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Basically, you don't know what you've got till it's gone.
A character has agreed to give up a certain thing, like smoking or certain snack foods, or sex. Unfortunately, everywhere he looks, he's reminded of the item he's given up. As the episode goes on, his resolve is severely tested as his Jerkass friends and (clueless) bystanders will do their best to tempt him. You can expect karma to be a bitch and offer dozens of free "once in a lifetime, sent from heaven" opportunities to indulge in the vice.
If he sticks to his guns but later gives in, the opportunity is gone for good and he's made a laughingstock. If he pretends to abstain, he will get busted, big time, by everybody. If he's particularly strong willed and goes through the whole episode without giving in, he might even get a particularly awesome reward for his good behavior, which can be something obvious (a promised reward like concert tickets) or something he'll never even notice he got. Like, say, the chocolate he refused to eat was laced with cyanide (or laxatives), or the girl he didn't take home isn't actually a girl. If it's a Sadist Show, expect this abstinent behavior to leave him worse off than before. Only rarely will the abstinence be its own reward.
A case of Truth in Television. The forsaken item/activity isn't any more common, but the person who gave it up is more prone to notice its absence and to be tempted by the Delicious Distraction when it presents itself. If it's an entirely new vice to the character, it's a Compressed Vice.
See also Warm Bloodbags Are Everywhere for the Horror version. See also Frequently-Broken Unbreakable Vow for general promises rather than abstinence. Often seen with We Want Our Jerk Back. Compare Going Cold Turkey, when the addiction is broken by a single self-imposed withdrawal phase. Can lead to Radish Cure where the character learns his lesson as a result of consuming too many "cold turkeys".
Anime and Manga
- In the Full Metal Panic! Overload manga, Sousuke is prohibited by Kaname to bring guns to school for one day. He actually starts getting withdrawal symptoms from not firing a gun. Everything starts looking like moving targets, he hears gunfire, and everyone starts looking like thug-ish terrorists. He eventually breaks, and starts attacking Kaname's classmates, thinking they're trying to kill her. In the end, Kaname takes him outside and lets him have target practice with an empty can. It ends with her seeing the importance of allowing him to shoot guns (lest he start going crazy).
- Galaxy Angel has an episode where Mint is told that if she continues her obsession with wearing mascot-type animal costumes, she'll die. This diagnosis conveniently coincides with the Angel Brigade's trip to a planet that is celebrating "wear an animal costume day". While on the planet, she is the millionth customer of a local supermarket, and is awarded several animal costumes. Then she attends an award ceremony where the mayor of the town awards her another one. Then she throws the animal costume people are trying to make her wear into a lake, and gets offered silver and gold animal costumes by the water spirit in the lake.
- The very premise of the manga My Balls. Due to a series of unusual circumstances, protagonist Kohta has the Queen of Hell sealed in his cojones. He must not ejaculate for a month or it will be The End of the World as We Know It. Naturally, Hell itself and everything else in the universe starts tempting him like mad.
- Richard Braun from Monster has this trouble with drinking.
- Played hilariously for laughs in Sora no Otoshimono, where Sakurai Tomoki is a major pervert, with exceptional love for panties, and he got a hold of a HUGE amount of panties after a certain event. It made his Childhood Friend mad, and... It didn't end pretty. It appears she turned the panties to BOMBS that explode each time he looks at them. He had to try and resist looking at his adored panties until he's out of his home... They were quite literally everywhere. In the end, he gave up and embraced EVERYTHING. He lost his house as a result. Seriously, the sheer hilarity of that cannot be described.
- In one Donald Duck comic, Daisy bets Donald that he couldn't go a day without eating anything. Cue a guy handing him a fresh hot dog (he can't take it with him on the bus), Grandma Duck nominating him as a judge in the local bake-off, and a college roommate dragging him into a restaurant as a celebration of their reunion and ordering everything on the menu. In the end, Donald is undone when Daisy catches him eating a chocolate bar, but he cheats by re-adjusting his wristwatch to trick her into thinking that it's already past midnight. The next week, they go on a date at a luxurious mountain hotel known for its all-you-can-eat buffet, but Donald gets into an accident which injures his mouth, rendering him incapable of eating anything besides soup.
- Donald's not in it, but a later story had Daisy writing in her diary about being determined to stick to her diet, naturally everything she then sees or hears (or smells) is solely about delicious food. In desperation she finally locks herself in her room to avoid temptation... then gives up and bites a chunk out of her notebook in frustration.
- The old kids' comic L'il Jinx had Jinx, after listening to her Shoulder Angels, decide to not filch cookies from the cookie jar. Cue being offered cookies, being tempted by things that just look like cookies.... The inevitable punchline comes when she tells her mother how good she was and her mom notes the jar was empty anyway (she was just baking a fresh batch to fill it). Jinx proceeds to stuff the morality imps in the jar and enjoy some (with permission) cookies.
- Done rather disturbingly in the Cocoa Puffs commercials. The cuckoo will try to give up chocolate, only to see it everywhere until he breaks down and exclaims "I'M CUCKOO FOR COCOA PUFFS!", going on a rampage until he gets his cocoa fix. If one didn't know better, one might think that they're comparing a cereal to a highly addictive drug...
- Played with mercilessly by the great McCloskey in Airplane!! - "Looks like I chose the wrong week to give up drinking/smoking/sniffin' glue..."
- Basically the whole point of 40 Days and 40 Nights Matt Sullivan gives up sex for Lent in an effort to move past a pattern of self-destructive relationships. Of course, every person with two X chromosomes sees this as incredibly sexy, others feel it may hamper the power of their favorite man-control means, and others just want him to lose. This leads to girls flooding him with offers he can barely refuse, until one of the girls out-and-out forces herself on him. See Double Standard Rape (Female on Male). Expect this result only if you are Josh Hartnett.
- Not to mention the sequence where he tries to go about his day as usual, only to see every woman he encounters as topless.
- In Cold Turkey a smalltown agrees to give up smoking for a month to win $25mil from a tobacco company. The company tries to get weak-willed townsfolk to fold, and on the last day they airdrop cigarettes from helicopters in an attempt to Break The Townies.
- In Oh, God!, God wants Jerry Landers to build an Ark for an impending flood. Jerry is resistant, and at one point he sits in his car and all that's on the radio are songs that involve the word "rain."
- In the original The Wicker Man, Sgt. Howie is engaged and waiting until marriage to have sex. Once he gets to Summerisle, sex is everywhere he looks.
- At the very beginning of 102 Dalmatians, a reformed Cruella Devil is freed from prison, only to start imagining the entire London skyline completely covered with spots like a Dalmatian's fur coat, and as a result she reverts back to the psychotic villain she once was.
- Danny Wallace's Yes Man tells the story of what happened when he decided to say "Yes" to absolutely everything. Turns out that you give up a lot of freedom when you remove the ability to refuse an offer, and just like the trope, there are friends of his that either take advantage of this or outright plot to make him fail. He fails when he refuses to sleep with someone, because he was in love with another woman. However, unlike most British comedy stories, this one has a happy ending: he flies to Australia to be with the woman he loves, something that the friend who he made the bet with in the first place was going to make him do as a "forfeit".
- Ned Robbins in Jelly Belly is on a strict diet and has to put up with his family chowing down on delicious, high-calorie foods while he's stuck eating nothing but lean, broiled meats and vegetables. Even when he becomes more serious about losing weight and eating healthier, staying away from junk food is still an effort in and of itself.
Live Action TV
- In All in The Family Archie & Mike ("Meathead") have a bet as to who can hold out longer: Archie without a cigar or Mike without food. Archie starts to tempt Mike by eating in front of him; Mike counters by smoking cigars in front of Archie. They finally decide to end in a draw, with Mike eating and Archie lighting up on the count of three. On "3" Mike puts food in his mouth but Archie draws the match away from his cigar, with a "Ha!"
- Also, when Mike finds several cigars Archie stashed:
Gloria: Daddy, you're supposed to play fair! Michael is, and this is no picnic for him, you know!
- In "Three's Company" Janet talks Chrissy and Jack into a bet that Chrissy could go longer without food than Jack could go without girls. What Jack didn't know (because he wouldn't let Janet tell him) was that one of his (many) old flames had just arrived in town.
- Drake and Josh: Drake bets that he can go a set amount of time without any junk food, and Josh bets the same, but with video games. Megan throws together a contract. Later, Drake gets a bad skin condition caused by lack of junk food. Josh is also tempted when his grandmother sends him a brand new "game sphere". Later, Megan decides to screw them both over by tricking each brother to tempt the other. Josh covers the boy's bedroom with candy and Drake starts playing the game sphere with a fancy wireless controller; in the end, both brothers succumb but are unable to tell who did so first. This winds up being a Gambit Roulette when Megan reveals that the contract didn't say that the person who caved in first would lose, but simply that whoever caved would lose.
- Father Ted had a whole episode dedicated to this, called Cigarettes, Alcohol and Rollerblading, in which the cast must give up the titular vices for Lent. In one hallucination the smoke from a guest resolves itself into the words 'lovely fags' to Ted's nicotine-starved eyes.
- There is honestly nothing funnier than a giant anthromorphic pint of Guinness going 'Blah blah blah blah blah'...
- Except for maybe a giant rollerblade going "Blah blah blah blah blah..."
- An episode of Frasier in which Frasier and his boss, Kate, have resolved they can't have a relationship, and declared that they are two adults who can resist their mutual attraction. At the same time, a romance author who lives in Frasier's building is moving out. When Frasier and Kate get in the service elevator, to avoid the press outside the main door, it stalls and the lights go out. Frasier lights some candles, then knocks a double mattress propped against a wall, dropping it on the center of the floor. The heat forces them to take off their jackets. Then Frasier accidentally sets off a music box that plays romantic music, knocks over a bottle of musk oil trying to turn it off, and when Kate grabs a sheet to soak up the oil, it turns out to be covering a huge blow-up of a bodice-ripper cover. They resist, but only just.
- ICarly has an episode where Sam bets that she can go an entire week without insulting Freddie, or else she has to pay five dollars for each insult (which she would gladly do, but was broke). Freddie tries all sorts of things to make her crack.
- In The IT Crowd, Jen takes up smoking again after a day of cigarette cravings, ending with Denholm extolling the pleasures of the "delicious bastards" on the first video played at his funeral. Her craving is so overpowering that she runs outside to smoke a cigarette from the gutter, and soon afterwards she is shown "making up for lost time".
- Lost: Charlie throws the last of his heroin stash into a fire in early season 1. Being stranded on an island might seem an excellent opportunity to kick the habit. Then in the season finale he comes across a crashed plane... full of heroin.
- And then there's Hurley, who loses the perfect opportunity to get rid of some of that pork on the island when he runs into the Dharma junk food stash in the hatch. And then later more food literally drops from the sky.
- A variation of this is being played for extremely cruel comedy on this season of Mad Men. In last season's finale it was revealed that Peggy had gotten pregnant out of wedlock with a married co-worker's baby; during the interval, she's apparently been legally declared unfit to raise the child, who's been put up for adoption (The Fifties were really a wonderful decade in which to be a woman). If you were to take a drink for every time babies, pregnancy, or abortion have been mentioned in her presence over the last three episodes, you'd end up needing your stomach pumped.
- In the Married... with Children episode "A Little of the Top" Al was accidentally circumcised and had to abstain from sex for a full month. For most of their marriage, Al had very little interest in sex with his wife. But now that it was forbidden, she suddenly became some sort of irresistible sex goddess whose every casual action seemed to turn him on.
- In the Mash episode "No Laughing Matter", Hawkeye makes a bet with B.J. that he can go a full day without joking about anything. Naturally, the episode has him being presented with an unusually large number of openings for wisecracks, all of which he lets loose on the PA system at 12:01 AM the next day.
- A starving Lister in the Red Dwarf episode Marooned suffers from this - Rimmer's library consists of the likes of Charles Lamb, Herman Wok, Francis Bacon and Eric Van Lustbader.
Rimmer: Eric Van Lustbader? What's he got to do with food?
- In Reaper, Alan Townsend escapes from his deal with the devil by winning a poker game. The condition of his release is that he is forbidden to sin again or he goes directly back to Hell. The problem with this is that he's a gambling addict and gambling is a sin. He eventually ends up back in Hell when the devil arranges for his plane to be grounded in Las Vegas.
- Done in Strangers with Candy when Jerri tries to give up sex to join a clique of virgin girls. It goes about as well as you'd expect.
- In the Torchwood episode "Day One", an alien who feeds off orgasmic energy has taken over the body of a young woman. The girl knows that if she doesn't feed the alien, it will kill her, but if she gives in she'll kill anyone she has sex with. As she walks down the street all she can see are suggestive advertisements and people making out.
- An episode of Two Point Four Children featured Ben agreeing to give up a videogame called Ninja Badger. At the end of the episode, for perfectly logical reasons, a man dressed as a badger comes to the door and he breaks down.
- One episode of Friends dealt with Phoebe craving meat during her pregancy, despite being a firmly convicted vegetarian. Joey helped her deal with it by offering to go vegetarian himself, so that she would be free to eat meat without upsetting the balance of carnivores vs. vegetarians. Naturally, he then has to battle with his own meat cravings.
- In another episode, Joey (again) is having to abstain from sex for a period of time for a well-paid scientific study, but then has a date with a gorgeous girl and ends up in bed. He manages to subvert the problem by following Monica's advice to "be there for her" without giving in himself.
- In yet another episode, Joey and Ross bet Chandler 50 bucks he can't keep his New Year's Resolution to not make fun of his friends. Shortly afterward, Ross starts wearing leather pants and dating a girl named Elizabeth Hornswoggle. At the end of the episode he gives them the 50 bucks and lets it all out.
- From the same episode with the pants and Miss Hornswoggle, Rachel vows to give up gossip. She immediately finds out that Chandler and Monica are having sex.
- Happens to J.D. in Scrubs after a break up - he even points it out himself as he sits in a bar where a girl first offers to buy him a drink and then strikes a rather flexible pose to further entice him. To no avail though.
- Nice sendup in Dream On. Martin has to give up coffee. Suddenly every one of the little film clips in his head is about....
- On Sesame Street when Cookie Monster had to stop himself from eating Big Bird's birthday cake, he ate literally everything but the cake.
- On Barney Miller, Dietrich takes a vow of celibacy to clear his mind and focus his thoughts, right when a ring of high-end call girls are rounded up and deposited in the precinct house.
- In Supernatural Sam becomes addicted to drinking demon blood, and tries to give it up. Well, they hunt demons, and have a magical knife to kill them with. This happens about every other fight. In several episodes, demons know that their blood tempts him, and are all but forcing themselves down his throat.
- The wife of Reba's ex-husband goes on a diet in one episode of Reba. The fact that she was tempted by a basket of potpourri enough to ask if it was real fruit or if it was "fresh" is proof of her struggle.
- The Office: Invoked by Jim when corporate announces that all Double Entendres in the office are to stop including Michael's favorite joke "Thats what she said."
Jim: Wow! Thats hard. Do you think you can go that long? Well you always left me satisfied and smiling.
- In an episode of Parks and Recreation, Jerry, the office Butt Monkey, is mugged. When Jerry comes back to work, Leslie decides, to the annoyance of everyone else, that it's Too Soon to make fun of Jerry like normal. Cue Jerry doing a million snark-worthy things.
Tom: You went on a vacation and you chose Muncie, Indiana?
- In The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air episode "Be My Baby Tonight", Ashley asks Will about sex. Will tries not to think about it, but then he suddenly hears double entendres everywhere. When Ashley's boyfriend comes in for their date, he asks if she's ready ("NO MAN SHE'S ONLY 13!"). Then, on the TV, the game announcer asks "Where is the most unusual place you've made whoopee?" Then, when Will turns on the radio, all that comes on is the song "I Wanna Sex You Up" (which is a real song). Carlton comes in and says he's late for his date with his girlfriend who can "tie a knot with her tongue". Then Hilary walks in asking where all the whipped cream went. Will finally yells "What is it with your preoccupation with sex!"
- Done in a very terrifying fashion in Kamen Rider Fourze, where the Monsters of the Week become addicted to the Zodiarts Switches. So far, we've only seen one of the Switchers, Miura, who hallucinates seeing Zodiarts Switches everywhere and is too afraid to go back to school, as he can't control himself. It's done in such a way to be pure horror.
- In My Hero (TV), George attempts to go "cold porky" from pork scratchings (Which gives his alien brain super-intelligence, but turns him into a jerk).
- In this Today Nothing Happened strip, we see it happen in Real Life.
- Bobwhite. Cleo is infatuated with Ben and doesn't know whether or not to act on it. She starts seeing Ben everywhere... because his picture is on all the college's promotional material.
- Jacob from Shortpacked is a recovering sex addict...and unwilling Chick Magnet. This being Shortpacked, it's turned Up to Eleven: during the "Ultracar meets his creator" arc, he stumbles onto an eccentric millionaire's Hot Librarian collection and has to fend off their advances. The arc after that, he ends up being propositioned for a threesome by two beautiful women without saying a word himself. And after all that, he ends up sleeping with Amber's mom, causing him to briefly retreat into his apartment out of shame.
"TWO CHICKS WANT TO DO ME AT THE SAME TIME MUST FLEE!"
- In Sinfest Squigley had combined porn/pot/alcohol withdrawal. Going outside doesn't help. Though one might have a few doubt when he starts to say there's no escape.
- When Monty of Chip 'n Dale Rescue Rangers tries to give up cheese due to the trouble his cheese attacks cause, it becomes less a case of Cold Turkeys Are Everywhere and more of Cold Turkeys Are The Focus Of The Investigation, as a pseudo-mob-boss of a rat has rerouted cheese supply in order to increase demand and get rich off of desperate rodentia. In the end, his addiction alternately saves him and very nearly keeps him from rescuing fellow Ranger Gadget from a Death Trap.
- In an episode of Family Guy, Peter's stomach is acting up during a long road trip. Every billboard and sign remind him of it (examples include "Furniture Store; all stools must go!"; "I Love My Shi-Tzu"; "Bob's House of Feces, Next Exit" [to which Peter responds "Oh come on, that's not even real!"]).
- In another episode, Quagmire is forced to keep his perversion under control. After his friends take him to the mall to see how well he can contain himself in public, he sees a handful of attractive teenagers, turns away to see a woman breastfeeding, turns away from that to see a trio of cheerleaders who walk past a fountain, accidentally drop a pom-pom inside, decide to retrieve it, together, while shirtless, engage in a splash fight and start making out with each other. When he attempts to escape, he accidentally crashes into a pile of naked mannequins, then ducks into a surveillance room with full view of the women's dressing rooms.
- In yet an another episode, Peter gets a prostate exam, and thinks he was violated. He tries to watch TV; he sees Freddy Got Fingered, changes the channel to ET the Extraterrestrial, showing E.T.'s healing finger, then changes the channel to a Yellow Pages ad: "Let your fingers do the walking!" Peter then runs away, and meets Chris, who wears a foam finger, and the Evil Monkey, who always points at people.
- Foster's Home for Imaginary Friends: Eduardo has fleas, and he's trying not to scratch. But everywhere he looks, there are people using scratch-and-sniff cards, monkeys scratching themselves in an inappropriate manner, etc.
- Parody: After Bender gives up drinking in Futurama (to his detriment, because robots run on alcohol), he is peppered with flashing neon signs for things like "Boring Geology Lecture" and "Church Revival".
- Also, in "Hell is Other Robots", when Bender joins Robotology, Fry and Leela tempt him away because his attitude has become so upbeat it's annoying.
- In Garfield and Friends, "Five Minute Warning", Jon bets Garfield that he can't going without eating for five minutes. Garfield being Garfield, he's wondering if the five minutes is up within seconds. He leaves the house, but everywhere he goes, he's offered food: a pair of picnickers who brought too much food; the Buddy Bears, who give him "a light snack" as a token of friendship, which he nearly does eat; even restaurant owners, who normally fear his approach lest they be eaten out of business. In the end, he is almost mistaken for having eaten, and indeed, very nearly bites down on a banana when the time runs out.
- In the 2011 Winnie the Pooh film, Pooh runs out of honey and every attempt to get more gets pulled away from him in coincidentally different ways all through the day. In the middle of the film, he gets so hungry that his friends (and the Narrator) start substituting every word with "honey", and he starts seeing things around him transformed into honey pots until it climaxes into a Disney Acid Sequence musical number.
- In the classic Goofy cartoon "Tomorrow we Diet", a rather plump Goofy decides to go on a diet. Naturally, he starts to go through a neon hell of restaurant signs.
- A few Looney Tunes featured Sylvester going through this while trying to give up eating Tweety, most memorably in "Birds Anonymous".
- For bonus points, the first thing he sees after he gets back from the BA meeting is a cooking show talking about how to prepare a turkey.
- In another Sylvester and Tweety cartoon, after various failed attempts to catch Tweety, Sylvester decides to swear off birds. Right after that happens, a flock of birds perch themselves on Sylvester's shoulders. Sylvester merely mutters, "Sufferin' succotash! I picked a fine time to go on a diet!"
- The Simpsons dealt with this trope several times.
- In one episode Homer orders a gun. He has to wait an entire week before getting his gun, and all he can see during the week are targets (a truck bearing the Target logo, a row of ducks, his sisters-in-law, Ned Flanders... Ned Flanders again...).
- The Simpsons also uses it when Lisa turns vegetarian and when Homer gives up beer (including literally bombarding him with beer cans)
Surrender to Duff
- Lisa was addicted to the "Cory Hotline" and is forced to never call it from home. She cheats and uses the school's phone. With Marge's help she resolves to spend a whole day without calling, made incredibly difficult because of withdrawal-like symptoms and Maggie playing with a toy phone. Although it seems that she fell asleep dialing the hotline, Marge finds out she succeeded after all, and only dialed information to know the time and prove she went the whole day.
- In "The City of New York versus Homer Simpson", town drunk Barney Gumble is declared the evening's designated driver. Of course, that's the night that Duff Beer spokeman "Duffman" shows up to put on the party that Barney won (but obviously can't take part in).
- In a comic book, Marge makes Homer agree to eat only one donut a day. As he drives to work, he sees a donut-shaped cloud. Then more such clouds. And then a cloud shaped like an open box full of donuts, with the words "EAT US, HOMER" written on it. Naturally, he does not stick to the plan for long.
- That was the first issue. He does sort of stick to the plan, but cheats.
Homer: Hmm, now which will be my one donut of the day * eats one* no * eats another* not that one (You can see where this is going).
- In the episode "The Last Temptation of Homer", Homer is attracted to his co-worker, Mindy, and tries to watch television to take his mind off her:
Kent Brockman: Tonight, "Eye On Springfield" takes a look at the secret affairs of Kennedy, Eisehower, Bush, and Clinton. Did fooling around on their wives make them great? We'll find out next, when we play "Hail to the Cheat."
- Seen more than once on SpongeBob SquarePants.
- Especially the episodes "Idiot Box" and "The Paper", both involving Squidward.
- In this Stealth Cigarette Commercial, Goofy tries to give up smoking, but sees tobacco products everywhere, and people tempt him and offer him cigarettes until he actually wants one.
- Sitting Ducks takes place in a universe where ducks and alligators live in segregated districts, where there's constant tension between the hungry alligators of Swampwood and duck denizens of Ducktown. The show focuses on a duck named Bill and his relationship with Aldo, an alligator who swears off eating ducks. This often proves hard to resist for poor Aldo, who constantly must fight ostacization from his species and his own predatory instincts, especially in the episode where he hallucinates Bill and his friends as skinned floating ducks.
- Cat Dog. To make preparations for a dancing contest, Cat puts an overweight Dog on a diet so he will be fit enough for the competition. This was often met with many setbacks because Dog kept hidden stashes of food which he ate while exercising. Eventually, under threat of disqualification, Dog relents and loses enough weight for the competition. This backfires where a starving Dog starts to hallucinate his surroundings as food (he envisions his dancemates as pizza pies and drum sticks as chicken legs). Dog finally breaks and proceeds to devour not only the buffet, but his dance mates and the entire theatre!
- Dexter's Laboratory. To make Mom enjoy her mother's day morning, Dexter, Dee-dee, and Dad take away her gloves and try to clean the house themselves (very poorly), which nearly drives the perfectionist Mom insane: http://www.trilulilu.ro/alecsutz/fb51900e80d8b0
- And of course, there's the episode where Dexter's Mom bakes some muffins and Dexter has to prevent his dad from eating them (apparently, he's a "muffomaniac" and Mom even says that he only married her because of her muffins). Dad starts to hallucinate that's he's in a land of muffins and is crowned king. All in all, it was a very bizarre episode.
- The Mis Adventures of Flapjack had one ep where K'nuckles eats too much candy and suffers from "Candy Rot" where he chows down on any candy he can find. It get so bad, that the Doctor Barber recommends a rather painful surgery to cure him but agrees to let Flapjack try to help the captain quit cold turkey as an alternative.
- Also, when K'nuckles wanted to stop hearing stories with happy endings, everybody was telling stories with various different kinds of happy endings.
- In Metalocalypse, this is the reason Leonard Rockstein/Dr. Rockso couldn't stay clean from cocaine. He technically manages to stay clean for about half a year before finding confiscated cocaine behind the stage of a drug-free concert. He eventually gives in once the security guarding the drugs disappear to handle the concert which had gone haywire. Also note that this happened after a whole episode dedicated to his struggle to get clean early on in the same season. This was done mostly because Dr. Rockso happened to be the show's resident Ensemble Darkhorse, and part of his charm was his insufferable cocaine addiction.
- Arthur featured an episode where the young aardvark decides he doesn't wish to take any more piano lessons. Naturally the TV that day features nothing but programs about guess what musical instrument.
- Michael Swaim from Cracked wrote an article on Earth Hour when he would not use any electricity for one hour. The main problem was surviving without internet. He ended up going primal.
- On Jimmy Two-Shoes, as part of a Springtime for Hitler, Beezy can't eat for a minute. Jimmy tells him it's a piece of cake, to which he responds "Cake?" Jimmy quickly amends his statement, saying it's easy as pie, to which he responds "Pie?" Finally, Jimmy tells him he's tough as nails...to which he responds "Nails?"
- Used in an episode of Ed, Edd 'n' Eddy. The Ed's, Kevin, Rolf, and Johnny all make a cold turkey bet, each ponying up 25 cents as the bet. Ed can't have gravy, Double d can't use any big words, Eddy can't be loud, Rolf must give up meat, Johnny can't talk to plank, and Kevin (the first to lose) can't call the Ed's dorks. After Eddy spends most of the episode Invoking the trope towards everyone else, the eventual winner is Ed. After falling into a barrel of gravy, Eddy LOUDLY declares his victory... until he finds out Ed fell into a barrel of butterscotch pudding, which he's allergic to. Ed gets the money and spends it on, you guessed it, gravy.
- On an episode of Moral Orel, Orel was grounded from church for a month. He started seeing churches everywhere, thought everyone was saying the word "church", had very weird dreams and even dressed like a church.
- Beavis and Butthead have a 'no laughing' vow forced on them (on threat of being transferred to the school on the tough side of town), just in time for Buzzcut's starting up Sex Ed class.
Buzzcut: We're gonna be talking about the PENIS! [Beavis & Butt-head laugh] We're gonna be talking about the VAGINA! '[Beavis and Butt-Head laugh] Do you think that's funny Butt-Head? [Butt-Head laugh] Do you find it amusing we're gonna be talking about the TESTICLES! [Butt-Head covers his mouth laughing] We're also gonna be talking about venereal disease! [Butt-Head laugh] Sexual intercourse! The SCROTUM! THE CLITORIS! And... [Buzzcut removes Butt-Head's hand from his mouth, tears are coming out of his eyes] we're also definitely gonna be spending a lot of time... talking about MASTURBATION!
- One episode of Dennis the Menace UK featured an Eccentric Millionaire who challenged Dennis' town not to watch the telly for a whole month and promised to give the town one million if they win. At the last day, Dennis and his friends convinced him to watch TV (which he claimed he never did before during his whole life). The millionaire decided to give the money anyway.
- One House of Mouse era short had Daisy getting fed up with Donald's anger issues, and betting that he couldn't go through their date without flying into rage. Goofy ends up being their waiter. You can see where this is going... but it's a subversion. Daisy's the one who gets mad. Donald remains perfectly fine during the date. That is, until he gets the bill.
- In episode 3 of Hey Arnold, Arnold is depressed that he lost his hat. To take his mind off it, he turns on the TV and sees that it's Hat Day at the local ballpark and everyone in the stadium is wearing one. It doesn't help.
- In an episode of A Pup Named Scooby Doo, Freddy accepts a bet from the other characters that he can't go one whole case without accusing Red Herring (that's the character's actual name) of anything. So who gives them the next case? Red Herring's aunt. And what character do the heroes see constantly during this case? Three guesses. And it turns out Red Herring really did commit the crime that time.