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Recap / The Amazing World of Gumball S3E28 "The Question"

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After Gumball and Darwin experience oneness with the universe (during a sugar high caused by eating cereal marshmallows), they realize, "What's the point in [our] lives?" and go on a quest to find the answer to that age-old question: "What is the meaning of life?"


Tropes:

  • Affectionate Pickpocket: Darwin and Gumball pretend to understand their mom not letting them eat sugary cereal so she'll hug them. While doing so, they manage to steal from the cereal box she was holding: Darwin only got two pieces, but Gumball hid most of the box's contents inside his sweater sleeve.
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  • Always a Bigger Fish: The joke of the food chain in the Forest of Doom from "The Picnic" is revisited, except this time they're singing about it. Subverted with the last, largest beast, who is surprised to find there is no "bigger fish" than him, so he'll just eat Darwin and Gumball instead.
    The meaning of life has a single rule.
    I know it makes sense, though it may seem cruel.
    The logic of the rule cannot be beaten,
    cause the meaning of life it to eat or be—(CHOMP)
  • Armor-Piercing Question: When Larry is asked the meaning of life, he says it's work, but after explaining it he suddenly realizes he's been wasting his life. So he takes a bunch of money out of the register, kisses his girlfriend, kisses his boss, leaves work, steals a car, drives to the beach, and starts swimming out to sea.
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  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Nicole's ideas for the meaning of life is to "Crush your enemies. See them driven before you. And hear the lamentations of their women... or having a family. It's pretty much the same!"
  • Black Comedy:
    • Larry the clerk going mad from the revelation of how much of a grind his life is by robbing from the cash register, kissing his girlfriend and boss goodbye, stealing Mrs. Robinson's car, and walking into the ocean a la Virginia Woolf (though he doesn't drown, since his head is actually buoying the rest of his body).
    • The ghost of a skydiver who thought he was living life to the fullest.
      Darwin: And how was it? You know, your life.
      Skydiver Ghost: Oh man, it was really good for seventy seconds. And then really, really, really, really, really bad for a couple seconds.
    • The planets of the solar system hear Gumball asking about the meaning of life, so they decide to answer in the form of a "feelgood song" where they tell Gumball that his entire world, and all life is pitifully meaningless on a cosmic scale. The scene then flash forwards to billions of years in the future as the sun explodes and destroys the entire solar system.
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  • Blunt "Yes":
    Skydiver Ghost: Think about it: would you rather live life to the fullest for seventy seconds, or live a boring life for seventy years?
    (beat)
    Darwin and Gumball: Seventy years.
    Gumball: Straight up.
  • Chocolate-Frosted Sugar Bombs: Nicole has her kids stop eating a cereal called Smashmallows, because it has so much sugar that if they eat it "by the time you guys turn thirteen, your double chins will be touching your cankles." When they eat a bunch at once anyway, through their eyes, it has hallucinogenic effects.
  • Comically Missing the Point: Gumball's reaction to Larry's breakdown while chanting a Madness Mantra about his life centering on work is "Eh, seems to work for him. But I feel like there might be a little more to life than that..."
  • Continuity Nod: Mr. Small still drives Janis, the hippie van he got back from the dimension of the world's mistakes in "The Void".
  • Daydream Surprise: We're shown a montage of Darwin and Gumball going on a quest to find themselves, which turns out to be purely hypothetical. This confuses Mr. Small, who had somehow become part of this daydream.
    Mr. Small: What? Wait, you mean none of this is real?
  • Foreshadowing: Gumball brings up pigeons near the end of his and Darwin's sugar high, asking what's the meaning of their lives (which leads into their quest), and they find Sussie at the end throwing mayonnaise at some pigeons... where they hear her stance on the meaning of life.
  • The Hedonist: Richard says the meaning of life is attaining "a total feeling of satisfaction and pleasure", right before eating a stick of butter. Gumball says that's just stuffing his face, and Richard agrees.
  • Ignorance Is Bliss: Anais says the best goal in life is to better yourself so you can answer any question. After her brothers ask many questions she does NOT want to find the answer to ("Is it better to have hand feet, or feet hands?"), she decides to join her father in blissful ignorance.
  • Inconvenient Parachute Deployment: As the ghost of a skydiver tries to chase after Gumball and Darwin, his parachute suddenly deploys to hold him in place.
  • Kicking My Own Butt: Alan is so obsessed with being helpful that when Julius announces he'll beat Alan up, Alan throw his face onto the guy's fist.
  • Lyrical Dissonance:
  • Madness Mantra: Larry begins repeating "I get up. I shower. I go to work. I work all day. I go home. I go to sleep." after realizing how meaningless his life is.
  • Nature Is Not Nice: When Gumball and Darwin end up in the Forest of Doom again, Darwin asking a squirrel the meaning of life starts a song number where the squirrel tries to sing that the meaning of life is to "eat or be eaten", only to be devoured by a snake, who is then eaten by a bird, who is eaten by a monster, who is finally eaten by a bigger monster, who then tries to eat Gumball and Darwin.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: Alan asks Gumball and Darwin to help when he's attacked by Julius and Mowdown. They leave.
  • Time Dissonance: We see the planets of the solar system singing from their perspective, but to a person on Earth they don't seem to even be moving. By the time they finish singing about how insignificant peoples' lives are, billions of years have passed and they realize they've wasted all of their time just before the sun explodes.
  • The Un-Reveal: After chasing Gumball and Darwin around the whole episode, Mr. Small never gets to say what he thinks the meaning of life is.
  • Vision Quest: Coach says the meaning of life is to find yourself: walk the harshest deserts, cross the most dangerous seas, climb the highest mountain! Gumball says he doesn't need to do any of those things to know. He's too lazy for any of that.
  • What Did I Do Last Night?: After coming off of a sugar rush, Gumball and Darwin regains consciousness simultaneously. Gumball is in a fountain, wearing a ballerina outfit and boots, while Darwin is handcuffed to a streetlight with a tramp stamp on his butt.
  • Wisdom from the Gutter: The episode ends with Darwin and Gumball getting the most useful answer as to the meaning of life from Sussie: in an unexpectedly articulate manner, she says the answer is actually a question, namely finding out how to enjoy one's life.

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