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Explaining things in an OverSimplified way.
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Describe OverSimplified here.
"I can't. My gout is acting up."

Have you ever wanted to brush up on a complex historical topic, but didn't want to devote the time to studying such a complex and intricate series of precedents that started to come together well before the actual event happened, and the consequences of which were felt long after the period ended?

OverSimplified is a YouTube channel dedicated to doing just that. It takes complex historical topics and boils them down to a few short minutes and some animation, but with lots of added humor and more than a few Running Gags to keep things interesting.

Now some of you might be thinking, "But TVTropes, YouTube didn't discover OverSimplified, the Vikings did."

And you would be wrong. I'm not sure why you'd think that.

OverSimplified (real name Stuart Webster) was created in 2016note  with a two-part video about World War I, later followed up with videos about Adolf Hitler, World War II, and the Cold War, as well as other mini-episodes covering such topics as the Falklands War, the Football War, and the Norman Conquest of 1066. It has since expanded to cover topics such as the French Revolution, the life of King Henry VIII, and even the Prohibition era of the United States.

As a whole, it comes across as a web series similar to Crash Course, but with longer videos, more humor, and more of an eye to the buildup and consequences of each central issue rather than just the meat of the issue itself.

    Topics Covered 

This web series contains examples of:

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  • Abusive Parents: A frequent issue among a number of world leaders:
    • The fathers of Stalin and Hitler were abusive drunks who physically assaulted their children. The "This enraged his father, who punished him severely" meme associated with the channel comes from that phrase being used to the point of Running Gag in the Hitler video.
    • Alexander III was verbally abusive as well as neglectful to his son, the future Nicholas II, calling him a "girly girl" and refusing to actually teach him how to be a ruler until just before his death.note 
  • The Ace:
    • Lu Bu. He was among the greatest warriors of his time and never lost a duel. Unfortunately, he also suffered from Chronic Backstabbing Disorder.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte was an excellent French general, so much so that Austria lost the war with France because of his groundbreaking military strategies while his peers were forced to retreat. This is expanded upon in the Napoleonic Wars videos, which mention that, statistically, he is the greatest military general in recorded history, while also managing to be a solid political ruler whose policies are still felt today.
    • Ulysses Grant was the best Union general in the American Civil War. Not only did he lead he personally lead his own army on daring and victorious campaigns, but as General-in-Chief he spent the last year of the war quarterbacking all Union armies, totaling over a million men across almost half a continent.
    • General Lee was a brilliant commander who led his army to many victories against the Union. Unfortunately his brilliance in tactics was not backed up by an equal skill in strategy, while Ulysses Grant had both more resources and the skill to co-ordinate them.
    • In his youth, Henry VIII was intelligent, handsome, charming, extremely popular, and had a lot of political support. He would lose many of these traits as he descended into tyranny, however.
  • Adipose Rex: Several. Per history, many of the monarchs or other rulers in OverSimplified's videos are very corpulent, usually due to their lavish lifestyles. They are usually drawn with pot bellies to signify this. The most prominent examples are Kings Louis XVI and Henry VIII, as well as the tyrannical Dong Zhuo, although in the former two's cases, they only became fat due to lack of exercising later in life, and were quite muscular in their youth.
  • Aerith and Bob: As a joke, it's common for irrelevant civilians or random soldiers, no matter where and no matter when, have names like Carl, Hank and Bob, that alongside more location-appropriate names.
  • The Alcoholic:
    • Ulysses Grant had a certain fondness for whiskey. His detractors tried to use this to get him fired. Lincoln simply suggests they give him more.
    • Rasputin loved alcohol, particularly vodka.
    • America itself, as detailed in "Prohibition", has a long history of alcohol manufacture and consumption, with a note that the average pre-Prohibition American drank three times as much alcohol than a comparable modern American.
  • All Crimes Are Equal: Robespierre, in the second French Revolution video, ordered people to be sent to the guillotine whether they were suspected political opponents or were simply committing petty infractions such as complaining about the price of bread, expressing sympathy for the deposed royal family, addressing a man as "Monsieur", or even looking like they're thinking anti revolutionary thoughts.
  • All for Nothing:
    • Despite his efforts, King Henry VIII failed to achieve any of his goals: conquer France and have a dynasty that lasts for hundreds of years.
    • The end of the Napoleonic Wars ultimately ended with the French monarchy back on top, causing people to comment that they sent a ton of people to the guillotine for nothing. It didn't help that once again, they were doing nothing to help the bottom class. Though in this case it's played with; they eventually kick the king out to replace him with Napoleon again, and even after Napoleon is finally removed it's noted in another video that the French would have two further revolutions, one of which removed the monarchy for good.
  • Anachronism Stew: Played for Laughs.
    • For example, a 2019 French Yellow Vest protester is seen among the Yellow Turbans during China's Three Kingdoms period.
    • King Louis giving Porsches to his nobles. They ask if they can have Lamborghinis next year.
    • Alois Hitler (Adolf Hitler's dad) makes a cameo in the Three Kingdoms era (way before he was born) to spank an eunuch. (This happens at around 6:14, if you're wondering.)
    • In the first American Civil War video, George Washington shows up in a meeting held by Abraham Lincoln to discuss his strategy and claim he's the best president of the US. Also, a Norman Rockwell painting is seen in Abraham Lincoln's childhood cabin. In the second American Civil War video, the Confederates are seen with a BTS-themed calendar, and Wilmer McLean's wife Martha is seen using a vacuum cleaner.
    • Young Henry VIII's toys included Power Ranger and Ninja Turtle action figures, a Game Boy, and an Etch-a-Sketch.
    • The Russian Tsars have late 20th-century rocket launchers with which to dispose of annoying ministers, and Emperor Meiji has a Gundam. Later, when Stalin and his gang launch his "quiet" heist, they're all armed with Cold War-era AKs and grenades in late 19th/early 20th century Russia. They're shown to have them back in the early 1800s as well during the age of Napoleon, and Napoleon borrows one to blow up his enemies after one of his many victories.
    • An unintentional example occurs in the WWI videos, which represent the U.S. with the current 50-star flag. This mistake is averted in the subsequent WWII videos, which use a period-correct 48-star flag.
    • Regardless of place or time period, money is invariably represented by U.S. dollar bills.
    • Jean-Paul Marat's bathtub is placed in a modern bathroom, complete with rubber ducky, scented candles, and bathmat that reads, "Life is a Beach."
    • The Pig War video has Americans placing McDonald's and driving mobility scooters wherever they manifest destiny.
    • In The First Punic War, an angry mob throws tomatoes to the Carthaginian politician. By that point of time, tomatoes were only cultivated in the American continent.
    • In the same episodes, people are constantly using computers and mobile devices whenever it's funny, for example, a Carthaginian politician checks the economic balance of Carthage in a mobile phone app.
    • The first American Civil War video and Pig War video feature cameos by Queen Victoria. However, they portray her in her iconic appearance as a matronly old lady, which is what she looked like towards the end of her reign. In both videos, the relevant scene is set in approximately the 1850s and should therefore be portraying a much younger Victoria.
    • In "The Emu War" video, Gov. Arthur Philip apparently saw Mel Gibson eating a koala, eating a death adder, eating an alligator eating a dingo when he first landed in Australia in 1788. Gibson is again sighted during the 1932 emu war, again eating a koala.
    • Royal parties is almost invariably depicted as a discotheque, complete with DJs, spotlights and electronic music.
  • And There Was Much Rejoicing:
  • Anti-Climax: Despite all the build-up, the Bolshevik Revolution was not an epic battle between them and the Provisional Government, but rather the Bolsheviks just walking into key buildings and taking control with very little resistance.
  • Anti-Climax Boss: invoked The "Battalion of Death" which guarded the Winter Palace and Russia's Provisional Government immediately surrendered when the Bolsheviks attacked the building.
  • Arch-Enemy: Lots of people hated William Harney, but Winfield Scott (Commander in Chief of America's military at the time) had a longstanding grudge against the guy going back almost ten years, and so was itching for a chance to take Harney down a few pegs when President Buchanan sent him to settle the San Juan Islands dispute.
  • Armor Is Useless: Averted. In the "War that Changed the English Language" video, one of the reasons that Harald Hardrada's vikings lost at Stamford Bridge was because they were caught off guard, which robbed them of the time needed to put on their armor. That factor likely decided the entire battle.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking:
    • At the start of the first American Revolution video Columbus is said to have stolen gold, jewelry, people and a hammock during his theft and murder spree in the Americas.
    • In the first Cold War video, an American official sells three secrets to the Soviets: The Allies' plan to tap the Soviets' communications, the address of an American agent in Moscow and the fact that the official would sometimes put on his wife's dresses, sit in the corner and cry for hours.
      Soviet Embassy receptionist: Very interesting.
    • To communist intellectuals, communism promised them a land where all were equal, workers weren't exploited, and where even you could get a girlfriend.
  • Art Evolution: The characters in his earlier videos are mostly just Palette Swaps of his own avatar or any variant thereof, with males and females used to sharing the same body type and having relatively limited, simplistic animations. Starting with World War II however, many important characters began receiving increasingly detailed heads and varied body shapes that visually correspond to how they looked in real life, and their animation quality had been vastly improved as well. By the point of the Prohibition video, it's escalated so much that the intro itself has been changed to fit the escalating animation quality.
  • Artistic License – History:
    • Despite the gags at the beginning of first French Revolution episode, King Louis XVI wasn't always an Adipose Rex. Based on historical records, he was quite tall for his time, standing at an impressive 6'4'', and was actually pretty muscular. In fact, he was the outdoors type, with hunting being one of his more passionate hobbies. It wasn't until his late thirties, after slacking off on exercising for years, that he became fat, and even then, he was more on the chubby side than obese.
    • The Civil War episodes include several gags portraying Ulysses Grant as a hard drinker, while actual historical evidence points strongly towards Grant being actually a severe lightweight whose occasional indulgences were pounced upon by envious rivals, especially John McClernand, using the partisan press, although the video does point out his enemies exploiting it.
    • The Civil War episodes also play slightly on the old myth that the Confederacy had better generals than the Union. This is only possible if one (like the video does) focuses mainly on Robert E. Lee and the Army of Northern Virginia, because elsewhere the Confederate generals were generally so inferior as to make Lee seem Surrounded by Idiots. In the end, the North found four men who could all competently lead major armies to victory: U.S. Grant, William T. Sherman, Phil Sheridan, and George Thomas. The South really only ever had Lee, and even that is debated since many historians now criticize Lee's overall strategy as too wasteful of Confederate manpower.note 
    • The second Hitler video portrays the Nazis as passing the Enabling Act to capitalize on Hindenburg's death. In reality, Hindenburg died a year after the Enabling Act was passed.
    • The episodes focusing on the first Punic War tell the popular tale that Marcus Atilius Regulus went to Rome, told them the terms Carthage had to offer, and then returned to certain death at Carthage to avoid breaking his vow not to flee, for which he had a naked statue of himself erected. This is not referenced as true by any major historians of the era, all of whom assume he died in captivity without ever being sent to issue Carthage's ultimatum.
    • Despite what it says in the Russian Civil War videos, nobody assumed Trotsky would succeed Lenin, not even Trotsky himself, as Trotsky was widely disliked by the rest of the Politburo and the partynote  and didn't have much of a power base in either (both due to him being disliked and his dislike of political intrigue). Lenin's Testament was critical of almost every major Bolshevik leader, including Trotsky, and he was worried that if steps weren't taken to check both Stalin and Trotsky's negative traits, they'd create a split in the party. While he did express worry about Stalin's power in the first version and recommend it be checked, his call for Stalin's removal was added later, and he stated it was because Stalin was "too coarse" to continue as General Secretarynote .
  • Ascended Extra:
    • King Louis XVI appeared only twice in the second American Revolution video, but he became significantly more prominent in the French Revolution videos.
    • Vladimir Lenin only appeared twice in the first Cold War video, but he becomes more important in The Russian Revolution videos.
    • George Pickett and Winfield Scott were only mentioned briefly in the American Civil War videos, but they went on to be more prominently featured in the Pig War video.
  • Attack! Attack! Attack!: Napoleon was a master of this, pushing an aggressive battlefield strategy that allowed him to outflank and destroy numerically superior foes multiple times over the course of his career. Deconstructed though on a larger scale- Napoleon's aggressiveness when dealing with other powers meant he had few reliable allies to back him up in the event he got into another war, and the constant fighting such aggressiveness produced ultimately bled France dry and tanked his popularity.
  • Ax-Crazy:
    • Jean-Paul Marat, due to being confined to a bath-tub of medicine, has little else to do other than encourage violent revolution. He is depicted with a twitching eye and pulsing veins, making him look unhinged compared to other characters.
    • The American customs agent who discovers the British farming settlement on San Juan Island, a rather intense gentleman with an unstable temper who tries to talk to sheep (apparently successfully, though considering that said sheep also accuses him of being "a nutjob who talks to sheep" it may just be in his head), is constantly threatening to eat people's / sheep's eyes, and when the British get fed up with him and empower a magistrate to evict him, he emerges with "four pistols and a giant knife", prompting them to withdraw. Similarly to Marat, he's drawn with wild, veiny eyes.
    • Jimmy the Arsonist, who also has a twitchy look. He smiles...but only when he's burning Moscow to the ground.

  • Baguette Beatdown: The random Yellow Vest protester that joins the Yellow Turbans in "Three Kingdoms" has a baguette instead of a spear.
  • The Backwards Я: Appeared once in the intro card for the first part of his Cold War episode.
  • Bad "Bad Acting": George Remus sent his men to dress up as mobsters and pretend to intercept his own trucks carrying illegal booze. None of the men do a good job acting and they all have very unconvincing performances. One man even breaks into tears when one of the other men insults him, since he went off-script.
  • Bad Guys Do the Dirty Work: As part of their scorched earth policy against Napoleon, the Russians release the prisoners and have them burn Moscow to the ground.
    Prison Guard: Jimmy the Arsonist, you are not gonna believe your luck.
  • The Bad Guy Wins:
    • The only winners of the Football War were the rich American banana companies that took the bananas of Honduras tax free, which ruined the Central American country's economy.
    • Played for Laughs in the Emu War. The video calls the emus evil, and the emus win the war against Australia.
    • The Russian Civil War was a free for all between various factions, with the most prominent being the Communist Reds led by Lenin and the Royalist Whites backed by a number of other industrial powers. Each side had its share of atrocities, but the ultimate winner of the war was Joseph Stalin, who used the war to weaken his political rivals and take power after Lenin's death, proving to be a far worse autocrat and butcher than anyone else that came before him.
  • Bald of Evil: The World War II video begins explaining how Benito Mussolini became a fascist and went on his way to become dictator of Italy... before ending with him on a barber's chair, who asks him how he wants his haircut. He says to go with bald.
  • Bait-and-Switch:
    • "The War of the Bucket" seeds the over-the-top adoration the Bolognese people have for their town's water-well bucket throughout the video, cutting from the discussions of pre-Renaissance conflicts between religion and politics to show them getting increasingly obsessed with the bucket until they're shown to worship it as a god at one point. Then, the point comes where the bucket is apparently stolen by thieves from Modena, with one character threatening violent war on Moderna in revenge... only to find the bucket and, relieved, point out at length what an utterly stupid reason for going to war that would be. The narrator then informs us that this is just a legend, the war was actually started because the Modenese had captured a Bolognan fort, and the bucket was just taken as a mocking war trophy (apparently, the people of Modena had more advanced well technology than the people of Bologna).
    • At one point during "The Pig War", the narrator suggests that there's absolutely no way that the ambiguous question of the ownership of San Juan Island and the others "won't cause anyone to DIE", in an ominous and slightly explody fashion that suggests that this is very much what will happen. As it turns out, however, it doesn't; while things get hairy at several points, cooler heads prevail. The only casualty of the Pig War was the pig itself.
  • Batman Gambit: In "The Pig War", after General Scott comes to San Juan Island to deal with Harney and Pickett, Scott demotes Pickett, puts a new guy in charge, and tells Harney not to antagonize the British any further or put Pickett back in command. Scott knows full well that Harney will disobey these orders as soon as Scott's back is turned, so he leaves the room and only pretends to walk away. Sure enough, the first thing Harney does is fire the new guy and put Pickett back in charge. Scott is able to catch Harney red-handed, beats the bajeezus out of Harney with a belt, and has Harney entirely removed from San Juan Island before he can cause any more trouble.
  • Beat Without a "But": This is the main gag of a scene in their video of the First Punic War, after the Romans turn their efforts towards Carthage, with a Carthaginian general seemingly setting up a Rousing Speech, only to just end on the threat of a grisly mass death.
    Carthaginian General: Okay guys, looks like the Romans are coming straight for us this time. And what will they do when they get here? They'll kill us all.
    (Crowd gasps)
    Carthaginian General: They'll massacre each and every last one of us. They may even chop our pets in half.
    Rob: That's barbaric!
    Mary: Who will protect us?
    Carthaginian General: Funny you should ask, Mary. That's kind of why I called this meeting. Who will protect us? Protect our families, our homes, our children? You guys? Ha, don't make me laugh. Why, you're just a bunch of stupid and weak farmers. Simple-minded buffoons, cowards, fools. Rob here thinks enslaving women and children is barbaric. You're a snowflake, Rob. Yes, you are. The fact is if the Romans manage to land on African soil, we're all gonna die a terrifying, hideous, unspeakably painful death.
    Rob: Is that the end of that speech?
    Carthaginian General: Yes.
  • Became Their Own Antithesis: In "Henry VIII", Henry starts out as a friendly, generous, charming, fun-loving and devoutly Catholic person who is initially welcomed on the throne as a nice change from his paranoid and tyrannical father, and who has been taught to avoid gluttony, not to be mean and to "not violate widows". He becomes increasingly gluttonous, cruel and ruthlessly disposing of his wives when they fail to serve his purposes, ending his reign as a paranoid and unhealthy tyrant.
  • Berserk Button:
    • Do not tell the people of Bologna that their bucket is "just a bucket".
    • Don't call Napoleon short. He's of average height for the time, thank you very much!
  • Bestiality Is Depraved: Charles Griffin has a very suspicious relationship with his pig, which is played for laughs.
  • Big "NO!":
    • In "The Russian Revolution", Vladimir Lenin had this reaction whenever he learned his mother-in-law was going to be staying.
    • In "The Pig War", this is James Douglas's typical reaction to having glubby Americans overrun his pristine corner of the British Empire in the Pacific Northwest. It happens twice. And then he flashbacks to them. Twice.
  • Big Stupid Doo Doo Head: A member of the Third Estate of France (Everyone not in the clergy or nobility) proposes a motion that the First and Second Estates (clergy and nobility respectively) are a bunch of poo poo heads after they vote to raise taxes on the poor. Because all Estates have one vote and the First and Second teamed up against the Third, the motion fails.
  • Blatant Lies: Henry VIII had doctors say he was a fine specimen of a man (and that they would jump his bones if they were women) despite Henry being grossly obese with smelly, oozing puss wounds.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: A subtle, inconsistent example. In the intro of the Three Kingdoms video, a bird Rick-rolls the audience by singing "永不会放弃你,永不会放下你" (literally "Never gonna give you up, never gonna let you down" in Simplified Chinese), but the latter part is translated literally, with the implication of the singer having lifted "you" up and is swearing to never put "you" back down again, rather than the singer swearing to never disappoint "you" (the more figurative and actual meaning of the phrase). The fai chun Rick-rolling the audience in the middle of the episode (in the Diaochan segment) provide a more accurate translation of the lyricsnote .
  • Body Horror:
    • After his jousting accident and with his health deteriorating, Henry VIII's broken legs had ulcers that would often leak pus.
    • Jean-Paul Marat had a skin disease that was bad enough to keep him confined to a bathtub.
  • Bolt of Divine Retribution: In the Civil War video, when the Union and the Confederate soldiers camp at opposite sides of the Fredericksburg river, soldiers from both sides began arguing, saying God is on their side. Cue lightning striking both soldiers.
    Union Soldier: Agh! Dude, uncool.
  • Boring, but Practical: Simply running away from an extremely dangerous enemy; be it 3 Australian soldiers with machine guns or Napoleons massive army (numbering an estimated 650,000 strong) is a surprisingly effective tactic.
  • Both Sides Have a Point:
    • In the American Revolution video, they point out that the colonies were right to be angry that Parliament could raise their taxes without their input. However, they also pointed out that the British were raising taxes because of all the money they spent protecting the colonies during the French and Indian War.
    • In their French Revolution video, they portray the Revolution as a legitimate reaction to widespread oppression, greed, and wealth inequality while also showing Robespierre and his followers as insane, bloodthirsty extremists.
    • In the Russian Revolution video, they once more point out, in even blunter terms than its two predecessors, that the Russian people were wholly justified in their hatred for the utterly useless Nicholas II and the Tsarist system in general, especially in light of how wildly out of step it was with the democracies and constitutional monarchies seen in almost literally every other nation on Earth. By the same token, they pull no punches in portraying Vladimir Lenin as an egomaniacal asshole, Joseph Stalin as a bloodthirsty brute, and the vast majority of the Bolsheviks as violent thugs. The dichotomy mostly serves to highlight the misfortune and desperation of the Russian people as a whole, in the face of genuinely horrible options on either side of them.
    • Their video on Prohibition addresses the rampant alcoholism in America pre-Prohibition while also addressing the many flaws of Prohibition, including the difficulty of enforcement, the enrichment of criminals, and the widespread gang violence.
  • Bread, Eggs, Milk, Squick:
    • When Tsar Alexander II is assassinated:
      "See? The people love me! They're throwing flowers, confetti... and HIGH GRADE EXPLOSIVES?!" (Boom)
    • The Russian Revolution episode opens with a little boy who travels the world and meets a French politician, a British train conductor, a German lederhosen factory worker, and a starving Russian serf.
    • The narrator listing the things that Napoleon did away with after he came to power:
      "Corrupt government officials? Throw 'em in the trash! Bad infrastructure? Throw it in the trash! Women's rights? Throw 'em in the trash!... wait, really?"
    • The narrator describing when and where Americans drank before the Prohibition:
      "Amerixans drink at work. They drink at barn raisings, baptisms, and public hangings."
  • Breaking the Fourth Wall: While the series frequently leans on the Fourth Wall for the sake of a gag, one of the most notable Fourth Wall breaks occurs in the "Russian Revolution" videos when Lenin learns that the Tsarist Revolution, the second Revolution to take place in Russia, has already ended.
    Lenin: Aw come on! I missed another one? Why am I even in this video?!
  • Break the Cutie: Jimmy, the young boy from The Russian Revolution video who goes on a tour of early 20th century Europe. After seeing the freedom of France, the prosperity of Britain, and the industry of Germany, he goes to Russia where he is confronted by a starving serf in a barren wasteland who decides she might eat him.
  • Brick Joke:
    • In part one of "Cold War", Nikita Khruschev gloats to Richard Nixon about about the Soviet Union's technological advantages over the west, to which Nixon can only lamely respond by showing off a potato peeler. In part two, after the ongoing funnelling of Soviet money and resources into the military takes its toll, a Soviet citizen miserably tries to peel a potato with a shoe, only to see a billboard across the road showing off the benefits of defecting to the West... including potato peelers.
    • In "Prohibition", the anti-German sentiment that brewed during the first World War caused some German things to be renamed, like Sauerkraut becoming Liberty Cabbage. Later when going into detail about the Volstead Act outlawing everything over .5% ... which includes Liberty Cabbage.
  • Bring My Brown Pants: Francis, Emperor of Austria, poops his pants multiple times in fear whenever Napoleon turns up to the Monarch Parties.
  • Broken Pedestal: King Henry VIII lost all respect for the Pope after the Pope said he couldn't divorce his wife.
  • Brutal Honesty: The Carthaginians were not amused at their leader bluntly telling them the Romans were going to kill them all if they arrived. Xanthippus called him out on this, reminding him that politicians usually lie to people.
  • Bullying a Dragon:
    • Duke William II of Normandy's enemies kept insulting the Duke over his bastard heritage and his mother being a tanner's daughter. The Duke punished them by cutting off their arms.
    • Argentina attacked the Falklands, provoking the British into sending several ships, aircraft, and soldiers to retake the islands.
    • Nicholas II seeks out a weak country he can fight a quick war with and gain some popularity. The target? Japan, which had been rapidly modernizing to match Western European powers while Russia had only just come out of Medieval Stasis. The resulting Russo-Japanese War was an embarrassing defeat for the Russians and only tanked Nicholas' popularity further.
  • Bungled Suicide: Napoleon attempted to take his life with a vial of poison after being exiled to Elba, but the poison had expired, so all it did was give him a terrible stomachache.
  • Butt-Monkey: Francis II of Austria is Napoleon's personal punching bag, getting punished severely every single time Napoleon defeated a Coalition against him and pooping himself twice in Napoleon's presence.
  • Cardboard Prison: Napoleon's first exile was to the island of Elba, off the coast of Italy. He had a comfortable life, could receive visitors, and even got a pension from the French government (or would have if Louis XVIII didn't refuse to pay him). When he decided he liked being Emperor of France more and was deposed again, the British sent him to Saint Helena under heavy guard to make sure he stayed there.
  • Call-Back:
    • America continuing to find ways not to pay off debts.
    • Hitler's Dad punishing a corrupt eunuch severely in Ancient China
    • Stalin mentioning that his father punished him severely.
    • Several in the Russian Revolution video:
      • First, guess what Nicholas II says when Alexander III dies?
        Nicholas II: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!
      • Also, right before the Germans put Lenin on a train to Petrograd, a scene similar to the one right before the intro of the Cold War video plays out. This time, the German guy fails to pronounce “revolution”.
      • Early in the Cold War video, when Lenin is in his deathbed, he tells someone to not let Stalin take over as the leader of Russia, only to die right after he finds out he put Stalin in charge of giving people jobs. In the end of the Russian Revolution video that same exchange plays again, ending with the other person saying "Whoa, Déjà Vu."
      • Also in the Cold War video, Stalin states "if that's not free and fair, I don't know what is!" while having all of the territory from WWII be Communist. When in the Russian Revolution videos, when Lenin has him "finance" i.e. start a heist, he ask him to do it quietly. On the heist;
        Stalin: (guns blazing and explosions in the background) If this isn't quiet, I don't know what is!
      • And then when Alexander Kerensky realized he just gave the Bolsheviks a bunch of guns and they were not interested in giving them back?
    • While Napoleon did ditch his first wife with one that would give him a male heir, Henry VIII is seen peeking through the window while the narrator mentions that he at least didn't behead her.
    • Napoleon considers the conflicting claims to power that plagued the Holy Roman Empire as described in "War of the Bucket" when he's preparing to become Emperor, ultimately deciding to cut out the middle man and crown himself without the Pope's assistance.
  • The Cameo:
    • Spaghetti Jeff has made a cameo in every video since his first appearance in "The War of the the Bucket".
    • Dr. Spanky from "Prohibition" makes an appearance at Napoleon's Elban court alongside Spaghetti Jeff.
  • Cargo Cult: The people of Bologna really love that bucket (not enough to start a war over, though).
  • Catchphrase:
    • "This enraged his father, who punished him severely."
    • "And so it was!"
    • "And [X action], [Y subject] did."
    • Returns from adbreaks will be heralded with "Now, where was I? Oh yeah; [X slightly out-of-context point], [Y more recent slightly out-of-context point] and [Z slightly out-of-context point that brings us up to date]."
  • A Child Shall Lead Them: The Han dynasty of China was led by child emperor after child emperor. Their complete inexperience and inability to rule led them to transfer the power to the eunuchs, who then began scheming.
  • Chronic Backstabbing Disorder: Lu Bu, who had betrayed everyone he ever fought for. This gave him an untrustworthy reputation, which is why Cao Cao had him executed rather than recruiting him and thus risk being on the receiving end of a betrayal.
  • Cluster Bleep-Bomb: The details of Rasputin's parties are heavily bleeped out with demonetization symbols plastered over the animation.
    OverSimplified: Not only was [Rasputin] a big fan of alcohol, but he'd also throw these crazy parties with the Russian nobility, where he [bleep] and [bleep] and [bleep] all night long and then he'd [bleep] his whole head [bleep] hypnotic eyes [bleep] and nobody knew how the goat got on the roof.
  • Confusing Multiple Negatives: When negotiating the invasion of Poland, Hitler promises Stalin he definitely won't not refrain from not betraying him in the future.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • William of Normandy calls his cousin Harold a bastard after learning Harold crowned himself King of England instead of giving the crown to William as promised, which one of his advisors says he thought William was the Bastard (a joke about William's infamous nickname, William the Bastard), which shocks both William and a messenger, with one of them saying how uncool that was.
    • When President Kennedy is shown the spy photos of Cuba the first thing he notices is the cute dog in the corner, rather than the Soviet missiles.
  • Cool Old Lady: Carrie Nation, a sweet old lady who breaks into saloons and destroys them with an ax.
  • Crippling Overspecialization: Carthage was incredibly dominant on the sea, but completely incompetent when it came to land warfare.
  • Curse Cut Short:
    • In the Emu War video, after trying (and failing) to gun down the emus with a turret truck, Major Meredith's just about had enough of the camera crew recording every single one of his Epic Fails on film.
      Maj. Meredith: I'm gonna shove that camera up your a-
    • Of the Cut to Another Scene type, in the first American Revolution video, in which King George III says "What. The. Fu-" before the narrator interrupts with exposition and the scene is changed to one featuring the British Parliament.
    • Marat only gets out "Yippee Kai Yay motherf-" before he's stabbed to death.
    • In "The Pig War" video, when one character mentions the sponsor NordVPN, the other one asks "What the f—" before the scene changes to the advertisement.
  • Cuteness Proximity: Marat, who coos over his rubber ducky when he finds it, between bouts of bloodthirsty calls for the French First and Second Estates' heads.
  • Damn, It Feels Good to Be a Gangster!: As a result of Al Capone making sure to keep a good relationship with the public, many people began to romanticize gang life.
  • Dark and Troubled Past: Before Adolf Hitler became a dictator, he suffered the wrath of an abusive father, the death of his little brother while both of them were still kids, and lived a harsh life as a homeless man after he failed to get into art school.
  • Deadly Euphemism: While talking to the press, Al Capone uses euphemisms to refer to murder. A reporter catches on and questions him about it, only for Capone to deny it and then immediately use more euphemisms.
  • Death by Childbirth: Henry VIII's mother, Queen Elizabeth of York, died in childbirth when Henry was only 12. And thirty years later, he would similarly lose his third wife Jane Seymour after giving birth to their son Edward.
  • Decadent Court:
    • "Court Culture" in the Three Kingdoms video, featuring power-hungry eunuchs, scheming uncles, and child emperors, all vying for power.
    • The French court. Parties on the backs of starving poor citizens, even as France was spiraling into economic ruin.
    • Russia under the Tsars; royalty and nobility enjoyed parties and vast splendor while the rest of the country was stuck in Medieval Stasis.
  • Defector from Decadence:
    • Several French soldiers left the French military and joined the revolutionaries' national guard due to them wanting to side against the unpopular monarchy.
    • Leading up to the 1917 Revolution, Russian soldiers deserted in droves as Nicholas II's reign became more and more unpopular, with some joining with the revolutionaries to overthrow the Tsar.
  • Deliberate Values Dissonance: The Punic Wars videos poke fun at several wartime practices in the ancient world, such as massacring towns, taking the survivors of said massacres as slaves, and chopping pets in half, which seem barbaric to us now but were perfectly acceptable at the time.
  • Destination Defenestration:
    • Pope John XII was thrown out a window after a man found him fooling around with his wife which somehow caused an explosion.
    • Mussolini is shown being thrown out of a window (non-fatally) twice; first by his anti-war political party when he changed to pro-war, and again when he was removed from power.
    • The Provisional Government tosses the recently deposed Nicholas II out a window following the February Revolution of 1917.
  • The Determinator: The conclusion Oversimplified came to regarding why the Romans won the First Punic War: No matter how bad it got and how many losses they suffered, the Romans NEVER gave up, almost always possessing the initiative against the Carthaginians and willing to go the extra mile over their enemies. This gave them just the edge in resolve they needed to eventually force Carthage to a humiliating peace even after 23 years of exhausting war. This is partially due to Roman military culture, which placed heavy emphasis on victory and aggressive conquest and partially due to the Romans' ability to copy other culture's weapons and improve on them.
  • Demoted to Extra: Great Britain was one of the most prominent countries in the "World War II" videos. In the Cold War videos, the country is mentioned a couple of times during the beginning of the first video, but after that, the spotlight is given to the conflict between the United States of America and the Soviet Union.
  • Didn't See That Coming: In the Russian Revolution series, Alexander Kerensky didn't seem to see anything coming out of him giving lots of power to the wrong people, whether it's General Kornilov's coup, Leon Trotsky's hidden agenda, or the Bolshevik's eventual uprising.
  • Didn't Think This Through:
    • King Louis XVI decides to provide funding and military support to the American Revolution in order to get revenge on Great Britain's victory in the Seven Years War. All this does was make the financial crisis in France even worse. Louis points out this crisis to George Washington, hoping that the latter would pay back some money, but Washington ignores him and leaves.
      King Louis XVI: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!
    • When King Louis XVI locks The National Assembly out of their meeting place, they simply decide to hold proceedings in another building (a tennis court, to be specific).
      King Louis XVI: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!
    • Robespierre decides to make a speech before the National Convention, where he announced he had a new list of enemies to be sent to the guillotine, that he wouldn't let anyone else see, and that many members of the Convention were on it. Cue the members of the Convention unanimously deciding to send Robespierre to the guillotine.
      Robespierre: OoOoh NoOooOoo!!
    • Trotsky's "brilliant" idea to negotiate better terms of peace with the Germans in World War I: order the Russian army to stop fighting, and when the Germans see the Russians aren't fighting anymore they'll have no reason to fight as well and go home. Instead, when the Germans saw the Russians weren't fighting any more, they gleefully decided it was actually a great opportunity to march deeper into Russia and gain more territory, while at the same time forcing the Russians back to the negotiating table with even worse terms than before that they couldn't do anything about but signing them.
    • Prohibitionists got alcohol banned, but didn't really think about what the next step was or even how to properly enforce the new laws (and furthermore, didn't have any alcohol for themselves if they got stressed out or just wanted a good time). Furthermore, they didn't stop to think that by banning alcohol outright, they were also making all the other useful laws related to alcohol practically unenforceable — after all, if there's a blanket ban on alcohol, who's gonna care about enforcing restrictions specifically on age consumption, public intoxication and indecency? Result: utter chaos and a widespread disregard for the rule of law.
    • George Pickett agrees to his superior officer William Harney's plan to use his troops to provoke a British response... not realizing until very late in the game that it would probably result in him and his soldiers getting blown to bits by the Royal Navy.
  • Dirty Cop: All over the place during Prohibition, as it was particularly lucrative for cops to take bribes to ignore alcohol manufacture and distribution (if they weren't directly manufacturing and selling the stuff themselves).
  • Disc-One Final Boss: Nazi Germany started World War II, but the country ended up being the second of the three Axis Powers to take down. The final enemy of the war was Japan.
  • Distinction Without a Difference:
    • In the Civil War videos, there's this gem from McClellan:
      McClellan: I didn't lose! I merely failed to win!
    • Henry VIII isn't crying about Catherine Howard cheating on him! It's just that sometimes when he's sad, water comes out of his eyes!
  • Disproportionate Retribution:
    • Downplayed in Lenin's Establishing Character Moment, when he insults another man to tears for saying that Bed-time Bear was a better Care Bear than Tenderheart Bear.
    • When the laws behind Prohibition were being enforced, they often resulted in instances like this, such as a single mother getting a life sentence for operating a small still.
  • Double Speak: Before the Invasion of Poland, Hitler offers Stalin an alliance between their countries and in the exchange he promised that he won't refrain from not betraying Stalin sometime in the future.
    Stalin: Sounds… good.
  • The Dreaded:
    • Wayne Wheeler terrified politicians due to his ability to easily round up support against them, so much so that he was the only reason that those who supported alcohol pretended to be against it in public.
    • Napoleon Bonaparte was so feared by the other European powers that they worked to devise entire strategies to defeat him without having to engage him directly.
  • Driven to Suicide:
    • On the brink of defeat, Adolf Hitler chose to take his own life rather than flee or be captured.
    • Amelia Bolanos, a young Salvadorian football fan, was so grief stricken by her country's loss to Honduras in the first world cup qualifier that she took her own life. Shockingly, the Salvadoran government glorified her death and made her a national hero.
  • Drunk with Power: In the "French Revolution: Part-2," Robespierre starts abusing his power by executing anyone who questions his methods, and even begins a new religion, the Cult of the Supreme Being. While at the Festival for the Supreme Being:
    National Convention Member 1: Man, I think Robespierre is really starting to lose it. He thinks he's a god or something.
    National Convention Member 2: Nonsense! Sure, he's gone a little extreme, but he doesn't think he's a god!
    Robespierre: My children, bathe your immortal souls in the virtue of MY republic!
    National Convention Member 2: OK yeah. He's completely lost it.
  • Dry Crusader: The "Prohibition" video shows what happens when they get their wish. In particular, it spotlights the efforts of the WCTU, Carrie Nation, and Wayne Wheeler's Anti-Saloon League. Though Both Sides Have a Point is in play; the video points out that they weren't all just the self-righteous killjoy prudes that history has tended to paint them as, and that the widespread easy availability of alcohol — and the resultant social problems and disorder connected to it — was a genuine problem. Most of the Dry Crusaders in question really just wanted the genuinely insane amounts of binge drinking of the time (Americans of the time drank about three times the amount of alcohol as their modern counterparts) to be brought under control a bit, and in particular for extremely potent hard liquor to be a bit less ridiculously easy to acquire. Many Prohibitionists were also okay with, or at least willing to tolerate, "softer" alcohols like beer, and also opposed the total ban that was imposed. Furthermore, alcohol abuse was really just one of a wide-ranging list of issues that these movements were concerned with, many of which were actually quite progressive for the time. The problems mainly stemmed from the fact that their cause was hijacked by self-righteous Moral Guardians and populist opportunists who exclusively focussed on the 'ban all alcohol' part without thinking through all the implications, leading to an even worse breakdown of social order.
  • Early-Bird Cameo: In the second WW1 video, Tsar Nicholas II and Lenin both make cameos. However, Nicholas' appearance is drastically different from his appearance in the Russian Revolution videos.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: The first six videos are significantly shorter than the later ones. The two-part videos on "World War I" and Hitler are only 14 and 15 minutes long respectively; all the other two-part videos are 30+ minutes long together. The solo videos, the Falklands War and Football War, are under the 10 minute mark; all the other one-part videos are 10+ minutes long. All six of them are also the only videos to not have sponsors.
  • Early Personality Signs: As a child, Henry VIII manages to mispronounce "horse" as "divorce," "loaf of bread" as "off with her head," and "soap" as "screw the Pope." He also has two dolls with removed heads.
  • Eat the Rich:
    • The most immediate consequence of the French Revolution, as the back-broken poor revolted and took it out on the aristocracy.
    • In the "The Napoleonic Wars: Part-1", Napoleon is seen striking a deal with the Catholic Church as a way to gain support from the people, as many French still considered themselves Catholic. However, Napoleon had other motives to do so, because when a peasant family is shown eating a nobleman, the Narrator shows a quote attributed to Napoleon that goes: "Religion is useful to keep the poor from murdering the rich."
  • Embarrassing Nickname: Al Capone didn't like his moniker "Scarface", preferring "Snorky" instead.
  • Enemy Mine:
    • Edward the Confessor was not happy to find out the only way to maintain control of England was to make an alliance with the man who tortured his older brother Alfred to death.
    • Wayne Wheeler, the architect behind Prohibition, had a knack for getting groups that would otherwise hate each other (Blacks and White racists, for example) to team up against alcohol and alcohol-friendly institutions.
  • Enhance Button: Parodied in the "Pig War" video after the line between British and US territories has been finalized, the narrator is informed of a discrepancy and orders a zoom in on the line between Oregon Territory and British holdings followed by an enhance. He actually enhances it too much and winds up with an image of James Douglas on the latrine.
  • Entitled Bastard: Argentina claims ownership of the Falklands, but not only did the British discover the islands first, a vote was held where 99% of the people chose to be British. Even after losing the war for them, Argentina still claims the Falklands.
  • Epic Fail: Australia lost a war against emus.
  • Eunuchs Are Evil: The eunuchs that served the Chinese Emperor handed out government jobs for bribes, heavily taxed the poor, and killed several other people in the royal court so they could maximize their wealth.
  • Even Bad Men Love Their Mamas: Adolf Hitler loved his mother so much that the doctor said that he had never seen someone with more grief than him when his mother finally died.
  • Evil Chancellor: When Adolf Hitler became the German Chancellor, he murdered several political opponents and reporters that printed negative articles about him after the President passed away, and then he established a brutal dictatorship.
  • Explain, Explain... Oh, Crap!: In "The Pig War", Captain George Pickett went along with General William Harney's plan of military occupation in anticipation of a war. When Pickett refused to relent and found his encampment being surrounded by British warships with cannons aimed at them:
    Pickett: See Jeff, look at that! We're about to get blown to bits! All according to plan... hang on. OH CRAP, JEFF, WE'RE ABOUT TO GET BLOWN TO BITS! RUN!
  • Eye Scream:
    • Godwin murdered Edward the Confessor's brother Alfred by stabbing him in the eyes with a red hot iron poker.
    • Rumor has it that Godwin's son Harold was struck in the eye with an arrow at the Battle of Hastings.
  • Face–Heel Turn: A number of the more famous bootleggers during Prohibition were former lawyers and cops who were originally supposed to be enforcing the new law, but decided that there was more money to be had breaking it.
  • False Flag Operation: George Remus made a killing as a bootlegger via a complex one of these; he set up a pharmacy so he could legally buy alcohol, then set up a shipping company to distribute the alcohol. Once the shipments were being made, he would send his men out dressed as mobsters to hijack his own booze, which he would then collect and sell to illegal bars for a tidy profit.
  • False Reassurance: Lu Bu, reassuring every warlord he fought under that he wouldn't betray them.
  • Fat Bastard:
    • Dong Zhuo, the tyrannical warlord who seized control of China. It was said he was so bloated that his fat burned for days when his corpse was immolated by discontented citizens.
    • Henry VIII didn't start as this, and was quite handsome and generous in his youth. It was only after he stopped exercising due to a jousting accident and suffered potential brain damage that he began to bulk up and start chopping people's heads off with gusto.
    • Winfield Scott averts this, being the Only Sane Man on the American side during the Pig War.
  • Faux Horrific:
    • In the "Prohibition" video, 19th century America found the idea of women peacefully protesting and praying against excessive drinking to be this. Their totally reasonable responses including shutting down schools and businesses so that people would not have to see the protests, spraying the "dangerous praying women" with firehoses, and threatening to shoot them with a cannon.
    • Nicholas II is terrified of Father Gapon coming to his palace with a petition as part of a peaceful protest, and leaves the capital as soon as he hears about it.
  • Filthy Fun: The American colonies are shown playing in a mud puddle to illustrate how they could do whatever they wanted under the principle of, "salutary neglect."
  • Foreshadowing:
    • Lampshaded by name. King Louis XVI in the American revolution video thinks it's funny that his absolute monarchy was helping a number of discontented citizens overthrow their absolute monarchy, and wouldn't it be something if this inspired other sets of discontented citizens to overthrow their absolute monarchies?
      Oversimplified French Revolution: Coming 2027.note  invoked
    • Also referenced in the Civil War Part 1 video, where Wilmer McLean, looking to avoid the Civil Warnote , moved his family to the small town of Appomattox Court House, because it was someplace the war would never ever reach. The war would end in his house.
      Appomattox Court House (Foreshadowing!)
    • Hitler's various mistakes during WW2 are represented by him shooting a suction dart gun to a mirror and the suction darts ricocheting to his foot ("Just the foot for now"). When it was clear he was screwed, his shot hits his head to mark his suicide.
  • For Want Of A Nail: The Pig War. Thanks to one farmer shooting a pig, the United States and Great Britain nearly went to war in the 1840's. Although it suffered from escalation thanks to rising tension and several people acting like morons about the whole thing, the fact it came so close is lampshaded several times in the video on the Pig War. Winfield Scott, after learning that a pig nearly caused an international incident, calls everybody involved (except for the Royal Navy) an idiot. In addition, the whole pig-shooting incident probably wouldn't have happened if Lyman hadn't been extremely lazy and had bothered to put a proper fence around his crops.
  • Freeze-Frame Bonus:
    • During the lead up to WWI, when everyone is talking behind each others backs, you can see the various nations making petty insults about their rivals... ending with Spain simply saying "Que?".
    • One of the first things Tzar Nicholas did was to offer free pretzels and beer to a giant crowd. If you look very closely at said crowd, you can spot Waldo drawn in OverSimplified's art style.
    • When describing Alivi's account of the Romans fighting a "dragon" in the second First Punic War video, pausing will show it may have been a translation issue of them likely fighting a big snake, and an apology for the Take That, Audience! that was in the first part.
  • Freudian Excuse Is No Excuse: While making two episodes on the life of Adolf Hitler, the narrator pities him for losing his brother, his mother, enduring an abusive father through his formative years, and even becoming homeless for a period of time in his adulthood. However, it's very clear that none of these things excuse the atrocities he's committed and the narrator refers to him as one of the evilest men in history.
  • From Nobody to Nightmare:
    • Adolf Hitler went from a homeless guy on the streets to the brutal dictator of Germany, and he started the most destructive conflict in human history.
    • Josef Stalin was a failed priest who got his start as a "financier" (read, bank robber) for Lenin's Communists before manipulating his way into being the leader of the Soviet Union and becoming one of the most brutal tyrants of all time.
    • Napoleon started his life as the son of a very minor Corsican noble family, bullied for his accent and stature. He would go on to become Emperor of France and one of the most successful generals of all time, such that almost all of Europe feared him and united to take him down.
  • Full-Circle Revolution:
    • The French Revolution, which started as the quest to take control of France from the upper class and monarchy and led to Napoleon Bonaparte becoming dictator over the revolutionaries' republic, and the French nobility eventually regained their power following Napoleon's downfall (for a little while before the next revolutions, anyway).
    • The Russian Revolution started as a way to reform (and later overthrow) an ineffective autocracy under the Tsar, only to be replaced by another autocracy under the Communists.
    • Downplayed with "Henry VIII" as it's not quite a revolution and it's not really laboured upon; nevertheless, it's mentioned that towards the end of his reign Henry VII became paranoid, distrustful and tyrannical, leading everyone to breathe a sigh of relief when he passes and Henry VIII ascends to the throne. Henry VIII starts off as a generous, good-hearted and amicable king, but as his reign continues and problems arise, he becomes increasingly jaded, disappointed and disillusioned by the people around him, until he ends his reign as a paranoid, distrustful tyrant.
  • Funny Background Event: In part 2 of the Russian Revolution video, a rioting peasant can be seen throwing a lit torch at a building... except it bounces off the building and explodes in his face.
  • Fun with Subtitles: There's plenty of funny remarks in the subtitles.
  • General Failure:
    • On top of being quite vain, General George McClellan was so overly cautious that he would hesitate to attack, even when the odds were severely in his favor. After losing the Battle of Richmond, and refusing to pursue General Lee after he was pushed out of Union territory, Lincoln had enough and fired him.
    • Conrad Von Hotzendorff, the commander of the Austria-Hungarian army in World War I, wasn't the best strategist. And Austria-Hungry would regularly ignore Germany's advice during the war, only to come back and ask for their help later.
    • Tsar Nicholas II thought the best way to win World War I for Russia was to lead the army himself, despite having no experience in military matters and the last time he started a war (the Russo-Japanese War) was an embarrassing loss for Russia. Russia actually started losing harder once he took command, and Nicolas' failure was seen as one more cause for the start of the 1917 revolution that would depose him.
    • All of Carthage was this when fighting on land - they often horribly mismanaged their troops, like putting cavalry on rough terrain and using mercenaries who spoke many different language without having leaders in charge who could do the same. The sole exception was Hamilcar Barca who caused a great deal of difficulty to the Romans through his guerrilla warfare campaign. Notably, his son would eventually grow up to be one of the most feared figures in Roman history.
  • General Ripper: In the Pig War, Douglas on the British side, and Harney and Pickett on the American side. Though Pickett stops being one when Winfield Scott takes command, actually becoming friends with his British counterpart during the joint military occupation of San Juan. Douglas and Harney have no such luck, deliberately egging things on until it's close to open bloodshed. The former was due to hatred of Americans, and the latter was from being a Glory Hound who thought winning a quick war could elevate his political standing.
  • Glory Hound: Quite a few historical figures will start wars or battles in a pursuit of personal glory. This doesn't always end up working out for them.
    • Henry VIII wanted to be remembered as a glorious and powerful king, and launched several invasions into France for that expressed purpose. While he was generally successful, his wars bankrupted England and whatever gains he might have taken were quickly taken back or returned to the French soon after.
    • Horatio Gates first stole credit for the decisive victory at Saratoga from the much more talented Benedict Arnold, then talked his way into leading the southern campaign against Gen. Cornwallis while gloating his victory would lead to him taking Washington's job. He was quickly routed and Washington had the much more competent Nathanael Greene take over.
    • British General Howe abandoned what could have been a devastating pincer attack that would have split the Northern Colonies from the rest of the United States for a chance to be the one to capture Philadelphia, then capitol of the U.S. The move led to the Americans rallying and defeating the other wing of the British army at Saratoga, which in turn inspired France and Spain to directly intervene and declare war on Britain. George III fired Howe for this.
    • William S. Harney, United States General in charge of the Department of Oregon around the time of the San Juan Islands dispute. Harney gained a reputation for insubordination and recklessness in the years before, surviving only because he was well connected with politicians in Washington, and when he got word of the incident with the pig he quickly stepped in and escalated the situation to the point that British and American forces almost went to war with one another. Why? Historians aren't sure, but one theory is that Harney hoped to engineer a conflict he could quickly win and gain some glory for greater advancement, possibly even a run for the Presidency.
    • Marcus Attilius Regus takes the risk of attacking Carthage itself and ignoring Sicily, just so he can get naked statues of himself.
  • A God Am I:
    • Robespierre at the height of his Motive Decay, shown dressing in a toga and giving long-winded sermons on the glory of his Republic while his former supporters worry he's setting himself up as a godlike figure.
    • Napoleon's advisor Pierre asks him if Napoleon has aspirations of godhood after he seems dissatisfied with being "just an emperor". He ends up putting him down as a "Maybe".
  • Gold Digger:
    • Alois Hitler is a rare male example. He married an older lady precisely because she was rich.
    • Napoleon married his first wife Josephine because she was rich, despite her being older than him and having a reputation for promiscuity. While they did grow to genuinely love each other, they eventually divorced so Napoleon could marry a younger woman who could give him an heir.
    • Implied in regards to Founding Father John Dickenson as he is introduced as "guy who married a rich lady."
  • Gone Horribly Wrong: Prohibition. What started as a social movement to ease America's reliance on alcohol got hijacked by unscrupulous Moral Guardians who banned alcohol altogether. Not only did this result in damage to America's fifth largest industry, inconsistent enforcement of the rules meant that people had plenty of loopholes to exploit and get alcohol, and corruption skyrocketed as cops and lawyers who were supposed to be enforcing the laws realized they could make loads of money smuggling and manufacturing alcohol for themselves, or just taking a bribe from other sources. Then organized crime got in on the act and led to the rise of bloodthirsty gangers like Al Capone, who ran rampant through American cities with the government unable to stop them. Then the Great Depression hit, and Americans were up in arms over the vast social degradation and rising economic downturn. When Franklin Roosevelt repealed Prohibition shortly after becoming president, the citizens celebrated as if they'd just won a World War.
  • Groin Attack: The lone viking who held off the English at Stamford Bridge was killed when some soldiers went under it and stabbed him in the crotch with a spear.

  • Had to Be Sharp: Duke William II spent most of his childhood avoiding assassination attempts, which might of contributed to him becoming a tough and brutal man.
  • Hair-Trigger Temper: Alois Hitler had a temper that resulted in him getting angry very quickly over small things, and his son, Adolf, inherited this temper.
  • Hammer and Sickle Removed for Your Protection: The Soviet flag is represented with a hammer and pickle instead of a hammer and sickle. Get it, 'cause they rhyme.
  • Happiness Is Mandatory: Nikita Khruschev's view on how to run the Soviet Union was that everyone should be happy. While he did pass some reforms allowing freedom of expression at first, he censored anything that he didn't personally enjoy and brutally suppressed anyone who spoke out in protest.
  • Harmful to Minors: A young Tsar Nicholas is forced to look at his grandfather, who has recently been blown up by a terrorist. His grandfather proceeds to rave that he too shall suffer the same fate one day. He's understandably terrified by the sight.
  • Hated by All: General Harney was disliked by the rest of the military's commanding officers for being an idiot who blatantly disrespected authority.
  • Head-in-the-Sand Management:
    • Stalin's refusal to heed Churchill and Roosevelt's warnings is depicted as him, literally, diving into a pile of sand.
    • The United Kingdom and France did nothing to stop Hitler's blatant aggression and treaty violations in the years before World War II. Letting Germany rebuild its army, create an air force, and annex Austria.
    • King Louis XVI ignores all of the signs of the impending French Revolution until its too late for him to do anything about it. Even when he does try to do something, his inexperience leads to him making the situation worse.
    • President Hoover ignored the increasing evidence that Prohibition wasn't working (save for his obsession with arresting Al Capone), even deliberately misreading reports to say otherwise. It ended up being one of the many reasons he got blown out by Franklin Roosevelt in the 1932 Election.
    • President Buchanan is depicted trying to hide behind a curtain after being told that the southern states are planning to secede and that it is his job to fix it.
  • Heart Is an Awesome Power: During the Russian Revolution, General Kornilov with the power of trained soldiers goes against Trotsky with the power of... workers. What can workers do against trained soldiers? Quite a lot actually; redirecting transport, sabotaging communication lines, infiltrating their ranks and convincing the soldiers to desert...
  • Heir Club for Men: Henry VIII is an extreme supporter of this. Much of his historical infamy can be boiled down to his queens being unable to bear him a son. To his woe, most of his children ended up being female, many of which he effectively disowned until Catherine Parr convinced him to reinstate his daughters, Mary I and Elizabeth I, to the line of succession. He ultimately had one short-lived male heir, Edward VI.
  • Here We Go Again!: The fall of the Soviet Union sees new democratic regimes pop up in former Soviet territories, so everyone in the world got along perfectly fine, right?
    (Cue images of Donald Trump, Vladimir Putin, Xi Jinping, and various other world leaders glaring daggers at one another as a Scare Chord plays)
  • Hero with Bad Publicity:
    • Despite opposing slavery, Abraham Lincoln had a lot of detractors during the American Civil War. This is because of some ethically dubious choices he made, like arresting southern sympathizers without trial, and suppressing news articles sympathetic towards the south. The fact that he wanted to preserve the Union by winning the war while many others wanted the war to end didn't help.
    • Ulysses S. Grant was criticized for being a butcher due to the staggering casualties he suffered in his battles, particularly the ones against Robert E. Lee. Lincoln kept him on because at least he was doing something, and his tactics were working in the long run.
  • Heterosexual Life-Partners: Tsar Nicholas and Rasputin were very close. OverSimplified even calls them "the weirdest bromance in history".
  • High-Pressure Blood: Prince Alexi's hemophilia is depicted as this, with geysers of blood popping out of him whenever he's brought on screen.
  • Historical Domain Character: Because this is a history YouTube channel, many of these characters are based off of real historical figures and are depicted with Oversimplified character models with more detailed faces.
  • History Repeats:
    • In "The Three Kingdoms" video, the population of Ancient China always overthrew the current dynasty once it got corrupt, and this process repeated itself for centuries.
    • The introductions to both the Korean and Vietnam Wars in "Cold War" are identical:
      "And the country was divided into two. In the north, a communist regime, and in the south, an anti-communist regime. Both were led by very sweet-looking old men, but don't let that deceive you. They were both ruthless dictators, and both dreamed of reuniting Korea/Vietnam under their own regime."
    • The American Revolution happened because people didn't like paying high taxes, and several years later, the French Revolution happened because people didn't like paying high taxes.
    • The parallels between Napoleon and Hitler's invasions into Russia ended up the same result — when winter hit, Russia fought back with ease. Both videos even use the same phrase to describe when winter hit, as a Call-Back.
      It got cold. Stupid cold.
    • When deciding on the border between the United States and Britain's territories in North America following the former winning the Revolutionary War, the American and British politicians settle the debate by sitting in silence, before deciding "Straight line?" "Straight line." When they reexamine the issue following the Louisiana Purchase and the War of 1812, the border is discussed in exactly the same way.
  • Hope Spot: A particularly cruel one for Abraham Lincoln. As the Civil War drew to a close, he seemed to be looking forward to leading a country at peace and told his wife that, after all the tragedy they had suffered, it was time for them to be happy. Of course, he never got that chance.
  • Hypocritical Humor:
    • Queen Victoria is appalled by the evil of slavery after reading Uncle Tom's Cabin, but refuses to do anything about the starving children working in the coal mines.
    • Lyman is disgusted at Charles Griffin for being in love with his pig, even though he himself is in love with his potato, whom he calls Spuddy.
    • King Henry VIII was devastated when he learns that Catherine Howard had cheated on him, despite having cheated on all of his previous wives.
    • Charles V of Spain decides he doesn't want to marry Henry VIII's daughter Mary anymore, calling her "ugly". Henry is flabbergasted by this, pointing out Charles isn't all that handsome himself, especially considering his large chin.
      Charles V: Mummy says it's a strong chin for a strong boy!
    • Wayne Wheeler's opponents accused him of acting like he's Caesar. Wayne denies this, then releases the lions on them.
    • Napoleon is mad that his wife Josephine was having an affair behind his back...while getting ready to bonk with his mistress next door.
  • Inadequate Inheritor:
    • King Louis XVI was weak-willed, lacked the wisdom to rule and everyone, including Louis, knew it.
    • The emotional abuse and neglect Tzar Nicholas II suffered from his father left him timid and unprepared to rule, causing him to make numerous blunders throughout his reign. He even admits it, unlike Louis XVI.
  • I Just Shot Marvin in the Face: Confederate General Stonewall Jackson was shot by his own men who mistook him for an enemy due to the darkness.
  • I Lied: After promising British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain that he will not invade the rest of Czechoslovakia, Hitler promptly invaded the rest of Czechoslovakia.
    Chamberlain: You lied to me.
    Hitler: What do you expect? I'm Hitler.
  • In the Blood: Adolf Hitler inherited his father's anger issues.
  • Innocently Insensitive: Austria doesn't take too kindly to France bragging about their revolution — not only could it and other European monarchies be in danger of the same thing, the former queen of France (who had been sent to the guillotine) was Austrian. France only digs itself deeper by declaring war in the middle of a What the Hell, Hero? speech.
  • Invisible Anatomy: Barring certain exceptions, such as Henry VIII, and even then only during points where they're relevant to the point at hand, none of his characters have visible legs or feet.
  • Jerkass: Lenin was a huge jerk who constantly got into arguments with everyone by insisting he was always right and insulted people if they disagreed with him.
  • Jerkass Has a Point: The "Prohibition" video addresses the tendency to depict prohibitionist Dry Crusaders as miserable self-righteous prudes trying to ruin everyone's fun by noting that in many ways they actually had a valid point; at the time, Americans were consuming more than three times the amount of alcohol that their modern counterparts drink, alcoholism and public drunkenness (and the resulting social issues, such as poor health and domestic abuse) were out of control, and most of the prohibitionists only really wanted restrictions placed on hard liquors with a higher and more damaging alcohol content level which were seen as more at fault. Furthermore, alcohol restriction was in many cases only one part of a broader and in many cases surprisingly progressive political platform. The problem was mainly that their cause was hijacked by cynical opportunists and self-righteous Moral Guardians who just latched onto the "ban all alcohol" part.
  • Karma Houdini:
    • The "punishment" Adolf Hitler got for trying to start a German revolution was spending five years in a Luxury Prison Suite. And even then, he only served nine months of the sentence, which gave him plenty of time to write a book.
    • The American banana companies who caused much of the turmoil that led to the war between Honduras and El Salvador were never stopped, and continued their corrupt practices after the Football War.
    • Representative Brooks received no punishment for assaulting another politician with his cane on the Senate floor. He was even sent a new cane to replace the one that he broke during the violence.
    • Charles V was never punished for going back on his agreements to Henry VIII. And it was Catherine of Aragon, Charles's aunt, who was blamed for not ensuring that her nephew kept his word.
    • While some would argue he had a good reason to do so, the fact stands that George Remus murdered his ex-wife and admitted as much to the police, and yet got himself acquitted of all charges via an insanity plea.
  • Karmic Death:
    • Lu Bu's long list of betrayals ended up being the reason Cao Cao executed him instead of recruiting him.
    • Maximilien Robespierre let his post-revolutionary power go to his head, and had thousands of people beheaded for criticizing his new regime in any way. Eventually people realized he has completely lost it, and had him beheaded as well.
    • Josef Stalin, after many years of cruelty, died of a brain hemorrhage since all the doctors who could treat him were either dead, imprisoned or simply too terrified to treat him.
    • Pope John XII broke his holy vows by sleeping with numerous women, and was eventually killed by the husband of a woman he'd slept with.
    • Harold Godwinson stole the English throne from William the Bastard and died at the Battle of Hastings when he invaded England to get it.
    • Anne Boleyn convinced King Henry VIII to divorce Catherine of Aragon so she could replace her as Queen, and wound up being the first of his wives to be executed after she was framed for infidelity.
    • Thomas Cromwell, the man who conspired to get Anne Boleyn executed, was executed himself when the second woman he arranged to replace her was not to the King's liking.
  • Kicked Upstairs: Lenin doled out the spoils of taking power to his close friends and confidantes, and gave Josef Stalin the job of Secretary of the Communist Party, which seemed to be little more than an excuse to keep him out of power. In practice, however, this allowed Stalin to hand out jobs to people, placing his own friends in powerful positions, which would later result in Stalin coming to power after Lenin's death.
  • Kissing Cousins:
    • Catherine Howard had an affair with her cousin, Thomas Culpeper. Henry had her executed for this.
    • Alois Hitler got Clara, his cousin,note  pregnant.
  • Laser-Guided Karma: After Henry VIII divorced and killed his first and second wives respectively for failing to give him sons, he ended up losing the wife that did give him a son through childbirth.
  • Lazy Bum: At least part of the trouble in "The Pig War" is because Lyman Cutler was "lazy as pie" and decided to both build a cabin right in the middle of a farm's sheep run and to not properly fence off his potato paddock from all the farm animals wandering around.
  • The Loins Sleep Tonight: King Louis XVI never got around to consummating his marriage, and was mocked by the peasantry for it.
  • The Last of These Is Not Like the Others: In "Hitler, Part One":
    "As [Hitler] grew older, though, he started to get into trouble. He was caught smoking once, organized a raid on a local orchard, tormented his pro-Austria religion teacher with symbolic gestures displaying his allegiance to the idea of a united Germanic people under a greater German state in defiance of Habsburg Austria—you know, the usual."
  • Long List: Vladimir Lenin pissed off a lot of people and asks a messenger how many enemies he has.
    Messenger: Well...the liberals, the Social Revolutionaries, national separatists in Poland, Finland and the Ukraine, independent warlords setting up chiefdoms, anarchist rebels, the 'Green' peasant armies, the Cossacks, the Caucasian states, the Baltic states, the British, the French, the Americans and the Japanese. Oh, and a legion of Czechoslovakian soldiers seem to have taken over the Trans-Siberian railways and stolen all the imperial gold reserves.
    Lenin: What?! How could this get any worse?
    Messenger: Oh, and it says here your mother-in-law's coming to stay.
  • Love Triangle: Described in "Three Kingdoms"; a court official offered his daughter's hand in marriage to both Lu Bu and Dong Zhuo. It was Dong Zhuo taking her as his concubine which finally led to Lu Bu betraying him.
  • Loophole Abuse:
    • To gain more land and power within the Holy Roman Empire without rival nobles interfering, the Emperor appointed new Abbots and Cardinals at lands owned by the Catholic Church, with said new Abbots and Cardinals being the Emperor's relatives and supporters.
    • The first signs that Prohibition was shaping up to be a colossal failure were the obscene number of loopholes people exploited to get their drinks, such as becoming priests and rabbis to buy sacramental wine in bulk, doctors still being allowed to prescribe whiskey, or buying concentrated fruit juice with a wine recipe slipped in the label.
  • Major Injury Underreaction: Several characters will get stabbed brutally and obviously, and will react with mild surprise at best.
    • Vladimir Lenin reacts to getting shot three times like a child who just stubbed their toe. He also is rather blase about the first of his "wall-to-wall strokes."
    • Tsar Alexander III's reaction to his fatal kidney inflammation is to pause for a second, calmly inform his son that he has it, then drop dead.
    • One example in "Prohibition" has the leader of the Italian Southside Gang of Chicago get pumped full of lead by two goons with Tommy Guns, only to say "You know, I think I am done with this" and leaving his place to Al Capone.
  • Mass "Oh, Crap!": When Napoleon returns from his first exile, the other European leaders collectively freak out.
  • Medieval Stasis: Tsarist Russia was stuck in this state for a long while until Alexander II made some minor reforms (mainly ending Serfdom) and one of Nicholas II's top advisors, Sergei Witte, forced the Tsar to invest in some industry to get Russia up and running.
  • Men Can't Keep House: During the Prohibition era, women had to return home because their husbands couldn't maintain the household. One shining example has a man claim he'll accidentally burn down their house and get eaten by an alligator while trying to sew. The wife naturally doesn't believe him and goes off, only for the man's predictions to come true.
    Mitch: HEY THELMA! Look who's stupid now!
  • Miles Gloriosus: George McClellan; he talked big about his talent and wanted to be the guy to win the Civil War, but he was timid and hesitated to commit his forces to actually achieving that goal (even when he had an overwhelming numerical and supply advantage) and instead overexaggerated the smaller gains he made to be great victories. Abraham Lincoln tires of this and eventually fires McClellan.
  • Mistreatment-Induced Betrayal:
    • Benedict Arnold gets ignored for his aid by Ethan Allen and Horatio Gates, and then is finally openly chastised by Washington just for marrying a girl (who happened to be closely related to an English General). This causes him to switch sides.note 
    • Henry VIII had a lot of respect for the Pope. However, the Pope's refusal to grant him a divorce, after he'd defended him from both France and Martin Luther, caused Henry to cut all ties to the Catholic Church and create his own.
  • Mood Whiplash:
    • Some segments started out as funny before the next segment got darker. For example, the narrator shows the funny rivalry between Free States and Slave States; the next segment shows how slavery led to cruel treatment and suffering for Black Americans.
    • In-story, Jean-Paul Marat flips from graphically calling for the gruesomely violent overthrow of the French aristocracy, with decapitations galore, to happily cooing over his rubber duckie.
  • Motive Decay: Maximilien Robespierre and all the other French revolutionaries started out trying to repair their society, but after King Louis XVI was killed, they became more focused on maintaining their power by murdering civilians instead of reforming and running their country.
  • Moving the Goalposts: This is what inevitably happened every time the Allied leaders tried to appease Hitler so he will not kickstart World War II. Hitler kept wanting more land, and the Allies kept letting him have them, and repeat.
    Hitler: (seizes Austria, sees Czechoslovakia) I want that thing.
    OverSimplified: Aaaaand repeat.
  • Mundane Solution: The Australians ended up using fences to keep their crops safe instead of fighting a difficult war against the emus.
  • The Napoleon:
    • Adolf Hitler is frequently described as a "small angry man with a funny mustache" who lets his temper and impulsiveness lead him into more trouble.
    • Played with by the Trope Namer himself in the Napoleonic Wars. Napoleon often points out that his height is pretty average, which was true (well, for the early 19th century, anyway); the common depiction of Napoleon as short was largely the invention of propaganda, based on the fact that while of average height for the population, he was shorter than the typical military leader at the time. However, the video does have some fun with the trope; Napoleon repeatedly points out that "I'm of average height for the time", but it's frequently in an over-defensive fashion suggestive of some Suspiciously Specific Denial going on. Furthermore, his character model is subtly a little bit shorter than the other ones. Not to mention he does have, at times, the defensive aggressiveness of this type of character.
    Narrator: (on Napoleon's invasion of Russia) Numerous times, Napoleon considered turning back, but that little voice in his head kept on telling him, "Keep going. Just a little bit further. And don't worry; you're definitely average height for the time."
  • Never Mess with Granny: Carrie Nation, a sweet elderly woman who was known for showing up in Kansas saloons and utterly wrecking shop with a hatchet, and a bag full of "Smashers" (rocks and other heavy dense items), while men could only watch in horror. Every time she got caught, they'd let her off easy, hoping she wouldn't do it again. And then she would.
  • Nice Job Breaking It, Hero:
    • Charlotte Corday assassinates Marat in the hopes of restoring peace on the increasingly chaotic state of the French Revolution. Not only does Corday get executed for her trouble but Marat's popularity skyrocketed even further, leading to more death and chaos for the revolution.
    • The Temperance movement and anti-saloon league were able to get alcohol outlawed across America. Unfortunately, this ended up doing little to stop people from drinking, and led to wide spread corruption and organized crime. After all, since alcohol was outlawed, every law regarding it (like legal drinking ages and opening and closing times for bars) were thrown out the window.
    • After exiling Napoleon to Elbe, the Coalition restore the old French Monarchy now led by Louis XVIII and hoping things would go back to normal. Unfortunately, Louis was a terrible ruler since he was corrupt and try to bring the old ruling system back with nobles ruling the lower class again which angered the people since they enjoy the laws implemented by Napoleon. Along with mistreating the military and refusing to pay Napoleon's pension, this event led to Napoleon's return to France which the people and the military were more than happy to see their old Emperor back and get rid of Louis.
    • Following World War 1, the Allies's harsh punishment of Germany in the Treaty of Versailles would create the conditions to the rise of Hitler and the Nazis, and later throw the entire world into another war again.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain: Germany sent the Zimmerman telegram to Mexico in attempt to make sure that the United States didn't join the war, and all the telegram achieved was ensure that the United States entered the war.
  • No Good Deed Goes Unpunished:
    • Mikhail Gorbachev gave the people in the Soviet Union freedom, and everyone used that freedom to strip him of his political power.
    • King Louis XVI supported the colonies in the American Revolution, providing financial and military aid. Not only did this bankrupt France, but also inspired the French people to have their own revolution and overthrow Louis.
    • Tzar Alexander II was a reformer who sought to improve the lives of the Russian people (with mixed results). Despite his good intentions he still ended up being killed by disgruntled citizens who hated his autocracy.
  • No-Holds-Barred Beatdown: At the climax of The Pig War, Four-Star Badass Winfield Scott pummels the soul out of General William Harney with his belt for disobeying orders and continuing to try and spark a war with Britain. It's glorious.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Leonid Brezhnev of the Soviet Union had a habit of kissing people, and is shown getting uncomfortably close to his American counterparts for that purpose.
  • Not Even Bothering with the Accent: The author never ever tries to pull an accent when voicing a character, regardless of said character's ethnic or national background. The only exception is a moment in "Prohibition" where he briefly gives the gangsters Fat Tony, Fat Louie, and Fat Joey Italian-American accents.
  • "Not Making This Up" Disclaimer:
    • Happens when OverSimplified has to clarify that Marie Antoinette really did have a hairstyle shaped like a boat at one point.
    • In the Hitler videos, he says that after Hitler graduated, he got black-out drunk and wiped his ass with his graduation certificate, which OverSimplified then clarifies that it's a true story.
    • In the first Russian Revolution video, Tsar Alexander III called his son Nicholas a girly girl, and when Nicholas went to Japan, he got an edgy dragon tattoo and got his face sliced off by a policeman, all of which are accompanied by a caption saying "True Story".
    • In the War of the Bucket video, the Pope is shown writing the Dictatus Papae and while he starts with reasonable decrees, he quickly becomes Drunk with Power and adds things like "Princes shall only kiss my feet", "Only my name shall be spoken in the churches" and "My name is the only name in the world". The video then shows the original document and pinpoints the location of the aforementioned decrees to clarify that those are indeed real.
    • In the first Napoleonic Wars video, after confronting Josephine about her affair, Napoleon declares that he's going to go boink his mistress for 30 minutes, and by 30 minutes, he means 2 seconds. A line of text then pops up to corroborate the story as being real.
      Mr. Terry: OH! (rewinds the moment) True story! See, why couldn't the British propagand this rather than lie about his height? That's way more demasculating!
  • No Swastikas: Averted with the Adolf Hitler videos, however played straight with the videos on World War II, where the Iron Cross is in places where the swastika would be. Incidentally, as noted during some of the NordVPN sponsor sections in other videos, the Hitler videos are blocked in some countries.
  • No, You: In the "War of the Bucket", the Holy Roman Emperor goes to the Pope and says he's been deposed. The Pope is dejected for a moment before stating he's the Pope and can't be deposed by an Emperor, so the Emperor's been deposed. The Emperor is momentarily dejected before stating he's the Emperor and can't be deposed by the Pope, so the Pope's deposed. Rinse and repeat before the narrator moves on to the consequences.
  • Nuke 'em: Defied. General Douglas MacArthur tells President Truman to fire nukes at half a million Chinese troops who were crossing into Korea. Truman rejects the order and relives MacArthur of his command.
  • Obnoxious In-Laws: Lenin really, really does not like his mother-in-law, as shown when he freaks out twice when he learns that she's coming to live with him.
  • Obviously Evil: In World War I, the Germans had spikes and skulls on their uniforms while they committed atrocities in Belgium.
  • Off with His Head!: Henry VIII and Max Robespierre had a tendency to cut off the heads of people who objected to their actions.
  • Only Friend: When Adolf Hitler was 16, August Kubizek was the only friend that he had. They spent most of their time together at the opera.
  • Only Sane Man:
    • Maximilien Robespierre was the only member of the Radicals to know that they were unprepared for a war with Austria. Inverted later when Robespierre started getting Drunk On Power and the other Radicals thought his Reign of Terror might be a bit too much.
    • Captain Hornby of the Royal Navy eventually realized that getting into a shooting war with the United States over a pig was ridiculous, so disobeyed orders to land troops on the San Juan Islands and possibly spark a greater incident. Later, his superior Rear Admiral Baynes and American General Winfield Scott join him in calling the assembled belligerents massive idiots.
  • Outliving One's Offspring: Abraham Lincoln and King Henry VII outlived their firstborn sons.
  • Original Character: Oversimplified sometimes adds fictional characters to his videos, usually as a joke:
    • Spaghetti Jeff is a joke character who commonly appears as a Running Gag.
    • In the "First Punic Wars" video, Hamilcar's wife Barbara is a fully fictional character, since his real wife's name and appearance are unknown.

  • Parental Neglect:
    • King Henry VII sees his firstborn son Arthur as nothing but a political tool through his engagement to Catherine of Aragon, and forgets his other son Henry even exists until Arthur dies and he suddenly becomes useful to slot into the same role.
    • Tsar Alexander III, on top of his verbal abuse, did little to teach his son Nicholas about being a ruler, so when he died Nicholas was way over his head with ruling Russia.
  • People Farm: After John Brown was executed, a southerner says that soon, there will be a million John Browns. His friend imagines himself raising John Browns for their hair, or 100% Human Cotton.
  • Playing Both Sides: Wayne Wheeler was able to garner massive amounts of support for Prohibition by appealing to every side, and changing his message based on who he was talking to. The result of this was that many Americans of disparate background and beliefs came to support prohibition, which allowed it to pass easily.
  • Pointy-Haired Boss: Some of the leading figures find themselves in a pickle and have no clue how to fix the situation, making bad decision after bad decision, especially Nicholas II in the Russian Revolution, Louis XVI in the French Revolution, and Hitler during the later stages of World War II.
  • Police Are Useless: The police were ineffective at enforcing anti-alcohol laws during the Prohibition, so much so that one officer refused to arrest someone who asked to be arrested after drinking alcohol in public.
  • Poor Communication Kills: After William the Conqueror was crowned King of England, he mistook the celebration taking place in Westminster for a riot and burnt it down.
  • Pregnant Badass: Catherine of Aragon led armies against Scotland while she was pregnant with Mary I.
  • Product Placement:
    • The "Three Kingdoms" video was sponsored by Total War: Three Kingdoms, so all of the main characters use the designs portrayed in that game, but OverSimplified-ified. Sponsors will usually be included in the video via segue, but this is the most direct integration of the sponsor's product so far.
    • In the Russian Revolution video, Lenin and some other characters are shown drinking out of Oversimplified mugs.
  • Pungeon Master: Abraham Lincoln was described as a man who loved telling long stories and punny jokes, much to his Cabinet's chagrin.
  • Puppet King: The Pope used to be a pawn of secular kings and nobles that used him to increase their own power. Crowning Charlemagne Emperor of the HRE was his attempt at breaking out of this.
  • Pyrrhic Victory:
    • The American Revolution ended up as this not for America itself, but for France. Aiding the revolution resulted in France ending up with more debt than before the war, and they gained nothing out of it.
    • On a smaller scale within the same war, the Battle of Bunker Hill and the Battle of Guilford Court House were British Pyrrhic victories.
    • All of King Henry VIII's victories against France resulted in him running out of money, and he failed to keep any territory he gained from his conquests.
    • This is implied for the Seven Years War — the UK won, but was now saddled with a debt it couldn't pay on its own.
  • Rage Breaking Point: General Scott is already aggravated with Harney for escalating the San Juan dispute into war, but when Harney disobeys his order to keep Picket off the island, he starts beating the crap out of him.
  • Rape Is a Special Kind of Evil: In the first WW2 video, Japan's invasion of China cuts away before it can go into detail on the Nanking Massacre, AKA the Rape of Nanking (a partially literal name). Justified, as the subject in general is rather uncomfortable and it was overshadowed by the Holocaust later.
  • "Rashomon"-Style: When Charles Griffin and Lyman Cutler are talking to General Scott about how the Pig War started, they have different perspectives on what happened. In Griffin's view, the pig had fled Lyman's property by the time he'd shot it, and in Lyman's view, the pig was actively threatening to eat Lyman's potatoes and then kill Lyman.
  • Rasputinian Death: The trope namer is discussed, with the narrator stating that Rasputin probably didn't die as is commonly portrayed, but it's a good and well known story so it's worth animating.
  • Reasonable Request Rejected: In The Pig War, there is a minor Running Gag where delegates from the US and Britain are trying to decide where to draw the line between their territories in North America. The British delegate offers a reasonable solution, and the American delegate seems to agree before angrily refusing to cooperate.
    British Delegate: Look, why don't we just draw the border along the river? That way we both have access to it.
    American Delegate: Well, that would be a completely fair compromise that protects the interests of both parties. AND THERE'S NO WAY I'M EVER GONNA AGREE TO IT!
  • Red Baron: Played for Laughs. In the American Civil War videos, General Grant gets jealous of "Stonewall" Jackson's cool name and christens himself "Unconditional Surrender Grant" (an epithet which was given to him in real life).
  • Refuge in Audacity: Hitler broke the conditions of the Treaty of Versailles and expanded Germany's territory because the Allies were too weak or cowardly to stop him.
  • Revenge Before Reason: King Louis XVI was more concerned with getting revenge on Great Britain for the outcome of the Seven Years War than he was on solving France's financial crisis, and that desire for revenge made the economy even worse because it drove him to finance the American colonies' revolution.
  • Reverse Psychology Backfire: In "The Civil War: Part-1," as both the Union and Confederacy were mobilizing their armies, two plantation owners discuss the difficulty of winning the war when the North had a population 22 million, while the South only had 5 million. Just then, a slave interjects:
    Slave: If you count us 4 million slaves, you'll have 9 million.
    Plantation Owner: GREAT IDEA!! Hand out these rifles to the male— Waaaiit a minute... [squints eyes accusingly] You almost had me there. [Slave angrily scowls]
  • The Revolution Will Not Be Civilized:
    • The French Revolutionaries started with good intentions when overthrowing the corrupt clergy and nobility, but once Robespierre and his hardliners took over they soon started targeting all of the clergy and nobility no matter how corrupt they were or not, eventually targeting anyone who criticized Robespierre and his policies.
    • The Russian Revolution started off well and good, with a democratically elected assembly deposing Tsar Nicolas II and trying to resolve some of Russia's laundry list of woes (no food, poor working conditions, losing World War I). Then their progress stalled, Lenin showed up and started radicalizing the Revolution, an anti-Revolution military commander attempted a coup, and Lenin's own dictatorial actions led to a brutal civil war with atrocities committed on all sides.
  • Rewarded as a Traitor Deserves: Cao Cao, in a moment of genre-savviness, lets Lu Bu help him win his throne, and then has him executed so that Lu Bu doesn't backstab him like he did everyone else.
  • Rousing Speech: Parodied in "The First Punic War." A Carthaginian leader delivers a speech, backed by inspiring music, in which he describes the threat posed by the Romans, and it seems like it will segue into him rallying the people. Instead, he just ends the speech declaring that they're all doomed. Someone then asks if that was the end of the speech, and he says, "yes."
  • Royal Inbreeding: Discussed in Henry VIII and the Russian Revolution; the former bringing up the infamous Habsburg dynasty's Kissing Cousins and uncle/aunt-niece/nephew marriages, and how Charles V had "a chin that could hit a home run." In the latter, it described Tsar Nicholas II and his wife not that inbred, being only second cousins, but enough for their son Alexi to be born with hemophilia.
  • Running Gag: Has its own page.
  • Sanity Slippage: Henry VIII is tracked from his time as a beloved youthful monarch to an even worse tyrant than his father, including the theory that he suffered brain damage in a jousting accident.
  • The Scapegoat: While he had many screw-ups, Nicholas II didn't personally order the Bloody Sunday massacre. It was blamed on him anyways since he was an absolute monarch of an oppressive government.
  • Scare 'Em Straight: In "Prohibition":
    • An In-Universe example is when a WCTU supporter, to discourage children in a classroom from drinking alcohol when they get older, tells them a story where a guy named Timmy would suffer from Spontaneous Human Combustion upon drinking only one sip of whiskey.
    • A real-life Scare 'Em Straight poster also makes an appearance, where somebody drinking alcohol is depicted as descending into a homeless life of crime who inevitably is Driven to Suicide.
  • Schmuck Bait: As part their plan to assassinate Rasputin, two Russian soldiers lure him into a shady alley with a sign saying "HEY RASPUTIN, BIG SEXY PARTY DOWN HERE" and make him eat an entire table of totally-not-poisoned cakes. Rasputin falls for it. He survives, so they take him out the old-fashioned way.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Money!: Bootleggers were about to get away with selling alcohol during Prohibition because they were rich enough to bribe cops like it was nothing.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Connections!: The only reason William Harney kept his position as a U.S. General, despite being an insubordinate Glory Hound hated by everyone else in the army, was because he had friends in high places back in Washington that allowed him to get away with pretty much anything.
  • Screw the Rules, I Make Them!:
    • Cardinal Wolsey suggests Henry VIII should go to war with France despite his council's objections because Henry's the king and can do whatever he wants. Henry began applying this to other facets of his life as he started suffering from Sanity Slippage.
    • The Russian Tsars were autocrats who did whatever they pleased and answered to no one. Anyone that tried to object would suffer for it (historically with banishment or execution; the videos show this with the Tsar blowing up his detractors with a rocket launcher). Once they got into power, the Communists pretty much did the same thing.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here:
    • The leader of the Italian South Side Gang in Chicago decides to move to New York after getting pumped full of lead by rival goons, leaving the space open for Al Capone to take over.
    • Napoleon did this several times to his soldiers in dire situations, most notably his failed campaigns in Egypt and Russia. Later, when he hears Napoleon is back and the army has defected to join him, Louis XVIII hops in his Porsche and drives off to Belgium to wait out the coming war.
  • Sequel Hook:
    • In the second American Revolution video, King Louis XVI remarks to Benjamin Franklin that if the American Revolution was a success, the French populace may be inspired to overthrow the King's monarchy as well. He says "That's called foreshadowing" as the French Revolution videos are teased. (Although the tease indicates that the videos are coming in 2027, in fact they have already been released on mid-2019.)
    • The narrator in the second part video of the Cold War says he could never do the Vietnam War justice in the video while discussing it, with on-screen text hinting that Vietnam War videos are coming eventually.
    • The French Revolution video ends with a direct tease for the Napoleonic Wars, which was later released in mid-2021.
    • The War of the Bucket video contains a timeline of the "OverSimplified Cinematic Universe", which has future video ideas like The Great Brexit War (coming 2028), The 2019 Area 51 Raid (coming 2034), The Crusades (coming 2042), The Protestant Reformation (coming 2069), and PewDiePie vs. T-Series (coming 2087).
    • The end of the First Punic War video sets up the Second Punic War, with Hamilcar Barca telling his infant son Hannibal that he will become a great military leader one day and set out to defeat the Romans, which his father never could.
  • "Shaggy Dog" Story:
    • The Football War. Neither side won or gained anything from the war.
    • Henry VIII wanted to be remembered as a glorious king with a long dynasty. Nowadays he's mostly remembered for his multiple wives and mass executions, and all of his heirs ended up dying childless, resulting in the Tudors falling out of power to be replaced by the Stuarts.
    • Vladimir Lenin spent his whole adult life trying to set up a Communist utopia in Russia, only to be beset on all side by enemies and die before he could really get going, leaving the fledgling Soviet Union in the hands of Stalin, who was more keen on amassing power than creating a perfect society.
    • The Emu War ends with not only the Australian military only managing to cull a bare pittance of the emu population, but a farmer reveals afterwards that he managed to come up with a better solution simply by erecting stronger metal fencing around the crops to replace the brittle wooden ones that were there before, rendering the whole operation pointless.
  • Shame If Something Happened: In the Pig War video, a pig, standing on its hind legs, rocking a black suit and smoking a cigarette, says: "Say, Lyman, them's some nice spuds you got there! Would be a shame if somebody... ate them."
  • Shout-Out: Different little references are snuck in from time to time.
    • In the first "World War II" video, the final two steps on Hitler's plan are "3. ???" and "4. Profit!!". A Freeze-Frame Bonus bringing him into the picture shows "Who's That Fascist Dictator?" with him in OverSimplified's basic character silhouette.
    • In the "French Revolution" videos, references include Robespierre holding a Buster Swordnote , Marie Antoinette's hair being an AT-AT, Marat being likened to Obi-Wan Kenobi, a bread Iron Throne, and just before he's stabbed, Marat's last words are "Yippee Kai Yay motherf-".
    • The Buster Sword shows up again in the "Cold War" videos, being held by the USA, while the Soviet Union wields the Masamune.
    • An oversimplified figure can be seen running through the reflecting pool in Washington while shouting "Jenny!" during the part of "Cold War Part 2" discussing The '60s and Vietnam.
    • The "Three Kingdoms" episode repeatedly uses the line, "It's Lu Bu".
    • "Never Gonna Give You Up" is referenced multiple times, sometimes several centuries before it was actually written. For example, a bird in "Three Kingdoms" is seen singing it in Chinese, and Henry VIII is seen singing it in Ye Olde Butcherede Englishe.
    • In Lu Bu's introduction in the "Three Kingdoms" episode, the narration mentions Lu Bu never losing a duel as Lu Bu stands over his latest victim and shouts, "WHO'S NEXT?"
    • In "Civil War Part One", Lincoln is shown entertaining some colleagues with a funny story, to which one remarks he's a very funny man. Lincoln immediately becomes serious and asks "Funny how? Like I'm a clown?"
    • Another Civil War example: The scene where Lincoln calls for men to fight for the Union references the famous "the beacons are lit" scene in The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, complete with Lincoln sounding a horn and nearby beacons being lit.
    • In the second Civil War video, one of the hypothetical names for West Virginia is "High School Musical: The Musical: The Series: The State".
    • When Catherine of Aragon is depicted fighting against Scotsmen while pregnant in the Henry VIII episode, the word "pregnant" is, seemingly deliberately, misspelled "prangent" as a reference to the memetic video "how is prangent formed".
    • In the first "Russian Revolution" video, Joe Exotic and Carole Baskin are amongst the people holding hands in the imaginary communist utopia.
    • Carrie Nation literally Hulks Out while on her anti-saloon crusade, complete with green skin and purple pants. Later, a congressman opposed to Prohibition compares Wayne Wheeler to Ned Flanders.
    • Napoleon's horse in the title card for "Napoleonic Wars (Part 1)" looks like Mr. Horse from Ren & Stimpy. A horse in Part 2 of "Napoleonic Wars" also looks like Mr. Horse.
    • Upon seeing the cluster that is the Spanish Monarchy, Napoleon invites Carlos IV and his usurping son Ferdinand VII to talk about their issues on Dr. Bonaparte. He then announces to them both "You are NOT the King!" before crowning himself King (although officially crowning his brother Joseph instead).
    • After the Americans declare independence, George III is shown saying, "It's treason, then."
    • In "The Pig War," the discussion about the Oregon Trail includes the obligatory reference to dysentery. And as an extra bonus, the doctor shown is the same one from, "The War that Changed the English Language."
    • Also in "The Pig War," the eponymous berkshire pig looks exactly like Waddles, albeit palette-swapped to be grey instead of pink (fittingly, given the Oregon country setting). In addition, the thumbnail for the video is modelled on Star Wars posters, with the pig filling the role of Emperor Palpatine, complete with an ominous hood.
    • In The "First Punic War", there is an emo kid in Messana playing Among Us in a computer.
    • The Carthagginian classroom scene references the "That's a Paddlin'" scene from The Simpsons.
      Carthaginian Teacher: Oh you better BELIEVE that's a crucifixion.
    • Later, when the Carthaginians hire the Spartan mercenary Xanthippus, a scene from the movie 300 is recreated.
  • Speed Sex: Apparently, Napoleon was only able to last all of two seconds boinking his mistress after a fight with Josephine.
  • Shown Their Work: To be expected of a series focusing on world history. Historians and even at least one bilingual native of the topic foreign area expand a bit on the discussion in reaction videos. Some commenters have even said that these videos are shown in academic settings. As one example, while plenty of Anachronism Stew is introduced for the purposes of humor (the Russian Tsars did not possess bazookas with which to blow up lippy advisors, for one), clothing and uniforms worn by characters and soldiers will usually be era-appropriate.
  • Silly Reason for War: Deconstructed and Subverted. The narrator reveals some wars that may sound silly due to their name are actually more complicated since there were already tensions between both sides and the silly things were simply the final straws that sparked war between them.
    • The Football War between Honduras and El Salvador wasn't the result of Honduran fans harassing El Salvador's Football team during the 1970 FIFA World Cup Qualifiers but due to tensions between the two nations over the Honduran Government's anti-immigration policies against Salvadoran farmers living in Honduras, some of whom had been there for years. Things just came to a head around that particular football match as it provided the perfect excuse, along with state media sensationalizing things such as a girl's suicide.
    • Averted and heavily lampshaded with The War of the Bucket; a lengthy Bait-and-Switch involving the Bolognans growing to worship their bucket as a god eventually ends with one of the Bolognans, after a missing bucket scare, cheerfully pointing out that even if the Modenans had stolen their bucket, it would still be a dumb reason for war. In fact, both cities had tensions and resentments against each other for a long time prior to the war, and the main underlying reasons were in fact their conflict over supporting either the Pope or the Holy Roman Emperor in a political schism, with the main trigger in fact being the capture of a fort. The bucket was simply taken as a mocking spoil of war after Modena won against Bologna, and the name stuck.
    • The Emu War plays this trope straight. The War was nothing more than an PR attempt by Minister of Defense George Pearce, to win over farmers whose crops were getting eaten by emus and get himself a nice feather hat. Instead it became a national embarrassment since not only did the Australian army failed in their mission to stop the emus but the emus were able to outsmart the army that it made them a laughing stock.
    • The "Pig War". While the land dispute over the San Juan Islands was a major concern, that both Great Britain and the United States would almost go to war over a farmer shooting a neighbor's pig is repeatedly called out as the stupidest reason for anyone to start a war. Though it is also shown that this is partly the result of the isolated nature of the area allowing the local leadership on both sides to act with little oversight, with the person in charge on the British side having a long history of being screwed over by the Americans taking territory from Britain and not wanting them to take any morenote , and the person in charge on the American side being an idiotic Glory Hound. Eventually Defied, as the moment their more reasonable superiors show up, the chance of there being a war ends.
  • Skewed Priorities:
    • Henry VII is more broken up about his marriage pact with Spain being in jeopardy than he is over the fact that his son died.
      Henry VII: Oh, my alliance with Spain... My poor, poor, alliance with Spain...
      Noble: And your son, sire?
      Henry VII: (Nonchalantly) Oh, yes, of course, my son... (Sadly) But mostly my alliance with Spain.
    • The farmer in Gettysburg running out to tend to his bean patch despite the fact that two armies are fighting to the death outside.
    • During the 1905 Revolution in Russia, a nobleman comes to Nicholas II to complain about the peasants. Not that they razed his estate and murdered his family, no. They were illegally chopping wood from a forest he owned, and that's just obscene.
    • In the events leading up to the Pig War, where some Pacific Northwest islands were still in dispute and could possibly trigger a war between the US and Britain, the British Parliament had more pressing matters to attend to... like a parliamentarian having a mole on his backside.
  • Slavery Is a Special Kind of Evil: Zigzagged. While European nations decided to not intervene in the war once Lincoln chose to make it about ending slavery, and many people in the Union, like Abraham Lincoln and John Brown, viewed slavery as evil, many people opposed slavery out fear that plantations would take away their livelihoods, making the opposition more of an economical issue than a moral one.
  • Sock Puppet: Napoleon used an Older Than Steam version to maintain his popularity after the failure of his Egypt campaign, printing his own newspaper under an alias boasting about his "victories" and deflect blame for anything that went wrong. The editor "Steve" is totally not Napoleon in a pair of Groucho Marx glasses.
  • Sore Loser: Lenin couldn't accept his party lost the 1917 Russian Elections and insist it was rigged and his party actual won which led to the Russian Civil War.
  • Spare to the Throne: Henry VIII was being trained for a life as a clergyman while his older brother Arthur became king. Then Arthur died suddenly after his marriage to Catherine of Aragon, and Henry was bumped from spare to heir.
  • Start My Own:
    • Mussolini decides to start his own political party, the Fascists, after he gets kicked out of the Socialist party for his pro-war rhetoric. His barber finds it all fascinating, but it doesn't solve the question of what kind of haircut Mussolini wants.
    • Henry VIII gets fed up with the Pope and the Catholic Church not being on his side in his divorce from Catherine, so he forms the Church of England because he's the king and can do what he wants.
  • Start of Darkness: King Henry VIII's tyrannical reign began when he dissolved monasteries across England, used the money accumulated by the monasteries to pay for parties at his palace, and killed anyone who objected to his actions.
  • State Sec: Several different regimes covered by OverSimplified maintained units of this description, such as the Nazi Party's Sturmabteilung/Storm Detachment and Tsarist Russia's Ohkrana. Usually, these guys' job is to go around silencing people who might have something negative to say about the parties in question.
  • State Visit: To improve relations, U.S. President Richard Nixon visited the Soviet Union's capital: Moscow. The leader of the Soviet Union, Leonid Brezhnev, returned the gesture a year later.
  • Strategy Versus Tactics: This was the case between the Union and Confederates during the American Civil War. While the South was able to win a number of impressive victories, it was the Union's ability to outlast them through its superior troop reserves that ultimately won them the war.
  • Stupid Evil: While historians continue to debate just what General Harney's exact motives were for trying to escalate the San Juan Islands dispute, they all agree that Harney was a colossal idiot whose bumbling made a bad situation worse.
  • Succession Crisis:
    • The second half of the "The Three Kingdoms" video goes over how several Chinese warlords were fighting to become the next ruler over China after Dong Zhuo was killed, which opened up a power vacuum.
    • The Wars of 1066 following Edward the Confessor's death; Edward had allegedly pledged to William Duke of Normandy that he would be king following Edward's death, but then Edward's brother-in-law Harold Godwinson claimed the throne instead. Things got further complicated when Harald Hardrada, the viking king of Norway, also made a claim to the throne saying the previous viking ruler of England had promised the throne to him.
  • Suspiciously Specific Denial:
    • King Louis and Marie Antoinette, fleeing France, are met by a postman who recognizes them, but they solemnly swear they aren't fleeing the country but are only heading to the border for no particular reason. The postman didn't buy it at all. See Double Speak above.
    • When Vladimir Lenin encounters a man hiding in a bush and asks who he is, the man says that he definitely isn't a Russian secret police officer spying on Marxists. He's telling the truth; he's really a Nord VPN sponsor, and advises Lenin to use it so the secret police can't spy on him.
  • Surrounded by Idiots:
    • Robespierre knew that going to war with Austria was a bad idea, but his peers started the war anyway.
    • Abraham Lincoln had several incompetent generals during the American Civil War.
    • Hitler is portrayed as having this opinion towards Mussolini, as he repeatedly had to send German troops to support Italy's floundering campaigns.
    • The Imperial German commander at the beginning of "Cold War" can only sputter in disbelief when his men bring him John Lennon instead of Vladimir Lenin like he asked.
    • General Winfield Scott, after finding out the cause of the dispute in "The Pig War" video, proceeded to call everyone not in the Royal Navy idiots, with General Harney and Captain Pickett specifically as "the most mind-numbingly brain-dead ding-dongs [he'd] ever encountered in all [his] life," for nearly starting a war between the Americans and the British over a pig.
  • Tactical Withdrawal: Due to Napoleon's peerless skill as a commander and groundbreaking strategies, the various European powers eventually came to realize that taking him on in battle personally was suicide. Even as he got older and his strategies became less refined, along with leading inexperienced conscripts, defeating him was a near impossibility as his skill was still just so far ahead of anyone else at the time. It became a key part of the coalition strategies to retreat when he was leading a battle personally so other forces could attack his less skilled generals, or draw him into a fight so that others could make advances, since he couldn't lead every battle at once.
  • Take a Third Option: Twice in the "Pig War", the Americans and the British are presented with compromises to the border issue that would completely resolve it, would be beneficial to both parties, and would stop a lot of unnecessary conflict. However, the Americans refuse out of stubbornness.
  • Take That!:
    • Marie Antoinette's famous "Let them eat cake!" is angrily denounced by one of her chancellors as proof of how out-of-touch the nobles are, so she responds with "Well... Then let them eat Taco Bell Crunch Wrap Supreme". The chancellor is horrified, saying they aren't THAT desperate.
    • From the American Revolution video, "[Washington] set up a cabinet of expert advisors knowing that no president could know everything, no matter how much of a stable genius they claimed to be".
      • Another shot at the 2016 administration is done in the Cold War video, where the installing of the Berlin Wall has Khrushchev say a word-for-word repeat of what Trump said in his presidential campaign (including the part about Mexicans).
  • Tank Goodness: Towards the end of the Soviet Union's existence, a group of hardline radicals kidnapped Gorbachev and tried to assume control of the failing nation. Instead, partisans led by Boris Yeltsin driving a tank showed up to stop them.
    Boris: No; we have a tank.
  • Tempting Fate: Immediately after characters say something along the lines of "I sure hope [X] doesn't happen", [X] happens.
    • John F. Kennedy, after Soviet and NATO tanks inched away from the wall dividing East and West Berlin, said "Phew, let's hope that was the biggest crisis of my presidency." And then the Cuban Missile Crisis happens. He repeats this quote when the Cuban Missile Crisis is solved, before he is assassinated.
    • Vladimir Lenin says that nothing will stop him from saving Russia except a couple of sudden strokes. He ends up suffering two in the same year.
    • In the leadup to the American Revolution, Washington comments that the Native American killing the French commander probably wouldn't start a seven year long major global conflict. Cue the Seven Years War.
    • When Louis XVIII was told Napoleon has returned to France, he said there was nothing to worry, as he has thousands of soldiers to stop and arrest him. Immediately after he is informed those soldiers have defected to Napoleon.
    • Lyman Cutler built his cabin right in the middle of a British sheep run and didn't properly built a fence around his farm. He hoped that all of the British farm animals will respect his property rights. He turns around back to his farm and immediately finds a pig eating his potatoes.
  • Thinks of Something Smart, Says Something Stupid: While France is receiving a "The Reason You Suck" Speech from Austria, it thinks to itself that it needs to say something to defuse the situation immediately. France announces a declaration of war, only heating things up.
  • This Is Gonna Suck:
    • In the Russian Revolution video, the Ministers of Russia are happy the economy is doing well; all Nicolas II has to do is sit back and not do anything stupid:
      Nicholas II: Hey everyone, BIG NEWS! I'd like to introduce you all to my new best friend! (brings in Rasputin) He's a crazy, drunken, beardy, horny, scandal-ridden, magic wizard man, and he SMELLS LIKE A GOAT!
      Minister: We're screwed.
    • In the Napoleonic Wars video, Alexander I calls together Frederick William III of Prussia and Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden to discuss their plans to defeat Napoleon:
      Alexander I: Boys, we'll get him this time. But here's the thing, this time, we have to stick together. (the camera slowly zooms in on Alexander and Gustav) Do not under any circumstances face Napoleon by yourself. You all saw what happened to Austria—
      (the camera pans out to reveal Frederick is gone)
      Alexander I: Hey, where'd Fred go?
      Frederick William III: [facing Napoleon by himself] Hey, you jerk! Think you're some kind of big shot, huh? Wanna tango with Fred? You don't got the cajones!
      Alexander I: We're screwed...
  • Title Drop: Oversimplified admits that the dissolution of the Soviet Union is a complicated topic, prompting his avatar to appear.
    Author Avatar: So believe me, this is oversimplified.
  • Token Good Teammate:
    • Mikhail Gorbachev was the only leader of the Soviet Union to genuinely care about the happiness of his population, rather than just claiming they did like Nikita Khrushchev.
    • Tsar Alexander II tried to make genuine reforms to the Russian Empire, unlike his cruel son or incompetent grandson.
  • Too Dumb to Live:
    • Archduke Franz Ferdinand is presented as such. Not only for deciding to take a trip down to Sarajevo when tensions were at an all time high, in an open-top car, with the route posted in advance, but also for going back out after avoiding the first assassination attempt.
    • Maximilien Robespierre told everyone at the National Convention that several of them were on a list of enemies to be sent the guillotine, and he said that none of them were allowed to see it. Naturally, everyone decides to kill him first instead.
    • The Roman fleet used to supply the troops besieging Lillybaeum didn't take shelter after seeing signs of storm, like the Carthaginians sent to intercept them did, and instead set sail, even though they already lost two entire fleets to storms by that point.
      Roman soldier: But sir, those clouds! Don't you think we ought to have learned our lesson by now?
      Roman general: Yes, Brian, we ought to have, but... we haven't.
  • Toxic Friend Influence: Cardinal Wolsey told Henry VIII that as the king, he can do whatever he wants, and Anne Boleyn influenced Henry VIII to dissolve monasteries across England to fund their parties. Both of these people and what they said set Henry VIII on the path to tyranny.
  • Ungrateful Bastard:
    • Despite the fact that King Henry VIII defended the Pope militarily from France and intellectually from Martin Luther, the Pope refused to permit Henry VIII's requested divorce. Though it didn't help that Cardinal Wolsey completely botched Henry's request to take care of it quietly, turning it into a Europe-wide scandal, made worse by the fact that said wife was the relative of Charles V, the guy who controlled the Pope at the time, and Wolsey screwing things up meant the Pope couldn't act behind his back.
    • In order to defend their city from the Romans, the Carthaginians hire the Spartan mercenary Xanthippus, who gives them military advice that allows them to defeat the Romans in the battle of the Bagradas River. The Carthaginians reward him by kicking him out of Carthage out of jealously.
  • Universally Beloved Leader: Henry VIII was very popular and loved in his youth, though this declined as he began to descend more into tyranny.
  • Unsportsmanlike Gloating: Defied in the U.S. Civil War. After fully surrendering to Grant, Robert E. Lee leaves Appomattox defeated, while Grant's men start celebrating. Grant immediately tells them to shut up.
  • Used to Be a Sweet Kid:
    • Of all people, Adolf Hitler. Growing up, he was a mischievous little boy who loved his siblings and his mother. He even got good grades in school growing up, and he dreamed of finding a career in art. But an abusive father, the death of his little brother via measles when he was only ten, the bullying he suffered in high school, his mother dying because of cancer, his failure to get into art school, and the harsh life he lived as a homeless man set him on the path to become the monster he's remembered as today.
    • Henry VIII was described as a cheerful and intelligent child, and when he grew up he was very generous to his friends, liked to throw fun parties, and was Happily Married to Catherine of Aragon. Then all the stresses of being king started to pile up, Henry was injured and started gaining weight (not to mention possible brain damage from his fall), and he soon became another paranoid butcher just like his father Henry VII.
  • Villain with Good Publicity:
    • Jean-Paul Marat had a newspaper that condoned murdering the King, nobility, and even politicians that were technically on his side because they also supported the French Revolution. He ended up being popular because he spread fear and anger among the people.
    • Al Capone, despite being a particularly ruthless and bloodthirsty gangster, enjoyed a celebrity lifestyle with hundreds of adoring fans across the country.
  • Wallet Moths: Used throughout the "American Revolution" videos to portray Britain being in debt. More moths are added as Britain gets more and more debt.
  • War for Fun and Profit: A recurring solution to many a leader's woes. People suspicious that your new government came to power by corrupt means? Start a war. Everyone in your country miserable due to a bad economy? Start a war. Need some more land for your people to spread out and be happy? Start a war. Bored and want to have some fame and fortune come your way? Start a war.
  • Waxing Lyrical: In "The Pig Wars", Stuart starts using the lyrics of "All Star" by Smash Mouth when describing the migration of American settlers to Oregon:
    But the Americans keep coming, and they don't stop coming.
    Hopped in their wagons, and they hit the ground running.
    Didn't make sense to keep sharing Oregon,
    when they outnumbered the Brits more than six to one.
  • We ARE Struggling Together: Part of the reason Yuan Shao's coalition to overthrow Dong Zhuo ultimately fell apart was due to the participating warlord's mutual dislike of each other.
  • We Have Reserves: This is how Ulysses Grant defeated Robert E. Lee. Unlike his fellow Union Generals who were too cautious or never taking action when they were in the advantage, Grant knew the Union had enough troops, supplies and firepower to replace any losses while the Confederates didn't. Thus Grant kept attacking Lee's army repeatedly to the point they suffered massive casualties which convinced Lee to surrender.
  • Well-Intentioned Extremist: John Brown wanted to end slavery, even if he had to resort to incredibly violent methods to do so.
  • With Catlike Tread: Stalin's idea for a low-key financing heist? Go in guns blazing with automatic weapons and high explosives.
    Stalin: If this isn't quiet, then I don't know what is!
  • Would Hurt a Child: After Dong Zhou rose to power, one of the first things he did was kill the current child emperor and make the kid's brother the Emperor instead.
  • Wound That Will Not Heal: Henry VIII received one of these after a jousting accident, which left his leg infected and constantly oozing pus for years afterwards.
  • Wrong Genre Savvy:
    • Dong Zhou didn't seem too concerned that his ward Lu Bu, who betrayed everyone he ever fought for, could potentially betray him.
    • Neville Chamberlain thought he could stop Hitler from invading Czechoslovakia through peaceful methods. Boy, was he wrong.
      Chamberlain: You lied to me.
      Hitler: What do you expect? I'm Hitler.
  • Yank the Dog's Chain: Lincoln is shot right as the war is ending and it looks like the Union will finally have peace.
  • You All Look Familiar: Character models are reused from time to time, sometimes mix-and-matched, sometimes for comedy. For instance, in "The War of the Bucket", Giovanni Kablami is Benito Mussolini's model with Marat's face. One of the Popes from that same episode has King George III's face. As well, Alois Hitler pops up in Curb-Stomp Battles, spanking people.
  • You and What Army?: The king of Italy asks this of Mussolini when he asks to be made prime minister. Mussolini shows off his army to get the king to change his mind.
    "... Fair enough."
  • You Have Failed Me:
    • Downplayed with Catherine of Aragon. She failed to provide Henry VIII a male heir and maintain an alliance with Spain, resulting in her husband divorcing her.
    • Henry VIII has Thomas Cromwell executed for setting up a marriage between the king and Anne of Cleves, whom Henry claimed was unattractive.
  • Young Future Famous People:
    • The Hitler videos focus on his childhood and career before World War Two.
    • The end of the First Punic War video shows Hannibal as a child, who is predicted by Hamilcar to be Carthage's vengeance.

So, you made it to the end, huh? There's a tax for that.invoked
Minister Pearce: At least I got a feather hat.


Feather Hats

In an effort to combat the emu crisis, George Pearce, the minister of defence, persuades the Australian parliament on why they should wage war against the emus.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (5 votes)

Example of:

Main / LameRhymeDodge

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