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    The Big Bang Theory 
  • In the second episode, Penny trusts the guys enough to give them a spare set of keys for her apartment since she's having some furniture delivered and might not be home when it arrives. This turns out to be a bad idea when Sheldon and a reluctant Leonard break in at night while she's asleep to clean up, because Sheldon's such a Neat Freak that he can't handle having a mess so close by and Leonard was unable to talk him out of it. When Penny finds out, she is furious rather than grateful and comes over the next morning to chew them out. Good intentions or not, breaking into someone's house in the middle of the night while they're sleeping is not cool, especially since she still doesn't know Leonard and Sheldon that well yet. Penny demands her key back and tells the guys to stay away from her, and Sheldon's insincere apology only makes her more angry. Fortunately, everything is set right at the end of the episode.
  • In one episode, Sheldon is called to a small claims traffic court for running a red light. He concocts an elaborate defense based around the fact that he can't confront his accuser—a camera. Naturally the judge refuses to allow his Courtroom Antics (being a main character doesn't get you a huge trial for a trivial case in the real world), and he is locked up in contempt for insulting the judge to his face.
  • One time Sheldon insulted his boss with his smug attitude, and he gets fired for it.
  • Played with when Howard loses his security clearance for having accidentally driven the Mars Rover into a ditch during an unauthorized visit after-hours to the rover control room. However, the rover then discovers bona fide evidence for past life on Mars in that ditch as a result which somewhat explains how he managed to regain his clearance and qualify for a trip to the International Space Station. How he managed to keep his job at all after that is another story entirely.
  • Sheldon and Leonard's apartment is robbed, Sheldon collects evidence and expects a CSI team to arrive, while the single responding officer simply makes a list of the stolen items and gives them a police report for their insurance company. Breaking and entering and the theft of home electronics aren't high priorities for the police forces of major American cities.
  • Mid-second season Penny has had enough of Howard's creepy come-ons and tears into him, holding nothing back. Penny had always expressed how much she dislikes Howard as a person and she comes over usually just to visit Leonard and Sheldon, so she isn't just going to tolerate inappropriate behavior like for years just because Howard is also part of the main cast.
  • Penny's car finally broke down, after years of Sheldon telling her to pay attention to her "check engine" light, which was portrayed as just a joke. This is what happens when car maintenance is ignored.
  • Penny, a struggling actress who works a minimum wage waitressing job yet also lives alone in an expensive apartment and spends hundreds of dollars a month on expensive clothes and acting lessons...has major credit card debt, is in constant danger of getting her power cut off, and has to mooch food and Wifi off Leonard and Sheldon. In later seasons she gets a high-paying job as a pharmaceutical sales rep and is more financially stable, but still saddled with her debt, since credit card debt usually has interest.
  • In one episode, Sheldon tries to discourage his female assistant from a relationship with Leonard by giving her a lecture on the dangers of casual sex, including showing her pictures of STD infected genitals. Naturally she finds this deeply disturbing, and reports him to Human Resources. Also, while Sheldon's there he (with characteristic bluntness) tells the HR rep about his friends' own behaviour and misuse of university resources, getting the whole group in serious trouble.
  • At a conference, Sheldon approaches accomplished astrophysicist and Nobel Prize winner George Smoot with an offer to collaborate. Predictably he insults Smoot to his face by claiming his career has stalled and makes it clear that he expects to be the lead researcher and get most of the credit. Smoot just stares at him, says "With all due respect, Dr. Cooper, are you on crack?" and walks away.
  • The guys take a trip to Mexico in Richard Feynman's old van, and get a flat tyre. While trying to remove the wheel one lugnut sticks, and they use increasingly elaborate MacGyvering to try to remove it. Eventually they resort to thermite, and predictably set the van on fire.
  • Bernadette's friends will tolerate her bad temper and bitchy side because they know she has a kinder, softer side. Her coworkers, however, do not know her as well as her friends do and only see her unpleasant qualities, thus Bernie is widely feared and disliked in her workplace, as shown in season eight.
  • Leonard, Sheldon and Howard come up with an idea for a new guidance system and try to patent it through the university. They are stunned to learn that Cal Tech will retain 75% of the ownership, they can't patent it themselves because under their contracts the university owns their ideas, and since Howard is technically a NASA employee he isn't entitled to have any of the profits. These are all fairly standard policies that companies and educational institutions have for patentable ideas their employees come up with.
    Leonard: So the three of us do all the work and only end up with twenty-five percent?
    Patent Lawyer: Dr. Hoftstader, this university has been paying your salaries for over ten years, do you think we do that out of the goodness of our hearts?
    Leonard: Well, until you just said that mean thing, kinda...
  • In season nine, Raj tries to date two women at the same time. He learns the hard way that it doesn't work, and sure enough he's single again during season 10.
  • In season 10, Raj decides to stop taking money from his father and become self-sufficient. In the very next episode, Sheldon goes over Raj's finances and tells him he needs to make serious cutbacks to avoid bankruptcy. Raj works full time, but he has been living far beyond the means of a mid-level academic, with high rent and car payments and many examples of frivolous spending. In the episode following that, he can no longer afford his lavish apartment. As a result, he moves in with Leonard and Penny until he finds a place of his own above Bert's garage.
    • In Season 10, the guys get a contract to develop a new guidance system for the military. Sheldon commits to a ridiculous timeline, and after buckling down and working long hours... they realize it's completely impossible. Then they spend an entire episode panicking about telling their military contact, but when they do, he shrugs it off and asks for a revised schedule.
    "What, you guys think you're the first government contractors to miss a deadline? We're still waiting on a giant space laser Reagan ordered to beat the commies."
  • After a year, Howard, Leonard, and Sheldon finally get the prototype working and are happy to get ready for the next stage. To their shock, the military promptly confiscates the prototype and all their research. When they confront the Colonel about it, he tells them that the next stage, which is applying the guidance system to military technology, involves high-level security clearance that none of them have. As a result, scientists that do have that kind of clearence are going to be replacing them in order to complete the project. All three of them have no choice but to relucantly accept this.
  • After a conversation with Amy and Bernadette about their high school days, Penny realizes that she was a bully growing up. She decides to call up the girls she picked on and apologize for how she treated them. However, many bullied individuals usually aren't willing to forgive the people who picked on them, and reject her apology.
  • That same episode also has Leonard reuniting with Jimmy Speckerman, one of his high school bullies, who, like Penny, had no idea he was a bully. Although he apologized to Leonard while drunk and Leonard allows him to stay the night, Jimmy is back to treating Leonard like garbage once he sobers up in the morning. Bottom line: most bullies are unaware that they are assholes and even after being informed, they will often have no remorse for their actions and will continue being bullies into adulthood. note  Rather than back down from the bully, Leonard stands up to him. Despite no longer fearing Jimmy, Leonard is still no physical match for him (he tried to shove Jimmy towards the door, but Jimmy barely budged), as Leonard is a short, unathletic nerd while Jimmy is much, much larger than him and no stranger to violence.
  • In season 11, Raj finally got fed up with Howard's jokes at his expense and temporarily ended their friendship. Also, Sheldon was hiding a work relationship with Bert until Bert realized what Sheldon was doing and basically kicked him out of his life.
  • Penny realized that since she and Amy talk all of the time and hang out a lot, Amy is basically her best friend.
  • Just because Penny is a pretty blonde with some acting talent, it doesn't necessarily mean that she will get the successful acting career that she wanted. In fact, she ends up not achieving her goals at all after getting fired from a bad movie and has to give it up to find another career.
  • In Season 12, Raj is tired of being alone and asks his father to arrange a marriage for him. His father sets him up with a woman named Anu, and the two get along great, with her proposing to him on their first date. However, Raj spots Anu hugging another man and immediately assumes she’s cheating on him, when she tells him he needs to trust her he blurts out “How can I trust you, I barely know you!”. The next episode, they agree that they were both rushing into marriage with a near stranger for the sake of being married and call off the wedding, but decide to give dating a try since they do still like each other.
  • Again in Season 12, Sheldon, being an Insufferable Genius, has managed to alienate even scientists he respects, and as such he has few allies in the scientific community when he is looking to gain favor for a Nobel Prize nomination.
  • After Amy explodes at Dr. Pembleton and Dr. Campbell, she and Sheldon are forced to do damage control by the university in order to not lose their chances at winning a Nobel. They also have to apologize to Pembleton and Campbell.
  • Leonard's mother comes to visit and is suddenly eager to spend time with him. He later finds out that she's once again using him as a guinea pig for her next book. Leonard finally realizes that his narcissistic mother is never going to change or even make an effort to apologize for how she has treated him since in her mind, she has done nothing wrong. Even though Beverly doesn't deserve Leonard's forgiveness, he decides to forgive her anyway since he is tired of carrying that pain around. Forgiveness is about letting go of your own pain, not letting your abuser off the hook.
  • When Anu moves to London for her dream job, Raj is prepared to go to London to stay with her. Howard manages to catch up with him, but first he has to buy a plane ticket for himself to be able to get inside the airport terminal in order to reach Raj and convince him to stay, which he does. It ends with Howard telling Raj that Raj owes him the money he had to spend for said plane ticket.
  • When Sheldon and Amy do finally win the Nobel Prize in the series finale, Sheldon is unprepared for all the sudden publicity he gets and nearly has a breakdown.

    Other Series 
  • American Vandal: The series follows a high school student, Peter, making a documentary series to expose the truth on whether or not school troublemaker Dylan has vandalized the teachers' cars. On the documentary, he comes clean about several secrets surrounding the school, including the history teacher's creepy comments about a student and other teachers, the existence of a female student's (Sara Pearson) hook up list, various cases of infidelity among student couples, etc. Although this just seems like incidentally juicy gossip to put in the documentary, when it goes public, it actually has serious repercussions in the lives of those featured: the couples break up, the history teacher is fired, many who had their secrets brought up are mad at the documentarist who was briefly suspended due to making the documentary, and for bringing the school's dirty laundry into the light. When Sara gives Peter a "The Reason You Suck" Speech about how her father watched the documentary and now knows about her list, with how she and her personal life had little to do with the vandalism case in the first place, he insists in keeping the speech in the documentary because he feels that he deserves it.
  • Blackadder Goes Forth has a snarky comedy protagonist and his idiot sidekicks getting up to some zany antics in the trench of World War One. In the final episode, they are finally forced to go over the top and charge machine gun nests. Rather than being saved by a hilarious cop-out Deus ex Machina or a surprising show of skill, the characters are all killed in seconds.
    • Same series: Blackadder is court-martialed for killing a homing pigeon (he was guilty, shooting it and intending to claim it was killed by predators, and that he therefore never received any orders to go over the top). However, the pigeon's (distraught) owner, General Melchett, becomes the judge for the proceedings, and his aide and Blackadder's Sitcom Arch-Nemesis Captain Darling is the prosecutor. Blackadder is, due to Baldrick misplacing a letter, denied his choice of defense attorney, and instead assigned blatantly incompetent Upper-Class Twit Lt. George. Does this sound like a blatant example of Kangaroo Court to you? Well, it certainly did to the Minister of War, who declared the trial a sham, pardoned Blackadder and harshly reprimanded both Melchett and Darling.
  • In the episode "Model Kombat" of Workaholics, Blake and Adam are about to fight. Adam throws ashes into Blake's face, blinding him, but Blake prepares to fight anyway, in a Shout-Out to Bloodsport, complete with flashback from wise advice from a blind man. Of course, Blake misses Adam by a mile and hits Jillian in the face, giving her a nosebleed.
  • Stranger Things takes takes awhile for the boys to get into the main plot because the boys, particularly Lucas, are initially reluctant to look for Will or keep Eleven's secret. They need to be talked into the former by Mike. Later, Eleven's telekinesis stops Lucas from exposing her to Mike's mom.
    • Discussed and then Exploited by Murray Baumann when Jonathan and Nancy come to him to expose the laboratory in Hawkins. If he gives newspapers the completely unedited version of what happened in Season 1, it will be too unbelievable, the government will barely have to do any work to destroy it, and nothing will happen. As such, he comes to the conclusion that the most logical option is to fight fire with fire, exploiting the nature of this trope by giving a realistic version of what happened. As such, his official story is that Barb died in a gas leak of some sort.
  • Valerie: In tandem with Hilarity Ensues in the Season 2 episode "Leave It To Willie" – the episode where Willie steals his father's car to go joyriding with his buddy, causes a hit-and-run accident and keeps mum as Valerie lays into David about the accident. The Hilarity had come in when Willie envisions – in an Imagine Spot – his "happily ever after"/problem solved in 30 minutes ending, thinking that just by simply telling the truth he would be absolved. The trope at hand comes in at the end, when Willie does come clean … only for Valerie to really get angry with him. Willie thinks that she would at least be happy that he was honest in the end, but Valerie says that honesty is expected all the time. She lectures him on the incident, pointing out that not only did he allow her to blame his older brother, but Willie also broke the law by fleeing the scene of the accident. Valerie says that he could have hurt himself or get someone killed in the accident and coldly brushes off Willie's offer to work to pay for the damages, saying that what he did is difficult to fix. In the end, Val lets on that it will be a very long time before she will be able to trust him again, before going to talk to David in the next room and make amends for accusing him earlier. (It becomes Harsher in Hindsight In-Universe when Valerie is killed in a traffic accident.)
  • Happens with an attempted Race for Your Love on Happy Endings — in "Boys II Menorah" Dave and Jane rush to the airport because Alex is there due to buying into a false airport ticket which was actually an invitation to a set-up Grand Romantic Gesture dinner. When they get there, they're parked illegally, as often happens with this trope. Security tells them to move Dave's truck, and Dave, in classic romantic lead coolness tosses him the keys, saying 'Keep it.' The guard quickly tosses him back the keys despite Dave saying it's for love. He and Jane try to rush past security anyway and get tackled and tazed, respectively.
  • Sherlock:
    • The second season finale, "The Reichenbach Fall" is practically a reality check for the series. First, Sherlock assumes Moriarty is going away for good after being arrested but overlooks how a criminal genius would have no trouble intimidating the jury to let him be found not guilty.
    • When Moriarty makes it appear as if Sherlock has been setting up all these crimes so he can "solve" them and look like a genius, Sherlock's past jerk behavior eventually ends up helping Moriarty's scheme out. A reporter Sherlock once ran down as a joke gets revenge by printing the story as fact, and Sherlock discovers that when you insult police on a constant basis as being complete idiots, you're not going to get much support from them when you need it. Indeed, many of the cops are more than ready to believe Sherlock did this rather than being that smart, solely because of how insufferably he acted towards them.
    • The Chief Superintendent was under the impression Sherlock only helped on a few minor cases. When Lestrade confesses that Sherlock aided in nearly thirty and was given total access to sensitive data, his boss is outraged and orders Sherlock arrested.
    • Sherlock faces off against Moriarty on how the man came up with a super-hacking code to rob banks and intends to use it in order to prove his innocence. Moriarty just laughs that there is no code, he just bribed people to open up the bank vaults at the right moment and is disappointed Sherlock didn't see that.
    • A major fan complaint over Moriarty's plot is how he's claiming to have been an actor in numerous movies and TV shows yet somehow no one recognized or knew him. The reason three premiere reveals that it didn't take Scotland Yard long to see through the story specifically for those reasons and thus concluded the whole thing was a frame job on Sherlock.
    • When Sherlock returns from his apparent death in season three, it takes him a while to understand that John is not annoyed but truly furious his friend put him through the pain of his best friend's "death" and is not ready to forgive Sherlock.
    • Watson is fond of using his Army ID badge to get in and out of buildings... but in "The Sign of Three", a guard notes that Watson was discharged from the Army years ago and the badge is no longer valid.
    • In "His Last Vow", Sherlock realizes that there's no way Magnussen has a computer database of his blackmail info — he just keeps it in his head — and kills him. He doesn't get off scot-free for it as MI-6 decides to send him on a suicide mission as punishment. At least, until Moriarty shows up.
    • In "The Six Thatchers", Sherlock gives the villain of the piece a "Reason You Suck" Speech, only to have her pull a gun on him and shoot. Mary saves him, dying in the process. It's never a good idea to insult the bad guy when they still have the ability to shut you up.
    • The Lying Detective has John seeing a therapist to deal with Mary's death and having his daughter taken care of by family friends, since the trauma of the incident has him feeling he failed Rosie and is starting to hallucinate Mary's ghost in front of him. He is also avoiding Sherlock like the plague, blaming him for what happened to to his wife Mary, and it takes him to learn that Mary left a video in the event that she dies that would help Sherlock and John reconcile for him to come to Sherlock's aide just in time before he is strangled by the episode's killer. Sherlock mentions later that the recorder he hid to prove who the killer was will most likely be thrown out of court on grounds of entrapment, but the killer keeps on confessing to his crimes, so it doesn't really matter.
    • In the fourth series finale, The Final Problem, Sherlock's parents are pissed at Mycroft for lying to them about their daughter being alive, and not dead like he told them. It doesn't matter that she was responsible for many unfortunate events prior to the episode, they had a right to know if their daughter was dead or alive and the fact that Mycroft didn't bother telling them this most likely damages his relationship with them.
  • A pretty depressing example appears on The George Lopez Show: Carmen's promiscuous ex-boyfriend starts a rumor about her being a whore, and everyone starts picking on her, to the point where Carmen gets into a fight with a former friend. George and Angie get the ex-boyfriend to admit to the guidance counselor that he started the rumor, and gets the girls who were bullying her suspended. By the end of the episode... she is still being bullied, and she has to be pulled out of school. The lesson is that even getting the people who start and spread a rumor to back off doesn't make it go away, and bullying can get so bad that people have to run from the situation.
  • Being a show that parodies popular culture, Saturday Night Live has a quite a few moments of this:
    • One sketch features a send-up of High School Musical as Troy (Zac Efron) has to break it to a new class of the high school that if you try breaking out into song in college, not only will no one join in but people will treat you like a lunatic.
    • Likewise, some skits would have Norm McDonald placed in Evita or West Side Story and baffled at people suddenly breaking into song. "What the hell was that?"
    • In a sketch parodying Peanuts, Lucy attempted the old Running Gag of pulling the football away when Charlie Brown (Brendan Fraser) tried to kick it, but when Charlie Brown landed, he cracked his skull open, and everyone was now angry with Lucy for causing him to be severely injured, and desperately trying to keep him to hang on until the paramedics arrived.
    • In one sketch, a military executive brings president George Washington (played by Russell Brand) into the present day using a secret military time machine in hopes that he could bring an end to the arguments over the founding fathers. While a tad exaggerated, considering he starts beating up everybody around him, Washington's reaction over being transported into another time period with no warning was fairly realistic as he questions where he is and who the people around him are out of fear.
    • Another skit parodies the famous scene from "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" where Grandpa Joe gets out of bed and starts singing when Charlie (played by Kristen Stewart) reveals he won the 5th Golden Ticket. Before Grandpa Joe can really get into the song, however, Charlie becomes absolutely befuddled that his grandfather could walk the entire time and had been essentially forcing Charlie to drop out of school to earn a living for the household while he had essentially been lounging around in bed all day. When Grandpa Joe tries to brush off Charlie's indignant and justified anger, Charlie makes it clear that he is not taking him to the Chocolate Factory and storms out of the room when his other grandpa and one of his grandmas revealed that they could walk also.
    • Another "Willy Wonka" themed skit introduces Willy's accountant brother Glen (Al Gore) who is yelling about how the factory "is hemorrhaging money" due to Willy's insistence on such things as a chocolate river, spending a billion dollars on a machine to simply change giant chocolate bars into smaller ones and the countless health code violations of having a pack of mysterious foreign helpers around as the staff (without green cards). When he hears Willy is about to hand control of the factory to an eight-year old boy, Glen hits the roof. Charlie meanwhile, decides he's going to go in for the profits and instructs Glen to start seeing about getting some cheap Mexican-made chocolate they can pass off as expensive.
    • The "Hero Song" sketch features Andy Samberg as a businessman singing about how he's distressed by crime in the city and donning a superhero cape and mask to clean up the streets. Until he finds a Distressed Damsel played by Amy Adams being menaced by a mook played by Jason Sudeikis. In mid-line, the singing hero takes a punch to the face, at which point the mook proceeds to beat the hero. Brutally. For over a minute.
    • In one of its commercial parodies, Undercover Office Potty, a man is provided with a lamp that doubles as a portable toilet so that he can use the bathroom in the office and continue working. A typical SNL bit would have his co-workers being blissfully unaware and his boss complimenting his increased work production, but instead, everyone immediately notices the stench and orders him to get rid of the lamps. When he tries the same thing with oversized office equipment, he gets the same result, culminating in his fed-up, horrified, and disgusted boss firing him.
    • As overkill as it ended up being for the sake of comedy, the famous sketch where Chris Farley plays a man that gets mad at finding out he was in a Product Switcheroo Ad do showcases the fact that people sometimes don't like being swindled like that. There's a reason why these kind of ads have been struggling recently, not the least of which is the fact that people who get pissed off can make it public as fast as they can place it on the Internet, like this example here can attest.
    • Two "Black Jeopardy" sketches (one with Drake as a Black-Canadian named Jared, the other with Chadwick Boseman as King T'Challa) have the characters played by the hosts perform poorly because, even though they have dark skin, they are natives of other countries and, thus, are completely unfamiliar with African-American culture.
  • Angel:
    • In the second season, Wesley is shot in the gut and lands in a wheelchair. In the episode "Reprise", when Angel, going through a Knight Templar phase and having fired his staff, goes to their office to get some research material, Cordelia refuses to let him have it, even when it becomes clear that he will use force to take it if he has to. Eventually, Wesley rises from his wheelchair and tells Cordelia to just give Angel a book so they can get him out of their office... and immediately after, he collapses back into the chair and has to be taken back to the hospital because he tore open his stitched-up wound.
    • In the third season, Wesley abducts Connor after being tricked into believing that Angel will try to kill him, which results in Connor being stolen from Wesley and then lost in a hell dimension. Angel is understandably miffed, but Lorne gives him a heartwarming speech on the importance of forgiveness. Angel meets with Wesley, and after making it clear that he understands that Wesley wasn't intentionally trying to hurt him, that Angel hasn't turned into his evil-side as Wesley feared he would, that he's himself and in control of his actions, he then tries to murder him, shouting about how he will never forgive Wesley for taking his son away. No, a big speech isn't going to make Angel's anger magically go away and allow him to instantly forgive Wesley, and it takes much longer before Angel actually can find it in himself to move past what happened and work with Wesley again.
    • When the gang finds out that Knox is responsible for Fred's death. Angel starts a speech to Knox about how they're the good guys and they don't kill, and in the middle of it Wesley shoots Knox dead. He has principles, but they don't extend all the way to showing mercy to the guy who killed the woman he loved.
    • In the same episode as the above, Illyria travels to her temple to release her army and take over the world again. Wesley follows her expecting to encounter a horde of hellbeasts, only to walk into a dusty, empty ruin, with a distraught Illyria in the middle. Apparently, if you leave a building full of people sealed off from the rest of reality for eons, they die and the building falls down.
    • In a fairly dark version, Spike and Angel are both resigned to the fact that they will go to hell when they're eventually killed- no matter how much good they do, and no matter how sorry they are, they're irreversibly tainted by their centuries of evil.
    • Lindsey has a big showdown planned with the eponymous hero, only to be outraged when he's shot and killed by sidekick Lorne. Turns out that tropes like Arch-Enemy and The Only One Allowed to Defeat You make great fiction but life seldom turns out that way. "Goodnight, folks."
  • Bitten shows what really happens when people from the supernatural world date normal people: One has his girlfriend kidnapped at the end of the season, while the main character finds her ex-boyfriend's ripped-off head on her bed.
    • Because Clay never told Elena why he bit her, she spent most of the season hating him.
    • Elena fought with Malcolm, and got severely beaten by him. Only a last-minute trick saved her from certain death.
  • Breaking Bad has so many, to the point that it could be considered a Deconstruction of the escapist Anti-Hero/Villain Protagonist character. This is particularly true in "Ozymandias" and the episodes that follow, where the consequences of every single one of Walter White's decisions and sins over the five seasons of the show come home all at once.
    • "To'hajiilee", the previous episode, ends with a shoot-out between Hank, Gomez, and Jack Welker's neo-Nazi gang. Hank and Gomez have a handgun and a shotgun. Jack's gang has automatic weapons and superior numbers. When the next episode begins, Gomez is dead and Hank follows not long after.
    • In "Granite State", Walt is forced to face the reality of what his family would have to endure when he goes on the lam: beforehand, Walt called his house while the police listened in and played himself up as an intimidating druglord who coerced his wife Skyler into helping him, rather than her being a willing accomplice, so that she wouldn't be blamed for his crimes. Unfortunately, when Walt goes on the run, he essentially leaves Skyler holding the bag; without any information on Walt's whereabouts or anything else of import, she would remain the target of prosecution.
  • Better Call Saul:
    • Nacho Varga seems to think all criminals understand how it works. Like, thinking that street crooks aren't dumb enough to incriminate themselves, or thinking that an assassination on a drug kingpin like Tuco won't draw in Salamancas like flies (as Mike warns him). The truth is there is a bunch of idiotic or aggressive crooks who won't take the reasonable course of action.
    • "Cobbler": Jimmy is proud of himself getting the two detectives to believe his ridiculous story about the Squat Cobbler, and he seems not to understand how reckless he actually was. His actions could get him disbarred and sent to jail. He then brags to Kim about what he did, seemingly ignoring the fact that lawyers are ethically, morally, and legally obligated to report what he did. By keeping quiet she becomes complicit in his actions. We're starting to see Jimmy transform into Saul, but at this point, he does not yet fully have a grasp of how the Amoral Attorney thing is supposed to work.
    • "Amarillo": As Jimmy finds out, no matter how successful and legitimate your tactics are, (advertising is perfectly legal) going behind your boss's back to do something he might not approve of is not going to be good for your job prospects.
  • Black Mirror:
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • In the premiere of season 2, "When She Was Bad," Buffy returns from summer vacation with her father having Took a Level in Jerkass. Willow initially believes that Buffy may have been a victim of Demonic Possession, thus explaining her current behavior, but Giles quickly deduces (correctly) that Buffy's actions are a result of her having been traumatized by her Disney Death at the Master's hands during the first season finale.
    • In "Innocence", a demon is hyped throughout the two-part episode as being so strong, that no weapon forged could defeat him. He is blown apart in one shot by an anti-tank missile. It turns out that modern weapons are rolled, cast and welded, rather than forged.
    • "Anne":
      • With Buffy gone, the Scoobies manage to slay some vampires, but in the most awkward, realistic way possible. When one runs away, Oz hurls a stake at it... and it bounces off a gravestone and lands pathetically on the ground a few feet away.
      • The Monster of the Week knocks The Chick down and does a speech about how his realm is inescapable. Then the girl gets up and pushes him off the edge.
    • Season 3 episode "Homecoming": Buffy repeatedly uses the Dramatic Gun Cock for emphasis. This comes back to bite her when she runs out of ammo quickly.
    • Season 3: After the events of Angel's Face–Heel Turn in the previous season, his relations with the Scoobies are now heavily strained. It doesn't matter that all his actions during that phase were from the Hyde part of his Jekyll & Hyde personality and he now has his soul back; after all the torment Angel's evil personality put them through they've lost any and all trust they previously had for him. Even after he proves he's one of the good guys again by saving Willow's life, that doesn't automatically dispel all the distrust; Giles for example now keeps a crossbow nearby whenever Angel shows up just in case anything goes wrong.
    • "Bad Girls": Before Wesley was assigned to be Buffy and Faith's Watcher, his only encounters with vampires were brief and, in his own words, "under controlled circumstances," arrogantly declaring himself to be capable in the field. Needless to say, when he gets in a real fight later on, he turns out to be completely useless and Giles has to save him.
    • Season 3 finale: The Mayor completes his plan to ascend and become a full demon (almost every demon seen on the show is actually some flavor of low-powered half-demon or another). This also removes the immortality that he had benefited from previously, which leads to the Reality: The heroes, knowing how big and strong he will become, bait him into a trap where they have laid a considerable amount of high explosives to blow him to giblets.
      • In the same episode, Wesley leads the charge against the Mayor’s forces, and goes down in one punch to the face.
    • Season 4 episode "Wild at Heart:" Spike attempts to make a big speech vowing to get revenge on Buffy, only to get zapped unconscious and abducted by some Initiative soldiers in the middle of it. What, did you think Talking Is a Free Action? Guess again!
    • Season 4 episode "A New Man": Meddlesome chaos sorcerer Ethan Rayne is once again thwarted, but gloats that he'll just walk away as usual, since, as a human, he's out of the Slayer's jurisdiction. Then Buffy's new boyfriend from a (para-)military organization calls some MPs and has him arrested.
    • When Joyce gets ill in season 5, Buffy seeks to prove that there is some supernatural cause behind it. There isn't and it gets worse.
    • The season 5 episode "The Body" brings a definite reality check to the Scooby Gang, when Joyce dies. Sure, you may spend years fighting mystical demons and monsters, but when you are forced to face a reality that will eventually affect you, you can feel utterly helpless when a loved one dies, and there is nothing you can do about it. The episode's creepy atmosphere, punctuated by a distinct lack of incidental music, makes the experience even more realistic.
    • Season 5 finale "The Gift": Buffy approaches The Dragon atop a tower. He gears up for a fight, and she just knocks him off the tower.
      • From the same episode, when the Big Bad stops to gloat during the final fight, on a construction site, Xander manages to send her through a wall with a wrecking ball.
    • Season 6, "Flooded". Being a superhero does not make Buffy any less vulnerable to typical homeowner problems, such as a pipe bursting in the basement. Nor does being a superhero provide her with any viable income to pay for home repairs, and having a construction foreman for a friend (Xander) doesn't entirely resolve the issue of costs.
    • Season 6 episode "Seeing Red": The villain's plot is thwarted, the heroes have their denouement with the talking about their feelings, and Tara is shot dead by a stray bullet when the villain comes back with a gun.
    • Season 7, "Empty Places". The Scoobies and Potential Slayers lose confidence in Buffy's leadership and mutiny against her, forcing her out of the house and appointing Faith as leader in her place on the logic that as the only other full-fledged Slayer, Faith is the most qualified for the job. The very next episode shows what happens when one give a leadership position to someone who has absolutely no experience: Faith's first plan leads herself and several Potentials into a Death Trap involving a bomb and several Turok-Han vampires, with the survivors only being saved by Buffy's Big Damn Heroes moment. Several of them decide that the whole ordeal was Laser-Guided Karma for turning against Buffy.
  • ER Two similar Race for Your Love aversions:
    • Doug races to Carol's engagement party to tell her that he loves her, only to have her scream at him to leave her alone and for her fiance to punch him.
    • Two years later, Mark dashes to the train station to plead his love to the departing Susan, only to have her leave anyway. Not just because she doesn't reciprocate, but also because it's literally at the last minute before she leaves.
  • Firefly
    • "The Train Job". After aborting a hired theft, Mal offers the employer his down payment back, no harm no foul.
      Crow: Keep the money. Use it to buy a funeral. It doesn't matter where you go or how far you fly. I will hunt you down, and the last thing you see will be my blade!
      Mal: Darn. *kicks him into an engine*
    • He then proceeds to get another mook, who is... much more reasonable. But the crime boss hunts him down anyway. Which is what a crime boss concerned about "reputation" would do about a reneged job, rather than accept a mere "refund".
    • In "The Message", Wash tries to lose a pursuing ship by flying into a canyon:
      Wash: They're not behind us anymore!
      (Looks up and sees that the other ship simply flew over)
      Wash: I didn't think of that...
    • In "Serenity", someone takes a crewmember hostage and starts making demands. Malcolm just shoots him.
      • In a follow-up comic, the guy turns out to be alive but blinded in the eye where the bullet hit. He concocts a plan to capture and kill the crew of the Serenity. This time, Mal finishes the job.
  • Moesha has the title character's hopes of becoming a journalist hitting reality big time:
    • In one episode, meeting a seemingly homeless and illiterate kid, Moesha writes a story about him that's picked up the newspaper, getting big attention. At which point, the kid reveals he's a pathological liar just seeking attention. Moesha tells the paper's editor, who slams her for not doing any kind of research to make sure the kid's claims were true before writing this piece. When Moesha tells him she'll do better next time, the editor is amazed she believes she's ever going to write again, telling Moesha he has to print a retraction and she needs to learn real journalism skills before she can be a reporter.
    • Later in the series, Moesha gets a job as an intern at BET Magazine and learns Maya Angelou is coming by earlier than expected for an interview. Rather than relay the message, Moesha interviews the poet herself in a gushing style. While her boss admires her writing, he bluntly tells Moesha that she had no authority to do this. It turns out there was a list of reader questions for Angelou that Moesha knew nothing about and her boss now has to pay for a reporter to fly to New York for a new interview. He points out that it didn't matter what an "exclusive" Moesha had, she had no business to do this interview on her own and fires her.
  • Hikonin Sentai Akibaranger has the rangers fight monsters in their shared delusions. When the villains begin to escape into reality, however, the Akibarangers lose their powers when they get see their real selves flailing about where they stood before morphing.
    • The second season finale ends with the rangers fighting Prism Ace, who is an Ultraman expy. Before, they mentioned about that the fight between them and Prism Ace will become a crossover special and they're fighting an alien army in the end, and that amazing climax wasn't brought up to while fighting Prism Ace. In the end, even though they kill Prism Ace to keep Super Sentai running, it's still a crossover special with the plot that still keeps going, and they wind up sacrificing themselves to destroy the alien army.
  • Mighty Morphin' Power Rangers:
    • The first episode of the series has the team fighting against a group of Putties. They get their asses kicked because, even though at least three of them are trained in martial arts, none of them have any actual fighting experience. Indeed, early season one makes it clear that the Rangers are no match for the Putties when in their civilian forms and they often had to rely on their wits to win since, without their powers, the Rangers are just ordinary high school kids while the Putties are magically created monsters. Tommy being able to defeat a group of them completely on his own and without any Ranger powers was treated as a pretty big deal and is why Rita chose him to become the Green Ranger. However, Villain Decay eventually set in and soon the Rangers were able to fight off scores of Putties without having to transform.
    • When Rita plans to give the Dragonzord to her then Evil Green Ranger, Squat has doubts that the Dragonzord still works because it hasn't been used in 10,000 years.
    • When the Shogunzords are discovered by the villains in Season 3, their next step is to steal a Ninjazord and kidnap Ninjor because the Zords are utterly outdated and, being primarily magic in nature, the villains have neither the knowledge to upgrade them or the resources to power them on their own.
  • One of the Key & Peele Halloween specials has a sketch where a detective pursues a crazed serial killer into a Hall of Mirrors. Despite the use of the usual Hollywood cliches, the detective is able to find and shoot the real killer rather easily. The humor comes from the killer trying to keep up the charade by pretending the detective only shot a reflection, despite the fact that he is now seriously injured and visibly in pain.
  • Teen Wolf:
    • Stiles always gets up to some serious shenanigans like stealing police property and kidnapping one of his fellow students... which then causes his dad, the town Sheriff, to lose his job.
    • Scott always misses out on school due to being a werewolf... which causes him to have terrible grades and risk being held back a year.
    • The Beacon Hills police, specifically Sheriff Stilinski, have a lot of trouble closing cases due to most homicides having to do with the supernatural - which the police obviously have no experience with. At the start of season 3B, Agent McCall is looking to impeach the sheriff due to his seeming inability to do his job.
    • In "The Fox and the Wolf":
    Sheriff Stilinski: I don't know how you guys do it. You're all so strong. You're fearless. Hell, you manage to keep your grades up.
    Allison: Well, I'm failing Econ.
    • Thanks to all the damage it took in Season 3, the hospital is starting to have money issues.
    • Likewise, Sheriff Stilinski is having trouble paying off the debt he owes to Eichen House in Season 4 after Stiles was placed there in the previous season.
    • Lydia's mother is getting a job as a teacher and plans to sell off her mother-in-law's weekend house due to money issues caused by her recent divorce.
    • An assassin is poised to shoot Stiles, and Agent McCall is forced to shoot him first. In the next episode, we see him going through the procedures to prove that lethal force was necessary in that situation, and he has to leave town for review.
    • All the supernatural dangers take their toll on newly turned werewolf Liam, who suffers from anxiety and nightmares as a result.
    • The latest season has everyone in town being used by a shapeshifter and having their fear of the unknown heightened. When Liam is suspected of being a creature, he spends most of the day being harassed by his fellow teammates before being brutally beaten in front of his classmates for a long time with no one stopping it until the coach intervenes.
    • Meanwhile, Scott learns that the newest hunter hates the werewolves due to an incident in season five: After seeing the Beast kill a bunch of people in a bus, Scott and the others went after it...and didn't check for survivors. As such, she was left to fend for herself until the sheriff arrived.
    • In the series finale, Monroe ends up escaping and moves on to create a worldwide organization of hunters against the supernaturals, targeting innocent people in the process. Why? Because Scott and his friends still have their Thou Shalt Not Kill rules in play, and they left her alive.
  • This happens in Jericho in the episode "Termination for Cause" when Jake and Russell were arguing what to do with Goetz, then Stanley drove up and shot Goetz in the head for killing Bonnie
  • True Blood serves as a massive deconstruction of how vampires would operate in the real world:
    • When vampires come out of hiding, they're unprepared for one key reaction: The IRS going after them for decades of unreported income and unpaid taxes.
    • When Bill tries to fix his will to leave all his belongings to Jessica, he's informed that because he's been legally dead since 1864, he has no standing to do anything and if he dies for good, the government can just take all his money. He has to name Andy, his great-great grandson, as his heir and have him rent Bill's place out to Jessica and Hoyt for $1 a month.
    • His relationship with Andy raises another point: Vampires having mortal descendants. The Bellefleur family are descended from Bill's human daughter. He didn't know this when he began a sexual relationship with Andy's sister Portia, and when he finds out, he promptly breaks up with her. She tries to argue that they're consenting adults and the biggest reason incest is taboo is the chance of malformed offspring, but since vampires (in this setting) can't reproduce that way, they have nothing to worry about. But Bill doesn't budge, and he glamours her into leaving him alone. He might intellectually know their affair was harming no one, but he was simply too grossed out at having sex with his great-great granddaughter.
    • When Sookie is finally forced to choose between Bill and Eric, she Takes a Third Option and dumps both of them. Love triangles may be a beloved fiction staple, but in reality, being torn between two lovers means you don't love either of them enough to make a choice. Sookie realized this and concluded that staying single was the best option.
    • Bill tries to use his hypnotic glamour on a human only to discover that humans have developed special contact lenses that block the effect.
    • Sarah Newlin, a normal human with no powers, tries a Neck Snap on a woman. Instead of it working instantly, the woman is baffled at the pathetic attempt to twist her head around and shrugs Sarah off.
  • Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles
    • Cameron does this all the time. She makes it a routine habit to simply and bluntly execute anyone who poses a threat to the Connors, refuses to let loose ends remain untied, and generally acts in what can best be described as the most brutally logical manner possible.
    • Derek's death. He gets in a gunfight with a terminator at close range and no advance warning. And just to really drive the point home, the camera then follows the terminator, effectively making it little more than a background incident. Which, in this world, it kind of is.
    • FBI agent Ellison finally tracks down Cromartie and has more or less concluded that the target is some sort of combat machine. He even goes out of his way to secure an FBI Hostage Rescue Team for the assault. Unfortunately, anti-tank weapons are not included in the standard team loadout, and thus it goes exactly the way of every other police versus Terminator fight in the universe. For added horror, we don't even see the fight, just the brutalized bodies of the HRT as they're thrown into the apartment swimming pool after their conventional weapons apparently fail to deter something with no vital organs.
  • Heroes: Subvertednear-invulnerable superpowered serial killer Sylar, who's by far the most powerful character on the show, is dropped mid-monologue by a sudden knife in his weak point from a man he turned his back on... and just gets back up again, because he'd used his new shapeshifting powers to move his weak point.
    • Played straight during the eclipse, when all "specials" lose their power. Not only is Claire suddenly sick with a common disease (her immune system never had to fight germs before), but Sylar (a watch repairman) and Elle (a teenage girl) find themselves completely outclassed by HRG who has special training and a sniper rifle.
  • Surprisingly, several episodes of Pretty Guardian Sailor Moon deconstruct the Transformation Is a Free Action trope the original anime made famous in the first place. On a few occasions, the villains manage to take out one of the girls by attacking them before they can finish their transformation phrase.
  • The pilot episode of Bones has one where Brennan confronts the killer, who is dousing a room with evidence in gasoline. When Brennan says she can't let him destroy evidence, he pulls out a lighter and does the whole "try and stop me and we both burn" thing. Brennan immediately whips out her revolver and shoots him in the leg. And in even more ensuing reality, she is promptly arrested for it. By Booth. And later fails to get a gun-carrying permit, because of this incident.
  • CSI: Miami
    • "Guerrillas in the Mist". The bad guy has a weapon that's a Metal Storm with the Serial Numbers Filed Off. In The Teaser, it vaporizes three men. Horatio tracks the baddies down at the airport and comes riding in in his Hummer, which the bad guy destroys. Caine gets out of the burning car and takes aim at just outside of point-blank range. A staredown ensues.
    Bad Guy: You're on the losing side of this one, Lieutenant. I could fire a thousand rounds before you get a shot o—
    Caine: (shoots him, shoots his accomplices. Walks over to the Big Bad's body and removes his glasses) Apparently, it only takes the one.
    • A gang member attempts to attack someone outside of a courthouse with a rocket launcher. He takes up position inside of a cement truck, which has a small enclosed interior. Its a good position to shoot from... if you did not have to worry about the back-blast. When the CSI team finds him, he's still at his firing position and is now a smoldering corpse.
    • A member of a Western Terrorist organization tries to pull off a We Are Everywhere speech to Caine, thinking he's got the upper hand... only for Caine to point out that the events of the episode have turned everybody that the terrorist is connected to into a person of interest, as is normal for an investigation into a major potential threat to national security. The closing montage of the episode is a barrage of arrests that makes the terrorist eat his words.
    • A suspect tries to bait Horatio into asking for a Motive Rant when he is arrested, but Horatio will have none of that nonsense.
    Suspect: Don't you want to know why?
    Horatio: You just killed four innocent people, you're evil, you enjoy death; I hope you enjoy your own.
  • Orphan Black
    • Sarah impersonates her clone Beth, including doing her job as a Toronto police detective. She initially manages to fake her way through it thanks to everyone believing Beth is traumatized by a recent civilian shooting, but the deeper she gets, the more the facade starts to crack, to the point where she has to have 'Beth' quit her job.
    • Sarah's daughter Kira isn't fooled by her clone Alison's impersonation of Sarah for even a moment. Alison has to tell her the truth.
    • Rachel did a major Heel–Face Turn and helped everyone in the end. However, her previous actions were so horrible that none of them were able to forgive her.
  • Blake's 7 gives us a single ship — admittedly the most advanced in the galaxy — crewed by approximately seven people — admittedly very talented — trying to bring down a gigantic evil bureaucracy (The Federation). They manage to survive for four years, then reality catches up.
  • The series 16 And Pregnant deals heavily with this, as the young mothers-to-be face the reality of their decisions. Turns out that babies do NOT, in fact, make everything better.
  • In the Miami Vice episode "Glades", The Dragon is holding a shotgun to a little girl's head as Sonny Crockett approaches with this pistol drawn and aimed. The Dragon begins threatening to shoot the girl if he's not let go, saying "If I so much as twitch, she's go—" BLAM Sonny shoots him right between the eyes, with the Post-Mortem One-Liner, "Maybe you won't twitch."
    • The whole series pretty much flipped this concept from earlier Police Procedural shows where the heroes Always Got Their Man, very few people got hurt, and the protagonist cops seemed to be super-weapons against crime. Except for a (relatively) small number of episodes, every victory was Pyrrhic at best, many times they didn't get the bad guy, and sometimes the Big Bad of the episode managed to pull a Karma Houdini act by cutting a deal with higher-ups in law enforcement. Overall the message was that, in the War On Drugs, there was no "Decapitated Army" to speak of—the drug runners and criminal capos arrested, no matter how nasty they were, in the great scheme of things were just cogs in the machine; the same as the cops that fought them.
  • In the first episode of Battlestar Galactica's second season, Starbuck tries to shoot Sharon for being a Cylon, and then Starbuck and Helo have a tense confrontation where Helo convinces her not to shoot Sharon because Sharon is pregnant and different from the other Cylons. Just in time to hear the engine noise as Sharon high-tails it out of there in Starbuck's stolen Raider — because when your baby's life is at stake, you're not going to stand around and wait to see if the crazy lady with the gun changes her mind.
  • Justified:
    • Raylan was cautioned about killing people after the first episode because he had earned a reputation for it, which doesn't make the police look good, and besides, every time he kills someone it involves more paperwork for him and his boss. As a result there are many situations where he could kill somebody but can't because of his position, so has to find more intelligent ways around it.
    • In a later episode, Loretta really wants to kill Mags, but Raylan (who is behind her) points out that the police are in the room next to her and they will arrest her if she does it (even though the killing is justified by her — and the audience's — standards).
    • Early in season 1, Raylan brings down the Dirty Cop who arrested Bo Crowder and took over his operation running drugs for Raylan's old enemies in Miami. The very next episode, Bo is released from prison and explains that all the crooked cop's old cases are being reopened, and since he had less than six months on his sentence, the US Attorney decided to just let him go rather than waste time and money retrying him
    • In season 3 Raylan has gotten used to bullying the local criminals for information because none of them want the trouble he can bring on them and it would be utter stupidity to kill a US Marshal. However, he does this one too many times with Limehouse who points out that Raylan is alone in a remote mountain community where everyone is utterly loyal to Limehouse. Raylan could shoot Limehouse but then he will be shot down himself by the dozen armed men surrounding them. They can then make his body disappear without a trace and with all the enemies Raylan has, they probably will not be even the main suspects in his disappearance.
    • Raylan is usually portrayed as Made of Iron but it takes him weeks to recover from a gunshot wound and when he returns to duty the act of drawing and firing his gun causes him a lot of pain and completely throws his aim off.
    • This is also invoked in fist-fights. In an early episode, he's drinking at a bar and picks a fight with a couple of local jerks. He refused to back down, despite being drunk and outnumbered, and proceeds to get beaten to a pulp until the bartender comes out and breaks it up. He later admits he was asking for a beating.
  • Chappelle's Show:
    • "When Keeping it Real Goes Wrong" skits are all about this.
    • The segments featuring what it would be like if movies took place in real life, as seen in a version of Pretty Woman where Richard Gere's character throws out Julia Roberts' character after having sex with her and doesn't listen to a word she says when she tells him about how she became a prostitute.
  • Blue Mountain State is a comedy series built firmly upon the Rule of Funny. The acts committed by the team shown in the show would get a real NCAA team in serious trouble with the NCAA but hey, it's a comedy, so that kind of talk is brushed aside. Then comes the end of season 3. It turns out that the NCAA has been investigating BMS and the Goats are in serious trouble. They end up with a lot of their players suspended, and proceed to lose the big game badly.
    • Also during season 3, the team's new offensive coordinator bragged that his system was so efficient, it could be successful with an orangutan at quarterback. Then when the team plays in the championship without star quarterback Alex Moran and most of the usual starters, the offense fails to score a single touchdown.
  • It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia uses this trope often:
    • In one episode Mac and Charlie attempt to fake their deaths by blowing up a car. Their attempts to do it by invoking various action movie tropes result mostly in the duo injuring themselves. Later it turns out that their attempt to fake their demises failed miserably and that no one but Frank thought they were dead.
    • In "Mac Day" Mac's Crazy Awesome badass cousin, "Country Mac", is established throughout the episode to be a seriously tough guy. Which makes it quite a surprise when he gets anticlimactically killed by crashing his motorcycle. It turns out that even if you are really tough, it's still a bad idea to drive a motor vehicle unsafely while not wearing any sort of protection.
    • "The Gang Broke Dee" is basically an episode dedicated to deconstructing the Butt-Monkey trope by showing just how depressed and mentally ill someone would become from receiving constant abuse at the hands of their supposed friends. It opens with Dee having to get therapy because she's having suicidal thoughts after being repeatedly told how worthless and ugly she is.
  • A short commercial parody (of Snuggle brand fabric softener) on MTV's The State features a woman discussing how her fabric softener has improved the quality of her laundry. Then when she sees a plush bear extolling the virtues of the product, she promptly begins screaming and beats the unnatural thing to death.
  • In the fourth season of Modern Family, Haley gets arrested for (accidentally) injuring a cop and resisting arrest while fleeing a party following a police raid. She has to appear before a college disciplinary board—and is expelled six weeks into her freshman year, with the proviso that she can reapply next year (conveniently allowing the show to bring her back into the Dunphy house and resume her Glorious War of Sisterly Rivalry with Alex).
  • Boardwalk Empire:
    • No matter how rich and well-connected he is, Chalky White is still a black criminal in 1920s America. So when he kills a white man, it causes a commotion in town and he gets arrested and charged with murder — despite the fact that the "victim" was a Klansman that had just tried to kill Chalky, and the dead man and his pals had killed four of Chalky's men in an attempt to get at him.
    • The 77-year-old Commodore feels rejuvenated after surviving an illness and misses no opportunity to show off his newfound strength. Not so much later, he suffers a stroke.
    • In the second season, Jimmy tries to rob Nucky of his position of power and then tries to murder him. Jimmy realizes that this was bad and offers to make things right in the finale. In a very divisive subversion of Plot Armor, Nucky murders him in retaliation rather than pardoning him, just like he would have done with any other character.
    • Nucky is not an expert shooter, so just shooting Jimmy in the head with a small caliber gun fails to kill him. This forces Nucky to Mercy Kill him.
    • Bullet wounds are not shrugged off: Nucky's hand still hurts a year and a half after having been shot through it, and despite the fact that it looks completely healed. Likewise, Clifford Lathrop has to walk with a cane permanently after having been shot in one foot. Eddie also uses a cane a year after surviving a shot to the gut in extremis and it is clear that it is still very painful. A punch to the gut by other character makes him vomit his entire stomach contents at once.
    • A bomb explodes just far enough for Nucky to survive it. Nevertheless, days later he still suffers from the resultant tinnitus and concussion, and the effects only worsen when he refuses to take medication to treat it.
    • Being an Axe-Crazy crime boss like Gyp Rosetti can be seen as an asset in the gangland crime world but it also means that your allies will turn on you as soon as they get a better offer and are no longer afraid of you.
    • Despite common fan belief, Richard Harrow does not make one kill per bullet fired when he takes on Rosetti's gang in "Margate Sands". Being a determined war veteran, he is still ridiculously good compared to the drunk and demoralized untrained thugs he takes on by surprise, but there are several cases where he only manages to injure a target and the same guy comes back to fight him later.
  • Community:
  • In the penultimate episode of Pushing Daisies, Ned and Chuck hide in the trunk of a car and have a conversation at normal volume as the driver drives along a quiet road with the stereo off. They seem to be getting away with it until the driver pulls over, opens the trunk and tells them it wasn't a good idea.
  • Criminal Minds does this to Intoxication Ensues. Reid is kidnapped by a man with three personalities. After the first two torture him, the third drugs him to help with the pain... but said drug is heroin-based, and Reid becomes addicted. He has to struggle to get clean and later episodes mention that he still goes to support meetings. Also, he is several times shown emphatically refusing painkillers despite being in great pain, which many recovered narcotics addicts do to avoid a relapse.
    • In another episode, the UnSub suffers from a delusion that he is infested by insects, and believes there is a government conspiracy to silence him. He finds a girlfriend who also suffers from psychosomatic itching and she quickly accepts his delusions as fact. When he's caught, JJ tries to explain to her that the guy was crazy and killed several people, but the girlfriend refuses to listen. In Real Life, delusional people don't just "snap out of it" when they're told the truth.
    • In a more humorous example, an episode begins with a sexual harassment seminar based entirely on Morgan and Garcia's banter. If you have co-workers calling each other "babygirl" for years on end, sooner or later HR takes notice.
    • One UnSub, as a result of a brain injury as a teenager, Feels No Pain. When the BAU corners him, he rushes towards them and gets shot, stands back up, laughs about how it didn't hurt and gets shot again, this time fatally. Being immune to pain does not equal invincible.
    • Reid's gunshot wound to the leg is not Just a Flesh Wound, but leaves him in crutches and out of the field for almost the entire season. Near the end of the season he lies to Hotch that he was cleared for active duty when in fact he was not. Rather than rubber stamping him so he can return to duty as soon as possible like the authority figure in a typical Police Procedural, Hotch refuses to let him leave Quantico.
    • When the BAU are hunting an UnSub in Vegas, they realise that he will be at a high-stakes poker tournament which requires a significant buy-in. Hotch contacts the Department of Justice and asks them to advance him the money and gets turned down flat, since the federal government isn't in the business of handing over hundreds of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money so FBI agents can gamble.
    • "A Place at the Table" is a deconstruction of Easily Forgiven. Five years after Haley's death, her father still blames and very much hates Hotch for it (even though it wasn't his fault), and when it looks like the two men will bond over Haley's son, whom Hotch did save, the father tells Hotch that he will hate him until his Alzheimer's makes him forget Haley.
    • The first UnSub to get away scot-free in the show is likely the most disgusting of all, a pedophilic serial killer appearing in "Into the Woods". He isn't particularly bright or strong (in fact, he has a worsening limp) but he has no relations and knows how to live off the land, so all he needs to evade capture is to shave and avoid law enforcement until he's back in the wilderness. And since he has been identified already, the BAU's work is done, and they depart without catching him. We never learn if he ever gets arrested.
  • Similar to the first Criminal Minds example above, The Mentalist does this to Mushroom Samba. Jane accidentally ingests some hallucinogenic tea... that is also incredibly poisonous and leaves him in convulsions on the floor, and would have been fatal had he not been immediately rushed to the hospital to get his stomach pumped. He doesn't have "fun" hallucinations either — most of the hallucination is just him hallucinating that he's working the case, and the one thing that isn't is an aged-up version of his dead daughter, which is at best a mixed blessing. And while the hallucination does end up containing a hint at the answer, it's pointing out something he had already noticed and was on the verge of identifying when he began hallucinating. Under ordinary circumstances, he would have broken the case within about a minute; instead, he had to go to the hospital, get his stomach pumped, and then spend several hours chasing down the pieces of the hallucination to put it all together.
  • In the later seasons of Friends, Ross and Rachel drunkenly get married in Vegas. Ross claims he has annuled the marriage when they get back to New York, but secretly reveals to Pheobe that he didn't bcause he didn't want to have three divorces. When Rachel finds out weeks later, she insists on filling out the paperwork for the annulment herself, and tries to humiliate Ross by claiming that he is sexually impotent, gay and addicted to heroin. When the judge finds out those are lies, she refuses to carry out the annulment and threatens them with a day in jail if they don't leave her chambers.
    • Also, in Season 4, Monica and Rachel lose a bet to Chandler and Joey where they have to trade apartments as a condition of losing the bet. At first, it seems like Phoebe's sudden pregnancy announcement will cause everyone to forget about the apartment switch, the ending credits scene as well as the following episode prove that yes, Monica and Rachel are indeed stuck in the smaller apartment for the next 7 episodes.
    • In Season 8, after Rachel gets over the initial shock of becoming pregnant, she believes that having a child won't drastically alter her life too much. Not quite. She discovers that she can't date as much as she used to because most men don't want to be with a single mother, the unexpectedness has left her with little knowledge and preparedness for the baby's arrival and that most of her free time will now consist of having to take care of her child instead of her previous activities.
    • A Season 2 episode deconstructs the Improbable Food Budget trope, by showing that Joey, Rachel, and Phoebe are having trouble keeping up with the expensive dinner plans Monica, Chandler, and Ross keep making since they don't make as much money as them and can't afford such luxuries on a frequent basis.
  • In the pilot episode of John Doe, the protagonist is able to quickly amass a fortune by betting progressively larger sums on horse races, since, with his perfect knowledge of statistics he can accurately predict the winner of each race. Then he loses all but $2 when a horse he bets on turns its ankle and falls, since not even the most accurate statistical models can foresee random accidents.
  • An episode of Frasier deconstructs one of the famous scenes from parent show Cheers, when Frasier and a female co-worker have a blazing row similar to that between Sam and Diane. Except in this case when Frasier says "Are you as turned on as I am?" he gets a horrified "NO!" and his boss demands everyone take a sexual harassment class because of this incident.
    • Another has Frasier take Roz's advice to be more impulsive, and ends the episode booking the same flight as a woman he'd been flirting with at the airport. The next episode starts with her asking why he was going there, him explaining, and her getting a seat change.
    • In another, Frasier is smitten with his new girlfriend to the point where she is overwhelmed by his romantic overtures. At a fancy party he sings her a heartfelt love song in front of everybody, but instead of swooning she feels humiliated and dumps him.
    • In "The Show Where Diane Comes Back", Diane assumes that Frasier was over being left at the altar (especially considering he found Lilith). However, Frasier still hasn't gotten over it because it's not something one can get over easily, especially since Frasier never got proper closure. Upon seeing Diane's play based on their Cheers days and hearing the actor playing the Frasier expy questioning his character easily forgiving "Mary-Ann" for leaving him at the altar, Frasier loses it and gives a well-deserved rant.
    • In "An Affair to Forget", Niles challenges Maris' fencing instructor to a duel, as he has fallen in love with her. He quickly realizes that despite his training in school, he is incredibly outmatched.
      • A second one happens during their duel. After losing his sword, Niles attempts to swing on a chandelier nearby. It quickly falls from the ceiling under his weight and leaves him prone on the floor.
    • In "Bristle While You Work", Niles goes to a doctor because he's been having unbelievable coincidences that day. When he lightly asks his doctor if he has a heart problem, the doctor says, "Yes". When Niles lightly says he can clear his schedule for the next day for an appointment. The doctor says "No" and says he has to be admitted immediately.
    • Roz's pregnancy in the fifth season. No matter how safe the sex is, no form of birth control is absolute, especially when you really get around. Lampshaded by Roz herself.
    Roz: Even the best birth control is only effective ninety-nine out of a hundred times. I can't beat those odds.
  • Burn Notice does this all the time. Gas tanks don't explode when shot (unless one specifically sets them up to), police can't just be ignored, and being a spy leaves you with a lot of very angry enemies.
    • Especially being a spy without the protection of some sort of agency. As soon as Michael says Screw This, I'm Outta Here! to Management, Management shows him what the world is like for a burned spy without the Organization keeping bad people away.
  • In one episode of Parks and Recreation, Tom, having just run his start-up company Entertainment 720 into the ground through mismanagement and over-ambition returns to the Parks & Rec department. When Chris assigns him to redesign the department's logo (essentially choosing a new font), Tom tries to use the project as a springboard to launch new ventures such as an Apprentice-esque reality show about the city's park rangers. He is shut down by Jerry of all people, who tells him point blank that Chris would never approve any of his ideas, most of which involve copyright infringement as well as being totally unworkable, and that he is a government worker who should swallow his pride and just do the menial assignment given to him by his superior.
    • In a later episode Ron, who has recently gotten married, decides to go completely off the grid when he starts receiving junk mail at his wife's address. He spends the episode erasing every trace of himself, only for his wife to furiously track him down and tear into him for destroying his cellphone and making himself unreachable when she had a flat tyre and was stranded for hours at the side of the road. She tells him that he can't just vanish every time he gets paranoid, especially since Ron is now her daughter's stepfather and they have a baby on the way.
      • Also, when she catches up to him, he is trying to purchase an RV with gold coins and without filling out any paperwork, which the salesman won't allow him to do, and earlier in the episode a postal worker refuses to dump any mail for Ron in the woods.
    • Throughout the show, Eagleton's status as an Up to Eleven utopia of wealth is a long running joke. Giving away smartphones in goodie baskets, holding cells that are more like high-end hotel rooms, using a several-thousand-dollar crystal piece as a simple basketball trophy, etc. are just some of their more amusing traits. However, "The Pawnee-Eagleton Tip Off Classic" reveals that because of their ridiculous and frivolous spending, Eagleton's financial state is atrocious, and the only solution to fixing their monumental debts is to dissolve the town entirely and merge it with Pawnee.
  • The Following: Sociopathic Serial Killer Joe Carroll sets up a cult of similarly-disturbed individuals, with himself as the leader and messianic figure, to hear his teachings and do his bidding. However, because it's composed almost entirely of murderous sociopaths, the cult collapses on itself very quickly. Only a handful of Carrollists have enough sanity to hold everyone together, let alone direct them toward any kind of focused activity. Really, if it weren't for the fact that the cult has Carroll's innocent wife and son as hostages, all the FBI would really need to do to is sit back and watch them fall apart.
    • Averted in the second season with Carroll's new cult. He molds a fairly benign religious cult into a new legion of murderous anti-religious extremists without the cult imploding. Reality ultimately ensues again twice, first when Lily Gray's mercenaries kill most of the untrained, inadequately armed cult and then in the season finale when the remaining cultists face off against a night vision equipped SWAT team in a blacked out church.
  • The Goldbergs has Barry often attempting to recreate the plots of movies of the 1980's only to find out how such antics play in real life.
    • In "Barry Goldberg's Day Off," Barry tries to emulate Ferris Bueller's Day Off by playing hooky from school and having fun. He and his friends are hassled by security at an art museum, pelted with food by fans at a baseball game, his grandfather's car is stolen and never brought back and his mother easily finds out about what he's been doing and grounds him.
  • How I Met Your Mother:
    • In the very first episode, Ted goes on a first date with Robin just after meeting her. They have a great time, and end up slow dancing in her apartment. Ted looks Robin in the eyes and says “I think I’m falling in love with you”, to which she responds with a shocked “WHAT!?”
    • Lily, who works as a public elementary school teacher, buys a lot of expensive clothing, especially when she is upset about something. Because of this, she's maxed out credit cards and is in a ton of debt, which causes trouble for her and Marshall when they want to buy a house.
    • On a sudden flight of fancy, Lily abandons her loving-yet-staid fiancé and her friends to go to an art course in San Francisco and open her horizons. And then she actually gets to San Francisco, and promptly realizes that she's broken up — in the absolute cruelest way possible — with the love of her life, and alienated her friends. She spends her time away lonely, bitter, and afraid that she's ruined everything for herself. It reads like a deconstruction of Eat, Pray, Love, in that Lily's old life was not 'holding her back' but providing her with love, happiness and stability. And when Lily finally returns to New York, her friends are not happy that she left them so suddenly, and struggle to trust her again.
    • When Lily runs into Marshall, she wants to get back together with him again, only for Marshall to turn her down. Turns out, breaking up with your fiance for an entirely selfish reason and going months without talking to them before suddenly reappearing in their life does not make them want to start dating you again. He even dates other people at least once in that season. While Lily does get him back, it's not until the next half of the season.
    • Lily and Marshall get back together, but Marshall continues to harbor deep fears that he and their son Marvin are her second choice, and that if she had found success in San Francisco, she wouldn't have come back. He never brings it up until a huge fight over him accepting an appointment to a judgeship where Lily tells him, "I would never do something so selfish!" And it takes some serious, mature thought to realize that they will destroy their marriage if they don't address this head on.
    • In one episode, Barney decides to take an injured Marshall's place in the New York City marathon despite the others' skepticism. Much to their surprise, Barney manages to complete all 26.2 miles without looking worse for the wear. However, a few hours later, Barney calls them and explains he's stuck on the subway because his body has completely given out. While Barney is in decent shape (he mentioned running a 10 kilometer race a few episodes prior), he's not in marathon runner shape and it took literally all of his stamina and endurance to complete the endeavor.
    • In one episode, Barney fantasises about being pulled over by a sexy policewoman and having sex with her in a scene out of a porno movie. He then spends several days intentionally running red lights to try to make the scenario happen, and he is eventually pulled over by an officer who resembles his dream woman. She then promptly arrests him and carts him off to jail, as Barney has accrued multiple citations and hundreds of dollars in fines in only a few days.
    • In the final episode, Lily wanted the rest of the gang to always be there for "the big moments" but the inevitable truth is that they did end up drifting apart over the years and have a hard time getting everyone together due to work, children and other personal matters.
    • When Barney first realizes he is falling in love with Robin, he ... still continues his womanizing ways and sleeps with several women. Someone who is used to living that kind of lifestyle would find it hard to completely change his ways.
    • Ted was left at the altar by Stella on his wedding day and the show took time to show how emotionally devastating it would be to be a Disposable Fiancé. It left him with serious emotional baggage that affected the rest of his future relationships.
    • In the final episode, Barney and Robin get divorced after three years of marriage, due to fundamental differences that they chose to ignoring, namely Robin being Married to the Job and Barney abandoning many of his own interests to be with her that he had nothing to do. They simply rode on the belief that just because they love each other, it would work out.
  • Fran Fine in The Nanny is... well, a nanny, who wears expensive and fashionable outfits. As such she also has crippling credit card debt, and it's revealed that she makes payments via an elaborate ponzi scheme of paying off older credit cards with new ones.
  • In an episode of House, Wilson informs a patient that he had earlier misdiagnosed terminal cancer that he won't die after all. Wilson is then shocked that instead of said patient being happy, he becomes furious since he has already quit his job and sold his house to finance a dream trip and now he has no means to get it all back. Later, he sues Wilson for malpractice.
    • House always gets the diagnosis in the end, but it doesn't always mean a happy ending. Sometimes it's simply too late, and other times the patient is found to have a condition that's incurable.
  • Scrubs:
    • Two episodes dealt with JD finding a patient he really liked being diagnosed with cancer and hoping the tests were wrong. At first, this seemed to be the case, but it turned out he was just imagining it and the diagnosis was correct.
    • In "My Lunch" Doctor Cox kills three patients after giving them organs infected with rabies. Earlier, he made a point to JD that once you start blaming yourself for a patients death, it's the end. Doctor Cox blames himself in particular for the third patient who could have survived for some time, and JD tries a Rousing Speech that is a Call-Back to the earlier point. Cox simply agrees that he blames himself. Then he walks out.
    • Under Dr. Kelso, who openly didn't care what hospital employees did as long as the money rolled in and he got to enjoy the perks of his job, the Janitor was allowed to torment JD unchecked, to the point of imprisoning him in a watertower for a day. After Kelso retires he is replaced by Dr. Maddox, who actually acts like an administrator. When she sees the Janitor trip JD in the hallway, she is furious and fires him on the spot, and when he comes in the next day, she has him escorted out.
      • In that same episode, she fires "Jimmy, the Overly Touchy Orderly", since no sane manager would let anyone who consistently gropes and massages his coworkers stay in his job.
    • "My Story IV" shows that the hospital staff's constant antics, left unchecked, distract them from their jobs and put the patients in danger.
    • Ed, one of the interns from the later seasons is incredibly lazy, which annoys Dr. Cox, but he's also the smartest of the new interns. After a few episodes, however, the rest of the interns have caught up and surpassed him, while he still refuses to keep studying. Seeing that he still has no drive, Dr. Cox fires him.
    • In an early episode, Turk and Carla get sick of JD intruding on their romantic moments and kick him out of the apartment. However, once he is gone they are at a total loose end, since they each spent most of their free time with JD, who happily did things with each of them that the other wouldn't. At the end of the episode, they welcome JD home, who jokes that they couldn't last a week without him, at which point they simultaneously realise that they have almost no shared interests and can't live together without a buffer, and have serious relationship problems which they spend several episodes addressing.
    • In another early episode, one of J.D.'s fellow interns named Nick seem like the perfect doctor, especially the perfect TV doctor: Nick has extremely thorough medical knowledge, cares deeply about patients, is smart, good looking, and has a great bedside manner. However, Nick has to treat a young boy and realizes that nothing he tries is working, and the boy keeps getting sicker. Nick is unable to deal with the fact that it's only a matter of time before the boy dies, and it drives him first to a Heroic BSoD and then to leave Sacred Heart. In real-life medicine, especially if you're working in a hospital, it doesn't matter how good a doctor or nurse you are, some patients can't be saved, and you have to be able to accept and deal with that. If you don't have the emotional strength/resources to be able to cope with people dying, it doesn't matter how good you are at everything else, you will break down or burn out, and such burnout is extremely prevalent in real life.
  • Season 7 of Psych: Juliet finds out about Shawn being a Phony Psychic, she is furious and they break up. Juliet hates liars, due to her Disappeared Dad being a lying con man, and finding out her stepfather was also involved in illegal activities; and finding out the truth about what Shawn is doing (most of which is illegal) put her in a very tough position as an officer of the law. When Trout is brought in by the mayor to save money and improve the police department after a very badly handled high-profile case, he fires the Psych team, suspends the chief (and takes her job), and demotes head detective Lassiter.
    • In Season 8, he's fired for endangering the public due to his gung-ho attitude.
  • The opening of FlashForward (2009) has everyone in the world simultaneously losing consciousness for 2 minutes and 17 seconds. This results in 20 million deaths and far more injuries due to people blacking out while performing surgeries, skydiving, or simply driving their car.
  • Grey's Anatomy: After Meredith was found out to be tampering with her husband Derek's clinical trial that she was assisting with, Derek is blacklisted by the FDA and none of the attending surgeons want Meredith to work under them (including Derek) so she has trouble finding another specialty and Derek doubts her abilities as a parent because he's convinced she can't tell right from wrong. The only reason she is able to get her job back is because Richard takes the blame, so no one is able to prove otherwise.
    • In a later season, Bailey is conducting her research into using disabled HIV injections to restore a patient's immune system. However, her first human trial is interrupted by parents of a "bubble boy" who are too freaked out by "HIV" to allow it. So Bailey goes behind their backs to save the boy. It works, the boy's immune system is restored, but when the parents find out, they are furious that she gambled with their son's life and decide to sue her. Owen tries to convince them that the ends, in this case, justify the means, only for the father to angrily tell Owen that Bailey is lucky that their son survived. Had he not, they wouldn't have stopped until she went to jail. As it is, she should be thankful that they're only going after her medical license. This gets resolved when Stephanie (an intern) takes the blame, claiming to have forgotten to tell Bailey about the parents' refusal. When asked by Bailey, she explains that, if Bailey took the blame, then her research would be shut down and never used. This way, Bailey can continue her research to find a way to save more lives.
    • In season 15, Meredith forges her name onto an insurance form to get an illegal child to have a life-saving surgery. It takes little time for the insurance company and the federal government to stumble onto the scam. Deluca takes the fall for Meredith and is arrested for fraud. Meredith goes to see Bailey and admits it was her doing. Richard and Alex chime in on how they knew and covered for it and are also willing to take the blame. Bailey snaps that this is not some minor mistake but a huge deal that could get the hospital into serious trouble and fires all three of them on the spot.
  • Peep Show:
    • In the episode "Holiday," Jeremy has to dispose of his Girl of the Week's dog after he accidentally runs it over. He and Mark attempt to cremate the corpse in the forest, but quickly discover that it's not working, which Mark chalks up to all the water in the dog's body. It's incredibly difficult to completely incinerate living organisms in real life for that exact reason, which is why crematoriums exist in the first place.
    • The entire series could be seen as a Deconstruction of sorts for the concept of Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonists. Mark and Jeremy are total assholes, but rather than making them seem edgy or endearing to others, it consistently alienates everyone around them and ruins any chance the leads have at happiness.
  • In Gekisou Sentai Carranger, Dappu appears before the crew of the garage and asks them to become Carrangers. Their response is... to run and hide from the weird alien thing that suddenly appeared before them.
  • JAG: In "Brig Break", a group of right-wing militiamen armed with automatic rifles encounters a Sea Stallion helicopter equipped with armor protection and machine guns. The fight lasts about two seconds before the militiamen are forced to retreat into the woods.
  • Surgical Spirit: A new doctor is hired at the hospital—a new female surgeon, working with a team where there is only one other woman who isn't a nurse or a receptionist. Problem is, she was hired partially because having a black female surgeon looks good and partially because she was qualified… and unfortunately, she isn't quite up to working with the team. As nice as she is and as helpful as she is, a surgeon who can't do the work could kill a patient, so she leaves at the end of the episode.
  • Blue Heelers was regarded by those on the force as as real as it gets and that included the consequences of certain actions. A murder occurs? Mass door knock of the area where the police are sidelined by witnesses reticent to reveal anything. A car chase goes too fast? The police have to terminate, with serious consequences being shown several times when they don't comply (one officer becomes a paraplegic and a youth is killed for example). Any discharge of a firearm? Ethical Standards Department, grief counseling and a mountain of paperwork, and likely media and public reaction as well.
  • In the Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Lost World episode "The Knife", Veronica eventually faces Sir William Gull and Robert Anderson, the two men who were collectively Jack the Ripper, in a Knife Fight. It soon becomes clear that although they were vicious killers, they don't actually know how to fight, and she kicks their asses.
  • Pretty Little Liars: Alison has pissed off so many people in Rosewood, that when she finally returns from the dead, most people are NOT happy. Even her friends are ambivalent.
    • When Aria's family finally found out about her and Ezra, no one was happy due to the fact that he was older and her teacher. Her father is still against their relationship.
    • In a later season, Alison asked the girls that they feel safe so that Charlotte can be released. While Emily, Mona, Hanna and Spencer all eventually do this, Aria has flashbacks to all of the things that Charlotte has put them through as "A", and confesses that she will feel safe because of her.
    • Nearly all of the girls have had some breakdowns over the situation that they are in, to the point of one of them being institutionalized.
  • Supernatural, Grimm, Teen Wolf and The Vampire Diaries all showcase that some things are very hard to get forgiven for, even if you're using supernatural powers with the best of intentions:
    • Supernatural: While Sam and Dean have been able to overcame a vast majority of their differences, when Sam learns that Dean put an angel in him without his permission, resulting in Kevin's death, he stays mad at Dean until the end of the season, when Dean dies.
    • Grimm: When Adalind came back to town for help with her baby after the Royals came after her, the gang helped out, only to not tell her what they really did with her child (they faked a kidnapping by the Resistance). Her past actions resulted in them not being able to trust her.
    • Teen Wolf: The Alpha twins tried to join Scott's pack after falling out with Deucalion. However, there was no quick forgiveness: Scott and Stiles were unsure whether to trust them, and Lydia broke up with one of them after his part in Boyd's death. Issac was the one who hated them the most, and even tried to murder them at one point to avenge both Boyd and Erica. Meanwhile, no one has forgiven or trusted Peter.
    • A similar situation happens on The Vampire Diaries: no one is close with Klaus, and Rebekah is still hated by most after running Elena off the road and turning her into a vampire. Heck, even Damon is in a similar position: while most tolerate him, Caroline still hates him for his past behavior to the point where she violently opposes his relationship with Elena, and has even nearly ended her friendship with the latter twice.
  • The Vampire Diaries also shows how the losing party of a Love Triangle responds to the outcome: While Stefan stated that he was happy for Damon and Elena and even helped them stay together, in truth he carried a lot of resentment for YEARS. This came out in the open in season eight.
  • In Martial Law, in the first episode when Sammo came to LA, he was robbed by a Russian taxi scam. When he later arrived at the police station, he was asked why he, a senior officer in hand to hand combat and the top cop of Shanghai, didn't do anything. His reply was that they had three guns aimed at him. Even someone as trained as him would get shot before he could do anything. Instead, he reported them to the police and by the end of the episode, they were arrested and Sammo's things returned to him.
  • Law & Order:
    • "Tabula Rasa" has a man who ended up killing a woman by throwing her in the path of a train go on trial for her murder. During the investigation, it turns out that the man kidnapped his two daughters away from his ex-wife and brainwashed them into believing his lies and killed the woman because she recognized him. The girls' biological mother soon locates the girls and after he's convicted, their stepmother loses custody of the younger, minor daughter to their real mom to each girls heartbreak and anger. Just because she reunites with them doesn't mean that it will end happily due to the abducting parent's manipulation which is very much Truth in Television, even when the child is abducted by a stranger.
      • Which occurs in "Sheltered", a similar episode where it turns out that the criminal abducted his "son" a decade earlier. The man had brainwashed the kid into believing that his family was either dead or no longer loved him. When he's reunited with his mother and sister, he's downright horrified and screams at them to get away from him, not believing that they're his relatives. He spends the remainder of the episode shunning them, and even as his kidnapper is convicted and taken away, he still wants nothing to do with them. Stockholm Syndrome is real and can be incredibly hard to break.
    • "Dazzled" has the case of a young, pregnant second wife of a banker fall to her death. It ultimately comes out that although the ex-wife was arrested for apparently drugging her with her own prescription and then killing her, it was their daughter who killed her to get her parents back together. Problem is, even without the new wife in the picture, the marriage would have still ended since they hated one another (and even former wife conceded that the new wife was manipulated by her husband who was a known philanderer).
    • In "Ghosts", a man who was suspected for years of killing his daughter end up being cleared after the real killer is exposed and eventually convicted, but not before his wife dies of cancer. At the end of the episode, Fontana (one of the original investigators on the case who essentially ruined the man's life) comes to his door after the trial to apologize. He just slams the door in his face without a word.
    • In general, the series, especially in the early seasons, would show cases on a fairly regular basis where the protagonists did everything right and the verdict still went against them, or something else went wrong. This is very much Truth in Television as far as how law enforcement and the legal system work.
  • In one episode of Law & Order: SVU, a lesbian dies and her parents sue her partner for custody of their granddaughter. They argue that the stepmother is molesting the girl, and under questioning, the girl seems to corroborate their story. The protagonists discovered that the grandparents were persuaded to sue by their homophobic lawyer who is trying to prove gays cannot be good parents. They also discover that he coached the girl to lie, and that she was not in fact molested. The detectives close the case and the grandparents drop their suit, but the partner refuses to forgive them or let them see their granddaughter again after being accused of molesting her daughter simply based on her sexual orientation. Being Easily Forgiven is rare in real life.
    • In one episode, the Victim of the Week's neighbor is eventually discovered to be a fugitive, having escaped custody decades earlier after she was charged with murder for killing her abusive husband. She assumed a new identity and remarried, but she lived in constant fear of discovery which dictated all her actions. In the end, she's acquitted of the murder charge and it's suggested she won't serve time for the escape, but her husband leaves her because he can't move past the fact that their entire life together, every decision they ever made, was based on a lie. He still loves her, but he can't forgive her.
    • When Casey Novak breaks the law to help the detectives get the evidence they need to nail a criminal, she's immediately in hot water. The only reason she's not fired is because of the judge, who still hits her with a serious suspension.
    • The team realize a man who has been in jail for 20 years is innocent of the rape and murder he was accused of. The real killer is caught but ends up killing himself before he makes a confession. Thus, despite the circumstantial evidence they have and knowing the truth, the cops and D.A. don't have enough to overturn the conviction and the innocent man must remain in jail. (The same outcome is narrowly averted for another wrongfully convicted man later in the same season.)
    • A man makes a business proposal to a woman. She turns him down. The next day she receives flowers from him, with a card reading, "No hard feelings". TV/movie convention would present this as a sweet, endearing gesture indicative of a man's love. But does she find it this? No. As she later tells the detectives, the fact that he found out her address without her having told him scared the hell out of her. And with good reason, as the guy is a suspected rapist/murderer.
  • Suits seems to skirt reality with the plotline as Mike is hired as a junior lawyer at a major firm despite having never attended law school (he makes up for it with his genius at the law). However, the series plays with this by showing the massive consequences that come from the firm engaging in a fraud.
    • It's pretty easy for someone who tries to figure out Mike isn't a lawyer. Jessica figured it out fast as Mike doesn't have a Bachelor's degree from anywhere.
    • While Mike does his best to fake it, he often fails to recognize things any Harvard grad should know from the popular songs to the locations of the best pizza place. Eventually, Louis finally figures it out when Mike fails to know about the "key" Louis (and any real Harvard grad) would have.
    • Rachel kisses her ex-boyfriend, and then struggles whether to tell Mike. Donna tells her not to. She eventually tells him, and he walks out on her. After an episode or two, they do get back together, but he admits he's still not over it.
    • Without Harvey to shield him, Mike's idealism is even less suited for the world of high-stakes corporate finance than it is for high-stakes corporate law.
    • Louis' antics trying to cover his misbehavior, though funny, end up tipping Mike and Harvey off that he's up to something. They figure it out within minutes, and he quits seconds before Harvey would've questioned and fired him.
      • Then it turns out that departing from a major law firm under a cloud doesn't do well for your career prospects, especially since he can't have any of his old clients and he refuses to leave New York. Jessica refuses to rehire him because, in her opinion, he constantly screws up.
      • His secretary is fired for trying to cover his rear.
    • Earlier, Louis' Training from Hell reduces talented associate Harold to a quivering mess. The fact that everyone treated him like dirt didn't help.
    • When he finds out the truth about Mike, Louis succeeds in blackmailing himself to be named as "door partner" and immediately gets ready to fire Mike and Harvey by threatening to reveal the truth. However, Jessica points out what Louis has overlooked: By taking part in the knowledge about Mike to get himself rehired, Louis became part of the fraud and will go down with the rest of them if he exposes it.
    • In season 5, Mike is finally exposed and immediately arrested for fraud. The entire firm faces massive litigation and possible disbarment for taking part in all this. Despite all their hard work, Mike ends up agreeing to a plea deal to get only a few years in jail. Meanwhile, Jessica and Harvey assume their staff will stay out of loyalty. Instead, as soon as the firm's non-compete clause is nullified, every lawyer, paralegal and assistant who isn't a main character walks rather than be associated with a firm engulfed in fraud.
    • Trying to rebuild after Mike's arrest, Jessica decides to expand the firm's hiring pool from 20 other schools rather than just Harvard. Louis has to break it to her that not one candidate is interested in working for a firm that knowingly hired a fake lawyer and facing possibly being shut down.
    • Season 6 adds a new wrinkle and Jessica and Harvey learn that they are being sued for every case Mike ever worked on.
    • In Season 7, an opposing lawyer uses Mike's past as a fraud and convict to prejudice the judge against him. Then later, when Mike tries to hand the case over to Rachel, Harvey forces him to roll with it and keep the case, telling him that if he gives up, every opponent he faces will use his past against him.
    • After Harvey becomes managing partner, he allows Donna to become a senior partner and plans to bring in an old friend as named partner to get a big corporate client. Katrina tells him that he is devaluing the firm by just handing out partnerships, and Harvey is forced to rescind the offer to his friend and give Donna the sinecure of COO rather than partner.
  • In Gotham, Bruce begins to train himself to help himself overcome fear. Gordon and Alfred on the other hand see it as unsettling and want Bruce to see a therapist.
    • In "The Balloonman", the titular villain attacks an experienced cop, as opposed to their first victim, a middle aged banker taken by surprise. The Balloonman promptly gets the crap kicked out of him. If Cranston hadn't become distracted by some paperwork the Balloonman was carrying, the Balloonman's killing spree would have ended right there.
    • Bruce wanted to help the homeless children in Gotham and offered money and later clothes. Gordon gently pointed out that these children need guardians, not money. Later on in the episode, the children did get new clothes but are still being sent upstate and still are miserable.
    • People don't just bounce back after a kidnapping. Barbara is traumatized and paranoid after being held captive by Zsasz.
    • Gordon is repeatedly warned that if he goes against the system, he will not last long in the GCPD. Initially, it appears that he is relying on his status as a war hero and his father's reputation, but once his enemies find a viable pretext, he is Reassigned to Antarctica and his supposed allies like Harvey Dent abandon him.
  • At the end of Season 2 of Lois & Clark, Clark proposes to Lois and she reveals that she knows he's Superman. In the first episode of Season 3, she refuses because, although she loves him and can understand why he felt the need to do what he did, she's still hurt and angry that he has been lying to her since they met, and it takes months before she's ready to say yes.
  • 24:
    • Throughout the series, Jack suffers all sorts of injuries and somehow manages to keep fighting the good fight in spite of it. In the final episode of Day 8, he's accumulated several wounds throughout the course of the season such as a stab wound in the gut and a gunshot in the shoulder and is about to be executed by one of Charles Logan's enforcers. He rouses up enough strength to make an escape attempt and starts fighting the guy off... and his injuries prove too much for him keep up with the man, who simply takes advantage of it to overpower him. It's only through Chloe and President Taylor's literal last-second intervention that he gets saved.
    • Also, in Day 8, he murdered a Russian foreign minister. Understandably enough, the Russians want their own revenge on Jack, and on the final episode of Day 9, having mobilized their entire force against him, they succeed at capturing him.
    • At the end of Day 6, rogue Chinese agent Cheng Zhi is taken prisoner by CTU, but defiantly shouts that the Chinese government won't abandon him and will get him out as he's being led away to confinement. In Day 9, we discover that his country did indeed abandon him. It doesn't matter if you were previously a loyal operative to your government, if you start resorting to heinous acts that could be considered acts of war like collaborating with a known terrorist like Philip Bauer or kidnapping and torturing the Secretary of Defense's daughter, your country is going to immediately consider you a traitor and write you off like it's nothing. Unfortunately, Cheng refuses to take any responsibility for this and decides to orchestrate a war between the U.S. and China in retaliation.
  • Once Upon a Time:
    • At the beginning, Regina wins, throwing everyone from the Enchanted Forest into the modern world set in a "Groundhog Day" Loop. Several seasons later, an episode features her feelings about this. Turns out, she had no clue what to do after having her revenge and being stuck in a town where nothing really happened was horrendously boring.
    • Mr. Gold, Charming, and Hook each, at different points, try to invoke True Love's Kiss when Belle, Snow and Emma lose their memories. It doesn't work for any of them, and naturally the kiss-ees view it as assault and respond accordingly—Belle screams for help, Snow punches Charming in the face, and Emma knees Hook in the groin.
    • Just because Emma's The Chosen One doesn't mean she's going to immediately believe that an entire town is cursed by fairy-tale characters, especially since the one claiming this is a ten-year-old boy with an overactive imagination. It takes her all of the first season to come around.
    • Even when they try to overcome past issues, Regina and Zelena are still tense given how they've tried to kill each other in the past and just because they're sisters doesn't mean they can forget such a rough past.
    • In the spinoff, Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Anastasia, the Red Queen has an episode where she has to listen to multiple complaints from her citizens. Despite having to literally claw her to the top, evidently being a queen means more than pretty dresses, jewelry and magic. One has actual responsibilities.
  • In 30 Rock, Tracy is extremely proud of his tendency to "drop truth bombs"; essentially calling people out on racism, rudeness, or other personal failings (real or perceived). Midway through season one Jack points out that this tendency is why he can't get any work outside of TGS; he can't get through any serious negotiation or arguments without accusing someone else of bigotry, with the result that no one wants to work with him and movie backers blacklist in retribution for him being so rude and blunt to them.
    • A recurring theme throughout the series is Liz attempting to mimic Murphy Brown, viewing it as the ultimate ideal of feminism, only to have reality come cruelly crashing down on her when it turns out that the real world doesn't function like a female empowerment sitcom from the nineties. Her Establishing Character Moment has her attempting to make a dramatic stand against a man cutting in line at a hot dog stand and expecting to be praised, only to instead make herself look like a weirdo throwing a childish fit over something completely trivial.
    • In the season 2 finale, Pete shoots the head page in the leg with an arrow to help out Kenneth, whom the page was attempting to restrain to keep him from submitting an important paper. In the first episode of season 3, the incident is brought up and it's revealed that Pete actually got into a lot of trouble for basically assaulting the guy and had to go through two months of anger management and community service to keep his job.
    • Kenneth's feud with head page Donny began when Jenna destroyed Kenneth's jacket, and in order to get a new one, Kenneth had to beat him in a "page off". Every page gathered in a basement to watch them, but just before the contest could start, Pete walked in to shut it down and simply ordered the head page to replace Kenneth's jacket.
      Pete: What, are you kidding me? This is a billion dollar company! Demerits? Donny, give Kenneth the damn jacket!
  • The final episode of Seinfeld is one long invocation of this trope. In it, every single rude, cruel, and illegal thing the cast did through the entire show comes back to bite them in the ass. First they get arrested on charges of criminal indifference after mocking a guy who was being robbed rather than helping him. At their trial they get convicted after a massive landslide of people they've wronged testify against them as well as starting several confrontations in the courtroom. Turns out that being an Unsympathetic Comedy Protagonist doesn't typically lead to good things in real life.
    • Elaine's trademark expression of astonishment or excitement—"Get Out!!" complete with shove gets so out of control as the series progresses that she eventually pushes people with enough force to knock them down. Reality Ensues in "The Bizzaro Jerry" when she does this to her new friend Kevin and he's annoyed and angry like most people would be (the fact that he appears to be genuinely injured doesn't help either).
  • In the final season of Drop Dead Diva assistant Teri helps a friend out of a jam by pretending to be a lawyer to intimidate a credit card company. When bosses Grayson and Kim find out, they have no choice but to report Teri to the cops and she's arrested and spends a few months in jail for practicing without a legal license and impersonation.
    • When Teri is released, Jane is ready to welcome her back only to be informed that there's no way a legal firm can employ an ex-con, let alone one convicted of impersonating a lawyer.
  • Normally, it doesn't matter how beaten up a hero gets in a Tokusatsu show, as he will be all better in the next episode. Not so in Ultraman Nexus, where Tragic Hero Himeya Jun constantly gets injured when fighting as Ultraman against giant monsters, which causes him to get weaker as the series progresses. Another example of this trope is that certain episodes focus on the victims of monster attacks, who are actually fairly traumatized because of said attack.
  • In Family Matters, Myra doesn't like the way Steve has changed over time and breaks up with him, thinking he'll do anything to win her back. Except he realizes that he has outgrown the person he used to be and, consequently, outgrown his relationship with Myra. He turns to Laura, who now has feelings for him, and Myra's attempts to get him back only end up alienating him.
  • ''Smallville: The Villain of the Week of an early episode is a bullied nerdy outcast at Smallville High who, via a combination of Kryptonite and lightning, ends up stealing Clark's powers. The first thing he does is make a play for the popular girl he has a crush on, and beat up her Flash Thompson-esque Jerk Jock boyfriend with his Super Strength. Clark and Peter Parker might feel an obligation to keep their powers secret and use them to help people, but most bullied teens, if they suddenly found themselves much stronger than their tormentors would happily take revenge.
  • Catastrophe: Rob and Sharon have lots of casual, spontaneous and unprotected sex. Sharon quickly gets pregnant.
  • Being a Deconstructor Fleet, Kamen Rider Gaim has many. For instance:
    • Kaito and Kouta (Kamen Rider Baron and Kamen Rider Gaim respectively) gain rider forms that include weapons like a spear and a sword. Despite their rider forms giving them extra power, they use them rather awkwardly at first, having no combat experience or training yet. Kaito's Character Tic even reflects this, as he uses weapons in a way that they were not intended, such as slashing with a spear.
    • In several of the early Kamen Rider shows, the Monsters of the Week were often normal humans who had been kidnapped and experimented on by the bad guys. Despite this, the heroes rarely had any qualms about killing them, and the shows almost never presented this as wrong or morally questionable. When Kouta finds out that many of the the Inves he's been destroying were transformed humans, and that he killed one that used to be his friend, he's left traumatized and disgusted over what he's done.
    • In his first battle with Zangetsu, Kouta is nearly killed. While most riders would just get back up and try again, Kouta's never fought in a battle like that before, and is traumatized as a result.
    • Kaito's had the belief that only the strong will survive and the weak will perish for a long time. At the end of the series, even with all the Character Development he's gone through, Kaito still believes the world's like this and wants to create a new world where the weak can live in peace. As with several other examples on this page, people dropping long-held beliefs, no matter how unhealthy, is much rarer than TV would have you believe.
    • After losing a battle with Mitsuzane, Takatora sinks into the sea and is found and taken to the hospital by Mitsuzane a few months later. However, the doctor informs Micchy that Takatora's brain has been damaged as a result of a few months without oxygen, and if it hadn't been for Kouta, Takatora would be dead.
    • After losing his Gridon Rider form, Hideyasu uses the Kurokage Trooper form against the Inago Kaijin to honor the late Hase. While his determination has strengthened over the past few months, it doesn't change the fact that he's not a very good fighter and is using a weaker powerset that he's never had any experience with at all, making the second half of the short battle more in the Inago Kaijin's favor.
  • Played for Laughs in Kamen Rider Ghost. At one point, Takeru has to fight a monster that specializes in electrical attacks, so he goes with a form that uses two swords. He ends up making the fight much shorter, since he was essentially charging at it while holding two large lightning rods in his hands.
  • This is par of the course in Kamen Rider Ex-Aid due to its focus on medical ethics and consequences of one's action. Examples include:
    • Kiriya has lied to the CR crew multiple times because reasons, so it's not so hard for the Big Bad Duumvirate to discredit him the one time he is telling the truth.
    • In a decontruction of Heroic Second Wind, Taiga goes against an enemy completely out of his league and continues on fighting long after he has been proven to be outmatched. Even getting knocked out of suit doesn't stop him. Then he gets hit and goes down with injuries that require immediate life saving operation.
    • After losing a valuable piece of equipment needed to fight the Big Bad, Kuroto has to rebuild it from scratch, and do so in a timeframe shortened from several weeks to a few hours at best. He dies of exhaustion. 12 times.
  • Kamen Rider Zi-O:
    • Protagonist Sougo dreams of one day becoming a king. Pretty much nobody takes this seriously, either telling him to aim for something more realistic or treating him with derision, with Sougo having very few friends because most people consider him to be a weirdo. The only people who do take it seriously are Tsukuyomi and Geiz—but only because they're time travelers from a future where Sougo became an Evil Overlord.
    • In the Wizard arc, Hayase/Another Wizard encourages his past self to confess his feelings to his crush—but also acknowledges they still might not get together. After all, just because you declare your love to someone doesn't mean they'll reciprocate it.
    • In Kamen Rider Ryuki, the ORE Journal was an online publication that relied on tips sent in by its readers. When Zi-O revisits the series, it's revealed that the ORE Journal had gone out of business since the people who used to send in tips could now just post them to their social media accounts.
    • When Geiz receives the Geiz Revive Ridewatch, using it greatly increases his strength and speed—to the point that it can easily toss around Sougo's strongest form—but it also places an enormous strain on Geiz's body since he's not used to that kind of power and using it too much might even prove fatal to him.
  • The entire premise of the Monty Python's Ron Obvious sketch. Ron attempts stunts such as jumping the English Channel, eating Chichester Cathedral, tunnelling from England to Java, splitting a railway carriage with his nose, and running to Mercury. All go as would actually be expected.
    • Also in Monty Python. One sketch features a boxing match between professional boxer Ken Clean-Air-Systems (played by John Cleese) and a school girl (played by Connie Booth). Given the surreal nature of the programme, you might expect some hilarious role reversal? No..the fight goes exactly as you'd expect between a professional boxer and a school girl.
  • On Sex and the City, Samantha becomes suspicious of boyfriend Richard's behavior—late nights, unexplained absences from work—and his vague explanations. Coupled with the knowledge of his playboy reputation, she becomes convinced that he's cheating on her. So one day, she decides to follow him. TV convention would reveal that he's actually been planning some sort of surprise for her, but instead, she does in fact walk in on him and another woman. Later, after they reconcile, he cancels dinner plans because of a business meeting. Suspicious, she bursts in on him... to find him having a business meeting. But she dumps him anyway, knowing full well that it's only a matter of time before he cheats again, and even if not, she can never trust him again.
  • The Muppets:
    • Miss Piggy tries to play a prank on a woman by getting Scooter to shove her head into a cake and filming it. Not only does Ms. Applegate notice Miss Piggy very obviously sitting completely dressed in black in her suspicious black car, but Miss Piggy gets arrested for filming her.
  • Limitless shows the sheer boring prep that goes into FBI investigations and often Brian imagines the adventures being much cooler.
    • When he confronts a crook on his own, Brian is confident his perfect recall of kung fu movies gives him the advantage. He ends up knocked down in five seconds and realizes it doesn't matter how perfectly you know martial arts moves if you've never had any fight training. When he goes in for some, his trainer lets him know that fighting involves a lot more grounded attacks than flashy kung fu moves.
    • In a subversion of Hollywood Hacking, Brian notes the reason TV and movies do hacking as montages is because "in real life, hacking is boring."
  • Z Nation: The Chosen One may be the person to save everyone. However, thanks to Murphy, we now know that chosen doesn't always mean nice...or good. His behavior over the course of season 2 showcases that, starting with him basically causing a nuclear apocalypse.
  • Despite their outlandish plots, Soap Operas do this fairly regularly. Children have gotten screwed up because of their parents' constant bed-hopping, children resent their parents for sending them to boarding school or to live with relatives, people have come back from the dead only to find out that their ex has moved on with someone else, and infidelity and other stunts have permanently ruined marriages and other relationships:
    • All My Children: Erica Kane cheats on husband Travis with his brother Jack. Daughter Bianca is so upset after walking in on them that she sets fire to the house. When Travis finds out, he files for divorce. Erica loses custody because of her infidelity and it takes years for her and Bianca to repair their relationship, while Jack and Travis never do.
      • Also, unlike most soap parents who never mention their children after sending them away, Erica frequently laments not having Bianca with her, talks about her all the time, and is thrilled whenever she comes to visit, much like any Real Life non-custodial parent.
    • As the World Turns's Emily is kidnapped. When she's finally rescued, her hair has split ends, dark roots, several inches of growth. In other words, precisely like someone who hasn't been to the hairdresser in months.note 
    • Beverly Hills, 90210. Andrea and Jesse's Fourth Date Marriage is a disaster. It only happened because she was pregnant and the first year was married by numerous arguments and mutual infidelities. Despite them moving across the country for a fresh start, it's not surprising that when she returns for a visit a few years later, they're divorcing.
      • Her affair gets this too. She falls in love with the other man and wants to leave Jesse to be with him. He, on the other hand, is quite happy to have the best of both worlds—his wife, and a side chick.
    • The Bold and the Beautiful. It's pretty much acknowledged that the problems Brooke's children, particularly Rick and Bridget, have had, is due to her sleeping around without a second thought as to how it would affect them. Rick has never stopped resenting older half-brother Ridge for the times he was simultaneously his stepfather. Rick even snapped to the point where he shot another stepfather after being completely confused about Brooke running off and marrying a new guy.
      • Fed up with Brooke interfering in her marriage to Ridge, Taylor allows herself to be drawn into an elaborate plot to get Brooke sent out of town permanently. Ridge finds out everything, but although he's angry, he informs a stunned Brooke that he's going to forgive Taylor instead of leaving her, because that's what you do when you love someone.
    • General Hospital's Bobbie cheats on husband Tony—and he discovers this the day their daughter is killed in a car accident. The other guy turns out to be a jerk who was playing her, and it takes a full year of counseling for them to rebuild their marriage and even then, he's still so emotionally exhausted that it eventually falls apart anyway.
      • Jason Quartermaine sustains severe brain damage in a car accident. When he awakens, he has no memory of anyone from his past life. Unlike typical Hollywood Healing of some cliched storyline of him regaining his memory, he never does. He's also seen walking with a cane and going to physical therapy to regain his strength.
      • Teenagers Robin Scorpio and Stone Cates consummate their relationship. However, Stone is soon diagnosed with AIDS. Despite pleas from viewers, Robin also tests positive for HIV. Writers understood the ramifications of having a legendary, beloved character who the viewers had watched grow up have a potentially fatal disease, but any other diagnosis would have been irresponsible and unrealistic—Robin and Stone had unprotected sex numerous times (she was a virgin, he had previously tested negative, so they were only using the Pill for contraception). The odds of her not contracting HIV were unlikely.
    • Guiding Light's Michelle pulls a Break His Heart to Save Him on boyfriend Jesse to protect him from the mobsters targeting her. By the time she confesses to this and they try to reconcile, they're forced to admit that their relationship is now Dead Sparks and that they've fallen in love with other people.
    • One Life to Live's Max Holden sends son Al to live with his mother so he can return to his shenanigans. When Al returns years later, he absolutely loathes his father for essentially abandoning him and his mother and it takes years for them to even have a remotely cordial relationship.
    • The Young and the Restless: Dru returns from a trip to find her husband Neil carrying on with another woman. So she breaks into the woman's apartment and trashes the place... and gets arrested for breaking and entering, destruction of property, and slapped with a restraining order. Later, in another confrontation with the woman, she puts her in a headlock and gets hit with new charges of physical assault and violation of the restraining order. It turns out being the cuckolded spouse does not give you carte blanche to commit crimes.
      • On a lighter note, when a married couple moved into their new home, they had to live among boxes and off of takeout food for several weeks, like real people. (Soaps are notorious for having a new home furnished and set up the very day after a person buys it).
    • Similarly, on Melrose Place, Kimberly destroys a huge chunk of the apartment complex with a bomb. For the next several months, repairmen are seen working on rebuilding the damaged portion of the building.
  • House of Cards (US):
    • Lucas Goodwin believes he's a crusading journalist who will find the evidence to prove Frank Underwood is crooked and bring him down. He takes part in a plan to hack a server farm only to be arrested. He agrees to a plea deal, convinced his fellow reporters will carry on his work to take Frank down. Instead, the two realize there's no way they can fight the Vice-President of the United States who clearly will do anything to keep in power, they have no evidence to use against him and back away, both leaving town and poor Lucas realizes he's stuck where he is.
    • Magnificent Bastard though he may be, when Frank starts to maneuver to become the Vice President, both Linda Vasquez and Raymond Tusk see through his attempts to play them, and by the time he visits Tusk, he's already being played in return.
    • Season 3 is basically a reality check for the series. Frank learns that cheating his way into the White House was one thing but actually being President is another. For one thing, doing whatever you feel like doesn't always go over well with the public, your attitude will annoy the opposing party enough to work against you every step of the way and it's quite likely your own party will feel it's better you not run for re-election as you risk dragging them down. Finally, by the end of the season, Frank learns that treating everyone around you like shit doesn't inspire loyalty.
    • In Season 3, Frank proves rather ineffectual in his dealings with Viktor Petrov, president of Russia. That's because unlike Frank, Petrov is a genuine dictator. An unrepentant veteran of a secret police agency, Petrov doesn't care about leaving behind a legacy or getting adored by his people, and nor is he constrained by things like the rule of law or balance of power that American presidents usually are. Even if Frank will never admit it, the fact is Petrov is way more ruthless and more manipulative than he is.
    • When Lucas is released from jail, he immediately seeks out Heather Dunbar, Frank's likely Presidential election opponent and shares all his information on Frank, assuming she'll use it to take him down with the media. Dubar instead throws Lucas by pointing out that even if she believed him (which she doesn't), accusing the President of the United States of cold-blooded murder without a shred of actual evidence is political suicide.
    • Appointing an ineffectual, indecisive, and easily manipulated person like Donald Blythe to the vice presidency is a good way to sideline someone and have impeachment insurance. It's not assassination insurance, though, as shown when Frank gets shot by Lucas Goodwin, and Blythe is so lost that he only is able to run things by being Claire's puppet.
    • In Season 4, Frank is shot by Lucas Goodwin in an assassination attempt, and requires a liver transplant. Rather than a fast recovery, Frank is shown needing the span of months to get back into shape. Even then, he still finds himself out of breath with his doctors telling him that, re-election or not, he can't keep flying all over the country in his condition.
    • In season 4, Tom Hammerschmidt proves that even a smart politician like Frank who's good at covering his tracks will make tiny mistakes that will get their schemes blown wide open.
    • On Election Day, Frank discovers all the "expert polling" in the world doesn't make up for actual votes. He's jarred when instead of an easy re-election, Will Conway is beating Frank in numerous areas, including Frank's own home state. If not for Frank faking a terrorist attack to throw off the Ohio vote, Conway would have won.
    • In the final season, Claire has to wrestle with the fact that no matter what she does, she will always be judged by Frank's actions and never escape his shadow.
  • In the Power Rangers Megaforce episode "A Lion's Alliance", the Rangers arrive at Animarium to ask the Red Lion for help. Some villains find this out and tries to attack the Red Lion, who to note, is nearly thirty-feet tall forty-feet long Zord who is very much self-aware and intelligent, and has all lion-like features like claws and teeth, and the villains attack the Zord while at human size themselves. It ends as well as you'd expect.
  • Full House: Jesse and Rebecca's wedding is held up when Jesse gets himself arrested that morning and Rebecca is forced to drive to the outskirts of San Francisco to retrieve him. After many more mishaps, the wedding is finally held... and the reception ends up being held at the house, because that's what happens when you miss the time frame that you chose for your reception venue.
    Danny: (serving champagne and hors d'oeuvres to guests) "Groom was late, we lost the hall."
  • Murder, She Wrote had a series of episodes where Jessica Fletcher didn't solve the case but instead had other characters investigating the murders that took place. One episode was about a showrunner on a TV show who investigated when a coworker was murdered. She found the clue that breaks the case right open, runs into the murderer... and immediately runs screaming for help since no-one else knows about the clue and she's alone in a room with a murderer.
  • Blindspot shows that a mysterious package is dropped off in a public place, it will be treated with suspicion. Even if it is a beautiful woman with no memory of anything. As such, Jane is followed around with a detail and lives in a safe house.
  • Quantico: Simon attacked Ryan during a big argument. As such, he was kicked out of the academy once it was revealed.
  • Arrowverse:
    • Arrow:
      • At the end of the first season, Detective Lance reveals to his superiors that he has been working with the title vigilante and assures them the hero can be trusted. He's promptly suspended and relieved of his badge and gun. In season two he is demoted to patrol officer and when he reveals to a superior that he is still in contact with the vigilante he is promptly arrested.
      • Also in the climax of the first season is the villain being defeated and exposed and his doomsday device being deactivated. Then he reveals that he simply made a backup, and activates it.
      • Also in Season 1, Oliver is forced to reveal to his best friend Tommy Merlyn that he is the Vigliante known as the Hood. Throughout the season, Oliver has been constantly skipping out on his family and friends to go be the Hood, and later tells Tommy flat out that he was never going to tell anyone about his secret. As the Hood, he has been going around and attacking corrupt rich people on his father's list, culminating in a body count of 56 people, most of which were security guards just doing their job. So to the eyes of Tommy, Oliver has been running around not caring about anyone else in his life so he can go and murder people, and would never have fessed up. Completely justifying him being afraid and disgusted with Oliver, calling him a murderer.
      • The season 2 episode Birds of Prey does this to The Worf Effect/Took a Level in Badass. In their first fight, Helena beats the Black Canary and throws her out of a window. In their second fight where Black Canary decides not to hold back... Helena gets her ass kicked and is in a choke hold in about 10 seconds flat. Remember, kids, fighting skill means little against a trained assassin who let you win!
      • In the third season in response to Sara being murdered Laurel makes use of her self-defense lessons and attempts to become a vigilante. She attacks a known domestic abuser, and promptly gets overpowered, beaten up and hospitalized for her trouble.
      • The Season 3 finale shows that, no matter how trained the members of the League of Assassins are with their bows and swords, in a world where superpowered beings are real, they are hopelessly outclassed, as demonstrated in Barry's Big Damn Heroes moment, when he storms Nanda Parbat and disarms and incapacitates all the assassins in the fortress before they can figure out what's happening.
      • Throughout season 4, Damien Darhk uses his time as leader of HIVE to indulge in threats, embrace the use of magic and randomly kill any underling or even fellow HIVE "board member" who makes him the least bit upset while using their resources to try and take over Star City. When Damien is arrested and put in jail, he assumes HIVE will bust him out only to be informed that the organization has decided a magical addict lunatic who kills his own people without good cause isn't the best person to have in charge and they can manage quite nicely without him. Likewise, despite being a powerful mystic, he can still be caught off-guard by attack from behind.
      • Also from Season 4, despite Starling City being renamed to the comic-accurate name "Star City", the rebranding doesn't solve the problem caused by the deaths of the last three mayors (at the start of Season 2, again at the end of that same season, and at the end of Season 3) and the events of the finales of the first three seasons (an Earthquake machine used to level part of the city, Deathstroke laying siege to the city with Super Soldiers, and Ra's al Ghul using the Alpha/Omrga virus on the city), which are causing people to leave the city is droves.
      • Another season 4 example; when Felicity ends up paralyzed and in a wheelchair, it severely impacts her ability to get around in the lair, which was not designed for wheelchair access.
      • Yet another season 4 example: after Lyla confirms in "AWOL" that Amanda Waller is cold-blooded enough to let every agent under her command die instead of negotiating with the men holding them hostage, the hostage-takers simply kill Waller and start bargaining with Lyla instead.
      • In season 5, when District Attorney Adrian Chase is revealed to be the murderous Prometheus, Oliver faces a nightmare scenario: When it gets out that the Star City D.A. is a psychopathic killer, every criminal Chase put in jail has their convictions overturned and put back out on the street.
    • The Flash (2014):
      • All throughout the first season, Barry and his friends have been imprisoning superpowered criminals in their secret prison inside S.T.A.R. Labs, because ordinary jails and prisons are not capable of handling supervillains. Late in the season, they realize that S.T.A.R. Labs is no longer secure and that they have to transfer the supervillains to another prison. When Det. Joe West reaches out to an Assistant District Attorney with whom he is friendly to get help with the transfer, she gets very upset, tells him that holding these people without any kind of hearing is a crime, and that he should stop talking to her about it, since she may have to prosecute him for it. It's a nice touch of reality for a superhero show.
      • It's clear throughout the first season that Barry is no match for the Reverse-Flash. During the season finale it looks like he might finally stand a chance after he makes a big entrance and prevents him from escaping to his own timeline. The next scene drops the pretense as it turns into a one-sided beat down like every other time they squared off.
      • The Arrow/Flash crossover shows what happens when an idealistic crime fighter with super powers, works with a much darker Bad Ass Normal vigilante. While initially excited Barry is shocked and appalled when he finally sees the brutal methods Oliver uses against common criminals. Later when Barry falls under the effect of a Meta-human's rage inducing powers, Oliver's fighting skills and gadgets can only do so much against his superhuman abilities. Fortunately Oliver was able to fight Barry to a draw despite Barry's speed, showing that skill and years of experience can act as a leveler against someone with powers but lacking such experience.
      • Barry gets on the better side of this during a brief appearance on Arrow when he turns up in Nanda Parbat to rescue the team who have been captured by the League of Assassins. The League has a legendary reputation earned over three thousand years of existence, is composed of highly skilled assassins, and includes among their ranks some of the deadliest individuals in existence in hand-to-hand combat. Deadliest human individuals. Barry is a metahuman who can run faster than the speed of sound—fast enough to travel though time—and can literally catch bullets. He disables everyone in the fortress within seconds.
      • In series 2, a man named Carter Hall shows up, claiming that he and Kendra are reincarnated soulmates. To Kendra and the Flash/Arrow teams, he doesn't seem like a cute lover trying to reunite with the woman he used to love, he seems like a Stalker with a Crush following a woman who doesn't know him or want anything to do with him.
      • When the guys try to hide from Caitlyn/Killer Frost behind a blast door at the lab she just opens it with the hand scanner. Being taken over by her Super-Powered Evil Side didn't magically revoke her security privileges, which she points out.
    • Supergirl (2015):
      • James getting dumped by Lucy when she realizes that he has feelings for Kara, after Kara told her a story that Jimmy told Kara, but not her.
      • Although Kryptonians are tough enough to survive in a vacuum, they still need to breathe and cannot fly in space, as there is no atmosphere to push against. Any Kryptonian sent into space will float around helplessly until they suffocate or are rescued. Especially jarring considering no other media involving Superman or Supergirl demonstrated this problem before.
      • In one episode, Cat Grant is very reluctant on publishing a story by Siobhan Smythe over Supergirl going rogue. Siobhan goes behind Cat's back and heads for the Daily Planet trying to sell the story to Perry White. Perry, however, is not J. Jonah Jameson and he calls up Cat to let her know what she did. This results in Cat tearing Siobhan a new one and firing her.
      • Siobhan tries to get back by hacking Kara's e-mail and sending a harsh letter to Cat. However, knowing Kara for so long, Cat isn't fooled for a second by this move and figures it was Siobhan.
      • To stop an out of control Kara, Hank Henshaw is forced to reveal in public that he's actually Martian J'onn J'onzz. After he stops Kara, Hank is arrested for being a rogue alien despite heading an organization dedicated to stopping them.
      • When Kara starts dating one of her coworkers (and he gleefully announces it to everyone), she is immediately informed that they have to go down to HR, fill out the proper forms in triplicate, and attend a mandatory sexual harassment seminar.
      • Supergirl is not Easily Forgiven for her rampage in National City, despite being a beloved figure prior to the event. This is mostly because no one is aware of the truth of her being exposed to red kryptonite which led to her rampage, and that only those who know the truth (Alex, Winn, and James) are the only ones excepted from hating her.
    • Legends of Tomorrow:
      • Taking along a Token Evil Teammate seems like a great idea - except for the slight problem that, if you get on their wrong side at the wrong time, they're likely to betray you, as Mick Rory shows the team multiple times. Also shown from the other side multiple times - if you're going to recruit the guy who has just done a Face–Heel Turn but also suffers from a case of Everyone Has Standards then you should probably not do something that he disagrees with soon after, because he's just going to betray you as well, and probably even faster because he has absolutely no connection to you.
      • In a fight between Sara and Heatwave, like the example above for Bitten, Sara may be a better fighter then Rory, but she was going up against someone who was bigger and stronger than she was in an enclosed space where she had no room to make precision moves. Not only that Sara was not her best still recovering from nearly freezing to death. Enclosed space, lessened physical ability means a severe disadvantage against a brawler who has the strength and reach advantage. As a result, while putting up a decent fight she still nearly died.
      • Chronos, a bounty hunter in a high-tech suit of armor and weapons from several centuries in the future, takes on the League of Assassins, a group of ninjas with swords and bow and arrows in 1960. The result: A whole lot of dead Assassins.
      • On paper, Eobard Thawne, Malcom Merlyn and Damien Darkh should make a formidable team, each a fantastic fighter and ruthless killer. However, putting together three men, each seriously independent and used to being the one in charge (not to mention each a murderous psychopath), on the same side means it's only a matter of time before their mutual egos and desire for power leads to serious conflict between them.
      • Rip Hunter, while a badass in his own right, is no match for someone like Sara. So, when he gets brainwashed and meets up with her, what does he do? He just shoots her at point-blank range.
      • Likewise regarding Rip, similar to the Legion of Doom, he's a fiercely independent spirit. While this helps make him a great adventurer, he's a rather terrible leader; despite founding both the Legends and the Time Bureau, he loses his leadership position in both organizations when he screws up too badly.
      • The Time Bureau are professionals, but they primarily do their job with numbers, intelligence, and a massive technological advantage. When sent into combat unprepared against an experienced magic-user, they are slaughtered in droves.
      • When the Legends temporarily disband and return to normal life, Sara and Ray are working quite humiliating and menial jobs. Sara's only employments as an adult was as an Assassin and then Captain of a time travelling band of misfits - neither of which give you a sterling resume. Ray is at least working in tech, but as a low-level software engineer, despite having been CEO of an extremely innovative tech giant. Turns out, disappearing and leaving your company to your ex-girlfriend who promptly bankrupts it tends to leave your reputation in tatters.
      • The Legends reform and offer to help the Time Bureau. However, their erratic approach to fixing problems with time, along with their recklessness being responsible for the time crash that necessitated the creation of the Time Bureau, means that they're seen as a joke at best and dangerous liabilities at worst, and not allowed within a square mile of any time travel work.
  • Judge Rinder is the British Transatlantic Equivalent of Judge Judy and, as a result, is about real-life cases being heard in a court. As a result lying to him is a really bad idea. Also, cases will be dismissed due to lack of evidence.
    • The very first case heard on the show gives a really good reason why the people who enter the court don't speak until the judge comes out — one woman tried to shame her former partner before Rinder came out and was immediately warned that, had it been a real court room, her case wouldn't even be heard and she'd be dismissed immediately.
    • Engaging in stupid antics because your friends talk you into it and getting hurt as a result? Yeah, you'll win your case... but not all of the money you claimed since you were stupid enough to get talked into the situation.
      • Related to the above case, Rinder threw one of the two defendants out of court because he kept smirking and joking despite the fact that he nearly killed someone, not realizing these cases are Serious Business.
    • The pretty woman who appears next to Rinder's bench is Michelle. She's a law clerk. Before any hearings come before Rinder, Michelle researches the cases as well as any evidence presented. So when someone had the bright idea to present forged evidence, Michelle wasn't fooled and informed Rinder of this fact, who was absolutely furious. That guy lost his claim, by the way.
  • In The Office (US), Michael made everyone participate in a 5k run, which several people weren't ready for, leading to some disastrous results: Kevin didn't have any running clothes, so his regular clothes got soaked with sweat, Andy's nipples began to get irritated and eventually started bleeding from chafing against his shirt, and Michael himself ended up in the hospital due to severe dehydration from loading up on carbs and not drinking any water prior to running. A few others just decided to ditch the run altogether and go out for drinks.
  • Monk:
    • After helping put away several killers, in "Mr. Monk Goes to the Carnival," Monk applies to rejoin the force — only for his request to be shot down by Stottlemeyer's testimony to the board. As much as Monk wants to be reinstated, the nature of his OCD would make him incapable of performing the duties required of a police officer.
    • In "Mr. Monk and the Badge," Monk finally does get reinstated. However, instead of being put on the case of a five-man serial killer, he finds himself riding the desk. When he's finally allowed to run investigations, Monk finds that the burden of proof is different, as shown when a police officer is killed and Monk suspects that he may have been on the take and been double-crossed. Rather than take his claims as fact as would have happened if Monk was a private consultant, he's instead told to keep his mouth shut unless he's 105% sure on his theories. He also finds himself ostracized by his colleagues for refusing to drop his suspicions about the officer.
    • In the novel Mr. Monk and the Blue Flu, the Mayor deputizes Monk and Natalie to run the SFPD Homicide Division for the duration of a police strike. Monk is thus made acting captain, and is given a squad of former detectives discharged from the force for various reasons.
      • When murders come up, Monk wants to work each and every one of them. Natalie has to remind him that he can't work each case because too much multitasking could lead to him making mistakes. Thus, Monk has to pick one homicide for himself and Natalie to work, while delegating the other homicides to his other detectives. Additionally, Monk and Natalie find themselves having to roll on every homicide call, not just the unusual ones they normally get called in on.
      • When a police officer is killed, most of the police officers who had gone on strike return to catch the killer. When Monk and Natalie show up at the station after clearing their own cases, the detectives who had been on strike are shown being somewhat hostile to the detectives from Monk's squad, seeing them as scabs. Even Randy shows disgust with Monk and Natalie 'scabbing' for the mayor.
    • In the novel Mr. Monk Goes to the Firehouse, Monk and Natalie suspect that real estate developer Lucas Breen, a member of the San Francisco Police Commission, is responsible for killing an elderly woman, burning down her house, and killing a dog at a nearby firehouse while trying to retrieve evidence linking him to the first crime. While Stottlemeyer is convinced of Breen's guilt as well, Monk's investigative tactics lead Breen to accuse them of harassment, making their efforts to build a case against him that much harder. Questioning Breen again, this time accusing him of killing a homeless man, causes Stottlemeyer to get officially reprimanded by the chief, with the notice to appear at an IAB hearing and explain himself, thus risking a demotion.
  • A running gag on the classic series I Dream of Jeannie. Whenever Jeannie whips up something impressive with her genie powers, it immediately raises unpleasant questions about where an astronaut (especially one working on top-secret government projects) got that kind of money.
  • The Kicks:
    • "Go Big or Go Home" is a "Walk on the Wild Side" Episode that involves the normally straight-laced protagonist Devin being convinced to sneak out with one of her teammates when the eponymous team is away from home for a tournament. They arrive late for curfew, get caught, the team gets disqualified, and Devin spends the next episode being punished for it. Furthermore, the teammate, Mirabelle, finds herself facing the possibility of having to transfer to another school, as this was the latest in a long line of her misbehaviors and her parents have finally had enough.
    • The Season 1 Finale, "No Pain, No Gain" introduces a classic Down to the Last Play scenario: After having been forced to sit out the last game with an ankle injury, Devin convinces Coach Rivas to put her in for one final penalty kick to win the game for The Kicks. She scores the goal, The Kicks win the game, and as they celebrate, she aggravates the ankle injury. The season ends with Devin writhing in pain and her teammates calling for help.
  • Several things through Scream Queens (2015) show precisely the kind of results certain antics on the show would have on the characters in real life. You could easily argue that this is one of the show's biggest sources of comedy.
    • Kappa Kappa Tau has blatant racism in how they traditionally choose the pledges to accept into the sorority as well as several wild parties including one where a guy was fucked by a drunken goat. Had Chanel not been forced to accept Munsch's ultimatum to accept all pledges that year, Kappa would've been shut down.
    • Throwing Off the Disability simply doesn't work. Hester still has to wear her neckbrace for her scoliosis even after her makeover. Subverted as she never needed it.
    • Grace is so busy investigating the Red Devil killings and the mystery of the bathtub baby she nearly flunks out of college.
    • Chad is afraid to go to the police about finding the Red Devil's victims in the Kappa Haunted House because he's a necrophiliac which would draw their suspicions.
    • Chanel is eventually charged over Ms. Bean's death in the first episode. She doesn't stay in jail for long, though.
    • The school is eventually shut down because of how many murders have been committed. Munsch was reluctant to do so... until Jennifer is killed and since Munsch brought her to Kappa in the first place...
    • The entire homicide devision is fired due to their incompetence and replaced by Denise, since she did more for the investigation of several murders than 20-something officers did with little-to-no training.
    • The Chanels are so unlikable that Hester had no trouble framing them for murder.
    • A Fool for a Client is called that for a reasonHester's Frame-Up would've failed completely had Chanel just shut her mouth but the jury changed the verdict against the Chanels out of spite.
    • The entirety of the Chanel's situation in Season 2 is a result of this - yes, they've been exonerated for murders that they didn't commit but they proved how unlikeable they are that no-one in their right mind wants anything to do with them. Also, they were disowned by their families so they're forced to live in a rundown apartment.
      • Related to the above, Hester's Karma Houdini Warranty is entirely realistic - trying to argue Double Jeopardy for their crimes won't work as Denise explains. Since the Chanels were the ones to be tried by the court and not Hester then Hester can be tried without Double Jeopardy being invoked.
  • The Wire did this often:
    • Most notably with Omar's arc in the final season. An injured man going on a one-man revenge spree against the most powerful drug gang in Baltimore is unlikely to end well for him, regardless of how badass or determined he is. After using every shred of street guile he had and sometimes just his fearsome reputation to continue attacking and harassing Marlo Stanfield's drug empire despite his injury, Omar winds up getting shot in the back by a young kid with a gun who wanted to become famous for killing the legendary Omar and claim the bounty Marlo had put on Omar's head.
    • On the restored DVD series, David Simon gives a commentary in "Homecoming" saying that both it as well as "Dead Soldiers" were made because the show's creators became very concerned when seeing that Omar had become too heroic in viewers's eyes, especially those under 21. Knowing the huge favor and commercialism that anti-heroes have these days, the show did not jump at the temptation to milk Omar's popularity for constant audience indulgence or marketability. The creators actually cared about the audience's mind and put in effort to question the validity of Omar's honor. This shows when Bunk sees kids at the scene of Tosha's death imitating the shootout and taking turns "being Omar".
  • Atlanta:
    • Episode 6 has Van going to increasingly desperate lengths to pass a work-mandated drug test after smoking a joint the night before. In the end, she confesses to her boss, who reveals that the test isn't real, since it's understood that most young adults these days have at least tried recreational drugs at some point in their lives. She then fires Van anyway, since even if it's an open secret, you still can't officially tell your employer that you're taking illegal drugs.
    • Episode 8 has Paper Boi going to a nightclub run by a sleazy promoter, who then tries to weasel his way out of paying the guys the full amount of money he promised. The guys storm into the club's back office while music plays, with Paper Boi smacking around the promoter until he gives up the money. It's initially treated like a big achievement, but then the episode ends with a news report saying that Paper Boi is now wanted for questioning in an armed robbery case.
    • In season 2, both Alfred and Earn are often concerned after whatever wacky/odd situation that someone might call the police, which would cause further problems for them since they're on probation for the aforementioned case.
  • In the NCIS: Los Angeles episode "Venganza", Callen and Sam are chasing a suspect on a roof, and said suspect tries to parkour his way to the next roof. He fails.
    Callen: Gravity is a bitch.
  • In the NCIS: New Orleans episode "Escape Plan," Sebastian is kidnapped by foreign villains to help them orchestrate a prison break. They then demonstrate how serious they are by shooting a prison guard whom they had already taken. Sebastian's reaction is a panicked "Oh my God, you shot him!" which is probably how most people would react in that situation. Especially without the benefit of the Training from Hell that soldiers and LEOs can be expected to get.
    • Sebastian invokes this when the villains reveal they picked him because they need him to break into a prison and saw Sebastian had scored highly in a "prison break" video game. Sebastian points out there is a world of difference between doing this in a video game (no matter how detailed it was) and pulling it off in real life.
    • In the season 2 finale, Brody discovers her lover is secretly a member of a terrorist group using her for information for an attack. The team expect Brody to take time off but are thrown to learn she won't be coming back as she blames herself for not seeing through the man. More importantly, even if she wanted to, the entire thing has caused her security clearance to be revoked and thus forced to retire.
    • Pride is shot in the season four finale and while he recovers, he's haunted by the experience. Also, his superiors decide Pride isn't cleared for field work and he's thus moved to a supervisor position.
  • The Real O'Neals: When Kenny comes out of the closet, his friends and family take it very well, and with a few exceptions, are mostly supportive. Throughout the first season, he doesn't really face any significant societal adversity as a result of being gay, and the school administration even approves of his request to bring a male date to Prom. Then the second season introduces Allison, a young Asian lesbian from a conservative family. Kenny urges her to come out to her parents, but eventually realizes that doing so might seriously endanger her safety or get her kicked out of her house. While the strides made by the LGBTQ movement mean that some kids can now be open about their sexuality without fear of reprisal, that doesn't change the fact that it's unfortunately still fairly common for gay children to be disowned or even physically assaulted by their parents after coming out of the closet. Additionally, in real life, gay white males like Kenny often have an easier time finding societal acceptance than queer women of color like Allison do.
  • On Timeless, Rufus complains that "I'm a black and literally no place in American history will be awesome for me." Sure enough, in their very first mission to 1937, he has to ride the back of the bus and gets attacked by racist cops.
    • In 1865, black soldiers quickly figure out Rufus isn't really a soldier because his costume looks too new and he can't come up with details on his military past.
    • Rufus is able to save the life of Andrew Johnson in the past. When he gets back to the present, he discovers that it was credited to a white soldier instead.
    • While Rufus is prepared for the racism of the past, Lucy is often taken aback by the blatant sexism of periods. When she tries to open a bank account in the 1920s, she finds that's impossible without a husband or father with her. In the 1960s, she's stuck posing as a secretary and putting up with snide remarks of her male boss which the other women just accept as the way of life. Even in places as late as the mid-1970s, Lucy is thrown by how poorly a woman is treated.
    • Rufus stands up to Rittenhouse by saying he won't be their spy, saying they can't do anything to him as he's the only one who can pilot the time machine Lifeboat and they need him. Rittenhouse's reply is to order Mason to start training a replacement pilot.
    • The team realize Rittenhouse plans to disrupt the 19th Amendment being passed. They're surprised when Emma agrees to help them. Emma may be a loyal Rittenhouse agent but she's also a woman and isn't going to agree with a plan that can rob her of equal rights.
    • Lucy is an ordinary professor at a local college with no fighting skills who has been through a few adventures. Emma, on the other hand, is a well-trained operative for Rittenhouse. When the two ladies face off in the second season finale, Emma easily beats the crap out of Lucy. If it isn't for Flynn's last-minute intervention, Lucy would have surely died.
  • Arrested Development: During the second season, a subplot has Tobias separated from his family so he attempts to remain in touch by dressing up as a nanny a la Mrs. Doubtfire. All of the Bluths immediately recognize that it's him in disguise, and the only reason he's able to get away with it is because they decide to humor him, especially since he's at least doing housework this way. In his nanny disguise, he also attempts to emulate Mary Poppins and float down a floor of stairs with an umbrella in front of his daughter Maebe. He ends up crashing into furniture and nearly breaking his hip.
  • In the opening episode of Fargo, Lester Nygard is struck in the hand by a shotgun pellet. He refuses to have it treated by doctors due to it proving he's lied about the events of his wife's death, and as a result it develops an infection which steadily grows worse as the series progresses, culminating in him passing out in a prison cell from fever. He's immediately taken to a hospital, where a doctor outright confirms that had he left it any later, they would've had to amputate the hand.
  • In Flashpoint:
    • The SRU officers often have to cope with that despite doing everything right on paper and by the book, things can still go out of control and people can still get hurt.
    • Similarly, as Parker once says, "just because you do right doesn't mean you get to feel right". Sometimes the right thing to do in a situation feels horribly, horribly wrong, such as when Ed has to shoot a teenage girl to save her Jerkass father, because the father wasn't actively posing a threat to anyone and the girl was. One SRU member even leaves the team because he can't handle this aspect of the work.
    • Regular civilians after being held hostage/threatened with violence take much longer than the trained cops to recover. Recurring character Marina confesses to Parker that even after a year of almost getting killed by her Stalker with a Crush and seeing him shot in front of her, she has trouble adjusting, such as having difficulty dating and having flashbacks when seeing any red flowers.
    • One episode dealt with a man kidnapping a girl whose circumstances and appearance resembled his missing daughter. However, at the end, the girl wasn't his daughter and both him and his wife never get an answer for what happened with their daughter.
    • A well-intentioned mother kidnapped her two daughters after they were Happily Adopted by two different families. After the team gets the girls back, it's revealed that while the family of one girl was willing to allow an exchange of letters and photos, they refused to let the mother see her daughter again directly unless the daughter chose to when she was eighteen. There was no mention of the other family allowing any contact.
    • Untrained bystanders attempting to be heroic and stop the hostage takers on their own usually makes things worse for themselves and the team because they tend to unintentionally antagonize the hostage taker and escalate things without knowing the entire situation.
  • Five Came Back details John Ford, George Stevens, William Wyler, Frank Capra and John Huston's propaganda efforts during World War II. However, it isn't until Part 3 where the horrors of the war sink in for everyone except Capra. Ford starts Drowning His Sorrows after experiencing D-Day, Stevens is emotionally unprepared for shooting the liberation of Dachau, Wyler temporarily goes deaf and fears his career is over, while Huston's documentary, Let There Be Light about Shell-Shocked Veterans is suppressed by the US government until the 1980s.
  • In M*A*S*H, an overzealous colonel with a reputation for recklessness is planning on a mission to take a minor hill simply for the sake of having it. Infuriated by the potential loss of life, Hawkeye plans on taking the colonel out of commission, drugging him. BJ goes along with it at first, thinking it just another harmless prank against the brass, but when Hawkeye reveals that he's planning to remove the colonel's appendix, BJ refuses, accusing Hawkeye of violating his oath as a doctor. Hawkeye, enraged, sticks to his guns and performs the surgery. When Hawkeye finishes, he's bitter, more than aware that he just mutilated a man out of petty anger, and compromised everything he's believed in as a doctor. And then more wounded soldiers arrive, meaning Hawkeye did all that for nothing.
    BJ: You cured a symptom. The disease goes merrily on.
    • The series had done the same plot earlier in the episode "The Ring Banger" where Hawkeye and Trapper work together. Supposedly Mike Farrell suggested doing the story as a way of differentiating his character and Trapper.
    • In "Yessir, That's Our Baby", a half-white, half-Korean baby is abandoned in the camp, and the unit has to try to figure out what to do with her given that mixed-race children are ostracized or worse in Korean society, but they're also not given a path to emmigrate to the United States. They spend most of the episode trying to figure out a loophole or hidden path to get the child out of Korea, but ultimately that avenue simply doesn't exist, and they're forced to take the least bad option of leaving the child at a monestary where she'll be safe but isolated.
    • In general, any episode where they go to extreme lengths to save a patient who ends up dying anyway counts as this trope. The doctors can do everything humanly possible and sometimes it still won't be enough.
  • In Mad Men, Michael Ginsberg is practically a deconstruction of the Bunny-Ears Lawyer trope. In another series, his erratic and quirky personality might have been a sign that he's really a Genius Ditz, but in this series, it adds up to him being an unreliable pain in the ass, and towards the end of the series, it becomes clear that he is genuinely mentally ill.
  • Vikings often cheerfully runs on Rule of Cool and having larger than life figures, but sometimes this trope shows up.
    • The first battle scene in the show features a large group of Saxons hastily recruited by a local lord trying to stop a viking raiding party which is made up of a number of battle-hardened and experienced warriors. Furthermore, the Saxon battle strategy is pathetically incompetent; they fire a single volley of arrows at the vikings and then wildly charge at them without either a formation or a plan instead of, say, trying to flank the vikings or advance in a shield wall. The vikings, on the other hand, fight together as a unit using legitimate tactics appropriate for the time. The "battle" is intense for a few minutes but in the end it's almost laughably one-sided; the vikings wipe out the entire Saxon force except for a few commanders who flee on horseback while only suffering two casualties.
    • The Siege of Paris at the end of the third season runs headlong into this trope. Despite personal feuds among their leaders and various divisions, the Norse put together a truly impressive army as they look to conquer the city of Paris. With waves of siege equipment, boats, and sheer determination, they launch a ferocious assault on the city... and find out first hand why Storming the Castle was the very last option that was generally taken in a medieval siege. The Norse suffer truly horrendous casualties trying to breach the defenses, only to find yet more defenses waiting every time they overcome an obstacle. For about thirty minutes of the most epic battle footage ever filmed for tv the Norse frantically try to defeat the city's defenders, and while sometimes they're tantalizingly close, in the end they get repelled entirely with not a single member of the army making it further than the city walls.
      • After this, reality ensues for the Franks in Paris. They've beaten the Norse back but despite suffering only a fraction of the casualties the Norse did, the Franks don't have the capability of driving off the Norse, who stubbornly remain camped outside the walls, looking to either starve the city into submission or find a treacherous way to breach the defenses, because after coming all that way they're not turning around with nothing to show for it. Because of this siege, hunger and disease are soon ravaging the city, including the army that would defend it from another assault by the Norse. In the end despite winning the battle the Franks are forced to pay the Northmen to lift the siege and leave, because attempting to wait out the Norse might result in riots within the city, the plague getting even worse, or the Norse learning about the conditions inside the walls and getting encouraged to launch another (more successful) assault that would sack the city entirely.
    • King Horik is a Religious Bruiser and The Fatalist to the point that he explicitly believes that the course of everyone's life is already written and fate is unchangeable. In his view, before a battle even starts, it's decided by fate who will win or lose, and who will die. This makes Horik a fearless fighter who will be right in the frontline besides his troops, but it also makes him a bloody awful commander who disdains strategy in favor of blindly rushing at the enemy. It's implied that Jarl Borg was getting the better of Horik for quite some time in their feud despite having fewer men and resources, and Horik's attempts to raid England led to him clashing with King Ecbert, who does actually give significant thought to battle strategy. Every time Horik and Ecbert fight a battle, Horik loses badly.
  • Life Goes On. Oldest daughter Paige pulls a Runaway Bride on her fiance after they acknowledge that even though they love each other, they're not right for each other. With his blessing, she goes dashing down the aisle to reunite with her true love, only to find that his carefree attitude towards everything led them to fight constantly and very quickly split.
  • In Everybody Hates Chris, Chris doesn't attempt to fight back every time he gets bullied and physically assaulted by Caruso. Chris has lampshaded that he would either get framed by Caruso or beaten. Given the time period of the series (when racism was rampant) and the useless school rules regarding bullying, yep this counts.
  • Throughout the first two seasons of Farscape, the main characters are escaped convicts and wanted criminals with no readily-accessible source of income to fall back on, and the logical consequences of Perpetual Poverty crop up throughout the series: food supplies run low, at one point forcing the crew to virtually beg for provisions lest Zhaan starve to death; the non-Leviathan technology is either stolen or scavenged, and tends to break down at inopportune moments; trading is almost impossible given that the crew barely have anything other than essentials to bargain with; and looking for work usually results in the crew getting either screwed over or mugged. Worst of all, medical attention is limited and heavily improvised - leading Crichton on an insanely risky mission to retrieve compatible donor tissue from a maximum security base when Aeryn begins to suffer organ failure in the wake of a near-fatal stabbing.
    • Plus, since almost everyone on the ship is an escaped criminal, relationships in the first season are extremely tense and nobody's liable to think of the crew as "One Big Happy Family". This ultimately comes to a head in "DNA Mad Scientist" when D'Argo, Zhaan and Rygel team up to hack one of Pilot's arms off just so they have something to offer the resident Mad Scientist in exchange for some star maps home. Then, when it turns out that the Data Crystal containing the maps can only be used if two of the other charts are deleted first, the alliance dissolves into infighting, thievery and attempted murder. It takes a long time and a lot of relationship-building escapades for the crew to properly band together as a cohesive group.
    • The Farscape module is one of the most advanced ships produced by IASA and one of the few keepsakes from Earth Crichton possesses - making it his iconic Cool Starship. Unfortunately, it's almost useless in the Uncharted Territories: quite apart from having no weapons or FTL drive, it can't run on any of the fuel available in the region, and it's not much good for long-distance travel because it was built specifically for experiments taking place in orbit around Earth. As such, if Crichton wants to make the module functional, he has to seriously modify it - to the point that when Crichton finally gets back to Earth in season 4, the scientists can no longer understand how the damn thing works. And even after all that, it's not upgraded for combat for the simple reason that Crichton isn't willing to risk his module - possibly his only way back to Earth - on dogfighting.
    • Way back in the first episode, D'Argo resorts to the "Are These Wires Important??" approach to removing Moya's control collar, tearing out every single wire in the nearest console until the collar shuts down. It works and they're able to escape Peacekeeper captivity... but unfortunately, D'Argo also did quite a bit of damage to Moya's internal systems, leaving the entire ship trundling along at a snail's pace until repairs can be made.
    • Rygel's constant bragging about being the Dominar of the Hynerian Empire comes back to bite him in "Throne For A Loss": after attempting to play up his status in front of some Tavleks, he ends up being held for ransom when the heavily-armed pirates take him seriously. Worse still, Rygel has to keep up the pretense once he's jailed, because if the Tavleks realize he's effectively worthless as a hostage, they'll kill him.
    • In the same episode, after a young Tavlek pirate by the name of Kyr ends up getting captured by the crew, Zhaan takes pity on him and tries to help the pirate give up the gauntlet stimulant that he and the other Tavleks are addicted to. It's a long, uphill journey that requires Zhaan to protect herself from physical assault, tolerate a lot of verbal abuse, provide medical assistance when the withdrawal symptoms hit hard, counsel the addict when he resents being off the stimulant, and stop him from getting high on improvised substitute drugs. And at the end of the episode, Kyr is allowed to leave Moya: he's grateful for the help, even speaking up on Zhaan's behalf in the climax... but he still goes right back to the gauntlet. Addiction can't be shaken in the space of a single day, especially when you're part of a culture dependent on it.
      • In a later episode, the Tavlek leader Bekhesh has a religious epiphany, deciding to give up the gauntlet and spend the rest of his days nonviolently. Unfortunately, once again it's not as easy as it sounds: Bekhesh can't quite shake his addiction and has to keep his gauntlet within reach for a quick fix every now and again, even though he's not using it to hurt anyone anymore. Plus, he decides to temporary give up his vow against nonviolence for the sake of earning a massive paycheck, claiming "it's easier to reform when you're rich."
      • Also, when it looks like Bekhesh isn't going to work with him, Crichton aims to steal the gauntlet and use it for himself, having already used Kyr's gauntlet in "Throne For A Loss." However, Bekhesh is a long-term addict and now suffers from an increased tolerance to the effects of stimulant, so he's had to triple his dosage over the course of the last year; as such, Crichton runs the risk of suffering a fatal overdose - forcing him to make do with Bekhesh's services after all.
    • Also in "Throne For A Loss," Crichton finds out the hard way that the gauntlet doesn't run on Bottomless Magazines; after being passed between four different users, being used for several instances of Super Strength, a barrage of energy blasts, and a marathon sprint through the jungle, Kyr's gauntlet finally runs out of juice - right in the middle of a firefight with Bekhesh.
    • The backstory to "Throne For A Loss," as featured on the website, reveals one of the logical problems with Super Soldier programs: the gauntlets were originally created as part of a project to train the ultimate soldier for a war between the Tavleks and an opponent that couldn't be defeated through conventional means. After spending a great deal of time and money designing the weapons and equipping an elite unit of soldiers with them, the newly-made army was sent off to the enemy capitol... only for a surprise truce between the two factions to render the whole thing completely pointless before they could even reach their destination. Indignant at being recalled, the drug-addled soldiers attempted to start a rebellion; given that they were up against the only source of the stimulant their gauntlets ran on, this went about as well as you'd expect. As such, the last and greatest hopes of the Tavlek people have been exiled to a jungle moon and now make a living as extortionists and pirates.
    • "Thank God Its Friday Again" brings up the logical problems of both the Planet of Hats and the Single-Biome Planet: basically, Sykar was forcibly converted into an Agri World by the Peacekeepers so they could harvest vast quantities of Tannot root, a component of pulse weapon ammunition. However, the population is not happy with being made into an entirely homogeneous culture of farmers, and must be kept docile and happy with mind-control additives in the food. Worse still, the conversion of Sykar into a farm world is ruining the ecology of the planet, a combination of introduced plantlife and overharvesting actively damaging the soil: there's only one fertile region left on the entire world, and once that's depleted, the Peacekeepers will dump Sykar like a bad habit and replace it.
    • In the episode "Through The Looking Glass," Moya realizes that her pregnancy is proving so difficult for her passengers that many of them are on the verge of leaving or even trading her in for a better ship. In a desperate attempt to convince the crew that she can still operate effectively, she decides to perform an unplanned Starburst. Unfortunately, this results in Moya running out of stamina and getting stuck in mid-Starbust, a predicament that could have ended with her miscarrying her baby if the situation had gotten any worse. Suffice it to say, fantastic circumstances aside, strenuous physical activity is not a good idea when you're eight months pregnant.
    • Exactly one episode after being hospitalized with a massive stab-wound to the abdomen, Aeryn leaves her sick-bed and returns to intensive exercise, insisting that she's okay - only to end up puking blood all over her punching bag. Far from being instantly recovering from her wounds following the end of the previous episode, Aeryn is actually suffering organ failure and fully expects to die.
    • Captain Crais is a ruthless Peacekeeper captain with an entire command carrier on his side, and he wants revenge against Crichton for "murdering" his brother (in reality, he was killed in an accidental collision with the module). Sounds dangerous, right? Trouble is, for all the power and resources he commands, Crais is still just a military officer subject to strict review by an extremely unforgiving High Command: the further he neglects his official duties in pursuit of his revenge, the more his position erodes - to the point that he has to destroy official records and murder his own first officer just to stop the rest of his crew from realizing that High Command wants him to return home. In the end, pursuing Crichton to a Gammak base controlled by fellow Peacekeeper commander Scorpius only ends with all the captain's transgressions being dragged into the spotlight: Crais loses his position, his ship, and his freedom. For good measure, Scorpius ends up replacing him as the Big Bad.
    • In "The Hidden Memory," technician Gilina Renaez decides to try and rescue Crichton when he ends up getting grabbed by Scorpius during the climactic firefight; she even gets a very dramatic slow-motion shot as she levels the rifle in Scorpy's direction... but unfortunately, Gilina is not a trained soldier and has never fired a gun in her entire life. Worse still, Scorpius is inadvertently using Crichton as a human shield. As such, she hesitates at the last minute - allowing Scorpius to shoot her in the chest, fatally wounding her in the process.
    • During "Family Ties," Crais decides to use Moya's child as a getaway craft, recognizing that Talyn is just mature enough to fly under his own power... but in the episode that follows, Crais has ended up stranded on the edge of the very system he was trying to leave. Why? Because Talyn is just a child and is getting extremely nervous about being ordered away from his mother's side by a complete stranger. Worse still, Scorpius is able to exploit Talyn's immaturity by bombarding the area with discordant signals, triggering a panic attack in the young Leviathan.
    • In the climax of "Taking The Stone" Crichton tries to convince the local hedonistic stoners to move out of the caverns and adopt a healthier lifestyle, pointing out that radioactive compounds in the rocks are the reason why they end up turning into the Lost People if they refuse to Take The Stone. He even goes so far as to actually make an impassioned speech in front of the entire tribe and demanding that they hold a vote on the subject. Unfortunately, Easy Evangelism isn't so easy: every single clan votes to remain in the caves - because they already knew about the radiation, and didn't care. Plus, Crichton's condescending approach didn't much appeal to them, and getting the clans to listen by putting a gun to Molnon's head only soured impressions further.
      • The same episode's main plotline featured Chiana grappling with self-destructive behavior following the death of her brother, and not only joins the clan, but seriously considers Taking The Stone; desperate to make up for his failure to notice Chiana's breakdown when he had the chance to help, Crichton tries to lead her away from the bad influence that the clan represents - even forcibly sedating her so she can be returned to Moya. However, Aeryn points out that playing Tough Love like this isn't going to work even if it is for Chiana's own good, in part because her behavior has nothing to do with the clan and everything to do with herself: if she wants to commit suicide, she'll find a way of doing so no matter where she's taken.
    • In "The Way We Weren't," it's revealed that Moya's Pilot was considered too young to be bonded to a Leviathan. Unfortunately, he didn't get the job due to him being some kind of Child Prodigy - he got it because the Peacekeepers offered to pull a few strings in his favour if he agreed to keep Moya under control for their experiments. As such, Pilot was seriously out of his depth during his early days on Moya; in fact, "The Hidden Memory" features him being forced to literally study the manual alongside Rygel and Chiana when Moya finally starts giving birth, because he has no idea what to do under the circumstances, while in "Thank God It's Friday Again," he admits that he spends every single minute of free time studying, knowing that it's the only way he can contribute to the crew's welfare, and he sheepishly laments that he still doesn't fully comprehend everything.
    • Also, Pilot's species are supposed to be an example of Happiness in Slavery, devoting themselves to their bonded Leviathan and their crew - no matter how much said crew abuse them. In turn, in their earlier "adventures" together, the crew expect Pilot to just accept all the bad treatment that comes his way. However, this Happiness in Slavery business is a code of conduct... and no matter how devoted you are to the tenets of the code, everyone has a breaking point: Pilot passive-aggressively insults the crew under moments of stress, actively resists having one of his arms chopped off by D'Argo, loses his temper with Crichton and Chiana on several occasions, and even tries to murder Aeryn when he finds out that she took part in the execution of his predecessor.
    • Late in season two, Moya is infested with lethal parasites and the resource-starved crew are forced to ignite the afflicted areas in a desperate attempt to Heal It with Fire. The treatment is enough to destroy the parasites, but it leaves Moya so badly burned that she can't even move under her own power. As with Aeryn, the wounds do not vanish between episodes: by "Plan B," Moya's injuries are so severe that she requires emergency transfusions from Talyn just to keep her from dying, and even that's not enough to get her all the way out of the woods. In the season finale, she actually has to be taken to a medical facility to receive professional treatment - including a hefty dose of anesthesia; plus, the damage is so extensive that it costs about three quarters of the Shadowy Depository loot to repair.
    • "I-Yensch You-Yensch" features Rygel, D'Argo, Lieutenant Braca and Scorpius getting caught off-guard when two Stupid Crooks try to rob the diner they're meeting at. Given the combined intellects and fighting skills of the main characters, you'd think this would be a Mugging the Monster moment easily resolved in a few seconds; unfortunately, the two criminals are very well armed, and all four characters have disposed of weapons and communications devices for the duration of their meeting - so the first time they try to fight back, Braca ends up getting shot in the leg. No matter how strong or clever you are, in a semi-realistic confrontation with no superhuman/supernatural abilities on hand, the odds will almost always favor the side with the biggest guns.
      • In the same episode, Talyn's lifelong Trauma Conga Line reaches its tragic conclusion when he suffers a paranoia attack and destroys a hospital ship - and then opens fire on Moya. By now, Talyn's state of mind has been deteriorating for quite a while: he was born with built-in weapons, was kidnapped and separated from his mother for a significant period of his youth, experienced Stockholm Syndrome, was badly wounded and nearly killed, spent several episodes being hunted down, was lobotomized by Xhalax and could only be repaired with parts of his captain/kidnapper's mind, was nearly forced to fly into a sun, was blinded by a solar flare, and then made to briefly share consciousness with a Scarran before having to gun him down. Basically, the poor kid's been suffering from PTSD for almost his entire life, and with nobody around to treat it, few stabilizing influences for most of the time and no other options than to solve his problems with violence, is it any real surprise that Talyn went off the deep end?
    • Despite a long run of success, Scorpius still ends up falling victim to the same problems that hit Crais back in Season 1: though he was able to get the wormhole knowledge from Crichton, he still hasn't been able to unlock it, and soon finds himself being leaned on heavily by Peacekeeper High Command. Faced with an enemy they can't defeat through conventional weapons, High Command has thrown their support behind Scorpy, but if he can't get the job done before the Scarrans start putting out peace feelers, the wormhole project will be scrapped in favor of a treaty - because the alternative will mean a Hopeless War. Once again, despite his rank, power and intellect, Scorpius is still a military officer and only afforded carte blanche as long as he gets results.
    • Early in season four, Chiana admits that she used her unique vision abilities to win big at a casino seven times in a row. Trouble is, casinos get suspicious about prolonged winning streaks, even if there's no obvious method of cheating, and the whole thing ended with Chiana getting arrested and having her winnings confiscated, then being tortured for good measure.
    • In further medical shenanigans, Noranti has to sedate Crichton's younger self as part of an improvised attempt to Set Right What Once Went Wrong. Unfortunately, the sedative chosen was originally meant for someone much heavier: instead of a straightforward One Dose Fits All, the serum is so powerful that Young!Crichton would have wound up dead if Noranti hadn't been able to resuscitate him in time.
    • In "Prayer," Aeryn is interrogated by the Scarrans with the aid of a Truth Serum. However, it doesn't just force her to start volunteering information: all it does is lower Aeryn's inhibitions and decrease her resistance to questioning; not only does the first dose just make her more inclined to insult her captors, but she's also able to lie several times while being interviewed. Plus, the side-effects of the serum actually make things harder than they need to be, at one point causing Aeryn to pass out in the middle of a session. Eventually, after repeated injections, numerous beatings, and at least one attempt at Gaslighting, Aeryn finally confesses everything... but by then she's so disoriented from the serum that she's barely able to speak coherently.
    • Season 4 features Crichton finally returning to Earth after four years spent wandering the Uncharted Territories as a fugitive... and it solves absolutely none of his problems, nor does it make him any happier in the long run. Plus, as at least one of the experts in "A Constellation Of Doubt" suggests, he may actually be suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder - not surprising considering how many times he's been assaulted, tortured, raped and terrorized over the course of the series. In the end, though he enjoys the luxuries he's been able to gain on Earth, Crichton doesn't feel comfortable there anymore and eventually returns to space.
  • Angie Tribeca shows what really happens at the end of a Love Triangle. During the second season, Geils dated Scholls even though he was still in love with Angie. Eventually, Scholls realized this and ended things with Geils. However, she was not happy with how everything turned out and spent most of season three resenting Geils and Angie.
  • The Twilight Zone (1959): In the episode "Spur Of The Moment", a young girl is torn between her "boring" fiance, an investment banker, and her carefree ex, her first love. So she pulls a Runaway Bride to marry the carefree love... and the Flash Forward shows that he's an abusive drunk who's driven the family business and home into the ground because of his incompetence.
  • In the third season of Nikita, Division is absorbed to turn it from a sinister rogue agency to an actual part of the U.S. military. When a terrorist holds Division up for $5 million dollars for information, Nikita and Michael figure they can just pay him as they're used to that being chump change for the company. However, government liason Ryan has to break it to them that the reason Division was flush with cash before was all the illegal dealings Percy was running. Now, they're on a government budget which means "we barely have enough to keep the lights on."
  • On Bull, Bull wants to give an employee a big raise. His manager, Marissa, tells him they can't afford it. Bull is amazed as they seem to be doing great with their business of "managing" juries. Marissa points out how they own a huge space in downtown New York with massive high-tech equipment and an entire full-scale courtroom. That's not to mention the costs of having to hire people for mock juries and travelling across country for trials. Bull living a lush lifestyle with designer suits and expensive cars and apartment doesn't help either so rather than being flush with cash, the firm is barely breaking even.
    • Adding to the budget woes is Bull's insistence on only defending clients he believes are innocent. While that may be good morally, it's openly stated that they don't pay nearly as much as guilty people would. Marissa even takes it to Bull when he insists on taking a client pro bono and the rest of the firm are tempted to take a hefty paycheck to get someone guilty off just to keep their business going.
  • The Orville:
    • Captain Mercer was an amazing officer but the time after his divorce where he acted poorly has ruined his reputation in the fleet.
    • When part of a spaceship is damaged/destroyed, debris does become a problem for other ships nearby.
    • Fast-tracking Xelayans through the ranks because their species rarely join the military sounds good on paper but it can also result in very young officers being thrust into positions of responsibility that they're not adequately prepared for, as seen when Alara is forced to command the Orville and suffers extreme anxiety and self-doubt.
    • Sure, you spare the children of your enemies. But children grow up and are quite capable of holding a grudge.
    • It actually takes a few moments for a communications officer to "open a channel"; you can't just start talking immediately upon giving the order. This one is Played for Laughs.
    • The feud over the planet between the warring races in "Cupid's Dagger" is solved by exposing the rival leaders to alien pheromones, causing them to fall head-over-heels to the point that they're announcing their engagement and both order their respective fleets to stand down. As is even pointed out on the show itself, this can't work forever. Eventually the pheromones are going to wear off and then they're going to have to solve the problem for real, so it's good that the DNA they discovered proves that they had a common ancestor and thus there's the works of a real solution waiting in the wings.
    • Xelaya's gravity is much higher than most planets, so Xelayans like Alara have Super Strength in normal Earth gravity. In "Home", Alara begins losing her strength and suffering bone and muscle wastage since she's essentially been living in microgravity for over a year. Also, when she first returns to Xelaya to recover, she stumbles and falls after stepping out of the shuttle and is confined to a wheelchair because she's gotten used to low gravity and is too weak to move normally. These are problems that Real Life astronauts face, and one of the main reasons long-haul space missions aren't possible yet.
    • Realpolitik comes into play with the Planetary Union — just because the member worlds are allied doesn't mean they actually like each other. Xelayans, for example, tend to be disdainful of service in the fleet, and Moclans seem to rub everybody the wrong way with their rigid values. That said, they need each other when facing enemies like the Krill, so they force themselves to tolerate each other as much as possible. Even so, the Union clearly isn't stable enough for comfort, as Mercer points out more than once.
      • On a related note, the show deconstructs Planet of Hats by showing that the Moclans, as the sole weapon's manufacturers for the entire Union, have a hugely outsize influence in Union politics. Mercer even points out that giving a single planet a total monopoly over a vital industry was a terrible idea, as it allows the Moclans to effectively dictate policy by threatening to leave the Union and take their technology with them.
  • American Housewife: Katie, who goes out of her way to be an outsider in her town, spent most of the second season premiere attempting to make amends for deceiving her fellow housewives about a fake pregnancy. It got to the point where she attempted a viral video of it, which failed epicly. Afterward, one of the housewives confronted her and explained that the real reason she was being shunned is because of how she has treated the other women in town: she constantly looks down on and mocks them for being involved in school charities, working out and being thin. Katie then attempted more apologies before finally volunteering to run a gala.
    • In the Halloween episode, Katie is uncharacteristically excited to get a special gift that is part of the town tradition. After learning it was given to her by mistake, Katie reveals that she used to be popular when she was younger and now just wishes to belong in some way.
    • Katie and her husband warn Trip, Taylor's boyfriend, that another guy is making a play for her. Without any real evidence, Trip angrily warns her and demands that she stop hanging out with him. Instead, she dumps him.
  • Cristela shows what happens when a Deadpan Snarker exhibits such behavior too much: not only are the main character's co-workers somewhat afraid to talk to her about certain things in fear of being mocked, but her niece ends up showcasing the same behavior at school and is called out for it.
  • Bates Motel (1987) has Norman Bates leave the titular motel to Alex West, a fellow inmate whom he befriended after being sent to a mental institution. However, Alex has spent somewhere between two-thirds and three-quarters of his life in said institution, and thus proves hopelessly naive, nearly getting scammed out of the motel by a Morally Bankrupt Banker until his two new friends intervene.
  • The Leftovers: The Guilty Remnant (a Straw Nihilist Apocalypse Cult that aimed to continuously remind people of the mass vanishing of people that affected the planet) had been on the government's radar all the way from the pilot episode because of their insidious tactics. On the final episode of season two they went and attacked a town that apparently had no disappearances, kicking out all of its inhabitants and leaving it wide open to looting and destruction by rioters. With this, they gleefully "graduated" to full-blown domestic terrorism and on the first episode of the third season the government just had enough and completely smart-bombed the cult to kingdom come.
  • Shows like CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Bones tend to insinuate that every murderer, regardless of the circumstances, can at least put up a convincing front for the detectives and will cover up their crimes with increasingly elaborate countermeasures. In Motive, not so much. The killers are generally normal people killing someone they know, either in the heat of the moment or for deeply personal reasons. Unless they're sociopaths (and sometimes even when they are) the murders seriously freak them out and they become prone to Blatant Lies, suspicious behaviours and foolish mistakes that the detectives easily solve to pin them for the murders once they start suspecting them. As for forensic countermeasures? Either because of time constraints, unexpected circumstances or their own trauma, they only manage to utilize basic measures to cover up their crimes, and they tend to fall apart on basic scrutiny.
  • The Last Man on Earth averts many Cozy Catastrophe. Gasoline expires, the group is forced to subsist on insects to survive, etc.
  • Glee
    • In the first season, Kurt and Mercedes are total BFF's: a Fag Hag and her Gay Best Friend. But in the second season, the two drift apart as Kurt forms new bonds. First there's Rachel, who Took a Level in Kindness and reached out to him once she realized how lonely and isolated he felt. Herself having two gay fathers, she's able to empathize with him in ways Mercedes can't. Then there's Blaine; even before they became a couple, Kurt was elated to finally meet another gay boy his age and they develop a deep friendship based on their shared interest in fashion and Broadway; Mercedes becomes a third wheel when they hang out. And Mercedes herself becomes closer with the girls of the glee club then starts having a dating life of her own (including a brief love triangle with Sam and Shane). While she and Kurt never stop being friends, they never become as close as they were in the first season. Sometimes friends just drift apart over time.
    • When Finn calls out Santana for constantly putting people down, she scoffs and says, "I tell it like it is and people loves me for it." Lauren replies, "Actually, you're kind of a bitch," then all the Glee kids proceed to give her a "Reason You Suck" Speech. Santana runs off in tears. It turns out being tactless and rude to everyone under the guise of "telling it like it is" is actually not the best way to make friends.
    • When Holly Holiday reveals that she does relationship counseling as a side gig, Carl and Emma go to see her about their sexless marriage. They expect Holly to give some sort of wacky unorthodox advice, but instead, she asks Emma straight-up, "Are you still in love with Will Schuester?" When Emma is too stunned to answer, Carl takes that as the answer he needs and promptly annuls the marriage.
  • It may seem odd to use "reality" for a magic-based show like The Magicians. However, the series showcases the realistic effects of learning magic having on people and how magic is not always a great thing.
    • Julia takes magic like a drug and it becomes a true addiction to the point she is willing to do absolutely anything to get more, no matter if it hurts those she loves.
    • When magic is taken away from the world in season 3, the effects are long-ranging. Fogg, who has used it for a "magic sight" is now rendered truly blind. He points out that if the school is shut down, there aren't many job prospects for a blind black man in his 50s.
    • Alice's mother reveals she and her father have been using magic to keep their amazingly huge and expensive house. Now that these spells have faded, they're being hit with a bill from the IRS for 30 years of unpaid taxes.
    • Alice is forced to shock her father, an elderly man in his 60s, who has a weak heart, in order to get a magical parasite out of him. The man ends up dying from the shock to an already weak system.
    • Meeting a band of pirates, Margo tries to "parlay" like she's seen in the movies, assuming she's meeting a crew of charming rogues. She soon realizes that real pirates are complete scumbags with no scruples or honor and just because their captain is a woman doesn't mean they're any nicer.
    • Penny's standoffish and jerky attitude led to him not really being close to anyone other than Kady. So when he has his physical body die, leaving his astro-projected form stuck, he quickly learns that while most of the gang are sad, they don't have anything nice to say about him.
    • Being Easily Forgiven is averted on this show. Quentin has a hard time forgiving Julia for her role in his coma, induced by Marina. In fact, Julia spends most of the second season being hated by almost EVERYONE for teaming up with the Beast (indirectly leading to Alice becoming a niffin) and her actions when she didn't have a shade. Kady stays angry after she listens to Persephone and chooses to not kill Reynard. Quentin loses Alice after a magically drunken hookup with Margo and Eliot; he then loses her again after he kills Ember to save Fillory and ends up costing everyone magic. Right now, all of them are pissed off at both Dean Fogg and Alice for their well-intended actions: Dean Fogg works with the Library to control magic and mind-wipes them with new memories to protect them from Irene Mc Callister and the Library. Meanwhile, Alice destroys the keys they need to bring magic back after concluding that magic is bad. Needless to say, both have a lot of work to do.
  • On iZombie season 3 finale, Chase, head of the company Filmore-Graves, publically reveals that zombies exist and that thousands of Seattle citizens have been infected via "flu shots." He wants Seattle to become a "zombie capitol" and calmly offers the U.S. government a deal: Supply Seattle with a constant influx of brains and Chase will ensure no zombies leave Seattle and spread themselves across the country. The season 4 premiere takes place four months later and reveals the government's response: Within 72 hours, Seattle has been surrounded by a wall guarded night and day and they treat the brain demands as they would any other terrorist request, which is to say, they don't make deals. Thus, Chase now finds himself fighting to keep control of a city where the zombies are getting restless without fresh brains and the human population ready to strike back at any moment.
    • It's openly lampshaded by Blaine and others that maybe Chase should have considered some sort of back-up just in case revealing the existence of zombies would freak people out.
    • Chase soon realizes the only thing keeping the government from using the Nuclear Option is that there are still a few hundred thousand regular humans in the city. He thus has to ensure their safety by instituting a "zero tolerance" policy on any zombie who infects a human without their permission.
    • Needless to say, being cut off from the rest of the country with no one allowed inside has dramatically affected the Seattle economy and the city is splitting into the "haves" and "have nots" with many zombies joining the "Have" part.
    • With Seattle cut off from the rest of the country, the Seahawks are now playing in Tacoma.
    • In season 5, as tensions between the humans and zombies mount, the Pentagon formally declares that Filmore-Graves is now considered a terrorist organization and they will no longer negotiate with them.
    • A reporter breaks the story of how Blaine has been running a criminal service selling both brains and a zombie cure for money and murdered people to do it. Instantly, Blaine is arrested and considered a pariah as no one wants anything to do with him. Also, long-time underling Don E decides Blaine is too toxic to work with and partners up with Mr. Boss to take over the operation.
    • Ravi discovers that young people born with a certain chemical in their brains can be used to create a zombie cure. When a CDC doctor wants to publish it, Ravi tells her that if she does, these kids will instantly be put into government labs to study. They'll also be targeted by anyone who wants to make a fortune by selling the zombie cure and don't care about the welfare of the children. When a reporter runs a story about this cure, all of Ravi's fears come true.
    • Major approaches the head of an Amazon-like delivery service to put out the story that he will be able to bring brains into the city. The boss states that this would be impossible as gathering brains is illegal and not only is smuggling a crime but as a legit service, they wouldn't even know how to do it. As it happens, Major only needs the city to believe the service is doing this as a cover for working with a black market crook to secretly funnel brains into Seattle.
    • Peyton tries to help human/zombie relations by financing a TV comedy about them getting along. To pay for it, she sells the naming right for the Space Needle, a Seattle landmark. When the city council finds out, Peyton is forced to resign as Acting Mayor.
  • The Suite Life of Zack and Cody
    • In the episode when Zack & Cody gain super powers, there is a scene showing the town being in constant danger. This showed that being superhero would require a lot of responsibility. This convinces the boys to give up being superheroes. With great power comes great responsibility, indeed.
    • In the episode "First Day of High School", London makes an attempt to pay other female students to follow her around as if they are her friends. When London gets in trouble for breaking down a few lockers to make her own, however, those "friends" she paid for ditch her. London even lampshades the consequences of this at the end:
    London: (Gasps) I just realized if you buy your friends, they're not going to really like you for who you are.
    • In one episode, London and Maddie try to lose weight. After Mr. Moseby tries to get the two to accept their bodies by giving them a heartwarming speech, the girls end up being unphased by the speech and hilariously continue to exercise moments later. Just goes to show that although you can give well-meaning advice to people, it won’t always help someone instantly.
    • For a couple of episodes, London attends a prep school that Maddie also attends. She (somehow) becomes the Teacher's Pet (with her usual antics getting blamed on Maddie). Despite this, London is eventually expelled due to constantly skipping out on class. Even if you're the Teacher's Pet, that doesn't mean you can break school rules without consequences.
  • Though Played for Laughs, the two-parter in Kaizoku Sentai Gokaiger introducing Sixth Ranger Gai Ikari has plenty of this:
    • The Gokaigers are off searching for the silver-colored person and Gai, who realizes they're looking for him and doesn't realize it, jumps in and introduces himself, spinning a fantastical tale of their future adventures. The Gokaigers... are confused, amused and insulted by this man (Ahim thought his story was cute and Doc was angry that he was purposely left out), Captain Marvelous ignores him and the rest of the team go on to harass a silver jumpsuited man they believe to be the real person.
    • When Gai finally reveals he's Gokai Silver and tells the tale of how he was nearly killed when he saved a kid from a truck and he was given his powers by the spirits of DragonRanger (Burai), TimeFire (Naoto) and AbareKiller (Mikoto), the Gokaigers... still don't accept him, with Captain Marvelous taking away the Gokai Cellular and Gokai Silver Ranger Key and telling him to go prove himself. The Gokaigers are Fire-Forged Friends, they really don't know much about the Super Sentai themselves and Gai is still a star-struck motormouthed rookie.
    • When Gai is finally made part of the team, they opt for a Samurai Sentai Shinkenger Gokai Change. Gai tells Marvelous to give him the Ranger Key of "the gold one", expecting him to give him ShinkenGold's key. He's instead given the key of KingRanger. ShinkenGold and KingRanger are both gold-themed Sixth Rangers with kanji on their helmets; as Marvelous doesn't know much about them, he frankly doesn't care to double check until Gai tells him.
  • In the Blue Bloods pilot, Danny Reagan uses the Jack Bauer Interrogation Technique on a child predator. While he gets useful information, the perp's lawyer correctly points out that information obtained by torture is inadmissible in court, forcing them to find other evidence to get him convicted. This, unfortunately, is approximately the only time in the series that Danny's '90s Anti-Hero antics actually have significant consequences: the show otherwise often displays a rather flippant attitude towards civil rights protections.
  • Degrassi: The Next Generation season four episode "Eye of the Tiger" is a rather infamous example. It deals with the aftermath of Rick shooting Jimmy several episodes earlier (after falsely being led to believe he was behind dumping paint and feathers while on the school's game show by Jay and Spinner, the true culprits) and he himself dying by the gun a short time later. After coming back to the school as a paraplegic, Spinner tries his best to be a good friend to him and after Jimmy blames himself for getting shot, he confesses his true role in what happens and tries to apologize, only for him to be shunned by Jimmy and the rest of his friends, hated by everyone else in school and is eventually expelled after confessing to the principal what he and Jay did. Even months later and being allowed back into the school (for some reason) it takes much longer for them to even acknowledge him without anger and goes to show even if you feel remorse/say you're sorry for your actions doesn't mean you will be Easily Forgiven (if ever), especially for something of that magnitude.
  • Plenty in Fleming: The Man Who Would Be Bond to contrast with the fantasy world of James Bond. In one episode Ian Fleming decides to gamble with German intelligence officers in Spain in the hope of making them lose their working capital. Given that this is gambling, Ian loses his own capital instead.
  • In Castle:
    • At the end of Season 2, Beckett finally realizes that she has feelings for Castle. She breaks up with her then-boyfriend and tries to tell Castle ... only to find out that Castle has moved on to be his ex-wife/publisher. Just because they had plenty of Belligerent Sexual Tension, Castle wouldn't necessarily wait forever for Beckett.
    • After a party where one of Alexis's friends had a spiked drink, Alexis quickly called her father who then notified the friend's parents despite the friend's protests. Regardless of it being the right thing to do, the friend was furious that Alexis didn't listen to her.
    • Another friend of Alexis humiliates Alexis such as abruptly de-inviting Alexis to the school party, publicly kissing Alexis's boyfriend in front of her and even getting into a physical fight with Alexis when she confronts the friend. It's later revealed the friend was jealous how much time Alexis had been spending with her boyfriend instead of her. Is the friend Easily Forgiven? Although they reconcile, Alexis admits that she doesn't know if she could ever trust her friend again.
    • Beckett's job in Washington D.C. doesn't last long because a cop as headstrong, independent and relying on her gut just isn't a good fit for the more rules-bound and serious world of the FBI. That's proven when Beckett realizes her superiors are going to let a killer go because of the "bigger picture" of a case. Unable to handle that, Beckett drops a tip to the press that helps the NYPD solve the case. When her supervisor stops by the apartment, Beckett expects a warning or reprimand. Instead, she's told the Attorney General's office can't support someone who so blatantly violated her supervivor's orders and fires Beckett on the spot.
  • The Shield has Cowboy Cop Vic Mackey chiefly flouting authority because of Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!. Except it turns out the sort of authority willing to cover up for Vic's transgressions is just as corrupt as Mackey and eventually ends up on the run to avoid corruption charges. Leaving Vic have to deal with quite a few pissed off authority figures who basically put an end to his career. Most of the last series is Vic trying to deal with his enforced retirement from the Barn and get a day job with ICE. Except that it wasn't the one he wanted and, unlike the Brooklyn Nine-Nine example, one he made clear he wouldn't accept (until he was told the consequences of refusing it).
  • Kevin from Kevin (Probably) Saves the World once tried to help out a woman who's been performing good deeds throughout town only to find out she was wanted for some really serious crimes. During her trial, someone points out that her situation is similar to his own in that he used to be a bad person but learned to be good through helping people. So, he gathers a group of townsfolk that the woman had helped and got them to interrupt the trial with evidence of her having changed her ways. The move ends up landing them in jail for interrupting a legal proceeding. However, it does net the woman a sentence of community service, so simultaneously played straight and subverted.
  • iCarly: In the episode “I Promise Not To Tell,” Carly’s finds out that Sam changed her grade into an A after feeling bad for getting a B. She then feels guilty and she wants her grade changed back into the grade she deserved. When Carly & Freddie attempt to hack into the school system to change it back, the Computer Security Agency (CSA) promptly bursts into Carly's apartment and catches them in the process.
  • Manifest has a plane taking off in 2013 but when it lands, the passengers and crew are stunned to discover it's 2018 and they've been assumed lost for five years. The series shows a surprising reality in just how this affects everyone.
    • Obviously, the government isn't going to let a plane missing for five years land normally and reroutes it to a different airport. There, the passengers are kept separate until they can be interviewed about what happened.
    • A recurring theme is how the families of those returned assumed they were dead and have moved on with their lives. Michaela discovers that the man who, from her perspective, was her boyfriend a week ago is now married to her best friend. Meanwhile, her brother Ben is unaware his wife has been seeing someone else.
    • Michaela also finds she's homeless and almost all her possessions have been sold off. She's still employed by the NYPD as the paperwork regarding her "death" was lost in red tape and never fully processed. However, she is informed she has to recertify herself in everything from a physical to firearms and undergo a psych evaluation.
    • In 2013, Radd was a legal immigrant who was working on a career as a concert pianist. In 2018, he finds all that legal work has expired, making his status uncertain and so has to begin working as a street musician.
    • The passengers are fully aware they're under constant watch by government agents while the media is naturally hounding them for some insight as to what happened.
    • Ben (and by extension a few other passengers) find that it's hard to get a new job when your skills are about five years out of date.
    • Ben wants to check the house for any bugs. He then realizes he has absolutely no idea what modern surveillance devices would look like.
    • Grace was already struggling to make ends meet for just herself and Olive. The return of the husband and son she long thought dead, Michela moving in with them and the medical bills for Cal mean she's facing bankruptcy and might lose the house.
    • Adding to the money woes is the insurance company demanding Grace return the money they paid off on the life insurance policies for Ben and Cal under the logic they're not dead. Ben hits back by pointing out there's no way the policies could possibly have taken into account what happened to them. He also points out the bad press the company would get fighting this in court. Thus, both sides agree to a plan to pay the money back in installments over several years.
    • One passenger complains that in 2013, he was a tech "wunderkind" owning his own company. Having been declared dead, he no longer has any say in his company's work or profits. Worse, instead of being ahead of the curve, he's now five years out of date on technology, making his job prospects worse.
    • Captain Daly finds it hard to blame the FFA for deciding that the man who piloted a plane through a storm and had it go missing for five years should have his pilot's license suspended.
  • Veep:
    • Taking a woman who's a self-centered egotist clearly out of her league and her staff of borderline incompetents and elevating them to the White House automatically means plenty of chaos for the United States.
    • When Jonah becomes a congressman, his hair-trigger temper and general incompetence soon alienate his colleagues and turn him into a joke.
    • In season 6, Selina tells Ben she's planning to run for President again. Ben has to brutally lay it out for her: As far as the press and the public are concerned, Selina is the second-least effective President in history (and that's only because William Henry Harrison died a month into office). The party consider her such an embarrassment that not only will they never support her in another run but they don't want her anywhere near the next convention and prospective candidates are pleading not to have Selina endorse them. And no rich donor is crazy enough to take a chance on her as an independent. It's his blunt talk that makes Selina realize her dreams of returning to the White House are just that.
    • In the sixth season finale, Selina's diaries are released to the public. Rather than detail all her humiliations, the media instead focuses on how Selina was the one who crafted the Tibetan freedom deal that President Montex took credit for. Instantly, the press and public turn on Montez, her approval ratings plummet and the Nobel committee move to take back her Peace Prize. Meanwhile, Selina is now seen in a much more positive light which lays the groundwork for another run at office.
  • In MADTv, one sketch features an alternate ending to The Wizard of Oz, where instead of being happy about discovering she always had the ability to go home, Dorothy gets very angry, and flips out on Glenda for not telling her as soon as she got there, and it gets even worse when she finds out how simple it was to go home.
  • The Practice: In "Brother's Keepers", luckless attorney Harland Bassett pulls a TV courtroom ploy by having another woman impersonate the defendant, his niece. The judge cites him for contempt, since this is a fraud on the court. Even so, she gets acquitted because the witness continues identifying the wrong person.
  • Friday Night Lights, despite being much more idealistic than the source material, has a lot of moments of this:
    • Matt Saracen is a hard-working quarterback with the team's respect and who Coach Taylor personally likes and cares for. However, he is also a second-string player who got pushed into the starting quarterback role when Jason Street was injured. As much as everyone likes him, ultimately Taylor can only afford to worry about winning games, so whenever anyone more talented comes along, whether they're a Jerkass like Voodoo Tatum or a breakdown waiting to happen like J.D. McCoy, Matt gets benched.
    • When Matt is replaced as QB1 by J.D., he asks to be allowed to play running back instead. Taylor agrees to let him try if he can catch ten passes. Taylor runs through the drill with Matt, throwing as hard and as far as he can to test Matt's limits. By the end Coach Taylor, a middle aged man who hasn't played football in years, has completely wrecked his shoulder.
    • After he is paralysed, Jason befriends Herc, another former athlete who suffered a Career-Ending Injury. Herc introduces him to wheelchair rugby, which Jason proves very good at and sees as a way to regain his athletic aspirations. Jason tries out from the US Olympic team, and Jason fails to make the cut, since he's been playing for less than a year and still learning how to control his wheelchair. Herc frankly tells him that it was a longshot, and that even getting a tryout as a newly paralysed rookie player is a huge achievement.
    • Jason Street spends most of Season 1 in the hospital and physiotherapy, and then goes to try out for the US Olympic wheelchair rugby team in the middle of his senior year. As such he doesn't have enough credits to graduate and takes the GED instead.
    • When Smash Williams starts dating a white girl, her parents and his mother are all against it, as an interracial couple will be a target in a largely self-segregated conservative southern town. They're proven right when two racist white kids harass them in a movie theatre.
    • Coach Taylor spends the first half of Season 2 working as an assistant coach at TMU. The team has a young quarterback who isn't living up to his potential, so Taylor draws up a plan to help him improve, planning to invest a lot of time and mentoring into the kid like he would with his high school players. The head coach tells him to just cut the guy loose.
    • Even though he's a good enough player to get a football scholarship, Tim Riggins doesn't have the brains or work ethic for the academic side of college and drops out within days.
    • A cash-strapped Billy and Tim steal several coils of copper wire from an abandoned power station. Since they don't know anyone who could buy it from them, they can't do anything except leave it hidden in their back yard for weeks.
    • Later, the two begin operating a chop shop out of the family garage. Tim disposes of the gutted chassis of the cars by taking them all to the same scrap yard. After a few weeks, the owner tells Tim he can't bring any more gutted cars, since Tim is clearly up to something shady and he doesn't want to be involved. Indeed, the suspiciously frequent dumpings of gutted cars puts the police on their scent and ends up getting them arrested.
    • In Season 4 the East Dillon Lions, plucky underdogs that they are, spend most of the year on an epic losing streak since they have only two naturally skilled players and very little experience playing as a team. Their first win is against another team who also haven't won a game all year.
    • In Season 5, Tami starts mentoring a troubled girl named Epyck who has spent most of her life bouncing between different schools and foster homes. Epyck is shown to be a Jerk with a Heart of Gold who is great with kids and smarter than she appears, and her current foster mother is extremely loving and supportive. However, just as she starts turning her life around she is caught stealing, has a violent outburst and attacks Tami. She gets arrested and is pulled out of her foster home and East Dillon High, and sent to a last chance school. Even with all the positive influences around her at the moment she's been too damaged by life to change.
    • As coach of the Lions, Taylor begins using plays like two-point conversions and field goals in order to grab every point he can, which he never had to bother with when he had the well-oiled touchdown machine of the Panthers at his command.
    • When Becky becomes pregnant, she goes to Tami, who is able to direct her to Planned Parenthood, where she terminates her pregnancy. As a school principal even tangentially involved in an abortion in a small Texas town, Tammy find herself the target of a campaign to have her fired, and accepts demotion to guidance counsellor at East Dillon to smooth things over.
    • Luke is the star running back of the Lions and one of the best players in the series. However, no major college is interested in him because, like many top-level high school players, he just isn't a hot commodity in the student athlete market.
    • When a white Farm Boy approaches a drug dealer in the bad part of town, asks for Oxycodone and insists he's not a cop, that drug dealer clams up immediately.
  • A recurring theme on Good Girls is that Annie, Beth and Ruby are three suburban mothers who have no criminal record. Thus, when they find themselves forced to rob a local grocery store and get on the bad side of drug lord Rio, it's obvious how they are over their heads as crooks.
    • The girls are simply incapable of pulling off anything without it turning into a mess. Lampshaded when Beth snaps about Annie leaving fingerprints behind as an amateur mistake and Annie fires back "we are amateurs!"
    • The girls help launder counterfeit money by spending tons of the cash at big superstores, then returning the purchases for cash back. In the second season, they try it again only to discover these stores tend to talk to one another and have a system designed to look for just this sort of pattern of buys/instant returns. Thus, the girls are informed they are now banned from this chain and other stores have been alerted to their scam.
  • Proven Innocent has Madeline and Levi Scott convicted of the murder of their high school classmate Rosemary. After ten years in jail, the duo are freed when newer evidence proves their innocence. However, not everyone is willing to accept this and many (including Rosemary's parents and the D.A. Bellows) are still convinced the duo are guilty.
    • While Madeline gets a job with a legal innocence team, Levi has a hard time finding work due to his reputation.
    • "The Struggle For Stonewall" details how, in the 1980s, gay rights groups would ignore transgender people, feeling that they were "too much" for straight society to take and would hinder gay people's progress. One LGBT worker openly regrets how he ended up being as prejudiced as people against him.
    • Madeline and Easy defend a former white supremacist wrongly convicted who has accepted his terrible ways in prison. Violet, naturally, is outraged at defending a man with such a racist past, no matter how much he regrets it.
    • Madeline approaches Bellows with a proposal to let that client out of jail in exchange for taking down a corrupt cop whose false testimony put others in jail. At first, Bellows states that he can't do it because releasing a known racist in an election year is political suicide. However, when he learns his main opponent in the election turned a blind eye to the cop's actions, he realizes the political gains of that will overcome letting a man out of jail. That he can spin how prison "redeemed" this former racist is the icing on the cake.
    • Bodie has been having a steamy affair with cop Nikki and gets information from her that aids the team bringing down that corrupt cop. Nikki is outraged Bodie used her to bring down a fellow officer (even a corrupt one) and breaks up with him.
    • The team defend a woman accused of murdering her mother. A professor helps them gather evidence indicating a known serial killer was the one who did it and the girl is freed. During a private talk, the team hear a recording of the girl and the professor which reveals she did kill her mother and she and the professor (her lover) set up all that evidence. Violet wants to turn them in but the others say they can't as this talk could fall under violating lawyer/client confidentiality. More importantly, nothing would ruin the reputation of an "innocence project" more than revealing they got a guilty person out of jail and so, for the good of their future work, they have to keep this quiet.
    • In "Seal Team Deep Six," Madeline finds herself over her head defending a Navy officer as military courts are far different than civilian courts in their handling of matters and court conduct (Navy judges don't take kindly to a lawyer "demanding" things). There's also how the burden of proof rests solely on the defense and the military tending to classify key evidence top secret.
  • On Macgyver 2016, Jack and Mac are in a top floor of a huge skyscraper in the Middle East. Realizing they need to get rid a bomb, Jack grabs a chair, intending to smash a window and drop the bomb out. The chair bounces off as Mac dryly states that unlike the action movies Jack loves, real skyscrapers have windows with glass specially treated to not shatter easily under the slightest pressure.
  • Kids' fantasy game show Raven has one example in Series 8 when one warrior, Milex, fails to complete the challenge The Drop due to her fear of heights despite having completed Leap of Faith earlier in the week, showing that just because someone faces their fear once does not mean said fear will automatically go away.
  • This occasionally happens in the Neighborhood of Make-Believe segments of Mister Rogers' Neighborhood to teach a valuable lesson, or otherwise be educational. For example:
    • During the superhero week, Ana Platypus tries to use her "super skirt" to fly like a superhero and ends up falling instead, having to be caught by Lady Aberlin before she hits the ground.
    • During the pets week, much to King Friday's frustration, a parrot who's just come into the neighborhood has learned to say several things, and "Correct as usual, King Friday" was not among them. Parrots take a long time, possibly months, to learn to speak, and so he really shouldn't have expected it to learn to say "Correct as usual, King Friday" in such a short span of time.
  • Drake & Josh:
    • In the pilot, a bully challenges Josh to a fight the next day and Josh spends the time before the fight learning karate to defend himself. When it's time for the actual fight, the bully flattens Josh with one hit, because it takes more than one day of training to become a good fighter.
    • "Driver's License" deals with, well, Drake and Josh taking their Driving Test. Josh takes his preparation seriously while Drake slacks off. When they take the tests, Josh's instructor is a grumpy old lady who hates him on sight while Drake's instructor is an attractive fun loving young woman. Based on how the gag is set up, it looks like Drake will pass simply for being Drake and Josh will fail simply for being Josh. Instead, Josh's crabby instructor passes him for doing well, while Drake's fun instructor has to fail him for being reckless.
    • "Josh Is Done" takes a sledgehammer to the Rude Hero, Nice Sidekick trope and details how toxic this relationship is in real life. Josh finally ends his friendship with Drake after being screwed over one too many times and actually manages to do better without him, while Drake's world falls apart without Josh taking care of him.
  • An episode of The Cosby Show, "Denise's Friend," features Cliff helping a friend of Denise's with a sexually-transmitted infection. It has to be done in secret, because the girl doesn't want her parents to know that she is sexually active, prompting Cliff and Clair to sit down with their own children and tell them that they can always come to them with whatever issue they're facing. The kids protest, claiming that the pair will get angry over the issues. Cliff and Clair claim this isn't true, so the kids come up with some hypothetical scenarios that might cause rage, like Vanessa dating an older boy, the (underaged) Theo borrowing Cliff's car and driving it, and Denise spending a night home alone at a guy's house. After a few attempts at justification, Clair breaks down and admits that the situations would make her angry (or, in her own words—"I'm not angry. I'm mad."). Cliff follows suit, and explains that parents are human beings too, and lose their tempers when their children do reckless, potentially dangerous things. In a follow-up example of reality ensuing, he also tells the kids that adults generally do know what they're talking about when they set rules and boundaries, and that nothing can match the love and concern of a parent. It's a nice subversion of the Easily Forgiven trope.
  • The Second Coming is a two-part drama about one man discovering that he's the second coming of Jesus Christ, this series shows what would happen if there really was a second coming.
    • When Saxon discovers that he's the son of God, everybody is skeptical about it and it takes an actual miracle to get people to actually believe him. Even then, some people still don't believe him or the actual recorded evidence.
    • After Saxon reveals himself to the world, he has to be isolated and given sanctuary for his own safety. People believe he's responsible for promoting religious extremism, people are trying to figure out which faith he belongs to and people believe that he's evil for not solving crisis' like famine and disease.
    • As Saxon points out, he can't take requests to preform miracles as it'll cause a snowball effect that could lead to all sorts of trouble. As he might preform a miracle that people disagree with and indirectly cause a dictorship. Nobody can or should shoulder that amount of responsibilities, as it leads to Saxon screaming at Judith by saying he can't do everything, or control all of his followers.
    • Asking the public to write their own testament is monumentally difficult, there are billions of letters that have to be read by someone and organised.
    • When the public is told about an oncoming apocalypse, they inevitably panic and start rioting. Forcing the government to impose martial law to prevent it from escalating.
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