Clip Show Episodes

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Clip show episodes (also referred to as recap episodes or cheater episodes) are episodes that recycles footage from older episodes as the key plot of the episode. Most clip show episodes usually has the format of the cast flashbacking 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 production of cartoons.
  • Clip show episodes can sometimes be used during season or series finales, for the case of Donkey Kong Country (TV Series) and Pickle and Peanut.
  • Anime tend to utilize recap episodes in order to summarize past events of the series and to catch new watchers back onto the series.

Why Most of Them Suck Now

  1. Due to the fact that it requires 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.
  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 break the pacing of the show, especially on story-based arcs.
  5. 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.
  6. Placing clip shows as the premiere or finale of seasons is especially bad, because it can show laziness of writers who isn't willing to make a proper premiere or finale for the series.
  7. If the show is animated and the quality of animation has changed for the better or worse throughout the series, clip shows may tend to show clips of episodes from episodes with better/inferior animation, making the clips not blend well with the current style.
  8. Due to the advent of syndication and the internet, clip show episodes increasingly became more pointless nowadays as one could simply watch the full episodes of the episodes shown in a clip show.

Redeeming Qualities

  1. Not all clip show episodes are boring or poorly done. Clip show episodes can be good if they are executed properly:
    • The Simpsons had "The Simpsons 138th Episode Spectacular", which aired deleted scenes before they were placed on DVD and also included an alternate ending to "Who Shot Mr. Burns?", thus airing new footage that was never seen before from viewers.
    • 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 "Retarded 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.
  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. So without them, newer viewers wouldn't catch up with the series they're new to.