(I Had to split this into two parts as it was getting really long)
Guys, originality, especially in writing, is hard. If you break a show or a movie down to the core, most basic definition of it’s plot, then you’ll realize that you’ve seen it somewhere before. Because of this, I believe that every show, especially cartoons, has a black hole in it. The black hole leads to an episode plot that has been seen dozens of times before. Some people try to avoid this hole at l costs, others dive right in, either to parody it, or to see if they can do it well. Thus, I’m counting down the Top Ten Plots have have been done to death! So, let’s cut the crap and get right to it!
The “I Wanna be a Superhero!” Plot
This is the plot where one or more of the main characters tries to go out and fight crime! This plot is used all the time. And I mean ALL THE TIME. There are very few cartoons I can think of that don’t have this as an episode, some times they even use it multiple times. The TMNT fandom in particular is definitely no stranger to this premise. The first time I know of where they did this, and the best tie, when when Michelangelo dressed up and became the Turtle Titan! The episode was kinda funny, but pretty meh for the most part, though the Turtle Titan became one of Mickey’s thousands upon thousands of running jokes. It was later used again in season seven, also known as Back to the Sewers, where Raphael found a cape that gave him super powers. Unfortunately around this time in the show, he had developed from less of a bad ass and more of a comic relief character, to the dismay of his many fangirls. It was stupid. The last time it was done was in the 2007 movie, simply titled TMNT, where Raph fought crime as a vigilante called the Nightwatcher.And for some reason only Casey could tell who he was. And there was, like, this weird plot about catching monsters.
We don’t like to talk abut that movie.
Now this is something that has been done to death for sure.
“Oh My, It’s raining and dreary outside, so now we can’t play even though if it was sunny out we would have spent all day on Tumblr anyway, what ever shall we dooooooooooooooo??? Oh I know! Lets use our IMAGINATION for fun times, like some sort of manchild! YAAAAAAAAY!”
Yeah, this one is just crazy over used. The Powerpuff Girls did it by pretending to be each their saving the day, and we got to see the professor in a dress. Thank you, Craig McCracken. We really needed that. This is also pretty much the plot to every single episode of the Rugrats. Fosters Home for Imaginary Friends had a neat spin on it by having the characters they made up become real thanks to Goo’s overactive imagination, and they had to fight them in a epic pretend battle. Though, for me, the best example of this would be the Adventure Time Episode where it s literally raining KNIVES outside, and when Jake leads Finn on in imaginary adventure, the things he imagines become real, but only Jake an see them. Its also the best because Finn really DOES adventure outside a lot. So it makes more sense why he would be saddened by the deadly storm. I also find it hilarious how he sees the miracle of weather and is just like, “Aw, gee, I guess we can’t play today…” As if it happens all the time. I love that show.
This is the episode where a character makes a bet, only to realize that it may not be fulfilled, thus a Rocky-Style training montage ensues so that the bet can be won. This trope seems to be pretty legit, though, as a majority of the episodes I’ve seen with it are quite good, or at least fairly decent. In the Simpsons episode, Homer at the Bat, Mr. Burns makes a bet that he can beat the other Power Plant Baseball teams, and cheats by replacing almost all the employees in his team with Baseball Stars. It’s one of the most hilarious episodes in the series. Also, in one of my favorite Daria episodes, Fat Like Me, Sandy, the president of the fashion club, gains weight, and banishes herself from the club, and Quinn accidentally does the same. In the episode, Daria and Jane make a bet to see if the Fashion Club will disband or not, and they both try encouraging Quinn to do certain things in order to shift the odds into their favor. Though the best example to me, is my favorite episode of Motorcity, Blonde Thunder. In the Episode, Chuck finally builds his own ride, but then accidentally get’s himself into a bet with the Duke of Detroit. If he wins a race, the Burners get unlimited access to all the scrapyards in Motorcity, but if he loses, the Duke gets Mike’s car, Mutt. The problem: Chuck can’t drive. I wouldn’t DARE spoil how this ends, just let me say that if your a fan of Cuteness and Dee Snider, this episode is for you.
The Heidi Episode
Or as I like to call them, the, “You try not to cry, you know it’s coming, you don’t want it to, but you know that things gonna die, just don’t, DON’T, NO STOP, STOP CRYING, STOP MAKING ME CRY BRAIN, NO, STOP!” episode. Where the main character makes/creates a friend (Usually an animal) only for the friend to die dramatically in the end. This always leads to sad and memorable episodes, especially if you saw the episode when you were little. The Best example is the Powerpuff Girls episode of which the name I don’t remember. But you know the one. Where they try and make a forth Powerpuff girl named Bunny who ends up….Well…..Mentally Challenged. She tries to help out but ends up just doing worse, and eventually becomes unstable and gives the last of her life to save the other girls. It’s so sad that even the Narrator cries at the end! For memorability, and making little children bawl, this plot earns a special spot on the list.
This is a cliche that usually only exists in action shows, as it can get pretty serious. Usually this is when one of the characters feel like they don’t contribute as much, or just don’t feel like they’re up to their full potential. So they use STEROIDS!!!!! It starts out with it being great, then they get a little crazy then they do something really crazy, then something happens to cause them to not be on steroids anymore, then they swear on the power of friendship and the heart of the cards that they’ll never do it again. This was a subplot in Young Justice, as Super boy was using steroids to achieve his full potential, it was in a leaked episode of Motorcity (The best example of them all in fact, but I won’t talk about it since the fanbase swore not to talk about the episode until it came out officially), and it was an episode of Transformers: Prime, which had the best exchange ever. And I’m gong to share it with you all.
Megatron: You think you can beat me? You’re only a medic!
Ratchet: I’m not just a medic, I’m your DOCTOR OF DOOM!!!!!
*Ratchet then punches Megatron in the face in slow motion*
And that’s the first five greatest Generic Cartoon Plots! Come back next time for the second part!
Your Devoted Critic,
Kamacazi (Kazi) Koiwai