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Playing With / Aesop Amnesia

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Basic Trope: A character learns a valuable life lesson ... then forgets it easily because Status Quo Is God.

  • Straight: Bob learns that it's wrong to bully others. A couple of episodes later, he's back to bullying.
  • Exaggerated: Alice learns that it's wrong to litter. In the very next scene, she's pouring paint down a storm drain.
  • Downplayed: Bob learns a lesson about bullying. He sticks with it a few episodes before eventually relapsing.
  • Justified:
  • Inverted:
    • Alice and Bob remember every Aesop forever, and even when they break them, acknowledge that they shouldn't or explain why they need to do so now.
    • Bob, a bully, and Alice, a careless litterer, suddenly become more considerate and remain that way for the rest of the series without any explanation.
  • Subverted: Bob remembers not to bully others (in a series where this is not normally the case).
  • Double Subverted: But it's a setup for a We Want Our Jerk Back episode, with even his former victims asking him to return to bully behavior.
  • Parodied: Alice and Bob's inability to retain information extends to all other forms of learning. Which is why after eight seasons they're still in fourth grade. Miss Aesop, their teacher, has taken to drink.
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  • Zig-Zagged: Alice and Bob remember some Aesops, forget some Aesops, and outright reject a few.
  • Averted: Characters in the series learn life lessons normally, without having to have them spelled out. Character development happens in a realistic fashion and at a plausible pace.
  • Enforced: "Bullying is Bob's one defining character trait. We can't have him lose it; besides, Viewers Are Goldfish, they won't notice that we've used this life lesson before."
  • Lampshaded: "No matter how many times Alice learns that littering is wrong, she still does it. You think there's maybe something wrong with her?"
  • Invoked: "Dammit, us litter pickers need to get Alice back into littering before we're out of a job! Get some chloroform."
  • Exploited: Alice and Bob's littering and bullying play right into the villain's evil plan. Then the villain gives them a few days to forget learning their lesson and reuses the plan.
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  • Defied: Alice keeps a checklist of things she's learned and consults it frequently to help correct her bad habits.
  • Discussed:
    Bob: Aw, all right, you have a point; bullying is bad.
    Carol: You better not forget that tomorrow!
    Bob: Hey, what do you think I am, a TV character?
  • Conversed: "I'm smarter than Alice on Generic Sitcom, 'cause I remember not to litter!"
  • Implied: In the background, Bob and Alice are being dressed down for some infraction even though they've supposedly just learned not to perform their respective socially unacceptable behaviours.
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed: Bob rehabilitates in prison.
  • Played for Laughs: Bob learns a valuable lesson after doing something that almost had apocalyptic consequences ... daily, completely forgetting all past lessons each day.
  • Played for Drama: Alice keeps littering even after she's carelessly disposed of large and/or dangerous things and materials, which cause people to die.

And so we've learned ... learned ... I'm sure it was a very valuable lesson about life. Now, back to Aesop Amnesia!

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