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Shoo Out the Clowns

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"No one else gonna say it? Fine! I fucking will! I wish Alucard was here! Yeah!...Yes really, because when he was around shit wasn't so scary! If anything it was fuckin' hilarious! But ever since he left everything's so goddamn serious! Like there's something missing!"

Some stories manage a nice balance of silly and serious. But one of the most foreboding aspects of any series about to go a dramatic route for a Story Arc is the sudden ignoring of the 'sillier elements', Comic Relief and other humorous elements of a show — which, if done too obviously, can come across as rather awkward and forced. Sometimes the funnier characters are sent off, leave of their own accord, or are even killed... Occasionally the biggest insult occurs: The writers simply stop talking about the comical characters and focus on the dramatically relevant ones.


Alternatively, the characters may still appear in the story, but without making their usual jokes... In extreme cases, that's the whole idea of the story. In less extreme cases, the characters may receive a "Dude, Not Funny!" rebuke, or simply stay cool because of the ongoing drama.

From an objective writer's standpoint this can seem logical, if you're the type of writer who feels squicky about needlessly endangering characters. In any case, it can be a big affront to fans of comedies in general. Part of a TV show's attempt to follow the First Law of Tragicomedies. Compare Cerebus Syndrome, This Is Something He's Got to Do Himself. Contrast Beware the Silly Ones. Usage of this may lead to the show Jumping the Shark if the comedic element was more enjoyable, or Growing the Beard if the comedy was unfunny in the first place. If the characters in question are scrubbed out with no hope of return, it's Kill the Cutie you want. If the henchmen or hero's friends are funny and they both run off, this shades into Screw This, I'm Outta Here!. Contrast the Knight of Cerebus, whose arrival is foreboding.



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    Anime & Manga 
  • Cowboy Bebop's plot sends away its playful kid and cute dog just before the show starts its dramatic swan dive in the final two episodes. Faye also spots the male host of the now-cancelled bounty hunter show out of his hammy character. This also acts as a bit of Character Development for Faye, while being rather sweet as well, as she gets nostalgic about the show.
  • "When the going gets tough, don't be in the final season!" - Christopher Sabat on why Kuwabara was not included in the final season of Yu Yu Hakusho. Botan, Koenma and George the Ogre were also absent. They were Back for the Finale, though.
    • Koenma's Bishōnen Sexier Alter Ego can be a downplayed example of this. Normally Koenma's appearance is that of a baby with a pacifier in his mouth, but in the Chapter Black arc, the darkest arc of the series, Koenma plays a very important role and spends most of the time in his adult form and his pacifier also gets destroyed midway.
  • Digimon Adventure introduced a lot of one-shot comic relief characters early on in the story. Then in the Dark Masters arc, many of them are brought back only to be outright killed to show that things had gotten bad in the Digital World.
  • A particularly cruel example occurs in Digimon Adventure 02 - the first thing the revived BelialVamdemon does is brutally murder Archnemon and Mummymon in front of the Chosen Children, traumatizing five of them in the process.
  • In Digimon Fusion, Digivice-less, occasionally useful Akari and Zenjirou (aka Angie and Jeremy) are left behind in the real world while Taiki and Shoutmon return to the Digital World in episode 30.
  • One Piece:
    • Purposefully averted according to Word of God, he gave Luffy rubber powers specifically so that, no matter how serious things got, at least one "silly" element (the rubber band snapping sound that happens when Luffy uses those powers) would be guaranteed to be in effect at pretty much all times. Ironically, Luffy at a point invents a new fighting technique called Second Gear which essentially means that he moves so fast that you can't see his limbs stretching. With one of his attacks, Gum-Gum Pistol, he stretches his arm extremely long and punches the opponent. In the Second Gear version of this, he simply holds his hand in front of himself without stretching and then, at an speed invisible to normal eyes (and readers' eyes), he stretches it and punches the opponent. So you don't actually see his arm becoming comically long, you just see the opponent being blasted back. Second Gear hence is more action-esque and less silly than his usual fighting style, and he uses Second Gear more often than his old style nowadays. The story balances its tone evenly, with ultra-heavy exceptions in a handful of arcs.
      • With Luffy’s Gear 3rd and Gear 4th abilities, the silliness comes back in full force, as well as a massive increase in power. For 3rd Gear, he can inflate his body parts to comically large sizes in order to deal massive damage and take down giants. Initially, this comes with the hilarious side-effect of shrinking Luffy afterwards, but that stopped happening after the Time Skip. Gear 4th's "Boundman" form is very intimidating and is apparently based on a Nio Statue, a fearsome guardian deity. At the same time, Luffy is very big and rotund in this form, obviously meant to offset the seriousness with silliness.
    • Double subverted with the serious fight between Luffy and Usopp. Usopp, while acting more seriously than he had ever been up until this point, still relies on the same dirty tricks he used as comic relief, but they are actually somewhat effective against Luffy, at least temporarily.
    Usopp: This is how I fight!
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion:
    • The show's full dourness was foreshadowed in Episode 22 with the last proper appearance of Kensuke, one of the series' main providers of comedic relief, and the last appearance of the school setting, which had been the background for quite a few of the series' lighthearted moments, altogether. Kensuke's last bit of dialogue with Hikari, who herself would also pretty much stop appearing after the very next episode, has them discussing the fact Shinji, Asuka, and Rei haven't been showing up at school for weeks must mean that things have gotten very serious, which can easily be read as commentary on the series' gradual change in tone. Finally, the show's cute mascot penguin, Pen-Pen, is Put on a Bus in Episode 24, which is also where pretty much every main character are about their lowest points.
    • Evangelion 3.0 in the Rebuild of Evangelion series turns it Up to Eleven. Most of humanity is dead, which means much of the comic relief, i.e. Shinji's classmates, are probably dead. Pen-Pen the penguin is nowhere to be found. It's safe to assume he's dead too. It's not so much Shoo Out The Clowns as Kill All the Clowns, And Then Some.
  • The sudden end of the previously happy, hopeful first episode of Str.A.In.: Strategic Armored Infantry fits this. Colin, Mary, even Sedi? Their names only lived on to be screamed out by Sara against the injustice of the world.
  • Sort of a reverse occurred in Sailor Moon. The Outer Senshi, serious characters who represent the pragmatic side of the Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism, introduced in the "dark" S season, were completely forgotten in the "goofy" and "childish" SuperS season, only to return when the series again took a darker turn in the Stars season. On the other hand, Chibi-Usa, the star of the SuperS season and one of the main sources of its childishness and goofiness, was Put on a Bus in the Stars season and was not seen again.
    • Played straight in S as well - when the members of the Quirky Miniboss Squad and the increasingly silly Monster of the Week are all dispatched, the anime shuts off its Silliness Switch. Several major points:
      • R: When Usagi runs into Ali and En's apartment, immediately the Makaiju start to take themselves seriously.
      • S: When Eudial and Mimete battle the Sailor Scouts, the monsters get increasingly goofy as time goes on. But once Mimete is gone? The series immediately turns off its Silliness Switch, with the exception of the Witches 5 door being changed to "Witches 3" clumsily.
      • Super S: Almost literal, given that the villains of the arc are a circus.
      • Stars: Aluminum Siren's death signals the end of those silly Phages.
  • The movies of Mobile Suit Gundam remove the more "Super Robot" elements of the series, such as the G-Armor and some of the goofier enemy mobile armors.
  • In Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, when Kamina dies in a blaze of glory, much of the humor is gone from the series. Kittan takes up most of the humor left, then HE dies in a blaze of glory. Nia takes some humor, but it's more because she can be pretty ditzy. Then SHE dies after marrying Simon (well, not so much "dies" as "is erased from existence"). Violently killing off the recurring cast before the Grand Finale is almost a law for Humongous Mecha series. Tengen Toppa Gurren Lagann, therefore, obeys this with episode 24, although in TTGL style this is done with flair. Jougen and Barinbou, in particular, make a Heroic Sacrifice to save Gimmy and Darry, then they die laughing maniacally... and take out an Anti-Spiral fleet with their death.
  • The Cupid Day episode of Code Geass is the last of the show's predominantly-comedic episodes; it ends with Shirley regaining all of her old, traumatic memories, and in the very next episode, Shirley is killed pointlessly, setting both Lelouch and Suzaku on severe revenge paths. The rest of their classmates simply aren't focused as much anymore.
    • Nightmare of Nunnally and Suzaku of the Counterattack: The Ashford Academy tends to fade around halfway through the series, typically getting only a mere mention at best, and the student council members hardly appear at all. Though it's heavily implied that Shirley is among the characters who remain alive this time as a result. This also happens Compilation Movie version, which also has her survive and is hinted to have a role in Lelouch Of The Resurrection.
  • Buso Renkin: Following the LXE arc, the series gets a little more serious as Victor is awake, Kazuki will become like him in six weeks, and a team of Alchemist Warriors is sent out to kill him before it happens and from this point on Kazuki's primarily Comic Relief school friends and sister are left behind, only having cameos or the rest of the series.
  • In Excel Saga this trope is invoked deliberately, with two episodes that start with the announcement that there will be no gags and things will be a lot more serious. And boy, do they ever. This gets fully compensated though with all kinds of out-of-bounds silliness in the last episode.
  • The Prequel anime to .Hack//G.U., //Roots, starts already in a much darker revision of THE WORLD, but there is some lighthearted comfort found in the Guild interactions in the Beginning. While Ovan's not a comical character in himself, his disappearance causes a permanent rift in the Guild which leads into it's disbanding and the events that lead into first game where Haseo is a strict loner hunting for Tri-Edge.
  • Rideback does this in episode 10, when the mostly comedic Suzuri is killed by an act of police brutality.
  • Kiddy Grade: There is notably less fanservice as the plot becomes far more serious starting at around episode 8.
  • Index's general condition in A Certain Magical Index is usually a mood indicator. If she's on screen and unharmed, things are probably going to be okay for a while, at least until the scene shifts elsewhere. If she gets hurts or knocked out, however... An example of this is that the series gets serious immediately when Touma returns home at the end of the first episode to find her wounded, when up until then it had been mostly humorous stuff.
  • Lin's pet dog Pel from the Fist of the North Star anime vanished completely after the Souther story arc, although he was an anime-only character.
  • Gundam ZZ: The first half of the series was infamous amongst Gundam fans for being incredibly lighthearted and silly, especially when compared to the dark finale of it's previous series Zeta Gundam. However, after a certain point midway through the series, it once again picked up its Tomino style gritty atmosphere. Fun characters Mashymre and Chara are left behind in space, then when they return late in the series, their heads have been messed with.
  • Ghost in the Shell: Stand Alone Complex:
    • The Tachikomas, spider tanks with the personalities of cheerful children, get sent back to the lab halfway through the season. (The In-Universe reason is that the humans of Section 9 are worried that the Tachis' emerging self-awareness will negatively impact their performance in battle.) Shortly afterwards, the hunt for the Laughing Man heats up, with several characters nearly dying. Interestingly, the Tachikomas return for the final three episodes, yet this makes the story even more grim: we find out that while they were away, all but three of the Tachikomas died. And the remaining three pull off a very touching Heroic Sacrifice to save Batou. Though being robots whose AIs operate their bodies remotely, the deaths are temporary.
  • In the beginning of the first episode in Prétear's two-part finale, the show's two biggest comic relief (Yayoi, Himeno's friend at school, and the long-suffering bald butler Tanaka) are shown caught up in a crowd of desperately fleeing townspeople. Tanaka even tries to get back to the family but is unable to do so. Neither are seen again until the happy ending, where all of the Running Gags in the show are given one final hurrah.
  • Trigun did this without even changing cast; though Meryl and Millie are left behind at times, that didn't necessarily foreshadow drama, which occurred as often with them present. The change was wholly in Vash's character. In the lighthearted episodes his hamminess and spastic reactions reinterpreted what might have been heroic acts into lucky buffoonery. The episodes where scariness shines off his glasses or eyes glow, Anyone Can Die. Later in the series, even when he attempts to play the fool, he's quickly overtaken by Wangst.
  • In Monster, Otto Heckel — the irreverent small-time crook who spend his days planning to profit off of Tenma's surgical skills in the black market — disappears when the series' focus on child abuse becomes too serious for Plucky Comic Relief. He barely avoids being consigned to a Long Bus Trip when he briefly reappears at the end of the series.
  • Most characters from Gintama (especially the main characters) seem to have the default reaction to flee before danger, leaving their comrades behind (often followed by a Taking You with Me moment), all played for the lulz of course. However, when there's a serious arc going on, that behaviour is forgotten and they strive to protect one another in battle.
  • At the beginning of the Soul Society arc in Bleach (when the Myth Arc kicks in and the human world becomes less important), Ichigo's classmates (besides his True Companions Uryuu, Chad, and Orihime) are sidelined as characters, although they'd been relatively prominent and well-developed during the Substitute Shinigami arc. They remain very minor characters through the rest of the story, occasionally providing comic relief or slice-of-life drama. In the anime, Kon and the Filler mod-souls drop out of sight once the Darker and Edgier Hueco Mundo arc begins.
  • Gate Keepers recklessly crashed back and forth in between "cheerful" and "dark", finally settling on "dark" for the sequel series.
  • Averted in Kill la Kill, where comic relief Mako not only remains a major character to the end of the series, but continues to be a complete Cloudcuckoolander, partaking in her usual fast-paced comedy no matter how serious and grave the situation becomes.
  • The Dragon Ball series has been known to utilize this trope frequently. The earliest example is when Tao Pai-Pai kills Bora simply for standing in his way, where for the first time Goku becomes enraged at his opponent (then there's Tambourine, whose act of killing Krillin sends Goku spiraling into a mad fury, to say nothing of his master Piccolo Daimao). From this point on, most battles against the arc villains will get very serious, particularly when Goku realizes that his opponent really is a serious threat, and especially after anyone that Goku has befriended or fought alongside has been killed by them. Then there's the Buu Arc, which is known to switch this trope on and off a lightswitch, as if a kid is playing with the Sliding Scale Of Silliness Vs Seriousness like a four year old whamming the volume dial. However, you'll notice that Oolong and Puar end up pretty much becoming background characters... and Lunch, the girl who sneezes and becomes a more violent personality flat out vanishes.
    • Trunks, Buu and Gotan are all absent in Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection 'F'.
  • The first few episodes of Naruto were punctuated by several silly Running Gags, including Gender Bending-induced Nose Bleeds and gastrointestinal malfunction. These stopped getting used very quickly, and haven't shown up in years (save for one guest appearance at the beginning of Part II as a humorous callback to the early days of the series). Fillers, however, have taken those one-off gags from nearly a decade ago and are still running with them whenever some Padding is called for — making for a rather weird inter-franchise example of Never Live It Down.
  • The final episodes of Angel Beats! feature a battle with shadowy creatures which is preceded by one of the series more comical characters leaving.
  • Lyrical Nanoha does one for Force, the series' Darker and Edgier and Bloodier and Gorier season. One of the scenes shown in its preview manga is Nanoha going off to help in the latest Incident and saying goodbye to her Cheerful Child of a daughter, Vivio, who is the star of the Lighter and Softer Spin-Offspring, ViVid.
  • In Afro Samurai: Resurrection, Ninja-Ninja gets completely fed up with Afro's insistence that his father has been resurrected, and storms out just before the final battle:
    Ninja-Ninja: That's IT! You an IDIOT! And this is far as I go! See ya!
    • Hell, Afro Samurai did this in the original series. During Afro's fight with Jinnosuke/Kuma, a stray blow from Kuma's sword hits Ninja-Ninja in the chest, essentially killing him. This is meant to symbolize Afro coming to terms with himself and his past, and casting away all of the doubt and self-loathing he had been feeling throughout his life. Coincidentially, this happens RIGHT before the final battle with Justice, A.K.A. the most serious part of the entire series.
  • The Reborn! (2004) anime uses this trope almost literally, as Lambo (who provides most of the humor) is asleep or unconscious during the more serious battles. The Running Gags also appear more rarely or simply stop appearing when things get serious. One of the more notable examples: the most common running gag was Tsuna's uselessness, which disappears progressively as he takes various levels in badass throughout the series. There is one special exception right before the final battle. After a whole arc of drama and horrible things, there is a scene where Tsuna's box weapon is bullied by Gokudera's, hilarity ensues. Gamma then lampshades it complaining how it looks more like a school trip than the planning of a war. Reborn replies it is because of that easygoing attitude that they've been able to make it so far.
  • Sasa from Wandering Son is the ditz of the series, and was one of the recurring main characters. While she still appeared often, she appeared less once the manga hit middle school. The series did however introduce some new, and rather goofy, characters.
  • In Future GPX Cyber Formula, Kaga becomes more serious after he Took a Level in Badass in ZERO and his funny guy traits disappeared from that.
  • While the Penguins from Penguindrum haven't disappeared, their presence is less and less noticed as the series goes into Mind Screw territory.
  • Pokémon:
    • Starting in the Best Wishes saga of Pokémon, lifetime comedy relief Team Rocket Took a Level in Badass, becoming significantly more competent and foregoing most of the puns and gloating they're known for. They also shift to more espionage and behind the scenes villainy versus ridiculous traps and grand schemes, and even give up on chasing Pikachu, making their run ins with Ash and company purely coincidental. They also got rid of all of their old Pokemon, leaving them behind at the headquarters. By the end of the Black and White saga, Wobbuffet rejoins the team, signifying that the Team Rocket Trio goes back to being comedy relief once more.
    • The XY Mega Evolution specials featured Maron as a supporting comedic character. The last one has her appearance reduced and the catalyst for kicking off the XY&Z series is related to her Chespin falling ill from coming in contact with the Zygarde Core. She doesn't even appear until the series is nearing its denouement.
    • The Sun and Moon series' introduction of Gladion as a more serious rival only features the classmates at the Pokémon Academy in one scene in the entire episode; and the roles of other comedic supporting characters such as Team Rocket and the recurring Team Skull grunts are downplayed as well. The episode which had Litten join Ash's team is also significantly lighter on jokes and comedic moments especially when it's heavily implied that the elder Stoutland has died. The normally-colorful animation also takes on a more muted palette, and even Team Rocket can't bring themselves to try any of their schemes when they find out about what happened. The usual color scheme and upbeat tone don't return until the end of the episode.
    • Similarly, Team Rocket and the classmates don't appear at all for their next meeting, and the comical Pokémon of Ash's team such as Rowlet are left behind in episode 47 which reveals the reason Type: Null was created and the root of Lillie's fear of touching Pokémon being linked to an accident involving Nihilego that she has repressed memories of.
    • The 1,000th episode has most of the comedic side characters absent after Ash and Lillie are teleported away by Nebby, and much of the second half of the episode takes place in a darkened laboratory with a much more serious tone which not only confirms the events of episode 47; but also adds the detail that Nihilego being unleashed from Ultra Space was the result of an experiment by Faba and he was trying to prevent Lillie from regaining her memories. The bright colors, classmates and usual tone don't make a return until the episode is almost over.
    • As Ash, Lillie and the classmates venture into Ultra Space to rescue Lusamine from Nihilego with the help of Solgaleo, Team Rocket is subdued by Bewear and taken out of the action until the conflict is resolved.
    • In the two-part 100th episode of the series, the more comedic members of Ash's Pokémon as well as the Rotom Pokédex are left behind when Ash and Pikachu are transported to a parallel universe that has been heavily-ravaged by the Ultra Beast Guzzlord, turning the normally colorful setting into a dingy husk. The more comedic characters and bright colors don't return until the denouement of the second part.
    • Team Rocket are completely absent from the Poni Island arc, arguably the darkest of all the trials in the Sun and Moon series. Major plot points include the deaths of Hapu's grandfather and Mallow's mother, and their grief is dealt with in a fairly realistic fashion. Tapu Fini's mist also gives the setting a much more muted color palette, and the usual tone and color scheme don't return until this plot thread is resolved.
    • In Pokémon: I Choose You!, Team Rocket plays a comedic supporting role in the movie; and the characters are absent from the final battle on the peak of Mt. Tensei between Ash, Cross and an army of Brainwashed and Crazy Pokémon under the control of Marshadow, not returning until after the conflict is resolved.
    • Similarly, in Pokémon: The Power of Us, Team Rocket helps make a medicine capsule during the climax after spending most of the movie as comedic supporting characters; and are largely absent from the finale after that. More comedic supporting characters of the film such as Callaghan and Harriet also shed their jokier qualities after it's revealed that the latter lost her Snubbull in a fire and burned her hand 50 years prior to the film's events.
  • When Yukito disappears from Air, you know a Downer Ending is on the horizon.
  • High School D×D: When Lovable Sex Maniac Issei stops his constant and shameless pervert antics, you know something serious is going down. Then gloriously subverted at the end of Volume 4/Anime Season 2, when Azazel uses his love of breasts to get Issei motivated far better than the villain threatening his friends and family ever did. Vali can't believe it either.
  • Li Meilin an anime-exclusive character from Cardcaptor Sakura gets sent back to Hong Kong only three episodes before the Final Judgement.
  • When the Big Bad in Photon reveals himself and explains how he's been manipulating the protagonists just to alleviate his own boredom, he begins by curbstomping the Laughably Evil villain Papacharino who thought he was the Big Bad, then tells him to get lost.
    Emperor I enjoyed having you as my jester, but this next scene is a bit too serious for you.
  • This is part of why Maes Hughes is killed off in Fullmetal Alchemist right when the main arc gets going. He tries to switch from comic relief to seriousness but still ends up dying because He Knows Too Much. Not all the clowns are kicked out, though; Louis Armstrong is also a rather silly character, who manages to stick around.
  • In Attack on Titan, Sasha becomes visibly shell-shocked during the Battle of Trost and soon not a funny thing comes out of her mouth. She even shows up less than the other Trainees of the 104th as the battle goes on. When she becomes more prominent later on, it is in a much more serious capacity. Similarly Hange never quite loses her quirkiness but she fills more serious (and badass) roles as time goes on.
    • After the Time Skip, Sasha becomes the first major character to be killed off.
  • Your Name experiences a sharp, though not total, drop in comedy elements after The Reveal.
  • In Gundam Build Divers had a character named Nanami, who worked at The Gundam Base where Riku and his friends went to play GBN. She doesn't play, but was a source of comedy for the first few episodes. As the threat of the Mass-Divers picks up, her role decreases until episode 9, which shoves her away completely.
  • Bokurano is not a lighthearted series by any stretch of the imagination, but Anko and Kanji provide some comic relief, especially in the manga. They stay around for most of the series, but are less humorous in their respective arcs. Shortly after both die in Volume 8, the next pilot is none other than Kana Ushiro, Jun's ten-year-old younger sister, thus leading to the darkest and most tragic story arc.
  • In Bloom Into You, Touko and Sayaka's two friends, Manaka and Midori serve as comic relief, particularly the former. The four of them are grouped together for the School Trip, and Touko and Sayaka find reasons to ditch them on a three occasions to have serious discussions- when Sayaka makes a Love Confession to Touko, Touko and Sayaka discuss Sayaka's love for Touko, and when Touko ultimately turns Sayaka down.
  • In SD Gundam Force, during the climactic Neotopia Invasion arc of Season 1, which heralds the physical reveal of Commander Sazabi, the Zako soldiers cease to perform the Zako-Zako Hour or announce the episode titles, only briefly returning in the epilogue of the season finale, and most other comical characters, including the Goldfish Poop Gang (knocked out and trapped in the wreckage of Big Zam until the Zakos free them in the aforementioned epilogue), Guneagle (shot down by Big Zam, though he pulls a Big Damn Heroes to save Captain in the finale), and the Gundivers (drained of energy to activate the Captain System) are also sidelined for the majority of the arc.
  • Justified in Miss Kobayashi's Dragon Maid. Lucoa is a member of the spectator faction, which means that she's an All-Powerful Bystander by definition and tends to make herself scarce whenever the darker elements of the plot show up.
  • In The Disappearance of Nagato Yuki-chan, at the end of Volume 3/Episode 9, Yuki almost gets hit by a car. As a result of the accident, her current self is replaced by another personality that's more like the Yuki from the main series and regards the other Yuki as a separate person in the same body, leading to existential angst. Around that time, Haruhi, Koizumi, Mikuru and Tsuruya stop showing up at the literature club, since they have to prepare for exams. Their absence results in less comic relief and more focus on Yuki, Ryoko and Kyon.
  • Inverted with Tommy/Bucky and Coco/Pauly from Kimba the White Lion. In the original manga and 1997 movie, both are present as Kitty's dying of an unnamed plague. The duo alongside Dan'l Baboon/Daniel Baboon/Mandy Mandrill can only watch on and sadly bow their heads. In general, Bucky and Pauly's comedic nature gets toned down as the manga and 1997 movie gets darker and sadder.

    Audio Play 
  • Mid-way through the fourth season of We're Alive the soldiers from Irwin: Puck, Robbins, Muldoon and Carl, mostly known for their back and forth bickering, are attacked by Behemoths inside the jailhouse where Ink was storing them. Robbins, Muldoon and Carl are killed and Puck spends much of the remainder on the series bed-ridden in The Colony's hospital.
  • In Big Finish Doctor Who's "The Davros Mission", the Holmesian Double Act-pastiche characters mostly serve as comic relief although their own agenda is taken seriously, though their role is diminished after the first act while the plot focuses on tense scenes of Lareen psychoanalysing Davros. They then, after being virtually forgotten, suddenly show up immediately after the most powerful emotional scene in the plot, in a brief, serious scene in which they get exterminated within less than a minute. Their death kicks off the collapse of Lareen's plan, Davros finally getting the upper hand against the Daleks and the very nasty Downer Ending.

    Comic Books 
  • The Batman comics have done this several times over the years:
    • In 1964, Bat-Mite, Ace the Bat-Hound, Batwoman, and the original Bat Girl were swept under the rug when the "New Look" Batman was launched. The often-silly sci-fi adventures of the previous era also took a back seat to more straightforward detective stories. Believe it or not, the 1966 TV show was actually less silly than most of the Batman stories of the late '50s and early '60s.
    • After the 1966 Batman show went off the air, there was a considerable and sustained backlash against anything resembling its tone in the comic books. Batman returned to his roots as a "grim avenger of the night" in the '70s. Batman started working alone much more often, with Robin and Batgirl relegated to the sidelines and backup stories.
    • This trope exists for Batman in-universe as well — it's stated on more than one occasion that Batman gets meaner and angrier when he doesn't have a Robin with him, which is actually how Tim Drake became Robin to begin with (although he originally was trying to convince Dick Grayson to become Robin again).
    • The story "Urban Renewal" from Batman Black and White has an in-universe occurrence of this trope as its plot. Gotham's particularly bizarre-looking buildings such as a huge globe at the top of a travel bureau, or a building shaped like a giant cash register, are being taken down. One man is waxing nostalgic for these old kitschy locales, and decides to publish a coffee table book dedicated to them—and the one publisher who accepts it is Bruce Wayne, who is himself nostalgic about fighting crime atop these ridiculous buildings back in the day.
    • Neil Gaiman's story in 1989, Secret Origins Special, features a retired Riddler amidst the same giant novelty objects, musing on the new Darker and Edgier world.
    • However, very little in comics ever goes completely away. All of the above-mentioned "silly" elements of Batman have been revisited over the years, albeit usually in a "modernized" way.
  • As with Batman, both Superman and Wonder Woman got the sillies cleared out of their titles in the late sixties and early seventies. In Superman's case, this meant Krypto, Mr. Mxyzptlk, the Bizarro World, Lori the mermaid, the Superman robots, etc., while for Wonder Woman it meant Bird Boy, Merboy, the Glop, the Holliday Girls, even Steve Trevor! In Superman's case, however, the housecleaning didn't "take". Fans really liked Krypto and the Bizarros and all, so most were brought back after only a few years, and Superman's adventures stayed pretty lighthearted right up until the Crisis on Infinite Earths, after which they became Darker and Edgier. In Wonder Woman's case, though, shooing the clowns kind of crippled the title, because virtually her entire supporting cast had been deemed silly and eliminated (Steve Trevor and Etta Candy kept popping in and out, but the rest were just gone). In all the years since, she has never really been able to settle on a single, stable supporting cast or even setting.
    • This is a good example that "silly" is contextual, too. Mxyzptlk is certainly out-of-place in a more serious tone, but the robot duplicates of Superman, given Kryptonian tech, could have a legitimate place in a more serious story. (As would be proved in 1999's Beware the Superman story Superman Rex.)
  • One of the three-panel comics of Dirkjan, a Dutch comic, is a literal version of this trope. It goes something like this: Captain Dirkjan to his men: "Men, we're pirates. It's time we get serious. From now on, no more sickbay, you just keep fighting and working. Whoever is too sick to fight is thrown overboard. Any questions?" A clown (who has been offpanel until now) asks: "What about the clini-clowns?" (= clowns that entertain sick kids in the hospital). Of course it's much funnier in comic-form.
  • When Judge Dredd started getting darker and more serious in the late '80s, Maria and Walter the Wobot were written out. Walter eventually came back to lead a new robot rebellion, and had to be killed by Dredd.
  • At around the same time, Strontium Dog started upping the stakes with vicious villains with personal grudges against Johnny and Wulf, and main characters started dying. When this happened, the Gronk just kind of disappeared. He was finally brought back for the Grand Finale of the classic series, but his personality was almost completely inverted.
  • The Blue Harvest story arc of Star Wars: Dark Times featured H2, a droid with dark humor, whose role in the plot was generally limited to hilarious sarcastic one-liners. As with all Dark Times stories, things continuously got worse and worse for the characters, but when we learned that the beloved Deadpan Snarker got shot and damaged beyond repair, we realized that things went really serious.
  • Spider-Man stops joking when the Moral Event Horizon gets crossed. In fact, he stops talking at all, leaving you to fight a faceless, voiceless being with spider powers who wants to beat you to death. It's notable that the guy who can joke about anything wasn't laughing when Wolverine made some less-than-appropriate comments about Mary Jane. And then punched Logan through unbreakable glass.
  • X-Men; during the Mutant Massacre arc in the late '80s, Nightcrawler (a swashbuckling practical joker), Colossus (the Gentle Giant) and Kitty Pryde (The Chick) were Put on a Bus due to injuries sustained against the Marauders. Colossus returned to the team just in time for the Fall Of The Mutants arc, which ended with the world thinking the X-Men were dead, and precipitated one of the teams Darkest and Edgiest periods. Nightcrawler and Kitty went on to co-found Excalibur, the Lighter and Softer X-team at that time.
  • The core of Flash's comparatively irreverent and small-time Rogues Gallery dies horribly in the first pages of Underworld Unleashed. The Trickster — perhaps the most outwardly ridiculous one of all prior to this — survives and reflects bitterly on the days when he "[rigged] bombs up the butts of rubber chickens. What was I thinking all those years?" He doesn't entirely give up the rubber chickens, though.
  • After they were introduced into the comic book universe of The Smurfs, the Smurflings are hardly heard from again, mostly appearing as guest stars and cameos, while the stories mainly focus on the adult Smurfs.
  • In the Asterix story Asterix and Obelix All at Sea, Obelix is turned to stone, and Asterix is openly weeping next to his petrified body. Asterix stories use various standard joke templates, one of which is of three characters who escalate with three increasingly complex puns about the bad situation; and the villagers looking at Obelix all do this with "stone" puns. Asterix cuts them off, telling them to shut up because this is serious and his best friend is dead, and the villagers agree to stop making jokes in poor taste. After this, there aren't any jokes beyond one bit of Laser-Guided Karma at the expense of the Romans who are partially responsible for Obelix's death (they accidentally set their ship on fire when trying to send a signal), one Dark Comedy gag (Getafix thinking the other villagers are smashing Obelix's petrified body to pieces) and one piece of intentionally forced slapstick with Vitalstatistix falling over for no reason. Obelix's prospects of recovery are almost non-existent, Asterix is too busy mourning him to care about his duties as a village warrior, and the Romans are plotting to trap and kill the escaped slaves in the B-plot. The jokes don't start up again until one of the potions they're trying to revive him with finally works, bringing him back (albeit in child form).
  • Invoked in the MAD parody of Roseanne. When the kids are pondering running away from home, "D.D.T.", whose unintelligible mumbling is almost a guaranteed laugh, starts to speak, but his sister tells him this is no laughing matter.
  • Ultimate X-Men: The Sentinels are attacking Washington DC and killing people. Marvel Girl told Storm that this is not the moment for quipping.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog (IDW) pulls a harsh one of these during its Zombie Apocalypse story arc. Among those infected with Dr. Eggman's Metal Virus bioweapon and turned into Zombots is Sonic's new friend Tangle the Lemur, the comic's resident Plucky Comic Relief. The storyline was already one of the darkest in the entire franchise, but it adopts an even more serious tone upon Tangle's elimination since so much of the series' comedy eminates from her.

    Fan Works 

    Films — Animation 
  • The Prince of Egypt: The last time we see the Egyptian priests Hotep and Huy, who are noticeably more "cartoony" than the rest of the cast, Ramses orders them to get out of the palace during the rather intense "Plagues" song.
  • Just before the climax of Anastasia, Rasputin's Morality Pet Bartok opts out, telling him, "You're on your own, sir! This can only end in tears!" He doesn't appear again until the happy ending. And due to good Sexual Karma, this gets him laid.
    • Also, Vladimir is absent during the aforementioned climax in which Anastasia and Dmitri defeat Rasputin.
  • Kung Fu Panda inverts this for its Final Battle. What looks like the movie's climactic battle, a dark and dangerous duel in the rain that ends with a major Tear Jerker as Tai Lung crosses the Moral Event Horizon... is suddenly interrupted by Po, who appears at the top of the temple steps, doubled over and gasping for air. The sun is shining behind him, signifying that the darkness has passed and now it's time for the real final battle to begin. What follows is one of the greatest examples of how a story's climax can be both hilarious and awesome at the same time.
  • In FernGully: The Last Rainforest, Batty gets knocked out by a falling headlamp during the climax, leaving Zak to stop Hexxus alone without the aid of a Plucky Comic Relief.
  • Toy Story 3: When they arrive at the landfill, the Little Green Men are apparently killed off by a compactor truck though they are revealed to be alive and even save the others from certain, fiery death.
  • At the end of A Bug's Life, just before the final battle between the ants and the grasshoppers, Molt (Hopper's cowardly second-in-command and younger brother) actually tears off his exoskeleton and runs off like a coward as the opposing insects begin to fight each other. He doesn't come back until after Hopper is killed by the birds.
  • In Ice Age, during Manny, Sid and Diego's confrontation against Soto, Scrat is absent. Scrat is not part of their story, so it's pretty much expected. Earlier, right before the art shift flashback about what really happened to Manny's family, Diego tells Sid to "Shut up" and he stays quiet for the rest of the scene.
  • In Monsters, Inc., the abominable snowman (who dislikes being called that), leaves the room in which Sulley and Mike are in, with the excuse of going to get more snow cones, but it feels a little too convenient, seeing as they discuss Sulley's reasons for wanting to go back to the factory to save Boo following him accidentally scaring her, foreshadowing their Plot-Mandated Friendship Failure. Also comes back as a brick joke later when Sulley is sliding down the mountain and he bumps into the yeti carrying the snow cones.
  • Monsters University: Around the third act, after the revelation of Sully cheating and Mike's ensuing breakdown and venture into the human world, Oozma Kappa help Sully into the human world and it is then Sully and Mike share a introspective moment alone in the human world while their Oozma Kappa brothers await in the monster world.
  • Gulliver's Travels has Gabby captured by Bombo's spies in time for the climax, only to be released after Gulliver helps the two kingdoms make peace.
  • In Madagascar, neither the penguins nor the lemurs are present during Marty's confrontation with Alex, who's been driven mad by hunger.
  • In The Powerpuff Girls Movie, The Narrator performs the usual opening and closing, but is otherwise completely absent from the film which is Darker and Edgier than the regular show.
  • In Balto, Boris, Muk, Luk and Jenna return to Nome after she's injured saving Balto from the grizzly bear, leaving Balto on his own to help the sled team and recover the medicine for the final third of the film. (Muk and Luk being comic relief characters)
  • Inside Out: Bing Bong, the eccentric imaginary friend who Joy and Sadness spend time with on their journey, actually performs a Heroic Sacrifice to save Joy from disappearing out of existence before the more emotionally heavy climax.
  • My Little Pony: The Movie (2017): Grubber, Tempest Shadow's gluttonous comic relief sidekick, rarely turns up during the intense climax which pits Twilight Sparkle, Applejack, Rarity, Rainbow Dash, Spike, Pinkie Pie, Fluttershy, Capper and Captain Celaeno against the Storm King's evil forces. Grubber does appear in the ending scene, reformed along with Tempest Shadow.
  • Thomas the Tank Engine's 2015 movie, Sodor's Legend of the Lost Treasure has James, Percy, Toby, Emily, Gordon, Edward and Henry staying at Tidmouth Sheds as Thomas and Ryan pursue the escaping Sailor John as he makes off with the treasure.
  • Cars 3 has several examples. The first of which has Bobby and Cal disappearing after the introduction of the new-gens. Only Cal has a brief appearance afterward. The second is Mack disappearing from the movie before the Florida race that Lightning McQueen competes in. The third example is when Rusty and Dusty are not seen for the rest of the movie after selling Rust-Eze to Sterling, save for a brief appearance in the end credits in which they are seen on vacation.
  • Brave: Merida's three comical brothers stay out of the rescue mission she embarks on to save her mother from King Fergus, and the fight against Mordu immediately after.
  • Rio: Pedro, Nico and Rafael, along several hundred birds escape from the plane before Blu saves Jewel from Nigel. The aforementioned Pedro, Nico and Rafael are seen in the movie's Dance Party Ending, starting the end credits.
  • How to Train Your Dragon: Gobber, Fishlegs, Ruffnut, Tuffnut and Snotlout are notably absent from the scene where Stoick disowns Hiccup, as well as the scene where Hiccup finds that he lost his leg in the battle against the Red Death.
  • Subverted in Shrek where Donkey doesn't fellow Shrek into the wedding church in the climax, but he does appear on the Dragon moments latter when she smash's through the window and eats Lord Farquaad whole.
  • Smurfs: The Lost Village uses this trope similar to Snow White. In the third act, Gargamel finds the Smurfs. Quickly, their comical personalities are dropped when they're all frozen with Freezeballs. As Smurfblossom's being taken away, she ceases to be a Genki Girl and asks Smurfette, "How could you do this to us?". When Smurfette is turned back into a lump of clay, the trope gets zigzagged as the Smurfs are mourning her. Even Grouchy drops his usual grouchy self and appears to be in tears over Smurfette's supposed death. They return to their comical personalities when she comes back to life.
  • The Nightmare Before Christmas:
    • Zero is largely absent from the climax in which Jack saves Sally and Santa from Oogie Boogie. Zero does show up when Oogie Boogie is nearly killed.
    • This also applies to Lock, Shock and Barrel who are also absent during Jack's confrontation with Oogie Boogie. They show up after Oogie Boogie is defeated.
  • We're Back! A Dinosaur's Story does this with the literal clown Stubbs, as he is seen hiding backstage at the circus when Professor Screweyes shows the feral Rex, Woog, Dweeb and Elsa to the terrified audience, as well as when the feral Rex almost kills Screweyes, only to be stopped by Louie, who returns Rex and the other dinosaurs to normal with Celia's help.
  • In Hey Arnold! The Jungle Movie, Arnold's classmates are left behind in the enemy camp, while Arnold, Gerald and Helga confront La Sombra in the climax.
  • In Cars, Mater disappears after Lightning's second night in Radiator Springs. He doesn't return until summoning a stampede of Tractor cows that happens just after the dramatic song "Our Town" that showed the Dark and Troubled Past of Radiator Springs (Expect for a brief Getting Crap Past the Radar moment in the background).

    Films — Disney Animated Canon 
The Disney Animated Canon uses this trope so much it deserves its own folder:
  • In Aladdin, the Genie and Iago are pretty much kept to the side as Jafar and Aladdin have their final battle, and Abu and Carpet and taken out of the action by Jafar's magic as well. The Genie is eventually brought into the conflict when Aladdin points out that Jafar is not as powerful as him.
    • Aladdin: The Return of Jafar is a little better in its treatment of the clowns — in the final confrontation, Abu and the Genie are thrown into peril along with the other heroes, and Iago manages to pull off a Big Damn Heroes. Jafar still manages to take out the Carpet again, though.
    • Genie, Iago and Abu once more are absent in the climax of Aladdin and the King of Thieves which has Aladdin and Cassim confronting Sa'Luk.
  • Alice in Wonderland has Alice lost in Tulgey Wood, leading to the saddest scene in the movie. As a result, The White Rabbit, The Mad Hatter, The March Hare and the Cheshire Cat aren't absent. After Alice finishes singing "Very Good Advice" and begins sobbing, the Cheshire Cat slowly emerges on top of a tree. Meanwhile, The White Rabbit, alongside The Mad Hatter and The March Hare don't show up until Alice arrives at The Queen Of Heart's castle.
  • In Atlantis: The Lost Empire, Mole, Vinny, Dr. Sweet, Audrey, Cookie, and Mrs. Packard all provided humorous moments beforehand. None of them are present during Milo's fight with Rourke.
  • During the scene in Bambi, when the eponymous character's mother dies, both Thumper the rabbit and Flower the skunk are not present. Minutes before that scene, Thumper is last seen telling Bambi that he should go home now in a very nervous tone while Flower is hibernating. These characters are also absent during Bambi's respective fights with Ronno, the hunter dogs and the climactic forest fire at the end.
  • At the climax of Beauty and the Beast the Beast and Gaston have their fight alone. Lefou is last seen fleeing the castle in defeat; Lumiere, Cogsworth, Mrs. Potts, Chip and the footstool only reappear after Gaston falls to his death off the ledge of the castle.
  • Big Hero 6: During the scene where Hiro and Baymax rescue Abigail, Fred is absent.
  • The floating bubble from The Black Cauldron vanishes during the scene where the Horned King unleashes the dark powers of the Cauldron, and does not return until the three witches use their magic to take back said Cauldron and bring Gurgi back to life. This is also true with Hen-Wen the pig; the film starts to get darker after she runs away from the Horned King's castle.
  • The two moose, Rut and Tuke, are completely absent during the last part of Brother Bear, where Kenai's vengeful brother Denahi has him cornered due to him seeing Kenai as the bear that killed their oldest brother, Sitka. However, the moose start to reappear again when Sitka's ghost comes back to save Kenai by turning him back into a human so that both his brothers can accept their guilt, but do not do anything at all until Kenai decides to remain a bear for the rest of his life.
  • Cinderella: The mice tend to be absent in most every scene involving Lady Tremaine, and near the end Jaq and Gus get trapped by Lucifer the cat as they attempt to free Cinderella, prompting her to request help from the birds to summon Bruno the dog on him. Gus does fall into Lady Tremaine’s dress pocket however.
  • Near the end of Dinosaur, Eema, Baylene, Url, Plio, Suri, Yar, and Zini are all forced to stay behind in the Nesting Grounds (which they all entered via a secret passageway they accidentally discovered while they were still trapped in the cave) while Aladar immediately runs back outside to warn the rest of the Herd about Kron's idea for them to scale the ravine, and shortly afterward, the final confrontation with the Carnotaurus.
  • Dumbo: When Dumbo accidentally causes the Pyramid of Pachyderms to collapse, Timothy Mouse escapes with the crowd and the Ringmaster as the collapse worsens to the tent falling to the ground; later Timothy just remains silent and only drops a Single Tear during the Tear Jerker song "Baby Mine".
  • The Emperor's New Groove first plays this straight when Narrator Kuzco actually stops narrating the film once we see Llama Kuzco stranded in the middle of the South American jungle (the film's opening shot) once more, but inverts this during the climax.
  • In The Fox and the Hound, Dinky and Boomer migrate to the south at the last quarter of the movie when things are becoming more dramatic and don't appear at the dramatic Bears Are Bad News climax.
  • In Frozen:
    • During the climactic blizzard where Anna rushes to Kristoff, and Hans runs to find and execute Elsa, Olaf is quickly blown away by the storm and Sven ends up stuck on broken ice. On a similar note, the fact that the trolls seem to avert this trope by having a comedic song about love when Kristoff comes to them to seek their help in saving Anna from freezing to death is part of the reason why some people dislike them.
    • Olaf himself is actually a bit of an inversion. In the first half, Anna and Kristoff were the primary sources of comedy, but as the First Law of Tragicomedies sets in and the characters start to become more serious, Olaf is brought in to keep some lighthearted comedy, due to Olaf not being quite as invested in the drama as they are. (Then again, Olaf's Silly Song winds up being Black Comedy at its finest, further highlighting the darker tonal shift).
  • Played straighter in Frozen II, where Olaf has a Disney Death as a result of Elsa also having one, right before the film's climax.
    • An intentional, in-universe example also happens earlier in the film, when Elsa decides the rest of the journey is too dangerous for Anna and Olaf and creates an ice canoe to send them away against their will.
  • In The Great Mouse Detective, none of the comedic characters partake in the dramatic (and brutal) fight between Basil and Ratigan, as Fidget was literally Thrown from the Zeppelin before by the latter, and Dawson remained in the pursuing zeppelin just as Ratigan's crashed into the Big Ben with Basin on board.
  • In Hercules, Pain, Panic, Phil and Pegasus are all absent when Hercules goes to the Underworld to save Meg's soul from Hades.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Clopin and the rest of the Gypsies excluding Esmeralda disappear without any explanation whatsoever when Quasimodo is tied to a torture wheel and splattered with fruit, and the gargoyles Victor, Hugo and Laverne are only seen again when Quasimodo retreats to the cathedral. Later, after participating in a comedic battle against Frollo's soldiers, the gargoyles exit Quasimodo's room when he is mourning the apparent death of Esmeralda and are not seen again until after the more dramatic final battle with Frollo. Djali the goat is also absent midway through the film and doesn't return until after Frollo's death and Notre Dame's fires are extinguished.
  • The Jungle Book (1967) zigzags this, Baloo is knocked unconscious by Shere Khan. The vultures bug Shere Khan which buys Mowgli time to tie the burning branch to his tail.
  • In Lady and the Tramp both Si and Am and Jock and Trusty are absent from the rat's arrival in the baby's room and the subsequent fight Tramp has in defending the baby from the rat.
  • The Lion King (1994), during the stampede where Mufasa is killed, early on Zazu gets taken out of commission by Scar. In another scene, Timon and Pumbaa are absent during the scene where Simba and Nala are arguing, because Simba hasn't yet overcome the memories of Mufasa's death and feels responsible for it (even though it was Scar who killed Mufasa). This is done loosely in the climax; during the scene in the cave of Pride Rock during the final battle where Pumbaa saves Timon and Zazu from the hyenas, Pumbaa and Timon disappear until Scar is eaten by the hyenas. The midquel at least explains what they were doing, however.
    • The Lion King II: Simba's Pride was established as Darker and Edgier than the first movie as well as most Disney direct to video sequels. In the movie, it gets darker as Nuka is killed in the ambush, which causes Zira to go completely over the edge, physically harm Kovu and set forth with her plans to take over the Pridelands.
  • The Little Mermaid: During the dramatic sea storm where Prince Eric's ship sinks, Sebastian and Flounder are last seen dragged beneath the waves and Scuttle the seagull is blown away by the wind, and near the end of the film the first two aforementioned characters are seen cowering in fear at the bottom of the ocean upon watching Ursula's One-Winged Angel transformation, and they are not seen again until the final scene.
  • In The Many Adventures of Winnie the Pooh, Piglet and Tigger are absent from Pooh's Heffalumps and Woozles nightmare. They also are absent during the scene in which Rabbit gets lost in the woods.
  • In Meet the Robinsons, as Carl is bringing Wilbur and Lewis back with the mind-reading machine, Doris stab him through the back with her claw, killing him. Then the timeline has been changed and Wilbur is erased. From that point until Lewis fixes the timeline, the movie takes a very dark turn with his entire family being controlled by Doris’ clones and the visuals being mainly red, black, and green. Even Goob is killed offscreen in the past, just to drive home the point.
  • In Moana, whenever Heihei the chicken gets shoved in the cargo hold, you know things are about to get serious.
  • In Mulan, Mushu and Cri-Kee just remain silent during the "torched village" scene, and again when Mulan is outed as a woman and is facing execution. This is downplayed in the climax, where they help Mulan deliver the final blow to Shan-Yu, also before the showdown Ling, Yao, and Chien Po are instructed to take the Emperor to safety.
  • In Peter Pan during the climax, Mr. Smee is seen escaping into a life boat while Peter and Captain Hook have their duel. He is seen later with the rest of Hook's crew on the life boat while the crocodile is chasing Hook into the distance.
  • In Pinocchio, Jiminy Cricket, along with Figaro and Cleo all but vanish in the movie's climax with Monstro the whale, only to wash up safely on the shore next to Geppetto once it's over. How Cleo managed to stay in her fishbowl the whole time is anybody's guess. Also, Jiminy is absent in the scene where Lampwick turns into a donkey.
  • In Pocahontas, Grandmother Willow separates Flit, Meeko and Percy from John Smith and Pocahontas as they share their First Kiss, just before they are attacked by a jealous Kocoum. Later, said characters stay with Grandmother Willow when Pocahontas makes up her mind and goes to confront her father and the settlers. Similarly, Wiggins is seen dressing Ratcliffe disappears for most of the last twenty minutes of the movie.
  • The Princess and the Frog had a disturbing variation of this: Toward the end of the film, Ray the firefly is crushed to death by Doctor "The Shadow Man" Facilier while trying to smash his talisman in order to turn both Tiana and Naveen back into humans, Louis the alligator stays behind to tend to the dying Ray.
  • The Rescuers has Orville absent from when Bernard, Bianca, Evinrude and the swamp critters save Penny from Madame Medusa.
    • The Rescuers Down Under has Wilbur staying at Marahute's nest to incubate the eggs while Bernard and Bianca rescue Cody and Marahute from Percival McLeach.
  • In Robin Hood, Little John, the Sheriff, and the villagers do play a part in the jail escape, but they are nowhere to be seen when Robin Hood escapes from Prince John's castle as it burns.
  • Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs downplays this trope. In the third act, the dwarfs learn from the animals that Snow White is in danger. Quickly, their comical personalities are dropped in order to pursue the Queen. After the queen is defeated, the trope then gets zigzagged as the dwarfs are mourning Snow White. The comical Dopey's face is obscured in the scene as he instead is sobbing quietly on Doc's shoulder. Even poor Grumpy drops his comical curmudgeon act and appears to be in tears over Snow White's supposed death. They return to their comical personalities when the prince kisses Snow White, effectively proving to be the antidote to the Queen's curse.
  • In The Sword in the Stone, Merlin literally blows himself to Bermuda in a fit of pique before the jousting tournament. (What makes this work even better is that his pet owl Archimedes, who stays behind with Arthur, stops being funny for once and acts almost as somber as Arthur does.) He does come back when Arthur is crowned king, complaining about the modern years.
  • During the climax of Tangled, Pascal the chameleon runs away and hides when Rapunzel starts to have a conflict with Gothel, and Gothel's murder of Flynn shortly afterward. He eventually comes back to kick Gothel out of the tower just right when Flynn sacrifices himself by cutting off Rapunzel's hair.
  • In Tarzan, both Terk and Tantor are completely absent when Tarzan fights Clayton, and Tantor's also absent during Kerchak's death (Terk is briefly shown mourning with the other gorillas). No explanation is given.
  • Treasure Planet: Every time the movie takes a dramatic or serious turn, Morph disappears. This doesn't apply to B.E.N. though, but that's because he's plot important. Most noticeable when Morph is sucked away in a pipe while Jim takes out the Big Bad.
  • Wreck-It Ralph: Fix-It Felix and Sargent Calhoun (not exactly the clownish type) disappear from the climax as Ralph fights Turbo/King Candy.
    • In Ralph Breaks the Internet, the viral advertisers are absent in the scene in which the virus creates bastardized clones of Ralph, which combine into a giant.
  • In Zootopia, Clawhauser is reassigned to a basement job early on during the film's final act, right as it takes its darkest turn. He isn't seen again until the very end.

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Star Wars:
    • In The Empire Strikes Back, Luke and R2D2 go to Cloud City to rescue the others. When Luke enters a room to have a dramatic confrontation with Darth Vader, R2 gets locked out. Even earlier than that, Han Solo getting frozen in carbonite, and being taken away to Jabba the Hutt might be an example of this trope, as the film does get more intense and dramatic from then on out.
    • Jar Jar Binks getting his role greatly reduced throughout the Star Wars prequels is half this trope, half the response to him being The Scrappy.
    • In Revenge of the Sith Anakin orders R2 to stay with the ship as he makes his way to slaughter the Separatist leaders, later C3PO remains in Padme's ship and doesn't even come out when Anakin mortally injures her and during Obi-Wan and Anakin's duel; He only has an off-screen moment for carrying the dying Padme back to the ship, and utters just one more funny comment just before the movie ends.
    • In The Force Awakens's third act, when Han, Chewie, and Finn leave the Resistance base and head off to Starkiller Base to rescue Rey and then assist the rebels in destroying it, the Kid-Appeal Character BB-8 stays behind with Poe and only partakes in the action safely tucked in Poe's X-Wing.
    • In Rogue One the droid K-2SO, who served as a comedic relief for most of the film, is the first one of the group to get killed.
  • Happens in, of all things, a world war movie, specifically Hitler's SS. When the flamboyant comedian and friend of Rohm, Putzi, gets taken off by the gestapo and winds up beaten to death, you know the Soviet's about to hit the fan. His death not only marks the turning point in the movie, but the turning point in the war, and the scramble by the two brothers to preserve everything they're going to lose no matter who wins the war.
  • This is coupled with This Is Something She's Got to Do Herself in Labyrinth, just before Sarah faces the Goblin King, when she tells the quirky friends who helped her make it that far that she has to go on alone.
  • Enter the Eagles: The film's resident Plucky Comic Relief fellow, Tommy, dies in a shootout that climaxes the film's second act, just as the film is reaching its more serious climatic final scene.
  • In Godzilla vs. SpaceGodzilla, Little Godzilla becomes imprisoned in a crystal cage by SpaceGodzilla, and the film becomes more dramatic until SpaceGodzilla is disposed of, and Little Godzilla is freed from his prison.
  • In Fight Club, when Tyler leaves the narrator in the house alone with project mayhem, it marks the turning point in the story when he realizes that things are going too far. Also with Tyler out of the picture, the comedic moments in the film all but dry up.
  • In the George of the Jungle direct-to-video sequel, Ursula (while not the comic relief of the film) is put to sleep while the big fight at the end happens, regaining consciousness just when it ends. This proves to be odd, as in the previous film, Ursula was actually able to contribute to the ending battle.
  • In Cirque du Soleil: Journey of Man, the Flounes who accompany The Everyman literally vanish into thin air after the aerial cube sequence, representing the beginning of the now-adolescent protagonist leaving his youthful ideals behind. They return after he recovers said ideals, when he is The Old Man.
  • In the 1995 adaptation of A Little Princess, the comical Amelia runs away with the milkman mere seconds before Miss Michin bursts into the attic room, accusing Sara of stealing her locket and segueing into the dramatic climax.
  • In X-Men: Days of Future Past, every mutant introduced in X-Men: First Class except Havok was killed off at some point between films. First Class is easily the most lighthearted of the X-Men movies and the characters killed—Emma Frost, Angel Salvatore, Banshee, and Azazel—represent its more colorful tone.
    • Quicksilver is sent home before the climactic White House battle despite the film showing how mindbogglingly useful his powers would be in that situation.
  • In Gravity, crew member Shariff has a funny accent and loves space bungee jumping. He's the first to be removed from the main plotline, courtesy of a high speed piece of space debris to the face.
  • Big Daddy. Nazo. Oh, how funny he is, acting as a composite of the Butt-Monkey and the Cloudcuckoolander. Things can never be truly bleak when he's around - can they? We get our answer when Arthur Brooks shows up at Sonny Koufax's apartment and reveals that he has found out about Sonny's defrauding of social services, and that Sonny is now under arrest. Cut to Nazo, who supposedly is too dumb to do anything but make a joke about this - but instead he says to Sonny, sincerely and sympathetically: "I'd like to help you, but my status in this country is not exactly legal." (The character being played by Rob Schneider only makes it all the more cool.)
  • Although Tim Burton's Batman (1989) is pretty dark throughout, it gets darker still toward the end. Comic-relief character Alexander Knox, having just appeared in a slapstick scene, gets legitimately knocked out and doesn't appear again until the finale. Meanwhile, the Joker's bumbling henchmen run off as the Batplane approaches, the Joker stops being funny for a moment and utters a Precision F-Strike ("Come on, you gruesome son of a bitch - come to me!")...and the Batplane is shot down, crashes, and explodes - apparently killing Batman before girlfriend Vicki Vale's eyes. While frantically trying to clear away the rubble from the crash, Vicki is taken hostage by the Joker and the two go into a church. Batman survives, but he is bleeding and barely able to walk; only his determination to kill the Joker enables him to continue. Once Batman (painfully) reaches the top of the church tower, the "Waltz to the Death" sequence begins and the movie assumes a "lighter", tragicomic tone until the end.
  • In the third act of Mary Poppins, after Bert the chimney-sweep leaves the Banks house after duetting with George for "A Man Has Dreams", George is summoned to his bank for a formal dismissal, and we get a somber scene of George walking to the bank with no dialogue or songs; even the "Bird Woman" is absent from the steps of the cathedral, although her vaguely hopeful theme music plays. When George reaches the bank, the sound goes totally silent except for dialogue, followed by a rather distressing Insignia Rip-Off Ritual. But once he figures out the meaning of "Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious", it lightens up again.
  • Babe: While Ferdinand leaving the farm isn't an immediate sign of things getting darker, it's telling that he doesn't return until the most dramatic part of the movie is over.
  • In Predator 2: Jerry Lambert is murdered by the Predator before the climax.
  • The Third Man: Sergeant Paine is shot by the Big Bad when he stumbles out in front of the latter. This occurs right before the hero Holly Martins mercy kills his close friend.
  • Marvel Cinematic Universe:
    • Captain America: Civil War:
      • After the big fight at the airport, Tony tells Spider-Man to go back home for his own safety and even threatens to tell Aunt May if he doesn't. This itself happens before the dramatic final act. It's justified given his several brushes with death or serious injury during the battle.
      • Likewise, most of the other usual suspects for quips (Hawkeye, Ant-Man, sometimes Falcon) are on the Anti-Accords side and therefore in jail during the finale. Of the characters still in play, the only one who jokes around a lot is Tony, and he goes very, very quiet once he sees the security tape.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2: Groot, Drax, Mantis and Rocket are absent from the scene in which Yondu sacrifices himself to save Peter Quill.
    • Avengers: Infinity War:
      • The opening of the film picks up right where Thor: Ragnarok left off, but Korg, one of Ragnarok's major comic relief characters, is nowhere to be seen. Turns out, he managed to evacuate the ship with Valkyrie and the other survivors.
      • Of the heroes that Thanos disintegrates with the Infinity Gauntlet or personally kills, five of the twelve are members of the Guardians of the Galaxy, leaving only Nebula and Rocket (neither of whom were the most comical of the group) left out of them. In addition, the notably wisecracking Spider-Man is among the casualties, causing Tony to become very cynical and unlikely to joke for most of Avengers: Endgame.
    • Inverted in Avengers: Endgame: The film starts off on a sombre note, but once Ant-Man returns from the Quantum Realm thanks to a Rat and rejoins the Avengers, the film lightens up.
  • At the beginning of the final act of Mr Nice Guy, where Jackie, Miki, and Lakeisha are captured by Big Bad Giancarlo, Diana is punched out by one of his cronies, and Tara/Sandy, having been badly beaten at the construction site, similarly drops out of focus. The uncut version has a scene of Romeo visiting the two in a hospital ward, while the New Line Cinema cut leaves their fate more ambiguous.
  • Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later puts John and Molly on a bus (which does not return in the sequel) prior to Laurie's final confrontation with Michael.
  • In Disney's Maleficent, the three fairies disappear before the climax in which Maleficent and Diaval confront King Stefan, with Aurora helping them.
  • The 1954 Toho movie, Seven Samurai features Yohei, the comical villager getting killed before the dramatic final battle.
  • Wes Craven's New Nightmare does this on a meta level with regards to the A Nightmare on Elm Street franchise as a whole. The fact that, by 1994, the Nightmare films had long since jumped the shark and inflicted severe Villain Decay upon Freddy Krueger is heavily commented on and a major theme of the story, with Robert Englund appearing in costume as Freddy on a talk show and getting a huge pop from the crowd. This film's version of Freddy, by contrast, jettisons all of the camp that he had built up in later sequels, with nastier-looking burn scars and none of the Black Comedy that he brought before. Most of the Hollywood meta-humor, meanwhile, falls away in the second half of the film, while the plot comes to be about Freddy kidnapping Heather Langenkamp's son.
  • Wonder Woman (2017): The jovial Etta Candy almost completely disappears in the final act of the movie, only showing up again when she, Diana, and Steve's friends visit the memorial wall during the peace celebration, as well as The Stinger in the home-video release.
  • The Steve Martin / Carl Reiner film All of Me plays with this trope. Like the previous collaborations between the two, it is still a comedy and never seriously tries to be anything but. However, previous Martin/Reiner films like The Jerk and The Man with Two Brains tended to be rather zany, madcap and off-the-wall, relying heavily on fast-paced surrealism and absurdism, a loose relationship with the fourth wall and Martin himself playing a rather deranged and dimwitted buffoon. All of Me, however, is more naturalistic and plot-based, Martin's character is basically a down-to-earth nice guy with a few quirks, and the humour mainly comes from the absurd situation that Martin's character finds himself in and his interplay with the woman responsible for it (played by Lily Tomlin).

  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame, the death of Jehan, who had provided nearly all of the comic relief in an otherwise serious story, acts as a giant "Bad End Incoming" flag.
  • Harry Potter:
    • How did J.K. Rowling show that the climax of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows was Serious Business? By killing off Fred, one half of the series' biggest Ensemble Dark Horse and Plucky Comic Relief duo.
    • Also, initially "funny" characters like Ron and Luna get Character Development which causes them to act more serious as the series winds down. Even Dobby becomes kind of serious before he's killed. Professor Trelawney, however, doesn't become more serious. During the Battle of Hogwarts, she is seen comically hitting Death Eaters with crystal balls, although she's still absent from the final confrontation between Harry and Voldemort (or at least if she's there, it's not mentioned).
  • In Lloyd Alexander's The High King, the well-meaning but comically inept Prince Rhun is the first character to die, signalling the start of a substantially darker climax to The Chronicles of Prydain.
  • The mass death of the comic relief Wild Turkeys in The Book of the Dun Cow shows how serious the battle against Cockatrice will be and darkens the mood of the book considerably.
  • While Gaunt's Ghosts is naturally quite grimdark from the very beginning, things don't go into full-despair, Anyone Can Die mode until after the death of Gentle Giant "Try Again" Bragg.
  • One of the darkest villains in The Dresden Files, Shagnasty the skinwalker, proved its status as such by striking down Toot-toot, a previously nigh-invincible comic relief character.
  • Jules Verne's Robur the Conqueror: The servant Frycollin, who's given the burden of supplying most of the comic relief, is notably absent during the two most dramatic moments in the book. The first time, his absence is itself Played for Drama and ends up being a minor Chekhov's Gun; the second time, it's just explained that he's tired of all the hullaballoo and decided to stay home.
  • In A Song of Ice and Fire, this happens over the course of the first book, where Ned Stark's Captain of Guard, Jory Cassel who is quite a light-hearted figure, is killed in a fight with Jaime Lannister's men. Later his replacement, "Fat Tom", is also killed by Lannister men.
    • A rather tragic example during the Red Wedding, in which Robb Stark and most of his army are killed. His mother Catelyn Stark threatens to kill Aegon "Jinglebell" Frey, a disabled grandson of Walder Frey who is used as a fool by the Freys, unless he lets Robb go, under the mistaken assumption that he's Walder's son and that Walder cared for him. Walder simply says that Jinglebell's his grandson, and was never much use anyway. After Robb is murdered, Catelyn cuts Jinglebell's throat and is then killed herself. Played with in that the way Jinglebell is treated before that by his family really isn't funny.
    • When Lord Beric Dondarrion and the Red Priest Thoros of Myr appear in the first books Beric is a flamboyant young knight and Thoros a fat and jolly drunk. After Beric's multiple deaths and resurrections by Thoros he becomes a more somber character while leading the Brotherhood without Banners, while Thoros slims out and shapes up due to his fighting. Beric even gives a speech about how he keeps losing himself with each resurrection, he can't remember where his castle was or about the woman he was pledged to marry. The tone with the Brotherhood still has its light-hearted moments, considering they are Just Like Robin Hood, especially before Beric appears. After Beric's final death when he resurrects Catelyn as Lady Stoneheart, her control of the Brotherhood makes the tone in their appearances even darker, with some of the lighter characters such as Anguy the Archer and Edric Dayne leaving, and Thoros going back to drinking, but in a more depressing manner.
  • In Robin Jarvis' The Oaken Throne, Wendel Maculatum the jester naturally ceases to be a funny character when it's revealed that he is the murderous High Priest of Hobb.
  • Throughout the first Survivor Dogs book, the adolescent Alfie is a plucky young bulldog that alleviates tension with his fun attitude and Leeroy Jenkins antics. In the very first chapter of the second book, A Hidden Enemy, Alfie gets slapped by Alpha to show that Alpha is a major threat. It was such a serious blow that Alfie was wounded and ended up bleeding out two chapters later. He's the first major death in the series.
  • In Oliver Twist, the Artful Dodger is arrested and shipped off to Australia just before the string of events that result in the murder of Nancy and the deaths of Sikes and Fagin.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.:
    • Lovable optimistic snarker Tripp's death heralded a much darker chapter in Skye's life and the show. Lampshaded by Skye:
      Skye: We're gonna laugh a lot less, that's for sure.
  • Andromeda, when Trance stopped being purple.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • Poor Spike is left to rot in a wheelchair while the significantly less cuddly Angelus steals the spotlight in the second season.
    • Season 6: Jonathan and Andrew are sent to jail, and Warren faces off with Dark Willow, who takes over as the Final Boss, seeking vengeance for Tara's demise.
  • When Plucky Comic Relief characters Cal and Chloe die in episode 11 of 13 in murder mystery Harper's Island, it's the final sign that there will be no more funny bits.
  • BattleBots was always a serious competition, but the original run on Comedy Central decided to frame it as being a parody of televised sports in post-production, shoehorning in comedy sketches and other silliness with the contestants between fights, and Fanservice co-hosts. The current seasons, which began on ABC and moved to Discovery Channel in 2018, are much more serious in tone.
  • Power Rangers:
    • Power Rangers Wild Force: Comic-relief villains Toxica and Jindrax go through a Heel–Face Turn and ride off into the sunset to "find themselves" before the two-part season finale, which is pretty bleak until the last few minutes. Their Hyakujuu Sentai Gaoranger counterparts, by contrast, neither reformed nor survived.
    • For the final two episodes of Power Rangers Turbo, which are the most sombre the franchise had seen at that point, and have a severe Downer Ending, Bulk and Skull don't make a single appearance.
    • Also Bulk and Skull during Power Rangers in Space. As the series got darker, they had a reduction of screen time, but their actions in the last episode make up for it.
    • Power Rangers Samurai removed Bulk and Spike from the final five episodes (save for one scene) in order to emphasise that things were coming to a climax.
  • In Young Dracula, Wolfie (Vlad and Ingrid's younger half-brother) seems to disappear after Erin becomes a vampire and things get much darker.
  • Doctor Who:
    • An unusual example: Jon Pertwee did this to himself after his first few stories. He was cast with many of his comedic talents, such as magic tricks and skill with doing different voices, in mind, but Jon ultimately decided to play it straight for the remainder of his five years.
    • At the beginning of Season 18 the Doctor hangs up his shabby rainbow boho ensemble in favour of a much classier dark red outfit, sets his Quirky Curls into a smoother mane, and suddenly starts acting detached and moody. A few stories later, Romana, the witty Meta Guy and pseudo-Distaff Counterpart, is Put on a Bus along with the funny little Robot Dog. Then we get the "Return of the Master" Arc, which is extremely sad and dramatic and involves everyone on a companion's planet and the Doctor dying.
    • The Tenth Doctor's funniest companion was Donna Noble - while she wasn't exclusively Plucky Comic Relief, she and he formed a comic double-act for much of their companionship. Just before the Doctor's death storyline begins, she's written out in an extremely unfunny way. Two breather specials later, Ten's recurring streak of hubris hits its peak and he basically signs his own death warrant.
    • Towards the climax of the episode "The End of Time", the Vinvocci — who have mainly been light relief up until this point — leave the Doctor and Wilf on Earth to confront the Master and the Time Lords, after which they decide the Doctor's incoming regeneration is Somebody Else's Problem and fly off in their spaceship to never return.
    • The Series 9 prequel short "The Doctor's Meditation" and the first half of "The Magician's Apprentice" have the Doctor confiding in the kindly but slow-witted Bors in medieval Essex while the former is having The Last Dance; Bors believes the Doctor to be a magician and owes him his life over almost choking to death on a marble. During the Doctor's "farewell concert" and his reunion with Clara and Missy, Bors begins to choke again...and coughs up a snake that's part of Davros's just-arrived henchman Colony Sarff, who rounds up the other three. From there, it's revealed that Bors is now a Dalek puppet, meaning he died at some point, and the episode goes downhill from there emotionally.
    • "The Girl Who Died" is a mostly-lighthearted story, with the Large Ham villains are sent packing with their tails between their legs via the Doctor and Clara threatening to reveal their cowardice to the universe via a viral video! Then it turns out that sweet Ashildr died in the course of their undoing, and the episode takes a heartbreaking turn as the Doctor decides to revive her, even though it will also make her immortal, which paves the way for further tragedies down the line.
    • In the end Series 9 had no Breather Episodes, climaxing with an extremely dark three-part story that temporarily turned the Doctor into a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds. To counteract this grimness, the follow-up Christmas Episode "The Husbands of River Song" is a colorful romp with comical villains who embody Evil Is Hammy to varying degrees, and other secondary characters are mostly Played for Laughs. The climax sees all of the villains destroyed or neutralized before pulling the very serious plot twist that the Doctor and River crash-land on the planet he knows is where they spend their final night together, and the denouement is bittersweetly romantic save for a quietly humorous interlude that reveals the fate of the remaining characters.
  • In Game of Thrones, Plucky Comic Relief and Lovable Coward Hot Pie is shuffled off to a safe place midway through the third season. Following his departure, not only does any hope of a happy ending in Arya's arc (of which he was a part) become extremely unlikely, but the events after he leaves also give little hope of a happy ending for the series as a whole.
    • In general, the jesters and fools of the novels have either been dropped altogether (Moon Boy, Butterbumps, Patchface) or found their roles severely cut (Ser Dontos Holland)... even the disturbing ones (Shagwell, Jinglebell).
  • For the season two finale of Person of Interest when The Machine is about to go offline Bear disappears. It's explained he was with Leon.
  • In Inspector Rex, Giandomenico Morini, a funny, childlike character, transfers to Milan and is replaced by Alberto Monterosso, a more serious character, before Fabbri is killed.
  • In Justified, Boyd's murder of Dewey Crowe in season 6 takes the show in a darker direction.
  • The shift from comedy to drama on M*A*S*H was expedited by the departures of such mostly-comedic characters as Henry Blake (at the end of season 3), Trapper John (season 4), Frank Burns (season 6), and Radar (season 8).
  • In Teen Wolf, while Stiles is the comedic relief of the show and responsible for a lot of the show's most hilarious moments, his overall role has become significantly less funny as the seasons have progressed. In season 1, he's the straight comic relief. In season 2, he remains comic for most of the season, but the last few episodes have him hallucinating his father blaming him for his mother's death and then he's kidnapped and viciously beaten by the villain to teach Scott a lesson. In 3a he's still the funniest character on the show, but has matured somewhat and near the end goes into Heroic BSoD when his father is taken as a sacrifice and Stiles spends 16 hours dead in ice water to get him back. This trope really kicks in 3b, the darkest season of the show to date, as Stiles spends the first few episodes of 3b basically losing his mind, then thinks he's dying of the same disease that killed his mother, only to discover he's possessed by the Big Bad, spends multiple episodes being mentally tortured and forced to hurt his friends, and ultimately the arc culminates with him trying to commit suicide to save everyone.
  • Rex the Coelurosauravus from Primeval acted as the adorable and comedic Team Pet of the group, and as such he had a growing tendency to vanish from an episode whenever things got serious until eventually he barely appeared or was mentioned at all, save for a couple quick cameos to remind us that he's still around/alive. In one episode, he's nearly killed by Connor Temple's herpetophobic Romantic False Lead when she locks him in a fridge, but fortunately Abbey finds him and saves him.
  • This trope is the most likely explanation for the Superman Stays Out of Gotham situation between the mainstream MCU heroes and the MCU Netflix shows. Even at their darkest, most MCU movies are a thousand times Lighter and Softer than any of the Netflix shows, so keeping the movie heroes out of New York ensures that the dark, gritty, mature tone of the Netflix shows remains no matter what.
    • Also why there hasn't been a Stan Lee Cameo, since these tend to be comedic Big-Lipped Alligator Moment's in the films. Instead the shows have his face being used on campaign posters from the NYPD, shown throughout the shows.
  • Enforced by Babylon 5, which operated under a standing order from J. Michael Straczynski that any animal sidekicks, funny robots, cute kids, or hotshot pilots were to be brutally killed off as soon as physically possible, if they appeared at all. This was not a bluff; the one time executives tried to add a snarky pilot to the cast, he was immediately and horribly killed in his first episode, while a cutesy kid appeared in another episode almost solely to die a tragically avoidable death.


    Puppet Shows 
  • Upon the arrival of the Ghost of Christmas Yet to Come in The Muppet Christmas Carol, Rizzo decides that events have gotten too scary and Gonzo agrees, so the Interactive Narrators leave with Gonzo saying to the audience, "You're on your own folks, we'll meet you at the finale."
  • In Sesame Street Presents: Follow That Bird all of the muppets sans the obvious exception of Big Bird are absent from the dramatic car chase towards the end.

    Tabletop Games 
  • BattleTech does this during the later days of the Fedcom Civil War and all throughout the Jihad. Units and characters whose main purpose was to give a slightly humorous, referential, or colorful flavor to the world are almost all killed off or disbanded, ostensibly to demonstrate that the setting was fully embracing the bleakness of its storyline. This includes units such as the Fighting Uruk-hai, Team Banzai, and Ace Darwin's Whipits among others.

  • Older Than Steam: William Shakespeare knew the value of this trope.
    • Mercutio in Romeo and Juliet is the Ur-Example: his Act III death sets the rest of the play's tragic events in motion.
    • The Fool in King Lear vanishes without explanation before Lear's mad scene and the death-filled Act V, though one theory is that this is merely because The Fool and Cordelia were played by the same actor in Shakespeare's own production. Another theory is that The Fool was killed off offstage: one production opened with a tableau of The Fool and Cordelia hanging side by side on a hangman's noose. A few productions have had him silent but on stage during the mad scene, and Lear killing him during his mania. Of course, one interpretation is that Lear is the fool for much of the play, the Fool is acting much wiser then him. About the time the Fool disappears from the Play, Lear has become wiser.
    • In Julius Caesar, after Brutus and Cassius have reconciled from an argument, the poet barges into their tent, and tries to lighten the mood, only for Brutus and Cassius to send him on his way:
    Cassius: How now! What's the matter?
    Poet: For shame, you generals! what do you mean?
    Love and be friends, as two such men should be,
    For I have seen more years, I'm sure, than ye.
    Cassius: Ha, ha! How vilely doth this cynic rhyme!
    Brutus: Get you hence, sirrah! Saucy fellow, hence!
    Cassius: Bear with him, Brutus. 'Tis his fashion.
    Brutus: I'll know his humor when he knows his time.
    What should the wars do with these jigging fools? Companion, hence!
    Cassius: Away, away, begone!
    • In Henry V, Falstaff's offscreen death puts the audience on notice: the former Prince Hal is now King Henry, and can afford no more cheap laughs.
    • In Hamlet, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are gotten rid of by the end of Act IV, where Hamlet changes the execution order they're delivering from himself to them. The death of Polonius, meanwhile, sets the act in motion.
  • The disciples in Godspell are played as literal clowns and wear clown makeup to mark them out as followers of Jesus. He finally calls them together and removes their makeup in the scene immediately preceding his crucifixion and death. Making this more a case of Erase The Clowns.
  • In Street Scene, the comic Narrative Filigree in the second act abruptly ceases when Mr. Maurrant shoots his wife and her lover to death, only to ironically resume in the last minute of the play when the plot has already reached its Downer Ending.
  • In 25 Saints, Tuck and Sasha are shooed out shortly before the Kill 'Em All finale.
  • In Les Misérables, shortly after all the students, save Marius, are killed on the barricade, who should appear but comic relief Thenardier! Only to sing a song about how God is dead, steal a ring off of Marius's (supposed) corpse, and exit, robbing more dead people of their valuables including his own dead son and daughter. Instead of shooing out the clowns, they chose to make the clown exactly as serious and horrifying as the surrounding action.
  • Hamilton:
    • Lafayette, Laurens, and Mulligan, who are responsible for many lighthearted moments in the show, are all gone by the end of Act I, right before Hamilton's life snowballs into a shitshow. Their actors are double-cast as Jefferson, Philip Hamilton and Madison respectively.
    • King George appears sporadically through the musical providing humorous/cynical commentary on events through reprises of his song. But his last appearance is in "The Reynolds Pamphlet" where he has no lines but is one of the politicians dancing and taunting Hamilton for blowing his chance at becoming president due to his affair. The rest of the musical is much more somber, as it covers the death of Hamilton's son Phillip and the events leading up to the famous duel and Hamilton's own death, and as a result, an appearance from George would have been inappropriate in tone.
  • In The Hunchback of Notre Dame: The Musical, Quasimodo shoos away his imaginary gargoyle friends upon crossing the Despair Event Horizon during The Eleven O'Clock Number, "Made of Stone".
  • In Feathers and Teeth, Chris's comedic German neighbor Hugo Schmidt is the first victim of the eponymous feathered-and-toothed creatures.

    Video Games 
  • Pokémon Sun and Moon and the remake Pokémon Ultra Sun and Ultra Moon has Hau leaving to train just as the player prepares to confront the Big Bad.
  • In the True Ending path of BoxxyQuest: The Gathering Storm, all of Catie's quirky, loveable teammates get taken out by the Reversion Pulse just in time for Legion to be revived, at which point the usually lighthearted game turns deathly dark and serious.
  • Disgaea:
    • Lampshaded in Disgaea DS: During New Game+, the Prinny commentary stops during really emotional scenes, usually prefaced with something to the tune of "I'll shut up for awhile." It's back as soon as the dialogue turns goofy again.
    • Also spoofed in the second to last chapter of Disgaea 2, when Those Two Guys Hanako and Taro (who are, for the most part, just coming along because they're fangirling/fanboying the more plot-important characters) realize that they're going to need real motives if they want to stay relevant (which they, of course, fashion out of complete bullshit on the spot).
  • When Samurai Shodown III came around, SNK decided they wanted a "darker" atmosphere. This resulted in drastic redesigns for most of the characters (Large Ham Kabuki actor Senryo Kyoshiro apparently Took a Level in Badass), and the removal of the more light-hearted characters, including Gen-an, Cham Cham and her brother Tam Tam, Caffeine Nicotine, Jubei Yagyu (?!) and Charlotte. Samurai Shodown IV came around and added some of them back in, and by Samurai Shodown VI, the entire cast has been reunited.
  • You know that Fire Emblem 7 is about to get dark when Chivalrous Pervert Sain, the closest to a comic relief, shows up less and less in-story (aside of his supports, that is). This could just be explained by how the Fire Emblem series handles storytelling. Since one of the main premises of the series' gameplay is Anyone Can Die, it becomes impossible to have anyone but the main lord(s), enemy characters or NPCs take an active role in the story because those characters may or may not be alive. Which is why latest games (starting with 7, coincidentally) have realized how limiting is this and have around a half-dozen characters or more only "retreat" when defeated and stay on the baselines, injured but alive, so they can talk on plot events.
  • Sonic the Hedgehog:
    • In Sonic the Hedgehog 2, when playing as Sonic with Tails tagging along (the default play mode), the opening scene of Wing Fortress Zone involves the biplane getting shot down, with Tails inside. Sonic has to tackle this level and Death Egg Zone all by himself. Tails reappears to pull off a Big Damn Heroes moment when it's all through.
    • Sonic 3 & Knuckles uses this to a lesser extent. Tails follows Sonic all the way through Death Egg Zone, but if you have all the Chaos Emeralds, you're granted access to the True Final Boss, which consists in Super/Hyper Sonic fighting Eggman's final mecha one-on-one in space. As Tails is unable to transform, he stays behind, only returning in the ending to pick up Sonic and the Master Emerald with their biplane, the Tornado.
    • In Sonic Unleashed, after Dr. Eggman's newest mech is defeated, Dark Gaia is able to revive thanks to the weapon's destruction and enough of its pieces gathering together to reform a physical, if still incomplete, body. When Eggman tries to loudly order it to crush Sonic, it uses one of its tentacles and smacks him and his pod up and out of the Earth's core to battle by itself.
  • Final Fantasy:
    • Final Fantasy VI wraps up several storylines during a pivotal moment in the middle of the game, particularly with Ultros. Kefka also goes from a literal Clown to the most menacing being in all reality.
    • In the Final Fantasy VII prequel Crisis Core, the humorous Chocobo Summons will never appear in the DMW during certain dramatic boss battles (e.g., the fights with Sephiroth, Angeal, etc.)
    • In Final Fantasy VIII, the increasingly bleak predicament facing the party are interspersed with segments featuring the buffoonish Laguna Loire. Come disc three, the least militaristic of the main party is in a coma, and the final Laguna segment occurs shortly before things get even worse.
    • In Final Fantasy XIII-2 Mog is "phased out" during a dramatic sequence where Serah is alone in the Void Beyond and has to confront Caius by herself. He's not truly gone, because he's also her weapon and the mechanic for finding hidden treasure, but he may as well be in terms of the storyline.
    • In Final Fantasy XIV, you meet Hoary Boulder and Coultenet, two adventurers who join the Scions of the Seventh Dawn in the patches between A Realm Reborn and Heavensward. These light-hearted adventurers bring some comedy relief when needed, but when things takes a turn for the worse with Patch 2.5, they're slowly phased out, disappearing before Patch 2.55's Wham Episode. They stay out of the entirety of Heavensward's main story and don't return until Patch 3.2 as they're protecting themselves and Minfillia's adopted mother after the events of said Wham Episode.
      • The Inspector Hildibrand questline is a Denser and Wackier side-story where the Warrior of Light plays the Hypercompetent Sidekick to the titular Clueless Detective. Each major update, barring expansion releases, includes a new instalment of the questline. However, Hildibrand and his questline make absolutely no appearances durring the entirety of the Darker and Edgier Shadowbringers expansion save for an out-of-the-way cameo in one of the dungeons. He is slated to return for the Endwalker expansion.
  • Cave Story: Balrog, the humorous half of the Quirky Miniboss Squad, makes himself scarce about two-thirds into the game, just before the Climax Boss shows up. In the normal ending, the fight in the Labyrinth is the last time you ever see him; in the Golden Ending, he shows up after the defeat of the True Final Boss to pull off a Big Damn Heroes moment.
    • In the scope of the Normal ending. Curly Brace seems to be the only cheerful person right before everything makes a turn for the worst (crippling the Core, Egg Corridor exploding, all Mimigas kidnapped). Tragically, Curly Brace is killed off, and heroically no less.
  • Ace Combat 5: The Unsung War features the Wham Level where the resident Plucky Comic Relief and The Big Guy Chopper gracefully leaves the stage by performing a Heroic Sacrifice and is eventually replaced by the Captain Snow. If that isn't a clue that shit is about to get worse, nothing is.
  • Kingdom Hearts started out with Donald Duck and Goofy as party members, and has to figure out how to use them as the story has become much more dramatic and serious over time.
    • In Kingdom Hearts, Ansem separates Sora from Donald and Goofy for the battle against him, but Sora then has to rescue them over the course of the final battle.
    • Several boss fights, including the final one, in Kingdom Hearts II had Sora separated from Donald and Goofy.
    • Lampshaded in Kingdom Hearts 3D: Dream Drop Distance, where Goofy asks "Do you think we'll ever get to do something important?"
    • Kingdom Hearts III zig-zags this: When the ending Boss Bonanza begins, Donald and Goofy decide to stay behind to hold back a Heartless army, allowing Sora to fight alongside the other Keyblade wielders. When only the final boss remains at the end of the bonanza, they have finished clearing out the Heartless and volunteer to help Sora finish the fight while the other Keyblade wielders stand guard behind. While there is a sequel hook at the end, Donald, Goofy and Mickey Mouse are all written out preceding hints for a shift towards a more Final Fantasy-esque setting.
  • In Persona 4, the party is joined by Teddie, an anthropomorphic bear/mascot creature as they investigate a series of bizarre murders. After the death of Nanako, the protagonist's young cousin & foster sister, the majority of the party heads to confront the man behind the murders, Teddie stays behind with Nanako & none of the other characters realise he wasn't with them until afterwards. As the party learns the suspect wasn't behind the murders, just the kidnappings the party had been thwarting, and was manipulated into that by another person, Teddie outright vanishes from the plot until the player identifies the true culprit.
  • Persona 3 has an incredibly extreme example. Around the point where the plot gets really dark, your goofy, bad-pun spewing Big Good is revealed to be a very insane villain who was just using you the whole time to bring about The End of the World as We Know It. And then he's quickly killed off.
  • In Persona Q: Shadow of the Labyrinth, Rei, one of the two new characters, is a cheerful young girl with a love of food, and a tendency to misinterpret what other people say as references to types of food, in contrast to her stoic partner Zen. At the end of the fourth labyrinth, Rei finally recovers her memories- that she died after living a short, lonely and unfulfilling life- and shortly thereafter, is captured by a spider to lure Zen to the top of the final dungeon. In Rei's absence, the endgame becomes much more somber- your party members are no longer having fun at the festival that serves as the game's hub, most of the Strolls and dialogue scenes while exploring the labyrinth talk about the desperate struggle to reach the end and what it truly means to live, and some of the background music and character voiceovers change accordingly.
  • To show how much more serious Halo: Reach is than the earlier Halo games, the Covenant all speak in an indecipherable language, even the formerly Plucky Comic Relief Grunts, effectively making them all much scarier. Also a Continuity Nod: most of the Covenant forces in the very first game only had a few repeating speech sounds, with only the Grunts speaking English. The game itself pulls this trope with Jun, putting him on a bus with Dr. Halsey before the final mission.
  • The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker
    • Tingle, who via GBA link lets players make use of his help in finding extra rupees, fighting enemies with bombs, healing, and finding the Tingle Statues in dungeons, peppered with his silly sense of humor. However, come boss fight time, Tingle quickly excuses himself (with reasons such as embarrassment at meeting Aryll, or a twisted ankle) and Link is left to face the boss alone. Besides the cheapness of being able to Tingle Bomb bosses to death, Tingle would hardly fit in with scenes featuring Link slaying titanic creatures of darkness and reuniting with his sister.
    • It's the same with Hyrule, where most of the dramatic, plot-relevant things happen. However, the technical reason that the Tingle Tuner doesn't work in these areas is because it only works when the area in question has a map, which neither boss arenas nor the entirety of Hyrule have. Cleverly, it phases pretty damn well into the story justification.
  • The first trailer of Street Fighter X Tekken features Kazuya breaking into Ryu's dojo, having just delivered a No-Holds-Barred Beatdown to Street Fighter's Joke Character, Dan Hibiki. According to Word of God, Dan didn't survive. Although he does turn up as the guy running the tutorial.
  • Iji is a very dark game throughout, but many of the logbooks are still quite funny, even if in a Black Comedy way. The humourous logbooks are mostly gone once the Komato arrive, and are gone entirely in the final few levels when things become especially desperate.
  • In The Legend of Spyro Dawn of the Dragon, before Spyro goes to face Malefor, he tells his adopted brother Sparx that he can't come with him, as he wouldn't survive the journey to the villains' castle. Instead, Spyro asks Sparx to lead everyone underground while the world begins to fall apart. Sparx is shown to be among the survivors after Spyro unleashes his World-Healing Wave.
  • In a much more literal example, the Something Awful Goonstation servers for Space Station 13 originally featured a Clown job position for inexperienced to play as, essentially giving them the privilege of annoying the crew as a newbie without any repercussions. However, the Clown job became so notoriously annoying and players who willingly chose it interfered with the gamemode so often\ it was eventually removed from the job list, and instead was only available through an admin command as a punishment.
  • The first half of Warhammer 40,000: Space Marine involves Captain Titus and his soldiers plowing their way through hordes of orks, giving it the feel of a fairly standard A Space Marine Is You storyline. Then Nemeroth and his Chaos Space Marines show up...
  • Super Mario Bros.:
    • Every two-dimensional game starting with Super Mario Bros. 3 does this in its final world. While the final worlds of the first two games plus Super Mario Bros.: The Lost Levels were about as lighthearted as the prior worlds (if considerably more difficult), Mario 3 gave its final world a much Darker and Edgier tone, removing all the toad houses and match games, diminishing the color palette to mostly black and red, and exclusively using the airship, fortress and cave themes for its in-level music. All future two-dimensional Mario games, including the Yoshi's Island games, would do the same kind of thing with their final worlds.
    • In Super Mario Galaxy, once you're eligible to enter the final level, you can speak to the Toad Brigade leader, who at first expresses willingness to go to the final confrontation with Bowser, but then gets a headache and says the Toad Brigade can't come after all.
    • Luigi's Mansion: Dark Moon puts a decisive end to the Polterpup and missing Toad subplots a little after the game's darker aspects are revealed, but just before it really hits the fan.
  • Metal Gear:
  • Five Nights at Freddy's is initially full of Black Comedy, mostly involving the sheer awfulness of the nightguard job getting multiple lampshades. For instance, the Phone Guy nonchalantly telling you about how being stuffed into a suit can result in "a bit of discomfort... and death." The moment the Murderer is brought up, everything starts to go downhill. When he actually shows up, the games lose any and all elements of Black Comedy that they used to have, replacing Phone Guy's almost overkill attempts to make the job seem completely normal with him casually informing you that if you screw up, you will die a horrible death, and that all you can do about that is, at best, crawling away to bleed out unseen by the children, and replacing the goofy-looking mascots with an Artificial Zombie that is visibly rotting.
    • Phone Guy's complete omission from Five Nights at Freddy's 4 reveals just how little of a laughing matter the series has become by this point.
  • Undertale has a weird meta example. Many items have either goofy contractions when viewed in the menu or a humorous description or sound effect when used in battle. During more dramatic boss fights or on a No Mercy route, the abbreviations are changed to be less silly (for example, a Spider Donut is abbreviated as "SpidrDont" normally and "SpdrDonut" in serious mode), and the wacky sounds and joke descriptions are removed. On the plus side, the Instant Noodles bypass the Overly Long Gag of their preparation and are eaten raw for a vastly stronger heal, with the game remarking that "they're better dry."
    • In the No Mercy route, Sans and Mettaton, who are normally recurring sources of comic relief, will appear considerably less often and make it clear from the first that they don't find what the player is doing funny.
    • Also in the No Mercy route, those incidental silly monsters that appear in random encounters are ones you will have to ruthlessly slaughter left and right; in particular, you have to specifically kill Snowdrake in Snowdin order to proceed with the route. Killing enough monsters to depopulate Snowdin without killing him will cause the game to remark that "the comedian got away", and kick you out of No Mercy mode.
    • If you kill Papyrus on a Neutral route, Sans will be absent from all the usual places where he appears on any other Neutral route until you reach the Last Corridor, where he will give his usual dialogue about what EXP and LOVE really mean, before asking you if you would "do the right thing" if you had the ability to (referring to your Save Scumming ability). Either response will have him call you out on killing his brother, as will most of the ending phone calls.
    • If you befriend both Papyrus and Undyne, you can call them at various points in the game to get their often humorous commentary on your current location. Once you reach the passage before The Core, though (where the game gets darker even if you aren't on a No Mercy route), they inform you that you won't be able to reach them once you go inside.
  • Psychonauts has the Censors, a goofy reoccurring enemy that comes in several types and appear throughout the game's several Mental Worlds. They are completely absent in the final and most Nightmare Fuel-centric Mental World, the Meat Circus. Additionally, a Point of No Return at this point prevents Raz from returning to the real world, rendering him unable to see the camp's kids again until the ending.
  • The Journeyman Project: Buried in Time gets a lot more somber after your wisecracking AI sidekick turns himself into a virus in order to free you from the big bad.
  • Occurs very noticeably in Issue #10 of The Secret World: for most of "Nightmare In The Dream Palace" you're playing through John's memories of the wild night on the town he had with the hilariously dickheaded Che Garcia Hansson; this particular night out features punch-ups with Akashi, duels with the House In Exile, Bullet Dancing with the Korinto-Kai, and even a dance-off with Ricky Pagan. Exactly one scene after Che leaves Kaidan, John was charged with detonating a Filthy device on the Tokyo subways; you not only have to fight off his nightmares of Lilith and what she might do to him if he fails, but you're given a horrific recollection of the exact moment he detonated the bomb and became the Black Signal. Worse still, the Black Signal then realizes that you've been reading his memories and retaliates by turning the mission into a Mind Rape of the player character. Even the Black Signal lampshades just how grim everything got once Che departed.
  • One of the many side things you can do in 7th Dragon III: code VFD is collect Cute Kittens, which results in them lounging around in various parts of Nodens HQ, most notably the cat cafe. So how do you know things have gotten disastrous in Chapter 6? ND's pink Dragonsbane kills off most of life in Tokyo, including the cats.
  • On Police Quest: Open Season's final day, Detective Carey is separated from his LAPD comrades and must infiltrate the Big Bad's hideout alone without any backup or comic relief.
  • Happens to Mickey Mouse, Goofy, Woody, and Jessie during major events in Disney Magic Kingdoms. The former two in particular will have at least a few quests to help kick off an event and/or figure out how to deal with the eternally-respawning tapper enemies with a few more quests later on, and the latter two will have semi-related side-quests. All four are helpful for collecting tokens and event currency regardless, but soon enough, the plot will focus solely on the new characters introduced in the event (e.g. those from Beauty and the Beast), who are the only ones who can participate in the event's boss battle(s).
  • Fallout: New Vegas: The final story expansion pack, Lonesome Road, is by far the bleakest of the DLC's and entirely devoid of comedic characters, which is a complete 180 from the over-the-top pulp sci-fi humor of the previous DLC, Old World Blues. Aside from the duplicate of ED-E, the only NPC's encountered in The Divide are the ruthlessly hostile Marked Men, and the Big Bad, Ulysses, is a Creepy Monotone-voiced Scary Black Man clad in a duster and respirator mask, whose face is fixed in a glowing, unblinking stare.
  • PAYDAY 2 does attempt to be serious most of the time, but it also has a lot of quirky contacts and funny moments like escorting a drunk pilot wearing a santa hat and stealing goats that have cocaine shoved up their ass. By the time the Reservoir Dogs heist rolls around, things become a lot more serious and the humor is abandoned completely. Bain is kidnapped by a shadow organization and being tortured. The usual cops and SWAT that you fight are replaced with Murkywater PMCs, which (in the story anyway) are a lot more aggressive. The crew starts finding very strange artifacts that are linked to said organization and are extremely dangerous. The Hell's Island heist has your crew storming the place to rescue Bain, but when you reach him, he's so beaten up and bloodied that you barely even recognize him. Bain then collapses due to a virus that Murkywater injected him with and now he's going to die in a few days. The last heist takes place at the White House where the crew rob the place of Presidential pardons in order to clear their names for good. By the time the crew succeeds, Bain dies and a funeral is held for him where the crew toss their masks into the open grave and effectively retire from heisting.
  • At the start of a Plague Inc. game, the news ticker depicts many different news, more often than not humorous notes like "Nintendo to Pixelate Toad in future games" or "Artist murdered in his house. Details are sketchy". However, once your plague starts becoming a serious threat, the news ticker becomes an Apocalyptic Log, informing you of the measures different countries are implementing in order to stop the pandemic and which governments have fallen into anarchy.
  • In Max Payne 3, Raul and Giovanna, upon finding out that the latter is pregnant, pull a Screw This, I'm Outta Here! prior to the final act, leaving Max to hunt down the Big Bad solo.
  • Happens in all three Marathon installments:
  • In Red Faction II, Tangier, the only member of Alias's squad remaining allied with him after Molov's betrayal, jumps out the window of Sopot's Statue prior to the Final Boss battle. The player's performance over the course of the game determines whether she survives the fall.
  • Perfect Dark Zero takes its serious turn when Joanna's father Jack is killed, which is shortly followed by Chandra's reveal as The Mole.
  • In Syphon Filter 2, Logan's G.I. allies disappear from the story after the first act, setting the darker tone for the rest of the story, and only two survive to the final act, in which the first, Ramirez, is killed off, while the second, Chance, reveals himself as an Agency mole.
  • In Silent Hill 2, Laura, the Only Sane Girl in town, is completely absent during the Dark World sequences. Justified in-story in that, being a very young girl, Laura has no guilt over past sins or skeletons in her closet for the town to use against her.
  • The Shiba Inu's shop in World of Horror can provide a brief respite from the gloomy, unnerving atmosphere of the main game. However, one of the ways that the stirring of the Outer God can mess with your progress is by causing the pup to close up shop. This isn't guaranteed to happen; it's entirely possible for the dog to soldier on even as the rest of the town goes to hell.
  • In Ori and the Will of the Wisps, the Silent Woods, the most corrupted region of Niwen, where Ku is stranded at the beginning of the story and massacred by the Big Bad while attempting to escape with Ori at the end of the first act, are the only place that Lupo the cartographer doesn't dare enter, instead having Ori map it for him as a sidequest, and are also empty of Moki and other NPC's aside from the distraught treekeeper Kii, due to the residents having been Taken for Granite by The Corruption. After Ku's aformentioned near-death and "funeral", the Greek Chorus of Moki that had been observing Ori's progress assume a more dour mood and retreat into the background for most of the remainder of the story.
  • Bayonetta:
    • In the first game and its sequel, Butt-Monkey Enzo only appears at the very beginning and end of the games, before the plot really kicks off and after everything has been settled. The only other times the player will see him (in medal/trophy form) are from getting Stone awards, and that's something to try to avoid. This is justified in that he's a regular human who has no chance whatsoever against the forces of Paradiso (and Inferno in 2), so he mostly gives Bayonetta the information she needs and she heads off by herself.
    • The other major comic relief character, Luka, is seemingly blown up by a missile right before the final fight with Jeanne, and he's tossed out a window just before the battle with Balder. He's not revealed to have survived until after each fight. He has a more active role in the finale of the second game, but by that point he phases out of being comic relief.

    Visual Novels 
  • Fate/stay night:
    • Taiga Fujimura. Whenever she suddenly stops coming over for some reason, things are going to get worse.
    • Also note that Sakura Matou gets the Unlucky Childhood Friend treatment and disappears around the same time as Taiga in the first two arcs, which is more Shoo Out the Cute than the Clowns. Then comes the Heaven's Feel scenario.
  • Arihiko in Tsukihime has a funny tendency to simply stop showing up after about the third day. In Ciel and Akiha's routes he stays slightly more important as they involve the school more.
  • This happens with a character's mask in DRAMAtical Murder. Clear initially comes across as a pure Cloud Cuckoolander comic relief character who wears a bizarre-looking gas mask all the time. His route starts out as more of the same, with Aoba being continually driven up the wall by his wacky antics. Then Aoba persuades Clear to remove his mask and his route and character do a sudden 180 into What Measure Is a Non-Human? territory and there is literally not a single humorous or light-hearted scene after that.
  • You can tell a route in Katawa Shoujo is about to get more serious when Hisao's crazy neighbor Kenji stops showing up. In Lilly's route, he shows up after Lilly tells Hisao that she's going to Scotland (albeit while not quite acting like he usually does). Interestingly enough, Shizune's route, he appears in the scene immediately before the bad ending, of all times.
  • This tends to happen in Danganronpa around Chapter 3 or 4:
    • In Danganronpa 2: Goodbye Despair, Ibuki Mioda, one lighthearted, cheerful and fairly humorous student, is murdered in the third chapter, as a sign that the game is getting significantly darker. This is even an Enforced Trope, as her killer lampshades that it's precisely because of her carefree, quirky personality that made her so well liked and her death was intended to plunge everyone into despair.
    • In the third game, Danganronpa V3: Killing Harmony we have Miu Iruma, the loud, perverted source of a lot of humour in the story, particularly the trials. Her death and its fallout instantly cause a significant change in tone, and the remaining students are drastically shaken by the Awful Truth behind her death.
    • Also from Danganronpa V3: the Monokubs, the "children" of Monokuma, are seen into a furnace by one of their own. The implication here is that the Big Bad is done "playing around" with the remaining students.
  • Ace Attorney:
    • The final cases generally tend to be the most serious due to all the high stakes in the trials. While there can be some comedic or at least chuckle worthy moments, they are exceedingly rare and the courtroom dramas are played very seriously.
    • The final trial with the final witness in Trials and Tribulations has all the comedy and laughs completely thrown out the window. The cross-examinations has the witness not acting over the top or crazy, but instead acts very desperate and confused like a real person would in the given circumstances. There's a moment of emotional heartbreak on all sides when the discussion of why the murder took place comes up. Even at the very end when the defendant is cleared of murder charges, there's a complete lack of the applause from the gallery and no confetti. Instead, the usual "Not Guilty" appears on screen as normal and the game cuts to the next scene.
    • Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Spirit of Justice in Case 5. Things get so serious and dramatic, with the stakes so high for Apollo, Phoenix and their client, that Athena is completely left out of the action and just watches the trial from the gallery. This is because, if the defense is not able to prove their client innocent and Athena participates, she will get executed along with the guys. So they tell her to stay away.
    • In the same case, Trucy is told to stay home when the rest of the cast travel to Khura'in. She reappears at the end of the case, having stowed away in Edgeworth's suitcase.
  • In Higurashi: When They Cry, any given arc generally gets serious (and scary) after the shrine festival. Until then it's usually a chance to show the characters at their cutest.

    Web Animation 
  • Discussed in Terrible Writing Advice. The episode "Comic Relief Characters" suggests getting rid of the comic relief for the final act, even if it results in Mood Whiplash and the story taking itself too seriously.
  • Red vs. Blue:
    • Any season or mini-series without Donut is going to be much more dramatic than the others.
    • In episodes focused on the Freelancer project, despite O'Malley, Wyoming, and Gary being prominent villains in the first five seasons, and all having origins lying in the project, their screentime has been greatly limited, with only Wyoming getting a few brief lines. This is due to how their goofier personalities would clash with the more serious tone of the Freelancer segments.
    • O'Malley/Omega got a minor form of this in the opening of Reconstruction. In Blood Gulch Chronicles, he manifested as a parody Omnicidal Maniac Split Personality of whoever he was infecting. In the opening of season six, we hear the account of a shell-shocked soldier who had dealt with O'Malley arriving in his vicinity... and it's not played for laughs.
      • It's implied this is because O'Malley had only infected idiots, resistant pacifists, or Texas before. Once in some semi-competent soldiers with some actual aggression to use and no experience restraining an AI...
  • Supermarioglitchy4s Super Mario 64 Bloopers The You Tube Arc:
    • A running gag throughout the arc has the CEO of YouTube's surname, Susan Wojcicki, to be randomized every time her name shows up. In Mario VS YouTube, her name is displayed properly. Although still funny at some points, from that point on, the arc takes a very dark turn with SMG3 deciding to erase SMG4 and his gang via the YouTube Remote. In the next episode, Deleted, he does that. Those deaths are played seriously for some of the members, namely Tari and Meggy.
  • Super Mario Bros. Z: This happens with Wario and Waluigi twice:
    • In Episode 1, they’re sent flying out of the stadium by a Bob-omb when Bowser arrives to challenge Mario.
    • In Episode 2, Metallix's missiles catapult them away from Luigi and Yoshi. The following sequence consists of Yoshi falling off a cliff and getting into a brutal fight with Metallix.

    Web Comics 
  • El Goonish Shive has, for example, phased out the "anime martial arts instructor" (a character who exists almost solely for comedy, e.g. trying to go "super saiyan" in his first appearance), in favor of Nanase's mother (a character who exists solely to cause drama, e.g. criticizing Nanase for not spending every single waking hour devoted to schoolwork and then punishing her for objecting to this).
  • Happens in Questionable Content; the heavier the plotline, the less you'll see of Pintsize and Winslow.
  • Sluggy Freelance:
    • The "Fire and Rain" Story Arc (a large peak in seriousness in the first five years of the comic) occurred in Nebraska, thousands of miles away from the usual setting, with no Talking Animals, Mad Scientists, or any of the strip's other wacky attributes. Just an insane assassin and a terrified coed. Okay, one person gets turned into a camel, but even that was treated pretty seriously by the comic's standards.
    • Years later, Kiki is similarly absent for the entirety of the "bROKEN" Story Arc. She appears sleeping in the background at some point and then isn't seen until after the funerals.
  • Early in Dresden Codak's "Hob" Arc, Tiny Carl Jung is invited by the Tokamak's to accompany them in seeing Kimiko's newest discovery. He declines.
  • Homestuck:
    • The author has pointed out that some of the trolls receive more focus in the comic due to being more important to the plot, with the less important ones generally staying in the background. With the storyline becoming more serious and the stakes becoming higher, it seems somewhat telling that among these Demoted to Extra trolls are Nepeta and Gamzee, while Vriska not only is counted as an important character, but the one responsible for setting the events of the entire arc in motion. Gamzee has since come roaring back into the plot, or at least the trolls' segment of it, but surprise surprise: he's shed the comic relief mantle. Though he's still hilarious in a dark sort of way.
    • Earlier, Jade's dreambot was a silly little source of Plucky Comic Relief and general cuteness. At the end of act four, however, it malfunctions and explodes after Jade's dreamself dies, marking the beginning of Homestuck becoming a much more serious story.
    • The Homestuck Epilogues has a much heavier emphasis on the hardships of growing up/adulthood than the comic proper and is darker in tone. The Carapace race had been free of at least the teen angst of the humans and trolls, so it's not that surprising that they are Demoted to Extra in the Epilogues, with an offhand comment in Meat revealing that WV/The Mayor had died at some point. Presumably from old age, being in the past to help create Earth C, while the Game players had time-travelled to where civilization had been made.
  • Obadai seems to disappear whenever things get serious in Rumors of War. He isn't above instigating some drama himself, as a semi-Genre Savvy Trickster Mentor of sorts, but he plays a small role in the action of the story — which may be for another reason entirely. (He does display signs of Genre Savvy, after all.)
  • Bricky (a talking brick) will often disappear from The Life of Nob T. Mouse when a more serious storyline is running. The exception was when Knight of Cerebus Grandfather Time first arrived however, as Bricky played a key role in defeating the Grandfather's minions.
  • Tom Siddell typically has some humorous blurb under the strips of Gunnerkrigg Court. He always shuts up when the plot dips into genuinely somber material, especially if it involves backstory concerning Annie's late mother.
    Tom: Page notes will return when the chapter stops being about dead people. Come on.
  • Throughout the darkest Penny and Aggie arc, "Missing Person," involving the investigation of a kidnapping and climaxing in attempted murder turned attempted suicide, Cloudcuckoolander Genki Girl Lisa Winklemeyer is absent with the exception of a silent and understated two-panel appearance early on.
  • Cucumber Quest has a similar situation as Gunnerkrigg. Each page has a funny or sarcastic little aside underneath, but when the situation starts getting dire—such as when Noisemaster goes into the final stage of his plan to wipe out the Melody Kingdom—it vanishes. (There's a difference between merely perilous and this sort of deathly serious, because The Rant is still there when they almost get chunked into the sun.)
  • The Order of the Stick, throughout the current book and the previous one, has been wrapping up the more light-hearted subplots with extreme haste. Within the scope of two books, the resistance in Azure City is completely crushed, Tsukiko is casually killed by Redcloak, most of the Linear Guild (Zz'dtri, Thog, and Nale himself) are killed, the administration of Goblintopia is pushed to the side, and Bozzok and Crystal are killed very permanently. The only characters with side-plots still standing are Elan, Durkon, and Vaarsuvius, two of whose plots began within the aforementioned books and one of whose (V's) plots is unlikely to fully resolve til the end of the series and is decidedly not light-hearted.
  • The early years of Schlock Mercenary had the Partnership Collective: a Borg-like hivemind of lawyers whose drones took the form of goofy-looking snakes in ties. They were silly, weak and largely non-threatening, as well as laughably unsympathetic. As the main storyline grew more complex and the protagonists dealt with far more severe situations, and antagonists willing to commit atrocities to get their way, the silly lawyer-snakes just didn't cut it anymore and were phased out. (Justified in-story; the Toughs have a bounty contract on them and will gleefully kill any drones they see, so the Collective is avoiding them. They ultimately sell the contract to Sanctum Adroit, though not without a little regret.)
  • Most pages of Sleepless Domain have witty little Alt Texts. They tend to be absent, however, when the story's tone gets dark. Lampshaded on one occasion by the author herself.
    Alt Text: ...Is that weirdo gone? Phew, I can talk again.

    Web Original 
  • The SCP Foundation amassed quite a lot of quirky/humorous elements since its beginnings, and currently it seems most silly elements are being Retconned (as with "Chowderclef", which states that Dr. Clef was never the Crazy Awesome dude he was presented as.) See this forum thread for further explanation.
  • Survival of the Fittest, once the game is more than half-finished. At the start, there seem to be some comic relief characters, and some other stuff that seems a bit odd and out of place in such a grim situation, mostly Narmish or just good humoured. This is fixed by the second half. Once the characters remaining are dawned upon with the fact that they are the only ones left alive out of 200+ classmates, even more noticeable towards the end, the comedy evaporates, and the shit does down.
  • In Atop the Fourth Wall, Linkara's conflict with "The Entity" is preceded by its slowly absorbing everyone else on earth, thus eliminating the quirky, humorous supporting characters (Ninja-Style Dancer, Harvey Finevoice, Pollo, Iron Liz) and leaving Linkara to face it alone. Interestingly, the biggest "clown" in the cast, 90s Kid, is instead possessed by the Entity, so he is still at least physically present (as much as he usually is anyway; Linkara plays him), but behaving in a far from humorous manner.
  • The Dorkly article, “These Eight Characters are Definitely Going to Die”, includes in the list, "The Wisecracking Pilot," and uses this logic to explain his (less likely to be "her") death.
    How They’re Going to Die: With a quip.
    Why: Because killing comedy creates drama, that’s the rule.
  • Epic Rap Battles of History has this for its three presidental election rap battles. For 2012 (Barack Obama vs Mitt Romney), it's light-hearted and most of the lyrics are based off exaggeration. For 2016 (Donald Trump vs Hillary Clinton) however, it's noticably Darker and Edgier, with the lyrics being based off what both candiatates actually said. Abe Lincoln does appear in both rap battles but he's more serious in the second battle than the first one. For 2020 (Donald Trump vs Joe Biden), the rap battle's tone is ever darker and edgier than 2016's, with Lincoln not even being present at all, to reflect how serious the 2020 elections are.

    Western Animation 
  • In Avatar: The Last Airbender, Momo is often a mood indicator, and he has a tendency to disappear when things are getting serious.
    • Lampshaded in the Grand Finale: before Aang fights Ozai, he says, "Momo, time for you to go." Momo coming back is a sign that it's all over.
    • Subverted for the Momo segment of "Tales of Ba Sing Se". While his story is the most lighthearted next to Sokka's, it also ends up being the only one with any relevance to the overarching story, as it ends with him discovering the place where the missing Appa was held.
  • Averted in The Legend of Korra with the Previously On… segments at the start of each episode, which are done in a Retraux-style complete with hammy voiceover done by an in-universe sports announcer. His comical recaps grace even the most dour of episodes... except for a single one in the first season, where he's replaced by a more serious character due to the prior episode's events leaving him unavailable.
  • In Justice League, The Flash is notably absent in several serious scenes such as in the league's first confrontation with Darkseid. Though the series itself, much like examples mentioned under the Batman entry, argues against this. The whole idea of the "Justice Lords" universe is that the League itself gets too dark when the clown isn't around, to the detriment of the entire world.
  • Transformers:
    • Unintentionally executed in Transformers Animated by means of Executive Meddling. The first two seasons used human supervillains with various gimmicks to spread out the Decepticon appearances. Hasbro asked the staff to drop them for the third season, which was somewhat Darker and Edgier; the only one to appear is the Headmaster, who was beaten and arrested in the premiere after escaping in both his previous appearances. Even Meltdown, who had actually been a threat and was still on the loose the last time we saw him, was never heard from again.
    • This also happens on and off with the humans in Transformers: Prime, and by and large the humans are back shortly afterwards. So far, they've been absent from the episodes "Partners", "Loose Cannons" with the exception of Agent Fowler (who was in serious overdrive), and "Crossfire".
    • Starting in season 2, the children appear very sparingly, and end up in more danger when they do appear. In the season two finale, they have one appearance to lampshade their lack of appearances of late. And then they get kidnapped and held hostage.
  • Done in Wakfu for the climactic three final episodes of season 1. Grufon the Map Shushu is unaccounted for after episode 18. Az the Tofu is entrusted to Canar's care in episode 24 before Yugo joins back with his friends for the finale battle. The same could be argued for Sadlygrove's death in episode 25, though things were already quite serious by then. Possibly the case for Ruel as well, considering that he was separated from and hardly even mentioned by the other heroes for several episodes, only to have a bit part in the finale.
    • Az and Grufon are both completely absent in season 3, which is much darker than the first two seasons and the OVA episodes.
  • ReBoot:
    • When the show went Darker and Edgier, Megabyte didn't just shoo the goofy Hack & Slash. He tried to kill them by sending the two to the front lines and certain destruction.
    • In the first two seasons, despite being the hero and the most capable member of the main cast when it comes to fighting off threats, Bob was also the goofiest in terms of personality. Cue the second season's last 4 episodes, which take a darker turn and conclude with his removal from the main cast, resulting in his absence in the even darker Season 3. Of course, he was eventually brought back mid-Season 3, but by that point, he had undergone Character Development that rendered him more serious and less of a goofball. This gets played with in Season 4, when the return of classic Bob midway coincides with the show adopting a lighter and more comical tone reminiscent of the first seasons. Then classic Bob is revealed to be Megabyte in disguise, and the shows undergoes a darker Tone Shift again.
  • Done in a way in Total Drama World Tour. Every single elimination in the first half of the season, barring Izzy, was from Team Victory, made of lighthearted and easygoing Nice Guys/Girls like Bridgette, DJ, Lindsay, and Harold (and almost all were eliminated at the hands of Alejandro too). Once they were gone, all that remained to get rid of was Noah. With every funny character gone (except Owen and Tyler), that made room for drama with the love triangle that took up the next few episodes. Things lightened up a little after Gwen, Courtney, and Duncan were voted off though.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • SpongeBob is mostly absent during the infamous "One Coarse Meal" (as well as Patrick being absent completely), which is considered one of the darkest episodes of the series given Plankton being scared to the point of attempting suicide.
    • Other episodes that have SpongeBob disappearing before the more dramatic parts include "New Leaf" and "I Heart Dancing", as Mr. Krabs and Squidward respectively are the main focus.
    • SpongeBob disappears for about 95% of "Plankton's Army", as Plankton is the main focus of the episode.
    • In "Rock Bottom", the comically stupid Patrick escapes Rock Bottom early in the episode to make SpongeBob's experience there more unsettling and foreboding.
    • Patrick is completely absent throughout the infamous "A Pal for Gary", given all the torment Gary suffers and SpongeBob doing nothing about it and scolding him for being mean to his "pal", all because he ignored the seller's warning that the creature hates other animals.
  • The quirky Channel 6 staff (Burne, Irma, and Vernon), as well as the Neutrinos, were Put on a Bus sometime during the Darker and Edgier "Red Sky" seasons of the original Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles.
  • In the Phineas and Ferb episode "Phineas and Ferb Get Busted", both Perry the Platypus and Dr. Doofenschmirtz are completely absent... until they show up at the climax for a Deus ex Machina, where Perry shows up fighting Doof while at the same time saving the boys and Candace from the Sergeant.
  • King of the Hill:
    • Bobby is completely absent from "The Exterminator", one of the series' darker episodes.
    • And during the climax of " Pigmalion" when Luanne is aggressively pursued by an insane Trip Larsen, Hank and Bobby aren't present, also Bill, Dale, and Boomhauer are completely absent from the episode.
  • In American Dad! episode "Jack's Back", both Roger and Klaus are absent when Stan argues with his father Jack and his son Steve. This is Lampshaded by Francine.
  • The infamous Family Guy episode "Screams of Silence: The Story Of Brenda Q", Peter and Joe get knocked unconscious by the episode's Big Bad before the climax with Quagmire. Not to mention Stewie and Brian barely getting any screentime (they each get one line).
  • This is done to Sgt Blob's team in pilot episode of The Dreamstone, who are defeated and disappear from the conflict shortly before Pildit's Disney Death and Rufus' showdown with Zordrak, not appearing until the conflict is over (though other similarly clownish Urpneys appear during the climax). This is something of Early Installment Weirdness, since the Urpneys would act as Villain Protagonists for the rest of the series onwards (though it is repeated in a couple of rare instances Zordrak once again takes part in a scheme).
  • Beware the Batman has Deathstroke shut down the comic relief Batcomputer right before the climatic battle in the season finale.
  • While not quite clowns, in Star Wars Rebels, Harmless Villains Aresko and Grint are rather gruesomely killed by the Inquisitor and Tarkin for their failures, making clear to the audience that things have gotten serious.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
    • The recurring background character Derpy is absent from some of the more serious episodes; "Family Appreciation Day", for example, is one of few S2 eps where she does not show up in the background.
    • "Ponyville Confidential" and "A Hearth's Warming Tail"'s third acts being more dramatic and as such, Pinkie Pie disappears before the third acts begin.
    • In the Season 6 finale, "To Where and Back Again", she along with Applejack, Rainbow Dash, Shining Armor, Princess Luna, Twilight Sparkle, Spike, Flurry Heart, Fluttershy, Rarity, Princess Celestia and Princess Cadence getting kidnapped by Queen Chrysalis and replaced with Changeling duplicates. After Starlight Glimmer, Thorax, Trixie and Discord rescue them from the evil ruler, things get more lighthearted.
    • Spike and Derpy are completely absent from Season 8's infamous "The Mean 6", which generally focuses on the ex-queen Chrysalis creating fake duplicates of the mane ponies minus Starlight, and they end up intertwining with their camping trip which results in a disagreement. Spike is also the only mane character Chrysalis does not take a picture of. Interestingly, Spike was going to appear at the beginning and end of the episode with Zecora to deliver "some imbiac pentimeter", but his appearances were cut for time.
  • Star vs. the Forces of Evil has a literal example in "Bon Bon the Birthday Clown" as Star Butterfly accidentally sucks the ghost of the titular clown into a black hole before the episode's dramatic finale, where she herself almost gets sucked in and Marco, Janna, and Jackie rescuing her allows Ludo to escape with the spellbook, laying the groundwork for the "Battle for Mewni" story arc in the following season.
    • In "Storm the Castle", Ludo gets eaten by a monster (He gets better) and Buff Frog is nowhere to be seen when Star confronts Toffee and has to destroy her wand in exchange for him sparing Marco's life.
    • "Starcrushed" has Toffee stealing the souls of most of the Magic High Commission and one of the other members making a Heroic Sacrifice and being Killed Off for Real, leading up to the Downer Beginning of Season 3.
    • Said beginning of season 3 is a series of episodes that make up the "Battle for Mewni" storyline. Just before Star returns to the castle to confront Ludo, he sends River up into the sky, and he doesn't come back down again until after the final fight with Toffee.
    • "Skooled" has Miss Heinous return to St. Olga's school with Gemini and a fully-healed Rasticore in order to learn more about her past as Meteora. After finding out that she is the rightful Queen of Mewni, Rasticore is reluctant to join her on her new quest, and she removes Gemini's robotic heart (which kills him), and uses it as a bomb to reduce Rasticore back to an arm, removing both him and Gemini from the plot as it takes a darker turn.
    • In the two-part season 3 finale, while Star goes off to look for Moon in the Realm of Magic, Marco assembles a team consisting of himself, Kelly, Jorby, Pony Head, Tom, Heckapoo, Talon Raventalon, his dragon-motorcycle and Nachos (Marco's dragon-motorcycle), to hold hold off Meteora until Star's return. Meteora steals the souls of all of them until Tom and Marco are left, and they have a serious conversation before Marco ends up as a victim.
      • Earlier, Star has Eclipsa locked away for inadvertently causing Moon to lose half her soul and flee to the Realm of Magic. However, this trope is zig-zagged when she shows up during the climax, having somehow escaped, and takes the wand and uses it to defeat Meteora easily, all while being completely serious.
  • Hulk Vs.: Deadpool disappears from the climax after the Hulk knocks him unconscious. A post-credits scene has him revealed to be alive and well after the base explodes earlier.
  • Ren & Stimpy "Adult Party Cartoon" has Stimpy mostly absent from "Ren Seeks Help", considered the darkest episode of the entire series (not just Adult Party Cartoon, but Ren and Stimpy overall). He only appears in the opening scene, and seeing as Ren apparently did something completely irredeemable to him, he's clearly not in the mood to be funny. The rest of the episode goes on without him, and it's not pretty...
  • The Simpsons did it in the episode, "Ned 'N Edna's Blend" during the play about the crucifixion of Jesus (with Homer playing the role). Rather than botching it up with his usual shenanigans, Homer's performance as Jesus during the crucifixion is actually dead serious, with even Ned Flanders being impressed with it.
    • They previously did it in "Marge not be proud", where Homer doesn't appear in the scene where Marge chases Bart around the house, thinking he stole something from the mall again. But really he was trying to get their family photo restored with a cut out photo of him included.
  • The Lion Guard does this in the second season, as the more comedic characters in the Pride Lands make less appearances, Reirei's pups vanish from the script, and the villains lose their humourus and harmless qualities to become a serious danger.
  • Infinity Train:
    • Book 2 had Jesse escape the train in the seventh episode. MT is left behind, to their mutual horror, and the remaining episodes see her forced to wander the desolate wasteland outside of the train, kill one of her pursuers, and traverse the disturbing inner mechanisms of the train itself in desperation for her own exit. The character does come back in the final episode, though this only lightens the mood briefly until it ramps up again for the final act.
    • Book 3 was already being a much darker season, but still saw this occur when its final two episodes began with a jaded Hazel ditching Grace and Simon to leave with Amelia. As soon as she leaves, Simon attempts to murder Grace repeatedly. First, by trapping her in her memories to die comatose and alone, then by forcibly kicking her off the train to be run over by the wheels once she escapes that. Then he ends up dying himself, getting his soul eaten and his body reduced to bones and ash while Grace and several children helplessly watch.
  • The Owl House:
    • Due to breaking her leg during "Wing It Like Witches", Amity is stuck at home during the intense final two episodes of season one, so she (and her flustered behavior around Luz) is absent from the very serious proceedings.
    • Hooty is completely absent from "Young Blood, Old Souls", the extremely tense and dramatic season one finale, where Eda learns that Lilith cursed her, Belos reveals that he had no plans for curing Eda and Luz being forced to destory the portal back to the human world.

Alternative Title(s): Not Now Comic Relief, Comic Reliefs Always Die


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