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  • Rugrats played this trope several times. In the episode "Angelica's Birthday", Angelica supposedly turns 4. However, in the later "Pickles Vs. Pickles" episode, it's said by her parents (Drew and Charlotte) that she's still 3. Similarly, in the episode "The Baby Vanishes," Drew finally admits that Angelica's a spoiled brat and begins taking measures to do something about it. However, in the following(!) episode "When Wishes Come True," Angelica's back to being her daddy's pride and joy.
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  • For the most part, this was played straight in Rocko's Modern Life. In fact, it was a policy for all of the Nicktoons of The '90s. But then the creators wanted Filburt and Dr. Hutchison to get married, and to do that, they had to fight with the higher-ups. Eventually, they relented, and Filburt and Dr. Hutchison get engaged in "The Big Question", and actually married in "The Big Answer." They also have Babies Ever After. It was the first Nicktoon to subvert the status quo.
  • The above notwithstanding, the first crop of Nicktoons were among the first American cartoons to avert this. Doug gets to graduate, Chuckie is potty-trained and stays potty-trained, Filbert and Dr. Hutchinson go steady, get married and have children and Ren and Stimpy dispenses with a Status Quo altogether.
  • 6teen: Jonesy gets a new job at the start of every episode and loses it at the end.
  • The Transformers series was like this for the first two seasons. Then The Movie came out in 1986. Once season three starts we have an all new cast, with the original characters making cameos, and the Quintessons are introduced. About the only thing that snaps back is Optimus Prime coming back to life and returning to his job as leader of the Autobots at the end of the third season. Bumblebee becomes a more prominent character during the season finale when Prime comes back, but it's as Goldbug, an upgraded form he needed after taking heavy damage fighting a berserk Superion, as well as to shill the new Goldbug toy, because the series, after all, was Merchandise-Driven.
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    • Played straight in the comics, where while editorial fiat forced Simon Furman and other writers to make many of the same changes, many of them were undone by later writers or as soon as the editors stopped caring. Bumblebee's change into the more powerful, intimidating, and overall more adult-seeming Goldbug was just one such example when he was heavily damaged and required rebuilding, and Ratchet simply chose to rebuild him back in his original Bumblebee appearance. When the outraged patient demanded to know why this had been done without his permission and against his wishes, Ratchet merely shrugged and answered "Call it personal preference, but I always preferred your original form." In this particular case, however, it was also because Bumblebee's original form had a new toy out.
  • Transformers: Prime has been criticized for this, killing off characters such as Breakdown and Dreadwing, putting Airachnid into stasis, returning rogue Starscream back to his previous position, eliminating the "third faction", MECH entirely, putting most MacGuffins into storage without being used, and undoing such game changers as the Star Saber and New Kaon/Darkmount, a fact acknowledged by the writers.
  • Code Lyoko does this with the Reset Button. Until the fact that XANA becomes more powerful with each Return to the Past was revealed, every episode ended with everybody on the verge of death when the time warp wiped the problems away.
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    • Unfortunately, the story also starts falling into a larger sort of status quo as it develops, one so immutable that it allowed fans to start predicting the outcome of the show's cliffhangers in advance. No matter how many times characters like Sissi and Jim prove their usefulness, they'll never be exempt from the Masquerade. There will never be more Lyoko warriors than the four main cast members (the one who seems to join ends up becoming evil), and Franz Hopper will never be devirtualized. This trope's prevalence as the show went on was only made all the more frustrating by the official website offering fan polls on things like "which supporting character should become a Lyoko warrior".
  • Dexter's Laboratory
    • A harsh one of this was the original Grand Finale of the series, "Last But Not Beast". Dexter and his family had fully united to destroy the beast that Dexter accidentally awoke from its slumber and everyone was happy. However, Dad remembers about Dexter's titular lab and Dexter's quick to remove that information from both Mom and Dad, even making them forget the fact that they saved the world together! When Monkey's mask is torn off and Dexter discovers his identity, Monkey uses the gun to remove everything from that point from his mind, allowing Mandark to declare that he had destroyed the monster, leaving a despondent Dexter to bemoan that he should have destroyed it. Dee-Dee, the only member of the family that remembers the fight, waves goodbye to the audience as the (original run of the) show comes to a close.
  • The Dragon Hunters, like the Get Backers, never do lasting profits, despite all of Gwizdo's schemes toward this end. Sometimes they do get to fly home with the reward money, but by the start of next episode they will invariably be broke.
  • DuckTales (1987) — and, in fact, any other appearance of Scrooge McDuck — is oddly obsessive about this trope, even to the extent of Scrooge very rarely managing to walk home with the treasure he's seeking. Do they really think that an extra million or so dollars would have any effect on the lifestyle of a man with five multiplujillion, nine impossibidillion, seven fantasticatrillion dollars and ten cents?
    • The comics that DuckTales (1987) is based on are even worse, and that extends to comics that don't feature Scrooge at all. This is understandable, since there are probably hundreds of artists in many different countries making the comics, and most of them ignore the other artists. Depending on the Writer, the stories may instead have Negative Continuity.
    • Most writers will callback to previous stories they created but will ignore the ones made by others so as not to mess with anyone's long-term story plans. The exception is Don Rosa, who considers all Carl Barks stories canon to his own show and has written several sequels to Barks tales.
  • Family Guy
    • In "He’s Too Sexy for His Fat", Peter gets plastic surgery, resulting in a fit, handsome guy. This being Family Guy, the episode ended with him falling into a vat of lard and becoming fat again. Even worse was the episode where Lois gains a lot of weight after Peter's vasectomy. In the end she has quickie liposuction and surgery and ends up looking exactly as though she had never gained the weight at all. Peter in his episode lampshades the trope by proudly stating he didn't learn his lesson.note 
    • But things change on occasion: Peter lost his job at the toy factory permanently (at the end of the episode, they point out how odd it is that the status quo has not been restored), became a fisherman, had his boat sunk, and finally settled into his brewery job. Cleveland and Loretta separated and stayed that way. Bonnie finally had her kid, with whom she had been pregnant with for over six seasons. Also, characters are Killed Off for Real such as Muriel Goldman, Johnny and Vern, Francis Griffin, and Diane Simmons; any returns are from their ghosts.
    • Later seasons have subverted this, with Brian's lasting relationship with Jillian (Okay, they broke up in the end, but they were together for about a season's worth of episodes.)
    • This trope is occasionally lampshaded. Peter once told Bonnie "You've been pregnant for five or six years, either have the baby or don't." Also, Lois got fired from FOX News. Why? Who gives a damn, the episode is over and everything is back the way it always is (her words, more or less).
      Lois: I'm glad everything's back to normal. I guess I just wasn't cut out to be a news reporter.
      Peter: Yeah, how did you lose your job anyway, Lois?
      Lois: Ah, I don't know, Peter. Do you really care? Does anyone really care?
      Peter: I guess you're right. The story's over, everything's back to normal 'til next week, so who gives a damn? Anyone got anything funny left to say? Stewie? Brian? Meg? Chris? No? Alright then. (to the camera) See you next week, folks!
    • There was also the time Peter was declared legally retarded. Lois, who he burned earlier, comes back with no damage done, though she will smell like fries for weeks. Also in the episode where Peter's father-in-law goes bankrupt. His wife, who has married Ted Turner, divorces him for no good reason. The episode ends with her coming back to Carter after divorcing Turner and taking half his assets, restoring their fortune.
    • References are made to some recurring themes. For example, when the Griffins are on the run and they end up in Texas. Peter mentions that he is "legally retarded".
    • How many times has Joe regained the use of his legs only to lose them again at the end of the episode? Played especially darkly in one episode. Joe gets his legs permanently fixed and start being too aggressive and active for his more sedentary buddies to keep up with to the point where he's disgusted with them. They decide they want the old Joe back so they break his back again to put him back in the chair.
    • Played extremely straight in "Seahorse Seashell Party" that has a bit of a Broken Base. After season upon season of abuse, Meg FINALLY stands up to her family and points out just what horrible people they are; She calls out Chris for being a horrible brother who's never on her side and always jumps on the bandwagon to make her life miserable. She calls out Lois for being a drug-addicted whore who's done nothing but take out her own frustration on Meg and how, once she's 18, she never wants to see her again. And she calls Peter out for being a fat, disgusting waste who doesn't care about anyone but himself. She lays into them so hard that the entire family turns against each other. Later on, Meg is talking to Brian and she realizes that the family can't function without Meg there to be the emotional and physical punching bag so they don't end up killing each other. In the end, the status quo is maintained, and Meg is still the Butt-Monkey.
    • Similarly, in "Baby Not On Board," Lois snaps and yells at Peter for constantly getting distracted from what she asks him to do and tells him just how stupid he can be. Peter retorts with passive-aggressiveness about how he is flawed and that's just who he is (by repeating John Candy's speech in Planes, Trains and Automobiles nearly verbatim). Lois just takes it at face value, apologizes, and Peter is back to his usual antics.
    • The trope gets lampshaded by Brain in part 1 of "Stewie Kills Lois". After Stewie complains about Lois leaving him for a cruise and how he would do bad things to her, Brain points out that Stewie will just bitch, cry for his mommy, hug her when she comes home, have apple juice, poop, and then fall asleep. Stewie realizes Brian is right and tries to fight against the status quo, but it is maintained in the end anyway.
    • Lampshaded again in another episode where Peter brings home a cutout of Kathy Ireland and starts his usual shenanigans by thinking the cutout is a real woman. Lois just shrugs her shoulder and says "I'm gonna let this one run its course", knowing that the antics will eventually stop.
    • Played straight again in Season 12, where Brian gets killed off in an incredibly drawn-out sequence of reactions, even getting Tony Sirico from The Sopranos to voice a replacement talking dog. Two episodes later, though...
  • Sister series American Dad! lampshades this trope several times, mostly hinging on Stan never learning his lesson. Among such lampshades include Stan saying that lying is "basically my whole bit," and explicitly saying that he's never learned his lesson all the other times it's blown up in his face.
    • Additionally, in "American Stepdad", when Stan and Roger share an unusually close moment:
    • Though some things do change, Stan's become gradually less conservative as the series as gone on (to the point he not only accepted his gay neighbors, he tried to get Terry's homophobic dad to accept him), Steve's also gradually becoming less of a nerd, and finally got a first kiss after constant Yank the Dog's Chain.
  • Bob's Burgers
    • Tina, like Meg, is the show's Butt-Monkey and a large source of humor stems from her loneliness. One episode ends with Tina finally meeting a boy who shows some romantic interest in her, so naturally, he's neither seen nor mentioned again by the time the next episode begins.
    • The show runs on the Perpetual Poverty trope, so any episode that involves the financial betterment of the family will inevitably lead to a Downer Ending. One episode has the family buying a food truck and finding great success with it...only for it to be destroyed at the end. Another has them entering a game show in order to win a new car, only to lose in the final round after having dominated the show earlier. In newer episode, its more common for Bob HIMSELF to sabotage any advances he makes, as he's obsessed with becoming successful entirely by the merit of his food, with no help from gimmicks or promotions like his hated rival Jimmy Pesto (who's a horrible cook but a successfull restaurant owner). This gets to the point where Bob returns a $100,000 investment given to him by his old childhood friend because said friend wanted to give the restaurant a Tiki theme. However, unlike the earlier seasons, Bob has a string of minor, temporary advances such as getting public acknowledgement from a celebrity chef who loved his food.
  • Futurama
    • The trope is lampshaded, deconstructed, and parodied in the episode "When Aliens Attack". When the main cast is forced to reshoot the finale of Single Female Lawyer to prevent an alien invasion, Leela (as the titular character) decides to propose marriage. Fry is angry, as he states that you don't do that on television because people only watch TV because of this very trope. Right on cue, this angers the aliens, who proceed with their invasion until Fry improvises an ending that would result in her character remaining single, placating the aliens. (The fact that real-life shows often destroy the status quo during the finale is ignored). The aliens are satisfied with this ending, and leave peacefully. With everything back to normal, Fry has a short monologue (serving as a Spoof Aesop) about how things should always go back to normal at the end of an episode. The Camera then cuts to a devastated New New York, most of it having been destroyed during the episode. The status quo is restored by the next episode, so it's a Double Subversion.
    • After the end of the series and Bender's Big Score changed things somewhat, fans have taken to accusing The Beast With A Billion Backs of needlessly bowing to this trope.
    • Bender's Big Score may have parodied it during its opening roll call, when we see Amy with much longer hair. Bender accidentally burns it off an instant later, leaving her with her hairstyle from the series.
    • The trope is subverted in "The Beast with a Billion Backs". Kif breaks up with Amy after she cheats on him, and they stay separated until the end of "Into The Wild Green Yonder".
    • Subverted again in "Into The Wild Green Yonder". After ignoring Fry's love for her, Leela realises that she feels the same way, and they share their first romantic kiss.
    • Then played straight (to the point of parody) in the opening episode of season six, going to great (and circuitous!) lengths to restore the status quo. Seems Fry and Leela are still together though.
  • South Park
    • Season 15 did this. After the Drama Bomb episode, "You're Getting Old", it looked like there was going to be some sort of change in terms of the boys' relationships (Mainly in Stan's cynicism is affecting his life). Kyle and Stan have a falling out, Kyle and Cartman are shown being together of their own volition and getting along. The episode ends with Randy and Sharonnote  separating and moving from the Marsh family home into an apartment. When the next episode, "Ass Burgers", features a Snap Back, this is invoked in end. As just Stan is about to embrace the new changes, the status quo comes back with Randy & Sharon getting back together off-screen, Kyle & Cartman bickering once again, and Stan going back to the life he once had, though he now secretly drinks to keep off his cynical levels. Sharon even says that sometimes it's best to stick with what you know.
    Sharon: "It’s like the same shit just happens over and over, then in a week it just all resets until it happens again. Every week it’s kind of the same story in a different way, but it just keeps getting more and more ridiculous."
    • Episode "Tsst" has Cartman's mom go to extreme lengths to get him to behave. When she finally succeeds, Cartman's mom is ecstatic that Cartman is a well behaved boy, but once she finds out that the person who helped her left her because he has other clients to tend to (also she wanted to have a romantic relationship with him and he wasn't interested), she completely undoes all the changes by spoiling Cartman so that she won't feel like she is alone. However, she does start disciplining him more often.
    • The first time, in the episode "Mecha Streisand", a reporter appears, saying that the town had managed to rebuild itself "just weeks after the devastating attack of mutant genetic creatures, zombies, and Thanksgiving turkeys". Then Mecha Streisand shows up and begins to wreck the town, prompting a "not again" comment from the reporter.
      • Another episode has a reporter describing South Park as "a sleepy mountain town where nothing ever happens" followed by a faster and quieter line "except the occasional destruction of the entire town".
    • The second time, in "201", after the main events of the plot is resolved, the mayor announces, "Alright, people, let's start rebuilding our town! ...for the 39th time."
    • A straight example happens when it is discovered that the City Wok owner is the psychotic, murderous Caucasian Dr. Janus. Since he's the only Asian restaurant owner left in town after the Japanese sushi chef whom he harassed killed himself after this reveal, the police lets him go.
    • Kenny. No matter how many times he gets killed off, he'll always be okay in the next episode. Justified. He literally cannot die permanently. Every time he's killed, he wakes up the next day in his bed and all of his friends have forgotten about his demise.
  • Gargoyles
    • Averted for the most part. Eliza's brother becomes a Mutate for instance and remains that way, a process that takes place over several episodes; later episodes deal with Talon's impromptu clan and responsibilities. Broadway shoots Eliza by accident and develops a series-long hatred for firearms. The eventual reveal of the Gargoyles to the world at large springs the Quarrymen into the forefront. And so on.
    • You can count Xanatos' evolution from simple adversary to husband/father/friend, Angela and Goliath's relationship as daughter and father, Matt Bluestone's raise from conspiracy-nut friend-kept-in-the-dark to Properly Paranoid Illuminati member and trusted insider, the evolution of several of the villains with their backstory, Demona alone...
    • However, the trope is invoked a bit with the show's rules of time travel and the Phoenix Gate: to wit, everything that has happened will happen, and if characters are placed in a position to change the backstory, they will not succeed.
  • Goof Troop featured an episode where Goofy was elected mayor of the city, but curiously that never came up again.
  • No matter how many times Ron Stoppable from Kim Possible learns to use Mystical Monkey Power Kung Fu, learn to deal with his fears of monkeys and Camp Wannaweep or has become special for just anything, he will revert back to his status quo in the end of the episode or before the next. He did stay on the football team, leaving his mascot days behind. And he kept dating Kim. And kept his job. All which took place in the Post-Script Season...
  • Moral Orel presents a possible subversion. It took ten episodes (out of the third season's 13) before we saw anything of the aftermath of the major events of the second season's finale, "Nature", where Cheerful Child Orel calls out his father. However, the reason for this is because all those episodes take place before and/or during "Nature".
  • The Powerpuff Girls has this all the time.
    • In one episode, the girls travel so fast that they are warped to the future, where for 30 years evil has reigned. Out of complete stress and confusion, they try to escape from it all by traveling so fast they warp back to the present time, thus achieving Status Quo. This, like the Superman example above, was more or less why the Powerpuff Girls never take a vacation - as they're now too paranoid to leave the city for even a few days, lest the entire city fall to evil.
    • Oh yeah, whenever the city is in ruins, its back to normal the next episode. Few things remain destroyed, an example being a bridge in a nearby city.
    • Buttercup is given anger management in "Makes Zen To Me", and goes right back to her perpetually-angry self by the next episode.
    • At the end of "Ice Sore", Blossom claims her new ice-breathing powers disappeared, but in some other episodes after this one, they apparently came back.
  • The Simpsons, with a few exceptions.
    • This pretty much happens anytime there's a major change to the main cast. Did Bart become more intelligent or active in his school work for a time? He'll be back to the lazy Book Dumb boy causing mischief for giggles. Did Lisa suddenly gain popularity? She'll be back to being unpopular by the end of the episode.
    • Played with in some of the few episodes which avert this trope; many of them feature endings that make it seem like the status quo will once again be restored, only to change it up on the viewer at the last second. The classic example is "A Milhouse Divided"; the episode ends with Kirk singing a romantic song for Luann in a last-ditch attempt to win her back. It looks like we're in for a heartwarming reunion, until Kirk asks her to come back to him and she replies "Oh God no!" They DID eventually get back together, but that was ten seasons later.
    • When Lisa became a vegetarian, she stayed a vegetarian. (Only because Paul McCartney wouldn't do the show otherwise.) She also remained a Buddhist after converting in "She of Little Faith".
    • Also when Maude Flanders died, she stayed dead, since her voice actor had left the show.
    • Principal Skinner and Edna Krabappel have had an on-and-off relationship since season 8. 12 seasons later, Edna married Ned Flanders. This lasted until Edna's death two seasons afterwards.
    • Apu got married in season 9; in season 13 he cheated, and ever since then every appearance by him or his wife references it, usually by having them act frustrated or angry at one another.
    • Sometimes the status quo changes gradually — for example, Lenny and Carl have replaced Barney as Homer's best friend. However, they just hang out with him for kicks. This is made evident in the same episode where Barney decides to be sober.
    • Speaking of Barney, he stopped drinking in the eleventh season episode "Days of Wine and D'oheses" and remained a sober, clean-cut compulsive coffee drinker after the end of the episode and for several seasons. Like the Luanne and Kirk example, he reverted to his original state in season fourteen's "I'm Spelling As Fast as I Can". Later on he would have fewer roles, aside from being passed out on the ground.
    • Lampshaded in the show itself in the infamous episode "The Principal and the Pauper". To those who don't know, Principal Skinner is revealed to be a person named Armin Tamzarian when the Real Seymour Skinner appears out of nowhere. At the end of the episode, he's tied to a train and is never heard from again and the judge rules that no one is to speak of this or else they'll be subjected to torture. This is later followed by an episode where Snowball 2 gets run over and replaced. Twice. Both replacements die, and a cat that looks exactly the same is given to Lisa by the Cat Lady.
    Lisa: I'm keeping you! You're Snowball 5! But to save money on new dish, we'll just call you Snowball 2 and pretend this whole thing never happened.
    Skinner: That's really a cheat, isn't it?
    Lisa: I guess you're right, Principal Tamzarian.
    • At the end of "C.E.D'oh", Homer has his "305th Everything Is Back to Normal BBQ." This was the 306th episode; this only accounts for one change to that point.
    • Other lampshades pop up with the page quote, another from Principal Skinner ("Well I guess we all learned something important today... there's no thing like the status quo!") and a season 22 episode, that ends with Marge (after once again failing to get a social life outside of the house) reading a book called "The Joy of the Status Quo".
    • The situation used to replace Snowball 2 with an identical-but-different cat is also applied to Fat Tony in another episode. Fat Tony dies from a heart attack while Homer is working as an undercover agent infiltrating his organization. Afterwards, we're introduced to "Fit Tony"; Fat Tony's identical-sounding cousin and a fitness buff. He decides to step in for his deceased cousin but while working as the mob don, he begins to fall out of shape and resemble Fat Tony. Eventually, he ends up being referred to as "Fat Tony", thus restoring the status quo despite the fact Fat Tony himself was Killed Off for Real.
    • The episode where Lisa and Bart are placed in the same third grade class. At the end of the episode, Bart and Lisa are given the choice to either stay in third grade or return to their respective classes. The characters start chanting for the status quo to be restored at the end.
    • There was even an episode where Lisa got to write an episode for a TV show. After making big sweeping changes that didn't go over too well, Homer tells her that the number one rule of television is that everything must go back to normal at the end of the episode.
    • A subtle lampshading: When informed that half his wages will be paid to Bart, who's just been emancipated, Homer protests, "Half already goes to my Vegas wife!" He references a major change in a past episode that has had no apparent effect on present episodes — the family's standard of living seems no lower than before.
    • Since Season 25, Bart's classroom was rarely seen due to the death of Mrs. Krabappel. There were two episodes revolving around Bart getting a new teacher, but they were One Shot Characters. Every other time Bart's class was seen, we see Principal Skinner running it (with occasional help from Superintendent Chalmers). Finally, the Season 29 episode "Left Behind" had Ned Flanders lose the Leftorium to online shopping, and after struggling to hold a job, he takes his neighbors' advice and follows Jesus's footsteps by becoming a teacher, thus taking over Bart's class.
  • Danny Phantom uses it some of the time, with the more notable instances being the end of "Reality Trip", where Danny mindwipes everyone except the people who knew prior to the start of the episode. For that matter, he bounced back unusually quickly from the extremely-intense encounter with his future self.
    • It actually averts in on occasion: from Jazz learning Danny's secret, ghosts becoming a recognized threat, Valerie remaining stuck in poverty, but growing as a human being, etc.
  • In Challenge of the Superfriends, every episode would end with the Legion of Doom incapacitated by the Superfriends. However, Lex Luthor always pulls out a device that turns whatever the Legion is sitting on into a spaceship, which flies away slowly while Superman and Green Lantern forget that they have superpowers (a common occurrence on this show). Thus, the Legion always successfully escapes so they can come up with another evil plan for the next episode. In one episode, all of the Super Friends die one by one — but in the end, it turns out that they were merely their android duplicates and they were all alive and well.
  • King of the Hill
    • Hank Hill is never going to be a manager. The one time he did become a manager he managed to blow it... in 10 freaking seconds (and it wasn't even near the end of the episode).
    • Also Bill is never going to have a lasting relationship, it always goes wrong or he messes up.
      • This becomes an invoked example with his relationship with Laoma; Word of God says the only reason why she's never seen again is because they prefer Bill single and miserable.
    • Strangely, what with the above examples, there was a bit of continuity. In one episode Peggy and Dale end up blowing Hank's shed up (long story), 8 episodes later in Death Picks Cotton Hank's busy rebuilding it. When he finally does finish it in the end of the episode Dale destroys it again which was Cotton's dying wish.
    • Any episode that shows Bobby doing something or having an interest in something which Hank freaks out, worrying what Bobby is doing is not manly enough in his eyes. By the episode's end, Bobby either stops having interest in whatever caught his attention or Hank begrudgingly accepts what Bobby wants, then the show repeats the scenario again in a future episode.
    • Similar to Hank and Bobby is Kahn's strictness and pushiness towards Connie's education or her violin playing. By the episode's end he'll have relented somewhat but he'll be right back to being overbearing in future episodes. Interestingly, in the series finale he does the opposite and encourages her to take a break.
    • It works with several changes that some episodes introduced that should have been permanent (or at least long-lasting) but were never addressed again: Bobby develops a dog allergy in one episode that, by the end of the episode, he manages to get under control with pills which are never brought up again. Hank's ass deficiency, requiring implants lest he suffer back problems, disappeared. When the doctor told Dale he had to give up using inorganic pesticides or risk poisoning himself, that stuck only for an episode. When Ladybird became moody and aggressive due to deafness in her old age, that disappeared after an episode as well. For a series that generally sticks to realism, these points stand out more than other appearances of this trope in that series.
    • The show also Zig Zags often. There are often a few episodes in which a new character is introduced, or some big change happens in someone's life such as Bill or Bobby getting in a romance, yet a lot of the time they seem to vanish the next episode with little to no justification. Despite this, there were plenty of aversions in which a continuity was established. (Joseph entering puberty, Bobby and Connie's relationship ending, Nancy ending her affair with John Redcorn, Luanne meeting Lucky).
    • In one episode Hank's truck begins to fail and is later destroyed. He swaps it out for another identical (in outward appearance) before the episode's end.
  • Lampshaded in The Boondocks episode "The Lovely Ebony Brown", when Robert Freeman is breaking up with his latest girlfriend:
    Ebony Brown: "Robert, you'll be fine. Next week you'll have some crazy adventure with another woman. You won't even remember this little episode."
  • Samurai Jack is on a constant quest to find a way to time-travel back to the past and destroy his arch nemesis Aku. However he never gets any closer to his goal; with every time portal getting destroyed or falling out of his reach, and Aku surviving every encounter with him. Lampshaded by Aku himself in "Jack vs. Aku", who sees his ongoing battle with Jack as more a game than a life's goal as Jack does, a game that has gotten long and tedious to him.
    • This gets deconstructed by the fifth season, with Jack's constant failures at trying to save the world over several decades later driving him to madness and despair. Even Aku is depressed by their stalemate, due to years of failing to kill Jack (and discovering that he inadvertently made Jack immortal), so he no longer even bothers trying and just stays holed up in his lair, pretending that he no longer cares about the samurai. Events conspire to finally get them both out of their funk and bring them to their final showdown, eventually culminating in Jack actually succeeding at returning to the past to kill Aku, thus destroying the old status quo forever.
  • Phineas and Ferb
    • This trope is turned Up to Eleven in every episode. No matter what nigh-impossible project the boys create, it will always disappear within a matter of seconds as a result of Perry and Doofenshmirtz. Like every other trope that the show revolves around, it's been lampshaded. Some of the characters now believe there's a mysterious sentient force protecting them (which is technically true).
    • The status quo gets shaken up something fierce in The Movie, with the cast learning about Perry being a secret agent. They end up voluntarily pushing the Reset Button at the end, and no one but the OWCA remembers the events of the film. To be fair, Major Monogram let them choose whether or not to keep the new status quo, but since that meant Perry would have to leave them, they decided it wasn't worth it.
    • In "Happy Birthday, Isabella", this trope is actually averted, by having Stacy find out about Perry's secret identity and not lose her memory of the knowledge. But, this is more of a case of Loophole Abuse; technically, the status quo dictates that Perry' s host family cannot find out his secret.
    • Overall, Phineas and Ferb tends to mix it up a lot with this trope. While the situation generally remains the same and follows the same pattern, the characters themselves remember what happens and develop over the course of the seasons. This means they sometimes trade positions, try to manipulate the formula for their own purposes, or outright refuse their usual role on occasion. And then there are cases where they have to handle a more important situation and put their usual pattern on hold entirely.
  • Ed, Edd n Eddy usually has the Eds failing at the end of every episode either with their scams, pranks, or bouts with the Kanker sisters, and has the kids of the neighborhood celebrating their endless demise.
    • Subverted in the movie where the kids give up trying to get the Eds for their WORST SCAM EVER to save them from Eddy's brother's torment because it was far worse than anything they could think of doing.
    • Edd both fourth walls and lampshades it at the end of the movie with his line about how it's only taken them the entire run of the series, four specials, and said movie to finally be accepted.
  • X-Men: Evolution:
    • In episode 2x22, "Joyride", Lance Alvers (Avalanche) joins up with the X-Men in the hopes of winning the affections of Kitty Pryde (Shadowcat), who he's been hitting on the entire series. Cyclops blames him for a few infractions the other New Mutants actually committed, and said New Mutants confess, causing Cyclops to finally accept him, Shadowcat to show him the love he's wanted the whole series, and the rest of the X-Men to respect him. He then decides that he's quitting due to his annoyance with being Reformed, but Rejected and returning to the Brotherhood, saying they're easier to live with, even though he had EVERYTHING HE WANTED.
    • There's an aversion at the end of Season 2 where the existence of mutants is revealed to the world, changing the way the characters are perceived forever.
  • The Fairly OddParents!:
    • Timmy will always wish things back to normal at the end of every episode.
    • A Fairly Odd Movie: Grow Up, Timmy Turner! uses and subverts this in a few ways. He uses this as a loophole to keep his fairies, act like a child and refuse to grow up (not even leaving the 4th grade, or his parents home) but when he does finally Timmy is given an exemption clause that lets him keep Cosmo, Wanda and Poof as his fairies even as an adult.
    • In "Teeth For Two", Timmy gets new teeth that look EXACTLY like his old ones.
    • One of the main criticisms people have with the show is its fetish for this trope, especially surrounding Vicky. It didn't help that her personality became much, much worse after Poof was born (to the point where she tries to murder Timmy in the newer episodes.)
  • Teen Titans: Oh God, every single episode that was not a part of the story arc (Like Robin becoming Slade's apprentice, the whole Terra storyline, Cyborg with Brother Blood, Raven with the prophecy of ending the world, and all of Season 5, which focused on the Brotherhood of Evil and a lot of characters we have never heard of before unless we read the original comics). Even with Terra, after the Titans were convinced to let her become a member of the Titans, she only made a split-second appearance in the next episode. The episode after that had to do with her though but of course the events of that episode restore status quo of the team. Most episodes of Teen Titans will always end where it began, but there are a few exceptions.
  • The first season of Avenger Penguins concluded with a two-parter, where Minion with an F in Evil Harry Slime made a Heel–Face Turn and his master Caractacus P Doom was blown away to Mars. The second season, however, had inexplicably back in their status quo.
  • Dick Dastardly never wins a race and never catches Yankee Doodle Pigeon.
  • Both invoked and averted in The Clangers. In many episodes a creature or object arrives on the Clanger's planet, causes havoc and then either leaves or is sent back into space. When the Iron Chicken first appears, it seems as if she's also following this pattern. However, she makes appearances in later episodes and she also gives Tiny Clanger an egg which has effects in following episodesnote 
  • The Looney Tunes Show plays this for a quick laugh. Bugs and Daffy go to the mall and Bugs points out Daffy's "Mall Pants" but since he is technically supposed to be naked the mall pants are sucked off by the escalator before the opening credits run.
  • The Road Runner will never be caught.
    Boy 1: Sometimes I feel sorry for the Coyote. Sometimes I wish he'd catch him.
    Boy 2: If he caught him, there wouldn't be any more Road Runner. You wouldn't want that, would you?
    Boy 1: No.
    Boy 2: I thought you wouldn't.
  • The Legend of Zelda cartoon takes this to its logical extreme. Ganon and all his minions are magically tied to a giant jar type device. Every time they're defeated, they're just sent back to it for some undetermined (but obviously very short) period of time. It doesn't help that neither Ganon nor the heroes are competent enough to simply end the whole thing (in fact, Ganon's minions came the closest after they rebelled).
    • Link did destroy the jar once, but it was back for the next episode.
  • Regularly Double Subverted in Adventure Time, where some episodes end with what would seem like a drastic change, which end up being mostly or entirely reversed within another few episodes:
    • At the end of the season two finale, Princess Bubblegum is reverted to a 13 year old. The very next episode she appears in, Lemongrab takes over the kingdom because she's too young to rule, and PB has to change back to get rid of him.
    • In the episode "Jake The Dad", Jake faces fatherhood with the birth of his pups with Lady Rainicorn; Jake decides to stay in Lady's house, leaving Finn and BMO. Later in the episode the pups get a Plot-Relevant Age-Up due to being Rainicorns and are now old enough to live on their own. Jake then returns to the tree house.
    • A long running plot thread in the show was Finn somehow losing his arm. There were many hints that this would happen, with alternate versions of himself shown to have a prosthetic of some kind. The end of the season 6 premiere finally sees this come to pass, with Finn's arm being replaced by a flower. Four episodes later, Finn's arm is restored to normal.However, Finn eventually loses his arm again in the season 7 finale, and permanently replaces it with a robotic one.
    • Root Beer Guy's introduction ends with him made leader of the Banana Guards, in hopes that he could reign in their incompetence. The writers decided they didn't want the guards to stop being stupid, and so he was Killed Offscreen by his next appearance. Eventually, Root Beer Guy was brought Back from the Dead, but his role as the chief of the Banana Guards was quietly forgotten.
    • The 2015 mini-series, "Stakes", features Marceline the Vampire Queen losing her vampire curse and powers. Of course, she has them back by the end of the arc, but she does sense that a change did in fact take place inside of her. The Arc Melody of the miniseries, "Everything Stays", can be interpreted as basically one huge lampshade of this trope, although a beautifully pulled off one.
    • It seems as though the status quo was changed when Finn finally got into a steady romantic relationship with the Flame Princess. Sadly, they eventually break up and the series ends with Finn not getting the girl. Neither does Simon who is reverted back to normal.
  • In Time Squad, the entire reason for the Time Squad's existence is to preserve the Status Quo, not only for the show itself but also for the rest of history.
  • Arthur had an episode ("Pick a Car, Any Car") in which the family car stops working and his parents start looking for a new one. Arthur is upset because he doesn't want things to change, and it seems like that's going to be the lesson for the episode. But in the end Buster gets the bright idea of calling Car Talk, and they discover that the problem was that Kate had just jammed her rattle into the tailpipe. Not only does nothing change, nothing is learned, except maybe to call Car Talk if you're having problems your mechanic can't fix.
  • Mirta in general in Winx Club. Despite saving everyone's lives and transferring to Alfea at the end of the first season, she went back to being more of a background character that only got to talk and hang out with the main cast when they needed her for something (typically to guide them through Cloud Tower). As of Season 5, she is the only student from the Winx's three years of school that still attends Alfea, and she still wears the exact same outfit she wore in Season 1.
  • The Scooby-Doo series seems to run on this. But averted in Scooby-Doo! Mystery Incorporated where it usually took episodes for anything to get back to the way it was, and even then there were still traces of what happened that come back up. This also gave the series a much Darker and Edgier feel.
  • In the Turtles Forever movie, Karai's implied Heel–Face Turn at the end of season five after a season-long Enemy Mine situation is ignored. It's justified in that during the movie, the Utrom Shredder, her adoptive father and the one living being she dedicated her entire life to, returned. And even then, when her father went too far, she pulled another Heel–Face Turn.
  • Defied in the Season 2 finale of The Legend of Korra; during the course of the season, two portals to the spirit world were opened as part of the Big Bad's Evil Plan to release an Eldritch Abomination and take over the world. When the heroes defeat the plan, Korra decides to leave the portals open and allow spirits to roam the world and interact with humanity, with her acting as a mediator.
  • Randy Cunningham: 9th Grade Ninja: In "McOne Armed and Dangerous", Hannibal McFist's status as a Villain with Good Publicity is destroyed thanks to the Ninja telling the people about McFist's attempts to have him killed and McFist falling victim to Is This Thing Still On?. The Sorcerer then Stanks McFist. After McFist is brought back to normal, the Ninja decides to restore his reputation by claiming McFist only tried to kill him because he had been turned into a monster. It happened to so many students before everyone in Norrisville bought that and called off the boycott on McFist Industries.
  • Gravity Falls averts this in its second season, to the point of doing a Cerebus Retcon to explain why some things remained in the status quo. Of course, this was to be expected as the show only had two seasons.
  • In one episode of the French cartoon Jamie's Got Tentacles, the Big Bad's Beleaguered Assistant leads a rebellion against him. After the General's aide successfully defeats and vapourises him, the aide puts on his old boss's hat, puts on the same voice, promotes himself to General, declares that he has the exact same evil plan as the previous General (to capture and eat Jamie) and immediately gains an aide of his own. All members of their species are completely identical, so absolutely nothing changed.
  • Totally Spies! would usually flip back to status quo whenever Clover, Alex or Sam got a boyfriend. Clover's longest relationship was a long-distance relationship with a fellow WOOHP agent who was reassigned to WOOHP's Australian division, afterwhich he was never seen or mentioned again until they officially broke up in season 6, and while they were together Clover still fawned over and flirted with other guys like usual.
  • A large number of The Loud House episodes involve Lincoln trying to imrpove the living conditions in the house, only to realize that things were better before.
    • There are a few exceptions though such as the spotlight episode which focused on Linclon's kinda rival/crush Ronnie Ann and her family as they move in with her grandmother so Ronnie's mother can take up a nursing job in the city. Ronnie is initially against the idea but seeing how her mother and brother (who's also Lori's boyfriend) are onboard for it and the fact that the extended family likewise gave Ronnie her own room. Ronnie relents and moves away from Lincoln's neighborhood, keeping in touch with him via internet calls. Likewise Lincoln starts to come around to the fact he might like like her.
    • Perhaps the most blatant example of this trope is in the episode "Change of Heart," in which Clyde seeks help from Leni on how to act 'normal' around Lori. While her advice seems to work, Lori comes to realize she liked the attention Clyde had given her previously and convinces him to return to being a creeper who gets nosebleeds and passes out at the sight of her by episode's end.
  • The Amazing World of Gumball invokes and parodies this trope with the episode "The Job". The normally lazy Richard tries to get a job, but it's soon discovered that if he does, it will destroy the show.
    • Averted when Gumball actually got the girlfriend he wanted. Penny's appearance was changed forever in "The Shell".
  • Care Bears: Adventures in Care-a-Lot: No matter how the bears try to reform resident villain Grizzle, he's always back to his bad self by the start of the next episode.
  • Zig-zagged with Steven Universe. While there is an advancing storyline, everything outside Steven and the main three Gems will more-or-less function the same no matter what happens, with a few exceptions.
    • Played very much straight with Steven's TV, which has been destroyed multiple time throughout the show but is somehow in perfect working condition at the start of each episode.
  • Downplayed with Littlest Pet Shop (2012): With the exception of a few episodes designed for setup, all of the changes in the show's continuity occurs in the two-parter episodes. That being said, there is a pretty blatant case: The Season 2 finale "The Expo Factor Part 2" ends with the Biskit family's loyal butler LeGrande disgusted with the family's attitude and quits, only to be re-hired back in "Winter Wonder Wha...?" because family patriarch Fisher promised him double pay.
  • SpongeBob SquarePants:
    • In the episode "SpongeBob's Place", Mr. Krabs forces SpongeBob to take time off after feeling like he's stealing the limelight of the restaurant. As such, SpongeBob ends up opening his own restaurant inside his pineapple called SpongeBob's Place, to major success, while the Krusty Krab plummets into a ghost town without him. Mr. Krabs realizes how much SpongeBob actually means to the Krusty Krab and is depressed; however, SpongeBob agrees to keep letting Mr. Krabs be his boss at SpongeBob's Place. All of this is reset at the end of the episode, when SpongeBob's Place is shut down for violating the oddly specific health code violation of "selling food inside a pineapple."
    • Every "Boating School" episode follows this trope. If one ends with SpongeBob finally getting his driver's license, it will get taken away seconds later. One notable example is "Bumper to Bumper", which ends with SpongeBob passing his boating test and getting his license, only for a cop to point out that because Mrs. Puff crossed the county line, thus setting off her security cuff, the test results were null and void, and he then proceeds to tear up the license.
    • Every "Plankton tries to Steal the Krabby Patty Formula" episode follows this trope as well. Even if Plankton successfully steals it, everything will go back to normal no matter what.
    • "SpongeBob, You're Fired" begins with Mr. Krabs firing SpongeBob so he can save a nickel. Since neither Mr. Krabs nor Squidward can cook Krabby Patties, Mr. Krabs re-hires SpongeBob at the end of the episode.
  • In Super 4, the Fairy Queen was accidentally turned into a frog by Twinkle before the series started. Every time she gets turned back into a fairy, she gets turned back into a frog by the end of the episode.
  • On The Cat in the Hat Knows a Lot About That!, Nick rips his shirt in the center in "Cotton Patch" and get a diamond-shaped patch to cover it up. This is, of course, never seen again in any future installments.
  • In the Ready Jet Go! season 1 finale, "Commander Mom", Sydney's mom rebuilds Jet 2 into Jet 3. However, in season 2, he's back to his normal form.
  • In the Thomas the Tank Engine movie Blue Mountain Mystery, Rheneas gets his paintwork damaged and complains to Skarloey about wanting new paint. In The Stinger, Rheneas gets painted yellow to play a prank on Thomas. This, of course, is never seen or mentioned again, and by the season that followed (Season 17), he's back to his regular vermillion paint.
  • In the first episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, Rabbot crashes through the wall of Dr. Weird's lab during the Cold Open, leaving a Rabbot-shaped hole. In every subsequent Dr. Weird cold open, the hole is still there even 3 years later.
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