And Knowing Is Half the Battle

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Riku: Now you know. And knowing is half the battle!

Sora: The other half is shooting somebody.
Ansem Retort #120

The episode of your cartoon series is over already, and the kids haven't yet had An Aesop or a science lesson? Well, we can't have that!

This trope is the practice of encapsulating the moral of the story in The Tag. It often has No Fourth Wall, and has the characters of the show directly lecture to the audience. It allows a show that went 22 minutes wantonly breaking stuff to get that coveted "E/I" rating, by telling the kids not to eat the pretty candies in the medicine cabinet. Most times, the moral laid out in The Tag is a summation of what should have been learned from the story, encapsulated in an Anvilicious manner. Other times, it's just a generic safety tip added to an otherwise purely entertaining episode.

A type of Public Service Announcement or PSA, which often contains these when it uses characters from the show in the same timeslot. Sometimes it wasn't even a moral lesson, but a science fact related to the Sci Fi setting. The first season of SeaQuest DSV, in a rare live-action variant, had real life ocean expert Robert Ballard from the Woods-Hole Oceanographic Institute give a one minute lecture on the science of the episode next to the credits; this segment vanished when the series jumped the shark in the second season. Rankin Bass Sci Fi cartoon Silverhawks had something about the planets framed as a lesson to the crew's Plucky Comic Relief / Robot Monkey. A variant on this could be seen in the short segments in prime-time that recommended the viewer to consult his local library for selected books related to the preceding program.

Most commonly seen in The Eighties, and a lot in The Seventies as well, its main use can be seen in police documentaries as a way to end the programme and to finish off with lessons learned - mainly aimed at drivers. So it's not quite a Dead Horse Trope or a Discredited Trope yet. And, as long as cartoons need E/I ratings or family shows need approval from Moral Guardians, someone will play this trope straight.

Subverted in shows where We Haven't Learned Anything, period, and the characters remark on it.

This trope does not refer to knowing a specific strategy that makes it easier to defeat a boss.

Examples of And Knowing Is Half the Battle include:


Trope Namer[edit | hide | hide all]

  • The name comes from the moral tack-ons from the end of GI Joe episodes, with their own internal Catch Phrases:

Random Kid: "'Cause now we know!"
Random Joe: "And Knowing Is Half The Battle!"
Chorus: "G.I. JOOOOOOEEEEEEE!"

    • Sigmund Freud is spinning in his grave.
    • Nintendo Power referenced this. They ran a shot in their preview of the new G.I. Joe video game of two members of the team getting ready to charge into battle, and underneath, the caption...

"The other half of the battle? A really big chain gun."

    • This is actually Truth in Television: good intel is vital for military operations and, to a lesser extent, life in general.
  • The GI Joe comic packs parodied these, with ads featuring kids in some sort of problematic situation and the Joes showing up to...tell them about their awesome new action figures.
  • G.I. Joe Extreme also had PSAs, and even used the "Knowing is half the battle" line too.

"I didn't know we had a ninja..."

  • G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, rather impressively, makes this line a plot point briefly. It's also printed on a wall of the exercise room.
  • G.I. Joe: Renegades drops this in as a Mythology Gag in the first episode as Cobra Pharmaceuticals corporate motto.
  • A somewhat-recent internet phenomenon was the spoof redubs of the original G.I. Joe shorts by Fensler Films, which usually turned them into something utterly incoherent and surreal ("Alright, give 'im the stick - DOOOOON'T GIVE 'IM THE STICK!").
    • G. I. JOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOE..!
    • "Porkchop sandwiches!"
    • "I'm a computer! Stop all the downloadin!"
    • "Nice catch blanco nino, but too bad your ass got saaacccked...*tackles kid* ARGH."
    • "Who wants a bodymassage?"
    • "You know its funny, these people they go to sleep... they think everything's fine, everything's good... they wake up the next day and they're on fire."
    • "Johnny do ya play baseball?"
    • "Does your mother still hang out at dockside bars?"
    • (robotic mumbling) (fires Energy Ball from hand, disintegrating kids)
    • "Look at all your different colored hats!"
    • "Hey, aren't you Buzz Lightyear?" "I love your movies!"
    • (9 seconds of seeing someone fall of a cliff before cutting to the GI JOE title) "Shiiiiiiii-"


Anime and Manga[edit | hide]

  • Sailor Moon—the "Sailor Says" segments which were created solely for the North American dub.
    • Some of these took extremely vague lessons out of the material. As That Chick With The Goggles points out two good examples-- "Today we saw buses vanish into thin air. If only we could make the smog that buses cause vanish into thin air, too! Even though we're just kids, we can carpool and make a difference." ...yeah. Another example given was that one episode had a lesson to believe in yourself and have confidence, because the episode was about an insecure artist who was afraid to draw what she really looked like because she didn't believe she looked good enough. The end of that episode included a reminder that Drugs Are Bad.
      • Because artists take drugs. Right.
      • Not to mention that the lead in bit about the buses doesn't fit at all because the bus would technically be more efficient (as a single bus would house more people than a single car) than just a carpool. This goes double for cities that have invested in hybrid/electric buses, though the segment probably came before those became common. Not that energy efficient cars were common either... So yeah.
    • Sailor Moon Abridged loves to mock these.
      • "So....Studying....Yeah...."
  • The "science lessons" in Gunbuster and Martian Successor Nadesico may have been partly meant to parody such tags in series imported from the US, as they are something rarely if ever seen in Anime as it is broadcast in Japan.
    • Though in Gunbuster, relativistic time dilation also plays a major role in the plot of later episodes, so they had to explain it for the story to make sense.
  • An anime which plays this straight is Mari and Gali, which attempts to teach middle school students about scientific principles. Its makers still throw in a lot of slapstick and general silliness, so the result is rather strange—to say the least.
  • Yakitate!! Japan ends each episode with a random factoid about bread.
  • Moyashimon ends each episode with a segment teaching about a microorganism involved in fermentation featuring anthromorphic bacteria.
  • Hikaru no Go ends episodes with a live-action segment that discusses actual Go strategy.
  • Eyeshield 21 ends each episode with basic safety tips for beginning football players.
  • Harukanaru Toki no Naka de - Hachiyou Shou has the Super-Deformed "Kotengu Classic" segments at the end of some episodes, with Kotengu explaining some facts about something specific mentioned in the episode—sometimes these are quite useful, as the series takes place in the Heian Period Japan (sorta), and knowing some basic facts about its culture certainly won't hurt.
  • Nyan Koi ends each episode with a segment called MewView, where the main character cats recap the episode in a humorous way, and then sign off with an "interesting fact" about cats.
  • Bartender ends each episode with a recipe for an alcoholic drink. The ending sequence also shows a bartender preparing said drink.
  • Used in one volume of the English edition of Kindaichi Case Files talking about the differences between Western and Japanese computers. They also use it to justify the heavy edits by explaining that if they used a literal translation, the English reading audience won't get a fair chance at solving the mystery themselves.
  • Some of the Yumeiro Patissiere episodes end with cooking advice for making certain types of sweets.


Comic Books[edit | hide]

  • One of DC Editor Jack Schiff's pet projects back in the Golden Age was a series of one-page PSA inserts featuring various popular superheroes teaching kids a brief lesson on the topic of the day.
    • These were actually required by law. In order to qualify as second-class mail, a publication had to have a certain amount of straight text.
  • Comic books from a lot of different companies back then also sometimes had the starring characters advertising and selling war bonds on the front cover.
  • DC Comics once commissioned a series of in-house PSAs in the early 90s featuring several DC heroes like Robin, Booster Gold, The Flash, among others getting informed about the real facts concerning HIV and AIDS. The most well known of the bunch was the adult-oriented Neil Gaiman and Dave Mckean authored Death Talks About Life, featuring Death of the Endless from The Sandman and John Constantine.


Film[edit | hide]

Billy Mack: Kids, don't buy drugs. If you become a pop star they give you them for free.

  • In Looney Tunes: Back in Action, after Bugs Bunny explains the art technique of Pointillism, he says: "I think, when you go to the movies, you should learn somethin'."
  • Steven Seagal's speech at the end of On Deadly Ground
  • Toy Story 2 has an in-universe example where the last aired episode of Woody's Roundup had the show Woody address the audience about not forgetting their friends and family while singing the recurring song "You've Got a Friend in Me". This convinces the Woody watching, who had just decided to abandon his old friends and his owner Andy to go to a museum in Japan with the rest of the roundup gang toys, to reverse his decision and take the roundup gang with them.


Live Action TV[edit | hide]

  • Each major American network has their own version of these. The most well-known and often parodied are NBC's "The More You Know Segments", which featured celebrities of the time in Public Service Announcements. Notable parodies include:
    • A special feature on The Office season 2 DVD, where the show's characters tell you important facts about life. Dwight informs viewers that he could survive on a wolf's diet, Jim tells you that the black jelly beans are bad, and Ryan tells you, if you're hanging out with your friends, and someone tries to sell you a $9 beer, just say no, because $9 is way too much for a beer. The Office airs on NBC.
  • The Daily Show parodies it with 'The Less You Know', a segment about censorship where the rainbow trail on the star logo is blacked out with redaction bars.
    • It also parodied it with 'The More You Wish You Didn't Know' on a segment concerning the ACORN scandals.
  • One of J.D.'s fantasies in Scrubs (also on NBC) parodies this with J.D. telling the audience why it's wrong to smother your kids, in a horrifyingly casual manner:

JD: You had a tough day at the office. So you come home, make yourself some dinner, smother your kids, pop in a movie, maybe have a drink. It's fun, right? Wrong. Don't smother your kids.

  • The other three "big four" networks have their own answers to NBC's "The More You Know" PSAs. As for TMYK, the logo at the top of the page is no longer used; they use a different one now, still with the star motif.
  • This Is the Life and virtually all of the now-disappeared religious anthology dramas that aired from the early 1950s through late 1980s. After the situation at hand reaches its resolution, an off-screen narrator (or sometimes, on-screen host, invariably a clergyman) will review a given situation, offer appropriate commentary and give a brief Scripture reading to recap the lesson of the day.
  • Indeed (through at least the early 2000s), many stations would offer a brief, pre-taped message from a clergyman from their broadcast area, usually an inspirational message or some other quick lesson on applying Christian values to daily life.
  • Double the Fist gives us Mephisto Knows. Mephisto tells us about something he doesn't like such as Athletes, Vegetarians, and Traffic Signs.
  • How I Met Your Mother ends one episode with a special message from Barney:

Barney: Hi there. We've had a lot of fun tonight, but on a more serious note, this is the time of year when we remember the importance of giving, and there's no greater gift... than the gift of booty. So, this holiday season, why not bang someone in need? I'm Barney Stinson, and that's (winks) one to grow on.

    • The camera then pans away to show that he's not addressing the audience, but a girl in the bar, and the music cuts out as she rejects him. He immediately turns to another girl and begins the speech again.
  • In the early seasons, all episodes of Power Rangers ended with "a message from the Power Rangers." Though not as frequent as before, Rangers doing a public service announcement or two has made a comeback in recent years (apparently, listening to your parents is as important factor in being a hero as far as the Overdrive Rangers are concerned... even though their Red Ranger became a Ranger by ignoring his father's prohibitions against his putting himself in danger that way).
  • The show Dinosaurs parodied this at the end of a parody of a Very Special Episode, with Robbie exhorting viewers to "end preachy Sitcom episodes" by not using drugs.
  • Has happened at least twice in the FOX series 24. Most notably, a PSA was created in the fourth season where Kiefer Sutherland talked about the plight of Middle Eastern residents in the country, just before an episode where his character, Jack Bauer, met two Middle Eastern gun shop owners in Los Angeles. The pre-show announcements for season two and four also had Sutherland promoting corporate sponsors (i.e. Ford sponsored a commercial-free airing of the season two premiere).
  • NieA 7 featured a short live action "educational" segment after every show with bizarre statements about life in India.
  • The ABC Family series The Secret Life of the American Teenager features a clip of Shailene Woodley's character prompting teens and parents to talk about underage sex, because "Teenage pregnancy is 100% avoidable!"
    • Sometimes other characters do this, like Francia Raisa's character, Adrian.
  • Kamen Rider Kiva had this invoked at the beginning of every ep, thanks to Kivat.

"Minna, shiteru ka?" ("Everybody, did you know?")

  • The Clueless TV series once had one where the audience was earnestly told that the only safe sex is no sex.
  • An episode of the Rotten Tomatoes Show had a Three Word Review that described the movie Knowing as "Half the battle".
  • The 80s show Voyagers always had star Meeno Peluce tell the viewers, during the closing credits, that if they wanted to learn more about the historical periods and/or people from the episode, they could visit their local library ("It's all in books!").
  • Attack of the Show! will occasionally mock this trope. When they teach the audience a "lesson," Kevin or Olivia will inform then that they "just got learned!". Cut to a parody of the shooting star made famous by NBC; only it's a rocketship flying over the Earth, and it crashes into a blimp, and the blimp hindenbergs back into the atmosphere.
  • Code Red episodes had a coda where a cast member give a fire safety or first aid lesson.
  • The Son of the Beach show attempted to parody this. Unfortunately, the parodies weren't funny.
  • Eureka has a series of PSAs called ?Live Smart, Eureka? featured on the Season 2 DVD. They consist of reminding the really smart scientists that what they are doing could potentially be really dumb.
  • The Weird Al Yankovic Show suffered from this phenomenon.
  • Police, Camera, Action! started doing from 2007 onwards at the end of the show. Even the episode Ultimate Pursuits had one, although that could be considered as a parody of Back to The Future (with the accompanying theme music). It's rare to see such things on a documentary...
  • 30 Rock. At the end of the episode Gavin Velure, Tracy's sex doll made a And Now You Know segment.

Tracy's Sex Doll: You know a lot of people look down on sex dolls. But as you saw tonight they save lives and bring families together. How am I such an expert? I’m Tracy Jordan’s sex doll!

  • Spoofed by The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, which ends every episode with a segment named "What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig?" right before the ending credits. Quite often, the segment contains no lesson whatsoever, and on the occasion it does have one, it's never a serious one. "Lessons" have included a Spanish vocabulary word and "The kitten in the What Did We Learn on the Show Tonight, Craig? graphic is a computer animation, not a video of a real kitten."
    • Craig Ferguson also parodies this trope and combines it with Biting the Hand Humor by frequently saying "CBS Cares" after giving some unhelpful advice. He sometimes combines this with a Spoof Aesop.
  • The People's Court does this at the end of each case, with host Harvey Levin giving some practical advice on how to avoid the mess the judge just cleaned up. Note: Since laws vary from state to state, he's not always right. Check your jurisdiction's rules to be sure.
    • Indeed, in the original version, the producers explicitly advised this in a disclaimer shown at the end of each program.
  • Wizards of Waverly Place did this once.


Radio/Music[edit | hide]

  • This trope is Older Than You Think, as some old-time radio dramas did the same thing. The Shadow, for one, sometimes offered in-character advice on how to properly operate and maintain a coal-burning furnace after an episode was over. This rather shamelessly combined And Knowing Is Half the Battle with Product Placement, as the program's sponsor was a coal company.
  • The Z-Trip, MURS and Supernatural song "Breakfast Club", being a love letter to Saturday morning cartoons, parodies several of these. "Even in cartoons, Americana can't be tackled, but at least you know now, And Knowing Is Half the Battle", "let a ho be a ho, and that's one to grow on", and such.


Tabletop Games[edit | hide]

  • The tabletop RPG Cartoon Action Hour is designed to evoke the feel of action cartoons from the 1980s. In fact, players can earn bonus experience points by role-playing their characters in an After-The-Show Message.


Theater[edit | hide]

  • The epilogue of Pericles can be roughly summarized as "Look at all these characters! The gods punished the wicked ones and rewarded the righteous ones!"
  • Mozart's (somewhat) dark comedy Don Giovanni unexpectedly ends a night of ribald hijinks and catchy tunes with a final scene of the antihero (antivillain?) being dragged down to Hell. The rest of the cast then come onto the stage and Break The Fourth Wall, lecturing that what the audience has just seen is the fate that awaits all sinners.
  • Most plays written in the 18th century had prologues that basically said, "this is a good play, you'll enjoy it" and epilogues repeating the moral of the play. Probably justified, since few people at the time actually went to the theater to watch a play - they went to see and be seen.
  • The Matchmaker ends with Barnaby stating a somewhat facetious moral.


Video Games[edit | hide]

  • One occasionally sees arcade machines in Attract Mode stating "Winners don't use drugs!" for games that may or may not have anything to do with the subject.
  • Parodied in passing conversation in City of Heroes, where a Resistance Informant ventures the opinion that Knowing is overrated in terms of battle.
  • Mother 3 has a few signs in certain locations that provide the player with real-world information based on the context, such as about certain types of frog that can survive in desert climates, or why mole tunnels can be so long and complex (the latter even encouraging the player to take time out to go watch moles in action some day).
  • When drinking in Catherine, a Disembodied Voice will interrupt you to tell you about some random trivia about the drink you chose.


Web Animation[edit | hide]

Tails: Now I know!
Sonic: And knowing is half the battle!
Chorus: G I JOOOOOE!

Optimus: So remember kids, always look both ways before brushing your teeth!
Kid 1: Thanks Optimus! Now we know!
Optimus: And knowing is half the battle!
Kid 2: So what's the other half?
Optimus: Huh?
Kid 2: What's the other half of the battle?
Optimus: Hmmm... never really thought about that before. Let me answer that question... with MERCHANDISE! (merchandise rains down)
Kids: YAY!


Webcomics[edit | hide]


Web Original[edit | hide]

  • Also parodied in this Mass Effect fan video, in which Ashley's line "shooting people isn't always the answer" is presented as one of these.
  • Parodied in McCourt's In Session where the eponymous judge delivers a slightly disturbing warning to kids.
  • Given the contents of the website, it seems only fitting that Encyclopedia Dramatica uses a variant of NBC's TMYK logo for their section, "THE MOAR YOU KNOW."
  • Quoted in Chad Vader, S2 Ep8 "Bandito Beatdown" :

Commander Wickstrom: "I wish I knew what to do."
Weird Jimmy: "Well, knowing is half the battle. The other half is doing. Well, not half but [mutters]...65 for knowing [mutters] the doing is-is..."

  • For some reason, Sonichu issue 10 has a message not to let your kids play M-rated games.
  • Full Metal Panic Abridged parodies this in the first episode, after warning it's viewers about the dangers of creating an abridged series!


Western Animation[edit | hide]

  • Rescue Heroes had a hero address the kids about ways they can keep themselves safe.
  • Anything by Filmation, including:
    • Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids would invariably end their episodes with a musical performance by Albert and the gang, that would spell out the lesson of the day. They, along with Bill Cosby's narrative asides, tended to make the lessons go down more smoothly than a lot of 70s cartoons did.

"This is Bill Cosby comin' at you with music and fun, and if you're not careful you may learn something before we're done. So let's get ready, okay? Hey, Hey, Hey!"

    • The New Adventures of Zorro (the 1981 version) featured the title character giving an epilogue each episode about Spanish-American history (focused on California).
    • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe plus its Spin-Off She Ra Princess of Power. It was halfway-used in one episode of the 2002 version, where the Masters needed Orko to help lure a colony of dragons to attack monsters under the control of Skeletor. After that task was successful, the episode concludes with Orko admitting to his chagrin that he's still scared of the species, but the heroes reassure him that a proper respect for a fierce and powerful creature is the mark of a wise person. Here, the lesson flows relatively naturally from the plot and the fourth wall is kept intact.
      • The 2002 series did have morals, following in the format of the original series, but they didn't air with the American episodes; only the international releases. However, they do come on the DVD sets for the curious viewer. They also tend to softened the blow by always making it the exact lesson the episode as a whole was meant to teach you, rather than clumsily segueing into "yo, kids — don't smoke."
    • She Ra Princess of Power.
    • Filmations Ghostbusters (the 1986 TV series by Filmation, not the other one)
    • Bravestarr, as with most Filmation shows. Unusually, there is at least one episode where a villain gets to deliver the message, with Outlaw Scuzz talking about how bad smoking is for one's health, and how he wishes he could quit but he's addicted.
  • Bravestarr's counterpart Space Western Saber Rider and the Star Sheriffs used it, mostly in the title character's closing voice over.
  • Adventures of the Galaxy Rangers was very conscious about averting it (making it a rarity among the Animation Age Ghetto). This became one of the reasons it attracted an older audience.
  • Superfriends - safety tips, magic tricks, science projects, you name it. Probably set the tone for all the others.
  • Superman the Animated Series once put this trope to an interesting use for the opening of one of its episodes: it starts with a setup that might have come out of one of these PSAs from an old Silver Age animated series with Superman flying in to rescue a kid whose friends have goaded him into endangering himself and giving the kids a little lecture on not giving in to peer pressure before flying away. Our first hint that something's out of place is that, right after he leaves, one of the less admiring kids mocks him for being such a stiff. Sure enough, it turns out this is actually the first appearance of Bizarro, an imperfect clone Lex Luthor made using a bit of Superman's blood. The reason he comes off sounding so pompous is that he thinks he's Superman and is trying too hard to do what he thinks Superman typically does. In case we missed the hint, his next good deed for the day is rescuing Clark Kent and Lois Lane from a car crash, thereby alerting Superman to this odd twist of events as well.
  • Several PSA segments were prepared for Transformers Generation 1, another Hasbro property produced by Sunbow and Marvel Productions concurrent with G.I. Joe. The segments even used the "and knowing is half the battle" line (and the scripts from the G.I. Joe PSAs almost VERBATIM), but they never aired. These were placed as unlockable bonuses in the Armada-based PS2 game, and are also available on some DVD releases of the show. The most hypocritical one had an anti-sexism message, at a time when there were no female Transformers, and came from Powerglide, who had an episode that season where a human woman fell in love with him (presumably, the PSA would have aired after that episode...).
    • Parodied in an episode of Robot Chicken where Optimus Prime talks about prostate cancer.
  • Jem, another Hasbro property produced by Sunbow and Marvel Productions (like G.I. Joe' and Transformers) also featured similar PSA segments. Like the Transformers ones, these also mimicked the G.I. Joe versions, sometimes word-for-word, but the "Knowing is half the battle" line was replaced with "Doing the right thing makes you a Super Star".
  • Inspector Gadget.
  • M.A.S.K.
    • Like Bravestarr above, MASK had the epilogue lesson delivered by the villains one time (what to do in an earthquake).
  • Captain Planet and the Planeteers -- Either the whole show, or just the "Planeteer Alert" at the end, depending on how cynical you are.
  • Heathcliff and The Catillac Cats and Pound Puppies -- Always about pet care or pet safety.
  • Animaniacs -- Parodied with reckless abandon as the "Wheel of Morality" "Wheel of Morality, turn, turn, turn. Tell us the lesson that we should learn!"

Yakko: "Hey come on, the Wheel of Morality adds boring educational value to what otherwise would be an almost entirely entertaining program."

    • "Early to rise/And early to bed/Makes a man healthy/But socially dead."
    • Possums have pouches like kangaroos.
    • Elvis lives on in our hearts, in his music, and in a trailer park in eastern Milwaukee.
    • You can teach an old dog new tricks, but you can't teach Madonna to act.
    • Be sure to brush your teeth after every meal. This moral was brought to you by the American Dental Association.
    • The answer, my friend, is blowing in the wind...except in New Jersey, where anything blowing in the wind smells funny.
    • Slow and steady wins the race, but it's faster to take a taxi.
    • Don't go towards the light. Especially if it's a headlight.
    • It's easy to be brave—from a safe distance.
    • If you can't say something nice, you're probably at the Ice Capades.
    • Do not back up. Severe tire damage.
    • In one episode, they spin the wheel of morality and win a trip to Tahiti.
    • In another episode, the wheel landed on Bankrupt.
    • In yet another episode they lampshade the whole purpose of the wheel of morality mandates from the FCC.
      • Of course, at the end of The Movie Wakkos Wish, they finally got a real moral out of the wheel—but given the film's goofy fairytale-ish nature, it was fitting. And also in song.
    • This was also spoofed at the end of Super Strong Warner Siblings.

Yakko: Hey kids, playing with giant bugs isn't cool. If someone wants you to play with a giant bug, just say "No thanks!". That's cool!
Yakko, Wakko and Dot: Right!

  • Veggie Tales does this routinely. Sing along if you know it.

And so what we have learned applies to our lives today,
And God has a lot to say in his book.
You see we know that God's word is for everyone,
And now that our song is done we'll take a look!

  • Clerks the Animated Series parodied this with a number of post-episode shorts, such as having Jay and Silent Bob present a Mr Wizard inspired magic-from-science segment. They showed a simple sleight-of-hand trick, with the twist that a key element of the trick required invoking the power of Satan.
    • Making it better, the third segment didn't do much but have Charles Barkley try to do the segment, then Jay and Silent Bob kick the crap out of him Godfather-style (including the missed punch) and leave.
  • Spoofed in an episode of Disney's Dave the Barbarian. "Remember, children, brush your teeth every night or evil tooth decay goblins will move into your mouth and play loud polka music all day! And remember, STAY IN SCHOOL!!"
  • South Park has subverted and parodied this in various ways.
    • In the 13th season premier, Kyle and Cartman actually quoted the phrase verbatim after Kenny's death from syphilis, caught by getting oral sex from his girlfriend.
  • Care Bears, usually a lesson about sharing or not lying, or how bad it is to shoplift, etc.
  • Also present and parodied (at the same time!) in the animated series based on Sam and Max Freelance Police.
  • This was used in The Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog cartoon series (but not the one that aired on Saturday mornings) with a short 'Sonic Sez' segment every episode, where Sonic explained some sort of lesson (often safety related) to the viewers. Disturbingly, Sonic once took it upon himself to explain "good touch vs. bad touch" to the kids at home ("There's nothing more cool than being hugged by someone you like. But if someone tries to touch you in a place or in a way that makes you feel uncomfortable, that's no good!"). The Internet being what it is, this has spawned various edits and parodies, such as "Sonic Gives MC Hammer Advice", which is the "touch" speech with parts of "Can't Touch This" edited in.
    • listen to the mighty sloth and not take rides in clothes driers!
    • And remember kids—if you're surrounded by robots, don't call 911—that's for real emergencies!
    • There is also that one PSA that had the bumbling villains Scratch and Grounder swigging booze and smoking cigarettes. But, you know, it was to encourage kids not to. Talk about Getting Crap Past the Radar. "Hurry up, Grounder, I wanna try this booze!"
  • The Simpsons played with this as early as the first-season episode "Bart the General".

Bart: Contrary to what you've just seen, war is neither glamorous nor fun. There are no winners, only losers. There are no good wars, with the following exceptions: the American Revolution, World War II, and the Star Wars Trilogy. If you'd like to learn more about war, there's lots of books in your local library, many of them with cool gory pictures.

    • A later episode, "Bart Starr", had guest star Joe Namath break the fourth wall to deliver an inspiring message.

Namath: Heh heh. Poor Bart. You know, we had a lot of fun tonight. But, there's nothing funny about... vapor lock. It's the third most common cause of stalling. So please, take care of your car and get it checked. I'm Joe Namath. Good night!

  • Spoofed at the end of the Kim Possible "Grande Size Me", where Ron delivers the moral of the episode to the audience at the end—with Kim and everyone else wondering who on earth he is talking to...
  • One of Drawn Together's many running gags.
  • The Mysterious Cities of Gold featured mini-documentaries on South American history and culture at the end of each episode. Unlike most entries on this list, they were actually interesting.
  • The Magic School Bus had a segment at the end of each episode responding to "viewers' phone calls", which explained all the things the episode had glossed over because it made a better story. Fair enough, since it was intended as an Edutainment Show.
    • The books did this too, ending with a couple pages that addressed complaints about inaccuracies and safety/physics violations.
  • Thundercats more or less averted this by not having end of episode segments where the cast breaks the fourth wall and talks straight to the viewer, but some of the morals the episodes themselves are trying to teach come over as obvious anyway. This is sometimes pushed a bit too far when one of the Thundercats practically spells out the moral in a piece of dialogue in a very Anvilicious way (such as one time when Tigra makes a small speech about rules and how they should be obeyed, otherwise they are "just words". The delivery and pacing of the scene makes the moral that is trying to be taught overly obvious).
    • Well, Thundercats did have a consultant child psychologist on the staff. Though, to be honest, I'm not sure if the anviliciousness was deliberate, or just the way that Tygra (and it was almost always Tygra) was written - even the voice actor who played him regarded him as a rather "square dude".
    • The exact line was "Rules are only meaningful if people agree to follow them. Otherwise, they're just words". In retrospect, it's strangely ambiguous. It sounds like a worthy and moralistic exhortation to follow the rules, but could equally be taken as saying that rules have no meaning if you don't agree with them, or could even be a veiled attack on rules that have no mechanism for enforcement (it was in response to a comment that the "Interstellar Council" ruled against a weapon that the mutants were using).
  • Silverhawks had a similar segment at the end of each episode where Copper Kid got in a space simulator, where he was put against a simple astronomy quiz. Given the nature of the show, it was actually quite appropriate to have a segment about astronomy at the end of the show.
    • Which was a bit odd, given that interstellar space was depicted as containing breatheable air and Earth-normal gravity throughout the show proper.
    • In fact everything about that universe was divorced from our own laws of physics. This was a world where banging a tuning fork in space created wind and ice.
  • Centurions—Same as above, except lecture style. Even Big Bad Doc Terror got to do two; one about "machines" (episode 14) and other about "computers".
  • Spoofed in an Ambiguously Gay Duo animated short, from Saturday Night Live, in which the Duo present unintentionally Double Entendre-filled home safety tips. ("Grab the plug firmly by the male end and shove it right in. Don't play with it.")
    • As long as we're on the topic of SNL...

Mr. T: "If you believe in yourself, eat all your school, stay in milk, drink your teeth, don't do sleep, and get 8 hours of drugs - you can get work!"

  • The otherwise obscure Back to The Future The Animated Series was mostly remembered for that funny guy at the end—a young Bill Nye doing a science-related stunt, usually a do-it-yourself, at the end, sometimes related to the episode's events.
  • Static Shock—On a few Very Special Episodes
  • Mighty Max had a segment at the end of each episode with Max giving a brief fact related to the subject of the episode. One two-part finale, with Max still out with Virgil and Norman in a hellish setting, had Max's mother remarking on her son's choice of Dante's Inferno as reading material.[1]
  • Mister T (The Animated Series starring Mr. T) puts both the moral in the action story—and then reminds the moral of the story in the tag. Not that the show was intended to bore kids to death. Mr. T spins crocodiles over his head. And punches sharks.
  • The Grim Adventures of Billy and Mandy parodies this in one episode. Erwin steals Grim's scythe and causes a lot of chaos with it. From their beaten up positions, two characters say to the audience "Remember kids, playing with scythes isn't cool or fun." "It's dangerous!" "So if you see a scythe, don't pick it up! Tell an adult immediately!" ...they then proceed to nod at the camera knowingly.
  • In one early morning commercial on Nickelodeon, Katara from Avatar: The Last Airbender gives a lecture about swimming safety, and how you should always have an adult around. This is a horribly Broken Aesop considering these are the kids who do everything with the oldest member being fifteen, from world travel, to swimming, to fighting, to completely unpunished insurance fraud. Also Toph farts in the pool.
    • You should also keep in mind that when you have characters who can control the very water around them, and heal you if you do get hurt, drowning is probably not high on their list of worries.
  • The Venture Brothers included a Very Special Episode about testicular torsion - an obscure and embarrassing medical problem to which Dean succumbed. The after-credits segment included the Animated Actors woodenly giving awareness lectures while reading off cue cards, in a very 'The More You Know' style.
    • Interestingly enough, Doc Hammer actually suffered from testicular torsion when he was younger and based Dean's experience in the episode on his own.
  • The football-themed cartoon Hurricanes featured at least one example: at the end of a Sweet Polly Oliver episode, the Token Girl explained to the viewer that women being restricted from playing on the same soccer team as men was "a stupid rule" but also that rules are rules. That's the only one I can remember from that series; I'm not sure if there were more...
    • There were. Amanda Carey (a.k.a. the Token Girl) is usually the one to explain the episode's lesson (there's at least one lesson for each episode). One notable exception was "Football Fugitives" where it was justified by the fact she wasn't involved in the episode's main plot. Surprisingly enough, she did explain the moral of an episode where she made no appearance at all other than the All Just a Dream episode "The Relegator". Napper explained the moral of another episode where it was left ambiguous if he dreamt the whole thing or not.
  • The Family Guy episode "The Son Also Draws", (featuring an Indian casino) ended with the family acting racist towards a nationality stereotype, then immediately explaining why the stereotype is incorrect, with at "The More You Know" star showing up behind them. Then comes Peter:

Peter: That's more than you can say for those freeloadin' Canadians. (pause while the background goes black for him to give his inspirational educational message) ...Canada sucks!

    • Family Guy does this several times. In "North by North Quahog" Chris gets caught drinking in the boy's bathroom and a G.I. Joe steps outta the stall and gives a lecture about drinking.
    • At the end of "Mr. Griffin Goes to Washington", an episode about smoking, Peter is lounging in his chair and starts "We've had a lot of laughs tonight..." the lesson: Killing hookers is bad. Cause they're people too.
      • And besides, they're already dead on the inside.
      • Full quote: "Hi, I’m Peter Grifin. You know we’ve had a lot of laughs tonight, but I’ll tell you what’s not funny; killing strippers. Strippers are people too, naked people who may be willing to pleasure you for a price you negotiate later behind a curtain in the VIP room. Besides, there’s no need to kill them ‘cause most of them are already dead inside."
    • And then of course, there's Gary The No-Trash Cougar, who holds children at gunpoint for littering.
  • Growing Up Creepie, about a gothy girl raised by creepie-crawlies, included short inserts with educational insect facts.
  • The Popeye and Olive Show had various safety messages, usually featuring Popeye's identical quintuplet nephews, between the shorts.
  • King Arthur and the Knights of Justice: "You need to (insert Aesop here) to be a knight of justice".
  • Liberty's Kids, a public-broadcasting educational series set during the American Revolution, initially included pieces of bogus news, reported by Benjamin Franklin, in the middle of each program. These interludes, intended to teach (very) young viewers about life in the 18th century, were cut from non-PBS broadcasts to make room for commercial breaks.
  • Spoofed in the ending of the Duck Dodgers episode: "The Fudd":

Duck Dodgers: That's right kids. Stay in school, don't sass your elders and always color within the lines. Because if you're good and lucky, you'll grow up to be just like me.

  • Spliced parodies this with Knowing is Growing
  • Spoofed multiple times in Yin Yang Yo.
  • Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles 1987 had "Turtle Tips".
  • Viewers of Tenko and the Guardians of the Magic were taught a magic trick at the end of the episode by the real Princess Tenko, along with an occasional "The magic is in you!" message.
  • King of the Hill often acknowledged social issues, but these were only used a couple of times. One was encouraging viewers to vote, another was about working to get Antonio López de Santa Anna's leg returned to Mexico.
  • In My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic, this takes the form of the letters that Twilight Sparkle writes to her mentor Princess Celestia at the end of every episode. Unlike most others, this is actually implemented well into the plot, rather than being a random PSA disconnected to the events of the episode. (Arguably, they are the plot, inasmuch as the series as a whole has one at all.)
    • In fact, so much so that in Part 2 of "The Return of Harmony", these letters (sent back by Celestia) gave her the resolve she needed to rescue her friends, power up the Elements of Harmony, and defeat Discord when all hope seemed lost. Even more impressive, she turns the aesop of that episode into an epic World of Cardboard Speech/Shut UP, Hannibal against Discord.
    • Interestingly, Season 1 of My Little Pony has the EI rating, while season 2 does not. The production team apparently decided this change of rules awesome, and thus made "Lesson Zero", an episode where Twilight is unable to learn a new lesson about friendship and goes a little nuts. At the end of the episode, Princess Celestia tells Twilight she only has to write letters when she feels she has learned something and not all the time, effectively freeing this from being mandatory. This hasn't stopped the end-of-episode aesops as they still show up in subsequent episodes afterwards, but interestingly, though, fans and staff liked the idea so much that the writers also utilized the opportunity to allow other members of the mane cast to occasionally write their own letters to the Princess.
    • This is given a hilarious subversion in one episode, where Applejack writes a letter just to brag that she already knew the Aesop.
  • Spoofed in a Harvey Birdman, Attorney at Law episode about heroin—er, tanning creme addiction, with Peanut as Elton John and Reducto as Jennifer Grey.
  • Every episode of Rescue Heroes would end with the characters recapping the lessons learned earlier in the episode. These typically were reduced to restating the emergency situation of the episode, telling you how it should be dealt with, and ending with the clever annoyingly cheesy phrase, "Think like a Rescue Hero. Think safe."
  • Occasionally parodied in the Sam And Max Animated Series, in their "Our Bewildering Universe" shorts. A great example is "Chock Full O'Guts", a short as unnecessarily gory as network standards would allow a kid's show to be, in which they claim to be teaching the viewer about the body, but instead play a heart like a bagpipe, throw intestines around and explain that the pancreas's function is to be a paperweight.
  • The Nostalgia Critic and The Nostalgia Chick quote this directly in their review of Fern Gully, complete with "G.I. JOOOOOOEEEEEEE!" at the end, after Chick explains to Critic why the movie is set in Australia.
  • Zula Patrol: Every episode ends in a recap of what they (being audience and Protagonists) learned.
  • Every Invisible Network of Kids episode ends with the 'Science Club' segment where Cosmo Soper discusses the scientific or hostoric basis for something that had been the theme of that episode; like amnesia, or chess.
  • Pound Puppies had a "Pet Care Corner" where viewers were given hints on how to take care of their pets.
  • The Captain Atom episode of Batman the Brave And The Bold begins with one of these. The Captain tells 2 kids to stay away from a downed power line and delivers the egotistical Aesop of "Next time, be a hero, by remembering you're not." The same line is later turned back around on him after the bad guy takes his powers away and he starts getting in the way by trying to be a hero. At the end of the episode, after his temporary loss of powers has apparently shown him that there's more to being a hero than having special powers, an almost-identical PSA starring the same two kids is shown: "You don't have superpowers, and that makes you some of the most fragile and pathetic organisms in the whole universe."
  • Parodied at the end of an episode of The Twisted Tales of Felix the Cat, in which Felix steps up to deliver a Fantastic Aesop based on the episode's storyline. Instead of being about just saying "no" to The Aggressive Drug Dealer, it's about not ever buying a magic bag from anyone. (And no, it's not supposed to be analogous to not wasting money or something, since Felix then urges to viewer to purchase an edible wig instead.)
  • Davey's father in Davey and Goliath got this duty, recapping the lesson of the day by talking with Davey (and sometimes others) about it. Mountain Dew even produced a commercial that parodied this practice (and subverts this trope in the process).


Real Life[edit | hide]

  • Frequently applied by teachers. Sometimes, the teacher will wrap up the school day by recapping a lesson from the day, or give information that could affect the students the next day (e.g., "Don't forget the permission slips for the field trips. If they're not signed, you don't get to go to the zoo.")
  • Many small-town newspapers still have columns where local clergymen—usually, on a rotating basis—will provide insight on issues affecting Christians, or perhaps the community at large, along with the requisite Scripture.

You know, we've had a lot of fun today. But you know what's not fun? Red Links. G'night!

  1. When the series was shown in the UK, they were cut from BBC1's screenings but left intact on Nickelodeon.