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Meaningful Echo / Western Animation

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  • Lampshaded in an episode of American Dad!:
    Stan Smith: I forbid it!
    Judge: While I'm sure that's a meaningful callback to an earlier conversation...
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender:
    • Iroh saying "A man needs his rest" Book-Ends the first season: the first use trying to calm down Zuko's Determinator nature, the second congratulating him for admitting he's "tired" of fruitlessly chasing the Avatar. The delivery makes it clear that Iroh thinks Zuko has become his own man. (He hasn't.)
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    • Iroh's little song: "Leaves from the vine / falling so slow..." The first time, he uses it to comfort a crying toddler, and it's cute. The second...
    • In the episode "The Avatar and the Fire Lord", Prince Sozin gives his headdress to Roku as something to remember him by. Sozin is reluctant to take it, saying "This is a royal artifact. It's supposed to be worn by the Crown Prince." Later, at the end of the episode, Iroh says the same words while giving the once-lost headdress to Zuko.
  • In Batman: The Animated Series, we have Baby Doll's Catchphrase "I didn't mean to!" used as a Running Gag in her in-universe Sitcom, but then used devastatingly at the end of the episode.
  • In Bojack Horseman, Sarah Lynn's first line, off-script, as a 6y/o child is essentially "I want to be an architect" (*essentially due to her first conversation building up to it). She's immediately shot down by her mother. At 32ys/o, her final words are "I want to be an architect."
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  • The CatDog episode "Meat Dog's Friends" had Cat say "You learn something new every day" twice. He first says it while showing cruel indifference to Dog being horrified that meat is made from animals. The second time is at the end of the episode, when he is surprised to learn that meat trees and Johnny Meatseed are real.
  • When she first arrives at her new high school, Daria is given a mandatory psychological test. She jokes that she sees the picture of two people talking as "a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plains", and repeats the phrase when prompted to come up with a conversation the two people are having; she is then diagnosed as antisocial with low self-esteem. In the last episode, "Boxing Daria", a flashback reveals that Daria was given similar tests as a child for being antisocial, which put strain on her family. The therapist giving her a Rorschach test explained that people might see different things in the blots, including "a herd of beautiful wild ponies running free across the plains" - a Call-Back that transforms Daria's first sarcastic joke into a Tear Jerker.
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  • In Ever After High, Cupid's diary recounts a time she tried to change herself to impress a guy. Raven noticed Cupid was unhappy and reassured her, saying "Follow your heart and everything else will fall into place."
    Cupid: That's good advice.
    Raven: I know. It was what you told me before Legacy Day.
  • In a Futurama episode, after God fixes the situation: "If you do things right, people won't be sure you've done anything at all."
    • The reason this is particularly significant is that God just told Bender the same thing, only Bender interpreted it as "you can't count on God for crap". Which he then uses as justification to save some God-seeking monks that would have otherwise starved after Fry says that they can ask God to help them. So...yeah.
  • In The Legend of Korra the inventor/businessman character Varrick is constantly telling his assistant to "Do the thing!" as his way of ordering her around and having her do whatever he needs her to do. In the fourth season when he asks her to marry him he does so by asking "Will you do the thing forever?" It is also part of their wedding vows, instead of saying "You may kiss the bride" Bolin who is marrying them says "You may do the thing."
  • The Magic School Bus: At a few points throughout "For Lunch", Miss Frizzle tells her students to "never say never" as a means of reminding them that anything's possible. Towards the end, when she realizes they'll have a harder time leaving Arnold's digestive system the way they came, one of her students repeats those three words to her, in order to boost her morale and help her believe they might just make it yet.
  • Metalocalypse has "That's my bread and butter you're f* cking with." First said by Charles Foster Ofdensen when he comes to rescue Skwisgaar and Toki at the end of Season One, and simply cool. In Season Two, Nathan repeats it when he saves a beaten and bloody Charles from the masked assassin who had finally managed to get ahold of him.
  • My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic:
    • In the season 4 premiere "Princess Twilight Sparkle", Twilight has a magical flashback to the first time Princess Celestia and Princess Luna defeated Discord, before which they discover the Tree of Harmony and decide to use its elements. Twilight later recalls what Princess Celestia had said in the flashback about the Tree to figure out how to save the Tree of Harmony and destroy the ravaging plants.
      Princess Celestia: Even without these elements, the Tree of Harmony will possess a powerful magic. As long as that magic remains, it will continue to control and contain all that grows here.
    • In "The Mane Attraction", Coloratura's song "The Magic Inside" has two echoes to her earlier song "The Spectacle". The latter song has the hook "Razzle dazzle, glitz and glam" and ends with the lyric "Not just a pony, I am the Countess!" The former song has the lyric "There's more to me than glitz and glam" and the chorus begins with the line "For I am just a pony".
  • In ReBoot, although the line is usually a Running Gag, when the mysterious stranger who called off the Webrunner attack reveals himself as Bob, he utters the line "You can't talk in these things".
  • Robotech: The Shadow Chronicles has the phrase "what you can't see (on radar) you still can hit". First time, it's just a warning not to get cocky. Second time it's a means of getting determination to fight against superior (and stealthy) enemy.
  • The Simpsons - in an early episode, Lisa finds a bright substitute teacher to be a better male role model than she ever found Homer to be. When he leaves she's devastated - as Homer awkwardly tries to console her, he talks about how she's going to grow up to be an exceptional, accomplished person. She looks surprised, as this is nearly verbatim what the substitute had told her, and she'd maybe judged her dad a bit harshly.
  • Early in the first season of The Spectacular Spiderman, Harry Osborn tells his father about his problems at school. Norman, coldhearted as he is, harshly tells Harry to "cowboy up" and deal with his problems. At the end of the second season, Harry repeats the phrase to his father (or rather, the Chameleon disguised as him) as he pilots a helicopter and destroys an apartment in pursuit of the Green Goblin.
  • Steven Universe:
    • In "Space Race", an early conversation has Pearl bemoan that she's stuck on Earth, and when Steven cheerfully points out "With me!" her response, "Yes. With you," indicates that she knows he's trying but she still doesn't feel better. At the end of the episode, after Pearl makes a serious attempt to get back to space and fails, the same exchange happens, but this time Pearl is speaking in Sincerity Mode.
    • In "Log Date 7 15 2", Steven tells Peridot that a polite way to express gratitude is saying, "Wow, thanks!" She repeats it flatly at the end when Steven gives back her tape recorder. Then in "Gem Drill", she says it when Steven gives her a Cooldown Hug as the Cluster starts to take form.
      Peridot: Do you have any last words?!
      Steven: I love you, Peridot.
      Peridot: [teary-eyed] Wow, thanks.
  • This happens at least twice in Transformers Animated. Sari and Bumblebee have one in the three-episode-pilot ('You can trust this face, can't you?') and then there's Ratchet and Omega in the season three premiere ('We do what we must, even if, sometimes, it doesn't make sense.')
  • The first season of Transformers: Beast Wars, and Optimus Primal's "Sometimes, crazy works." Said the first time after a borderline-insane escape, and the second time before heading of on an apparent suicide mission.
  • Transformers: Prime:
    • Ratchet's Running Gag / Catchphrase "I needed that!" is tragically played in the season 2 finale when it is revealed to Ratchet that Optimus Prime has destroyed the Omega Lock, which was the only hope of restoring Cybertron. "Optimus... we needed that."
    • Earlier, when Smokescreen joins the Autobot team, Bulkhead, who is suffering from a crippling injury, believes he will be replaced.
      Bulkhead: When what? When all of you will need an assist? Isn't that what the new guy's for?!
    • And later on, near the end of the episode, when Smokescreen saves Bulkhead from Cylas:
      Smokescreen: Assist—what the new guy's for!
  • The X-Men episode "A Rogue's Tale" did this. A flashback to Rogue's father discovering she was a mutant has him coldly tell her "You're not my daughter. Not anymore." At the end of the episode, Rogue says to Mystique "I'm not your daughter. Not anymore" to show that she resents Mystique for everything she made her do when she adopted her.


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