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Ah... April 1. It is the day where everyone can pull tricks at someone without worry. It is the time of the year where you let yourself loose and have light-hearted fun.
Television shows, of course, have plots based on April Fool's Day, much like the Christmas Episode. And much like holiday-themed episodes, they follow a recurring theme. Because Jerk Asses exists, they use this celebration to be a douchebag to everyone around them and simply yell "April Fools!" to be immediately immune from any form of criticism. They use the freedom of the day to be abusive towards others by pulling pranks and get away with it scot free!
Usually, the episode ends with the jerk getting his comeuppance ending with "April Fools!" being uttered by the former victim as he or she pulls a prank on the prankster. Of course, there have been variations, with even the prankster getting away with it.
Note that this is NOT about episodes that simply aired during April Fool's Day to commemorate it. This is simply about episodes with the story that focuses on April Fools Day, hence this trope's name. While it is possible for them to air during early April, that is not a requirement. If you are looking for episodes that commemorate April Fool's Day, simply go to April Fools' Day.
- The ninth episode of Smile Pretty Cure had Yayoi attempt to pull an April Fool's prank by saying that she was transferring to a new school. However, she ended up telling this to Miyuki, who promptly panicked and began telling the other girls, with Yayoi being unable to get an word in edgewise, mostly because they kept assuming she was going to talk about them separating. When they do find out the truth, they aren't happy... until they realize that the whole thing started because Miyuki believed her.
- Calvin and Hobbes The Series has "Let Us Prank the Fool", which involves Calvin trying to prank resident prankster Socrates before April 1st.
- The Babysitters Little Sister series has "Karen's Big Joke," where Karen delights in pranking her friends and family with silly little tricks. The story ends with her big-house family getting one back on her by pretending a visiting co-worker of Watson's is an important billionaire coming to give them a big prize.
- In a first season episode of Community the plot is centered around Britta's attempt at an April Fool's Prank, after being called a 'killjoy' one to many times.
- An episode of Not Going Out has Lucy claim she's pregnant in a ruse to get Lee to admit he masturbated in her bath water. She reveals this by declaring "April Fool's!", although the events of the episode appeared to take place over several days.
- A Mash episode has the 4077th staff playing April Fools' pranks on each other.
- A News Radio episode has Jimmy James doing this...in February.
- One Foxtrot strip had Jason tuning in to the Game of Thrones season two premiere, only to find that all the horses had been replaced with characters from My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic and the characters referring to each other as bronies. The network revealed it was an April Fools' prank pretty quickly, but Jason had already broken out his pitchfork.
- In old Fleischer shorts, Popeye had to deal with Bluto abusing him because it was April Fools. He will try to get back at the big guy, but Olive scolds him for not celebrating the day. He of course eats his spinach, but Bluto trades it with a toy snake inside a spinach. However Popeye still managed to win by scaring Bluto with an inflatable toy.
- In The Simpsons, the first Clip Show was framed by Homer pulling April Fool's pranks on Bart, and Bart not being able to get back at him, until he hit upon an idea: Take one of Homer's beers to the hardware store and use the paint shaker to shake it up really good. When Homer opened the beer it blew up the house (and left Homer in a coma, dreaming about various clips)
- Cat Dog has "Kooky Prank Day", where Cat is on the receiving end of every prank in Nearburg.
- A House of Mouse short involves Mortimer and Mickey out-pranking each other.
- A SpongeBob SquarePants episode entitled "Fools in April" focuses on SpongeBob pulling a prank on everyone (who actually enjoyed the pranks) including Squidward, who finds it irritating. He then does a prank to SpongeBob that rather crosses the line, causing the sponge to cry and have everyone think of him as a jerk. He does apologize to SpongeBob, but it ends up with SpongeBob joking about getting hurt from the joke.
- While it isn't necessarily set in April Fool's Day, My Little Pony Friendship Is Magic episode "Griffon the Brush-Off" contains the elements of such a plot. Pinkie Pie and Rainbow Dash pull playful pranks to ponies (who then laughed at the thought) and even decided not to pull one on Fluttershy. Then came Gilda, who essentially is mean to every pony with her tricks. Pinkie Pie tries to pull a party full of pranks to get Gilda, which was actually Rainbow Dash's pranks, causing Gilda to be unpleasantly surprised.
- In The Penguins of Madagascar, King Julien learns of April Fools a little too late, so he decides to prank everyone to make up for lost time, even if it's not April 1.
- The final episode of The Angry Beavers was going to have Norbert and Daggett realizing that they're cartoon characters, and then they vanish from existence. At the end, Norbert says to Daggett, "There's just something I want to say..." Then Daggett asks, "What?" And Norbert yells, "APRIL FOOLS!!!"
- NOTE: The voiceovers for the final episode were recorded, but the episode never got into the animation stage due to Nickelodeon not allowing shows to break the fourth wall.
- Recess: "The Big Prank" (Not set in April Fool's Day)
- Hey Arnold had the aptly named "April Fools Day" episode where Helga and Arnold tried pranking each other... Arnold took it a little to far. Then Helga used his guilt to fool him even further.