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A staple of the American family-oriented Sitcom, the Golden Moment usually occurs in the last few minutes of the episode, when An Aesop is delivered. After 20+ minutes of hijinks and confusion, Dad sits down with Junior for the following exchange:


 Junior: I guess I screwed up, didn't I?

Dad: I guess so.

Junior: None of this would have happened if I hadn't been trying to impress people. I just wanted so much for them to like me.

Dad: Son, anybody who doesn't like you for who you are isn't worth trying to impress.

Junior: Gee, you're right dad. From now on I'll just be myself.

Dad: I'm proud of you, son.


They hug and the audience goes, "AWWWWWWWWW." The lesson has been taught. Cue Full House Music.

Typically, the writers will then try to reduce the saccharine by adding a joke, such as having Junior say, "Dad, how do I get the baked beans out of my pants?" to gales of undeserved laughter from both sides of the Fourth Wall.

Dead Horse Trope to the fullest. Distinct from Crowning Moment of Heartwarming, which is what this trope aims at but tends to be too formulaic to reach.

Examples of Golden Moment include:

Anime and Manga


  • There's one about three fourths of the way through Juno. Juno asks her father if he thinks that love can last a lifetime, and YMMV on whether or whether not his response ("smart or dumb, handsome or what-have-you, the right person's still gonna think the sun shines out of your ass") is Narmy or not.

Live Action TV

  • Occurs with disturbing frequency on Scrubs. Generally occurs in the form of a voice over of JD's thoughts pertaining to the week's episode. Often comes with some cheesy music too.
    • Also Lampshaded in one episode where JD is putting his Inner Monologue down in his diary and leaves. A few seconds later, the Janitor breaks into his locker to read the diary and mocks it.
  • Surprisingly, The Odd Couple was often guilty of this. Many episodes, especially early ones, would end with Oscar and Felix each admitting that the problem was the result of their respective sloppiness and pickiness, and reaffirming the importance of their friendship.
  • Pick an episode, any episode of Full House.
  • Leave It to Beaver tended to end like this.
  • Subverted and played for laughs in an episode of Eureka, wherein Carter and his daughter have a moment, complete with sappy which point they demand to know where the music is coming from, and then leave when the AI controlling the house owns up.
  • The Facts of Life owned this trope, playing it so straight they frequently didn't even bother with the lighten-up gag. Or if they did, it came through brave tears.
  • Lampshaded in Arrested Development: Michael and George Michael, his son, are making snacks and discussing their plot of that episode. George Michael remarks that he doesn't need his dad to stay out of his life, he's the biggest part of his life. Michael states, refering to the snack they are making, "That's a little cornball, son."
  • Vengeful aversion: No hugging, no learning.
  • Family Matters had this quite frequently, complete with Full House Music.
  • Happy Days has an episode in season one where, after going through gang initiation which involved pulling pranks on a policeman, stealing their principal's toupe, and going to a sockhop in dresses, Potsie and Richie realize that Mr. Cunningham was right--they didn't even like the guys they were trying to impress and should have just been themselves all along. Mr. C then comes in and has a little chat with Richie which ends on a corny joke.

Western Animation

  • Parodied in nearly every episode of Moral Orel, in which Orel learns a twisted Aesop after a beating from his alcoholic father.
  • Happens frequently in The Simpsons. One episode Lampshaded it by having guest star Isabel Sanford, acting as a presenter for a television museum, break the Fourth Wall and describe this trope. She goes on to say that they normally put in an extra, jokey scene to dilute the syrupiness. The scene then cuts to a clip of The Beverly Hillbillies.
    • Marge unintentionally pointed out the flawed logic behind this trope with the line "Bart, anyone who beats you up for wearing a shirt isn't your friend."
  • Happened in almost every episode of the animated Sabrina the Teenage Witch.
  • Seth MacFarlane in DVD commenteries has termed this the 'moment of shit', and as such has subverted it quite a few times in Family Guy, usually having the father Peter fail to get the lesson at all and say something inappropriate.
    • It's also subverted a lot in American Dad. To cite one example, in the episode "Haylias", Stan tries to brainwash Hayley so she'll start behaving like he feels a woman should, but a bug in the program causes her to want to kill Stan instead. As Hayley holds him at gunpoint, Stan sees the light and apologizes to Hayley for trying to control her life. She shoots him in the head.
  • South Park plays with this a lot. Sometimes it seems to be played almost straight. Other times they make satire out of how seriously the townspeople seem to take it, when it's not a real/decent moral at all.
    • "You know, I learned something today..."
  • Parodied in The Tick. The titular superhero would often end the episode by declaring "I think we've all learned something today!" and then deliver an aesop that made no sense whatsoever.
  • See also: the Wheel of Morality on Animaniacs which was only played straight once: in The Movie, Wakkos Wish.
  • Almost THE EXACT exchange of the example, or at least the exact scenario, occurs at the end of A Goofy Movie.
  • In the first season of Garfield and Friends, several of the Orson's Farm segments had one of these, usually in song and dance form. The show got rid of them later.

Web Original

  • In Thalias Musings, Apollo attempts to invoke this trope after Thalia has a narrow brush with Hera's wrath. Thalia can't take it seriously and doubts he does, either.

 Apollo: Well, that's the end of that. I hope you've learned something.

Thalia: I've learned I am never giving birth. [1]