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Anvil Sign

Because subtlety is for the weak.

A Portmanteau of anvil and delicious, malicious or vicious, depending on the usage, anvilicious describes a writer's and/or director's use of an artistic element, be it line of dialogue, visual motif, or plot point, to so obviously or unsubtly convey a particular message that they may as well etch it onto an anvil and drop it on your head. Frequently, the element becomes anvilicious through unnecessary repetition, but true masters can achieve anviliciousness with a single stroke.

Heavy-handed for the new millennium. Extreme polar opposite of subtle.

The easiest way to be Anvilicious is through simple cause-and-effect; someone will do something the writers consider "bad" and then something bad happens as a direct result. If the writers prefer not to show the direct consequences of whatever they're crusading for or against, a common alternative is to have an alien character presented as completely "centred", "unbiased", and ground in the logic (the good kind, not that kind). Surely if this character agrees with something, it must be the right thing to do.

Common in kids' shows, since they're less aware of subtle nuances, though not as much as writers and directors seem to think. As a result, kids learn to tune out these messages from a young age.

Bonus points awarded if the supposed message or moral has only but the most tenuous connections to the actual plot, story, or the events of the episode; or, if the consequences brought about to tell the moral are blatantly arbitrary or don't even make any sense (see examples below).

If the work goes beyond anvilicious into hectoring lectures, then it has become an Author Filibuster. Note that some works are openly intended to hammer home points, and are essentially teaching material in literary form: fairy tales, religious works, and position papers of all sorts may be heavy-handed, but that doesn't make them anvilicious. To achieve that distinction, the reader has to experience the sense that the author is foisting opinions, in the guise of telling you a supposedly entertaining story - and doing it clumsily enough that it becomes uncomfortable or irritating. Similarly, it is not anvilicious only because you disagree with any inherent message.

Ultimately, whether one considers an Anvilicious story Anvilicious in the good way or the bad way often comes down to whether or not you agree with the anvils. Although this is not always true, one can agree with the anvils whilst still thinking they were not presented in an effective fashion.

Which leads us to the deep question: Should authors try to make their Aesops subtle? Or do Anvilicious Aesops actually have a good side, i.e. the fact that people immediately see what the author is trying to do with them?

See also Script Wank, Can't Get Away with Nuthin', Scare'Em Straight, Obviously Evil, And That's Terrible, and more than a few Clueless Aesops. Always remember that Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. Not to be confused with the literal Anvil on Head.

Examples of Anvilicious include:


Anime & Manga Edit

  • Earth Maiden Arjuna is pretty much the anime version of Captain Planet (see below), with the "awesome" superhero replaced with a Magical Girl as with more psychological angst.
  • Dancougar Nova got pretty Anvilicious in one episode, which made oblique references to the War on Terror being fought solely over oil, and featuring a nearly rabid, transparently American commander crushing the titular robot while declaring that because his nation is strong, it gets to decide what justice is.
  • Being about how war affects humanity, the Gundam franchise has dropped many anvils over the years.
    • The original Mobile Suit Gundam, including its subsequent sequels had a minor subversion by dropping opposing anvils at the same time.
    • For a case of necessary anvil, we present Gundam 0080. War is Not a Game, and a Zaku can never beat a Gundam.
    • Much of the protagonists' angst in Gundam Seed comes from the fact that they have to fight each other for reasons they don't know. Then the second half of the series comes and practically every second sentence that comes out of Lacus' mouth is relentless bashing of the Cycle of Revenge. Then SEED Destiny comes along and drops the same anvil all over again, along with a second anvil bashing Shinn's views of the world.
    • In Mobile Suit Gundam 00, the moral is "if you kill someone because you hate the person, no matter the reason, good chance that you end up worse than him".
    • Also, a quote from the leader of the Union...

 "They're aggressively ending conflict all over the world. Isn't that our job?"

  • In Zero no Tsukaima, the episode in which Colbert-sensei dies was a very thinly veiled message about why war is bad, the entire second season being about how War Is Hell.
  • In an episode of the Kirby anime, Dedede gets addicted to snacks and becomes grossly fat, unable to even stand up. This is followed by two characters announcing out loud that this is what happens if you only eat snacks and stay up all night watching television and Dedede being paraded through the town, pointed and laughed at. All of this before the episode is even halfway through.
    • Well, it's coming from a country where a fat tax was implemented...
  • The Aesoptinum factor of Soukou no Strain is made particularly obvious when not only is the research conducted on harmless aliens, but they look and like little girls and anesthetic doesn't work on them. So every time one is dissected, they're being brutally tortured and the scientists just shrug and figure 'Hey, they'll get used to it eventually.'
  • Pokémon the First Movie and the first straight-to-DVD special, Mewtwo Strikes Back and Pokémon: Mewtwo Returns respectively, club the viewer over the head with their messages. Thanks for telling us that fighting to the death isn't fun, that judging someone or yourself by the circumstances of birth is wrong, and that it's a good idea to protect natural resources. We would have never figured that out. They're not very hard to grasp, even before the giant swarm of killer bug Pokémon comes to help enforce the Green Aesop.
  • In the Clannad anime, the opening scene contains protagonist Okazaki encountering a strange, beautiful girl at the bottom of a hill on the way to school, facing the uphill with the morning sun shining at her face and a Dramatic Wind with about a million Cherry Blossoms blows through the scene as the camera takes its cue to focus almost exclusively on her. Of course, the fact that some viewers still attempted shipping after that display may speak towards the fact that they may not have been heavy-handed enough.
  • In Hayate the Combat Butler's second season; admittedly it focuses a lot on Hinagiku, but just in case you didn't get the clue that she likes Hayate, the entire end theme is making it sure. Granted that that's focused on a lot in the chapters that're covered, but it continued to play it several weeks after most anime that season had already switched to their 'third' ending. Then again, this comes from THE animation studio that has turned Pandering to the Base into a form of life and Hinagiku's the Ensemble Darkhorse. So they're doing this to sell more, duh.
  • Arguably, the whole point of Saikano is to drop a 13-episode Kill'Em All anvil of War Is Hell. For everyone, not just soldiers.
  • To sum up, the writers of Blassreiter would like you to know that anyone who is mean to immigrants is pure evil, the media is full of idiot sensationalists, and if God is there He does not like you.
  • The infamous final two episodes of Neon Genesis Evangelion are an Anvilicious Author Filibuster on the rather extensive psychological issues of the main cast (particularly those of Shinji Ikari), as well as a discussion of how some people avoid human contact out of fear of being hurt by others. Apparently we had not already seen enough of how screwed up the cast was. However this arguably is a product of Real Life Writes the Plot because Gainax ran out of money when making the series and had to cobble together the final two episodes on a shoestring budget.
  • You don't have to be watching Yu-Gi-Oh! long to figure out that the main theme is friendship. Not only do many of the main characters constantly make speeches about it (with Anzu/Tea being infamous for it, although there are many characters who are just as bad, if not worse), but there are also numerous motifs and symbols throughout the series which are meant to represent friendship. These include Yugi's Millennium Puzzle, the smiley face drawn on the hands of the main cast, and several different Duel Monsters cards. On top of that, the first syllables in Yugi's and Joey's/Jounouchi's names are purposely meant to spell out the word "Yujo", which means "friendship" in Japanese.
  • Masashi Kishimoto can't seem to be subtle about the whole "REVENGE IS BAD" thing, to the point that, until he kick-started the big war event, it pretty much took over the story. To make it worse, he seems to have equated revenge with a fully-justified desire to see someone punished for their crimes.
    • Which is turned into a Broken Aesop, as Shikamaru was portrayed as perfectly justified in seeking revenge against Hidan and Kakuzu.
  • Ayakashi Ayashi is pretty unsubtle about telling people to stop daydreaming and focus exclusively on real life. Heck, it's about giant monsters coming to life when someone is dissatisfied with living in a Crapsack World.
  • Every. Song. In. Every. Macross. Title. If you still think Violence Is the Only Option, then you're not paying attention.
  • Life keeps no subtly in any of its themes. The whole manga is about a girl who is bullied, and the bullies themselves are two-faced Jerkass's. The main bully comes off as a Complete Monster.
  • The FLEIJA nuke stand-in in Code Geass is portrayed about as anviliciously as such a thing can be: its first appearance is as a (failed) suicide bomb by a literally Mad Scientist, then it kills off tens of millions of civilians to horrify the main characters, and then someone tries to subjugate the planet by vaporizing every major city with it. The evilness of using Geass to control people is also brought up a lot and made needlessly obvious, though of course that's mostly a Space Whale Aesop.

Comic Books Edit

  • Jack Chick. Evangelical tracts are overt teaching materials by nature (as their purpose is to convert people), but Chick manages to make some of the others look almost subtle, in his merciless attempts to batter home points in a fashion a four year old would find obvious.
  • Pretty much every Very Special Issue written by Judd Winick.
  • A large portion of DC Comics have become endless crusades for the sacredness of life, preaching that it is never right to kill a villain, no matter how many innocent lives will be saved. Probably as an attempt to rationalize Joker Immunity, since "Shut up, we can't kill him if we want to keep selling comics," doesn't really have the idealistic tone you'd expect from the people who own the license to Superman.
  • A fair amount of EC Comics stories are spectacularly unsubtle; Judgement Day in particular. A robot civilization with clear different castes for robots with orange casing and robots with blue casing being evaluated for whether or not it's worthy to join The Federation falls short, the two castes mirror "Separate But Equal" very closely, and at the end we see that the evaluator is black. Of course, Some Anvils Need Dropping.
  • Civil War was supposed to be ambiguous. However, the only vague approximation of ambiguity came from how each book was Anvilicious for different sides depending on what the writer thought was right. And sometimes not even then.
  • "What's So Funny 'Bout Truth, Justice, and the American Way", an issue of Superman that satirized comic team The Authority. Particularly rewarding, considering how The Authority themselves were chronic anvil-droppers under the pens of Warren Ellis, Mark Millar, and Ed Brubaker. That's not saying it wasn't awesome. He combined X-ray and laser visions to surgically turn off a guy's telekinesis!
    • Actually, he just gave the guy a concussion. He just claimed to have lobotomized him to scare him and give him the sense that he'd been violated.
  • Tarot: Witch of the Black Rose tends to do this. Sometimes there is a good point well made, but other times it seems as if the writer is trying to seem more mature, despite the constant sex gags.
  • The graphic novel As the World Burns slams home its belief that all forms of "going green" are complete BS and that renouncing all forms of modern life and returning to the wild is the only way to save the planet.
  • Marvel's delightful Free Comic Book Day offering Iron Man/Thor features Corrupt Corporate Executives with mustache twirling dialogue such as these gems, played 100% straight:

 Publicity Representative: Living on Earth is expensive and dangerous! There are pandemic diseases, oppressive laws, and poor people that refuse to be controlled.

Extremely Evil Executive: We're elite! We are powerful! Who cares about the rest of them? We are incredibly rich! We have more rights than you!

  • Steve Ditko's Mr. A tales are this trope personified. Characters who think they're in the grey area of morality keep telling themselves they're not fully evil because they're doing a few bad things, Mr. A continuously delivers long-winded speeches about how there's only good and evil while reminding victims that he has no remorse for the fate of evildoers.
  • In Young Justice, when Arrowette's school psychologist is brutally killed by gun violence, she explodes at a pro-gun rights Congressman who tries to blame it on violent video games and comic books. Therefore, the gun control message also doubles as an attack against Moral Guardians. In the official DC forums at the time, the writer Peter David mentioned that few readers picked up on the third anvil he dropped, that the enraged Arrowette apparently had no problems at all hurting people with her own weapons of choice during this story.
    • It didn't help that the psychologist was killed by an abusive ex-boyfriend, not school or gang violence which made the "Guns are bad" message seem very forced (What would Arrowette have done if the psychologist was murdered by being stabbed or strangled?). Not to mention that on occasion, David put in his own views on gun control into the book (this being one such instance) that he was protective of, which led to a flame war on his forums once which was started when David himself sarcastically dismissed a fan who had criticized one such use of the heavyhandedness of this message in a book which the fan had already stated was good otherwise.
  • The 1970's Green Lantern/Green Arrow (co-starring Black Canary) series, touching on issues such as xenophobia, racism and drugs, all in a highly unsubtle fashion.
  • Early Superman stories basically saw our hero as a leaping anvil. The formula went like this: someone was doing something bad (profiteering off of a war, running a corrupt orphanage or mining operation, etc.) and Superman came in to either give them a taste of what they were doing (making him join the war, trapping him in a collapsing mine) or just giving them a taste of his fist or some such. This was more like a fantasy escape for readers riding on the wave of Roosevelt's New Deal, who were fed up with society and just wished they could punch out all the corrupt rich and powerful people who they blamed for society's ills, specifically The Great Depression. This changed when Superman stopped being a grassroots folk hero, and became an arm of the power structure he fought against, turning his attention to less controversial societal ills such as petty crime, treason, robbery, and murder.
  • And then there's Batman: Fortunate Son, in which Batman has a nigh-psychotic hatred of rock music (particularly punk) because some time in the past, he saw an Expy version of Sid Vicious killing Expy-Nancy Spungen. This leads to the memorable line "Punk is nothing but death and crime...and the rage of a beast!" As crazy as it may seem, the comic actually seems to support Batman's attitude by setting him against Robin, who comes off as Too Dumb to Live because he refuses to believe that his favorite rocker could be a criminal just because he makes enjoyable music. On top of that, the villain (said rocker's manager) did it because he wanted to martyr the guy in order to boost record sales, and ends up falling off of a tall building and gets impaled on a cross-shaped fence.


Fanfiction Edit

  • Too many fanfiction writers to count would like to remind you that homophobia/racism/sexism is bad and are not afraid to re-write your favourite stories to say so.


Film Edit

  • Baraka (1992), which accomplishes the great deed of being subtly (using no words or explanations) Anvilicious (War is bad, the modern world will drive us crazy, monks and tribes are so exotically close to the real things, oh noes!) The movie's director was the cinematographer to the similar Koyaanisqatsi, which was less subtle.
  • The "educational film" Reefer Madness:
    • Notorious for the sheer ludicrousness of the anvils it drops against marijuana - or as it spells it, "marihuana". Apparently, pot makes you a horrible driver, can drive you insane... and lets you play the piano really fast. Even worse: the movie is just so wrong on every level that modern audiences consider it unintentionally hilarious and advocates of pot legalization use it to promote their cause.
    • The film was recently parodied with Reefer Madness: The Musical. It sends up the original by going even further (for example, claiming marijuana causes cannibalism)... but then turns around and drops its own anvils against censorship with the last number. (Yes, real subtle with the book-burning cheerleaders...)
    • Amazon Women on the Moon ended with another parody of this.
  • Almost every movie ever made that includes drug use, with two exceptions: stoner movies (for obvious reasons), and A Scanner Darkly, which demonizes the war on drugs more than drugs themselves.
    • At the end of both the book and movie versions of a A Scanner Darkly a list of all the author's friends who died or were brain damaged by drug use is included. This is also the implied fate of most of the characters in the story. The users aren't demonized but an anvil is definitely dropped about hard drugs and the user lifestyle.
    • Averted in the documentary Hair Kutt. After a failed attempt to get Hair Kutt off of heroin cold turkey, his friends agree he's better off using the drug until he can get long-term treatment.
  • Platoon. Just in case we didn't get the subtle subtext involved in Stone placing an evil sergeant and a good sergeant in charge of plastic-faced Charlie Sheen's raw recruit as the devil and angel on his shoulder, Stone has Sheen provide a wildly anvilicious voiceover monologue at the end of the movie. "I felt like a child born of these two fathers fighting over my soul."
  • The Happening. Just in case you didn't get the environmental message pervading every second of the film, there's a crazy scientist on TV at the end whose sole purpose is to drill this into the audience. Oh, and The Power of Love can subvert nature. Cleolinda Jones' Movies in 15 Minutes version of the film comments on this with the line "and angry trees lob an anvil towards the audience" (yes, the link was in the original text).
  • The Poseidon Adventure. Christian symbolism list: Climbing a Christmas tree to salvation? Check. Religious figure in charge? Check. Other religions make a Heroic Sacrifice? Check. Lake of fire? Check. Crucifixion scene? Check.
  • The "coming of age in the hood" parody Don't Be A Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood lampshades the anvils by having the postman, played by producer Keenen Ivory Wayans, pop up whenever a character is delivering a particularly anvilicious speech to loudly exclaim "Message!" directly to the audience. In itself Lampshaded when the main character gives a long-winded, confusing speech that pretty much summarizes every other anvil up to that point in the longest way possible, the Postman arrives, looks at the camera confused, and then says "The **** is he talking about?"
  • Carrie. Pointing out that picking on people is bad (mmmkay?) is one thing. Turning (nearly) everyone (other than the protagonist) into either an overblown Jerkass and/or complete wackjob to drive the point home is just plain ridiculous. On the other hand, this is exactly the way a troubled teenager might see the world, so it might just be a case of identification with the protagonist.
  • The Day the Earth Stood Still. Both of them. The original with its message of "the United Nations needs more power if it is to keep us safe" and the remake with its message of "the only way to save the earth from global climate change is by stopping our use of any and all electricity RIGHT NOW!"
  • Johnny Mnemonic. Johnny having the "cure" to an obvious AIDS reference, and that the villain is the medical companies for whom selling the treatments that don't work is more profitable than selling the cure.
  • Happy Feet has a couple in it. The most anvilicious is the environmental message that pervades about the last quarter of the film. Subtle...like a hand grenade.
  • The Day After Tomorrow has a similarly subtle suggestion that if we don't take care of the environment, the world will end and freeze up to the tropics, causing the equatorial nations to open their borders to the refugees from the US and Europe.
  • 2012 was much worse (not surprisingly, given that the two films had the same director). The Magical Negro seems to be the only one concerned about saving the people that couldn't buy their way into heaven. More or less literally.
  • The Bollywood film Main Hoon Na is mostly a silly action comedy, but a key plot point involves a reconciliatory prisoner exchange between India and Pakistan that is taken extremely seriously.
  • The film of The Devils Arithmetic is one long anvil, and includes the line "Why didn't I listen to my grandfather more!?"
  • Crash. Apparently racism is not a good thing. But then everyone in Los Angeles is racist so it's normal.
  • Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith.
    • "So this is how liberty dies: with thunderous applause."
    • "The day we stop believing democracy can work is the day we lose it."
  • In Dead Poets Society one of the teachers says: "Think for themselves? Of course we shouldn't teach the boys to think for themselves!' It's almost as if the film-makers didn't want us to like him. The death of Neill could be seen as another example of the anvil. The short-sightedness is inconsistent with the character's previous behavior and a direct clash with the oft-repeated theme of the film. Taking a year away from one's dream of acting would be tough, but taking the dirt nap is about as far from "carpe diem" as you can get.
  • Before the contemporary Left Behind series, which is certainly Anvilicious, there was a terrible miniseries in the 1970's or so released on video titled A Thief in the Night. It had a theme song "I Wish We'd All Been Ready," by Larry Norman with the lyrics, "There's no time to change your mind, the Son has come... and you've been left behind!" The videos were about all of the horrible things that would happen to non-Christians at the end of the world. It was like having your TV grab you by the face and scream, "You're going to die horribly, and then you're going to Hell! Repent! Repent!" On the plus side, it doesn't gloat about those sent to hell like its contemporary does.
  • D. W. Griffith. Anyone who has taken film school and been forced to watch his films, from Broken Blossoms to Birth of a Nation, knows that the father of modern cinema was not exactly a master of subtlety.
  • The Bollywood film Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi, loosely translated as A Pair Matched by God, takes the theme that one sees God in the face of one's beloved to extremes. There's a song called "I See God in You"; the male love interest tells the heroine that he sees God in her; the heroine prays to see God's face, and lo and behold! sees her husband walk toward her. Ultimately, she decides to stay with her husband because she realizes she sees God in him. This is good news for the husband because he sees God in her, too.
  • Bollywood films in general tend to bring over their various messages (parental tyranny is bad, true love is best thing ever, fight for freedom, Brits are awful...) by tacking them to a brightly-colored anvil and dropping that into a huge dance routine.
  • The promotional material for District 9 isn't dropping anvils as much as it is rapid-firing them from a gravity gun. The plot involves refugee aliens being separated from humans in South Africa (apartheid!), humans demanding weapons from the aliens (Humans Are Bastards!), humans saying the aliens probably eat dogs (Fantastic Racism, also apartheid), and taglines to report non-humans (apartheid again). Word of God and reviews have stated the film itself is much less overbearing, though.
  • In Volcano, after volcanic ash covers Los Angeles, a child mentions how everyone looked the same now (cue shot of black guy next to white guy).
  • Surprisingly, despite looking like it totally would, the Shane Acker movie Film/Nine doesn't hammer home the anti-war and -machine message anywhere near as hard as it could.
  • Repo! The Genetic Opera fits into this trope at times, especially toward the second half of the movie. Let not your past keep you from becoming great in the future, dammit!
  • Charlie Wilson's War featured anvils of assorted necessity, which is unsurprising since it dealt with the Cold War and the Russian invasion of Afghanistan. The worst offender is at the very end, when Charlie and his friends are celebrating the Russians being run out of Afghanistan thanks to the weapons they helped smuggle in. Charlie's CIA liaison pulls him aside and warns him that religious zealots are starting to show up, just as plane roars over Charlie's apartment which happens to face the Pentagon. The next scene shows him failing to raise a few million dollars (after he had increased the defense budget by literally 500%) because normalizing relations with Russia is more important than building up Afghanistan. The real Charlie Wilson resented the idea that they had basically armed the Taliban.
  • While his more current movies haven't exactly been subtle, George A. Romero cranked the anvils up to eleven in Diary of the Dead, where the main character flat out asks if humanity is worth saving at all over a clip of two guys using zombies for target practice. One could almost assume Romero had a Humans Are Bastards-thing going on. It's not just Diary. All of the Dead movies are like this. The main characters almost invariably encounter still living people who are just as, if not more, dangerous as the walking dead. He lives on this trope.
  • Jigsaw's speech about the evil of insurance companies in Saw VI after William rejects one of his claims for coverage after he finds a potential treatment for his cancer.
  • The 1949 adaptation of Ayn Rand's novel The Fountainhead is as Anvilicious as the novel it was based on.
  • Astro Boy (the 2009 film), while for the most part a cute, fun movie, takes its War And Warmongering Politicians Are Very Bad to absurd levels. Subtle it ain't, particularly when said politician attempts to manufacture a war with a weaker power to make himself look like a strong protector, even claiming they have weaponry they just don't have. To be fair, the Environmental Message and Love People For Who They Are Message were nicely done.
  • In Steven Seagal's On Deadly Ground, Seagal battles the thugs of an evil oil company. In the end, he delivers a speech about how evil oil companies are. Written and directed by Seagal himself, the film is one big Author Tract.
  • Left alone, Gattaca is already a borderline case of this, but some of the cut scenes on the DVD really drive the point home.
  • A Day Without a Mexican. The film's only purpose is to showcase the benefits of Mexican immigration to the U.S.
  • "I have not spoken since I was six years old. No one knows why, not even me." The Piano keeps laying it on, thicker and thicker, until you get to the point where the titular instrument is literally pulling the main character underwater. Only marginally redeemed by introducing us to Anna Paquin.
  • The Lost Weekend expounds its "alcoholism destroys lives" theme with very little subtlety.
  • The mediator between head and hands must be the heart.
  • The animated film Quest for Camelot. Though the film is cute, after watching it, one can't help but wonder "could they hammer home the lessons about teamwork and The Power of Friendship any harder?" Yet it's most popular song is "I stand alone".
  • The Iron Giant was 86 minutes of "don't judge a book by its cover" and "extremism is bad". Oddly, it went both ways - Kent Mansley shouldn't have assumed that the giant robot was a war machine that should be destroyed at any cost, and Hogarth shouldn't have assumed that the giant robot wasn't an alien superweapon.
  • Avatar: Plundering other cultures for their materials are wrong! Embracing other cultures is good! Oh, James Cameron, you're so subtle.
    • The DVD was released on Earth Day, in case the film was too subtle for you.
  • Ditto George W. Bushisms, which is just a film length Ad Hominem assault on former president George W. Bush.
  • CSA: Confederate States of America is largely hammering in about how bad slavery is and how backwards the way of thinking is. (And, if you think about it, the movie's message is completely unnecessary, since slavery has not existed in this country for well over a century. If they wanted to mount an abolitionist crusade, they were late to the party.)
  • The first Spider-Man movie was like this with its theme of "With Great Power Comes Great Responsibility." One gets the feeling that perhaps anvils are neither big nor heavy enough for this message while watching the movie. It's pretty obvious that many people felt that way, as the "with great power comes great responsibility" line has been made fun of many times in numerous other films and TV shows since then; for example, Kick-Ass was advertised with the tagline, "With no power comes no responsibility."
  • Invoked by the title character in Seven Faces of Dr. Lao throughout the film, but taken to the absolute limits in the finale. The movie centers around a town about to sell out to a tycoon, with a few people believing that what they have in their town (friendships, etc) is too important to abandon for money. These intangible things are too subtle for most of the town to appreciate though, a point that Dr. Lao seems to understand. In the finale, he uses magic to tell a story, which draws close parallels to the current situation to say the least; for example, the characters in the story are identical to the townspeople and tycoon. In the story, the townspeople sell out, causing a violent rapture which seemingly kills everyone. Then, in the real town, everyone is magically teleported back to town hall to vote on the sale.
  • Facing the Giants keeps bringing up God in every other sentence; every time something good happens, who do they thank? God. It's to the point in which some might consider this Christian Propaganda disguised as a football movie.
  • The film adaption of V for Vendetta. Alan Moore has complained that his comic had been "turned into a Bush-era parable by people too timid to set a political satire in their own country... It's a thwarted and frustrated and largely impotent American liberal fantasy of someone with American liberal values standing up against a state run by neoconservatives, which is not what the comic V for Vendetta was about."
  • The Chronicles of Narnia movie, The Voyage of the Dawn Treader is one big anvil (made of several slightly smaller anvils). Wishing you were more attractive is equivalent to wishing you were never born and taking gold that is lying about - with no obvious reason not to - will turn you into a dragon (or, alternatively, into a gold statue).
    Pretty much the same as the book it was based on. Since the books are intended to instill Christian morals, Lucy's desire to be as beautiful as Susan would make her guilty of the sin of envy, while Eustace is guilty of the sin of greed, Edmund of pride, Caspian of wrath... It's a pretty neat way of giving the characters trials as well as making a Christian allegory.
  • Untraceable was pretty anvilicious from beginning to end. The whole plot is one big anvil about how much modern culture sucks due to its lack of empathy and glorification of violence. That being said, the internet comments that the movie ended on were amusingly accurate depictions of what one finds on various chat boards.
  • The Doctor tries to show physicians should show humanity toward their patients - by making every single physician, including the protagonist, a complete and utter unfeeling Jerkass. Aside from the Littlest Cancer Patient, there are almost no sympathetic characters.
  • In Zero, a short stop-motion film, a narrator states that all the cute little yarn people in the story are judged by a big number printed on their chest (which totally isn't a metaphor for anything). On this basis, we see all types of horrors acted out, such as child abuse, Jim Crow/Apartheid-style segregation and discrimination, and even eugenics. Problem is, the brown skinned Zeroes are the only ones we see treated badly, while the blonde haired peach puppets ranked 1-9 mingle freely. You never see any of the white puppets treat each other badly based on number alone, despite the narrator stating outright that those ranked 5 and below are considered mediocre. Thus the ranking system is reduced to thin camouflage for a message steeped in white guilt.
  • X-Men 2 has general pro-gay connotations, but the negative response from Bobby's mom spells it out so clearly, it's became a Trope Namer:
  • Cars 2 is also a case of dropping the moral anvil. The basic message is that organic alternative fuels are good while oil companies are evil. Too bad that people hate this particular movie because of how violent it is and how Mater hogs up screen time.
  • Super Size Me has Morgan Spurlock drop the anvil that "fast food for breakfast lunch and dinner all the time is bad for you" with all the subtlety of a large-scale nuke.
  • Birdemic is composed almost entirely of Global Warming anvils, despite ostensibly being a romantic comedy/monster movie.
  • The Matrix sequels, The Matrix: Reloaded and The Matrix: Revolutions were heavily criticized for being full of lengthy philosophical pontifications by several characters, including Councillor Hamann, The Oracle, The Merovingian (twice), Agent Smith, and Morpheus.
  • The 2012 film adaptation of Dr. Seuss' The Lorax frequently takes the original book's anti-corporate, pro-environment message to an extreme, beat-the-viewer-around-the-head-with-it extent, especially in the numerous musical numbers.


Literature Edit

  • Eoin Colfer's Artemis Fowl books often have rather jarring pauses where characters suddenly ponder the evils of humanity's attacks on the environment. A fair message, but very unsubtly dropped.
  • Louisa May Alcott had anvils to spare in her books for children.
    • One book had an adult directly telling the main character that it's a good thing to read wholesome books that instill good morals. Considering that bit of text was within a wholesome book obviously meant for instilling good morals, it kind of creates an illusion of infinity like you get in a mirror. Infinite anviliciousness.
    • Ah, but take into account the fairly recent discovery that Louisa May Alcott only wrote those books for the (very good) money - what she truly loved to write were lurid, gothic novels about drug addicts and crossdressers and whatnot, under the pen name A.M. Barnard. With that in mind, the little moral lessons in her mainstream books take on a different tone.
  • Steven Barnes Lion's Blood and Zulu Heart are essentially one long "HEY! RACISM IS BAD!" -- Anvil -- "IT'S ALSO STUPID!" -- Anvil
  • Philip Roth has a natural talent with the anvil in that he is apt to use it at the slightest opportunity and for any reason at all. This typically manifests as "Character/Narrator happens to mention [concept] in a sentence > Long, florid, Wikipedia article-length explanation of concept ensues > As many as a dozen synonyms for [concept]'s title, delivered in fragmented bursts, presumably to erase any confusion as to what [concept] is > The character/narrator diverges entirely from the plot and spends the next two pages talking about some anecdote related to the [concept] > The plot suddenly resumes and you have to go back four pages to get a refresher course on what's supposed to be going on now". The Human Stain, as an example, used ravens, augers, and the lack of clutter on a lawyer's desk as [concept]s in this exercise, among many others.
  • Charles Dickens' Hard Times: If you don't get that Dickens was against utilitarianism and rampant industrialism by the end of the book then you should probably go get an eye exam because you are not reading into those smoke and snake metaphors correctly. M'Choakumchild? Yes, he's choking kids with facts.
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment, at least at the end. The "punishment" that the title refers to is for Raskolnikov to be exiled to Siberia, where he rediscovers Christianity.
  • This occurred, unsurprisingly, in the Inheritance Cycle. In a scene in the second book, Eldest, has a discussion with a dwarven priest about religion. Arya, who is arguing against religion, is portrayed as quiet, polite, reasonable and ten times as rational in her arguments (even though she started the argument, pretty much for no reason, in the first place). The dwarven priest, who supports religion, is portrayed as wild-eyed, fanatical, and ranty. Later, it's revealed that the flawless elves are an atheist race.
    • It's worth noting however, that the dwarfs turn out to be right. Which could send another message: even though many religious people can't debate, that doesn't mean they're wrong. Of course, YMMV.
  • The novels of Ayn Rand, such as Atlas Shrugged and The Fountainhead, are truly notorious for their unrelenting anviliciousness. In Atlas Shrugged, Rand doesn't merely demonstrate an idea, she demonstrates it repeatedly, then lampshades it, then has her character give a long and detailed speech explaining the principle and its philosophical implications. The Fountainhead is significantly less extreme in its dropping of anvils because it has significantly fewer and shorter filibusters.
  • The Sword of Truth novels, by Terry Goodkind, who--yup--is an Objectivist and considers Rand the most important philosopher since Aristotle. His works tend to exhibit a similar level of anviliciousness to Atlas Shrugged.
    • It would also seem that each successive book is more anvilicious than the last; by the final entry in the series, your greatest reward is that Richard has nothing left to morally criticize.
  • The Phantom Tollbooth has certain Anvilicious aspects in terms of how it presents the "Learning is fun!" message, that and all the Parental Bonus content stuck in.
  • This is Older Than Feudalism. Aesop's Fables were very straight-forward, and anvilicious. Mostly the tales don't go longer than a single paragraph before the moral. When confronted with the much subtler La Fontaine et al modern novelizations, one can surely feel the weight of the aesops.
  • The character Clarisse in Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. Never mind, just count the whole book. To specify: libraries are the only good form of entertainment around and are the only thing that is keeping civilization from destroying itself.
  • Much of the work of John Ringo tends to be somewhat on the unsubtle side, to put it mildly, but one of his latest works, The Last Centurion, isn't an anvil, it's an M1 Abrams tank (about 70 tons, for the record).
  • In David Weber's Honor Harrington series, Haven goes through a revolution [its first of three in the same few centuries] that sees a man named Rob S. Pierre head of the Committee for Public Safety, which is now running the whole country. "Rob S. Pierre". To top it all off, the capital is called Nouveau Paris. Also, every Liberal, Conservative, or anyone with anything but loyalist or centrist credentials except for one or two canon immigrants tends to be textbook Strawman Political with the subtlety in delivery of several dozen anvils. Not feeling that the point of State Sec being fascist had been made clearly enough, David Weber attempts to make things crystal clear:

 "Some of the foulest people who ever lived are wearing SS uniforms, especially the ones who volunteer for duty in concentration camps."

 "Unseen we can enter the houses of men, where there are children, and for every day on which we find a good child, who is the joy of his parents and deserves their love, our time of probation is shortened. The child does not know, when we fly through the room, that we smile with joy at his good conduct, for we can count one year less of our three hundred years. But when we see a naughty or a wicked child, we shed tears of sorrow, and for every tear a day is added to our time of trial!"

  • The Karen Traviss-authored Gears of War novel Aspho Fields repeatedly drops the anvil that "weapons developers = war criminals" over and over and over again. Which seems like a very strange moral for a setting in which humans are only still alive BECAUSE they have satellite lasers, chainsaw bayonets, humongous tanks and other ultra-powerful weapons.
  • Many books in Africa are stories that teach kids about AIDS, predictably there's a character who wants to go be with girls so he can be a "man" and chiding his friend for not doing the same, and you can see where this goes...
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin, by Harriet Beecher Stowe, seems to be an anvilicious condemnation of slavery with its stereotypes of Southern slave traders and even sections where the (third-person) narrator speaks about how "miserable" the slaves are or how "no good characters ever seem to like slavery or the Southern slave traders". Bonus points go to the fact that it isn't clear Stowe ever saw much of slavery firsthand (though, she definitely Did the Research). At the time, however, this was very much an anvil that needed to be dropped.
  • Virtually any major series by Harry Turtledove, particularly the Worldwar and Colonization series, where Turtledove pads his 200 page story to 500 by repeating the exact same exposition regarding certain characters every time they appear in text. (Example: Mordecai Anielewicz---breathing in nerve gas is bad and it causes pains in your joints even twenty years after breathing it in. Repeat every time Mordecai appears in text.) This just in - Sam Carsten sunburns easily. News at 11.
  • Anything by Jonathan Swift, though he usually intended his messages to be Anvilicious, since he tried being diplomatic and got nowhere. Even then, some people believed his satire was serious. Even more, most of the anvils he dropped needed to be.
  • The first chapter of Everlot, by Neal Shusterman. He wants to tell us to wear our seat belts...
  • Sheri S. Tepper's books tend to have a rain of hardline eco-feminist anvils; especially The Gate to Women's Country and The Revenants. Along with the pervasive eco-feminism, some of her work, such as the Arbai trilogy, drops the occasional anti-religion -- specifically, anti-Mormon -- anvil.
  • Pretty much everything written by Robert A. Heinlein is guaranteed to be sprinkled liberally with anvils; although many critics disagree on what some of those anvils are. His personal philosophy is pretty well laid out in his first, but unpublished prior to his death, novel For Us, The Living: A Comedy of Customs; as well as the letters collected in Grumbles from the Grave. He admitted to pandering to cultural restrictions in order to get his work published, so his books are often an odd combination of Anvilicious, and Getting Crap Past the Radar; particularly with regard to his opinions on homosexuality and sex in general.
  • The Redwall series says "vermin are bad", and they are because ... they are. Mice, shrews, otters, squirrels, rabbits, watervoles, badgers and hares are good. Rats, foxes, stoats, weasels, frogs and lizards are evil. OK, a lot of fantasy has clearly distinguished good and evil races, but attention is frequently drawn to the distinction and every time the lines are flirted with in Redwall books, the character dies soon after. Note, the reason vermin are bad -- they lie, steal and murder -- make no sense in a real world setting.
  • The Anita Blake books 10-13: "It's OK to have sex outside of marriage. In fact, homosexuality, polygamy, one-night-stands and BDSM are also totally cool, as long as everyone consents. So don't spend hours worrying about sexual ethics when someone's life depends on you having sex in the next half hour." Anita spends three books angsting over this (and a couple more about the first bit), when the intended answer is obvious. It makes sense given her Catholic background, but is extremely irritating.
  • The Great Gatsby demonizes the privileged to some degree to prove its point.
  • In Iain Banks' novel Transition one of the characters is a stereotypical, extremely materialistic hedge fund trader. At the end of the novel he sells up and moves to the Cayman Islands (to avoid tax) where a tropical storm seriously damages his villa and he ends up, in a piece of symbolism which would be heavy handed in a short story written by a teenager, being crushed to death by his possessions. The main problem is that Banks clearly considers this to be a karmic death but the character, despite being something of an asshole, is not an especially bad guy. Certainly not as bad as the designated hero (an assassin who admits he's lost count of the number of people he's been required to torture or kill over the years and who is allowed to survive) who would not have succeeded without this character's help.
  • There's No Such Thing as a Dragon. Saying the titular phrase only makes the dragon grow bigger. Finally, when they acknowledge its existence, it shrinks back down at the end. An "elephant in the room" Anvilicious; ie ignoring or denying a problem only makes it grow bigger.
  • The Millennium Trilogy, both the books and movies, is highly anvililicious on the themes of the evils of violence against women and misogyny.
  • The Twilight books are made of anvils. Don't give into those base desires or you'll die! Sex before marriage will kill you! Blood equals sex equals death equals don't do it! The clearest anvil was when Edward told Bella that her number was up, the moment they meet. Before that Bella hurt herself a lot but she didn't have many close encounters with death. After meeting Edward she gets a series of events that only lead to her death, being saved by Edward most of the time. Till in the last book she dies, she is just reborn as a vampire.
    • Considering that Twilight is essentially a long Author Tract on gender roles in relationships (with quite a bit of Values Dissonance for many people), the original cover for the paperback is a bit Anvilicious in retrospect. The publisher apparently thought that the "men are moral, women are weak" message was a little too subtle, so the cover featured an image of a woman's hands offering an apple, which of course otherwise had absolutely nothing to do with the plot.
  • Cory Doctorow's novels invariably include a character ranting about Cory's favorite anvils. Look for the big fat anvil in Little Brother regarding young protagonist's verbal battles with his pro-surveillance, pro-Homeland Security strawman classmate, or how the protagonist in Someone Comes to Town, Someone Leaves Town just happens to be totally into building free wifi.
  • The "Guns are bad" message in the Discworld novel Men At Arms comes across this way to some readers, particularly those in the United States, which has a different attitude towards gun control than most of the world. It's indisputably the case that the "religion is bad / Belief Makes You Stupid" view in The Science of Discworld 3 gets hammered for all it's worth; luckily, only the non-Pterry chapters are preachy, making them much easier to avoid. The 'guns are bad' message seemed like Crossing the Line Twice, much like the message in "Soul Music". It involves the usual phrases against guns and rock music respectively that these subjects got in real life, and the critics are right, but mostly because on the Discworld the guns and rock music are both sentient and actively malevolent themselves. The also rather Anvilicious pro-gun message in "Night Watch" seems a lot more applicable to earth.
  • Ralph Nader's "Only the Super-Rich Can Save Us!" -- as if any novel by Nader would be a light-hearted romp.
  • In the world of Deltora Quest, gambling and dishonest moneylending are very, very bad. Bad things tend to happen to those who indulge in them... bad things like one man being forced to take the place (alone!) of the now-undead pirate crew he screwed over, for example.
  • Erin Hunter's Seekers, a novel about bears, takes pains to illustrate how human encroachment is making life difficult for bears. It doesn't get really bad until later on, though, when we meet Ujurak, a shape-shifting grizzly cub. Whenever Ujurak becomes another creature he sees the world through their eyes, and all of them, from wolves to deer to eagles, think of nothing else other than the fact that "Flat-Faces" are ruining their lives. We have yet to see that it feels like when he becomes a human (which has happened), but odds are low that it will be sympathetic.
  • Mystic and Rider: The message of these books? Don't discriminate against anyone. Especially not minorities who live as second class citizens in the south-eastern part of your massively powerful country which could kick the ass of all its neighbouring countries, and occasionally does. Racism is baaaad, kids.
  • Persuasion: Jane Austen almost kills the heroine Anne's romantic rival Louisa just to hammer home the message that "Stubbornness is not always a virtue" and to (unnecessarily) show off how resourceful and clear-headed Anne is in a ridiculously forced way. The complete lack of subtlety and the characters' rather absurd reactions to Louisa's accident make it one of the most widely disliked scenes of one of Austen's most popular novels.
  • This is the longstanding appeal of John Bunyan's The Pilgrims Progress. Generalized, conceptual names are used for most of the characters (Christian, Hypocrisy, Envy, etc.) and locations (The Valley of the Shadow of Death, Vanity Fair, etc.) The message is so heavy-handed that it's just as pertinent today as it was in 1678.
  • The Ender's Shadow series would seem to have at least one, babies are what makes you a real member of society.
    • Bean feels disconnected from everything and only reluctantly agrees to father children, but once he does he suddenly has a whole world to protect just to keep his children safe, even the unborn fertilized eggs.
    • When we first meet Anton, he is depressed to the point of suicide and dealing with a huge psychological dissonance; when we see him again he is calm and happy. What changed? He decided to get married, and have children, even though he openly states that he isn't attracted to his wife in the slightest.
    • This pops up in the Homecoming series, when two characters (a woman who was previously uninterested in children and relationships and a homosexual) decide to have children, to 'join the community' of their traveling companions.
  • Millions of Cats, about overpopulation.
  • The Chronicles of Narnia started out garden-variety Trapped in Another World fantasy with very, very small (but significant) metallic impact to the reader, but by The Last Battle[1], the religious allegory and assorted related messages were about as subtle as a sledgehammer to the solar plexus.
    • Aslan sacrificing himself to save Edmund from slavery to the White Witch is hardly what you would call subtle religious allegory. The Chronicles of Narnia were intended to be heavy-handed religious instruction from beginning to end. They were written for children, after all. For religious allegory by Lewis that is significantly less heavy-handed, see his "Space Trilogy."
    • The Aesop from the story of Numenor told in The Silmarillion is particularly Anvilicious: death is a fate intended by God for humans, and you should not try to escape that fate.
  • Dean Koontz has been adding more and more anvils to his works, rendering them almost too heavy to read, as he spells out how Science is Dehumanizing, Atheism is Hopeless, Molesting Children is Evil, Golden Retrievers Are A Gift Directly From God... okay, okay, Mr. Koontz, we get the point!
  • Two children's book series entitled "Help me be good" and "Let's talk about..." are nothing but this trope. There is nothing else to them. For example, "Let's talk about fighting" is nothing more than "When people fight, their feelings and bodies get hurt" repeated over and over for 17 pages.
  • Most books about future dystopias tend to be pretty anvilicious out of necessity. Nineteen Eighty-Four is pretty unambiguous about what Britain would look like under a Soviet-style regime, and Brave New World is likewise anvilicious about the consequences of shallow materialism and limitless hedonism.
  • Beowulf isn't very subtle when it's discussing how an ideal ruler should behave. Numerous times throughout the poem, someone brings up a historical king (usually the Danish king Hermod) and proceeds to point out exactly what he did wrong and how any prospective ruler should avoid it. There's one instance where it's justified in that Hrothgar is telling Beowulf how to be a king, but most other times it just worms into the narrative on its own.
  • Tuf Voyaging - You think George R.R. Martin might be a wee bit against overpopulation or blood sport?
  • Plague of Memory: Based on the Hawk/Qonja subplot and its associated drama, S.L. Viehl most likely supports same-sex marriage.
  • The fourth book in the Maximum Ride series. The entire thing is about how Max needs to save the world by preventing global warming, and it focuses on that to the point where it doesn't even bother to give details on the villian. The book ends with Max making a speech to congress about global warming. Book five focuses on pollution, though it's not as bad as the fourth.
  • Youth in Sexual Ecstasy with it's main message: "Sex without love will ruin your life", all while promoting sexual abstinence and Pro-Life choices.
  • German author Erich Kästner was infamous for this. In one book (Anna Louise and Anton) he even added two pages of Author Tract after each chapter.


Live Action TV Edit

  • NCIS season 5 episode "Tribes" had a rather heavy handed religious tolerance message that was hammered home 3 different times over the course of the episode.
  • Literally just about every sitcom or drama since 1970 has had at least one "Drugs Are Bad, mmmkay?" Very Special Episode. Many have had several.
  • Full House invariably ended in someone learning a lesson. Usually 'it's okay to pick on Kimmy Gibbler'.
  • Babylon 5 had a really terrible habit of giving things away by dropping literary references and allusions that were nowhere near as clever or obscure as its creator probably believed they were. The first season even has an episode ("Infection") where the captain defeats an alien super soldier made by an ancient race of Space Nazis by lecturing it while it's shooting at him until it realizes that yes, clearly Space Nazism is a flawed ideology. The episode is widely regarded as the worst episode of the show, period. It was the 4th episode shown. Not coincidentally, the first one written and the first one shot. Even the JMS felt that it was too anvilicious, and said that if they'd had enough scripts to be able to do so, he probably wouldn't have shot it at all. Clicky
    • Just how obvious did those literary references get, you ask? Well, the Earth Alliance's shift to fascism featured the creation of a new, frightening political department: the Ministry of Peace. No, they didn't change the name or anything.
    • J. Michael Straczynski was very blunt in how he much he hated children or anything cute that would supposedly ruin the show, evident by how they were all instantly killed in quite jarring ways. Even a teddy bear given to him as a joke. To be fair, the children shown generally last for at least most of the episode that they appear in before dying in a suitably dramatic manner, and two of them survived "In The Beginning"'s framing story intact. Though to be REALLY fair, the fate of poor Ba-Bear-Lon 5 was pretty much of a Crowning Moment of Funny. And then there's the commentary, where he's talking about how awesome it was seeing it impaled on a pole, and says straight up not to ever give him something cute.
  • Boy Meets World had many anvilicious aesops, particularly of the Can't Get Away with Nuthin' variety. Perhaps it was the force of all those anvils that led the main character to be so unhinged in the final seasons.
  • Virtually anything written by Ben Elton feels the distinct need to tell rather than show. The good ones are funny enough to still be entertaining, the bad ones...
  • An episode of Quincy when the guy pauses for effect... then declares the cause of death as Punk Rock. I can see the writer raising both eyebrows at his teenage daughter when they watched this episode.
  • Pick an episode of Sabrina the Teenage Witch. Generally it will have a hamfisted moral about how using magic to solve your problems is immoral unless you're not Sabrina. Surprisingly, the Animated Adaptation is far less so. The format allowed a lot more outrageous situations, which make the moral of each episode make some sort of sense.
  • Star Trek: The Original Series:
    • The original series was unique for its era in that it was likely the only show in which no one smoked. Gene Roddenberry had originally cast Majel Barrett as the second in command of the Enterprise, a feminist first for the time, but was put under pressure by his producers to put cigarettes into the show. He refused, so they gave him the ultimatum, cigarettes or Majel. Majel did finally make it in in a more traditional role as Nurse Chapel.
    • Another tale has it that the network's ultimatum was the alien character or the woman. Roddenberry went with Spock.
    • "Let That Be Your Last Battlefield", concerning a race where people who were black-skinned on the left side of their face and white-skinned on the right, were persecuted by the people who were white on the left and black on the right. Anviltastic!
    • Another Original Trek episode: "The Omega Glory", described rather accurately by cracked.com as "It's common for aliens in the Trek universe to be metaphors created to address contemporary political or cultural issues, but in the case of the Kohms and Yangs subtlety was set on fire, strapped to a dump truck full of dynamite and rolled off a cliff."
    • At the height of the Vietnam War, the episode "A Taste of Armageddon" was set in a planet whose two nations were involved in a decades-long, computer-simulated war: citizens of both nations, when "killed" in a simulated attack, obediently marched into disintegration booths. Body counts are bad, mmmkay?
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation:
    • Then there was the Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "The Neutral Zone," which went anvilicious against the capitalists of the era on its way to demonstrating through Picard's actions that what Kirk did in the corresponding TOS episode was wrong. Gets Funny Aneurysm Moments from later events; Data proudly announces that the Federation has no television--but it will eventually come out that holodecks are, in their way, worse.
    • The Star Trek novel "Ship of the Line" by Diane Carey has a few Take Thats to this Anvil-happy episode. Will Riker argues with Morgan Bateson, who is from 90 years before TNG. When Riker says the Picard line "We strive to better ourselves", Bateson snaps back "Who do you think you're 'better' than?" Bateson points out the arrogance of 24th Century Starfleet members. Picard also gains new appreciation of Jim Kirk through some interactive historical holodeck programs, leading to a CMOA against Gul Madred.
    • Star Trek: The Next Generation episode "Symbiosis", where Species A is saving Species B from a deadly virus that hasn't existed in centuries by selling them space crack, and we learn that doing drugs is bad. It even includes a bonus speech to Wesley about just why drugs are bad. The speech is hilariously taken out of context on YTMND, where it appears Tasha appreciates drugs.
    • Another TNG episode: In the fourth season "Drumhead", we get an entire episode focused on an overzealous starfleet admiral going on a witch hunt in the Enterprise to find an accomplice of a spy working for the Romulans, and thereby accusing an innocent crewman who has the misfortune of being the grandson of a Romulan as well as Picard himself. A blatant Aesop against those same witchhunts. Even once the evidence proved that the explosion setting off the investigation was an accident, the admiral all but admitted that she didn't care about the truth, only about bringing down Picard for no apparent reason.
    • TNG Episode "Force of Nature" about warp drive being dangerous to the fabric of the Universe. Comparing the ozone hole to the destruction of the universe. Real subtle guys.
    • Yet another TNG episode, "The Outcast", had a member of an androgynous species fall for Riker. Turns out she identifies herself as female, which on her planet is considered a psychological disorder. Naturally she's found out and gives a long, cliched speech about how she shouldn't be considered a "deviant", and how you can't dictate "how people love each other".
    • Noting that all the androgynous aliens were portrayed by women Cracked.com notes: "The episode's message ends up completely garbled. Intended as a condemnation of homophobia, the episode instead comes off as the story of one woman's brave quest for cock in the face of lesbian tyranny"
  • Star Trek: Enterprise:
    • An episode was such an Anvilicious AIDS parable that they went and plugged an AIDS website after the episode. To be fair, UPN made all of their shows do anvilicious AIDS-related episodes as part of a Viacom HIV awareness campaign in 2003. So Enterprise was not alone.
    • An Enterprise episode featured religious fanatics whose planet was a smoking ruin because of a schism over whether creation was nine days or ten. The Aesop being, of course, "The little stupid differences are nothing compared to the big stupid similarities!", but worked in with a loud thudding sound.
  • Star Trek: Deep Space Nine:
    • "In the Hands of the Prophets" is an anvilicious reference to the nonsense of scientific dogma and the detrimental effects of having it influence politics. While lip service is played to tolerance, Winn quickly Jumps Off the Slippery Slope to the point of terrorism.
    • The two parter "Past Tense" was so Anvilicious about the homeless being ignored I thought that when Sisko was delivering his lines at the end of the episode asking how society could get that far he was going to look right in the camera and start addressing me personally.
    • The episode "Melora" was blatantly Anvilicious, repeatedly hammering home the point that being in a wheelchair doesn't make you any less of a person. You'd think seeing all those alien races would make such a disability seem positively ordinary.
  • Norman Lear practically pioneered the trope for American prime-time TV. All in The Family, Maude, Good Times, Sanford and Son, One Day At a Time, and The Jeffersons were all thick with Anvilicious plots and Points To Be Made. So were his later series, but by then people had become less tolerant of his anvils. Then again, All in The Family, Sanford and Son, and The Jeffersons had highly sympathetic bigots, which lightened the intended anvils in those series. Which in many ways led to the extreme right-wing and/or racist Misaimed Fandoms that followed Archie, Fred, George, etc. to the point where paid-up Democrat Carroll O'Connor Lampshaded and subverted the trope in an anti-racist Public Service Announcement for B'Nai B'rith in 1990.
  • The New Zealand TV soap Shortland Street does this all the time. The 1998 episode in which Jenny Harrison appeared on a television show to rant about the poor state of the New Zealand health service is probably the most anvilicious scene of Shortland Street in its 16-year history, though to be fair it was also Truth in Television.
  • You can include the entire Degrassi franchise in this, the result of creator Linda Schuyler trying to make a series that would showcase the effects of certain issues on children. Famous examples of Anvilicious behaviour in the franchise include Dwayne having to deal with AIDS and Shane (a.k.a. "Canada's national baby daddy") dropping acid and jumping off a bridge in Degrassi High, and Manny getting an abortion in Degrassi the Next Generation. So someone jumps off a bridge and/or has an abortion every episode? Pretty much.
  • Green Is Universal, a concept so heavy-handed and self-righteous that it couldn't be contained on just one network. Indeed, this bi-yearly theme appears on every cable and broadcast channel owned by NBC. NBC in turn is owned by General Electric, a polluter so massive and frightening that even Captain Planet would fear to confront it. The irony is so thick and juicy that you could cut it with a steak knife.
    • Bonus points awarded for extending it to, of all things, their sports casting when they thought it was a good idea to make the guys sit around in the studio with their lights off.
    • Except that they paid whatever minuscule environmental benefit all back, with massive interest, by flying to the Arctic to film a promo. Unless they faked it (the reporter's breath has no fog), in which case they're scamming the audience.
    • Lampshaded in the Thirty Rock episode "Greenzo," where David Schwimmer is a mascot who tries to put a positive spin on GE's corporate practices.
    • Lampshaded again the following year, when Jack mocks the idea of NBC acknowledging the environment, and even calls attention to the fact that one of the only noticeable differences during the week is that the NBC logo turns green.
    • General Electric stands to make a huge profit off of manufacturing "Green" products. Thus, they are promoting their own products by telling consumers that they should be green.
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer:
    • "Pangs", where Willow rants about how evil Thanksgiving is and how every person is responsible for the wrongs committed against Native Americans. This is taken to the point where she doesn't want the team to stop a murderous Native American ghost. Finally the evil, soulless vampire Spike tells her to quit bitching, since what happened to the "bloody Indians" was no different than what happened to every other conquered nation throughout human history.
    • "Beer Bad" was also anvilicious, but at least had the decency to hang an amusing lampshade on that aspect of the episode:

 Xander: And was there a lesson in all of this? What have we learned about beer?

Buffy: Foamy!

Xander: Good. Just so that's clear.

    • The drugs/magic episode, "Wrecked", is probably the most blatant metaphor in the whole show. And so badly handled to some fans that they would rather forget it existed.
  • Doctor Who during the years that Andrew Cartmel was script editor (1987-1989) had a tendency to be a bit on-the-nose about how 'right-on' the show was.
    • In 2010 this was admitted by people who worked on the show and who claimed they had filled the McCoy/Seventh era (1987-89) with attacks on the Thatcher government. This "revelation" was largely treated with derision, firstly for the sheer hubris of those involved (Doctor Who's days as a national favourite were well behind it and the audience by the late '80s consisted of hardcore fans and kids, neither of whom were a large voting block) and secondly because this was barely a secret since the attacks on Thatcherism had all the subtlety of, well, an anvil.
  • Torchwood: Children of Earth delivers one of these about School League Tables, when they are used to determine the worst ten percent of the nations' children to round up to be taken away and used as drugs by a hostile alien race. Yes, that's right, ranking schools results in mass murder (of a sort at least).
  • The Andromeda Strain 2008 remake as a TV miniseries changed the novel's white scientists to a race-mixed cast with one homosexual member who keeps his head cool when others don't. Director Robert Shenkkan, true to form, claimed it was his "obligation" to do so.
    • Shenkkan's full quote: "If you're going to update the story, which is our mandate, you have an obligation to reflect the world as it is." There are gay scientists, there are scientists who aren't white. There wasn't a line where someone went 'Hey, isn't it great we work in such a diverse environment 'cos we'd sure as hell stand no chance of defeating this killer virus from the stars if we was all straight honkies', was there, hmmmmmnn?
  • 24 often runs afoul of this, whenever the show is focused on anything other than Jack Bauer kicking ass. One long-running anvil throughout the latter half of the series is the message that not all Muslims are terrorists. This began in Season 4 with a filler episode where Jack Bauer and Paul Raines (on the run from paramilitary commandos working for a defense contractor) hole up in a downtown L.A. sporting goods store, which is guarded by a pair of Muslim brothers who repeatedly state that they are not terrorists, and that they will protect America at any cost. This was followed by a PSA in which Kiefer Sutherland opined the same message. In Season 6, preachy side characters (including a government informant and a CTU analyst named Nadia) were also added to the cast to hammer home this message.
    • To be fair, 24 was often accused of portraying Muslims and Arabs in a quite negative light, so these were just their ways of balancing it out.
  • The (very short-lived) The Weird Al Show, thanks to a rampaging case of Executive Meddling, had one specific lesson for each episode to teach, and that lesson was mercilessly repeated to the point of drawing attention to it in voice-overs before each commercial break. Half of the enjoyment of the DVD release comes from the scathing commentary of Al and others on the anvilicious display of insipid points.
  • Now and Again lasted only one season but it still had its own offender, "There Are No Words", about how good it is to read (and write). It features characters who comment at length about their affection for books, and an obligatory book-burning scene.
  • Supernatural: "Life sucks, get a helmet."
  • Eleventh Hour: The episode with the Flesh Eating STD.
  • The Twilight Zone: Several episodes written by Rod Serling come off as terribly heavy-handed today ("The Gift" is an Egregious example, made worse by casting with Unfortunate Implications)-- but given that Serling created the show due to Executive Meddling with his more socially conscious scripts (the story about his script based on the lynching of Emmett Till is a doozy), it may just be that one generation's subversive social commentary is the next generation's dropped anvil. It's easy to forget that Emmett Till's funeral was recent at the time of the script, and that having a righteous black man surrounded by corrupt racists was, well, so out of the ordinary it is amazing it aired. Sometimes it's difficult for those who grew up in the 80s and 90s to remember that some of those classic programs were on the air before (or at the very start of) the civil rights movement. It's jarring to remember that, at the time, showing non-whites as stupid, worthless, and/or actively evil was generally considered just fine.
  • While the cable anthology horror series Masters of Horror tends toward good old-fashioned gore and nudity, Season One's Homecoming, directed by Joe Dante (of Gremlins and The Howling fame), is anvilicious to the extreme. For no clear reason, the soldiers killed in Iraq rise from their graves as shambling zombies -- not to eat us, but simply to vote against the current president. The supporting characters are all pastiches of Real Life political heavyweights (Karl Rove becomes "Kurt Rand," Ann Coulter is "Jane Cleaver"). When the zombies garner enough sympathy to sway public opinions, and the election outcome favors the opposition, the zombies' votes are thrown out to skew the results (in Ohio and Florida, natch). Of course, the zombies won't stand for this, and suddenly all of America's war dead (all the way back to the Civil War) rise from the grave to get revenge.
  • Stargate Atlantis drops an anvil by having Rodney McKay say that the real solution to global warming is "everyone doing their part". Then it goes Space Whale Aesop.
  • The Secret Life of the American Teenager does this on an episode-to-episode basis about sex, and a scene-to-scene basis for the moral of the episode.

"Just because you're having a baby together doesn't mean you two are right for each other"

"You shouldn't be with Ricky just because you're having his baby."

"The parents of a baby aren't the people who created the baby, but the people who take care of it."

...etc.
—Various people during the Very Special Episode about baby daddies.
  • The final scene of the final episode of the remake of Battlestar Galactica is a ridiculously anvilicious message about the dangers of overdeveloping modern robotics. Or maybe "Treat your creations with respect", or "do not enslave artificial lifeforms".
  • The characters in The West Wing display at times a tendency to really try and hammer the point they're trying to make home.
    • The season three one-shot episode Isaac and Ishmael drew a lot of criticism for this, managing at the same time to be patronizing towards non-radical Muslims and to gloss over the complexities of the Arab-Israeli conflict.
  • SeaQuest DSV featured an annoying episode involving Lucas and Condoms.
  • Subverted by the premise of Seinfeld, which relied on the mandate "No hugging, no learning." Demonstrated especially in the last episode, in which the four characters end up in prison specifically for being assholes completely lacking in empathy, and pretty much continue to behave in the same way they had throughout the series.
  • A recent episode of Ugly Betty basically had the message "cults are bad, they'll take all your money, and they'll drug you for no real reason." Most episodes have at least one kind of social message that the writers pound into our heads repeatedly, but this one was just really blatant (and annoying).
  • The House Day in the Life episode focused on Dr. Cuddy is subtle as a brick in its criticism of the current healthcare situation of America.
  • Grey's Anatomy might as well be titled Grey's Anvils given how the writers love this trope to death and have never heard of the word "subtle".
  • Penn and Teller: Bullshit runs on this, given the premise. The most extreme example probably being the animal rights episode where they basically say the head of PETA supports arson.
  • Glee personifies this trope. It has a theme practically every episode and does not hesitate to beat you over the head with it. Violently.
    • The second season has essentially become one long Gay Aesop.
  • By season 6 of Lost, what with all of Jacob's speeches (the most anvilicious of which was the whole thing where he doesn't assist the islanders in seeing right from wrong because he wants them to figure it out themselves, blah blah), we'll be damned and roasted on a barbie if Jacob isn't some sort of metaphor for God.
  • CSI: NY once did an episode about how Nazis and neo-Nazis are evil, and the Holocaust was bad (gee, I had no idea about that before seeing the episode). Not only do they beat you over the head with how horrible the Nazis were at every opportunity, but the climax, where Gary Sinise argues with the episode's culprit (an elderly-Nazi played by Ed Asner) might make you feel like you were hit in the gut with a sledgehammer.
    • Then after that whole episode seeming fully researched and every little detail being accurate to history, instead of referring to the national socialists in the finale of the final interview he shouts "JUST SAY IT, YOU WERE IN THE HITLER PARTY WEREN'T YOU"
  • Pick any Very Special Episode of A Different World. The one-hour LA Riots episode that's a borderline roundtable in a Sitcom, the Musical Episode that spoofed the 1992 Presidential election, The Rashomon episode involving Ron, Dwayne and other students from a rival school...
  • Law and Order is not noted for its subtlety, and while the mother ship is quite bad, the spinoffs are even worse. Law and Order Special Victims Unit is probably the crowner. This is particularly sad because it deals with such a sensitive subject and could really use a bit of subtlety. For an example, consider that the Law & Order shows have now featured more acts of anti-abortion violence than have occurred in the real world. For some reason the writers have felt the need to drop the anvil again and again and again about something that hardly ever happens. There have only been 8 anti-abortion murders in 37 years.
    • A particularly egregious episode of Law & Order Original has a woman on trial for murdering a Japanese businessman who assaulted her while she was working in Japan. The episode pretty much ignores the fact that sexual assault is a real problem in Japan, particularly on the subways, instead beating the viewer over the head with "Japan Good, America Bad". Particularly the last quote of the episode.
  • Without a Trace employed this trope in an episode made all the more anvilicious in that it painted tens of millions of Americans as terrorist sympathizers. The disappearing person in this episode was a woman who was hiding out because a decade before she had bombed an abortion clinic with the help of her husband. Their crime was pretty plainly modeled on scumbag murderer Eric Rudolph's bombing of a clinic in Birmingham, Alabama, complete with a horribly maimed nurse and dead security guard, just like Rudolph's attack. From the moment the FBI agents become aware that she was "anti-choice", the anvils were flying, and all of them were engraved "All people who oppose abortion want to kill abortionists. A lot. I mean, really, really a lot". There was even a scene in which Malone meets with a deep cover informant infiltrating "the pro-life movement" (not some splinter group, but the pro-life movement, a movement made up of tens of millions of Americans) and she tells him the husband and wife bomber team are "heroes" to pro-lifers. Of course, these days, a police procedural that doesn't have buckets of Strawman Political is as rare as a hockey game without a fight.
  • News and news commentary in general can get pretty bad with this trope, but Television news is worse. Televised news commentary takes the cake for anviliciousness, as sending a message about opinion of current events is practically the entire point of the genre.
  • This trope is subverted in the Scrubs episode 'My Mentor', where J.D's attempts to get a patient to stop smoking are futile. Dr. Cox tells him that the only thing he can do is keep treating whatever messes people get themselves into, rather than trying to 'save' them.
  • Everybody Loves Raymond: MEN WRONG, WOMEN SMART. The show frequently attempted to justify the Abuse Is Okay When Its Female On Male trope by repeatedly slamming viewers with this anvil.
  • The US version of Queer as Folk was a tutorial on how to be an 'acceptable' gay person in the US, running along the lines of: get married in Canada, don't be bi, don't be angry at homophobes, remember that God loves you after all, adopt children and be nice to your mother.
  • Harry's Law tends to shoot anvil-firing guns at the viewers, with most of the main characters' arguments tending to be far more aimed at the audience in front of the TV than the audiences in the courtroom. However, Straw Man Has a Point tends to flipflop, where the characters will often be right, but the defense will also put up some legitimate points, making their arguments stand up a little more.
  • Critics have been universally fulsome in their praise for Mad Men. But they have a lot of good-natured fun pointing out that the show is way too insistent that women were treated poorly in the late '50s and early '60s, and that was awful, OK?
    • Saturday Night Live pointed out the same thing in an episode hosted by Jon Hamm. Hamm played his Mad Men character in one sketch, and fellow Mad Men actors John Slattery and Elisabeth Moss guest starred. Hamm asked Moss for the time, and she said, "Oh, I'm just a woman. I'm not allowed to wear a watch in this day and age."
  • 7th Heaven is pretty bad with hitting viewers over the head with morals in nearly every episode. The most notable example would probably be from the episode "Tunes". When Simon starts taking a liking to rap music, he (and the audience) has to endure lectures from everyone in his family about how rap music promotes violence towards women. At the end, Simon stops listening to rap for this reason. This episode basically stated that if you listen to rap, you're supporting abuse towards women so you need to stop. Needless to say, it left a bad taste in the mouth of many viewers (especially the ones who WERE women that listen to rap music themselves).
  • Early on in Fringe's fourth season, the dialogue is filled with unsubtle commentary on how it feels like something is missing and there's a void in the world. As if we're going to forget that one of the main characters got erased from existence without the other characters talking about it unconconsciously.
  • Mash could be bad about this, especially with any scene with Hawkeye in it. In the Mad Magazine parody, when Hawkeye starts a speech about how War Is Bad, one of the other characters yells "Someone stop him before they start flashing telethon numbers on the screen!"
  • This College Humor video parodies the trope.
  • How I Met Your Mother is ramping this up with Martin Short as Marshall's new Save-the-Environment Boss, and Marshall having to pull him back to the path of righteousness. The Narm was very thick.
  • Aftermath has two episodes like this.
    • "World Without Oil" has all of the oil reservoirs in the earth disappear overnight. Given the world's dependence on oil, everything goes to shit as the oil-dependent social infrastructure crumbles. It's a large dose of horror and Paranoia Fuel that is obviously meant to get viewers to want something done about the oil crisis as soon as possible.
    • "Population Overload" has the world's population suddenly double overnight to 14 billion, causing earthquakes from the large-scale buildings built to accomodate the extra people, smog from the large amount of cars being used, and ruination of the water supply due to strains on the plumbing and attempts to grow enough food to feed the whole world. The narrator even points out the number of people who have died over the years leading up to the "good future" we see at the end of the episode, as well as the fact that some say that 7 billion people is already too many for the planet to support. Kinda narmful though, given that in order for the population to actually double overnight, most or all of the world's women of reproductive age would all have to be simultaneously be pregnant with multiples and give birth to them around the same time, and obviously, each country would have Too Many Babies.
  • The episode of Criminal Minds "Snake Eyes" was pretty much an hour long statement of how gambling addiction can cost you more than just money.
  • Game of Thrones is messed up enough what with all the mass murder, moral ambiguity and incest. You wanna know what grinds everyone's gears though? Human trafficking. The buying and selling of human beings rubs almost everyone the wrong way.
  • Burn Notice gets serious whenever children are involved.
  • Person of Interest worships soldiers, and hates banks.

Magazines Edit

  • The Onion: Klingon Speakers Now Outnumber Navajo Speakers
    • Seeing as this is The Onion, the anvilicious message is basically lampshading the trope, by mocking serious news reports on the problems. It's in dire need of pointing out, remembering the Bangladesh incident. It should also be noted that there about 50 Klingon speakers (at the most) and about 170,000 Navajo speakers, thanks to revitalization efforts.
    • Also parodied: "Political Cartoon Even More Boring And Confusing Than Issue" in which nobody can understand an Anvilicious comic strip.
    • The Onion is often anvilicious non-ironically, as the writers' very liberal bias is worn like a badge. One recent article was simply about people in the future scolding people in the present for not legalizing gay marriage (also, in the future, every single person in the entire world is pro-choice).


Music Edit

  • Parodied in the Weird Al Yankovic song "Don't Download This Song." "Cuz you start out stealing songs/Then you're robbing liquor stores/and selling crack and running over school kids with your car."
  • "Green Christmas", a song on YouTube. It is very Anvilcious about its environmental message and has nothing to do with Christmas. The word 'Christmas' was put in there as a form of Wolverine Publicity.
    • Not to be confused with "Green Chri$tma$", an anvilly-but-funny swipe at Christmas commercialization by humorist and ad man Stan Freberg. Or the Barenaked Ladies' "Green Christmas", which is just about being lonely at Christmas.
    • Compare the last, joke line of Relient K's I'm Getting Nuttin For Christmas: "Well I'm getting nuttin' for Christmas because I contributed to the green-house effect which melts the Polar Ice Caps which melts the North Pole where Santa Clause lives. He's mad. Pbbthh!"
  • "Green Blues", an anti pollution song.
  • If you listen carefully to Beyonce's "If I Were A Boy", you can hear that she pauses before the words "better man" just so the loud thud sounds from impacting anvils don't drown out the lyrics.
  • Some bands are Anvilicious in their entirety, especially where politics are concerned. We're looking at you, Rage Against the Machine, and System of a Down. Of course, the "licious" come from "delicious" in this case, for those of us who are sympathetic to anarchist views.
    • There's "sympathetic to anarchist views" and then there's "not wanting to sit through a long lecture about how we suck for disagreeing". Shut up and sing, Serj.
  • How about Story of the Year's album, "The Black Swan"? Almost every song on it screams anti-war messages in your face. Of course, this doesn't stop the music from being good, so who's complaining?
  • Political punk rock is by definition Anvilicious. Recent Green Day has been pretty anvilicious, but Anti-Flag is a freaking building, and a big one at that.
  • Subverted by most of the crossover and grindcore (yes, it counts as subversion, as Crossover and Grindcore are direct descendants of hardcore punk) bands such as Stormtroopers Of Death, Anal Cunt, and Agoraphobic Nosebleed by having songs like "Fuck The Middle East", "Speak English or Die", "Body By Auschwitz", or "White On White Crime". Anal Cunt is a joke band, and to a lesser extent, so is Agoraphobic Nosebleed.
  • Thrash metal is often guilty of this. "One" by Metallica embodies this in the most grim fashion imaginable. Although one must give credit to the German bands for, for the most part, averting it. Kreator, especially. And then you have the newer bands like Municipal Waste, who have a 20,000:1 ratio of "let's get wasted and thrash!" lyrics to anvilicious lyrics.
  • Nickelback's "If Today Was Your Last Day." Tell me you can't guess what he's singing about from the title alone. The video manages to be even more Anvilicious, with the band sending insightful messages to people and making everyone get along at the end.
  • Pretty much anything by Lily Allen falls into this category, the most bare-faced example being Fuck You, a twelve-verse rant about how conservatives are necessarily terrible people, with a chorus consisting entirely of the titular obscenity to drive the point home. Too subtle for ya?
    • While it is anvilicious (and mostly liked for the humour it brings from that), the song isn't about conservatives as such, but about George Bush according to Lily Allen. Another song that comes under this for some people is Everyone's At It, which is very black and white about drug use (including prescription ones). Of course, it's a pop song. Not known for its nuances.
  • Anything by the Disposable Heroes of Hiphoprisy. Imagine a political pamphlet produced by an especially humourless extreme left winger being read out over a drum machine beat. That's pretty much what their album sounded like. Consolidated were similar but at least they had a couple of good tracks.
  • About ninety-nine percent of output of The Specials (especially the stuff written by Jerry Dammers).
  • Pink Floyd's 1983 album The Final Cut, was released in response to The Falklands War.
    • In which we learn (again; see "Pigs (Three Different Ones)") that Roger Waters reeeally doesn't like Margaret Thatcher. Okay Rog. We get it.
    • Pretty much anything by Waters counts - after all The Final Cut is subtitled "A requiem for the post-war dream by Roger Waters, performed by Pink Floyd". He continued to drop the anvil on us in his solo career, and this year's The Wall tour has decorations that send quite unsubtle messages.
  • Pretty much any country music released since 2001. Especially anything by Toby Keith.
  • "Capital G" from Nine Inch Nails' Year Zero album. It's about as subtle as a Texan in a flight suit.
    • Word of God has stated the G to stand for "Greed", but it's as happy a coincidence as Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds happening to spell out a certain three-letter term.
  • WAR. Huh! Good God, y'all.
    • Earth (The Book) parodied this by saying "WAR! Huh! What's it good for...aside from ending slavery... and stopping Hitler."
    • "War doesn't give life, it can only take it away"... Tell that to all the children conceived over the centuries by soldiers knocking up women in the areas where they were stationed.
  • If you pay attention to the lyrics in a lot of Marilyn Manson songs, you'll find they're extremely Anvilicious about society, especially when the songs are notably sarcastic.
  • Ray Stevens' album "We the People" hammers the listener over the head with Stevens' conservative Christian views, to the point that even if one agrees with the overall message, it's still pretty irritating.
  • Goldfinger no, not that Goldfinger. They used to be a pretty good punk/pop band. That was until every other song started to be about animal rights, some of them so over the top that you expect them to start hurling anvils off the stage at you. It's so irritating at times that is just makes you wanna punch a puppy.
  • "Blame Halo 3", a parody of Akon's "Blame it on Me" about the harms of video game addiction.
  • Most everything done by Otep is basically "Religion, conservatives, greed and rape are wrong and anyone who agrees with any of them must DIE!" Especially in the song Menocide, which is a borderline feminazi song about how women should rise up agains men who harm them and kill them.
  • Flobots are an entirely political band, with every track supporting anarchism or criticising Oligarchy in some way.
  • The Cha-Ching band songs (from Cartoon Network) are this, combined with Ear Worm songs that is nothing more than three-minute extended messages about spending your money right, donating, and how the world will be a better place if you do it. Enforced, since the intention is to teach little kids how to make financial decisions.


Musical Edit


Newspaper Comics Edit

  • Bill Watterson admitted that the Green Aesop in a Calvin and Hobbes story where Calvin and Hobbes took a trip to Mars was "pretty heavy-handed."
  • Sometimes Mutts doesn't have a joke. Instead there's an ad for some save-the-animals cause, one that doesn't even feature the regular cast of the strip. It's like if the last five minutes of Seinfeld were replaced with a PETA infomercial.
  • Hey, Nemi-readers? Being cruel to animals is bad, okay? Got that? Too bad, because we're gonna repeat it a hundred times anyway.
  • Mallard Fillmore wants you to know that liberals are bad, bad, stupid, stupid, bad, bad people. And they're stupid and bad, MMKAY?
  • Spoofed in one Bloom County arc where Milo has a nightmare about being a cartoonist with a black-hooded Torture Technician as his "boss", punishing him for typos and the like. After he wakes up, he starts to deliver a speech about how great is is that we have cartoonists, only for Opus to walk in with a level glare on his face and say "Oh, just stop."


Radio Edit

  • The Big Finish Doctor Who audio The Last is ridiculously anvilicious in its anti-war message. It takes place in a post-apocalyptic wasteland, with statements like "Money that should have went to space exploration went to develop more weapons" and "She should have known dropping bombs is wrong, that war is wrong".


Tabletop Games Edit


Theater Edit

  • The truly Anvilicious narrator in Blood Brothers not only shows up to highlight every moment of foreshadowing in the musical, but also appears at the end to let any terminally inattentive audience members know what the message was.
  • The Toxic Avenger, based on the campy movie of the same name, could be a hilarious hour of nothing but New Jersey jokes, which it is in some places, but eventually it gets bogged down by its need to hammer "Pollution BAD!" into the audience. Emphasis on hammer.


Video Games Edit

  • Iji. Killing is bad, even when they're trying to kill you. We get it. Really, we do. Even when it's an almost completely forced boss fight.
    • Well, she never apologises for that kill. It's the only kill in the game which doesn't impact on Iji's behaviour. Of course, given the boss might have killed your brother a stage or so ago, depending on your actions, it's not like anyone would be sorry about his death. Even his own side hates him.
  • Runescape has an Anvilicious quest about global warming, to the extent that the end of civilization was predicted because of one coal power plant. It's so horribly stupid it's almost unplayable.
    • They have a slightly more subdued example in "Quiet Before the Swarm" where a pacifistic researcher studying "pests" decides it'd be a good idea to release them into a civilian population. Could have just as easily been taken the other way with a heroic adventurer saving the noble pests from an evil researcher though.
  • Final Fantasy Tactics Advance is often depicted as this, mostly depending on whether or not one buys into the Alternate Character Interpretation.
  • Tales of Symphonia: "Everyone has a right to life!" This basically boils down to "genocide is wrong" and "no one should need to make a Heroic Sacrifice."
    • That, and racism is evil.
    • Given the villain's plot, you could interpret it a little more generously as "fixing racism by reversing it doesn't actually work".
  • War is bad! Really, really bad!
  • Tales of Rebirth has about 40 hours of game - 5 of plot, 5 of KUREAAAAAAAAAA, 30 of people telling you that racism is bad.
  • Ace Combat 5 The Unsung War, a game focused on air combat with an awesome soundtrack and lots of explosions, features a trio of wingmen for the player character who hate war, often to the point of giving pacifistic rants in the middle of missions where they are assisting the player in killing dozens, if not hundreds, of enemy airmen, sailors, and soldiers.
  • Eternal Sonata is extremely guilty of this in the ending. All the characters, one at a time, stand in front of a black screen and speak directly to the player and blatantly spell out the ideas and concepts that they struggled with during the entire storyline and spell out some of the more subtle notions like products that make life easier but are quite dangerous and if human beings are the masters of creation or the masters of destruction.
  • Metal Gear Solid had a character in it whose primary purpose was to lecture the player about how nuclear weapons were bad with her endless list of statistics and Wangsty backstory. Even after beating the game, you'd see a screen giving the number of ICBMs in the world as of the version's release. The player is never forced to talk with her, however, and the anti-nuclear and "science is corrupted by war" messages remain relegated to lengthy cutscenes (that also include character development). The sequel featured a lot of messages about society and the information age, but whether this message was received is up to debate.
    • Solid Snake smokes in many of the Metal Gear games, and it's frequently observed (by other characters as well as by in-game text) that this is bad and harmful to him. Even in Metal Gear Solid, where you can't advance through the game at one point if you don't smoke your cigarettes, you can watch your Stamina slowly decreasing the longer you keep smoking. In Metal Gear Solid 4 Guns of the Patriots Snake persists in his habit in spite of having obvious breathing difficulties; this culminates in a child snatching his cigarette away and lecturing him on how very bad his habit is.
    • The Patriots in Metal Gear Solid 2 Sons of Liberty seem like an overly anvilicious comment on american foreign and domestic politics, but given that the game was released in November 2001, any similarities to the PATRIOT Act are probably coincidental.
  • Valkyria Chronicles has a number of Aesops, the most Anvilicious being 'Racism is Bad' and 'Nuclear Weapons are Evil'. However it tries to stuff so many moral lessons into itself that it ends up contradicting most of them.
  • In Grand Theft Auto IV, Rockstar Games reminds the player that American conservatives are absolutely evil at just about every opportunity possible. It's best summed up by the in-game TV show "Republican Space Rangers". They also give Liberals a going over, portraying them as paranoid conspiracy theorists. All humour in later GTA games is based on campy exaggeration of typical (usually negative) traits of portrayed groups. Most characters in these games are walking, talking caricatures.
    • Biting (and hilarious) political satire is as much a hallmark of latter day GTA games as blowing things up, and liberals have always taken it as much as conservatives. It started as early as the talk radio station in Grand Theft Auto III, and arguably reached its zenith in Vice City. Alex Shrub, anyone?

 Maurice: But since you got elected, Vice City has been characterized by a government who cut aid to the poor, offered tax breaks to the rich and paid people to dump toxic waste near schools.

Alex Shrub: Yes, we've made a lot of progress!

  • Chrono Cross would like you to know that Humans Are Bastards. Although once The Reveal about the Pantheon telling you this hits, it's hard to tell how seriously we're supposed to take it.
  • "Always eat your vegetables, you know". Sally says this in every game.
  • We get it, Nu-metal sucks.
    • Not denying Brutal Legend's heavy handedness, but it's pretty much required for any American game in any way involved with traditional metal to take a slam at the modern variety. Note Guitar Hero, especially Metallica. (I knew there was a reason Eddie Riggs looks so much like Axel Steel...)
  • To recruit party members in Persona 4, said party members must confront their Shadows. A person's Shadow is the physical manifestation of his/her Id and all of his/her dark and hidden thoughts. Party member in question listens to his/her Shadow spill all their secrets, party member says, "You're not me", and then the boss fight ensues. Then, the party member gains his/her Persona once they accept that the Shadow is a part of himself/herself. So don't lie to yourself, kids.
  • The Pajama Sam series has a very clear Aesop for each one, such as the healthy eating Aesop in You Are What You Eat From Your Head To Your Feet. At least they didn't say that eating sugary things was bad, it just had to be done in moderation.
  • Yes, Lost Odyssey, we get it: immortality sucks and Kaim hates it.
    • Except in the end, that wasn't the point at all. The immortals decide eternity isn't so bad after all, just a matter of taking the sour with the sweet.Though the message might also be "Be grateful for what you have, and make the best of it. Some people are in the grip of despair, and if you meet them, you can help by giving them perspective". It's so indefinite it takes reading the end credits to make sense of it as you realize the text (and sound effects)-only flashbacks were written by a different person than the main plot writer.
  • Blue Dragon will never stop telling you "Don't give up!" The main character is obsessed with that message from the beginning, and although he does learn a different lesson (It's okay to retreat for the bigger plan), the message of "Don't give up" isn't going anywhere.
  • Zone of the Enders fits the bill with the kid pilot main character constantly complaining that killing is wrong and refusing to kill.
  • From Tales of Symphonia Dawn of the New World: Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality. Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality. Courage is the magic that turns dreams into reality. Alright, we get it already.
  • YMMV, as Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped, but the last two chapters of Alice: Madness Returns can be pretty heavy about the whole child sex trafficing is "bad" message, complete with gratuitous amounds of squicky Mind Screw and freudian imagery.
  • Agent USA: Television is brainwashing our population and turning them into zombies.


Web Comics Edit

  • Pastel Defender Heliotrope was blatantly banging the readers over the head with ideas of the oppression of women and sexual identities and evils of religion... when it bothered to make sense. Then, just to make sure ALL the bases were covered, JDR reveals in the ending that the entire thing was started because some robots wanted to ask permission to do we're-not-sure-what but no one was around to ask. Just to make sure that she's striking out against anti-piracy legislation in the most Anvilicious and crazy way possible.
  • Unicorn Jelly by the same author.
  • This Nodwick storyline. Yes, Mr. Williams, we all know Microsoft is doing all that. Stop rubbing it in and switch to ReactOS already!
  • El Goonish Shive has a particularly painful anvil dropped in an oddly familiar explanation of how religion works on the Uryuom homeworld.
  • Irregular Webcomic decide to drop the anvil of Be Careful What You Wish For in this strip. Intentionally, with the link to this page.
  • Tim Buckley's self insert into this CTRL+ALT+DEL strip, where he rants at Jack Thompson. Also contains the irony that Tim is threatening Jack Thompson for saying that gamers are violent and that his video game obsessed main character performs acts of extreme violence on a regular basis.
  • Dominic Deegan drops numerous anvils of "intolerance is bad!" We know this because everyone who acts intolerantly is usually portrayed as irredeemably evil, not to mention the fact that something horrible will probably happen to them before the end of the arc.
    • The Maltak arc. Just... the Maltak arc and its Orcs.
  • The Comics I Don't Understand site has a special tag for anvilicious comics.
  • Made fun of in this Nip and Tuck comic. Nip, a B-movie writer/star, talks about why he does not do romance in his movies. He explains how bad Hollywood romance plots are. He mentions My Fair Lady and The Taming of the Shrew and how a girl with nothing wrong with her is run through a "Magic Makeover Machine" which is supposed to end up with the hero seeing her true inner beauty. The illustration that accompanies the talk shows a simple caricature of a woman getting smashed by a hydraulic press with the word "AESOP" written on it.
  • While Chris is usually pretty good about it, Misfile has a few strips that make it more than clear that Ash's character is supposed to be read as a FtM transsexual, and that everything he goes through is supposed to drive home An Aesop about accepting transsexuals, except for the ones that are supposed to drive home An Aesop about accepting homosexuals.
  • Lampshaded/parodied here in Tallyho!. With an actual anvil no less.
  • The Final Thoughts in The Adventures of Dr. McNinja often make a point of dropping several anvils. Most completely irrelevant to the story's content.
  • The B Movie Comic drops the anvil.
  • Subnormality is incredibly guilty of this. In almost every strip.
  • Many people think Sarah Zero is anvilicious.
  • Bittersweet Candy Bowl, BEING GAY IS A-OKAY!
    • Possibly, David's finding Tess attractive in no uncertain terms.


Web Original Edit

  • Yellow Cake is loaded with anvils since it's an allegory of the evils of imperialism and ends with a Reason You Suck Speech, you bastard.
  • Brad Jones reviewed Rock: Its Your Decision, a little-seen TV movie produced by fundamentalist christians about how rock is evil and how it'll cause you to go to Hell. It doesn't merely lob anvils, it ties them to cruise missiles and fires those at you.
    • After the main character of the movie talks about how people at rock concerts didn't just sit quietly and listen, they got up and danced, like the music was controlling them, Jones jokes that the movie's Aesop is that emotions are bad and if you dance to music, laugh at comedy acts, or cry at funerals, you'll go to Hell.
  • One episode of Nash's Classic Doctor Who Reviews series featured a graphic of MESSAGE falling on him when he examines the anti-Margaret Thatcher theme in The Happiness Patrol. At the end as the Doctor explains how wrong the villain is the MESSAGE returns to beat him about the head.


Western Animation Edit

  • Family Guy delivers its many, many messages with all the subtlety of a ten-pound sledgehammer. You could probably make a drinking game out of how many times the show makes a poorly veiled Take That against something (take two shots when they're making jabs at Republicans or women). This has unfortunately affected the show's quality, where one joke was pretty much the characters saying "Laura Bush killed a guy" over and over again. Furthermore, Brian has changed from being the straight man and witty intellectual to becoming basically a vehicle for the current writer to deliver his/her annoying (even to people who agree with him) socially liberal, anti-corporate agenda. It reached a new low in a recent episode, in which Stewie steals a Nazi's uniform after traveling back in time, and a McCain-Palin campaign button is attached to the uniform.
    • The episode where the abstinence-only agenda of schools is bashed by Lois. Yes, it has a great message, use protection, but the anvil really, really needed to be dropped after the first repetition of said message.
    • Also, the episode for legalizing marijuana, where the cops who pull over Peter and Brian don't mind that they have a bloody trash bag in their backseat, but go ballistic when they find out Brian has some pot.
    • Smoking pot somehow turned Quahog into a utopia overnight. Moral of the story: drugs are the key to perfect happiness apparently. Brave New World was right. Especially considering this was stated immediately after a news report that the anchors stumbled through due to being stoned out of their minds. This makes the 'utopian Quahog' seem more like an Informed Ability and that the real situation should be the exact opposite of what Brian claims it to be.
    • Let's not forget the earlier anti-pot episode where Peter and Lois thought smoking pot made them into talented folk singers when, in reality, it turned them into drooling babbling idiots who only thought they were singing well. Chris admonishes them with a lecture at the end of the episode.
    • The thing is, the anvilicious lecture by Chris at the end of the episode was only put in by order of Fox, a good case of Protection From Editors because Seth and the writing crew was going to keep the episode as is, which would've still been anti-pot but much less so. The lecture would provide a good counterbalance to the later Pro-Pot episode which would be so anvilicious that it would've rivaled Not All Dogs Go to Heaven.
    • They tend to be extremely unsubtle about their anti-religion themes (Not All Dogs Go To Heaven and Road To The Multiverse) in a unfactual way that makes it clear they Did Not Do the Research.
    • More recently we have "Thanksgiving", in which Joe's son Kevin comes back and reveals that he deserted the army. Kevin is the only one who gets to debate his point with any modicum of intelligence, while everyone who disagrees with him just shouts angrily and makes nonsensical emotional arguments[2]. The episode ends up siding with Kevin by pointing out an incident when his usually Lawful Good father let a robber get away because he stole food to feed a starving family.
    • And when Family Guy wants to discuss factory farming, their approach is as follows: Compare it to the Holocaust. No explanation, no exploration of the cruelties and abuses of factory farms- just compare it to the Holocaust. With a pun. "Da-cow".
    • 2007 episode "Boys Do Cry" (where the Griffins go to Texas) was inscribed on an anvil, written by a staff of anvils using a ballpoint anvil, and broadcast over the airwaves using an anvil. There is little else in the history of television that is so hamfistedly anti-conservative, anti-Republican and anti-Texan, and every message is delivered with all of the grace of a drunk horse falling off of a cliff.
  • "One Beer", a mini-episode of Tiny Toon Adventures, does a send-up of heavy-handed Can't Get Away with Nuthin' cartoons about the dangers of underage drinking. They have a bottle of beer. Hampton notes they usually wouldn't touch such a thing, but Buster replies that they have to act out of character for the plot to work. The single bottle of beer (split between Buster, Hampton, and Plucky, which means each got about four ounces) puts them into a foggy dreamland, in which they eventually drive a car off a cliff and die. Not surprisingly, the executives eventually refused to re-air the episode, because they felt it was so heavy-handed that it came off as sarcastic. (Which was, in fact, the series writers' intent all along; in response to some attempted Executive Meddling by some figures at Warner Bros. Television, who thought Tiny Toons needed to be more "educational", all three segments of that particular episode ("Elephant Issues") were deliberately written to come across as moral sledgehammers delivered as un-subtly as possible, in hopes that it would discourage the censors and network execs from asking them to do it again. It worked.)
    • The episode ends with Hamton asking "so do we get to do a funny episode tomorrow?"
  • Spoofed mercilessly in a "U.S. Acres" short from Garfield and Friends. Roy got a job on "The Buddy Bears", an obnoxiously cheerful kids' Show Within a Show, where part of his role as "Big Bad Buddy Bird" was to have sixteen-ton safes dropped on his head for not agreeing with the singing, dancing ursines. The quite literally Anvilicious moral, according to the Buddy Bears: "Always go along with the group, or someone may drop a sixteen-ton safe on you."
  • It could be said that the premise of Captain Planet and the Planeteers was anvilicious. A group of eco superheroes who command the powers of nature to fight evil polluters. Yup, bad guys who don't produce anything; just pollute. Though in its defense, if they had written it as a cyberpunk story about a bunch of eco-terrorists fighting against the overwhelming power of the corporate menace, it wouldn't exactly have been able to appeal to children now would it? That's the lesson here: if it's U.S. children's television, it must make use of anvilicious aesops. Removing them makes the show no longer acceptable for children!
    • Quite a few cartoons from the mid-70s onward were very, very Anvilicious. For example, there was Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids and the animated version of Gilligan's Island. Every single episode of those ended with the characters having learned a lesson, and usually drove it home about as hard as they could short of grabbing the audience and screaming it into their faces.
  • Frequently happens in South Park, such as in one episode where a character explains to another character about how there is no global warming, climaxing with "What are you, a retard?" South Park specializes in dropping anvils so hard that it becomes part of the humor.
    • Each episode in which the denouement dialogue begins with "You know, I learned something today..."
    • Whenever either Stan or Kyle makes a speech accompanied by a gentle piano Leitmotif.
    • "Christian Rock Hard" brutally parodied this trope. Stan, Kyle, and Kenny attempt to illegally download songs off the Internet for free. They download one song and almost instantly, an entire FBI squad busts into the house, holds the kids at gunpoint and arrests them. This was also a Can't Get Away with Nuthin' moment. When Stan asks what's wrong with downloading music, the officer responds that an artist will have to buy a slightly smaller island for his kid, or wait a few days before buying a gold plated swimming pool.
    • In the episode "Canada on Strike!" they brutally attacked the Writers' Guild of America strike with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer to the knee. Made worse by the message essentially being "It's impossible to make money off the internet, and you're a fool for giving up real opportunities trying to do so."
    • They made fun of this trope (and themselves) in "Cartoon Wars" (the one where they kept making fun of Family Guy).

  "Random Guy (about Family Guy)": "I just want to watch a show that isn't preachy and up its own ass with messages."

    • After said episode Family Guy became really "preachy and up its own ass with messages".
    • That quote started life as a Take That Me and ended up as Hilarious in Hindsight.
    • It was parodied as early as "Pink Eye," in which Kyle starts going on a speech about how Halloween isn't about costumes and candy, but about loving, sharing, and giving to people - at which point Stan tells Kyle that he's talking about Christmas, and the Halloween really is just about costumes and candy.
    • One instance where they dropped the anvil on their foot was "Britney's New Look". Yes, it had a damn fine point - don't get so into celebrities. However, it sacrificed virtually all humor to do so, save for a throw-away gag here and there.
    • Pretty much every episode for the last four or five seasons have all but dropped any hints of subtlety, whether it's for a message or a joke. Take "Your Getting Old" for example, which paints Matt and Trey's view of a what a cynical person who doesn't like anything acts like.
  • Practically every episode of The Proud Family, with its politically correct suburban upper-middle-class liberal Black-American family learning some lesson, often concerning race relations.
  • Parodied on the Animaniacs cartoon, where the final sequence to many episodes was the "Wheel of Morality", a Big 6 style wheel the characters would spin to randomly determine the moral of the episode in a parody of And Knowing Is Half the Battle. ("Wheel of Morality, turn turn turn, tell us the lesson that we should learn!") One short played up the randomness and gameshow / gambling aspect by having the result be a prize in the form of a free vacation. What makes this especially amusing is that the creative team on the show was pressured to include lessons in the format. The above was only one response, while another, vastly more scathing one has Slappy Squirrel go through plastic surgery to start her career over... so she can make cartoons more violent, just like they used to be.
  • Does anyone else remember the Pound Puppies cartoon? It was so bad that at one point, the adult puppies (?) tell one of the child puppies (?!) a story about how a kid lying about breaking a vase causes the death of everyone they know and the destruction of their whole fantasy world. Kind of harsh.
  • Cartoon All-Stars to the Rescue uses healthy doses of Narm and horror to create a special so Anvilicious that it may very well be a form of brainwashing. The show put the drug addict kid through what can only be described as a Cartoon Carnival of Souls as part of their Drugs Are Bad argument.
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe had 'What moral did we learn in this episode?' segments at the end of each episode.
    • Including this little gem. Sure, it's a great lesson, but the delivery, as with any kids show that tries the same thing, means it almost always comes off sounding like they're just trying to make you laugh more.
    • That one is made a Broken Aesop by the people He-Man says to go to in case you're being molested; your parent, teacher, minister or rabbi. Chances are one of those people is more likely to be the molester themselves than some stranger off the street.
    • This one might be a case of Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. Lou Scheimer related in a recent DVD extra for the cartoon how he received a letter from a parent of a child who came forward about their own abuse after having seen He-Man and She-Ra talk about it. Scheimer said that it was probably the most significant accomplishment of his career.
  • Freakazoid: In one episode the story is interrupted by a member of the censor board. At the end she is hit with an anvil because censors are bad, geddit?
  • G.I. Joe taught us all that knowing is half the battle. So now you know. The other half? Blowing shit up.
  • In later years, Popeye cartoons were sometimes used as a way to get kids to eat their vegetables, particularly spinach, as the title character uses it as a Super Serum. Sometimes, it worked.
  • Back in the old SEGA Genesis days, Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ended occasional episodes with a "Sonic Says" section which gave kids good advice.
  • The episode "Grande Size Me" in Kim Possible focused on how it's better eating healthy food than fast food. Cue a Super Size Me parody, Incredible Hulk transformation and Breaking the Fourth Wall. Lampshaded and played for laughs at the end of the episode where Ron gives a speech to the viewer about how mutating your DNA is bad, and you should never do it.
    • Bonus points for ignoring the concept of portion control.
  • The Polar Express makes sure that no one misses its religious message. The plot revolves around a boy who is tortured by doubts of Santa Claus, who is shown to be like a god to everyone at the North Pole. The boy is a stereotypical Woobie just because "Christmas doesn't work for him." Everyone who doesn't believe in Santa is annoying, scary, or both and the most spiritual of the kids apparently is the best leader... yes, we got the message.
  • The "Noodles the Rabbit" segments of British dark animated comedy show Monkey Dust combine a scientist describing horrific animal experimentation to an uncaring executive over sad piano music and the experimental rabbit acting like Bugs Bunny. Naturally, the final segment shown ends with the scientist being killed by a falling anvil.
  • A Pup Named Scooby Doo:
    • In one episode, the villain was using dolphins in his drug smuggling operation. When Velma mentioned drugs, she said it after a pause to give it more emphasis. Scooby then responded in disgust. This happens twice in nearly the exact same wording. The fact that it's a Scooby-Doo spinoff makes it even funnier.
    • Another episode had a surfer whose career apparently ended after he began using steroids. Cue shocked look from Shaggy: "DRUGS?! Drugs can mess you up!" Well, he would know.
  • Fern Gully: Humans suck, pollution is the devil and cutting down trees is pure evil because as any fairy will tell you they feel pain. The animated musical.
  • The Donald Duck episode "Der Fuehrer's Face": "Boy, am I glad to be a citizen of the United States of America!"
  • The Darkwing Duck episode "Dead Duck", where Darkwing has a dream that he died in a motorcycle crash due to not wearing a helmet. However, the anvilicious message of "wear a helmet when riding a motorcycle" is somewhat odd when considering that Launchpad never wears a helmet when riding/driving the Ratcatcher. Plus it doesn't connect with the extreme but short-term consequences of every other violent situation in that show, where Darkwing is frequently flattened, burnt, electrocuted, turned into a balloon animal, etc., but fine after the next cutaway.
  • The Fairly Odd Parents: Be Careful What You Wish For. Also, "It's A Wishful Life" states: "Do nice things to be nice, not to get rewarded" after showing Timmy how much better things were without him after he wanted some acknowledgement.
    • "It's a Wishful Life" also played it for laughs: When Timmy says what he learned through the episode, a flashing frame reading "Moral of the Story" appears for about two seconds, complete with sound effect.
  • Yin Yang Yo goes ahead and mocks this with a "hero" called 'The Lesson', who tries to literally hammer home various messages into peoples' heads (usually Yang). Even Yin, who agrees with him on principle, thinks he's a jerk and helps foil him.
  • Duckman did this a few times. Unlike most other cartoons, though, it stayed funny while it did it; Duckman was really one of the first primetime animated shows that could be good and dramatic. A good example was the episode "America the Beautiful", where Duckman and Cornfed chase down a missing model named (of course) America, going through her ex-lovers, which represented the repressed '50s, the radically liberal '60s, the hedonistic, shallow '70s, and the greed-crazed '80s. Unable to find her, Duckman wallows in despair, represented by the cynical detachment of the '90s, before finding America in a dump, having given up all hope for a better tomorrow. Duckman finally convinces her that, although survival is difficult, they had to keep trying to make the world a better place, for the sake of their children.
  • Avatar: The Last Airbender plays with this in episode 14 "The Fortuneteller". We have Sokka, the advocater of science and reason, and the villagers mocking him for his logical ways. No, seriously, they call him "Mr. Logic and Reason," or some variation of that. One of the Fortuneteller's predictions is that a volcano will not destroy the entire village. Three guesses as to what happens, the first two don't count. Of course, Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped. The end of the episode, in which a Self-Fulfilling Prophecy is played with- the Fortuneteller's incorrect prophecy validated itself by forcing the Gaang to stop the volcano- loosens up on this, and the main Screw Destiny moral is delivered with much more subtlety.
    • It's not so much Screw Destiny as 'shape your own destiny'. Aang may be The Chosen One but he has to work at it.
    • Let's not forget "The Painted Lady," where the Green Aesop was dialed Up to Eleven. It's a testament to the writers' skill that they managed to work in such a heavy-handed message that was most likely mandated by the network while still keeping the characters in-character. Although Katara's dialogue could have used some more work.
  • Phineas and Ferb has had 3 episodes so far ("Phineas and Ferb get Busted", "Quantum Boogaloo", "The Wizard of Odd") dispensing the wisdom that creativity and imagination are important; so important, in fact, that if these were to be stripped away, the results would be catastrophic.
    • The first showcases the main characters getting mind raped at the hands of a reform school resulting in all of their beloved qualities getting stripped away, Clockwork Orange style. The second presents a dystopian society resulting from Moral Guardians banning creativity and imagination and locking up kids at a young age until they reach adulthood. The third claims that the "straight and narrow" is the worst way to live life.
    • There's also "Attack of the 50 foot Sister", which claims that girls shouldn't be obsessed with having a perfect look.
    • On the DVD Commentary for that episode, co-writer Jon Colton Barry says the moral (or "takeaway" as they call them) is basically 'no one's perfect, everyone has insecurities and it's okay to try to fix them, but be aware that there are some people out there who will manipulate those insecurities for their own gain.' Or something like that.
  • Futurama's "Into the Wild Green Yonder": As the movie progresses the anvils get bigger and at the end they are banging hammers on them. At least we got Leela admitting she loves Fry, finally.
    • The "eyePhone" episode drops the anvil pretty hard. Especially the portion about E-waste ending up making the third planet in the Antares system a living hell. Proposition Infinity was a not-even-thinly-disguised anvilicious "shame on you" to anyone who isn't backing gay marriage.
    • Parodied in the episode where the Brains come to Earth. After using books to defeat the Big Brain, Fry holds up a book and looks at the screen, saying "All thanks to the books at my local library!"
  • Thundercats - I decided to never drink again because Lion-O said it's against the law. But listening to Snarf made me go back to the bottle right afterwards. Snarf! Thundercats Ho!
  • Many of Spark Plug Entertainment's creations, especially when compared to its Brazilian counterpart Video Brinquedo.
  • Tommy Zoom, a cartoon/live action kids' show, has Tommy the hero battle the evil Polluto. His schemes are all about him conquering Earth by pollution.
  • Arthur - Even the theme song is anvilicious.
  • Inspector Gadget never even bothered to make their anvil messages into part of the plot. They were merely tacked on as filler.
  • Superfriends. Almost every episode of the 1973/74 series had environmentalism as a major theme, with preaching against air and water pollution, encouraging energy conservation, etc.
  • Disney's Pocahontas is very Anvilicious in the way it portrays conflict between the two conflicting peoples, particularly during the final scene when Pocahontas makes her speech about what the evils of hatred have brought them to.
    • And the "Savages" song just hammers the anvil further down.
    • It's particularly effective because, contrary to the opinion of some reviewers, it avoids portraying the white people and their mission as totally evil and the natives as totally good. Pocahontas and John Smith were good; Governor Ratcliffe was bad. Everyone else was varying shades of grey, and although Ratcliffe was on an exploitative mission, the natives reacted with hostility and violence instead of any attempt at understanding, and each side absolutely dehumanized the other and saw them as animals unworthy of life. Even though the English miners committed the original wrong, the natives were far from innocent noble savages.
    • This is carried over into the sequel, via the depiction of the English. Yes, Pocahontas is horrified to see what "bear baiting" is, but she spends most of the first half of her trip there gushing over how awesome England and everyone and everything in it is.
  • My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic is a somewhat middling case. Each episode ends with the moral being outright stated to the audience. However, it's stated only once, by a single character, and is somewhat justified in-show (as the whole premise of the show is asocial bookworm Twilight Sparkle learning about friendship and reporting her findings back to her mentor).
    • Not so middling in Episode 09 - Bridle Gossip. The ponies are all freaked out about this zebra woman (except for Twilight Sparkle, who tries to be rational). Fairly middling case of don't be racist/don't judge a book by its cover... until you hear her speak with a Swahili accent... and has a house right out of some Hollywood depiction of African natives... and is shown with a bubbling cauldron... and speaks in rhymes.
      • Then again, Zecora is pretty awesome....
  • The ThunderCats (2011) episode "Ramlak Rising" is a Whole-Plot Reference to Moby Dick crammed into a 22-minute runtime, which results in its Ahab-Homage and its message of He Who Fights Monsters and Revenge Before Reason being very blatant and broadly drawn. When we meet Captain Tunar, he isn't Jumping Off the Slippery Slope, he's already mid-leap.
  • Fern Gully likes to hammer home the whole "cutting rainforests is bad!" message a lot, given that the majority of human characters are despicable and the machines they use are portrayed as monsters at times.


Real Life Edit

  • Mr. T, in every incarnation, is anvilicious to the point of becoming a running joke, thanks in no small part to the ironic humor of a large violent macho man screaming at you things a meek female kindergarten teacher would normally tell you. A favorite satirically jumbled line: "If you believe in yourself, stay in milk, drink all your school, don't do sleep, and get eight hours of drugs!"
    • The weird thing about Mr. T is that he means all of it; the man who made a career out of screaming and hitting things is a big ol' Momma's Boy who loves kids and wants to use his image to help them. In the '80s he performed in a video called "Mr. T's Be Somebody or Be Somebody's Fool," a series of vignettes encouraging self-confidence and good decision making that is so anvilicious the videotape would make a pothole if you dropped it in the street. Unlike most celebrities doing pre-teen educational/self-help/anti-drug videos in the '80s, Mr. T was not ordered to do this as the community service portion of a drug sentencing; he co-wrote and produced the thing of his own volition. That's because Mr. T don't give ya no jibberjabber. He tells it like it is.
  • During the 2011 Superbowl, Will.I.Am of the Black Eyed Peas took a moment during the halftime show to tell Obama to reform the school systems.
  • Practically every child has had to attend an Assembly at their school about how drugs and alcohol will ruin their life. In some Health classes, its not uncommon to have a "speaker" come and show the students pictures of an STD infection.



Notes

  1. and occasionally as early as The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
  2. The sole exception is Quagmire's father, a former Navy man himself, who says that soldiers know what they're getting into when they enlist

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