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Playing With / Clueless Aesop

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Basic Trope: A work tries to have An Aesop (that is, some sort of moral) but the Aesop doesn't come through due to the fact that it doesn't fit with the work's tone.

  • Straight:
    • One episode of a children's show tries to teach that Drugs Are Bad but fails to mention why they're bad other than "they can mess you up", doesn't even explain what drugs are, and all the people who push drugs within the episode act like punks, giving the impression that all punks do drugs or that drugs are cool.
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    • An episode of a children's show tries to teach kids how to be Too Smart for Strangers, but due to topics like child molestation and other shady things adults do to children being too heavy for the show, they don't tell kids why they should be careful around strangers and at one point in the episode, Alice mentions that even people you know can be bad and to run away if you get a "bad feeling."
  • Exaggerated: The show just drones on about how you shouldn't do drugs or talk to strangers without even explaining what drugs are and why you shouldn't do the things it's telling you not to.
  • Downplayed:
    • The episode explains what drugs are and that not all punks do drugs, but still doesn't explain the bad things they can do.
    • The episode explains some of the inappropriate things some people do to kids (hurting them, touching their privates, etc) but doesn't explain times when it's okay to talk to strangers, and what sort of "bad feeling" you should run away upon experiencing.
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  • Justified: The characters themselves don't know what drugs are or why kids should be careful around strangers.
  • Inverted: A show normally full of morals tries to do an episode without one, but due to the show's normal dependency on morals, it ends up seeming like a Lost Aesop.
  • Subverted:
    • The next episode features Bob, a punk who doesn't do drugs, who explains what drugs are and why they can be bad.
    • The next episode features Charlie, who is still not satisfied with the information about strangers and bad people, so Alice explains it better to both him and the audience.
  • Double Subverted: But when they try to do an episode about death, the Never Say "Die" trope gets in the way and makes it look like the "dead" character just disappeared.
  • Parodied: Diane shows a TV episode that uses this trope for her little son Eric, then firmly asks him, "What did you learn?". Eric replies, "That TV can be confusing."
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  • Zigzagged: Some episodes can get their morals through, others cannot.
  • Averted:
    • There are no Aesops.
    • There are Aesops, but they're all clear.
  • Enforced: The writers tried to make it more informative, but Moral Guardians wouldn't let them.
  • Lampshaded: "I know you're probably confused, but still, don't do it!"
  • Invoked: The characters teaching the lesson are deliberately cryptic.
  • Exploited:
  • Defied: The characters decide not to beat around the bush and just explain things.
  • Discussed:
  • Conversed: "I just watched that Very Special Episode and I won't do drugs, whatever they are."
  • Implied:
  • Deconstructed:
  • Reconstructed: The messages are so out of place that the kids ignore them, and thus there are no positive or negative effects.
  • Played for Laughs:
  • Played for Drama: The episode, though confusing, feels like an Unexpectedly Dark Episode.

Back to Clueless Aesop.

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