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Clip show episodes

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"Chief, I think we're part of a clip episode!"
Penfold, Yule Only Watch Twice, Danger Mouse (2015)

Clip show episodes (also referred to as recap episodes or cheater episodes) are episodes that recycle footage from older episodes as the key plot of the episode. Most clip show episodes usually has the format of the cast creating flashbacks to previous events and episodes. Clip show episodes are generally made for recap purposes, to celebrate milestones, or to reduce the budget to make an episode.


  • Clip shows date back to the 1930s where short films and serials would sometimes have recap chapters to summarize the previous episodes.
  • After the advent of recap chapters, animation studios often use clip shows to save money on the production of cartoons.
  • Clip show episodes can sometimes be used during season or series finales in the case of Donkey Kong Country and Pickle and Peanut.
  • Anime tends to utilize recap episodes in order to summarize past events of the series and to catch new watchers back onto the series.

Notable TV Shows with Clip Show Episodes

  • Many cartoons of the Golden Age of animation tended to use clip shows such as Tom and Jerry, The Pink Panther, Popeye the Sailor and Looney Tunes, particularly during their later years. The earlier clip shows of these cartoons (such as "Life with Tom" and "This is a Life?") have received more positive reception than their later clip show cartoons (such as "Shutter Bugged Cat" and "Mucho Locos")
  • Danger Mouse (1981) (A partial clip episode in "Demons Aren't Dull", where Danger Mouse gets put in a "This Was Your Life" segment where it shows clips from "Die Laughing", "Trouble With Ghosts" and "A Plague of Pyramids". The rest of the episode is not a clip show episode.)
  • Danger Mouse (2015) ("Yule Only Watch Twice", hosted by Jimmy Camel.)
  • Donkey Kong Country ("Message in a Bottle Show")
  • Glitch Techs ("Find the Glitch")
  • Pickle and Peanut
  • Naruto (Special Report: Live from the Forest of Death and The Top 5 Ninja Battles,)
  • Kickin' It ("A Slip Down Memory Lane" and "The Grandmaster")
  • Pokémon ("Ash and May! Heated Battles of Hoenn!!", "Ash and Dawn! Facing a New Adventure!!", and "The Mysterious Creatures, Pokémon!". As a side note, none of these episodes aired outside Japan presumably for the reason of being clip shows.)
  • Police Camera Action! ("Don't Look Back in Anger", November 1997; good idea in theory, but the idea wasn't executed quite so well for a largely good show).
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation ("Shades of Grey")
  • The Amazing World of Gumball (the "Darwin's Yearbook" and "Gumball Chronicles" miniseries)
  • Sonny with a Chance ("Sonny: So Far")
  • The Simpsons (was done at least once every two seasons starting from Season 4 until Season 13's "Gump Roast")
  • Totally Spies! ("The Elevator" and "So Totally Not Groove-y")
  • The Loud House/The Casagrandes (both won a crossover called "The Loud House & Casagrandes Hangin' at Home Special")
  • Mr. Bean ("The Best Bits of Mr. Bean", a 72-minute one-off special episode containing footage from previous episodes of the original series, serving as the series finale)
  • Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog ("Hero of the Year")
  • SpongeBob SquarePants ("SpongeBob Appreciation Day: Patchy's Beach Bash!")
  • Fist of the North Star (infamous for having 12 recap episodes, one of which is the final (109th) episode)
  • Fireman Sam ("Firefighter of Tomorrow")
  • Bob the Builder ("An Inspector's Call")
  • Blue's Clues ("100th Episode Celebration")
  • ICarly ("iBloop")
  • Danger Rangers had two clip show episodes. The second one, Fallbot Forget Me Not, ended up being the series finale.
  • Miraculous Ladybug (The seventeenth episode of Season 3 called “Stormy Weather 2” mainly consisting of clips from the first two seasons with a clip from “Christmaster” thrown in).
  • 101 Dalmatians: The Series ("Humanitarian of the Year" and "Horace and Jasper's Big Career Move")
  • Wow! Wow! Wubbzy! (Wubbzy's Big Movie)
  • Supernoobs (The rest of the story arcs were totally cut to replace it with filler episodes for no reason.)
  • Mobile Suit Gundam SEED (2 episodes in one season, omitted in the reboot)

Bad Qualities

  1. Due to the fact that it requires a very little budget and time to create, writers can simply reuse footage from previous episodes as the bulk of the episode with often no plot and it's called cutting.
  2. Clip show episodes often use cliché devices and plots such as a family sitting in a living room area and staring upwards to represent remembering.
  3. They often contain almost no new footage making the episode pointless for viewers who expect new content.
  4. They do not show the full episode, parts that are less important may be omitted and the end would often be replaced with a cut back to present. The left out parts may not all be particularly important, but it is nonetheless disappointing to be missing the full context of the episode.
  5. They break the pacing of the show especially on story-based arcs.
  6. These episodes tend to fall under the same category of filler episodes due to being simply used to pad out the series whenever the writers are unable to provide any original content.
  7. Placing clip shows as the premiere or finale of seasons is especially bad because it can show the carelessness of writers who aren't willing to make a proper premiere or finale for the series.
  8. If the show is animated and the quality of the animation has changed for the better or worse throughout the series, clip shows tend to show clips of episodes with better and/or inferior animation, making the clips not blend well with the current animation style.
  9. Due to the advent of syndication and the internet, clip show episodes have become increasingly more pointless nowadays as one could simply watch the full episodes shown in a clip show.

Good Qualities

  1. Not all clip show episodes are boring or poorly done. Clip show episodes can be good if they are executed properly:
    • While the original Code Lyoko "Echoes" finale is technically a clip show due to occurring after the show's ultimate climax, it also incorporates said scenes into each characters' reminiscing over their adventures in Lyoko which helps supplement the overarching plot of all of the Lyoko Warriors save for Yumi having second thoughts about disabling the Supercomputer.
    • The Simpsons had "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", which aired deleted scenes (and remastered some of the Tracey Ullman Shorts) before they were placed on DVD. It also included an alternate ending to "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", thus airing new footage that was never seen before from viewers. Even "So It's Come to This: A Simpsons Clip Show" was pretty decent because it felt like some thought was put into it.
    • Modern day sitcoms parody clip shows due to the negative reception for most of them.
    • SMG4's recap videos do give out a reason why he makes them. His "Re***ded Recap 2015" video gives out a good way to end the 2015 year for his blooper series, considering the fact that it's Mario going back in time to all the videos that were uploaded in 2015 by SMG4, and coming back to the present again.
    • My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic aired several clip show episodes in early 2020 on the Nine Network in Australia under the subtitle Friendship is Forever. The new animated segments are well-done, and at least have a clear reason: to show how the series progressed throughout the years.
    • The Power Rangers Time Force episode "Calm Before the Storm" is a decent clip show episode of Power Rangers.
    • Duckman had "Clip Job", where the titular character gets kidnapped by a TV critic who hates the show and forces him to watch clips of the show against Duckman's will.
    • Some shows might address WMoTSN #7 by having the events of the older episodes recreated in the newer animation style, with the current voice cast if it had changed since the original episode. An example of this would be Pokémon the Series: Black & White's episode ""The Fires of a Red-Hot Reunion!"
    • Some clip show episodes may show flashbacks to events that may have occurred prior, but are actually not scenes from earlier episodes. An example of this would be the Ed, Edd, n Eddy episode "The Good Ol' Ed".
    • The original Animaniacs ended with a clip show called "The Animaniacs Suite", but was saved by the late Richard Stone's amazing score for the episode beautifully remixing the themes for each of the main segments on the show, as well as superb timing with the clips and the music.
    • The final episode of Jelly Jamm called "Holding Hands" shows how Bello and Goomo remember the things they have done that makes their friendship stronger during an argument. This also carries on to the episode's song "Holding Hands" ("Around the World") ending the episode.
    • The final stop-motion episode of the original Bob the Builder series ended Season 16 with the episode "An Inspector Calls" showcasing the previous events of mishaps Bob and his team have gone through Sunflower Valley when an inspector comes to inspect Sunflower Valley. Not only did it end Project Build It on a high note, but it also ended the stop-motion era on a high note too.
    • Season 5 of Fireman Sam had an episode called "Firefighter of Tomorrow" which involved Norman Price wanting to be a firefighter despite still being a kid, and it showcases moments from some episodes of season 5 was trying to be heroic.
  2. Clip show episodes used to receive positive reception prior to television broadcasts due to films and shows often being shown in one time, meaning that clip shows were necessary for people to re-watch older scenes of episodes prior to syndication.
  3. Recap episodes can help a new viewer catch up quickly to the series but that viewer is better watching key episodes of the series. Without them, newer viewers wouldn't catch up with the series they're new to.