|Posted by Brekclub85 on June 21, 2012 at 3:05 PM|
Hi fellow Expressionists! After hinting at it for a bit, today I will be counting down what, IMO, are the darkest episodes of shows that are, for the most part, light-hearted.
My only criteria I made for this list is that it will not include really dark episodes of shows that were normally dark in tone. Thus, the bluk of this list is made up of cartoons.
Here we go!
8. "It's a Wishful Life" from the Fairly Oddparents.
Now, TBH, I HATE this episode. It's one of the most mean-spirited things ever, but that's partially why it made this list. For a kid's show, even though some of us have probably made comments like this in the past, to flat our essentially say "The hero is better off not existing" And really, the moral in this ep isn't handled really well either. Not a happy episode, to be sure.
7. "Chocolate Boy" from Hey Arnold!
IMO, a good way to do a darker storyline is to take a mostly comic relief character and put them into a more serious situation. Here, in this episode, which could have been simply a metaphorical "drugs are bad" episode from the premise, turned into a serious examination of Chocolate Boy's character. His chocolate addiction is seriously messing up his life, and he wants to overcome it. The scene where Arnold finds out how the addiction began in the first place is also kind of sad. The ending is still a satisfying one, even if it has vibes of "here we go again."
6. "Destination Imagination" from Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends.
Foster's was never the happiest of cartoons....in fact, sometimes, it reached almost South Park/Family Guy levels of mean-spirited sadism, but this special 90 minute episode makes it onto the list because of the villain. He's an imaginary friend who is essentially a child suffering from SERIOUS abandonment issues. Sure, he takes Frankie "hostage", but, in his mind, she is the only one who cares about him. World's breakdown towards the finale is downright understandable, and you're glad to see he does get a happy ending after everything that goes down. A classic episode, IMO.
5. "The Ultimate Enemy" from Danny Phantom
This episode I can't really go into without giving much away, so this'll be brief. When Danny cheats on a test, it leads to a string of events that unleashes an ultimate evil... and causes the death of many characters. The ending is somewhat a deus ex machina, but Danny's sheer heartbreak at being unable to save his family/friends is something that needs to be seen.
4. "Marooned" from Fraggle Rock
I already covered this in my Top 10 FR episodes list, but the reason this one makes it on here is because it reminds me of the Toy Story 3 incinerator scene. You have two characters, namely one of them being Red, the usually always active and anti-pessimism one, pretty much accepting the fact they could die. If they're gonna live, it won't be by their own effort. Even though you know this show wouldn't ever kill off two of the leads, this episode does make you wonder if the writers might subvert that, even for only a brief moment.
3. "Bullets Over Bel-Air" from The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air
Though the episode with Will's dad returning often gets regarded as the saddest, I find "Bullets" to be the darkest. Rather than simply being a "guns are bad" episode like Family Matters had, this episode is about Carlton's worldview being pretty much shattered after a traumatic event. The lovable nerd is now a person who has been broken, and the final scene between him and Will is IMO the show's most powerful moment. I'm kinda dissappointed they never followed up on the ending to this, but this episode remains one of the show's all time bests.
2. "The Mask" from Courage the Cowardly Dog.
Now, I can understand a person finding the majority of Courage villains creepy. But at the same time, I can understand someone finding most of the scary villains more amusing than terrifying. But moreso than anything on Cartoon Network before or after, this may be the biggest "Getting Crap Past the Radar" moment in their history. Why you may ask? Because the villain in this episode, though they never say it outloud, it pretty much implied to be a gang member/rapist. Mad Dog is never played for laughs, and the way his actions have impacted his hostage Bunny, and her best friend Kitty is simply tragic. Though Kitty seems like just a bully in the first half of this two-parter, when you understand what's going on during the second part, her at first unexplained hatred of Courage can almost be forgiven. I wished this episode could have made the top of my list, but alas...
And the darkest episode of a light=hearted show is......
1. A tie between "Haunted" and "The Beast Within" from Teen Titans.
Now, for the most part, superhero cartoons aren't exactly the happiest of shows, but Teen Titans usually only got dark during the main plot episodes of each season. These two episodes weren't part of the main arcs, which is why they made the list. In Haunted, Robin is still obsessed with Slade even after the latter's been killed, and starts hallucinating fighting with him. Seeing Robin get so pissed and threatening towards his friends, coupled with the fact his own mind is essentially what's destroying him, this episode, while entertaining, has few laughs.
For The Beast Within, like the Hey Arnold example above, takes the comic relief character (Beast Boy) and stops playing him for laughs. BB begins to act like a major douche, and he becomes the prime suspect when Raven is viciously attacked by a monstrous beast. Seeing Beast Boy just rage at his friends, and seeing how the other Titans can almost justifiably believe he is the culprit makes this one of the darkest episodes in Y7-rated western animation ever, IMO (Especially since the episode SPOILERS manages to hidethat he isn't actually the bad guy until the finale)
So, there's my list, hope you guys enjoyed! What did you think of my picks-agree? Disagree? What were some very dark episodes that stood out in your minds? Share your thoughts!