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"He's here to save the nation,

So stay tuned to this station,

If not, we'll be unemployed,

Freakazoid! Freakazoid!
FREAKAZOID! (Opening theme)

A specific type of Medium Awareness, where characters are aware of the potential for the impending end of their series.

Because this basically implies a vocal dissatisfaction with the conditions (lack of viewers, Executive Meddling, Screwed by the Network) that could bring about an early end to a show, this may tie in with Biting the Hand Humor, and is generally used on media that lend themselves to it, such as Live Action TV or Western Animation.

This is the opposite sort of lampshade to And the Adventure Continues....

Examples of End of Series Awareness include:


Anime and Manga

  • Bobobobo Bobobo: The characters (including the narrator) complain that the series is canceled just before an epic fight, and the narrator complains that he was never visible through the entire series.
  • Azumanga Daioh does this before the last episode of the anime.
  • The Lupin III manga does this in the last chapter of the original series.
  • The first Negima anime has Satsuki and Zazie narrating the next episode preview for the final episode, during which they both point out they've yet to have any lines.

Comic Books

Fanfic

Literature

  • In one of Mo Willems' Elephant and Piggie books, "We Are in a Book," the main characters realize they're in a book. Piggie flips ahead to see how many pages are left, and Gerald freaks out when he sees how few there are.
  • Similar to the above example, in the Sesame Street books The Monster at the End of This Book and Another Monster at the End of This Book, Grover becomes more and more panicked as he realizes that it's getting close to the end of the book and we're about to see the monster. ( In the first book, he is the monster at the end. In the second, it's Elmo.)

Live Action TV

  • In Arrested Development, several characters make veiled references to the impending cancellation of their show, and at one point, the narrator, Ron Howard, says "please tell your friends about this show", in an effort to increase the fanbase to save it.
  • In I Married Dora, a man and his maid have a Citizenship Marriage; in the last scene the man is about to leave on a trip.

 Peter: It's been cancelled.

Dora: The flight?

Peter: No, our series.

  • In the last episode of Moonlighting, the plot is interrupted by news that the series has been cancelled. Suddenly the characters have to deal with their reality falling apart, as sets are being dismantled all around them.
  • The last episode of Becker has a brief mention of a patient named Nielsen (after the company that provides TV ratings) and how the numbers of his chart seem fine to him.
    • Also the last episode was titled "DNR" meaning Do Not Resucitate. A medical term for patients who do not want to be revived if they are dying.
  • The short-lived Stephen Bochco musical procedural 'Cop Rock' did this in the final scene. No, I've never heard of it either.
  • Stargate SG-1 called out the then-Sci-Fi Channel in the Season 10 episode Family Ties through the use of this trope. Note the careful word choice.

 Carter: The truth is, the Stargate program just doesn't get the support it used to from the people in charge.

Jacek: Why not?

Dr. Lee: Eureka! One down, twelve to go.

Jacek: That's too bad because after all your Stargate program has accomplished for this network of planets, I would think that the decision makers would show it the respect it deserves.

    • Each season from 6 to 9 were expected to be the last of the show, so there was always a great deal of End of Series Awareness and plenty of time to plan epic season finales, but they were always renewed at the last second. Interestingly, the show was picked up for an 11th season comparatively early initially...but that didn't pan out, sadly.
  • In the last episode of British childrens' drama Byker Grove, the entire youth club is made aware of the fact that they are all fictional characters, that their entire world is fictional, and that the almighty scriptwriters have decided to end their show. But the scriptwriters give them a parting gift...a stack of magic script paper; anything they write on the paper will happen in front of them. The idea is that they can write their own happy endings before the show is finished for good. They do...until two of the younger children write in a ton of dynamite and try to blow the youth club up.... *end credits*
  • Boston Legal was absolutely relentless about this, it being how it is..
  • The last episode of St Elsewhere had a fat lady sing in the last hospital scene. Then after an All Just a Dream ending, the Mtm kitten flatlined.
  • On the season three episode of Cougar Town, "It'll All Work Out", Jules decides to celebrate Thanksgiving early because she is afraid that they won't all be together in the fall. They also mention how they missed Thanksgiving last fall (with Laurie adding that she missed Halloween and Christmas as well), a reference to the fact that season 3 was set back to mid-season.
  • This was the whole driving force behind the Red Dwarf special Back to Earth, in which the characters discover they are the stars of a popular TV series... which is about to end.

Newspaper Comics

  • The last month or so of Bloom County was replete with this trope, as the characters are "fired" by Donald Trump (whose brain was implanted into Bill The Cat), and try to find jobs in other comic strips: Steve Dallas turns up as one of Cathy's dates, Oliver integrates The Family Circus, Milo appears in The Far Side, et cetera. At one point, Opus even laments that "comic strips aren't supposed to end!", and in the penultimate strip, summarily boots Ronald Ann through the doorway to Outland (yes, Berke Breathed's Sunday-only successor strip, mentioned by name), reasoning that "she was dawdling, and Beetle Bailey is taking over this space Monday."
  • In the comic strip FoxTrot, the characters are aware that their creator, Bill Amend, is going to stop drawing regular daily comics and switch to Sundays only.

Video Games

Webcomics

  • The characters in One Over Zero know exactly when their comic is going to end, and it causes plenty of angst among the characters.
  • Some characters in Concession are aware of the impending end of the comic.

Web Original

Western Animation

  • In one episode of The Simpsons, the family gets counselling, and is no longer prone to wacky misadventures. Lisa says, "Could this be the end of our series?" When the family gives her odd looks for the statement, she tacks on "...of events?"
  • In The Boondocks, Granddad mentions that his life is getting too stressful, and that he might not have a lot of episodes (pun for heart attacks, as well) left.
  • In Family Guy's first episode back from cancellation, a scene is shown of Peter informing the family too soon that they were cancelled. Lois asks if there's anything that can be done, to which Peter says only if every show that was aired in the meantime gets cancelled, which they were.
    • One of the pre-cancellation episodes has a blink-and-you'll-miss-it gag: a TV Guide cover with Luke Perry on the cover also has the note "If you're reading this, we haven't been cancelled yet."
  • Chowder exhibited End of Series Awareness for a significant number of its last episodes.
  • The theme tune of Freakazoid mentions this in its final verse, the page quote. This proved prophetic, and the final episode of the second season ended with a musical curtain call.
  • Robot Chicken plays with this. The characters always imply at the end of each season that the series is cancelled, while each season premiere begins with the show being "renewed".
  • This was the premise for the final episode of The Angry Beavers, at least until some higher-up at Nickelodeon saw that it broke the network's continuity rules of the time (which forbade any series from having any final resolution) and refused to air it. That's just one version of the story, of course--executive producer Mary Harrington says she thought it was brilliant but refused to air it because the main characters Ascend to a Higher Plane of Existence, which might upset the kids.
  • Rocky and Bullwinkle definitely became aware that their series was in danger, though I'm not sure whether they realized when it actually became cancelled...

 Rocky: Bullwinkle, I'm worried.

Bullwinkle: Ratings down in the show again?

Rocky: No.

Bullwinkle: That's odd.

Rocky: I'm worried because there have already been two attempts on your life.

Bullwinkle: Oh, don't worry. We will be renewed.

Rocky: I'm not talking about The Bullwinkle Show.

Bullwinkle: You had better; we could use the publicity.

  • Futurama's final Couch Gag during its initial run on Fox read "See you on some other network."
    • In one episode of the original final season, Bender refers to Star Trek the Original Series as "another classic science-fiction series cancelled before its time."
  • The final line of dialogue delivered on The Brak Show, after a genie grants Brak's ill-conceived wish that his family be turned into penguins, is "I wish we weren't penguins and our show wasn't cancelled!"
  • The (aired) final episode of Ka Blam, "Just Chillin'!" has a scene in the beginning with Henry and June discussing that the show is coming close to cancellation. (Also note that this show was one of Nick's best examples of being Screwed by the Network)
  • Batman the Brave And The Bold has an interesting spin on this with "Mitefall", where Bat-Mite tries to get the show cancelled by making it Jump the Shark and Ambush Bug tries to stop him. Bat-Mite does succeed in the end, but at least it ends well.
  • King of the Hill: In the final episode, when Bobby expresses an honest interest in a manly hobby, Hank says, "I've been waiting thirteen years to hear you say that." 13 is both Bobby's age and the number of seasons the show ran.
    • Also from the finale: as the episode draws to a close, Hank and Bobby are grilling steaks. Bobby looks at the final steak left to be cooked and says meaningfully "Well, dad, I guess this is the last one."
    • The finale aired as the second half of a two-parter with the penultimate episode, which began with the foursome in the alley realizing, "Oh no, we're out of projects!"
  • Upon finding out The Buzz on Maggie was cancelled, the animators had Maggie wave goodbye to the audience at the end of the final episode.
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