- The Simpsons:
- Lampshaded in "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", when Bart and Lisa are being hazed by cadets at a military academy:Cadet: What's the matter? Don't girls like doing push-ups in the mud?
Lisa: Is there any answer I can give that won't result in you making me do more push-ups?
(Cadets talk amongst themselves for a few seconds)
- In the Treehouse of Horror VIII segment "Easy Bake Coven", set during the Salem witch trials, Marge was accused of witchcraft and sentenced to being thrown off a cliff. If she died, it would be an "honorable Christian death". If she survived, it'd be taken as proof that she's a witch, in which case she would be executed. The whole thing fell apart when she turned out to be a witch after all and used her powers to escape punishment and exact revenge. The townsfolk were completely unprepared for this since the witch trials were apparently less about finding actual witches and more about setting innocent people up as scapegoats for every little thing that went wrong.
- "No listening. You hear me?"
- In "Kiss Kiss, Bang Bangalore", when Homer goes to India and comes to believe himself a god, Lenny and Carl come to visit him and are met by a guard who offers them a choice between two doors, explaining that Homer Simpson is behind one and a Bengal tiger is behind the other. When it turns out that both doors have a tiger behind them, the guard explains "One of those tigers is named Homer Simpson."
- From The Simpsons Movie:Nelson: [winding up a punch] Say global warming's a myth!
Milhouse: [cowering] It's a myth! Further study is needed!
Nelson: [punches him in the stomach] That's for selling out your beliefs!
- In "The Computer Wore Menace Shoes", Homer goes to the Springfield Police Department's homepage, and it asks him to select whether or not he's committed a crime and wants to turn himself in. Picking "no" leads to the site assuming he committed a crime but is denying that he did it.
- This exchange from when Principal Skinner reads how "Mr. X," actually Homer, exposed how Mayor Quimby funded his personal swimming pool with money meant for filling potholes:Mrs. Skinner: Seymour! Are you looking at naked ladies?
Principal Skinner: No, of course not mother.
Mrs. Skinner: You sissy!
Principal Skinner: Ugh!
- This exchange from when Principal Skinner reads how "Mr. X," actually Homer, exposed how Mayor Quimby funded his personal swimming pool with money meant for filling potholes:
- In "Mountain of Madness":Smokey the Bear: Only who can prevent forest fires? You or me? (Bart presses "You") You have selected, "You", referring to me. That is incorrect. The correct answer is "You".
- Lampshaded in "The Secret War of Lisa Simpson", when Bart and Lisa are being hazed by cadets at a military academy:
- In one of the last episodes of the Rocky and Bullwinkle series, Boris was caught in one where, after stealing a raft-load of goods, the award he received for the deed caused the raft to begin sinking. If the goods sank, Boris would be shot, and if he threw away the award to stop the raft from sinking, he'd still be shot. "Well, at least I have a choice," he says. Whichever one happened, a shot was heard offscreen by the heroes.
- ReBoot: A game cube lands on the Principal Office, resulting in the Office's core being transported out of the Office itself. Bob realizes that even if he wins, the power core will still leave with the game cube and Mainframe will undergo a System Crash. As Bob says: "If the user wins, we're doomed! And if I win we're doomed!" He manages to get out of it by taking a third option.
- My Little Pony: Friendship Is Magic
- In the two-parter "The Return of Harmony", Discord gets five of the Mane Six into a Morton's Fork where they are meant to fall for his breaking speech trick and abandon their element due to his use of More Than Mind Control. In the lone case where one of the ponies (Fluttershy) doesn't fall for this, he just brainwashes her in order to rid her of all traces of her element by breaking her perforce. Especially worth noting is the Sadistic Choice he gave to Rainbow Dash. Her element is loyalty, so he informed her that her hometown of Cloudsdale was about to be destroyed and that the only way for her to save it was to take her wings back and leave the maze (which means he wins). Whatever RD did at this point, she would either be turning her back on her friends or turning her back on her home town, meaning she would betray her element no matter what.note
- "The Crystal Empire" gives us several, courtesy of King Sombra. Celestia and Luna were forced to seal him away in order to prevent him from using the Empire's special powers to become an uber-Fisher King over all of Equestria, but the sealing inadvertently triggered his backup curse to make the Empire vanish until his return. Shining Armor must hold him off long enough for Twilight's group to make it to safety, but Shining Armor's efforts only earn him a Power Nullifier curse and uselessness for nearly the rest of the episodes. Cadence is absolutely exhausting herself in trying to maintain her Deflector Shields to keep Sombra at bay, but her taking a breather will only allow him to return to the Empire that much sooner. Twilight and Spike must find the Crystal Heart — the only surefire way to stop Sombra — before Cadence's time runs out, but the Heart is guarded by several Booby Traps that only a rare few can pass... and even when Twilight and Spike find it anyway, they trigger a backup curse that not only imprisons her but prevents her from using her magic to escape as well (effectively putting her in Shining Armor's predicament). Either way, Sombra ultimately returns to the Empire, and the only ones capable of stopping him are now incapacitated while he remains fresh due to all of his waiting. Only some very desperate last-second actions by Spike, Shining Armor, and Cadence manage to avert a Downer Ending.
- Timon & Pumbaa:
- In the episode where the duo met Pumbaa's old warthog sounder, the sounder was faced with such a dilemma when their natural enemy, guinea fowl, surrounded their encampment. If they tried to leave, the guinea fowl would eat them and their bug supplynote , and if they stayed, they would inevitably drown due to coming monsoons.
- Another episode had the duo in one of these. A firefighting bear threatened to eat them if they brought fire into his forest. However, a lumberjack (whose fire they had put out after the initial encounter with the bear) threatened to chop them with his axe if they didn't bring him back replacement fire from a volcano in the woods. They managed to get out of it once they told the bear that the lumberjack was forcing them to bring fire into the woods. The bear then let them go and ate the lumberjack instead.
- Dogbert bet Dilbert $20 that it didn't feel good to give and then asked Dilbert to give him $40. As Dilbert notes, either way, he's out $20.
- Played with in an episode of Freakazoid! Our insane hero is given a choice by a judge to either spend thirty days in jail or listen to thirty minutes of Fanboy ranting about 80's Disney movies. Seems like a simple choice right? Freakazoid immediately chooses jail but finds, to his horror, Fanboy in his cell with him.
- In King of the Hill:
- Peggy asks Hank "Does This Make Me Look Fat?" and he responds it's a loaded question; "No matter how I answer, there's a bullet in every chamber designed to blow my brains out", so the only correct answer is to keep his mouth shut.
- In the episode "Après Hank, le Deluge", when he sees they aren't being attended, Hank has to monitor the weakened Arlen flood gates during heavy rain to make sure they don't give way. There are several big cracks, and if they appear to be worsening, he can flush out some of the water by opening the gates a bit and sacrifice a few homes in the process, but if he doesn't, the gates will completely burst and the majority of South Arlen will flood. The cracks continue to grow and Hank is forced to open the gates to relieve pressure. As a result, a lot of people hate him for it, but it's mostly undue and the flak is from unreasonable and rather stupid citizens who think Hank was just a paranoid idiot.
- In the Darkwing Duck episode "Let's Get Respectable", Negaduck catches Darkwing with a simple form of this by asking Darkwing if he had stopped digging potholes in Main Street.
- In "Man's Best Friend" from The Ren & Stimpy Show, George Liquor explains to the duo that he would get angry with them if he caught them on the couch, then tells them to get on it for a demonstration, or he'll get angry regardless. Note that this only applies to Stimpy, since George considers Ren too soft for punishment.
- In Pasila, one episode demonstrates that talking to the protagonist Kyösti Pöysti can be like this: Someone states an opinion, he disagrees with it, someone else agrees with him, and he disagrees with that as well because he's so keen to state things aren't black and white either way and because it lets him act superior towards everyone.
- In an episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast Space Ghost hosts a game show with Bob Odenkirk and David Cross as the contestants. He tells them if they get a trivia question wrong, they'll get blasted by him, but they'll still get blasted by him if they get it right instead. Zorak initially likes the idea, until he learns he's also a contestant. Cue his Oh, Crap! face.
- After a bureaucratic inspection is sabotaged thanks to Bender's antics, Hermes is driven to the brink of suicide. However, his superior points out that if he commits suicide without filling in the requisite forms, he'll be demoted posthumously.Hermes: Life... death. Either way, I'm demoted to a tiny cubicle!
- In "Leela's Homeworld", Professor Farnsworth invents a machine that produces an absurdly high output of toxic waste. Hermes takes notice of this and tells the Professor that he has two options for how to deal with it: safely dispose of the toxic waste in a clean and professional manner (Cost: $500), or bribe him to ignore it and sweep it under the rug (Cost: $500). Bender then adds the third option of hiring him to dispose of the waste in the most slapdash, unsafe and conspicuous manner possible, for a cost of $499 "and one hundred cents", No matter what, the Professor is out $500, but, of course, he chooses to hire Bender for "the convenience".
- After a bureaucratic inspection is sabotaged thanks to Bender's antics, Hermes is driven to the brink of suicide. However, his superior points out that if he commits suicide without filling in the requisite forms, he'll be demoted posthumously.
- Batman: The Animated Series, "Almost Got 'im":Two-Face: Half of me wants to strangle you.
Poison Ivy: And what does the other half want?
Two-Face: To hit you with a truck!
- In an episode of Inch High, Private Eye, the titular character (who has George Jetson Job Security) is told by his boss if he doesn't find a stolen robotic flea he's fired. Inch High asks him what if he does find it, with his boss telling him that if he does get it back he's still fired, Inch High lamenting that he gets fired either way.
- Adventure Time had Finn and Jake in the Nightosphere, trying to find Marceline twisted into an abomination. They find her giving all the demons a three-pronged Morton's fork, asking "What do you want? Pain? Pleasure? Or a weird punishment?". The first demon choose "pleasure" leading her to say "No, weird punishment!" and causing the demon to start vomiting bananas. The second demon choose "pain" and his body is zapped in half. The third demon tries to Take a Third Option and leave without asking for anything. But before he leaves, he's asked if he would like to have abs. He happily accepts and has his face turned into abs.
- In the Aqua Teen Hunger Force episode "Interfection" the Aqua Teens' house is invaded by giant pop-up ads because Shake signed up for a 30-day trial for an extravagant internet service. When Frylock declines being offered a full subscription, he finds that clicking no just means that the trial is extended by another 90 days before they're signed up anyway.Option A: Yes! Sign me up for your fabulous and intrusive service, including the Home Invasion Cam!
Option B: No, I need another 90 days to decide, but I'm pretty sure I want this.
- An episode of Rugrats is about Angelica believing Chuckie to be an alien in disguise and trying to prove it. When Chuckie naturally says he's not an alien, Angelica says that an alien would of course deny that they're one, but a regular kid would play along and say that he was an alien. Going by that, Chuckie says that he's an alien, and Angelica decides to take that as a confession to being one.
- In The Fairly OddParents episode "Wish Fixers", Timmy goes to a "Wish Fixing" office run by the pixies HP and Sanderson in order to make more sensible wishes. Cosmo and Wanda have shock collars attached to them that zap them whenever Timmy makes an insensible wish, and they can only be zapped up to five times. Eventually, when Timmy decides to ask the pixies what wishes he's allowed to make, he's presented with a so-called list of sensible wishes, which has only one wish listed; "Wish Fairy World in control of the pixies." [sic] If Timmy makes the only "sensible" wish on the list, the pixies get Fairy World and Cosmo and Wanda will turn into pixies. If he makes one more "insensible" wish, Cosmo and Wanda become dust and they get replaced by pixies. If he refuses to make a wish, Timmy has Cosmo and Wanda taken from him and replaced by pixies. Timmy manages to save Cosmo and Wanda by wishing they were made of rubber, thus preventing them from being zapped, then showing that rubber fairies can cause a lot of collateral damage, making a wish that was both responsible and irresponsible and nullifying the contract.
- In the Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog episode "Hero of the Year", Robotnik traps Sonic's friends aboard Wes Weasley's yacht and tells Sonic that if he doesn't come quietly, then he'll sink the yacht. After Sonic complies and is put into a bathysphere, Robotnik tells him that in order to prevent any of Sonic's friends from rescuing him, he'll sink the yacht.
- In the Super Mansion episode "Black to the Future", when Zenith is in heat and needs to mate with a mortal man, it's stated that whether or not she does will have disastrous repercussions: either she has sex with American Ranger and gives birth to a half-god, half-mortal who creates a dystopian Bad Future, or she goes out of control and destroys the world. Subverted when it turns out her mother lied about the latter event happening because she just wanted a grandkid.
- Ed, Edd n Eddy: In "Oath to an Ed", Eddy tries to earn a "Good Neighbor Badge" to join the Urban Rangers, in which he has to bake a pie and be polite towards his "neighbor". Unfortunately for him, that "neighbor" is Sarah, who now has free rein to bug Eddy until he can't take it anymore and knowing he'll suffer either way.
- SpongeBob SquarePants: In "Enemy In-Law", when Mr. Krabs' mother shows up at the Krusty Krab, Mr. Krabs accuses her of wanting to borrow money from him to buy something for herself. When he notices that his mother already has an expensive hat (that Plankton bought her) without the need to borrow money from him, Mr. Krabs then gets upset that she's spending "his inheritance money".
- Dexter's Laboratory: In "Old Man Dexter", Dexter is begging his family to let him stay up to watch late-night television with them. At one point he asks his mother, who tells him "not 'til you're older". He then tries to ask his dad... and he blows it off with "ask your mother".
- Gravity Falls gives Robbie one. In a bid to win back Wendy's heart, he lies that he made a song of her, which has a subliminal message in it. When Dipper finds out about the message and tells Wendy, Robbie is left with two choices; either let the accusation stand or admit he didn't really make the song. He picks the latter, and Wendy dumps him for good.
- The Venture Bros. has a moment of this where Red Death leaves rival villain Blind Rage Chained to a Railway. He does so before the train actually hits, while explicitly noting that it's possible to escape—and he notes that this is actually something he likes about the idea of tying people to train tracks, which is that it gives the person a Hope Spot and increases the terror and anticipation of the train coming. However, as he points out, it doesn't actually matter if Blind Rage escapes: if he does, he's going to tell the Peril Partnership that Red Death and his allies aren't to be messed with, and if he doesn't, then his corpse splattered across the train tracks provides the same message.
Mortons Fork / Western Animation