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What Do You Mean, It's Not Didactic?

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NOTICE"Persons attempting to find a motive in this narrative will be prosecuted; persons attempting to find a moral in it will be banished; persons attempting to find a plot in it will be shot. — BY ORDER OF THE AUTHOR, per G.G., Chief of Ordnance."

To the literary analyst, all works are ripe for analysis.

Sometimes, this helps you appreciate a work. Sometimes, it doesn't, but it produces insight into the thought process and culture that produced the work. Other times, it's misguided overkill that may even detract from the work's actual merits (unless the reader happens to be another lit nerd looking for a fun Saturday evening with a text they've already read twice). Most of the time, it's just a fun mental exercise and a good way to boost the imagination.

Such an attitude may be expressed in several ways:

  • Insisting that Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory.
  • Casually revealing major plot twists in discussion of the book, or even the book's preface or blurb.
  • Writing dense dense dense descriptions of what makes the book good in the blurb, which only make sense to someone who has already studied the work for several years.

You can even get away with missing the point if you're a Really Serious Critic who wants to reveal all sorts of hiding meanings/implications inside a work, whether or not they have anything to do with the actual characters or plot. Goodness forbid that the author(s) wanted you to do so (if what the author wanted matters to the analyst). If it does, though, or even quite as possibly if it does not (at least by general agreement), wait for somebody to point out the Muse Abuse.

High school and college students now write long-winded essays about the philosophical and socio-religious undertones of Harry Potter and The Twilight Saga. It gets more relevant when you get into works aimed at even younger audiences, however: most kids under the age of twelve or so aren't going to be terribly philosophical; most of them will enjoy a work simply because it's "funny," or "colorful," or even "interesting."

Note that having the plot given away becomes less and less of an issue the older the subject is. Most people who haven't read, for example, Moby-Dick will still be familiar with key plot points due to Pop-Cultural Osmosis. See It Was His Sled. Late-Arrival Spoiler can apply in some cases, particularly if the work has been around for a very long while; it can legitimately be very hard to discuss something which has been around for centuries as if this is the first time the audience will ever be hearing of it.

For the opposite of this trope, i.e. preemptive dismissal of all literary or aesthetic analysis, see Moff’s Law.

See also: True Art Is Angsty, True Art Is Incomprehensible, Applicability.


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    Anime and Manga 
  • The last episode of Bottle Fairy inspired "Too many words about Bottle Fairy," which interprets the fairies as dolls Sensei-san's "deeply disturbed" (possibly autistic) younger sister uses to interact with a world she is unable to cope with herself.
  • Code Geass has been subject to plenty of politically-minded interpretations, especially the War on Terror, occupied nations, and stripped national identity. Goro Taniguchi flatly denied any political motivation and said he just wanted to make an entertaining series.
  • Death Note gets a lot of this, helped in no small part by its morally ambiguous characters.
  • Naruto gets a lot of this when it comes to national politics, and the use of 12-year-old ninjas as living weapons, along with the true meaning of Will of Fire.
  • Neon Genesis Evangelion has gotten this treatment, of all places, in an economics essay.
    • The Eva-effect reaches to the rest of the Super Robot genre. Any Super Robot show made after 1997 is either considered some sort of Reconstruction of the Super Robot genre, a Take That! to Eva, a parody of classic Super Robot shows...or all of the above.
    • Eva's connection with this trope was even referenced in FLCL, where one of the characters is said to have "written a long book on the deep mysteries of Eva."
  • FLCL is one to talk: The show is full of such frantic (and hilarious) Mind Screw that it's not clear if anyone is even clear on what the plot is, let alone what it's all supposed to mean. Brought to you by the folks who made Eva, of course.
  • Tokyo Babylon is a good example of the second point. The french edition's summary used for promotion reveals all the important plot points up to volume 6. Of a 7 volumes series.

  • Guernica: While many have tried looking into the symbology of the painting (especially since it was named after a town that at the time was involved in a bombing during a war), Picasso himself claims that he implied no deeper meaning to the painting other than its surface level imagery.
  • The Mona Lisa has been the center for large debates regarding the mysterious nature of both the subject and her smile. One popular theory even claims it's a self-portrait depicting what Leonardo da Vinci thought he'd look like as a woman. This despite it being definitively proven that it was a commissioned portrait of Lisa Gherardini an Italian noblewoman. Which somewhat undermines a lot of the mystery. It's also usually treated as a long-standing cultural treasure, when really it wasn't particularly respected, even in the art world, until its world-famous robbery in 1911.

    Comic Books 
  • Alison Bechdel, in her graphic novel memoir Fun Home, notes how annoyed she was with her college English professors forcing symbolism on everything they read. Probably the funniest panel in the book is a bewildered looking student asking "You mean... like... Hemingway did that stuff on purpose?" Elsewhere in the book, she and her girlfriend analyze several children's books (e.g. James and the Giant Peach) for their "erotic undertones".
  • Watchmen gets this treatment quite a bit, as does Kingdom Come and The Sandman.

    Fan Works 
  • Nimbus Llewelyn has observed that he chose to do a History degree at university rather than English Literature more or less for this reason. He's also noted that sometimes he gets readers excitedly pointing out a magnificently clever piece of symbolism which they assume is entirely intentional (and considering his habit of extensive Foreshadowing, it's a fair assumption), leading to a general response of Sure, Let's Go with That.
  • Most of the reviews for DOOM: Repercussions of Evil parody this trope.
    • Well, of course. John's rage against the demons stems from his father's longstanding disapproval of his career choice. You see, he sees his father as the demon. But as we all know, John's father was only looking out for his son. It was John, betrayer of his own father, who was the real demon. Of course he was a demon only until he became a zombie.
  • In an in-universe example, in the essay-fic, Equestria: A History Revealed, it seems that the Lemony Narrator needs to learn about this, as she picks apart benign things and events for evidence while breezing past events of actual significance. Her analysis includes, among other things: the word choice of select sources, what rocks can metaphorically represent, citation of a cereal box and a hobo, and making a far-fetched leap in logic to relate Celestia to Italian food when a cooking book mentions "the elements of a good pizza".

    Films — Animation 
  • In his Top 10 '80s Movies video, Benzaie seems to take Heavy Metal just a little too seriously, going as far to compare it to the Sexual Revolution of the 1960s, but on a smaller scale. Well, more power to you, but the people who actually made the film take it considerably less seriously in the "Making of Heavy Metal" documentary, describing it more appropriately as the last gasp of the counterculture before the wave of 1980s conservatism (apparently, they didn't watch a lot of MTV during the '80s). And his views on the Conan the Barbarian film were taking it too seriously also. Interesting that he praised that film's audio commentary, which has been ridiculed online and even by Edgar Wright on one of the audio commentaries to Scott Pilgrim.
  • Scooby-Doo! and the Loch Ness Monster is at least a little about scientific skepticism, isn't it? Anybody?

    Films — Live-Action 
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Woman: a commentary on the conformity of 1950's gender roles and how society reacts to their defiance, or a silly B-Movie?
  • The old VHS collector's edition of The Godfather Part III begins with a twenty minute long segment of a film critic discussing the film, including spoiling every aspect of the ending, without so much as a warning. Then, the movie follows.
  • Is Blazing Saddles a serious deconstruction of the Western and a profound statement on race relations in America, or just a lowbrow genre parody? Depends on who's asked. Of course, "both" is a viable answer.
  • For a double-dose of this concept, feel free to read this article which asserts that Fight Club is Calvin and Hobbes grown-up.
  • This is talked about in the movie Fame. Music student Bruno argues with his instructor, Mister Shorofsky, that if Mozart were alive today, he'd be cranking out rock and roll songs, not chamber music and symphonies, because Mozart wasn't doing it to be "artistic", but rather just to put bread on the table.
  • Star Wars: Just about every religion and mythology created by humans, whether real or fictional, has been likened to the "Force" of the Jedi Knights. While such comparisons are not off the mark, that's only because creator George Lucas drew on the beliefs common to all religions in fashioning a spiritual system for his characters. There are some who have even gone so far as to adopt the Jedi teachings as their religion.
  • The Coen Brothers' films are much analyzed for their symbolism and subtexts, but the brothers themselves just respond "Well, if you say so."
  • Satirized by Steve Martin in L.A. Story. Martin is in an art gallery, giving a long criticism of an unseen painting, detailing the highly erotic symbolism and voyeuristic subtexts. When the camera angle switches to a view of the painting, it's just a large, red rectangle.
    Harris K. Telemacher: "Yeah, I must admit, when I see a painting like this, I get emotionally... erect."
  • Citizen Kane draws immense amounts of film criticism due to its reputation as the Best Movie Ever. Critics dissect just about every aspect of the film on the quest to say something new about it. Of course, this is at least in some part justified: Kane is a very intricately crafted and sophisticatedly styled film, especially for the American cinema and doubly so for 1940s American cinema. Amusingly, an officially sanctioned documentary on Citizen Kane, included with the special-edition DVD release, is nearly as long as the film itself!
  • The "collectible booklet" enclosed with the DVD release of The Thomas Crown Affair (1999) casually spoils the ending of both the remake and the original while discussing the ways in which the two films differ.
  • The Films of David Lynch. Eraserhead especially.
  • Frequent with theatrical re-releases of classic movies. The 2012 re-release of Lawrence of Arabia, for instance, was introduced with a ten minute appreciation from Martin Scorsese... which managed to spoil every single plot point and iconic shot/edit Lawrence had to offer. Presumably the studios operate from the assumption that everyone watching has already seen the movie.
  • Unsurprisingly for a film written by Charlie Kaufman, Being John Malkovich plays this straight for laughs. Shortly after discovering a portal that causes any who enter to inhabit actor John Malkovich's senses, Craig makes a pseudo-intellectual remark that this revelation "raises all kinds of philosophical-type questions." Subtext: "Don't read too much into this, audience."
  • Fifty Shades of Grey of all things. The original book was lambasted endlessly for its superficial and slanted portrayal of BDSM relationships. The movie on the other hand, partially due to the lack of the cringe-worthy inner monologues and more focus on the character-interactions, accidentally acknowledges that the problem is not the BDSM itself, but the trust issues in the relationship. Anastasia is being naive and inexperienced, getting all her knowledge of the topic from cursory internet searches that immediately focus on the more hardcore aspects of the fetish, thus poisoning her expectations. Grey, on the other hand, is obsessed with control and suffers from trust issues due to a Freudian Excuse and needlessly rushes things with the contract even though they both enjoy the activity without it. Both of these things are portrayed as bad things that jeopardize their relationship, while BDSM was something they both enjoyed until the very end and isn't vilified in the movie (in the last scene, it turns sour because they purposefully step over Anastasia's limits). In other words, it is a cautionary tale about doing relationships in general wrong.
  • Midsommar: Vulture film critic Angelica Jade Bastién lambasted the film for a wide range of questionable statements she thought the film was making, particularly in the ending, which she saw as supporting Dani's murder of her boyfriend. She apparently forgot that portraying an action isn't necessarily an endorsement of that action. Just because the protagonist does it doesn't mean the film is saying that it should be done. After all, it's a horror film, and the villagers are the villains, making the ending less a didactic statement about gender politics and more of a Downer Ending where The Villain Wins in a horrifying way by manipulating a drugged and traumatized Anti-Hero.
  • Drugs, Abuse and Sexuality in Edwardian London: The Mary Poppins Subtext by Jessica Marlowe concludes that Mr and Mrs Banks are both repressed homosexuals, as is Admiral Boom, Bert has a crippling fear of sexuality due to childhood abuse that leads Mary to accuse him of being a repressed homosexual, Jane is a completely unrepressed lesbian, the final bank scene is Mr Banks having a psychotic break, and Mary is best understood as a "Evil Dealer" leading the kids into a hallucinogenic world. (It's not clear how sincere any of this is — its online presence is bonus material to the bonus material to a Doctor Who spin-off novel, which claims that in the 26th century, it's the inspiration for an "alarming" revisionist version of the novels.)

  • The Scarlet Letter. What was once a simple romance novel about two adultering people in early Puritan society has been examined and re-examined to death since the 1850s, trying to find hidden meanings. The biggest offender is the notion of Hester's daughter Pearl being one giant symbol rather than an actual character — which, In-Universe, is implied to be how people around her see her.
  • Johann Wolfgang von Goethe, widely considered the greatest and most important poet and writer in German history, and particularly his most famous work Faust, which by this time has been interpreted to death, undeath, back to death and straight into the sun, thought that the entire process of over-analyzation and insisting on trying to find a meaning and idea in a work was absurd and counterproductive even in the early 19th century.
    People kept asking me what Faust is about. Like I would know!
  • Vladimir Nabokov explicitly disliked people's tendency to overanalyse Lolita. By contrast, he also nearly demands it in the foreword of The Defense and understanding most of Pale Fire is impossible without it.
  • Some of the newer editions of Penguin and Oxford World's Classics have started to give a warning that the preface reveals major plot details, likely because of complaints about this tendency.
  • Steven Brust, the author of the Dragaera series, is part of an informal group of writers who call themselves the Pre-Joycean Fellowship, in reference to their perception that James Joyce started a trend in literary criticism which believes that meaningful works were meant to have obscure language and lots of symbolism and anything well-plotted was not in this category.
  • A popular reading of The Lord of the Rings holds that it's an allegory for World War II: the Shire was England and the hobbits were the English, the elves were the French, Mordor was Nazi Germany and Sauron was Hitler, and the One Ring was the atom bomb or nuclear power. J. R. R. Tolkien emphatically stated—including in the prologues to later printings—that The Lord of the Rings was not an allegory for World War II and that he disliked allegories anyway. Tolkien had been writing The Lord of the Rings and giving the Ring its central importance prior to World War II, before he ever heard of the possibility of an atomic bomb. Eventually, Tolkien went as far as to write an outline of what the book would have been like if he had meant it as a World War II allegory. Among other things, Saruman would not have been counted on as an ally, and Sauron would have betrayed him; Saruman would have tried to make his own One Ring; and in the end the Fellowship would have had to use its power to win. It's also noted that both sides in that conflict would have held Hobbits in hatred and contempt, and they wouldn't have survived long even as slaves.
    • It should be noted however, that Tolkien's statements are not intended to imply that there is no greater meaning behind the works. It is simply that they are not allegorical. That is, there are no one-to-one comparisons between things in the fantasy world and things in the real world. First of all, in order to begin understanding the points Tolkien is making in his work one has to actually finish reading it: i.e. read Lord of the Rings, The Hobbit AND The Silmarillion at the very least. This is because all of these books are intended as a single work. Secondly, Tolkien wrote an essay about his philosophy of literature that more or less basically tells you how to read his writing called Mythopoesis. So there's no real excuse for getting it wrong. You'd be hard-pressed to argue that Sauron isn't a fascist, and indeed the actual neo-Nazi Varg Vikernes has admitted to being inspired by Sauronnote . It's simply that any one-to-one comparison between him and a real life fascist will fall apart immediately under any type of scrutiny AND entirely misses the actual points that Tolkien is making about fascism as an ideology separate from any particular person.
  • The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn starts with a death threat aimed at anyone who tries to analyze it. This is often taken as an invitation to do so.
  • Nick Cave's novel And the Ass Saw the Angel is a giant Mind Screw set Through the Eyes of Madness, brimming with confusing religious symbolism, right down to the title. In an interview, he told everyone not to read too much into it, and just to enjoy it. The story may be found here.
  • Richard Adams has always sworn that Watership Down was intended to be a children's book. However, many fans and critics don't agree and often see the book the 1970s' answer to Animal Farm, a political animal fable that focuses on communism, and specifically, Stalinism.
  • In-universe example: Grand Admiral Thrawn, resident Magnificent Bastard of the Star Wars Expanded Universe, uses this as his favourite military strategy: he can deduce a species' entire psychological makeup from their works of art, and plans his tactics accordingly. This tends to get oversold, both by the fanbase and by later authors; in practice it boiled down to either finding exploitable conceptual gaps like being easily confused by disorder or targeting whatever clever new plan he had against someone especially vulnerable to that particular trick.
  • Alice in Wonderland gets quite a few critics analyzing exactly what everything means. Teenagers and stoners love to paint it as a drug allegory, while others see it as story of madness or a Dying Dream. Still more think that it's satirizing religion, British Imperialism, or language and logic. Later in life, Carroll, a conservative mathematician, would reportedly claim it was, and always had been, a hidden tract against "new math" and how people ascribing to it lived in a world of neither rhyme nor reason. This may actually make him a victim of this trope in regards to his own work. On the other hand, there are quite a few additions in the final book that aren’t present the original draft, which was intended solely as a children’s story, and these all have some allegory related to math which were later found.
  • The foreword to Halo: The Flood by Ian Rankin mentions how the author attended a lecture on his book, and was surprised at the things that were being read into it, most of which he'd never consciously included.
  • The Twilight Saga seems to have had a bunch of critics' panties in a bunch when they found out that the author was a Mormon. When Bella and Edward decide to remain chaste, it seemed to produce theories that the author was brainwashing kids into accepting everything about her religion. "We can't have sex because it'll kill you except for when we get married for some reason" does sound rather like abstinence moralizing.
    • Though, according to a lot of current and former Mormons that have read the books, there are a lot of things in the books based on Mormon ideology/culture. However, the general consensus is that it isn't intentional proselytizing, just the author writing what she knows. For specific examples see this hilarious series of posts.
      • There have also been some laughable attempts to identify "Mormon themes" in Twilight by people whose total knowledge of Mormonism seems to come from reading a couple articles on The Other Wiki. Mainly they just take concepts that are vague or fairly common and try to label them as uniquely Mormon, as though Mormons are the only ones who believe in close-knit families or frown on sex outside of marriage.
    • Cleolinda Jones recently blew her own mind when she realized that the Quil/Claire "relationship" (the one where the teenage werewolf imprints on a two-year-old?) may actually be named after/inspired by Clare Quilty in Lolita. Cleo believes this might be some sort of cosmic joke.
  • Decades after it was published, it was "discovered" that The Wonderful Wizard of Oz actually was intended to be read as an allegory for political people and events of the time it was published. Apparently the people who made this discovery had no problem believing that these allegories were meant to be there, even though they were much more clear to scholars looking for something to analyze than to readers of Baum's age who were surrounded by them every day.
  • The Confidence-Man. note  The story is a social satire by Herman Melville, but it's so complex with his opinions on morality, religion and the Sliding Scale of Idealism Versus Cynicism that entire other books are written on the analysis of all the symbolism. The man didn't even put a pun into the book without a deeper meaning, apparently.
    • On the subject of Melville, we can't go without mentioning Moby-Dick. It's been described as the epitome of everything American. A metaphor for the ambitions and desires that make up the American Dream; the quintessential story of the "Go West" attitude, and of the stubborn desire for upward mobility and to win in the competition despite odds. It seems to be applicable to all aspects of that Americana Thing.
      • Then again, Melville may have meant more to this than just that standard American Dream message, if at all. But I doubt the teachers would point that one out.
  • A recent printing of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice contains an "introduction" that discusses the story and compares and contrasts it with Jane Austen's other works. It manages to spoil not only the plot of Pride and Prejudice, but also every other Jane Austen book while comparing and contrasting it.
  • The Bantam Classic printing of Great Expectations has a lengthy introduction by John Irving that does spoil the whole plot before page one of chapter one, does compare the book to various other works of Dickens, and does go into way too much scholarly analysis, but at least doesn't go into much Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory.
  • Bill Denbrough, one of the primary protagonists in Stephen King's It, addresses this ("can't you guys just let a story be a story?") Being laughed at by his incredulous writing course instructor, said protagonist leaves the university to become a successful horror novelist.
    • This seems to be something the author believes as well: "Politics change, but stories remain." Of course, considering that this is the man who didn't realize until decades later that the story of the alcoholic struggling-writer antagonist of The Shining (written while King was struggling with his own alcoholism) might have been just a wee bit autobiographic, invoking Death of the Author is a pretty safe bet when it comes to finding deeper meaning in his work.
  • The original Winnie-the-Pooh novels have dozens of serious or semi-serious works written about them such as The Tao of Pooh or Pooh and the Philosophers. Usually these are written with a tongue-in-cheek attitude, though, so they can often be quite entertaining (the Disney version does not get the same treatment; if these books mention it at all, it's usually in derogatory terms).
  • There are pieces of literature that are standard reading for all IB students, including: Macbeth, Romeo and Juliet, The Taming of the Shrew, Othello, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, An American Childhood, Things Fall Apart, Heart of Darkness, Oedipus Rex, Antigone, The Bluest Eye, Pride and Prejudice, The Great Gatsby, you name it. If we've read it, we analyzed every last sentence to death. This also includes Maus and The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which are, after all, comic books. International Baccalaureate English students are practically parodies of this trope, taken to over the top ways.
    • The same goes for honors English students in college prep Catholic high schools and AP (Advanced Placement) English literature students everywhere.
  • Salvador Plascencia made a complaint in one interview about how people were trying to find a metaphor in everything mentioned in The People Of Paper: "These mechanical turtles are really mechanical turtles; they are not a symbol. People ask me, "Were they Volkswagen bugs?" I'm like, "No! They're mechanical turtles." They're looking for the metaphor." Though considering how he admits in the same interview that even he gets confused about his confused book and that said book features a blatant Jesus parallel in the resurrection of Little Merced, you probably can't blame said readers for thinking that the mechanical turtles symbolize something deep.
  • The Old Man and the Sea: GOOD GOD! this one's been analyzed to beyond death. Mr. Hemingway said it was just about a dude and a fish.
  • There's an analysis of Harry Potter entitled Harry Potter and International Relations, which looks at how IR theory relates to the Harry Potter universe.
    • Unintentionally hilarious, considering a running gag in the beginning of the fourth book is about how boring international relations are.
    • Among the editorial essays on MuggleNet, there's an essay on the relationship between Harry and Voldemort, and how the language in key moments implies symbolic rape. 1
  • This review of the Sesame Street classic The Monster at the End of This Book, which argues that it's about general relativity, and a deconstruction of free will.
  • A large amount of House of Leaves is people doing this to the fictional film "The Navidson Record". The novel itself seems to invite it to a large degree, to the point that some have theorized that, at its heart, it's a satire of overanalyzing stories.
  • This is used in-character in The Belgariad, where a ghost story is told near the beginning of the first book, and the leader of the farming community it was told to passes it off as a moralistic sermon about fear and greed. The irony kicks in, in a later book, however, when the protagonists go to Maragor, the place where the story was set and could have actually happened, as it is inhabited by the ghosts of the Marags, slaughtered ages before.
  • Franz Kafka, after running out of his literary writings to analyze, lit profs gathered up various insurance claim reports Kafka wrote in his day job as a Insurance lawyer and trawled them for meaning.
  • Doctor Who New Adventures:
    • In Sky Pirates!, we're told that Bernice Summerfield, when an angsty teenager, wrote a lengthy dissertation on the Ralph Wolf and Sam Sheepdog cartoons that used the words "Apollonian" and "Dionysian" 327 times, pointed out the significance of the supposedly primitive wolf being the tool user, and portrayed Sam as the unwitting dupe of a culture that killed and killed again, hypocritically "defending" its victims from outsiders, before concluding that everything ended in misery and death and she was glad she didn't have a boyfriend or girlfriend because they were all wilfully uninterested in the important truths behind these so-called jokes.
    • Subverted in the post-Doctor NA Down. At first glance, it looks like Bernice's student Ash's analysis of 2530s pulpzine character Mr Misnomer is this, with Benny herself unable to decide if "it was really quite clever or just psychoanalytic piffle". If you actually read the exerpts though, it turns out Ash is making a somewhat more reasonable point along the lines of "obviously this isn't intentional, because this is schlock fiction that was literally churned out by a computer, but it does say something about the society that created it". (Although Ash's friend Lucrezia suspects that her in-depth study of the homoerotic BDSM undertones is just down to personal interest.)
  • You'd be amazed at the amount of serious academic (and non-academic) works out there that analyse Charlie and the Chocolate Factory as one big, religious metaphor with Willy Wonka as God (although one does suggest that Wonka actually represents Satan instead.) In Critical Approaches To Food in Children's Literature, which critically analyses the use of food and food symbolism in children's books, there is an essay that discusses candy and socio-religious identity formation in Charlie, with references to many other works also proposing that Wonka is God. It's... pretty intriguing stuff.
  • Good old Dracula! This book's probably been analysed more than there are vampires. Fear of the foreign and foreigners, capitalism and Jewish stereotypes, maternity and acceptance of motherhood (is Mina a strong or weak character?), Christian and Holy Communion, political repression, homosexuality, you name it; it's been analysed. And of course, blood-drinking equals symbolic sex and/or rape. That's a staple of every vampire book now.

    Live-Action TV 
  • Frasier
    • Parodied in an episode where Frasier and Niles read the manuscript to the second ever novel of a famous author, then tell him how much they enjoyed how it was evocative of Dante's Divine Comedy. The author states that he didn't intend such imagery, and bitterly concludes that he must have "drawn the whole thing from Dante" before angrily destroying the manuscript. Frasier and Niles console themselves by claiming that the critics would have picked up on the Dante allegory and torn the novel apart.
    • In another episode, Frasier begins having a recurring dream where he has a Bedmate Reveal with Gil, his Ambiguously Gay co-worker. He spends the entire episode over-analyzing and racking his brain trying to figure out what the dream means and what its trying to tell him. He finally concludes that since he had been complaining about being bored at work, his brain invented some overly complex problem to keep him entertained. Simply "having an unusual dream" wasn't enough. This gets further riffed on at the end of the episode, where he has the dream again, except Sigmund Freud is also in bed with him.
  • Parodied many many times in Cheers in which the barflies would do it as their version of a mental exercise. For example, this examination of Wile E. Coyote and the Road Runner, with Norm later huffing at Cliff, "I suppose that proves that the Coyote's the Antichrist? Come on!"
  • There's a special feature on the Muppets season 1 DVD which apparently was a video specifically made for Stockholders meant to convince them to buy stocks in The Muppet Show. In it, the muppet presented a list of various demographics, and what that demographic would like about the show and why. One of those groups listed was intellectuals and college students, and the thing that would appeal to them was the meaning of everything.
  • Parodied in Monty Python's Flying Circus,
    • A murder mystery about railway timetables is given an inane analysis by "Gavin Millarrrrrrrrrr". An excerpt:
    "If La Fontaine's elk would spurn Tom Jones the engine must be our head, the dining car our esophagus, the guard's van our left lung, the cattle truck our shins, the first-class compartment the piece of skin at the nape of the neck and the level crossing an electric elk called Simon. The clarity is devastating. But where is the ambiguity? It's over there in a box."
    • The analysis of "Le Fromage Grand," a pretentious French film with a ridiculous shortage of dialogue:
      "Brian and Brianette symbolize the breakdown in communication in our modern society in this exciting new film and Longueur is saying to us, his audience, 'go on, protest, do something about it, assault the manager, demand your money back'."
  • In the classic Doctor Who story "City of Death" the TARDIS lands in an art gallery and is mistaken for a piece of modern art. Two art lovers note  wax lyrical about its brilliance as a comment on modern life. Seeing three people and a robot dog pile into it before it de-materialises in front of them doesn't change their mind.
  • The show Lost is meant to evoke this. The show is filled with all kinds of mysterious symbols, strange happenings, and hints that there's something happening that's bigger than anyone had anticipated. The show's creators insisted that they had a plan all along, but by the time the show was over, most people realized that they were making it up as they went along. There wasn't a big overall plan, and most of the symbolism used to hook people didn't really amount to anything.
  • Gilligan's Island:
    • The Official Couch Potato Handbook has a page deconstructing the series in terms of Freudian symbology. It's disturbingly plausible.
    • Another fun (and plausible) one is that the castaways represent the Seven Deadly Sins. Gilligan is Sloth, the Captain is Wrath, the Professor is Pride, Mr. Howell is Greed, Mrs. Howell is Gluttony, Ginger is Lust and Mary-Ann is Envy.

  • The Beatles song "I Am the Walrus" supposedly originated after John Lennon heard that Beatles lyrics were being used for literary analysis in university classes. Finding this ridiculous, Lennon decided to write "Glass Onion", a song where the lyrics sounded symbolic but were just utter nonsense, as a Take That! against people taking their songs too seriously (of course, this would turn into a trend with later Beatles songs, even naming the associated tropenote , and it became a case of Gone Horribly Right when a certain cult leader's attempts to find meanings in nonsensical Beatles lyrics led him to send his followers on a killing spree in 1969).
  • Just about everything Bob Dylan ever wrote. It doesn't even seem to matter what he says in interviews about what a song does or doesn't mean (although more often than not now he just avoids those sorts of questions altogether).
    • The Bob never answered those questions; he's just more subtle now. Ed Bradley asked him in the 2000s if his latest album was a new departure, and Bob ran Bradley into the dirt with a story about how an old jazzman showed him this "mathematical chord progression" that emotionally affected the listener every time. Back in 1965, some (even more) hapless reporter asked Bob about his "message," eliciting the scathing reply:
      "What's my message?" Bob seizes a mercury arc light from the coffee table. "'Keep a cool head and always carry a light bulb!'"
    • Another much-repeated story:
      Interviewer: Bob, what are your songs about?
      Dylan: Some are about four minutes, some are about six minutes.
  • "Bohemian Rhapsody" is ripe for analysis, mostly because of its somewhat nonsensical and generally evasive lyrics. However, Freddie Mercury stated that it's really not meant to be taken seriously, and that "none of our songs have hidden messages, except maybe Brian's."
  • Alanis Morissette was initially evasive, but later on claimed that it was the use of "ironic" that was the irony; "it was specifically written from the standpoint of someone like a teenage girl writing in her diary." She intentionally misused ironic IN an ironic way. Alanis was twenty-one when that album came out, so she could very well have been a teenage girl herself when she wrote the song. It is ironic, however, that an entire song about irony wasn't actually ironic, the question is only in intent.
  • Steely Dan, although many of their songs require a bit of background understanding of the subjects, this article looks a bit too deep to find meaning in things already explained by Word of God, and has probably the most gutter-minded perspectives on the band to date, and simultaneously pointing out the obvious as well as missing the point.
  • The lyrics to many hits Elton John and his principle lyricist Bernie Taupin wrote in the early 1970s were, like The Beatles' songs before, overanalyzed and misinterpreted to Bernie and Elton's annoyance/bemusement. The duo later satirized this by writing the deliberately nonsensical Word Salad Lyrics of "Solar Prestige A Gammon" from Elton's 1974 album Caribou. It, like "I Am The Walrus" before it, was inevitably overanalyzed and misinterpreted. Of note is the misinterpretation (according to Word of God) that "Madman Across The Water" referred to President Richard Nixon, or that "Honky Chateau" was a slang for "White House". The Word Salad Lyrics of "Levon" are also picked apart regularly.
  • Parodied in "Hyakugojyuuichi 2003" by Lemon Demon, which has a verse daring listeners to try and analyze Neil Cicierega's Animutation "Hyakugojyuuichi" (a nonsensical Flash video set to one of the ending themes from Pokémon)
    If you've got the time, go grab a pen
    And watch that thing again and again
    Try to figure it out, what does it mean?
    What is the significance of Mr. Bean?
    Does anyone know, are there any takers?
    What's up with all the broken pace-makers?
    This world is full of speculation
    But nobody cracks this Animutation!
  • Katy Perry is the subject of this trope in her April 2017 single "Chained to the Rhythm" (featuring special guest star Skip Marley). Analysis of the video and its lyrics was done in detail online, with a look at the aesops the video provides, as well as Shout-Out to 2017's political climate. The New Statesman goes into quite some detail on this.
  • Justin Bieber also had this happen to him, but not for the lyrics of a song, but the video's meaning. His single Sorry featuring The ReQuest Dance Crew (from New Zealand), released in 2015 as part of "The Movement" project during his Career Resurrection was, and still is, taken as seriously as the Katy Perry example above. This has some overlap with Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory video. Although the video was intended to provide a lot of Ms. Fanservice, it quickly became seen as didactic and Everyone Is Jesus in Purgatory mixed with True Art Is Angsty. As of April 2017, the video still provides a lot of controversy in the music industry, and has ended up becoming Product Placement for The ReQuest Dance Crew and a Star-Making Role for Paris Goebbel (who is not related to Goebbels, contrary to some people's belief).
  • They Might Be Giants are often analysed (their wiki has a whole namespace dedicated to interpretations), even for songs like "Don't Let's Start," which has been said by John Linnell to just be nonsense words that fit the music, which was written before the lyrics.
  • Peter, Paul and Mary contribute "Puff the Magic Dragon", written by Peter Yarrow and Leonard Lipton. It is JUST a fantasy about a boy and his dragon and has no hidden meaning. As Yarrow's bandmate Mary Travers once said, "If Peter had wanted to write a song about smoking marijuana, he would have written a song about smoking marijuana."
  • tool puts a lot of autobiographical, mystical and new age elements into their work, such as putting the intro of one song to the beat of the Fibonacci sequence. This leads many fans to speculate on the deep meanings behind the lyrics, which the band has always categorically refused to elaborate on, stating that the music is for the fans to make their own meaning. When they do give concrete answers, it's to lie about them, such as once when Maynard Keenan claimed that the band's songs were a "tool" to understanding The Joy Guide to Lachrymology by Ronald P. Vincent, a supposed study of "the science of crying" that doesn't actually exist.
  • The 2016 Vaporwave album News At 11 by 猫 シ Corp., the first half of which intersperses distorted easy listening music with audio samples of morning news shows on the morning of September 11, 2001 before the attacks, is open to a wide range of interpretation. This ranges from describing it an attempt to capture the last moments of normalcy before the United States changed forever, an attempt to ignore the attacks by delaying the inevitable and switching to The Weather Channel when it becomes unavoidable, or a commentary on the phoniness and/or banality of pre-9/11 American life. It's also been interpreted as a look into a parallel universe where the attacks never happened, September 11, 2001 was just another normal day, and the night watchman at the World Trade Center fell asleep watching the weather.
  • Eminem clearly has satirical intent to his Vulgar Humor lyrics, but also has complained that everyone analyses them too hard, claiming he was just trying to say the illest shit he could think of, and that Slim Shady was just "an excuse to rap pissed off" and get everyone mad. It should be noted that his music not being didactic is, paradoxically, one of the main points made in his more obviously didactic early songs (e.g. "Who Knew").

    Print Media 
  • Parodied by The Onion on at least three occasions. Made all the more hilarious by an AP English test from a few years back that involved analysing an Onion article.

  • Aversion: Sigmund Freud would say that unconscious conflicts resolve themselves by being expressed through symbolic stories. So, the fact that an author denies the presence of any deeper meaning to their work (as in the aforementioned The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, where the idea of a Kansan taking trip to the capital to appeal for help from the ruler seems to be a fitting metaphor for ruritans, mired in a farm crisis, traveling to D.C. to ask the President for aid), does not in and of itself prove that no such meaning exists. As long as the explanation makes sense, it's worth considering; and this is at the root of what makes something art or not. As long as the explanation makes sense....
    • Modern psychology would go for a subversion: all such meaning comes from the person making the argument. Unconscious symbolism is simply too idiosyncratic and personal, which is also why dream analysis is pretty much gone.
    • One doesn't need to dig as deep as Freudian psychology does, any given work will reveal some facts about the author and their opinion on certain topics. Especially if the work is not intended to be great literature. Read any fanfic that takes place in Japan, but uses the school system of the place where the author lives: You now know where the author lives, and what school system they consider "normal".
  • Any series that maintains a solid internal consistency can be subject to this. It becomes easy to find how a throw-away remark or the viewpoint of an isolated character becomes supported by all the other elements of the work, even if the author never intended or agreed with such statements.

  • William Shakespeare is a frequent victim of this. Every plausible intellectual slant, and more than a few implausible ones, have been earnestly applied to his work by English students. Some, fearing a desecration of the canon, oppose any and all film adaptations, and heaven forbid that you stage the plays in anything but their most complete forms. Even if the original performances were heavily improvised and no authoritative versions ever existed, canon is Serious Business. Hamlet is certainly the best example of this dynamic. Literary critics have found a staggering quantity of meanings and lessons in the play. One of the more obscure, but enjoyable, explanations is that the entire play is an allegory for the conflict between Copernican and Ptolemaic astronomies. There is also an emergent anti-criticism school that insists that Shakespeare's plays completely lack hidden meanings, and are simply staggeringly well-executed vehicles for swordfights and dick jokes.
  • There's an argument that virtually every play by Henrik Ibsen lacks an Aesop, instead showing characters in conflict and letting the audience decide who's right and who's wrong. This didn't stop a fair number of people from being utterly appalled by the ending of A Doll's House for seeming to promote divorce. Feminist authors hailed Ibsen during his life for A Doll's House in spite of Ibsen's strong denial that it had a feminist message.
  • Played with at the opening of The Pajama Game, where Hines appears in front of the curtain to proclaim the play's serious themes:
    "This is a very serious drama. It's kind of a problem play. It's about Capital and Labor. I wouldn't bother to make such a point of all this except later on, if you happen to see a lot of naked women being chased through the woods, I don't want you to get the wrong impression. This play is full of symbolism."
  • Live cinema screenings of operas from the Royal Opera House have a tendency to being with a lengthy in-depth explanation by the director of the particular production of what subtext, not present in the score or libretto, they have decided to add to the work. At least the Met withhold this until an interval. Programmes, and booklets accompanying box-set recordings, also do this but there is no obligation to read them before the performance.
  • Improv comedy troupe/public pranksters Improv Everywhere parodied this trope by setting up a New York subway station as an art gallery, where preexisting objects like trash cans, advertisements and passing trains were the "art". See a video of it here.

    Video Games 
  • Antimatter Dimensions: In-universe, one news ticker is a person searching for meaning in the game and positing that it is one long extended metaphor for overcoming depression, with the various game mechanics standing for life changes, setbacks, positive/negative thoughts, and so forth.
    But what does it mean? It can't just be a game, it seems too plain for that. The developer must have made it as a metaphor. […] [F]inally the realization came to me. The dimensions are just thinly veiled misspellings of the word 'depression'. Regular matter are the cruel and negative thoughts that add to and fuel depression, while antimatter is the positive thoughts and good friends that dispel it.
  • This deconstruction of Sinistar entitled I Hunger, therefore, I live.
  • The Game Overthinker makes a habit of doing this to video games. See for example his episode Super Mario and the Sacred Feminine.
  • Xenogears. Where do you even start? Suffice it to say nearly any of the serious fans will talk your ear off about pet theories just as much as a certain character in it would. The game is literally fanservice for overthinking types.
  • Chrono is a Christ figure. And that's just the beginning.
    • One of the arguments given is that the three gurus are named Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar... which is actually a Woolseyism inserted in the English version. In the original Japanese, they are named the much less impressive Gash, Mash, and Bash.
  • The Mother fandom has this in spades.
  • Many of the articles on, and even more so on its spiritual successor,, indulge in this trope in DROVES.
  • Halo: Combat Evolved (and only Combat Evolved) is a post-modernist work of art, comparable to the Iliad, the Chief descended from Rambo AND Captain America, and... look, you just got to read it.
    • It specifically features religious references all over the place. Heck, even the main theme is Gregorian chanting.
  • GameFAQs has plot analysis for the entire Silent Hill series that are longer than the installments' walkthroughs combined. It's possible the authors simply finagled course credits for games already played. At least it makes interesting reading for fans who can't get enough Silent Hill.
  • There are a few people who analyze the living crap out of Alice: Madness Returns, as can be expected given that it's a Darker and Edgier sequel to Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.
  • It's been written, and seems possible, that The Legend of Zelda, particularly OOT, has Trinitarian/Biblical undertones in the nature of Triforce. There are three parts of the triforce, Courage (represented by Link), Power (represented by Ganondorf), and Wisdom (represented by Zelda). There are, as well, three Spiritual Stones. This may just be the Rule of Three motif, but it's always possible.note 
    • The Seven Sages are important as well for a number of reasons. The motif of number seven as a powerful number goes back at least as far as Mesopotamian times (Sumerian mythology/history has a group of people, the Apkallu, literally known as the Seven Sages.) and it, that is the importance of the number seven, certainly appears in the works of the Bible as well.
    • Majora's Mask, gets this due to being the Darker and Edgier direct sequel to Ocarina of Time that deals with the nature of masks and a "Groundhog Day" Loop with The End of the World as We Know It via Colony Drop of an angry anthropomorphized moon always looming.
      • Some have theorized that the different areas and dungeons represent the stages of grief that Link is going through over the loss of Navi. Or alternatively, the stages the whole world of Termina is going through in the face of their impending destruction.
      • This episode of Game Theory proposes the then-obscure idea that Link died in the opening of the game and all of Termina is merely his purgatory until he accepts his death and moves on to the afterlife proper.
      • And then this article completely refutes it with the multiple Word of God statements that Termina is a parallel world, and the fact that Link couldn't have died while falling into the tree.
  • Website Sydlexia loves to create parodic overanalyses of old video games, including "Pac-Man is an allegory for the futility of life in a western capitalist society", "Duck Tales is impossible to beat and proves that reality is a lie" and "Mario commits all seven of the Seven Deadly Sins in Super Mario Bros and is one of the most amoral protagonists in video games."
  • In-Universe in The Beginner's Guide. Davey keeps coming up with explanations and explaining symbolism in Coda's work, such as explaining the reason for Coda making so many prison room type games are a metaphor for Coda feeling trapped by his work and depressed that he can't come up with new game ideas. Subverted in that Coda calls Davey out for assuming this and coming up with interpretations to fit a narrative he thought it should represent. As Davey sadly points out near the end "Maybe he just liked making prison games".
  • Parodied in Hypnospace Outlaw when Gill Sanders, leader of The SAI Freelands subcommunity, has a page beginning a work-in-progress scene-by-scene analysis of the Chowder Man song "Ready to Shave", which is a seven-minute rock epic about Chowder Man shaving. Other SAI Freelands members find it completely asinine, a notion which Gill scoffs at.
    "Here we are transported to a tense scene in The Chowder Man's bathroom. This first verse is brilliant because it is both a story AND a metaphor (a metaphor represents something else other than the obvious thing.)"

    Web Comics 
  • Dinosaur Comics:
    Alt-text: i tried to figure out all the symbolism in this comic and i was SO CONFUSED
  • Anything Starslip's Vanderbeam analyzes becomes saddled with more symbolism than it deserves. Taken to extremes:
    • On one occasion, Vanderbeam escapes a villain's mind control by realizing that the mind control technique "shifts the context to a metadiscussion on the commodification of power."
    • Vanderbeam later saves the universe by recontextualizing a piece of artwork, "calling attention to its dual nature as object and objectification".
    • He later defeats a villain by analyzing the artistic and cultural significance of the design of the villain's ship.
  • Kris Straub's earlier comic Checkerboard Nightmare occasionally featured the arthouse critic Lance Sharps, a Scott McCloud parody. In his review of CN itself, he remarked that "At first I imagined the robot to be some sort of rape symbolism, and was quite disappointed to find it was merely a robot."
  • Parodied in Saturday Morning Breakfast Cereal:
    "That's not how English class works. What we can do is pretend the book is a towering riddle of symbology designed to obfuscate a central theme so simplistic that it can be expressed in a single paragraph during a one-hour midterm."
  • One fan of Bloody Urban left a comment praising this page for its (completely unintentional) satire of capitalist values.
    "This got a few comments on deviantart praising my witty critique of the hypocrisy of fast-food consumption. Apparently I have captured the dilemma of the modern consumer. And I was like Really? I thought this was just a fat joke...."
  • A dialogue-free comic strip depicting a scantily clad Dumb Blonde-type woman picking up a book and gradually becoming darker-haired, less made up and tanned and more modestly dressed started circulating online - some took offense at the obviously sexist message, while others supported it, and one edited version of the strip even added text suggesting that the book in question was meant to be The Bible. As it turned out, the original image was niche fetish art with no intended social commentary - the artist specialized in art depicting people gradually transforming into exaggerated, overtly sexualized caricatures of femininity, and the strip was the result of someone commissioning a "reverse" transformation.

    Web Animation 

    Web Original 
  • Something Awful also did a parody
  • A number of the Worse Than It Sounds entries are send-ups of this idea.
  • Some of the very pages on TV Tropes, but in a good way.
  • Uncyclopedia's Fisher Price: A Retrospective, a multiple pages-long essay regarding a page created by a Wiki Vandal which consists nothing but the text "go eat shit fuckers".
  • Mocked in the Whateley Universe when Phase takes a World Literature class on the epic. The papers written on the classical Greek and Roman epics are all flamed by fellow student Majestic. Who happens to be the incarnation of Hera/Juno and might actually know more about this than anyone else in the class.
  • SCP Foundation: Invoked in-universe with SCP-3435 (a painting of a wyvern wizard and a cyborg T. Rex fighting), which makes viewers nauseous if they overthink what the painting is supposed to represent. The artist who made it deliberately added this feature so when critics he hated came by, he could laugh at the sick looks on their faces.

    Web Videos 
  • Todd in the Shadows: he himself acknowledges his tendency to over-analyze inherently cheap and shallow pop songs.
  • Oancitizen of Brows Held High fame makes a habit of this, especially in his "Between The Lines" videos. His earliest defining work on the TGWTG site was analyzing the themes and metaphors inherent in Nella's My Little Pony tales during The Nostalgia Chick's review of the MLP movie.
  • Confused Matthew argues in his epilogue to his No Country for Old Men review that it, and 2001, were created cynically for these sort of people. Didactic elements were peppered into the film in place of characters, dialogue or plot.
  • The Nostalgia Critic did this in his Sailor Moon review, when he talks about the transformation sequences, suddenly goes off on how squicky they are given that the girls are 14 years old, despite not looking like it (ignorant or unknown of Animation Anatomy Aging) and then goes off on a tangent about the Japanese law in regards to Age of Consent. Which isn't even exactly the same all over Japan.
  • Parodied in Lasagna Cat in 07/27/1978, an hour-long analysis of a single strip of Garfield stealing Jon's pipe.
  • Parodied in a ProZD skit. Person A criticizes a manga for just being an excuse for mindless fanservice, to which Person B utterly loses their shit about how there's a lot of deep symbolism that's clearly going right over Person A's head. Cut to a shot from an interview with the author who said he just wanted to draw big titties.

    Western Animation 
  • Fillmore! has an episode where the Book Club try to steal the best books from the library for themselves. The head of said club when he is collared and sent to detention rants about how the Book Club deserve them more than others as they are the only ones who appreciate them in the right way and understand things like the subtext of Judy Blume. Ingrid Third points out, "Judy Blume doesn't have a subtext, but she is very good."
  • A serious investigation into the "deep philosophical significance" hidden between the lines of the Super Mario World cartoon episode and YouTube Poop staple "Mama Luigi".
  • Pretty much every version of Scooby-Doo.
    • Whether intentional or not, the fact that most villainsnote  in Scooby-Doo episodes are normal people masquerading as a supernatural monster is very much in line with the typical skeptical mindset, which feels that a naturalistic explanation (Old Man Johnson scaring people away from the pirate treasure by dressing up as a werewolf) is much more reasonable and likely than a supernatural one (werewolves exist).
    • Beyond the superficial "ghosts aren't real", it's been suggested that Scooby-Doo teaches two lessons that encourage a skeptical mindset: 1) Some adults will lie to you for their own benefit 2) Other adults will believe them, so you have to find the truth for yourself.
  • The Journal of Cartoon Overanalyzations thrives on, and parodies, this trope.
  • South Park parodied this in the episode The Tale of Scrotie McBoogerballs, in which the boys write a book of absolutely horrible depravity with the express purpose of outclassing The Catcher in the Rye's disappointingly non-vulgar content. But lo and behold, everyone else applies this trope in droves. This can also be seen as a commentary on South Park itself, as well as critics who analyze it.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In 2005, the journalist Wilker de Jesus Lira wrote a monograph called "O merchandising capitalista no desenho Bob Esponja" (The capitalist merchandising in the SpongeBob cartoon) where he attempts to show that SpongeBob preaches the American capitalism that predates the lower classes, saying that "SpongeBob is the perfect capitalist employee, who doesn't rebel against his chief and accepts everything, even if he lives with a misery salary."
    • Others have argued that each character represents a deadly sin. Krabs is Greed. Plankton is Envy. Sandy is Pride. Patrick is Sloth. Squidward is Wrath. Gary is Gluttony. And SpongeBob is lust (in case anyone is confused, lust is not simply referring to sexual lust, but for a general act of doing what on wants, i.e. hedonism).
  • People love applying this to My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic. There's been essays on everything from the political makeup of Equestria to the application of Jung's shadow archetype to the Great and Powerful Trixie to psychoanalysis of the main cast, complete with personality disorder diagnoses. This is part of a larger trend of overanalysis (often lampshaded as "Today on overanalyzing a child's cartoon..."), which includes the famous physics presentation that concluded that Applejack is made out of dark matter.
  • There is a German cartoon series called Benjamin Blümchen & Bibi Blocksberg. It's about a talking elephant and a school-age witch. That's it. Yet, the German Federal Agency for Civic Education analysed the series, and produced a frighteningly plausible report of how this apparently innocent children's series is heavily politically lopsided agitation material; strongly anti-capitalist, nihilist, and even denouncing the democratic process in favour of populism. Thus, they classified as being harmful to a child's political and socialisational development. Truth be told, German censors are slightly on the idiotic side of the scale.