Something which is spelled out explicitly or said aloud to the audience (especially the end of an episode) after already being considerably hinted at or alluded to in a smooth subtle form. Sort of like explaining the joke. Just in case the audience is full of morons.
These days, it's Lampshaded more often than not. Parodies using some kind of Spoof Aesop (like "never tell the audience what they learned") in place of the unstated theme or inverting it by having no theme, but mentioning the viewer knows what it's about are much more common.
Saw a resurgence in the 2010s, encouraged by a trend for thinkpieces discussing what pop culture actually means, meaning writers became more aware of the thematic importance of their work and started to view communicating these as its primary purpose.
- In GaoGaiGar FINAL, Renee and Soldato J suddenly discover that by putting their Green Rocks together, they power up. They stare at the jewels for a few moments, considering. The G and J emblems are flashing inside the jewels — synchronization ahoy. Right at this point, a fragment of the opening theme starts playing: "Bright oath, G and J, illuminate our wish for peace!"
- Shin-Devilman, an Interquel to the Devilman manga, ends with Devilman pointing straight at the readers (and Commander Custer. It Makes Sense in Context. Somewhat.) shouting "The only demons here are those lurking within your hearts!" while a single, manly tear runs down his cheek. Apparently Go Nagai didn't think the message got through clear enough in the original series.
- In JoJo's Bizarre Adventure, all the time. The Narrator always need to explain what is already happening on screen. Tropes Are Not Bad, however, as the narrator is well-loved among fans for his hamminess and memeticness. Even Speedwagon is entertained!
- The English dub of Pokémon 4Ever deliberately had extra scenes added to the film to make it more obvious that Sammy is a young Professor Oak.
- Parodied in South Park: Bigger, Longer & Uncut Kenny gives a lengthy speech at the end, which the other kids see as being an amazing insight, but for the audience the speech was entirely muffled by his hood.
- The Day After Tomorrow, which is about global warming causing a new instant Ice Age, concludes with a Dick Cheney Captain Ersatz announcing publicly how wrong humanity was to abuse petroleum.
- Lampshade Hanging in Wayne's World: The final alternate ending (the "Mega-Happy" one) features everyone, including the villain, reforming completely (loudly announcing the lessons they've learned) while Wayne turns towards the camera and announces, "Isn't it great that we're all better people?" And then immediately subverts it by Wayne and Garth yelling "Fished in!"
- This is Older Than Television, thanks to the last line of King Kong (1933), "'Twas beauty killed the beast!", spoken by Carl Denham in both the original film and Peter Jackson's version. Just in case someone still didn't get the reference to the classic tale of Beauty and the Beast, even though the theme is discussed throughout the movie, starting with the famous "Old Arabian Proverb", and reaching its most comic point when Denham comments on how well Fay Wray gets along with the ship's pet monkey, Iggy.
- Harry Potter would be Anvilicious about its morals even without Dumbledore ending every book with a detailed explanation of the plot and lesson learned. He shows his admirable dedication to the role by continuing to do this in book seven, proving that even the cold embrace of death cannot hinder him in his mission to explain the plot to stupid people.
- The prime weakness of Lyndon Hardy's Magic by the Numbers series is that the characters generally end by explaining what they learned over the course of their (mis)adventures.
- In The Hunger Games, the Capitol is evil. The protagonist feels the need to express this opinion once a chapter. "I thought about how much I hated the Capitol for (X)" might be the most common phrase in the books.
- In Shadow of the Conqueror, Ahrek and Cueseg have an extremely Anvilicious conversation about the Defiled Forever trope, repeatedly saying how terrible it is without the slightest trace of subtlety.
- Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis". Tasha Yar evidently got busted for possession of drugs, so she had to do a public service announcement, to Wesley, no less, because kids are the future.
- Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the musical episode "Once More With Feeling": After declaring to her friends that by bringing her Back from the Dead, they dragged her out of Heaven, Buffy begins dancing herself to death. Before she can burst into flames, Spike grabs her, stopping the dance, and sings that life is hard but must be lived on. Whereupon Dawn steps forward and quotes back Buffy's words to her from the season 5 finale: "The hardest thing in this world is to live in it." While some agree that Dawn's line may be Truth in Television, others saw it as Anvilicious.
- Strangers with Candy, parodying the kids' shows. "I got something to say!" invariably precedes the Spoof Aesop. Usually Jerri, but used at least once by Noblet (in an Aesop about homosexuality...sort of.)
- Heroes: OK, it looks like Sylar saved Peter. Oh, Peter agrees. What's that you say, Arthur? You think Sylar saved Peter? OK, I get it! you can shut up now.
- Scrubs just about Once an Episode. Lampshaded with increasing frequency as as the seasons went on, to the point where it was less often than not played straight in season 8.
- The last episode of season one of the Dollhouse, "Epitaph One".
- Doctor Who:
- "Robot" is about a robot whose users consider it to be an emotionless object clearly and constantly making decisions based on emotion and love rather than on logic, which it doesn't seem to understand, showing special favor towards Sarah Jane, the only person who respects that it has feelings. The Doctor, recently regenerated, now has a strange childlike personality and appears totally clueless most of the time - but his actions also display striking maturity and a pattern of underlying logic, the combination of which eventually saves the day. The ending of "Robot" consists of a conversation where the Doctor and Sarah Jane discuss that even though killing the robot was necessary, the robot was a thinking and almost human being ("insane, capable of the greatest good, and the greatest evil...yes, I suppose it could be considered human"). This also implies a Plot Parallel to the Doctor's brand-new childish and rather darker personality, and segues into him informing Sarah that he is grown-up - he is just also childish sometimes.
- During the climax of the episode "The Beast Below", the star-whale is likened to the Doctor: "very old, very kind, and the very last of its kind..." Once the situation is fixed, Amy explains it more clearly. And then, just in case we didn't get it, she explains it to the Doctor again. (To make things worse, Amy's "Eureka!" Moment was shown as repetitive flashbacks. We're brighter than that...aren't we?)
- In Evil (2019) at the end of episode "Rose390", the mother of a presumed psychopathic child who attempted to drown his baby sister tearfully tries to justify herself, just as David comes to announce he convinced the Church to attempt an exorcism on her son she though was possessed. As the audience can deduce from the police asking the father why there is blood on the wall in the back, it turns out the parent have murdered their child. However, the show still has David spell it out before leaving, shocked, right in front of the officers too. Whether or not the exorcism could have cured the boy remains untold.
- The Eminem song "Bad Guy" starts as a Murder Ballad about Eminem getting murdered by a Loony Fan whose behaviour incorporates elements both of Eminem's White-Dwarf Starlet status (he's a Continuity Nod to "Stan") and his guilt over decades of making hyperoffensive music on purpose (he's especially incensed by Eminem's use of the word 'faggot', and murders him in the name of the bisexual Frank Ocean). As Eminem dies we hear the Monster/Slim Shady's real form lecturing Eminem and the audience about what it Matthew was an allegory for - those who were genuinely hurt by Em's jokes, karma for them, Em's refusal to believe that his star has fallen, his tinnitus and vocal chord damage over a lifetime of music, 'the bullies you hate that you became with every faggot you slaughtered', and getting Lost in Character so much that even the Marshall alter-ego that's supposed to represent Sincerity Mode is just a character as perfomative and goofy as Slim Shady... and it goes on, and on... However, it should be noted that fans tend to regard this verse as being one of Eminem's greatest.
- Every episode of Adventures in Odyssey ends with Chris showing up to explicitly lay out whatever lesson (and, occasionally, plot development) had been the subject of the episode. This on top of the traditional Golden Moment, which is usually a bit easier to swallow. On the other hand, it's very safe to say by now that it just wouldn't be Odyssey without her.
- Ellen's Energy Adventure at EPCOT contains a long statements over how great fossil fuels are. Certain things about the attraction imply that people were walking out of the theatre.
- The redone version thankfully replaces that with a segment on alternative energy sources, although it makes the whole dinosaur thing kind of off.
- Used just before the fight against the Big Bad in Final Fantasy VI. He responds that the protagonists sound like the pages of a self-help book.
- Near the end of the final arc of Megadimension Neptunia VII, Uzume has a Flashback that heavily implies that Umio is a creation of her daydream powers, based off of a man who protected her with his life, going as far to repeat an exact line from earlier in the game. Enjoy the moment while it lasts, however, because Neptune immediately proceeds to state it outright.
- South Park episodes frequently end with Kyle and/or Stan announcing "I've learned something today". Then the character delivers either a Spoof Aesop or An Aesop played straight. This is spoofed in one episode where the boys keep making their situation worse even when Kyle successfully predicts how (terribly) things will turn out if they keep doing things the way that they are.
Stan: I guess we learned our lesson.
Kyle: No, we didn't, dude. No, we didn't.
- Spoofed in Family Guy:
Lois: So Peter did you learn your lesson?
- The Simpsons episode from "Homer Badman":
Marge: Hasn't this experience taught you you can't believe everything you hear?
Homer: Marge, my friend, I haven't learned a thing.
- Teen Titans:
- Lampshaded/parodied when, after defeating Control Freak, Robin states that the lesson this week was to not watch too much TV...until he's reminded that they only won because Beast Boy watches too much TV, thereby deliberately smashing the Aesop into small pieces.
- Played straight in "Troq", the episode dealing with Fantastic Racism.
- Several episodes of Animaniacs ended with a segment titled "The Wheel of Morality". The Warners would spin the wheel, whilst Yakko chanted "Wheel of Morality, turn turn turn, tell us a lesson, that we should learn." The wheel would then stop, and an Aesop-style moral would be read out, totally unrelated to the events of the episode, as it was one of a number of random segments tacked on to the episode.
If at first you don't succeed, blame it on your parents.
Never ask what hot dogs are made of.
If you don't have anything nice to say, you're probably at the Ice Capades.
- Reaches the height of Spoof Aesop, when they win a prize!
- Although in the direct-to-video special Wakko's Wish, the Wheel's moral was the legitimate and thematic "never give up hope".
- Lampshaded in Danny Phantom:
Danny: Jazz, take it easy. There's a rhythm to these things. Ghost attacks, we exchange witty banter, I kick ghost butt, and we all go home having learned a valuable lesson about honesty or...some such nonsense.
Jazz: Attack, banter, kick butt, lesson. Got it.
- Spongebob Squarepants: Parodied at first, but then played straight with season 9B.
- In "The Smoking Peanut", SpongeBob makes a speech about honesty while Patrick does sorrowful background music a capella.
- "Bulletin Board" is an episode about Internet bullying and how anonymity can make people say mean stuff without facing the consequences. It's not subtle about this (these are real lines of dialogue throughout):
Surfer fish: Whoa, whoa, dude! What's with the censorship? The community bulletin board is for everybody. You can't just take somethin' down because you think it's bogus.
Fish: [going to write a note] I want to express the worst side of myself!
SpongeBob: You hear that, Boardy? It wasn't you. It was never you. We were the monsters all along.
- "Sandy's Nutmare" ends with a long analogy about saving the Earth, and then has the characters directly talk about what they've learned.
Sandy: Oh, I got so wrapped up in not letting anyone down that I asked too much of my tree and my friends.
Shalmon: Perhaps with many trees, you can continue serving your community in a natural and sustainable manner.
- The moral of "Mall Girl Pearl" is to not grow up too fast, as shown by the characters discussing it at the end.
Marina: Listen, Pearl. We didn't mean to hurt your feelings or anything. We just, like, think it's weird that you're, like, a grandma now, or whatever. We don't really get it.
Pearl: Well, I don't care what you think anymore anyway. I'm being true to myself, and—and that's all that matters! I'm a grandma now. Right, Beatrice?
Beatrice: Oh, Pearl, I'm so glad you enjoy being a grandma, but your friends make a good point. You're only young once, you see. You don't want to grow up too fast or you'll miss out on all the fun.
Pearl: I guess you're right. Being a grandma is nice and all, but I do miss being a super hip young person.
- Fairly Oddparents:
- At the end of every episode, Timmy explicitly spells out what that episode's aesop was.
- In the episode "The Masked Magician", Timmy says "I learned that 'I'm sorry' can be the only magic words you need" followed by "MORAL OF THE STORY" flashing on the screen.
- But not the series' aesop, i.e., wishing never works.
- At the end of every episode, Timmy explicitly spells out what that episode's aesop was.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic uses this a lot. It also often has secondary aesops that might not be explicitly mentioned at all.
- The theme of friendship is explained at the end of many episodes, with the iconic line "Dear Princess Celestia..." Not always, however. A few episodes do not reiterate the message at all, and a few end with the characters moving to write the letter because that's what the characters would do, but not showing or dictating its contents. By the end of season five, the trope is dropped completely, as the writers felt that any kids watching since the first season would have grown up enough by that point that they wouldn't need to have the moral continually reiterated for them.
- The Zecora episode pre-empts Celestia's letter with a literal "don't judge a book by its cover" metaphor that was shoehorned in, after the characters had already learned their racism was wrong and apologized. Really felt like the studio was just trying to stretch out runtime.
- Subverted in the episode "The Super Speedy Cider Squeezy 6000:"
Applejack: Dear Princess Celestia, I wanted to share my thoughts with you...I didn't learn anything! Ha, I was right all along!
- The Fractured Fairy Tales and Peabody's Improbable History segments of Rocky and Bullwinkle always ended up with a moral of the story in a groan-worthy, abysmal pun.
- VeggieTales: "Let's go over by QWERTY to talk about what we learned today!"
- ♪ "And so what we have learned applies to our lives today " ♫
- Defied in Phineas and Ferb:
Phineas: And I think we all learned a valuable lesson today, but we all know what it is so why waste our time restating it?
- Polish animated series Hip-Hip and Hurra does this in every episode. After the main heroes solve a mystery - which always centers around some natural phenomenon - they make a lecturing speech explaining what the phenomenon is. It's an educational show after all.