (usually Hiroshi, but this applies to Takuro in the Korean fan remake of 2.0) goes off alone to investigate it. He enters the kitchen to find a recently-broken plate and returns to an empty main hall.
  • Every game in the Batman: Arkham Series features Batman hallucinating something.
  • BioShock has a dead cat in every level. The sequel has continued the tradition.
  • Every Call of Duty game set during World War 2 has at least one mission where you get to control a tank.
    • Every Call of Duty game developed by Infinity Ward includes a Captain Price. The Anachronic Order present by virtue of having multiple games set during World War 2 means they can do this even though Price died in the first game.
  • The Danganronpa series is entirely this (to the point that even the Fan Games follow the formula), just like Dark Cloud below:
    • The first case is always a heavily advertised character, one presented as important to the plot and/or who seems to have ties to previous casts and has Plot Armor, gets killed/executed. It also always doesn't kill the intended target (Sayaka was trying to kill Leon but got killed herself, Teruteru was aiming for Nagito, Kaede tried to kill the mastermind). The first execution is usually one of the most brutal to set the tone.
    • The second case is always because someone flew off the handle, sometimes because of their past. Usually tragic. The killer tends to have connections with a criminal gang. A Serial Killer/multiple murderer becomes involved but turns out to be innocent.
    • The third case is always a double murder, with one of the victims being a comic relief character, and the killer will have the least sympathetic motive in the game. (Not including that of the Big Bad)
    • The fourth case is always a case of Big Guy Fatality Syndrome, with The Big Guy accepting their death. The trial ends in a Tear Jerker and the death was committed for a noble cause and protect everyone from the truth about the outside world.
    • The fifth case is always played up as the final chapter, complete with remix of the investigation theme. Two of the main characters are in danger, pretty much sought out by the mastermind. The murder is part of a trap/larger plan rather than an end in itself. The class trial is blatantly unfair (Monokuma himself is the culprit, and he forces a premature voting time; the blackened "culprit" is randomized and unidentifiable; the victim is unidentifiable and the primary suspect is allowed to remain anonymous in the class trial). The death of the final victim is always the most brutal and gruesome one, but it sets the stage for the Killing Game ending once and for all. The trial ends in the execution of a character among the main group, which doesn’t go as planned.
    • The sixth and last case always has The Mastermind be revealed, and the truth of the Ontological Mystery comes out. It's usually a person that no one expected. Said mastermind is the leader of, or affiliated with, an evil organization. Junko turns out to be behind it all, directly or indirectly. The rug is pulled out from beneath the surviving cast, leaving them close to the Despair Event Horizon by the revelation of what led to the killing game, which reveals the setting and plot to be completely different from what it seemed. The Hero uses the power of hope (or disappointment in Shuichi’s case) to defeat the villain anyway.
    • In a particularly amusing case, the very first Killing Game (which was shown in the anime) follows this exact same formula, despite lasting five minutes and following a Battle Royale Game format.
  • The Dark Cloud series is made of Once Per Episode formula.
  • In every installment of Dark Souls, there is a fight where you have to kill an old hero who has lost his mind, with sad and lowkey music playing.
    • In the first installment, it is the final battle against Gwyn, who has lost his mind after burning for thousands of years to prolong the Age of Fire.
    • In the second installment, it is Vendrick, the old king of Lothric who contracted the Undead Curse and eventually succumbed to it after being betrayed by his wife.
    • In the third installment, it is the battle against the Soul of Cinder. At first the music is rather dramatic, but as it enters phase 2, it becomes a reprise of the music that played in the fight against Gwyn in the first game, as the boss is an amalgamation of every person who has linked the Fire to continue the Age of Fire, starting with Gwyn.
  • In the episodic adventure game The Darkside Detective, there are a few things that happen each episode:
    • Some kind of puzzle minigame.
    • McQueen and Dooley arriving at the entrance to somewhere dark and probably dangerous, and Dooley making some excuse to wait outside while McQueen goes on alone.
  • In most of the Devil May Cry installments (except 2), Dante will get impaled by his own sword. It even happens in the animated spin-off. In the first game, he is also impaled by the Alastor sword before he stands again, grabs it, does a sword show with it and makes it his.
  • The structure of every chapter in Disgaea 6: Defiance of Destiny: Zed reincarnates into a new world, the plot advances a bit, the God of Destruction appears, Zed dies but he gets a little closer to defeating him. After he defeats the God of Destruction, he still ends of fighting new Gods of Destruction in further chapter, until the game starts throwing multiple of them at once.
  • Dragon Age
    • The PC and their party are repeatedly sucked into the Fade (despite in-game lore declaring this to be impossible), where they must battle a demon or series of demons for the soul of one or more innocent bystanders while the PC is given an opportunity to pick up free attribute points. This happens in main plot quests in Origins, Awakening, and Inquisition, and in an optional sidequest in Dragon Age II.
    • Every game has featured a major mage vs. templar choice — the Circle Tower in Origins, the final mission in Dragon Age II, and the Inquisition's choice of ally in Inquisition.
  • The Elder Scrolls:
  • A minor example, but in every main series Fallout game (IE, excluding Tactics and Brotherhood of Steel), you can get a dog companion, usually named Dogmeat (in the first two games, it's implied to be the same Dogmeat, despite the fact that it's been 80 years since the first game). The third Dogmeat is seemingly unrelated to the first two, but in Fallout 4, Mama Murphy says that Dogmeat has a knack for finding important people and leading them to greatness, implying that the Dogmeats are somehow linked (there's 120 years and 2,500 miles between the first and fifth game, making it unlikely that it's the same dog). In Fallout: New Vegas, Dogmeat is replaced by a Robo-Dog named Rex owned by a gang leader and Elvis Impersonator.
    • Also, each game (including Tactics, but not BoS) begins with a narrator explaining the setting of the game, the Great War, and saying the Arc Words "War. War never changes". The narrator is usually played by Ron Perlman, except for Fallout 4, where it's Nate, one of the two choices for main character. However, Perlman does play the newscaster on TV who reports that the bombs have fallen, and there is cut dialogue after he says "My God" and the feed cuts, where he says "They were right. War. War never changes."
    • Also in each game is the organization the Brotherhood of Steel; however, their portrayal in each game is vastly different. In Fallout, they were xenophobic, isolationist technology hoarders. By Fallout 2, their numbers have fallen drastically and were beaten down by the Enclave. In Fallout 3, the East Coast Brotherhood of Steel is introduced, and are generally much more honorable, generous, and charitable than their West Coast counterparts. New Vegas returned to the West Coast Brotherhood, which has been limited to a single bunker under the Mojave, and are even more xenophobic, to the point of nearly dying out. Fallout 4 returns to the East Coast Brotherhood, which in the 10 years between 3 and 4 has acquired an airship and become an autocratic cult of personality centered around their leader, Arthur Maxson, and are not nearly as charitable as they were 10 years prior.
  • Final Fantasy has several. Some are absent in early installments, but once they are introduced, they always appear in each game afterward.
    • There is always a Global Airship.
      • Someone associated with that airship will be named Cid.
    • There will be a pair of characters named Biggs and Wedge.
    • Giant, flightless yellow birds will always be the animal mount of choice.
    • Summoning special monsters to attack on your behalf is always a thing. Started switching it up with X, where your party leaves the battlefield while the monster fights in their place, and XII, where the monster fights alongside you.
    • Final Fantasy XIV has a series of sidequests featuring Hildibrand Manderville, a himbo and self-proclaimed "gentleman detective" prone to huge leaps of logic. In almost every expansion, Hildibrand gets blown up or winds up buried halfway in the ground with his legs sticking out. Every episode also has a secondary character who gets strung along for the ride and will not understand how Hildibrand's logic works, gets exasperated at his shenanigans, and then finally give in and accept the wackiness.
  • The God of War series has A) Kratos getting sent to Hades, B) a Hot Coffee Minigame, C) Kratos screaming someone's name (usually his enemy's) at the top of his lungs, and D) Kratos saying, "What treachery is this?!"
  • Ever since the third Guitar Hero game, there has been a Muse song in the setlist of every main game in the series.
  • Halo:
    • In the first two games, a character says something along the lines of "I've got a bad feeling about this" and then a character says "you've always got a bad feeling", right before the first appearance of the Flood in that game (itself a reference to Star Wars).
    • The "Siege of Madrigal" Easter Egg appears in all the Bungie-made games.
  • Every single game in the Henry Stickmin Series (including Crossing the Pit, the prototype animation of the entire series) will offer you the opportunity to use a Teleporter at some point. And it never works as Henry intended.
  • Hotline Miami has a couple of these;
    • Every chapter (until Jacket awakens in the hospital in "Trauma") begins with Jacket waking up in his apartment and receiving a message on his answering machine, which describes his next hit on the Russian Mafia in coded language. He then walks downstairs, jumps into his car, and drives off, beginning the chapter properly.
    • Then, after each chapter, Jacket stops by one of the several establishments which are run by Beard. Beard makes some friendly (albeit one-sided) small talk with Jacket, and then offers him something (a six-pack of beer, a pizza, etc.) "on the house". Jacket silently takes the gift and leaves. However, after the "Crackdown" chapter, Jacket finds that Beard has been murdered and had his position stolen by an abrasive bald man named Richter.
  • Ever since the DJ YOSHITAKA song "FLOWER" debuted in jubeat and Reflec Beat and then crossed over to every active BEMANI game, it's become tradition to add the song to every new BEMANI game that's released. Even if the song doesn't get added to the game upon release, it's bound to be introduced in a later event for the game.
  • Nearly every game in the Kingdom Hearts series features a "Dive to the Heart", that takes place in a featureless black void, save for one or more pillars with symbolic stained glass floors.
    • In Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], Sora gets knocked out in every single world he visits except The Grid; the cases of Traverse Town and The World That Never Was are because he was forced to sleep, while he gets knocked out by a Dream Eater or a Disney villain in the other worlds.
    • Every game will feature at least one world where the BGM is an arrangement of a song from the source material instead of a new composition.
    • In every game where you play as some version of Sora (Sora, Data Sora, or Roxas) you end up fighting some version of Riku (Riku, Data Riku, Riku Replica, or Dark Riku). There is one exception: in Kingdom Hearts 3D [Dream Drop Distance], you don't fight a version of Riku as a version of Sora, you fight Sora as Riku, in this case the possessed armor containing Sora's heart.
  • In The Legend of Heroes: Trails of Cold Steel, Rean Schwarzer at some point will be a boss fight, no matter how absurd the situation is. And there are at least four games in the series with him being a boss fight.
  • Ever since The Legend of Zelda: A Link to the Past, Link is usually asleep (or otherwise unconscious) when the game starts and needs to be woken up.
  • In every chapter of Live A Live, there will be a scene of a boy named Watanabe (or something along those lines) and his father, with the latter usually dying and the former dragging off his body in a fit of tears. There are variations in which Watanabe doesn't or can't run off crying, or his dad is already dead by the time the scene happens. The sole exception is the Near Future chapter, in which Watanabe appears throughout and there isn't a specific scene for him and his dad. Every chapter also ends with a fight against an enemy named something along the lines of "Odio." The only exception is the Medieval chapter, in which you become the original Odio.
  • Mario Kart:
    • Each game will have the same cup names - Mushroom, Flower, Star and Special for new courses, and Shell, Banana, Leaf and Lightning for old courses. The sole exception is Super Circuit which Lightning Cup is a normal one between Flower and Star Cup, and whose retro cups (which are called "extra") have the same names as the normal ones.
    • The Mushroom Cup always starts with a standard circuit. It is related to Luigi in three games and in a fourth game's retro cup.
    • A Mario Circuit appears in every game, almost always in the Flower Cup (DS being an exception to this, as its Mario Circuit is in the Star Cup).
    • Every game has at least one beach related track: with the exception of Super Mario Kart (whose track is in Star Cup), the most traditional ones are in Mushroom Cup while Star Cup is used for more challenging and original tracks (Wii Koopa Cape is closer to a theme park with a Shark Tunnel while 8 Dolphin Shoals focus more on corals and waterfalls than beach). Super Mario Kart also has a second track in Special Cup while Super Circuit's is in Lightning Cup, Double Dash's in Flower Cup and 7's in Star Cup. Starting from DS, these tracks tend to be mirrored by port towns in Flower Cup (Wii is the exception here, the port town track being in Star Cup, although Banana Cup brings back DS Delfino Square too).
    • Every game also has a snow and ice related level, usually in Star Cup. While Super Mario Kart and 64 have another level in other cups (Special and Flower Cups respectively), there are exceptions: Wii 's DK Summit is in Flower Cup and 7 's Rosalina's Ice World is in Special Cup.
    • Starting from 64, every game has a desert related track. However, they are never in the same cup and while the majority reminds of Egypt, others reminds of American deserts (Super Circuit actually has the two examples in one game, Yoshi Desert and Sunset Wilds respectively). Shy Guy Bazaar of 7 is another exception, being inspired by "Arabian Nights" Days.
    • Each Special Cup always ends with Bowser's Castle (barring Super Mario Kart and 64) and Rainbow Road. Since Mario Kart 7, the Lightning Cup mirrors the Special Cup in this area, remaking a Rainbow Road (Super Mario Kart 's in 7 and 64 's in 8) and having a penultimate retro track linked to Bowser (Airship Fortress in 7 and Grumble Volcano in 8).
  • Every Mass Effect game has a Point of No Return event disguised as a seemingly unimportant or easily accomplished request given to you.
    • And Shepard being interviewed (and then given the option of punching) by Khalisah bint Sinan al-Jilani.
  • Almost every Mega Man (Classic) game has the final section of the game end in Dr. Wily's fortress and said fortress will always have a Boss Rush in the second to last level. Every time Dr. Wily loses to Mega Man, he begs the blue bomber to forgive him. Mega Man 9 pokes fun at this where after Mega Man defeats Dr. Wily yet again, the hero uses a slide projector to show Dr. Wily his previous 8 defeats, each one ending with the doctor begging for mercy.
  • Every Operation in Medal of Honor: Vanguard starts with a parachute jump except Neptune as the glider crashes.
  • Metal Gear:
    • Starting with Metal Gear Solid, the protagonist will ask about Metal Gear in an exasperated fashion, usually as Parrot Exposition after another character mentions it: (Metal Gear?)
      • Snake says the line when talking to Donald Anderson in MGS.
      • When seeing RAY during the Tanker chapter of Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Snake says the line. Raiden does the same later on in the game when he sees RAY for himself.
      • Naked Snake says the line when Granin tells him about his new idea for a weapon: "A kind of... Metal Gear, if you will."
      • In Metal Gear Solid: Peace Walker, Big Boss says the line as an Easter Egg, when he opens the back of a truck to find a box of literal metal gears.
      • In Metal Gear Rising: Revengeance, calling Boris during the fight against Metal Gear Excelsus will prompt Raiden to repeat the line after Boris says it.
      • Appears with a pre-mission cassette tape in Metal Gear Solid V: Ground Zeroes, with Snake repeating the line after Kaz mentions it.
    • The protagonist will be tortured at some point.
    • There's also Snake's pose after landing on the tanker at the start of Metal Gear Solid 2, which two different characters end up copying at some point in every other main-series game afterwards.
    • Revolver Ocelot mentioning in some sort of fair detail why he believes his weapon of choice is by far the greatest creation in all of human history.
    • Someone Otacon cares about always dies.
    • A character — usually Johnny Sasaki — has a potty failure in every numbered Solid game.
    • Some variation of the line "It's not over yet!" gets spoken by an antagonist.
    • Huey Emmerich gets pushed down a flight of stairs in both games he appears in.
  • Metroid will usually have Samus suffer a Bag of Spilling at the start of each new adventure (sometimes it is explained and other times the games just don't bother). It became so ingrained amongst fans that by Metroid Prime 3: Corruption, the developers stated they got sick of the "Samus wanders in and something happens that disables/breaks her gear" gimmick and opted to strip Samus bare again while letting her keep a few items without needing to explain why she lost her gear from the last game.
  • Monkey Island: Guybrush Threepwood always seems to come across The Voodoo Lady right when he needs her, and Stan right when he doesn't.
  • Every numbered game in the Naruto: Ultimate Ninja Storm series (except the first) had Naruto vs. Sasuke in a dramatic boss battle.
  • Osu! Tatakae! Ouendan and Elite Beat Agents:
    • One emotional level with an emotive song, more personal storyline and the normal beat sounds replaced by soft chimes.
    • A giant monster attack stage.
  • Expect a game show at some point in any Paper Mario. The second game has two of them. Sticker Star took it to the extreme with Snifit or Whiffit — and Origami King took it further with Shy Guys Finish Last.
    • Every game makes some reference to Parakarry, a major character in the original Paper Mario. He makes a cameo in the second game, is a Catch Card in the third, and leaves a note in the fourth. This was eventually dropped, however, due to the new team not being allowed to reference the old Paper Mario characters.
    • Also, except for the fourth game someone will start telling Mario a long-winded story that they insist is extremely important for him to know about, which he falls asleep halfway through and wakes up at the end when they shout at him.
    • Every Paper Mario game also has at least one stage with a large haunted building and at least one structure floating in the sky.
    • There is an extra named Johnson in every Paper Mario game. More often than not, this Johnson has done something incompetent or witnessed an incompetent act and gets blamed for it.
    • Every Paper Mario game with a distinct chapter-based progression will have a traveler of some sort tag along with Mario in its fifth chapter. This character always serves as comic relief and frequently gets in trouble that Mario has to solve: Professor Kolorado in Paper Mario, Flavio in Thousand-Year Door, documentarian Flint Cragley and his TV crew in Super Paper Mario, the Sunset Express train's engineer in Color Splash, and Bowser Jr. in Origami King.
    • Starting with Thousand-Year Door, Mario travels from his house to a central location via a small boat at the beginning of each Paper Mario game. Played with in Origami King, in which Mario arrives in Luigi's go-kart, which canonically can travel in the water but is never seen doing so.
    • The final boss of every Paper Mario game has a phase where he or she becomes invincible, with Mario needing outside help to weaken the boss to where Mario can fight him or her on more even terms.
    • At least one location in every Paper Mario game has music that begins like the Super Mario Bros. overworld theme but drifts off into its own thing a few measures in. This location is always found at or near the beginning of the game. The exception is Origami King, which instead has music taken from the Super Mario Bros. underground theme.
    • Every Paper Mario game aside from Color Splash has a Blooper boss fight.
  • Pokémon:
    • One fisherman who fights you with 6 low leveled Magikarp is present in every game. It's Played with in Pokémon Black and White, where that one fisherman's Magikarp are level 60, which is LONG after they should have evolved into Gyarados. Sometimes they deliberately trick you and have the guy with six Magikarp, plus someone with something like five Magikarp and a Gyarados as his last one.
    • Every game has a different Youngster who likes shorts, because they're comfy and easy to wear. Except for Pokémon Black 2 and White 2, which instead had a girl who really likes skirts.
    • Every game has a fat man in the first town who remarks that "The power of science is staggering!"
    • Every game up until Pokémon Sword and Shield will always have you fighting the Elite Four plus the Champion or a similar Final Boss. Or both, in one case. Subverted in Pokémon Sun and Moon where there is no Elite Four or Pokémon League initially, but they are instated near the end of the game.
    • Every game has a villainous team trying to destroy/change/take over the world using the Cover's Legendary, though the last part only began to take form after Generation II.
    • There is always a Youngster Joey. ALWAYS.
    • Since breeding was introduced in Generation II, the player character will always receive a Pokémon Egg from an NPC.
    • The only evolutionary lines available in every single generation before the Elite Four (without trading etc) are Zubat, Magnemite, and Psyduck as of Pokémon Sword and Shield's Downloadable Content Expansion Pack (Pikachu was not available before the Elite Four in any version of Unova).
    • The following Pokémon lines appeared in all of the first four generations' regional Pokédexes: Pikachu and Raichu; Zubat and Golbat; Psyduck and Golduck; Abra, Kadabra, and Alakazam; Machop, Machoke, and Machamp; Tentacool and Tentacruel; Geodude, Graveler, and Golem; Goldeen and Seaking; and Magikarp and Gyarados. The Magnemite and Rhyhorn lines appeared if the Platinum Pokédex is taken into consideration.
    • Every game has a long area, usually consisting mostly of caverns, called Victory Road between the final gym and the Elite Four.
    • Every game has a place that essentially acts as a Pokémon graveyard.
    • Every game has at least one rival, and a Pokémon Professor named after a tree or type of plant that gives you a starter of your choice from either Water, Fire or Grass types.
    • Every game has a place where you can talk to members of Game Freak staff and get a reward from the Director for completing the National Pokédex.
    • Ever since Looker's debut in Generation IV, each generation has had at least one game in which he makes an appearance. Generation VIII is an odd case, in that he appears, but in a side game, Pokémon Masters EX.
    • Every generation has at least one card in the Trading Card Game simply named "Switch," with each generation having its own illustration. From Generation III and onwards, it's also done by a different illustrator (Keiji Kinebuchi illustrated both the Generation I and Generation II switches).
    • Every game will always have a rival who always picks a starter Pokemon with a type advantage over yours. Inverted in Pokémon Sun and Moon where your rival picks a starter whose type is weak against yours, and for Pokémon Sword and Shield, where the rival does the same and it's the champion who picks the one strong against yours—and you have to face its fully-evolved form at the end of the game.
    • The player character will always be a Heroic Mime with dialogue response options. This is a defining character trait for Red's cameo appearances in a few games since he was the player character in the first generation.
    • Each game, from Pokémon Diamond and Pearl and onward (with the exception of HeartGold and SoulSilver), has a stone structure surrounded by moss and another one surrounded by ice. Justified as these locations will allow Eevee to evolve into Leafeon or Glaceon, respectively, and there are no in-game methods to obtain them otherwise. Similarly, there always exists an area with a strong magnetic field, which induces evolution on various Pokémon. Pokémon Sword and Shield has such locations, but they aren't needed to evolve these Pokémon, instead allowing them to evolve by evolutionary stones instead.
    • Every new generation introduces a sweet food associated with the region.note  The ones introduced in Generation III and onward all have the effect of curing any status condition. The exception is Generation VIII, which instead makes all of the previous ones available as rare items.
  • Every game in the Pokémon Ranger series has an appearance by the Go-Rock Quads. They're only evil in the first game, however.
    • Every game has an underwater section, accessed either by submarine or aqualung.
  • Resident Evil has a few recurring elements:
    • The Final Boss is killed with a rocket launcher, which is given to you by another character. If Ada Wong is in a game, she'll usually be the one to give the rocket launcher to you.
    • Every appearance by Ada always has her in the role of a Double Agent.
    • Every game typically starts with something going horribly wrong that leads to the zombie/monster outbreak, followed by the player characters getting thrown into the mess when they try to investigate and then having to take matters into their own hands.
    • The endings will usually have the main characters escape in a helicopter or some other escape vehicle.
    • A laboratory or similar location will always be rigged to self destruct.
    • There will usually be a Superpowered Mook that will stalk the player character and attack them at each appearance.
    • Most games have at least one helicopter being destroyed.
  • Each of the Saints Row games features the leader of the Saints delivering a Rousing Speech to the assembled gang, ending with the phrase, "It's our time now! Let's get this shit started!" In the fourth game, the fact that this has become a tradition gets a Lampshade Hanging.
    • Every game also has at least one named ally die over the course of the game, with the player having the ability to bring them back as a zombie later on, though 4 does abandon part of this trend. No chance of bringing back any of your allies that died when the Earth got destroyed, sadly
  • Shin Megami Tensei: Beelzebub is always a Bonus Boss, and is always one of the most (if not THE most) difficult.
  • The Sly Cooper games have a few.
  • Every Sonic the Hedgehog game:
  • In most major titles in the Super Mario Bros. franchise, Princess Peach is either kidnapped by Bowser (sometimes it's someone else) right at the start of the game or later on. Many games lampshade the absurd frequency of Peach's kidnapping, with one character in Super Mario RPG saying "Oh no! The Princess got kidnapped again!? Mario, can you go and rescue her like you always do?"
  • Wild Dog blowing himself up (although it was accidental in the first game) after being defeated in each Time Crisis game. In fact, it is played with in 5 the first time it looks like he's going to do it (with the protagonists taking cover), only for the button to instead activate a jetpack.
  • Every stage in TimeSplitters Future Perfect, except the first and last, has a rambling drunk person in it somewhere.
  • Warcraft III: Reign of Chaos: In every campaign save Undead a protagonist will encounter an extraordinarily powerful enemy and nearby a convenient power source of very shady (or outright sinister) nature, ignore the warnings, use the power source and beat the enemy but become corrupted in the process. Undead are exempt because there's nothing to corrupt there anymore.
  • Every normal WarioWare game contains, counting D.I.Y. and D.I.Y. Showcase as parts of the same game:
    • A nose-picking microgame:
      • "Gold Digger", which debuted in the original game and reappeared in Touched!, D.I.Y. and Game & Wario.
      • "Nose Dive", Kat & Ana's boss microgame in Twisted!, is a Shoot 'Em Up adventure against a nose army.
      • "You Can Pick Your Friends..." in Smooth Moves is similar to "Gold Digger", but 3D.
      • An unnamed Jimmy Coaster microgame in Snapped!.
      • "Picket Ship", Dribble & Spitz boss microgame in D.I.Y. Showcase, revolves around a nose-shaped alien ship and missile fingers.
      • "Gold Digger" and "Nose Dive" return in Gold
      • "Gold Digger" appears once again in Get It Together!, albeit with different gameplay.
    • One or more stages with microgames borrowed entirely from previous Nintendo games. 9-Volt is usually, but not always, its host.
    • A stage whose microgames' music is overridden with a continuously-playing song.
    • At least one song with vocals.
    • A short tutorial stage with Wario as its host, followed by a stage hosted by Mona or Jimmy T.
    • A final stage hosted by an alternate form of Wario. In this stage, Wario appears in all of the microgames.
  • Every Xenoblade Chronicles game features one party member who says "I'm really feeling it!" Shulk in the first, some Player Character voices in X, and Zeke in the second. Both the first game and the sequel also feature a Laughably Evil Nopon villain named Bana. Going further, every Xeno game has a character named Vandham.
  • The Yakuza series has always had a member of the Amon family as its Super Boss in each game. Starting with the first game the trend begins with Jo Amon. Starting with the foirth, the other members of the family would account for multiple playable characters. Come Judgment, Jo would be replaced by Shin Amon, who would also replace Jo in Ichiban’s saga. Might make sense, since Jo also appears in Fist of the North Star: Lost Paradise and is killed by Kenshiro.
  • The Zero Escape trilogy has several plot points that appear in all games:
    • A main character's left hand is severed, allowing their bracelets to come off without them immediately dying.note 
    • There is at least one person in the facility that is not one of the players.note 
    • Zero is revealed to be the player, though what this actually means is different between games note .
    • A bad ending gives an Infodump and information necessary to reach the Golden Ending.
    • The Player Character knows things they can't possibly know thanks to the sharing of information via the morphogenetic field.
    • A lethal weapon is found during a room escape and left alone by the player character. Said weapon is later used in order to take a life.note 
    • There is a Jerkass woman with visibly huge breasts who turns out to be a genius in some field of knowledge.note 
    • One non-Zero player is a murderous sociopath (or become one) who will try to kill the rest of the cast.note 

    Web Animation 
  • Dr. Havoc's Diary: "Dear Diary..."
  • DSBT InsaniT:
    • (Evil) Balloon dieing.
    • Killdra suddenly appearing from behind Koden.
    • Andy saying "You're gonna give me X without the Y if you keep doing that." to Martha after she slaps him.
    • Alex complaining about the place they chose to go to at the start of the episode.
  • Launchpad getting kicked into the air by someone in the Ducktalez series.
  • Animation Domination Hi-Def's recurring "Scientifically Accurate" series: The very first episode was "Scientifically Accurate Spider-Man", which repeatedly mentioned the fact that male spiders detach their penises in order to mate, and ever since then, every episode has gone out of its way to include some strange scientific fact about characters' genitalia, or at the very least shoehorn the word "dick" into the parody lyrics.
  • Parodied in Homestar Runner, where Strong Bad specifically says that once an episode of Sweet Cuppin' Cakes, Eh! Steve! shows up to deliver his Catchphrase.
    Eh! Steve!: "Eh! Steve!"
  • Shrapnel: In the figurine review episodes hosted by Potato, part of the review will be her judging the figure on how well it can do a squat, to demonstrate how flexible (or not) it’s leg & foot joints are.
  • One Minute Fly: Each mainline installment opens with a fly hatching from an egg and being confronted by the giant timer representing its imminent mortality.

    Web Comics 
  • A failed version of this is in Concerned. According to the notes of the artist, he was planning to "have a bunch [of barrels] around in every comic after Frohman mistakenly ordered them." Unfortunately, he stopped doing so three comics later.
  • Moru from God Mode used to wear a different video games related hat every page... until Adis ruined it...
  • In every story arc of The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob!, something very big will crash into Bob's roof, producing vertical block letters spelling "BOOM!"
  • Question Duck will ask a totally off-the-wall question every single strip. (With the rarest of exceptions, all of which are variations, such as the duck asking "What can we do?" after a disaster, or a human asking the question.)
  • The punchline in every single strip of Webcomic Name is "oh no".

    Web Original 
  • Dream:
    • During the beginning, Dream says, "Also according to YouTube's statistics only a small percentage of people who watch my videos are actually subscribed, so if you end up liking this video consider subscribing. It's free and you can always unsubscribe. Enjoy the video."
    • Dream always starts the videos by tricking the hunters into distracting themselves, then running off while they're too busy to notice he's already started. It'd be easier to count the times he doesn't do this.
    • Every Minecraft Manhunt feels incomplete without hearing the words: "Oh, Dream!"
    • In pretty much every episode, Dream has at least one or two tricks or traps to try out against the hunters. There's usually at least one for every point in the run (the initial resource-gathering, the Nether run, the Ender Pearl hunting, and the End fight).

    Web Videos 
  • The Annoying Orange: "Hey Troper!" "What?" "Knife."
  • Baumgartner Restoration: He will invariably remark that a subject's skin is "not jaundiced" while he's cleaning up yellowed varnish (or, gods forbid, polyurethane).
  • Epic Meal Time:
    • "Next time, we eat x!" where x is something outlandish or impossible to eat, but subverted in The Slaughterhouse: "Next time, we eat dessert!" Sure enough, next week was The Black Legend: two girls eating a gigantic crepe.
    • Someone in the comments will make a joke about African famines.
  • Every Ke$ha song parody by The Key of Awesome, includes Ke$ha's disapproving parents.
  • Every episode of Achievement Hunter's Game Night series, save for a few early ones, would be punctuated by Gavin interrupting Geoff and Caleb to shout "WHAT IS GAME NIGHT?!", usually near the beginning. One episode revolved around Michael's attempt to prevent him from saying it, by wrestling him to the ground and covering his mouth until the end of the episode. He succeeds, but Ray says it at the end in Gavin's place.
  • Matthew Santoro starts out most of his early videos by showing a comedic video clip to his audience.
  • Phelous dies once per episode. Granted there seem to be one-ups roaming around his house, and something to do with Time Travel or cloning or the fact it might be partially in the Mortal Kombat verse oh I give up, I don't know.
  • On Reel Geek Girls, Drew Ryan often asks his guests to mime hitting themselves with a frying pan due to his love for the movie Tangled. He used to ask them to make a funny face but that has since been phased out.
  • Screen Rant: The "movie pitch" series features a number of recurring jokes that happen at least once an episode:
    • The executive will begin the video by asking, "So, you have a movie for me?" The writer responds, "Yes, sir, I do!"
    • When the executive predicts that a plot challenge will be difficult to overcome, the writer immediately shoots him down by saying, "Actually it'll be super easy! Barely an inconvenience!" The executive responds, "Oh, really?"
    • After the writer mentions a general subject, the executive interjects that the thing mentioned is "tight."
    • When the writer describes something shocking or upsetting, the executive responds, "Oh! My god!"
    • When the executive points out a plot hole, the writer responds, "Oh, whoops!" The executive agrees with a "Whoopsie!" and they both move right on.
    • When the executive brings up some particularly troublesome fridge logic that the writer has no answer for, he'll cheerfully tell the executive to "I'm going to need you to get all the way off my back about this!" The executive will respond, "Okay, let me get off of that thing!"
    • The pitch ends with the writer or executive making an assertion that is immediately contradicted by cutting to the image of a Screen Rant news headline.
  • The TRY Channel usually has two participants, at the end of the video, ask the viewer to subscribe, and "hit the notification bell". How successful they are in getting this out depends on if the participants are laughing too much over some joke. Or, if it was a drinking episode.
  • On the YouTube page for WhatCulture.Com,
  • World War II: Every episode except the first one begins with Indy in a Newhart Phonecall at his desk, usually saying a few lines that foreshadow the content of the episode before hanging up.
  • Uncleared 0.00%: The dreaded #DGR level will be among the uncleared levels DGR plays in every episode, no exceptions.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Once An Episode, Once Per Movie


Plumber's Log

Mario opens most episodes by citing an entry in his Plumber's Log.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (15 votes)

Example of:

Main / OncePerEpisode

Media sources: