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  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In "Adam Ruins Hygiene", when the rat and germs in the sewer perform a song.
    • Remember when Adam died in space? The show didn't.
    • The subplot in "Adam Ruins Games" where the Devil keeps trying to steal Adam's soul, which is rather unusual for a show that, aside from Adam's reality warping, sticks to more realistic storylines.
  • Darkness-Induced Audience Apathy: A lot of people Adam lectures are bummed out, so Adam talks about the solutions that are available to help Avert this trope and replace it with A World Half Full.
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  • Do Not Do This Cool Thing: The show mentions in-universe that Adam's lecturing is not a good way to relate to people, and why Adam is so lonely, but few people pick up on that.
  • He Really Can Act: When Adam breaks down at Hayley's funeral. The scene is heart-wrenching, and not played for laughs.
  • Hollywood Homely: A downplayed example, but it is heavily implied that, aside from Melinda, Adam has no success romantically and extreme difficulty attracting women, despite not being ugly by any conventional standard. This is justified, though, considering that his bizarre personality and various quirks play more of a role than his looks.
  • Narm:
    • The scene in the Christmas Special in which we find out that Adam ruins everything because Rhea spoiled the fact that Santa Claus isn't real for him as a kid is meant to be a heartfelt character moment for Adam and his (fictional) sister, but the scene is rather clumsily handled and suffers from Mood Whiplash.
  • Nightmare Fuel:
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    • The solitary confinement segment of "Adam Ruins Prison" showcases the effects on a person's psyche via Emily. Needless to say, it gets disturbing and even the small bits of humor do little to make it better.
    • In "100 Years Ago Today", Adam explained that during World War 1, the Spanish Flu claimed far more lives than the war did, but because of the war it wasn’t reported on for fears it may lower morale. The Spanish Flu eventually died out, not because of anything man did, but because it claimed all the lives it could at the time. The CDC even theorizes that another Spanish Flu-like epidemic may be upon us, and that in the time it takes to make a vaccine, the disease will have already claimed millions of lives.
    • "Adam Ruins Sleep", an episode that mostly takes place in the dream world, is filled with dark and surreal imagery. Of particular note is the way Adam's face morphs at the end of the segment on mattress shopping; his eyes glow red and his jaw elongates to frightening proportions.
    Adam: No matter what you do, shopping for a mattress is just a big old nightmaaaaaaare...
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  • Older Than They Think: According to "The Copernican Ruin-aissance," the Narrator boasts that the Dutch were the first to operate under a true modern capitalist economy. Adam then interjects that they were also the first to experience a true modern capitalist economic bubble burst. Specifically, he mentions how tulips were considered a status symbol in Dutch society, and when the tulip traders started speculating on the flowers' future yields, the tulips' values went up, and people who had a contract that they would one day have a couple of tulips became insanely wealthy as they bought and sold tulip futures. Suddenly, the bottom fell out, and the Dutch economy nearly collapsed in an episode now known as "Tulip-mania."
  • Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped:
    • Many episodes have lessons that are better without subtlety on trying not to believe everything and to accept alternate solutions.
    • The episode "Emily Ruins Adam" shows that some methods on argument, specifically being a Soap Box Sadie and intruding into people lives to give them a "The Reason You Suck" Speech, can be more detrimental than helpful due to the fact that people will feel like they're being attacked, causing their opinions to become stronger and therefore more unlikely to actually accept the opposing argument. Consider the difficult issue of trying to win people over to more beneficial methods in current times, it is an issue worth noting for.
  • Uncanny Valley: The model used to represent Kellee Santiago in "Adam Ruins Summer Fun" is this full stop. It's supposed to look like something from Journey, but the art style doesn't even match. It doesn't help that we had a segment animated by the Dorkly team not too long before this.
  • Unpopular Popular Character: Adam Conover. The show drives the point home that his lecturing is not a good way to relate to people and the reason why he's so lonely, but few people pick up on that.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The video game segment in "Adam Ruins Summer Fun" is shown through wonderful sprite animation that varies across multiple games, animated by the team at Dorkly Originals, CollegeHumor's parent company.
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